Scars of Suldairia

A new dawn (Isto)
Isto

I feel better. My mind is at ease. In fact, last night was the first night I haven’t had a nightmare in years. I dreamed of my fathers idea, the orgiziation working in the shadows for good. Next to me in my dream were my new companions, Rasgo, Lai, Zeph, Baulder, and Rose. They were helping me take down those who were smuggling drugs into a city.

I am going to find those rogues I found the other day. I better bring gold with me this time, since I did not find out that woman’s name. Instead of the other favors I was asking them for, going to ask them about this White Lord and the bard preaching about it. Rasgo seems to want to speak to me. So I best get ready for the day

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Rasgo's Inner Meditation Journal (Adventure 13)

Rose was approached by someone from the guild and possibly passed any hidden tests. The group and Mia had dinner together and saw the white lord praising bard again after waiting around for a few hours. Isto knew that he stayed upstairs. He sang another song and everyone was captivated except for a dog that barked and growled, breaking the trance. Something shortly after spooked him and he retired for the night, despite our efforts to keep him downstairs in the bar with us.

Two shadowy guys were hanging around the area watching everything. It turns out that neither likes the bard. One is following his priestess sister who has been enthralled with the bard for about a week. The other, the dog owner, is quiet about what he knows, but doesn’t seem to like the bard either. The dog seemed to understand what he was saying to me. He will be in contact with us in the future.

This heavy and light ring could possibly… I was a pyrohydra blasting my way down a hallway of ice, clearing the way for my companions behind me.

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The evil inside me. (isto)
Isto

Now that I reflect and think about it… Did I really respond to Rasgo and that odd woman about my past like that? That cannot be me.. Something must be up. Could it be the Mask? My father spoke of it as a curse and a blessing. Maybe its the curse coming through. I need to speak to Rasgo to explain my actions of last night.

This woman I was searching for, I will abandon it for now. With this dreary day, tonight will be difficult to transverse the streets and rooftops. I need to focus on what is haunting me. Perhaps I need to speak to Lai about the magicks within the Mask.

I will convince Rasgo to let me have another shot at it. This organization of theirs, I presume, have a similar idea to what I want to make. An organization that works within the shadows to slay those who need to be slain. Evil warlords, corrupted politicians, Bandits, etc. That is what I want to make after I seek to destroy those who created the darkness in heart.

Last night I had a new nightmare. I stormed into a house and slayed a man and wife. Soon I saw a little child run out of a room with weapons glowing. I struck him down and looked. IT was me. I am once again becoming the monster. I am tired of running away from what I have done. I need to confront someone and I need to fight this head on. I know I cannot run away from my past, I need to do something about the monster inside of me and channel it for something less destructive. Before it destroys me.

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As we stand....

The morning of 12 Tarsakh, 1563DR, has the group awake to rain, and a temperature not far above freezing. It’s chilly, perhaps only 50 degrees Fahrenheit come the warmest point of the day. Many of the merchants are closed today, only ones with heavy canvas tents or wooden structures remaining open, meaning herbalists and grocers are unavailable. The skyline is drab and the complex is grey and dreary. The fishing boats are all in port today, their yields from the past two days enough to last through this rain. Rumbling thunder and the occasional flash of lightning starting a few hours before dawn may wake a few of the group, but just because the weather is bad does not mean that everything stops.
The drum circles at the Smoldering Cauldron Tavern were not active last night, but all the taverns and inns are still open.
The Seven Flask Barroom where Istoaufrien is staying has a bucket next to the stairs on the top floor to collect water dripping from the ceiling, but all the rooms are dry, so long as the window shutters are kept closed. The chimney flue in the common room is open, and a roaring fire in the hearth keeps the chill at bay. It’s more crowded in here than normal, but it’s certainly not packed, about twenty people in the tavern at a time, though there’s not a whole lot of turnover. Today’s fare includes fresh bread, cheese, oatmeal, a soup with lentils, and roast pheasant as their more expensive dinner item of the evening.

The Silver Wanderer lodge where Rose is staying is also a bit more crowded than normal, as patrons are disinclined to brave the weather. It too bears a roaring fire, though it’s roof is better shape. There’s condensation on the glass windows, perhaps a little bit of pooling on the windowsill, but no real dripping. Today’s fare includes fresh bread, cheese, real bacon, a soup with vegetables and chicken left over from last night, and ocean perch for the more expensive dinner item of the evening.

It’s a cold and unpleasant walk, albeit brief, to Theologian’s Row, for those that wish to visit the temples.

Zephyrus has been put up at the Weary Traveler House on Theologian’s Row, so that he might have access to the temples today. Today’s fare is fresh bread and goat cheese, eggs, beef stew, and swordfish as the more expensive dinner item this evening.

The rain will stop shortly after sundown, allowing the group to move about at night, though the ground will be a bit muddy. The cobblestone roads are a bit slick, both during and after the rain. It will reach freezing overnight, but not drop below that.

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8 Tarsakh, 1563DR
"Lost Journal"

Yesterday they sent a full battalion to attack us. Raister didn’t even slow them down… I think they even recruited some of our own people. This attack was brutal. We held them off, but took heavy losses. I… I sent Heinrich to the barony between us and Talrega, to report to us (A heavy ink smudge, maybe some mud too) crossed blades on the field. He said “You must submit to the will of Nebuchadnezzar! You must give way to our god!” He aimed to take me… I cut him down. I… I cannot do this. I am sick with grief and remorse. Father was injured terribly by a will worker, who I cut down. He survived the night, but I do not know if he will last much longer. The healers are baffled. He has no wounds on his body any longer, but he will not wake. I think that will worker has ended him, and he is too stubborn to die.
(A triangle of the page…)
(starting here)
(and continuing on a diagonal) at the same time, I am relieved. I have taken ill. I do not
(down the bottom left of the page)er been sick in my life. Perhaps this is because of the war,
(And back out… The top layer of a line or two is torn as well)nce in Raister, and has displayed powerful magics I didn’t know he had at his disposal. The enemy was equal to us in number, but we prevailed… routing the enemy. There is a feast tonight to cele(more of the tear)

Many of our own people crossed blades with us yesterday, (A terrible smudge, with a hole in the paper)ther their loss, nor the loss of the thirteen hundred soldiers who sacrificed themselves to protect him. I hope… I hope I don’t have to die for him,(Another smudge)expendable we all are… I intend to offer everything I have (a hole in the page)
he accepts.

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Rasgo's Inner Meditation Journal (Adventure 12)
Rasgo journal

For the past 3 days, the team has been taking care of standard business in town. At least, we’ve done business that’s standard for each individual.

Mia and I have been hanging out the past few days. She seems like a nice young woman, and an excellent psion. I’m not sure if she’s ready for missions that involve combat though. Either way, we’ve learned a lot from each other. She seemed obsessed with crazy hats, but the adventure was entertaining. She’s an odd one, but who isn’t.

Lai got rid of the cloak, Zephyrus is trying to raise his wife, Isto is doing crazy stuff in town, Rose is hanging out in town, Amben is recovering, and Baulder is practicing a different move with his sword as loud as possible.

We saw a bard mesmerize an entire room full of people while singing about the White Lord. Rose appeared angry at herself for getting sucked into the song a few times. Mia said that he was a bad guy that acts like a good guy. I’ll need to see if the guild has any information on this guy or the white lord.

As expected, I had a few visions. The latest vision included me confidently running from a mob of goblinoid creatures through a doorway without a door. Once the last one entered, a door appeared and I turned on them while reaching to touch my two hidden friends. I morphed into an intellect devourer, one friend grew into a roper, and the last friend grew into a behir. We began cutting down their ranks in preparation for a grand scheme.

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Rasgo's Inner Meditation Journal (Adventure 11)
Rasgo journal

I woke up in the morning and prepared the, now customary, alchemist’s mercy for whoever needed it. The demon had possessed one of the townspeople, one of the trackers. He killed Scilla before being killed by Baulder and Rose. We never found the spirit that left his body upon death. The priest in Alaspar was unable to help with the demon, so we sought help from Sheasbury.

The mayor and nobles of Alaspar finally agreed to have a treaty with the goblins. We left them to handle that situation without us. Flotibahl has not yet returned, but she left the treasure and evil book with us. We found out that Lai has an evil robe and may be using that as cover for him being possessed.

On the way back to Sheasbury, we believe a band of halfling thieves stole two thirds of our treasure while we were camping at night. This happened during Zeph’s watch. Once back to town, we told about the entire story and were rewarded with a guild promotion to ‘Blade’. We were each given a piece of paper that teleports the party back to the base. They are activated by burning the paper.

After telling the story about what happened, I had a short vision. I was an invisible pixie riding on the back of a wyvern as we swooped down to attack the phase spider again.

I found out about some new news back in town…

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The quiet little town (Isto)
Isto

Well that was an uneventful day today. Went to this town meeting that Zeph planned out to try to form a treaty between this town and the goblins. But after waiting over an hour for these pathetic Nobles, I doubt that it will happen. Rasgo’s stone was able to sneak in and relay that most of the nobles were not interested in a treaty. I think some of these nobles are foolish not to take this deal. In my history of dealing with these so called “Nobles”, most are just as, if not more deviant than some thieves that I know.

When Lai finally arose from his night of pleasure, he started using his magicks to try to decipher the loot from the demons’s treasure. I received a ring of feather falling, after Zeph fully tested it. I revealed to them one of my powers, the ability to scale walls as if it were the ground. They seem pretty amazed, if not a little dumbfounded.

There was the goblin’s spell book. Apparently it was bound in elven flesh, which would explain why Lai left the room in the state he was in. I was hopping it would have contained notes or a clue on to where the demon’s whisked away the goblin mage. But the words were not in the devil tongue. I could barely make any sense of it. I closed the book, something didnt feel quite right. But yet, that tends to happen a lot.

Zeph put me in charge of Scilla while they went downstairs to partake in more drinking. During that time Scilla looked at me and ran off in terror. I have seen this before, so I made nothing of it. Sitting in a room with me would drive many mad. It did not seem a big deal at the time.

I am now eating and Baulder apparently is freaking out over something outside. I think he is drunk but he is very demanding about this………….

Wow…. It was quiet… pure silence, couldn’t hear anything. Apparently when I opened the book I created a portal between the 9 hells and the Prime Material Plane. I used my skills to report our findings of a house that reeked of death to the local priest. When I arrived back with him, the cat beast was going on about something, needing to close the portal and not be back for awhile. Of course the cat beast left without securing the gold and gem she carried before traveling and closing the portal from the other side.

Now there is a demon possessing someone in this town. I think it may have been Scilla since she is still missing and may be vulnerable. I feel as if Lai blames me for this. I do not disagree, but perhaps one should not leave a book such as that on the floor without much explanation.

In the morning I will run some errands around town. I feel as if I will need to get some supplies. I feel something is coming.

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Rasgo's Inner Meditation Journal (Adventure 10)
Rasgo journal

Yesterday began with me giving alchemist’s mercy to anyone that needed to get rid of a hangover. Afterwards, some of us not involved in late night activities went to the meeting with Scilla and the mayor. It turns out that Scilla is still very distraught walking around town in the daylight. Only Zephyrus seems to make her more comfortable.

At the meeting, the mayor and his council of nobles remained extremely disrespectful and unwilling open their minds to an alliance with the goblin tribe. When Scilla talked about the iron mines, some nobles seemed to have greater interest. We were kicked out forcefully so that they could figure out what they would do. We were never invited back.

I made a rat suit for Malphite and he Entered the chimney to spy on the meeting. Most were opposed to the alliance, and once a fire was built, the spying was over. I was proud of Malphite’s performance in hiding, climbing, listening, and relaying the messages as they were being spoken. The solution of killing them all and forming the alliance myself went across my mind a time or two and I knew just the person to help make that happen quietly. I need to have better self control and use my energy thinking of more reasonable solutions.

Later, we began to identify the magical items, but had several delays. Once again, plans of expediency are delayed by Zephyrus, Baulder, and Lai drinking. To make it worse, they got drunk after Isto opened an evil spellbook that brought demon attention on him. There was an invisible floating eye watching him, focused on him.

As far as I can tell, the loot is as follows:
ornate ring with feather fall (Isto using), 2 simple iron bands (Rasgo and Baulder using) – both with some sort of weak deflection protection, 1 simple iron band covered in soot with some sort of fire protection (Zeph using), powerful protective bracers (Lai using), illusion using shiny red robes with black beads (Lai using), spellbook bound in Elven children’s skin with a brand of a strange symbol burned into it (Zeph holding without touching), handy haversack 20 lb pocket and 80 lb pocket I believe, manual of bodily health, tome of leadership and influence (Rose using), amulet of natural armor (Rasgo using), 3 conjuration potions that all look the same (greenish and slightly oily), 2 transmutation potions (1 pearlescent with curdles, other has a heated honey texture/look)(Zeph holding), 3 divine(Zephyrus using) scrolls and 9 arcane(Lai using) scrolls – I wasn’t told what they are for, 2 magic suits of studded leather(Isto using one, selling the other), and a magic greatsword(nobody can/will use it, selling it).

I took the connector for Malphite and put it on the new necklace, he fits well. Baulder went outside to tire himself out in his drunken stupor and returned excited, afraid, and incoherent. He noticed that there was no sound of springtime nature outside. I went out to check and he was right, nothing. We alerted the rest of the party and the goblin in Zeph’s head told us that this was the demon’s plan to take over the town coming into play. It was the first symptom of a portal to hell being created. After some deliberation, we knew that the portal was in the desecrated house where all of the children were killed, eaten, and mutilated. This was not the time to be drunk.

I created 20 wooden vials of alchemist’s fire corked with smokesticks in order to cause a bang and cloud of smoke all at the same time. Some of us took a few and attached the remaining 13 to Zeph’s chest. He was determined, in his drunken stupor, to find out what the ring does in this manner. We reached the house and Baulder blew away the front wall of the house with his ring. Blood red spores filled the air and prevented some of the party from speaking. I was fine. Zephyrus ran into the house and jumped prone, crushing all of the vials at the same time. The house immediately filled with smoke after the huge explosion. Zephyrus appeared to be fine when he ran out and extinguished himself.

In the meantime, I sent my construct to break down the 3rd wall. After breaking the wall, it crumpled from some sort of massive damage. Flotibahl told Baulder to stop right as he began to run to the house. She said he would die, and I agreed after seeing what happened to the construct. Isto ran to the church at lightning speed and brought the priest. He could not stop what had been started. Flotibahl told us that she had a solution.

She would travel through space-time and close the portal, but she may or may not get in trouble with Master Darius for doing so. We had a few seconds to approve or disapprove of her plan. During that time, Lai handed Flotibahl a note to give to Master Darius. I hope the note was written with his usual thoughtfulness that he only seems to have when he’s not drunk. Without any knowledge of anything else we could do, we allowed her to go. We all turned our backs under her direction and she was gone. Baulder, in his state, did not turn around and lost consciousness and all memory leading back to earlier that day.

The crickets began to roar and the portal was gone along with any structure the house once had. It was a smoky pile of burned rubble. I wonder if Amben and Rose even knew what happened. Hopefully, Flotibahl does not get in trouble for doing a good deed. Sometimes, rules have to be broken to do the right thing. Maybe the wise Master Darius will spare her of any punishment. She was the only one with access to almost all of our treasure.

Upon reaching my room, I had another vision. I was very confident as I entered a room as an Annis Hag with a Cloaker around my neck disguised as a cloak. The guards looked at me in surprise as my cloak moaned, freezing one in place while I tore the other two to shreds. I confidently approached the ornate door as the Cloaker slit the last guard’s throat. I sent out a message, and my wizard friend in the form of a rust monster teleported next to me, along with some of our friends, and took care of the door.

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Laiquaphalathel on Alaspar's Adventures
In Case of Death, Please Resurrect

(This entry is undated, but the first one in this book. It is written in a beautiful yet easy-to-read Elvish script.)
In the event of my death, certain persons should be informed. It is not necessary to meet these persons, merely to drink in Sheasbury and speak loudly of my death; someone shall show a particular interest, and I would have you give them this journal. Please consider any monies or items of value on my person to be used towards this purpose, and the remainder as a reward, save one item: my bow, carved with the tongue of my people, should be returned to the same; they will welcome you for it.

(The rest of the book is written in precise Draconic, with Elvish notes in the marginalia.)
Let us begin this tale in Sheasbury. That is, of course, where this morbidness starts. My past has yet to come into things, and it would be good if it could remain so. I accompanied a small group of reputedly skilled persons to Alaspar with the intent of assisting with some reported issues. I suppose this is a good time for introductions.

My name is (Elven) Laiquaphalathel of the Natalynnmyr. (/Elven)
I am accompanied at this point in the story by several adventurers. Amben, and female half-blood, and her ridiculously large companion, a wolf – she seems to have it under control, though I sense no malignant sorceries involved. Baulder, naming himself the Fellblade, wielding a blade nearly as tall as himself, and with the marks of creatures I cannot yet identify upon his armour – though I thought little of him at first, we’ve developed a close friendship after the Elven ways, and he might yet earn my true name. Rasgo, a bald and tattoed man of most interesting abilities and insights, though a little odd of demeanour. Zephyrus, one of those blasted Dwarves, and nearly as clumsy as expected with that scythe of his – despite his failings, I cannot deny that he is favoured by his gods, and deserves an appropriate amount of respect in acknowledgement of that. We also had a halfing with us, a shifty little one, though he took off some time ago, and has yet to be seen – no doubt he merely took advantage of our protection on the road, and other things back in Sheasbury. Alas, the full tale on that has yet to become known to me.

I discovered sometime on the road that we were followed by a creature in the shape of a small feline. It is not of our dimension, though I will say no more on the matter. It has been helpful, though I can only guess at its agenda, if any.

We smelled smoke as we approached Alaspar. The fires were not so terrible they could not be quelled. We discovered a twisted goblin inside a shed filled with butchered human remains. A likely distraction while the arsonist made his getaway, goblins being well-known for their love of fire. Alas, the entire episode was merely a distraction for their attack. Many goblins and a few bugbears came along for it and were repelled with little trouble. I summoned an illusion which kept them at bay while our group and some of the townspeople slaughtered the disgusting creatures. We managed to keep some prisoners, and used one of them to track the goblin lair, with the help of two local trappers.

Alas, the halfling was gone by this point; I expect he would have made a good scout for the next part. The lair is quite large – many goblins lived here. It was enough of a challenge for us to gain entry to the cave. I still sleep only a little, for fear my dreams should be tained by memories of the battle that ensued: I am convinced, for all our clever tactics and good decisions, only luck brought us through that – and the cat. I grow more and more fearful of its agenda, seeing some of the things it can do; I am sure I’ve only seen the barest glimpse of what it can do.

We managed to find some rest, and most of the kids, that night. The goblins had a tendency to use the children as hostages, and we managed to rescure all but one. Along the way we picked up a girl older than the rest who proved capable in assisting us – she holds the name Rose, and while at first I feared she had been despoiled by the goblins and bugbears, my fears held false, and she seems sound of mind. The goblins were not terribly organised, though one of their number, name Scilla, told us the truth of what was happening, and now accompanies us, hopefully to make peace with the humans: some sort of powerful sorcer has enscorceled them with magics of obeyance most deranged. Know they not that magics change oneself as much as the reality around oneself? To make others malleable of mind, one must become malleable of mind oneself – surely it will be the downfall of this sorcerer, for I regret to say he was not slain, escaping by means of teleportation. I can only hope his spell has been ended. The goblins themselves are mostly dead, so I do not expect he will return for them, as they will give him little power. It is not as clean a resolution as I had hoped for, but I fear it must suffice.

Amben came out from the ordeal paralysed. The priest tends her now, and I am confident of her recovery; the priest raised the one slain child from the dead, clearly a sign of great favour from his god. If divine magic can aid Amben, surely his hand is skillful enough to guide it. Whether she will continue adventuring after such injuries remains to be seen, and has surely been the end of more than one tale.

One other did appear during our battle against the sorcerer: I know not his name, but he wears a mask at all times and claims to have been hunting the demon who was summoned to battle us, being drawn in with the summoning spell. I am yet suspicious of his story, for all I have heard of demons tells me the magic required to bring them to this plane is different from that which affects mortal creatures – this requires more study.

There were other issues plaguing Alaspar, and I fear they are not entirely solved; we slew an Ankheg, a terrible creature that lives in the ground and preys on livestock. What brought it here is unknown to me, but I fear future migrations of such and shall do what I can to arrange against this, but I am not entirely certain where to start. There was one man who has seen more than a little battle here and I hope I can entrust him with funds towards the defence of the town. Before we leave, I hope to convince those trackers to keep an eye out for future ankhegs, and perhaps I can send them information from Sheasbury, some natural studies they can glean useful data from. If my mentors’ teachings have brought me any wisdom, it is that knowledge is the most powerful tool and weapon of all.

The slaughter of the cave still haunts my dreams, but it is not the only thing. What my dreams show me is not yet clear, but my intuition tells me the cat, naming herself Floaty Ball in the common tongue, is entwined in this somehow; my dreams taking on this new path coincides too neatly with her appearance. And I have the sense of war brewing, a great battle in the heavens, in dimensions beyond ours – perhaps the dimension whence this cat hails? I am fearful of such events, and the ramifications here on the Material Plane. Those of arcane heritage are still feared, so many years after the wars. Could this be the catalyst for such a fear of divine powers, as well? And what manner of being manipulates the heavens in such a manner, and to what end or advantage? I have only guesses on these topics, ill-informed. My schooling in the histories of our world and the other planes will give me an advantage in deciphering the riddle behin this, though I think it will be only a small advantage, and that perhaps it is far too late. I must find if anyone else has seen such things, and what they truly mean.

I grow weary of writing of my fears. There are a few rays of hope. Rasgo, while closed-off at first, reveals more to us each day of his unique abilities. Zephyrus has mostly kept his clothes on, and his Dwarven ways to himself. The battles, while frantic, have given me chances I would not have expected, and I have had much experimentation with my magic – I almost feel like I’ve learned more these last weeks and I had through decades of training. I command many new spells, and have even learned to summon the magics purely with my mind, body, and study; I see now that the props of magic are just that – props – and may substituted with proper concentration. While I have gained many answers, they lead only to more questions to ponder and study. I feel the flow of this world’s energies more easily each day, as my people always claimed I would. It is a peace of sorts in a world with little enough of that to offer me.

My friendship with Baulder has grown so very quickly, I feel we are almost brothers. Last night we undertook the Elvish rite of melliur at’orio together with Rose, though I confess I was heavy into the cups that night, and so it was not properly consecrated, and not official – not yet, anyway. I shall have to explain the Elven ways to these two sometime in the future, and see if we are compatible for such a thing.

We shall return to Sheasbury soon, I expect. The immediate dangers that we’re aware of have been foiled. I look forward to a few weeks of rest, study, and recovery. It has been a trying adventure.

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