The Lance of Marduk

Entry Eleven
A Tiefling's Story

Today we drink, today we sing, today our steel was drenched in the blood of our foes and glory was ours to claim! Well that was actually a week ago, but you get the idea. I haven’t written in a while. I’ve spent all my time practicing the strings on my new Lute. Today we are heading out of Winterhaven and back to Fallcrest. But I will recall the tale to the best of my ability, for indeed it was a most glorious one!
We woke and readied ourselves for possibly our last day upon this plane, but we’d not see the Valkyries without sending all who stand before us into the clutches of their foul Lord of Death. We made our way down the stairs into a grand room, which Bjorn and Syd immediately found was crawling with Vampires, along with some Berserker Bitches and a Dark One. I am fairly certain that those two women descend from the stock of Kvenland; few others besides Orcs have the power and ferocity that those two possessed. I had prepared an attack at a doorway, only to be parried by a Vampire. She was a much better fighter than any undead I had encountered before; granted, Vampire. The two of us had a bit of a scuffle, but the Dark One actually gave me a slight advantage, he chucked a dagger into my shield. I slammed my shield into the Vampire’s head and lodged the back end of the dagger through her eye. She collapsed, so I guess you don’t need a stake then (that’s when I asked myself if these guys could actually turn into mist, that is a yes in fact as Phalanx found out). I rushed back to the main hall where I found the Berserkers ganging up on Aryawwn. I shouted in rage and charged them, striking one with my sword. I called out to Aryawwn as me and the bitch faced off. She proved more powerful than me and fell me in a blow, but Aryawwn brought me to, and I struck at the berserker from the ground, she fell to Bjorn’s hammer and I, blinded by the Dark One’s death, charged forward to defend the one I love. My sword stuck into the second Berserker’s chest, and even when she tried to run the druid and I cornered her and finished her off.
We found a hole in the floor leading to a lower level. We… tried to descend, but more or less just fell comedically into a pile at the bottom. Well at least Aryawwn did fine; she not only planted the banner into the ground but rode down and landed like a boss. Damn that was hot. We rose to face our villain at last, surrounded by skeletal archers, a Wight as backup, and a terrifying portal leading to the most horrid under-regions of the Shadowfell. Bjorn and I rushed forward to face Kalarel, but he teleported away. The portal also turned out to be a menace, whispering false promises and horrid lies. I ran to the alter and surprised myself in the fact that everything made sense to me. I knew what to do, but first we had to take out Kalarel (who I snagged a personal journal from, apparently he used to be in the circus, and his name is actually Karl; sad really, not in the sad way, but the pitiful way). Phalanx killed the Wight allowing us to pick off the archers. Now we just had Karl to deal with. He was in combat with my brothers and sisters on the opposite side of the room from me. He was managing to dodge and deflect their attacks. He laughed and claimed them weak claiming the failures of their gods and the mastery of his. I marched my way across the room and struck him proclaiming “I HAVE NO GODS”, the blow was indeed mighty, he was no longer untouchable. My comrades followed suit, striking blow, after blow, after blow. Finally he fell, but we had no time to celebrate. We needed to get to the other side. That was when one of the tendrils struck me down. I was unconscious but I could feel Syd and Bjorn trying to drag me away, and I could feel Aryawwn’s touch, but also the touch of that horrid tentacle. I seemed to have some sort of out of body experience as I gazed down at my body being dragged away. I saw my comrades in trouble; the book was proving to be too much for them. Phalanx and Bjorn had fallen and Aryawwn was the only one remaining to deactivate the portal. Sydienne helped the best she could, but I saw fear in her eyes. That was when the book turned to dust… It seemed hopeless. Bjorn and I were being dragged toward Orcus’ clutches and Aryawwn was struggling to save Bjorn. I felt the cold clutches of the Lord of Death. My body then felt as though it was fire and my head was screaming for vengeance. That’s when I saw Aryawwn fall, I knew I must do something and fast. I had only one option… I called to her… the Woman draped in White. I saw her above me. I knelt before her, I asked her to save my comrades. If she were to grant us victory I would be her soldier forever in her debt. Haurvatat looked upon me in her beauty and slender and I was enveloped in her light. In the glow I saw the Maned Wolf move at a breakneck pace. Syd rose and clutched the Stone which hung around Karl’s neck and I could hear Orcus’ cries. Syd burnt it in her hand, with lightning in her eyes and across her form. I could feel Orcus be scorched by her power. It was over and the light finally faded.
We rose and left the keep come the next morning. We collapsed the ruins upon the entrance, trapping whatever villains remain inside. And we made our way back to Winterhaven… broken, beaten, and scarred. But we are victorious. We made a stop at the Smithie and Phalanx requested a Bastard Sword, and then made our way to the manor. Bearman was surprised to see us and I don’t know how to describe it… I don’t think anyone has ever shown me that kind of respect (he also hit on the druid as a side note). I asked the steward for a lute and some white paint, as I had a plan for it. We clean up in the Inn, but coming downstairs into the Tavern we were greeted with applause… we were heroes. I knew they were of course; Phalanx is more of a pinnacle of justice than his own god, Aryawwn has suffered so much to know others should not either, Sydienne has made it her mission to save people, and Bjorn… well he is Bjorn. I never thought myself as a hero… maybe because I never have been treated as such. Even When I was defending Greymont, everyone treated me as an outcast… a Tiefling… a devil… the kin of murderers and the judge of the gods. But now I left that keep renewed, baptized, reborn… I am now held up among heroes and the servant of the Goddess of Wholeness and Immortality.
Everyone was relaxing, Aryawwn and Bjorn are starting to become fast friends and Phalanx is enjoying his new sword. I think Syd just wanted to sleep (her cold is coming back, I can feel it). I spent my time in Winterhaven painting and practicing the lute. Haurvatat’s seal now has been placed upon my shield, the White Bird (this same seal is on the flag of Dargma and on the necklace of my dear desert flower). I had played the lute before, it was a common pastime when I was in Greymont, but now this was important. I tried to get the sound right, but it wasn’t working right. I asked Syd for some help. Damn electricity makes this thing sound great! I got the cords and I had the lyrics (an old favorite of my father’s, written by a Bard by the name of Peter Stanley). In the early morning I rose, before the dawn I woke Syd so that we could set this thing up. I cannot thank her enough. We went out into the street and I waited till I saw her rise and walk past the window. I got her attention and she opened the window to see what was going on. I called up to her “I’m sorry for anything I did; I never meant to hurt you…”, then I played “Hard Luck Woman”. The sound apparently woke Bjorn, because as I was finishing he tried (unsuccessfully) to close his window, only to catch his beard in it. It was humorous indeed. But my gaze immediately returned to Aryawwn… her eyes so beautiful and her spirit pure… I confessed my love for her… and she, her love for me.
~Khuda Hafiz (Gods Preserve You)
Phenex Bat-Laylah

The Time of Fading Green - Part One
Thoughts, Ruminations, and Old Stories

A grand day, as it were usually. I would be enthralled to say that our victory was a success, and it was. but a great cost to me.
We awoke from our slumber in the alcove and delved further into the bowels of the Keep. The smell of death pierced our nostrils even greater than it had before. A familiar smell; a painfully lonely smell. I gathered myself as we moved down the stairs – the room was too dark for me to see – I only perceived a few enemies in the distance. Bjorn lept at the opportunity to crush the unholy priest at the far side of the room, opening himself to be surrounded by vampires. The bloodsuckers wounded Bjorn with slashes across the back – the lacerations were deep. I had to make the dash to try and help him recover – it was then or have him succumb to the dead he detested dreadfully. I lay my hands on him and channeled some of the divine power in me to heal Bjorn. A quick swing and I lay a grievous wound on the priest. He was chanting when we entered, and he chanted louder as the laceration began to bleed more. The priest began stumbling his way towards Aryawwn and Sydienne – I could not see Phenex in this haze. I fell to one knee and prayed to Bahamut – Sah Grah Dun – A bolt of divine lighting erupted from the ceiling and struck the priest with luminescent force that crushed his will. All the while, two foes saw me kneel and struck at me, one of the blades pierced through the gap in my armor – it was worth the effort to see the priest writhe in pain – it also made it easier to cut him down. As he fell, the priest tried in one last ditch effort to crush me with his mace. It did not matter that I blocked it, the mace still made contact with my arm, and the strength in my shield arm deteriorated. Bjorn moved to crush the remaining foes and Sydienne and Aryawwn began dealing with the berserkers that remained a thorn in our sides since the beginning. A dark one shifted into view as we began shifting our focus – he was quickly dispatched and left us a parting gift of darkness. Well, I politely declined the gift as it would not be practical in killing the berserkers. The two axe-bearing ladies were not willing to cut us a break and proceeded to enter a trance – their wounds were empowering them. They cracked swings at all of us, we were lucky; all of their strikes were shallow. After what seemed like an eternity, we finally managed to slay them, and took a short respite before jumping headlong into the fray.
The madness began here. The only path forward was down. Old blood-covered chains dipped into the darkness below – I felt that our descent would only be painful. I was right.
We landed in the acid of the stomach. of the figurative beast. We slipped on the blood on the way down – my weakened arm was no help here at all. The only one to safely arrive was Aryawwn. She deployed the banner before falling – if we stuck the landing, that would have been a sight to behold. The amulet I was wearing slowed down my fall towards the end, but I was still feeling pain from that landing. We all stood up – a strange wind flowed through my body and I willed the majority of the injuries gone. Kalarel stood there, dumbfounded at the sight of four collapsed warriors and a nimble cleric. By the time we had collected ourselves, skeletons and a wight had surrounded us and Kalarel started laughing at us, proclaiming that generic villain speech that I’ve heard more times than I like to care. A portal glowed and hummed ominously as ethereal tendrils swung back and forth. The struggle began. I moved to strike the skeletons. They fell easily, but the nearby wight shot necrotic bolts that regenerated the skeletons. I immediately shifted my attention to the wight. The skeletons moved to intercept my advances on it, slowing me down with a strange arcane power. Bjorn and I managed to corner the wight and crush it while Phenex and other took swings at Kalarel. Throughout the entire fight, the strange hum traveled the air, drawing some of us closer to the portal. It was soon my turn to succumb to the hum. The hums were the whispers of the portal that tempted me with illusions of things I can never regain. It failed to grasp me a few times, but I could not fully resist the enticing dreams that the portal whispered – a whole load of sweet nothings. The rest of the fight blew by quickly, Kalarel soon fell to the party, and the skeletons were disposed of but the portal remained open. I tried to help undo the ritual at the altar that Kalarel stood at when we encountered him. I failed, and a blast of energy knocked me off of my feet. I was losing consciousness.
The portal whispered all the more at me. False hopes and promises of returning home with Perth. I knew it was not real; bait to try and catch my soul. It was the hell I had lived through – the portal showed me my past. The past I thought I had moved forward from. The wonderful times before everything changed. Followed by the bloodied encounter with destiny at Zarathustra. All the while, whispers of making this reality disappear. What would I gain by listening to a portal of death? Nothing. But the way it talked to me, in the voice of beloved Perth. There is no way I could deny her voice. I thought I might break from the anguish. My left hand throbbed and twitched violently from the imagery, or was it the wound the priest gave me? I am not sure. I struggled to break free of the spell the portal had placed on me, but I could not move at all. My eyes were shut tight, my mouth was gagged. The smell of death burrowed deeper into my skull. The darkness enveloped me – I felt as if I were drowning.
I heard cheering. Cheering of joy. It slowly broke me out of the nightmare. I came to. I could see that everyone was cheering Sydienne. It turns out she was the one that broke the ritual – she has more than earned her cut on the last two encounters alone. They untied me from my bindings – bound to the altar… in more ways than one I suppose. We consecrated the room – Phenex was desecrating the statue of Orcus. She missed part of the eyes, but cut off the nipple – worked better than I originally planned. We made our way out of the damned keep, collapsing the structure once we had exited. Nothing shall escape – be damned to eternal solitude. Upon our arrival to Winterhaven, the guards entered formation. An impromptu honor guard was formed.
I spoke: “You don’t even have to ask…”
“It pretty much sucked.” Bjorn quickly followed.
I stopped by the smithy and commissioned a bastard sword – it is high time I fully retrain myself. We gathered at Ser Padraig’s manor. He thanked us for our services and offered anything we might wish. Phenex took the opportunity to request a lute and a bucket of paint. Sydienne was also formally introduced to Ser. They seemed to have hit it off well. We all returned to the inn and cleaned up. Upon our arrival to the main floor, the whole town seemed to have gathered there. A standing ovation for our success ensued. It was well earned, and something nice to remedy a while in a personal hell. Everyone was celebrating with the rest of the town. I sat in a corner of the tavern – a few people approached me, and spoke philosophy with me. But for the majority of that evening, I sat there, writing with a flagon of ale next to me.. Another letter to my children was sent before departing Winterhaven. I received that bastard sword I commissioned, and have been training in secrecy during the night. Onward and forward, with this rag-tag group of companions and friends I have made.

Here's To Finally Moving On
The Princess Diaries

We returned to Winterhaven as conquering heroes, but I’ll be damned if I wasn’t scared plain shitless.
First and foremost, the day saw far too much blood. I couldn’t say in the slightest how much of it was our own.
Upon leaving the cozy little chamber where we found our bag of holding and descending one last staircase, we happened upon a chamber laden with… not just the undead, but I believe actual cultists. In the center of the chamber was a huge almost well of sorts with blood draining into it and four massive chains dangling down, while directly opposite us stood a cultist chanting some apparent ritual. Bjorn instantly charged in to fight, while I hoped to investigate. No such luck of course – I was immediately ambushed by a pair of barbarians. Bjorn and Phalanx took one side of the well, Sydienne and I the other, and Phenex skirted around the edges. She finally came back around, just in time for me to see her fall and cry out a prayer to bring her back to her feet. Everything was just so powerful, and while my attention was on ensuring that Bjorn would stay standing and swinging, one of the barbarians felled me. Phenex rushed in to protect and raise me – or more aptly, she roused me, and I fought from the floor. I couldn’t get up without being knocked clean unconscious by that same axe that first struck me. But when my dear savior fell, I refused to let them keep her ground-bound – she must always rise like a phoenix. The whole time though, we were simply near death. . .

At last, they died and left our way to Kalarel unobstructed. Our next move was to descend the blood-soaked chains down into a room filled with an ominous chanting. For once, I was utterly petrified, knowing that real danger lay in wait. Everyone but me hastily leapt down and slipped, collapsing in a mound of flailed limbs and contributing to an already thick pool of blood. After they landed and nothing appeared to happen, knowing that I would have to follow, I tossed down our banner and descended gracefully behind. Now that I think of it, rather ironic that I was the one to stay behind…

We entered the room in that pool of blood, draining out into four vents. Due north was an incredible glowing rune circle etched before us – I wanted to investigate, but the others insisted I not, and, knowing where we were, I thought it best to comply for once. Dead in front of those runes though was the single most interesting aspect of the room: a giant looming portal into the Shadowfell from which Orcus would be summoned with menacing tentacles of darkness reaching outward. We all managed to glean that entering meant certain death.

Kalarel stood before an altar, bearing a glowing amulet and conducting the ritual to fully open the portal and summon Orcus. He kept minions, of course, but they were nothing compared to what we faced above. When I caught near every one of them in a single blast, his wight proved itself able to resurrect all of the skeletons indefinitely, much to my dismay. Once Phalanx and Bjorn brought it down though, they were no trouble.

They did cause trouble before though. We saw Kalarel as our immediate target and had a brilliant plan for Phenex to strike him and enable us all to crush him effortlessly, but the skeletons kept her away from him. She eventually resigned herself to investigating Kalarel’s altar, but upon hearing him scorn us and our gods one too many times, she charged dead across the room to smash in his skull, screaming “I have no gods!” Dear gods, her ferocious determination sent shivers down my spine while the vigor and passion of her stand brought a tear to my eye. Shortly after, the bastard Karalel fell.

That’s when it all went down. I personally had hardly noticed the portal’s advances, but with it our only remaining adversary, its innate bloodlust clearly surfaced. We all hurried across the room to reach the altar and reverse the ritual, but Bjorn and I slipped in pools of blood. Phenex wouldn’t reach the other side either: the portal pulled her in and struck her down. I couldn’t heal her, none of us could anymore, there was nothing I could do. As I got to my feet, I screamed for Sydienne to drag her body out of its reach. No way in hell would it drag her body into that… that… I don’t want to think about it. I stabilized her as I ran past. We had to abandon her body shortly after – our only hope of any of us surviving lay in deactivating the portal before it had a chance to strike down any more of us and take her in. Soon enough though, it targeted Phalanx and Bjorn in their turns until they too fell. Sydienne and I stood before the altar by that point, my abilities standing as our only chance to reverse the ritual. We tied down Phalanx and Bjorn so that the portal couldn’t drag away those who still might spring back up, but when I failed for the last time, we abandoned even that hope.

All that seemed to offer even the slightest glimmer of hope was the amulet, glimmering far too brightly. By this point, all I could hear was my heart pounding in my ears. Phenex lay far too close to the threshold of that monstrosity. Phalanx’s unconscious body lay tied to the altar as a deadweight. Bjorn lay bleeding out in front of our eyes. I myself was near collapsing, remembering far too late that I could give one last ditch effort to heal myself. I would have, would have stayed conscious and help face our end, but Bjorn’s desperation struck my heart. I owed him my life, and I couldn’t leave him that vulnerable to fate’s tumultuous twists. I stabilized him, shouting for Sydienne to run across the room, steering as far from the portal as she could, and try to reach the amulet on her own, with absolutely no assistance in determining how it might end this madness. Just then, the portal turned to me, pulled me in just a little closer, and knocked me unconscious just beside Phenex’s body.

Everything lay in Sydienne’s hands.

Once more I found myself approaching death’s door. His ghost stands there, waiting. He can’t enter, but he can’t come back. Poor Trestin never belonged on either side. He finally told me, told me everything, and I need time to let my world settle around these words. First and foremost though, he told me it’d all be okay.

Somehow, she did it. Sydienne destroyed the amulet and closed the portal, made sure we were all still breathing, and saved us all. We officially became heroes. The blood that lined the chamber turned to butterflies, and we all rose to thank our lucky stars and praise the one that shone over Syd. The group found her a brilliant cloak as a reward, Bjorn found himself a helmet, and I found a magical dagger and some gold. I kept the exact amount a secret though – before anyone knew, I divvied it out to offer Bjorn two shares. We’ve been through a lot together, and I want peace with the dwarf. He seemed caught off guard by the gesture, insisting that we divide the spoils evenly, but ready at last to strike through the word “companions” and replace it with “friends.”

As we approached Winterhaven, the guards ushered us in with expressions of awe and reverence. As we returned to Lord Padraig’s, Phalanx stopped by the smithy to commission a bastard sword. Though he promised us whatever our hearts might desire of this humble town, our only requests came from Phenex in the form of two seemingly random items: a can of white paint and a lute.

We returned to the inn to tidy up and enjoy the evening. Everyone of significance we’d met in the town turned out to have gathered there and started a cheer for us. It left me both proud and humbled, as well as somewhat embarrassed. I thought I had walked away from that kind of attention, but… we earned it. And it was as much for my friends and the peoples’ benefit as my own. I resolved to accept everyone else’s celebration for the evening. Bjorn approached me with two large flagons and stated that if I was to be his friend, I’d certainly be his drinking friend. I’m not a fan of drinking, but I couldn’t chance declining, so I joined him and maintained as merry a façade as possible. When my mind’s clarity had faded far enough away, that front became the reality, and Bjorn and I cemented our newfound friendship.

Yesterday set the future of our world in motion.

Hero For A Day
Sydienne Terragon

Today I write under the influence – of victory! I can hardly believe it’s been an entire week… This feeling I have is that of divine ecstasy! Ah, but let me recall the details for you, dear reader.
Upon the morn after my last words, we entered the second to last chamber. It was probably the largest we had encountered thus far. On the far end was a black-clad priest, face tattooed in blood and chanting, atop a sharp-edged dais. A thick stream of blood poured from the ceiling into a deep pit in the center, in which also dangled thick chains. Immediately the dwarf and I sensed the presence of several vampires, two berserker bitches, and a dark one. I dropped to my paws and snarled. Springing forward, we positioned ourselves for attack, Phenex making her way around to a door on the side. Her action later proved to be stupid, but that will be explained in a few moments. Soon after establishing our set-up, the priest engaged Bjorn in an exciting (though short) duel, in which he basically long-distance phased through Bjorn in a failed attempt to attack, Bjorn provoked an attack to teleport to the priest, then the priest Matrix-dodged the dwarf’s attack. Meanwhile, Aryawwn and I got battered by the berserker bitches and the dark one stuck a dagger in Phenex’s shield. Noticing that the dwarf was basically dying, I called out to Phalanx for help after taking out one of the vampire minions. He successfully healed Bjorn, divinely challenged the priest in a moment of egotism, and made a move to attack… which failed. Phenex realized that we needed her assistance and backhanded the shield at another vampire minion; she managed to lodge it through the wretch’s eye before absconding. In the same breath, Bjorn epically smacked the priest with his hammer and Aryawwn made herself vulnerable to the berserker bitches before I could stop her. I half-enchilada’d one and fully-enchilada’d the other, minorly healing Aryawwn with my flames, as Phalanx made his way over. He not only healed both Aryawwn and Bjorn, but epically bloodied the priest with a prayer to Bahamut. Phenex finally rejoined us, shouting “Get away from her you bitch!” as she struck the berserkess hovering over Aryawwn… The quest-cest is real… While we dished out and took more attacks, I and everyone else noticed the priest’s chanting grow louder and more sinister. I attempted to take out one of the bitches with fire, but she became enraged and fell Phenex. The priest healed her afterwards anyways…In revenge, Phalanx roared ferociously and smote the priest once and for all. He bitch slapped Phalanx just before death, so Phalanx very smugly puked acid at his minions. As usual, Aryawwn was actually effective from the ground – and healed everyone! The dark one finally decided to close the distance between us. Phenex was the one to strike him first, but this move allowed the bitches to bloody Aryawwn. I turned my attention to the dark one as it shanked Bjorn after he attacked it with fire. Swinging my scythe over my head, I delivered a lightning strike; swinging Boop over his head, Bjorn delivered the final blow. We faced the berserker bitches and finished one off as the dark one disintegrated, blinding the others in its ash. Phenex was left hanging by Bjorn… but joined us in our fight with the last bitch. Aryawwn made the mistake of standing and took some damage. Finally the bloodbath finished with Phenex’s slaying of the last bitch. We decided then that it was a good idea to jump into another bloodbath…
Our leap of faith was done so in vain. Rather than sticking the landing like the badass bosses we all believed we were, we slipped down the chains and crumpled in a sort of misshapen circle. It was hilarious, really, but the timing sucked. Here of all places? Anyways, while Bjorn, Phenex, Phalanx, and I all groaned in discomfort and disappointment, Aryawwn’s banner floated down majestically to the center of our ensemble and Aryawwn herself practically pole-danced down the chains. Whatever. Too late to convince Aryawwn to make an attempt at intimidation, we gathered ourselves together, standing back-to-back for a full examination of what we were up against. Besides some skeletal minions and a wight scattered about, at the far end was what looked like a sacrificial altar with a well in the center; at the opposite end, a priest with a ram’s head helm wielding a skull-topped staff; and directly in front of me, a gaping black hole in the wall with tendrils whispering and reaching out of it – it was terrifying. The priest oh so kindly introduced himself for us, but whereas he called himself Kalarel, the voices told me he’s actually a loser whose real name was Karl. What, he needed a cooler name? Hah, oh Karl. Ending his prologue, he turned to face us. Of course, Phenex couldn’t resist flicking him off. Karl became angered and threw a shadowball at Bjorn, which he successfully deflected, but at the same time I noticed Phenex’s sudden attraction to the portal. Aryawwn shouted “Stop her!” and I swung out with my scythe, careful only to drag her back and do no harm. She thanked me with much gratitude as I watched her rage eyes fade. The three of us recovered, and while I shot out a bolt of lightning, the other two rushed up to Karl’s altar and attacked him face-to-face. He took the attacks like some macho egotistical douchebag would and bitch slapped Bjorn before teleporting in front of me. Karl, what a bitch. Phenex took that opportunity to examine the open book on his altar (not the sacrificial one in the back) and actually managed to begin reversing the incantation that created the portal. – Oh, by the way, that portal was supposed to summon the demon god Orcus. Yeah – While Aryawwn blissfully turned a deaf ear to the portal’s whisperings, Bjorn was seduced by the voice of Vairis, Phalanx heard his wife’s cries, and Karl decided it was my turn to get bitch slapped. That bastard and I locked in a little tussle before Aryawwn pretty much skipped over to heal me. Karl took a moment to complain about his pathetic minions before teleporting away again. “Yeah, that’s right Karl!” I called after him, but was cut off by something more immediately infuriating. That voice… His voice! Oh, how it angered me! Rage surging throughout my body, I hefted my scythe and sprinted at the portal… Oh wait, the portal. Well, shit. I turned toward the back of the room in frustration. Phalanx had just smashed the wight, allowing us to finish off the skeletal minions who he had been healing. Karl redirected our attention towards him, but we couldn’t seem to put a scratch on him. He cackled tauntingly and engaged in this really stupid monologue about how weak we and our gods were. Figures. Ad hominem, what a Karl thing to do. I dropped my scythe down a little and rolled my eyes. Right when I thought he’d never end, Phenex sauntered up, rage eyes full on, and loudly proclaimed “I HAVE NO GODS!”, stabbing him in the chest as he turned in surprise. Taking my fox form, I joined my companions in their attempt to put him and the last two minions down. Phalanx and Bjorn got distracted by the portal’s whisperings, but I was able to tear one up and take a bite out of Karl in one impressive move. Coming back to reality after taking an arrow to the knee, Bjorn decided to use a different tactic: seducing Karl with his lacy silken Brunhilda’s Secret panties. The group and I were horrified, but hey, it was a pretty good distraction. As they flirted a little more, I readied my scythe for a lightning strike. Bjorn looked my way, and I nodded when I was ready. He responded with his own curt nod and swiftly jumped back before I swung my weapon down, electrocuting that pathetic excuse for a villain. Karl turned and glared at me ferociously. I smirked and raised an eyebrow. That’s when he made a small gasp and fell to his knees, then his face. Bjorn stood behind him, holding a bloody knife and bearing a mixed expression of guilt and smug satisfaction.
And then shit went down. On our way back to the altar with Karl’s incantation book, a tentacle caught and fell Phenex. Bjorn and I tried to drag her away, but I had another moment of weakness, and both Aryawwn and Phalanx were busy trying to undo the incantation… which Phenex hadn’t finished undoing before because she was too pissed at Karl to not deal with him. Eventually the portal took out Bjorn and Phalanx too; we were pretty much screwed. Aryawwn and I did the best we could to counter the spell, but we were also busy trying to save our comrades. So of course it was no surprise when the book turned to ash. Well it was a surprise, but gee, go figure. At that time I had been going in and out of fox form in distress, and I really had no idea what to do. “Get to the amulet!” Aryawwn finally concluded before being pulled to unconsciousness herself. I stared at my teammates briefly – Phalanx ironically tied to the altar, Aryawwn and Phenex collapsed inches from each other, and Bjorn pitifully sprawled out… I was their last chance… Settling myself, I sprinted over to Karl’s dead body and loomed over it. Around his neck hung a large amulet, tugging his head slightly towards the portal. Somehow, I heard the voices of my companions all urging and encouraging me. They needed me, and I needed to be their hero. I phased out of fox form and attempted to stuff Karl’s body into the bag of holding, recalling that no living creature should ever be put into it. Somewhat stupidly, I thought that would do the trick, but I was interrupted anyways by an interesting situation… When I tried to shove Karl’s body into the bag, I ended up touching the amulet. A strange sensation came over me and I dropped the bag, clutching the amulet as Karl disintegrated. Jumbled images of doom and destruction flashed before my eyes for what felt like both an eternity and only a few seconds, till finally appeared the face of Orcus. “I SEE YOU” his voice bellowed. I had nothing to fear. Lowering my head and baring my teeth, I let out a vicious snarl as electricity surged through my body. My grip on the amulet strengthened, crackling energy filled the air, and a white light emanated from my palm, filling the room. I heard Orcus scream, then the amulet shattered, scattering throughout the room. I felt my hair settle back down to my shoulders, and as the light in the room faded, I turned to see my teammates rising and butterflies fluttering where there was once blood. We all stared around at each other in astonishment – then erupted in celebration! I watched the others, grinning but still too shocked to move, as they all embraced each other, still covered in blood, laughing and crying. “Hey, where’s Syd?!” someone called out, and they all turned in my direction. My smile grew as everyone rushed in for a tackle-hug, even a few kisses. They lifted me on their shoulders and cheered. I was paraded around the room to the beat of their victory chant until we all calmed down a little. We laughed and began looking for loot; besides lots of gold, Aryawwn nabbed Karl’s dagger, Bjorn his helm, and I an elven cloak. It was too good to be true –
The time had come to return to Winterhaven. Before heading too far beyond the Keep’s premises, our little party collapsed the entrance, making sure no one could ever wander back in, and nothing could make its way out. We encountered a small ensemble of the Royal Guard, who, upon our blood sodden approach, made a saber arch for us to walk though. “You don’t even have to ask”…”it pretty much sucked!” I heard Phalanx and Bjorn proclaim. All of the townsfolk stared at us in wonder as we marched our way through town. Phalanx decided to make a pit stop at the local Smithy to order a Bastard Sword, and Phenex to retrieve some white paint, while the rest of us returned to the Inn. I was introduced to the local Lord, who was surprised to see us, as the newest party member – I giggled awkwardly. After cleaning ourselves up, we descended into the Tavern and were greeted with cheering. The others stood kind of awkwardly – it was a long applause – but Phenex and I milked the attention. I’ve never been so appreciated in my life… Eventually the noise dwindled back down to the murmur of a typical bar setting, and Aryawwn and Bjorn decided it was time to establish a less-racist relationship. I attempted to make merry myself, but was interrupted by a Halfling bard who, to a small tune, informed me of a letter of great importance addressed to a “Lady Terragon” at the pigeon house. I rushed out to receive it and was very pleased by its contents; it had been sent by a much loved childhood friend…Making my way back to the Inn to rest – I felt my cold coming back – I ran into Phenex, who had a lute at hand. She begged me to assist her in its sound quality with my lightning powers and I willingly obliged. We practiced every night for about a week to get it right. Finally, upon the morn of our last day in Winterhaven, we rose early to set up. Densely, I realized she was about to serenade Aryawwn. Ahh, the yuri gods strike again. It was quite moving actually. We left that day with Aryawwn’s hand in Phenex’s and I with a new letter next to my heart.
Green glades & golden grains,

In The Dark of Night
Sydienne Terragon

I awoke with a start as a shout split the fabric of my dreamings. Hastily I shouldered my rucksack and snatched up my scythe.I swayed as I stood – it must’ve been somewhere around 2 in the morn. In my haze, I perceived our two tanks, Phalanx and Bjorn, blocking the entrance of our treasure room. Shaking my head and steadying myself, I watched in confusion as Aryawwn lowered her weapon and began walking towards our assailants. Phalanx boldly stepped in and sacrificed his health, taking each arrow strike as a drop of rain; he swatted them away just as easily. Moments after cutting down those pesky flies, the arrows, he went down – as did Aryawwn and Phenex. Willing myself out of my stupor, I reacted with fire, enchiladaing the boss of the horde and healing Phalanx with flames. Immediately I was struck back, taking a great amount of damage. Phalanx stood and returned the favor, healing me and puking acid on everything within reach. Finally we were able to get some fresh air and elbow room. Unfortunately Phalanx was soon down again, but I had the chance to advance and attack the wretched minions. One fell to my blow and another retaliated. I took an arrow to the knee. A shrill scream seared my senses and I turned sharply to see Phalanx back up, bloody sword over his shoulder and standing over the still erect body of a headless Hobgoblin. Turning, he snarled at the rest of our foes, and they began shaking in their boots. Using their fear to our advantage, the ladies and I rushed the archers. I viciously attacked with flame and claw, phasing between beast and half-elf more rapidly than ever before and only getting shanked twice. Aryawnn healed me before we and Phalanx finish them off. She promptly passed out…
As soon as Aryawwn recovered, we decide to head out – and by “we”, I mean everyone but groggy me (oh, the wonders of sleep deprivation!). Anyways, the decision led us stumbling into a rather large and spectacularly decorated room: in the center on a finely chiseled dais, a sword-wielding golem; on the side, a standing dragon in each courner; and guarding the exit, four cherubs holding water basins. Something didn’t smell right…it was then that Bjorn took one step too far. The golem animated immediately, taking a swing at the unintelligent dwarf. I chastised him for being imprudent – it was just as I had expected. He learned from his mistake rather quickly, and while he and Phalanx wandered over to the dragon statues, I accompanied the ever-curious Aryawwn in her inspection of the cherubim. I don’t know why everyone seems to let her wander off by herself all the time – it never seems to be a good idea… Phenex eventually joined us and mumbled something about putty; I wondered to myself what in the cosmos she needed that malleable clay for… During our investigation, we found that the cherubs had water runes inscribed inside the basins. Ecstatic, I called out to Melora, goddess of wilderness, nature, and sea, in praise! …Phalanx reminded me that nothing in this Keep represented Melora, only his god… Well then. No sooner than those disappointing words had escaped his jaws, some invisible barrier set itself up between the ladies and the gents. Apparently the cherubim were another proximity activated trap. Something told me to suspect Aryawwn for this. I didn’t blame her, but I was a little annoyed that another one of us was being less-than-cautious. Quickly the small chamber began to fill with water; while the men worked away at the two cherubs nearest them, I took this opportunity to beg Melora for halp. One of my teammates alerted me by hacking away at one of the cherubim. I gaped my mouth and stared at the disgrace – no, it was the perversion of these beautiful pieces of artwork into booby traps that was the disgrace here. It pissed. Me. OFF! In a fury, I gritted my teeth , followed my friends, and swung my scythe at the last one. Unfortunately, I am not quite as strong as my companions and only maybe chipped it… Damn, my weapon sucks.
And then the worst happened… Behind the door hid a troop of undead minions, a ghoul, and a homonculus. These foes… The epitome of many’s nightmares. I had no trouble staring them down. In the Upperdark, I had watched many a foul being become a ghoul or create a homunculus. Such acts against nature must be destroyed. Although I tried to kill them with fire, Bjorn was the one to deliver them… after I accidentally set him on fire. I’m sure there will come a time when I am not useless, but today was not the day. Once the big two were taken care of, the fight was rather easy and short-lived. During the last moments of battle, Phalanx showered the minions in acid and I took out three of them. We all took a moment to catch our breaths before looting the room. Between these moments, I had a feeling of great victory and the words “level up!” flashed through my mind. Strange… In our last search of the room, I happened to find a bag of holding. We were all very impressed and everyone agreed to let me have it. I smiled in satisfaction – not because this could benefit our next adventure, but because for once I was allowed a share of the non-monetary spoils. ‘Tis finally time for all of us to get our full rest.
Green glades & golden grains,
Sydienne ~

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

A rather rude awakening today, I would say. Phenex was on watch, ever so slightly half-asleep – I had just woken her for her shift. A short while later, loud yelling and clanging woke me. All of us stood up, still dazed from our rest. A hobgoblin patrol stumbled into the small treasure room. We assumed a wall, protecting everyone in the back, while Bjorn and I stood at the forward. The hobgoblins were just as annoying as they were a short while earlier. Another soldier slid into view in the doorway. He leered at Aryawwn – she began walking forward on her own. I jumped in front of her, and I was taken up front instead. I stood in the doorway holding my ground while everyone else fought off the remaining troops in the alcove. They tried to best me and get into the room – I would not yield. The scaled hobgoblins swung at me repeatedly only to fail miserably. The mage tried to strike me down but his efforts did not have the power. Archers tried to shoot past me at my comrades, but I could see the shots clearly and stopped them from advancing further than my position. I only faltered momentarily by the mage and the massive shockwave he conjured, but I was immediately returned to consciousness by Aryawwn while Sydienne pelted at the foes with her flames. Before standing, I took the opportunity to aid Sydienne as she had taken several blows upon my awakening. This mage we faced was the hobgoblin patrol’s captain. I loosed a wave of acid and seared away at a number of the patrol. The mage hissed at me – he was having a rather bad day at my hands. Slowly our party advanced out of the room – I was not sure as I was in and out of consciousness. I mustered what energy I could and regained my composure, I struck at the mage, cleaving the annoyance in half – the rest of the patrol realized I had nothing but eyes on them. They would dare attack anyone else? Farewell. The conflict resolved, I dealt the final blow against the two archers.
We moved to another pathway, unexplored. We ended up in a room filled with odd contraptions and traps. A mechanized statue that swung on regular intervals with a stone blade. Two dragon statues that knocks those who enter a certain range back. I had the misfortune of being the first victim to the dragons. Towards the exit, a set of cherub statues. We passed the former two and reached the exit. The statues loomed over us, we checked to make sure what we were dealing with, and we did not notice too much. Just to be safe, I began to smash the statues, Bjorn had the same idea. We managed to destroy both of them, and I thought it safe to advance now. I was wrong. As Aryawwn approached the door, the runes dimly glowed brighter. Bjorn and I were sealed off from the rest of the group who was in the small passage. The room began to rapidly fill with water and spinning – the balance of the flow was off since we destroyed two of the statues. I tried to yell to our allies trapped in the swirling maelstrom: “break the statues!” I don’t know if they heard me, but Phenex affirmed by waving that they would. They finally managed to break the statues while I continued to tackle the barrier in a rather futile hope that I would be able to break it. Aryawwn managed to break the final statue, and the runes were undone. We moved onto the next room.
A horde of zombies shambled into view. Among their ranks a ghoul with sharpened talons and a homunculus that twitched ever so slightly. The ghoul rushed forward, swiping at Phenex. She took a nasty gash, then the ghoul’s jaw unhinged and tore into her skin with its teeth. The homunculus then stumbled into view and a light emanated from its eyes and Phenex stumbled from an unseen force this time. The undead began sliding forward towards us, groaning all the more. Bjorn moved forward to support Phenex, and I stepped forward to take the brunt of the upcoming swarm. Sydienne began to throw fire at the homunculus and for some reason, it redirected towards Bjorn. The benefits still applied to us, as usual, but we still had the misfortune of having Bjorn being hit. Bjorn recovered and promptly reduced the homunculus into what resembled a smashed plant pot.. A second swift movement, and Bjorn pummeled the ghoul into a pile of rubble. Aryawwn moved up next to me and tried to lash at the zombies, she missed. I turned to the right, grabbed Aryawwn’s head and pushed her down and let loose another wave of acid – the zombies whittled into dust as the acid ate at them. The remaining zombies stumbled towards us. A quick clean blow from all of us and the matter settled.
We are resting in a small alcove now – a bag of holding. This will come in handy for later adventures We rest now – I feel something big is coming up.

Entry Ten
A Tiefling's Story

I… am still… a little shaken… I need more time to recover. No watch for me tonight, because you know it went so well last time. Oh that’s right I need to write about last night. I was on guard duty when another one of those fucking Hobgoblins showed up with an entire raiding party! I called my comrades to arms and we fought the foes to the best of our abilities. I was shot in my shoulder, I think it may have shattered because I can still feel something in there. The wizard (not Mykhail he’s in the shadowfell… or Hell… probably Hell), no the Hobgoblin wizard; He was a fucking asshole… cheap too. Phalanx managed to wreck house with them though. Aryawwn fell near the beginning of the fight… Bjorn did the best he could to patch her up… which wasn’t very good really. I came to her and tended to her the best I could. She is my priority. If nothing else I will not fail her.
I charged out to face the archers, a pair of she-hobs. Sydienne had my back as did Aryawwn. But I fell… not like I ever had before… as I was blacking out I saw Bjorn collapse as well… I was out of it then. I could feel a burning within me. As if I were on fire, a beast which only sought vengeance and was fueled by rage seemed to muster itself from within my sorry state.
I saw something odd when I was down. I saw the room around me dissipate and I was laying alone in a black room which moved as fabrics do in the wind. I saw a light cast down to me. It came from a bird, more majestic and unlike any I have seen before. A great bird with a grand wingspan and the most luminous feathers it was. It had teeth in its beak and a set of claws on its hands. It enveloped me in its presence. That’s when it spoke, not physically but telepathically. It had a womanly voice. She told me that she would look out for me. I had many questions. Who was she? What was she? Why is she looking out for me, a goddamned, good-for-nothing Tiefling? Before I asked she answered one, “Someone loves you dearly child, she has asked me to protect you, to get you home safely. I can’t be there all the time, still I will be there when you need me. I will keep to the promise I made with your desert flower”.
Desert Flower… That is something I haven’t heard in a long time… Lily… my dear Lilin…
And as if to answer my previous questions, the bird seemed to become a loose white fabric, twirling into the figure of a woman. She appeared to be in her forties, Arabic in form, with dark hair, brown skin, and buxom figure. The fabrics formed a gown and hijab which bathed her beauty in a radiant light. Six great white wings, with an almost iridescent hint of reds and blues, spread from behind her form. An angel… an Archangel…
That was when I could feel my condition stabilize… and the beautiful maid left my vision. I came to to see another beautiful maid in my vision… dear precious Aryawwn.
We came to the next room to see some… well obvious traps. Bjorn managed to deactivate the swinging Automaton-like statue in the most dwarfish way possible. Syd, Aryawwn, and I ended up trapped in a magic room with four little Putti statues. And yes they were Putti not Cherubim. A Cherub would be offended if you called her a Putto; Cherubim are massive fiery beasts with massive hooves, four heads, four wings, four hands, and skin of coal. Still the result was the same, smashed the babes quickly so that we could be free, Aryawwn did the final blow.
The next room was filled with undead… like three metric fuck-tons of them. Upon entering I saw a Zombie on Bjorn’s left and I rushed to slay it, but as it fell something approached… a ghoul… I… I… I… I can’t even bring myself to think of those wretched creatures… I had never feared anything more in my life. That beast was the haunt of my childhood. The creature rushed me and clawed me, grappled me, and bit me. I had flashbacks to that day… I went down, paralyzed as Phalanx and Bjorn struck the beast. I couldn’t move… It happened again…
When I was thirteen… Lilin and I had decided to sneak out of the house. We had heard that the Glowing Lotus’ were blooming; an amazing sight and a once in a ten year occurrence. These bizarre flowers came from the Feywild deep below Midgard, their bioluminescence helped them survive in the Underdark, and they were brought up by the now free slaves of the Fomorians when they left the Feywild. We snuck out in the dead of night when everyone else was asleep. We grabbed our coats and rushed into the woods up the hills which make the base of the Southern chain in the Dawnforge Mountains. We walked for four hours before we found the grove. The flowers opened up before us, their light radiated across the meadow. Few sights are as wonderful. And few sights are as horrid as what the illuminated. A Ghoul was there in the grove; it began to snarl and rushed toward Lilin. I leapt in front of her, and it tackled me to the ground… its teeth dug into my arm. I tried to fight back, but I soon was paralyzed by the beast. I could see Lilin, she rushed at it, smacking it with a large stick. It lashed back, knocking her prone… It stood over her. That’s when it was hit by a bolt. The Ghoul leapt back from Lilin, a wound ripped through its gut. It yowled at the new comer. Only to be shot again, this time in the head, it was dead… Lilin came to me, she cradled me. I could look up upon her face: tears, terror, and love in her broken eyes… That’s when I saw Mocoton standing over us. He carried me home… I awoke the next day with a Lotus in my bed… and an apology letter from Lily. She blamed herself. I couldn’t bear to see her cry… but we were there for each other.
Now I felt alone… cold as this thing stood over me. That is when I realized I was not alone. I had my brothers and sisters, and they needed me. I began to move my fingers then my arms; I lifted up to cast a fire burst at a pack of the undead. Phalanx was a little surprised. I collapsed again, not yet able to move my legs and lower back. I clutched my steel and thrust it upward at the undead. Bjorn made short work of the Homunculus and Ghoul, while Phalanx killed a shit ton of Zombies. My comrades helped me to my feet, though I stumbled. Phalanx caught me and set me back up, only for me to fall again, this time on Aryawwn. I think she smiled though… does she? No that can’t be… I mean… Trestin? Or… I guess… ohhhh…
~Phenex Bat-Laylah

PS – Find Lute in town.
PPS – Also get glasses.

The Princess Diaries

I was expecting Phenex to rouse me for my shift any minute. I take the midnight guard shift; neither side of the night offers a sound rest. That would be no different if my sleep were to span these hours uninterrupted. Instead of her gentle caress, I awoke to the snarl of a hobgoblin and blades clashing before me as one of the dungeon’s patrol troops descending upon us. More than a little frazzled, I stood, readied my weapon, and prepared for a beating.

They had us choked inside the chamber where we had sought to conceal ourselves for the night. A few leapt in to begin skirmishing while others held back to fire at us. Then their mage locked eyes with me. I’ve no idea with what might he assaulted me, but I felt utterly violated. But the next instant when it broke, my stomach lurched violently: Phalanx had jumped in to take the onslaught.

I’d sooner be torn apart by a thousand aggressors than throw another of my dear companions in the way to save myself again. Please, noble protector, let my body be torn to shreds before stabbing through my heart once more. Sword, arrow, and spell unleashed upon our Phalanx while he resolutely accepted each and every one to shield us.

I don’t remember what happened, but it didn’t go well. At some point in there, the mage blasted us all. I fell. Of course I saw Trestin again.

Trestin, do you still know me, still remember yourself? Your words haunt me. Your silver eyes lacked the luster that always reminded of your shining brilliance. Your glassy eyes reflected back at me my desperate face frozen in time. Your grey eyes offered no hint of warmth. Your blank eyes simply gazed onwards, into the looming void, past me. But this time you spoke. “Stand. I have something to tell you, but you’re not yet ready.” And then only silence, reverberating with that disapproving, empty stare. Why, why not, why can’t I know? You and I both stood for that, adamantly, that the truth might not be hidden from any who seek it. Am I that despicable that I’ve lost the right to our fundamental values?
It felt as though steel wool raked forcefully across my flesh.

Bjorn once more, however clumsily, managed to save my life. I deserve nothing more than this crude, battering care. Shortly after, I came to and the fight was almost over. That is, both our enemies and ourselves were near death. Phenex, Bjorn, and Phalanx all fell. Sydienne and I were left to keep our companions alive and keep ourselves from dying. I raised Phalanx, as Bjorn and Phenex got nearer to death. I ordered Syd to revive Phenex, while I returned the favor to Bjorn. I still stand in his debt, him having saved me twice now. At last, the patrol fell, and I collapsed immediately, missing my watch shift. My debt only seems to grow more extensive.

The next morning, we explored the passages Gruck had lead us past. We happened upon a chamber with a number of statues: a golem in the center whose extensive reach we simply had to evade and two dragon statues with blasting traps in the main chamber, and four cherubs with buckets crowding the exit. I was commanded not to investigate as I pleased. My companions refused to look within this exit chamber, believing there to be a proximity trap which would be activated by stepping in the wrong spot. I had to leap past Bjorn to attempt any form of investigation while he and Phalanx stood smashing the statues on the end. When no traps triggered, Phenex and Sydienne hesitantly followed me into the chamber.

The door wouldn’t open, even when I gave it my all. There had to be some trigger going along with the statues. Water runes were carved inside the cherubs’ buckets, but no one seemed to appreciate my idea that we pour water into them. I decided to reach into one of them and see if I’d find any indication of how to open the door. It turned out the proximity trigger was just where my hand landed.

A force field of sorts locked Bjorn and Phalanx outside, trapping Sydienne, Phenex, and myself in with the statues as the chamber filled with water. Thankfully, none of them seemed to notice that it had in fact been me to activate the trap after all – or at least, they didn’t lather me with blame. Smashing the statues seemed to be the only thing left we could do, though it still appalls me that the door was meant to be opened by such barbaric means. As I destroyed the last one, the water drained and the door opened.

We walked through to find a horde of undead. A ghoul and a homunculus made it a noteworthy army, but all were destroyed soon enough. It did last long enough for me to regret my actions. Phenex was viciously assaulted by the ghoul and near collapsing, and I chose to let loose my wrath rather than performing my duties. She remained in pain and fell almost immediately after. I revived her, but she suffered needlessly.
Phenex was right: I keep putting my companions in needless danger. Maybe they’re better without me. I’m sorry.

I stand here claiming once more to be repentant for the sins I commit again and again.
I hope my party haven’t noticed a change in my prayers. I no longer feel the presence of Pelor. I appeal only to Ioun as of late, and I dread the day when she no longer responds.
I don’t want my entire world to thrust me out…

Not Fun
Sydienne Terragon

For me, today was a quest failed. Descending further into the Keep, we were greeted by a horde of Hobgoblins. I, for most obvious of reasons, was confined to the back. However, I managed to do the best I could and enchilada’d one of the Hobgoblins, granting Phalanx a turn to heal. Just as suddenly, a dire-spider broke the Hobgoblin’s ranks. Bjorn, reacting quickly, broke one of its legs – literally. In an attempt to impress these new friends, I shifted into fox form and attacked the eight-legged beast. The spider promptly bit me and knocked me down. Ah, well… Somehow I was able to get back to my paws and make my fourth kill. In the meantime, Phenex was busy making one of the Hobgoblins her bitch. Aryawwn was very much unhappy. I am quite aware that she wants to be Phenex’s bitch – or so I gather – but I honestly don’t think a Hobgoblin is much competition… After she had finished threatening her almost lover, I noticed her curiosity in the side corridors. Truthfully curious myself, I took this as an opportunity for small talk. I attempted this twice; my attempts were fruitless – I’m pretty sure I creeped her out… Phenex’s bitch led us further down into the Keep. This did not give me a good feeling. In fact, I felt rather uncomfortable when first we spoke to him. Shortly after we entered the crypt of Sir Keegan’s family, the worst happened: I and Phenex became entrapped in a gelatinous cube… Wonderful. She was able to escape, but apparently found my company more agreeable than her more familiar companions’. Though extended periods of time usually do not faze me (half-elf), I was truly bothered. Firstly, I easily should have spotted the trap. Secondly, I wanted to slaughter the wretch that led us here. Finally I evaded the annoyance. By that time, most of the enjoyment was over. There will be other small battles, I suppose, but I have yet to be of actual help to this group. Shamefully, I followed the others to the reward in the side room. Phalanx took for himself an enchanted amulet. His glowing smile brought my spirits up a little, and I made a small smirk at his happiness. Thus the day was ended and we decided to take a rest. I read Father’s letter once more before laying myself down… I will not forget. These trivial trials will end soon, and sure enough, we will be headed out on my quest for vengeance. I just need to convince everyone of my trust and worthiness… Enough for today.
Green glades & golden grains,
Sydienne ~

The Time of Cool Winds - Interjection II
Sigurd Fearstone

The past two days have not left me with much time to write. Father has not sent us much about his whereabouts. I’ve been asked by a group of avengers taking refuge in Bern after their last base was destroyed if I wanted to take up their arts. They were observing me during my training under Irir and have deemed me worthy of joining their ranks. I did want to join. They completed the necessary procedures with Elder Tirado – I’m an initiate now.
They follow different deities, but have banded together – they seem rather tightly knit. I begin training tomorrow.


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