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- Aug 2014
Journal Entries from my D&D campaign
IDK where to post this, if anywhere, but I just wanted to share it. If it should be in another forum, just move it, I guess.
Summary: The group was taken from multiple worlds within a multi-verse, where the different races were separated by the all-powerful elves, because of the continuous fighting. This separation has started to cause a death in the belief in magic - something which the elves, unbenounced to them until recently, were reliant on for survival. One of these elves, Laomedon, has decided it was time to bring heroes from the realms to reignite the spark of magic, because they could not directly interact with the now disbelieving worlds nor transport many to others. The group finds a magical notebook that seems to have entries of them before it was even found, and can automagically transcribe what was spoken in to it as text.
Quick note: This was an incredibly low op game. (AKA: a *ranged* Shadowdancer with an exotic weapon, while boring, was viable....if I rolled anything more than a 1 on an attack....which was occasional at best. Oh, and 3 of us were rogues.)
Also, these are in chronological order, per character, not neccesarily as they happened in/out of game. And...I'm putting them here because I think they are kinda interesting, obviously. No real other reason.
Anne Wrynn - A castout human noble, who ran with thieves...and has some issues.
Reuben - A human war commander who happened upon both his magical powers and our meeting when he cracked his head on a rock.
Blunder - A "surface dwarf". Estranged from the subterranean lifestyle that most dwarves have, they took up farming.
Noki - A rebel Lupan, or "wolf person", characterized by either a tail or wolf ears, depending on tribe. Normally pack-hunters, this deadly and ferocious lupan doesn't very much like people, of her own kind or otherwise.
Anne Wrynn's Journals
Spoiler: Anne Wrynn's Journals
Spoiler: Before Group - True Backstory.
Anne Wrynn was from a noble family. Gifted with a life of ease and indulgence, he knew little of self control, and sometimes compulsively picked things up as he made his way through the market (of course, this then made his parents have to pay for it later). Such an easy life did come with added benefits as well, as he got the best education money could buy, though he often tried to skip, just to be caught by guards appointed specifically to keep him in.
As he grew, however, he became clever, and could sneak by, or at least trick the guards into letting him go. Indeed, he quite prided himself on his abilities. Due to this, and the fact that he needn't actually do much work outside of the education, he got to socialize with the villagers. This is where he picked up the interesting tales and fantasies from around the realm.
Eventually, a few seemed to coincide with one another, despite being on opposite sides of the kingdom. This character righted wrongs, and served out justice, all while just slightly skirting the law without being evil, according to the serfs. He stole from the rich and gave to the poor. This character enthralled him so.
Thusly, more than once, he went through the market, and he took stuff as normal, but instead of having his parents know about it, he gave this stuff away. Obviously enough, things got heated when merchants started noticing they were losing their goods. Due to Anne's particular reputation, hatred and dissent began to stew in the peasantry. He immediately tried to stop his actions, and he tried to tell his parents, but because of his love of telling them unbelievable tales, they didn't take him seriously...at least, until things got violent... then they believed.
When things boiled over, they went in person to try and calm the subjects. On this fateful day, a rock flew past the guards, and right in the head of the queen. There was a blood curdling cry of despair from the king. "Get the one who did this!" He proclaimed in a voice not a single person has heard from him before. The guards attacked the crowd. Blood poured that night.
When he came back to the castle, with the guilty supposedly handled properly, he was none more satisfied with the situation.
His fury, his hate...his despair... still boiled like a witch's cauldron. He blamed his son, Anne Wrynn, whom started this whole thing. Anne got lucky the next day, which was supposed to be his execution, despite his pleading. His experience in escaping his guards came in handy. His guards thought him to be a non-violent, happy-go-lucky boy who wouldn't hurt a fly, despite the king's orders.
Impending death has a way of changing you. When Anne "slept" the guards dropped their guard, providing him the opportunity he needed to escape. The specifics are lost even to Anne himself, but his hands were stained red by the time he came to in the forests outside the town.
Somehow, he managed to live in the wilderness for months, progressively moving further away from the kingdom with each passing day. Seems his education wasn't for nothing. But, the fifth month of the year had come by again, filling him with memories of his family, his friends, his accompaniment, and even his annoying tutor. His energy was drained. He found a circle of fungus, "Elf Doors" he remembered people calling them. Evil elves took children who accidentally found themselves to have stepped in one.
He lied down in it, and closed his eyes. "Just take me. I don't want this any more." And he slept. And slept.
Spoiler: Cutscene (Part 1)
I wake up to this admittedly beautiful scene with blinding light and elves. Hmm. Well. Either I died, or the fairy tales aren't so false. Either way, this is certainly better than running around in the woods.
And then it ends with me back in the forest, surrounded by people, a couple of whom were clearly nonhuman. I feel as though they are allies, however; interesting. Then the new world came fully into being, along with this triumphant war song ringing from the south. Every instinct was telling me to avoid it, but I couldn't. "Let's check it out." I suggest. Two of my friends, Blunder and Noki take off towards the openings of some sort of wall surrounding a shrine. I scale a nearby tree to get better view while Reuben takes guard - an endearing gesture I've been quite missing since I lost my guards.
I could see nothing inside, but the walls weren't being guarded from atop. As I climb down, the two who went to investigate the openings told of goblins who were planning to sacrifice a girl. After confirming for ourselves, the entire group began to plan how we'd save her. Eventually, we decided on using a distraction to allow Noki and I to sneak in and free her.The plan, however, fell apart when they moved in to accelerate the sacrificed, making it seem decidedly less like a play than I had hoped. Noki ran straight in. Seeing that, I stumbled in - and was spotted.
Then the horrifying screams.
I felt my other self pulling at the edges. I launch the ball from my ironbreaker to one of the more militaristic ones guarding the...priest? This goblin crumples to the ground after a horrific crunch of bone. I nearly drop down in disgust. Then, my other self, Red, took control.
My body suddenly lurches into combat readiness. Red sees but one target, the priest, and nothing else. I notice 2 of the goblins in the crowd try and surround me. But Red doesn't care as the daggers are caught by my protective clothes. He dives to a lower area of the arena, spinning to build momentum to launch another ball aimed squarely at the priest's head. It deflects and shatters some stone.
Red tries yet again to launch a ball after Reuben's attack had been foiled by the priest's magics. This time, Red was able to power through the spell, landing a clean blow on the priest's back, though the priest continued the "sacrifice" regardless. I couldn't tell if there was no crunch of bones, or if Red was just blocking it for me.
I reached for control of my voice, and finally found it. "Move the girl!" I yell as my control is wrenched back away from me. Blunder responds and sits between the priest and the girl. "No! Move her!" I tried to say, but I couldn't. It's good enough, he can't get a good strike - wait. She just disappeared.
The essence of combat has disappeared with her as well. Everyone stopped fighting. And like that, Red relinquishes control back to me. "It is done. Do with me what you will." The priest, whom we now know as Fun Ilutirk, said when he made her vanish. Fun goes on to explain that the woman, whom they called Lady Lecena, was evil, and that the goblins were good, and that she was sent "back to hell" as Noki suggested. Regardless, though, Blunder yells "Take me to her!"
Everyone exclaims extreme shock, and I felt Red's tug yet again. Thankfully my other friends were able to convince him otherwise before anything happened. "I just feel all life is precious." Blunder excused his brash action. I looked around at the devastated battlefield. "Yes...all life." I start to feel horrible about what was just done, and try to conduct first aid...and then the "dream" restarts over and over again.
I finally wake up in the fairy circle that I had slept in. "Thank goodness. It was just a dream."
"No, it was a warning." Red chimes in menacingly. It was the first time Red had spoken. I knew to heed his few words though.
Spoiler: Cutscene (Part 2)
"No, it was a warning." Red chimes in menacingly. It was the first time Red had spoken. I knew to heed his few words though.
Yes, a warning. I should prepare for when this would happen again. I get out of the fairy portal which I used as my bed yesterday, and climbed a tree to ponder what I should do now to prepare. Then, the gnawing loneliness which drove me to sleep in the portal in the first place creeped back in. I am a good several months away from Father's castle. I don't even know why I was still running.
It was decided then that I would go to the nearest town, and find the most battle capable people to my side...but how? Should I mention elves and goblins, I'll be none more credible than one of the peasants who foretells the end of days. I'll figure it out on my way there. (Of course, this is just my justification to see more people, looking back on it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
As I jump down from the tree, I look to the circle of fungus that formed the fairy circle. "Even if it was just the 'shrooms, it was an enjoyable experience with..." and I rattle off countless numbers of names of my companions from that "dream" as I walked to where I felt the nearest concentration of people was. Annoyingly enough, Red felt like not keeping me company.
And before sunrise, I had found it. It was a rather vast city for how far out of the kingdom it had to be, but I can't let that detract from my goal! I look down at my ripped and roughly patched dress from the months without proper maintenance...and those dagger marks from the dream... Yes, I would need replacements soon. First thing's first, though, I would need to introduce myself to the common man here. The guards would be too busy with their jobs, but the peasantry has been known to take up arms for sillier causes before.
I make my way to the tavern, floating between passersby for information and generally sizing up people's capacity for believing the unbelievable. They were a superstitious bunch, and bought into the kingdom's religion quite whole-heartedly. This could go well if I play my cards right. The tavern was suitably packed for the town's size. Quietly, I ask the barkeep how much a bit of left over jewelry would buy. Catching his expression, I knew what to do. "A free round on me!" I announce to the crowd. "And keep the change" I tell the barkeep.
I notice a few people who were leery and watched me from a distance. Nice. I already got some attention. I caroused with the crowd, sharing stories and drunken chanteys. There were promising figures who seemed like veteran bar fighters, but those guys in the corner were the most interesting. Approaching them was going to scare them off. Let's see what'd happen if I backed out of the tavern.
Like rats in a trap, they follow. This'll be great. I walked down the street, pretending to be unaware. I notice a few more try and approach from the sides. Red pulls at my edges...now he wants to keep me company. Of course he doesn't do it while I was walking in the forest. Regardless, I turn to the one who was following most closely behind, "You get your free drink?" He stopped, seemingly shocked that I recognized him. "Great. Well, I hope it was to your liking." He's got a small dagger palmed. This guy is quite sloppy for an assassin. I've seen better even while surrounded by my own guards. Perhaps those accompanying him would be more useful for my purposes. Red vehemently rejects the idea of staying in place while others surrounded us, but I was able to suppress him for a while.
As I continue to try and talk to him, he damned near panics and yells "Attack!" I should have called that, but this will be the test to see if they are worthy to be part of my force. They attack all at once, though it was obvious they were less than ready for the call so early. "Red, you may have it." I say softly as I relinquish control. All but 2 fell quickly, or were demoralized. Keeping morale in the face of the destined was clearly not this company's strong suit, a weakness which was used much to my advantage. The 2 that remained though, tenaciously attacked me -- even after their arrows broke off my hidden armor -- and were able to stay less than injured while doing so.
Finally, they decided the wealth I held was not worth the struggle, so they decided to run. I yank control back from Red (he was clearly unhappy, but this is part of the training). "Wait! I have what you want!" I yell back to them. I threw one of my amulets towards them. "We need not fight. Indeed, you have impressed me, and you could be rewarded!" They were confused, but I was able to win them over with a few more hurried words.
After much talking, they agreed to put a word in for me to join their "crew". And so, less than a week later, I was a part of a thieve's guild and doing jobs for them. While I was a great lookout and guard, at least compared to some of these incompetents, where I shined was in the courtrooms...admittedly, we found this out after a botched mission where I got caught as well. But, I was there when some of these laws were made. I knew how to abuse them. And of course, a good word or two in the right ears can go a long way.
Over the years, I made close allies with the most promising of those in the guild, and some of them even trusted the story I told - whether they believe it to be possible, might be another question though. It, however, wasn't the same as the companionship from that dream...Once more, I lie down in bed, and ask Red, "When will be called to our quest?" As per usual, Red doesn't answer. My exercising greater control definitely is not earning me a friend in Red. Regardless, I try to sleep.
The next morning, I wake to the smell of a forest..but not just any forest... "My friends! Our destiny awaits!" 3 years, and I am back! It was slightly disappointing, though, as my thieving allies didn't also join, but they weren't that great anyway, and it was clearly not their destiny, if they didn't come.
Spoiler: Chapter 1
Spoiler: Journal Entry 1: Where it starts
In mid-Summer, I awoke from my bed at the thieves' den to find myself in a campsite. At first I thought one of my companions at the guild played another prank on me, but then I saw them - my friends from my prophecy. More energized than ever, I get a gut feeling that destiny is pulling us Northward. "To the North we must go! It's our destiny!" I proclaim to be met with surprised and non-understanding faces - the faces I knew as my friends. Regardless, after a bite of the half-finished breakfast we had mysteriously had set up, I go out to scout the North from the tree tops.
Low and behold, there it was, the great oak where the first vision began. I returned to find that Reuben and Blunder likewise took off to the East to see what they could find, reporting back about a river and a potential village. After a hasty talk and pack up of the camp (all while keeping Blunder's scissors away from the tents), we took off to the North. During this pack up was when I found this journal that actually already had an entry for my first experience in this world...and more? Interesting
In hindsight, we forgot to look to the West or South, but given that no one felt a pull towards those directions, it's probable that there wasn't much need to go that way. Either way, we found the shrine that we encountered originally, though it was obviously aged and overgrown, no one knew the local foliage to tell exactly how long it's been. Searching around for clues, we found grave markers, an unsettling reminder that it wasn't *just* a dream. Noki able to tell from the aged leather that it was roughly 15 years since these markers were placed.
My trusty guard, Reuben had manifested magical powers, and apparently could also sense other magic. Interestingly, he picked up no sensation from the oak, but as he walked by a grave, he pinged something. I disagreed with the idea that we should dig up the grave, as it is the greatest dishonor to the deceased to do so. I did know, however, that if our powers were telling us that something important was here, then we should investigate to fulfill our destiny. So, the best I could do was look away as he did the deed.
And thus, we set off down the river. Though on the lookout for any dangers, it was a disturbingly peaceful trip. We found the outskirts of the goblin farms, and so we knew we were close to the city. I suggested we talk to the local goblins to perhaps offer a safer, faster, or more appropriate route to said city. Reuben, and Noki, however, strongly disagreed, and thought the risk of being recognized was too great. Well, that was Reuben's objection. I think Noki just doesn't like people. However, it's been years, and we were going to a city, which would no doubt be full of people who could recognize us anyway. After some talk, we compromised that I, and Blunder in his tree costume (to this day, I still wonder why he did that) would go up and ask.
Blunder obviously had no fears about being recognized, bringing up the topic of the shrine directly in the conversation...and then talked about farming...then tried to play stupid? Admittedly, it was worth the time just to watch him, particularly his last skit where he said "Oh no. I'm falling." and somehow failed to fall. I guess Dwarves are even more stable than the storybooks say...physically anyway. Anyway, they didn't recognize us, and didn't even seem to know much of the shrine, and we were able to find information about a road that led straight to the town and didn't trample on crops
We are coming upon the town now, I best put up the journal until it is needed later.
Spoiler: Journal Entry 2: The Event
Yesterday is such a blur after the most recent event in the inn. I should have written it down as I was going through the town, but my memory is usually good enough as to not require it. Ah, I did make a few notes here to the sides, it seems.
We came into town on a ferry, from which we found out about the "Awe Nok Re Awed", or "the unquiet day". From there, we went to another inn, something about bugs and bears? In there, we separated, and I went to mingle with the adventurers to find out more of this event, which was about giving random luck to random people, such as people falling in to bottomless pits, or striking the greatest riches they've ever seen. We met up, and I eventually went to the market with Blunder, who took 2 platinum pieces from me. It's a small amount for a noble such as myself.
I gained no additional information about the Awe Nok Re Awed, other than it affects people in a 200 mile radius of the town. That is an amazingly large radius. So, figuring we would need a good lay of the land before we get moving any further, I searched around for a cartographer. Amazingly, only one existed in such a prosperous town known for adventurers. I felt destiny taking us South-East, so, I took a map of the South-East area, and began marking promising areas along the 100 mile line.
Then, some other stuff happened, and we find ourselves in the library, talking to one of our companions from the dream, Loys. He was a short...magic user? Ah yes, we came in the library to find out about this book of Fun's life. It told of the fact that Fun Ilutirk had needed 3 items to banish, and 1 to return someone. Why would he want to return the one he banished? Wasn't she a demon?
Regardless, we found out from Loys that someone had a map to Fun's grave, where we would find these items. Maybe we are looking for them because of something that orc priest said. I can't remember. So, we let Loys lead us to this contact. I was thinking this was Awe Nok Re Awed working for us, considering how no one else seemed to know where Fun's grave was.
We went to another inn to meet him. Fredrick, the contact was called? Regardless, he seemed to be a noble down on his luck. I know the feeling. He said he'd give us the map if we brought back Fun's censor. Noki uncharacteristically replied first, saying "We need to use it. We'll give it to you after we're done." Reuben and I tried to remedy the conversation to not be so blunt.
Eventually, Fredrick came to our side, and said he'd allow it, if we gave him money to live off of while we held the censor. He wanted it for religious reasons, and seemed legitimate that that was indeed the reason. The group was split, so I took my court training, and began the debate. Fredrick went out to the latrine while we did so. Noki wasn't participating much, but this isn't her specialty; I didn't take mind of it.
I had about won the group over, when suddenly Noki leaps from the table an incredible 20 feet or so, and shoved Fredrick to the ground as he was coming in. Then I was struck in the back by a heavy thrust of a sword. I felt my ribs crack as I rolled across the table. If it wasn't for my protective clothing, my mail suit, that would have been a lethal shot. Had it been any other situation, I probably would have worried that he had ripped the Apollonian Spider Silk, but I could barely stay standing.
I could feel Red's pull, but he failed to emerge. The pain was too much.
"The- This is- This is your only warning!" I struggle to worm out the words through the pain and fear. I launched a ball from the Iron-Breaker I pulled from under my clothing at one of the gang members. He brought up his shield, and it dented inwards. I hear the crunch again, that horrific crunch of crushed bone. Now, mingled in my fading, swirling vision was green and red colors as I nearly drop in disgust. Red could only just keep me from doing that.
AND THEY KEPT COMING! He didn't even care that he had a broken arm, he was coming in to attack me! Then, my shining light; my brave, selfless guard, Reuben intervened, and kept him back, his body radiating electric energy that repulsed their attacks. Red was telling me to attack the leader, but I couldn't. I could only look towards how I could get out. I had to clear the door that one of the attackersers stood in front of, fighting Noki. "Ge- Get down Noki." Again, I found words to say.
I tried and launch an iron ball, but I fall down mid-swing. "This is it. I can't keep on." I think to myself, as I barely regain my feet, and get up against the wall.
I then hear Blunder's voice "Stop...or...kill...him" I hear but pieces of the sentence. "No, you wouldn't sell me out, Blunder! You wouldn't!" I wanted to scream, but my body wouldn't work. The feeling that this was the end, and of betrayal was too great. Red tried to tighten his grip, but it was useless.
But, then they stopped. I look over to Blunder. He held a knife to Fredrick's throat. "Ah, they were here for him." I thought to myself. I just about regain my senses once I realized I wasn't betrayed, though I don't lower my Iron-Breaker.
The leader and Blunder exchanged words, threats, and taunts. Eventually, Blunder says, "If you leave Fredrick with us, we'll give you the map."
"Do you seriously expect us to believe that you have the map?" the leader replied.
"Yes. Why do you think we were here?" Blunder retorts. "And if you don't leave, we kill Fredrick and burn the map. You'll never find where the grave is." Blunder then motions to me.
Right! I've got a map of the South-East! I pull it out of my map case with a swift motion, and slam my arm against the wall with an open-flame lantern. Ha! This is excellent. Blunder's blade to Fredrick's throat, and my map to the flame, we've got him cornered. Panicked, the leader eventually decides to take the map and leave.
And I collapse in the corner, finally exhausted beyond my stamina.
The first thing I wake up to is to a sparking sensation as energy coursed through my body, and, unbelievably, I was left uninjured. Was it all a dream? "We must leave. You are coming with us, Fredrick." Reuben barks out orders like the military professional he was. The entire group force marched, including Fredrick, up northward, to the supposed grave site. It seemed odd that he kept with us, considering we had a knife to his throat, but I assume they took care of explaining it to him while I was out. By the way, where is Loys? Maybe he's back at the library, waiting for more of us "shades" as Fun called us.
So, here we are, at the forest line to the north. We will be at the grave tomorrow. I passed out the journal to everyone, exhausted though I was. They had entries about their "dream" already, and so did I, when I found it. It's incredibly odd. Regardless, I think I'm the only one silly enough to write in this before sleep overtakes me. Awe Nok Re Awed really was with us that day...to some extent.
Spoiler: Notes in the margin, after entry 2
I distrust that orc priest we met in the temple. We were told that nobody knew where the grave was, but was directed to the book by that priest anyway...after we gave him 200 gold for such paltry information, and after the library closed, reducing daily cost for mercenaries, and allowed time for preparing an attack.
There were 3 to 5 people (I think...) who attacked us, plus a leader. Mercenaries of that group size for one day's work would only cost 70-125 gold at worst. If they had a good relationship, it could be less. They also had official-looking, uniformed armor (if what I remember from before I passed out is correct), meaning that they weren't just a random group pulled together at the last second. And guess what organization can call for official suits of armor. A rogue's guild wouldn't have any use in uniforms. It just makes them stand out.
So, the first time since Fun's death that someone finds out about the grave, somehow, a gang of well-organized, and loyal-to-the-tee mercenaries attack us, looking for information on the grave. They also had Fredrick held to knife-point outside, but brought him in, perhaps to try and use as a bargaining chip, because they thought it was us who ultimately had the information.
Spoiler: Journal Entry 3: The crypt
Well, we made it out of the crypt with all we came here for and more. Hell, in one of the chests in the crypt, there were even Gold Lumion Coins from the Surza Empire before it's collapse upwards of 500 years ago. My brilliant guard, Reuben reports a similar time frame for some other coins for his realm. It is...odd. I certainly will not use them in common transactions. These are valuable artifacts.
As to what happened in the crypt? Not much. But, let's start from the beginning. We were lead to the entrance by Freidrick. I don't trust him, especially after he told us to go on ahead without him, into the crypt. I suspected he'd have been in league with the bandits - a knife to the throat can be a powerful tool of persuasion. Up to this point though, there's been no obvious sign of treachery.
Back to the crypt. We traveled inward, and darkness stuck deep to the walls like inky shadows around Reuben's magical light. I grabbed some twigs and sticks from the trees outside, just in case, but they were scarcely needed. Still paranoid from my recent encounter with the mercenary gang, I held my iron-breaker ready for combat throughout the exploration...well...until we fought skeletons.
In the first chamber, there were 3 sarcophagi - which we now believe to be the 3 tribe leaders of late. Reuben pings magic from the center, but I read the stories, disturbed dead mummies would rise from their sarcophagi and consume all who entered their tombs. I stand in the corner as they open it up. I nearly launch the ball in anticipation and anxiety. Red holds me back, though. Nothing happened. It didn't move. Reuben fearlessly grabbed the rope from beneath it's feet, and moves on. It was rope from the ritual. What an odd place to put it.
There was a door - so long left closed that the accumulated dust blinded us for a moment after it opened. Fredrick said the dead body in this room was one of the people he escorted to the tomb...how long ago was it? In front was a platform, and written on it: "Choose the right" with foot prints in the dust going to the right of the platform. Just as well, on the door leading to this room was engraved the words: "The feet of those that have gone before will guide you." (Looking back...I don't remember any connection to feet in this maze save for those of the dead guy. I wonder how recently that door was engraved.)
Obvious enough...except for Blunder who was off to the left side, messing with one of the various angel statues. We let Reuben guide the way, careful to step in the foot prints. *BOOM* And with righteous fury, Reuben was struck by lightning, and knocked back onto the platform. Simultaneously, Blunder announces "It means to the right of the angels" and steps off the platform to the right of the nearest angel. I don't know if he was smart enough to figure it out, or stupid enough to try it.
Regardless, after marking out where it is safe, we make it past the maze of angels and lightning traps, where upon Noki loots one of the swords from the angels that was not like the others. It's engraved with runes - those of which I assume are magical. I later convinced Noki to let me have it, in exchange for a promise to let her have a future item of her choice. I decided to take it due to me being the only one without some sort of close combat weapon, but it also looks fancy. I enjoy it for that reason alone - there's a reason I use an ornate Iron-Breaker.
On the other side of the maze, we find a raised platform...except it's filled with bones of various types of creatures like a thick carpet. I sensed a chill in the air, and again raised my Iron-Breaker and focused my attention on our surroundings. In the middle of the platform, was the sarcophagus of Fun Illuterk. Reuben, again, caring not for the risk of undead, walks up and opens it. I look around, and notice a mechanism on the wall over there during my look out. I suspected it of releasing a boulder upon us, but, thankfully, it failed to do so.
In the sarcophagus was an orb of Fun's memories, the Scepter, or Censor, and the amulet to bring a banished back to this world. Around the time that Reuben finishes searching through Fun's memories, I hear a distant roar of an open fire. Convinced we'd been followed by mercenaries who resorted to torches, I began movement towards the group. Just then, behind me, skeletons rise from the floor.
Bleached white, and without flesh, they were a terrifying sight. "We are too close" Red and I thought simultaneously. "What shall we do?" Then the thought hit me, the scepter Fun was using had to be a holy item, which would repel them.
As practiced in the thieves' guild, instead of full transfer of control, I let Red focus his control only on my left arm so he can pick up the scepter and throw it to Blunder while I focused on dodging through the skeletons. The technique definitely needs work, as I threw it just a bit high. Perhaps because Red didn't compensate for Blunder's below average height.
Just as Blunder was about to swing Fun's Censor, a clash of thunder roared from Reuben, and the one nearest to us and the one nearest to Noki fled in... fear is the closest word. Then a flash of lightning struck the two remaining large ones right in the...well, where the face would be. They ran off into the lightning-angel-maze thing, where, unlike Blunder's beer bottle, they were actually struck and destroyed by the lightning. I am unsure whether it's because undead registered for the trap, or if it was just Reuben's thunder god's magic. Well, no wonder why Reuben held no fear of the dead. The dead feared him much more. Oh the things you've got to see to make the dead want to get up and run from you.
In the middle of this, one of my friends, the adorably cute little poro farmer: Freja, showed up. She's carrying around living fire now... I should just stop questioning things at this point. Well, at least now I know that there are not torch-bearing marauders after us. So, the mechanism I found on the wall actually led to a secret hallway. In this hallway, there was not much, despite all my expectations - just a pool of water with a dead person, apparently another of the ones Fredrick brought here. I didn't know how I could get across it. No way I was going to slog through that.
Regardless of how disgusting it was, Noki and Blunder wade through it to get to the other side. I hear a sparking noise, and apparently so did Blunder, as he jumped nearly his full height, and spidered against the adjacent walls - just as Noki was shocked, and her hair stood on end. "Ah, Blunder could spider the walls even while vertically challenged. I could definitely do it to get across." Well... I might have slightly overestimated my strength, but I managed to spider long enough to not let my Apollonian Spider Silk suit get wet by such waters. Do you know how long it would take to clean the smell out, if I didn't?
We then completed puzzles, and found the remaining 2 items for banishing someone. But...what do we do now? I explain my suspicions of the orcish cleric, and ask Noki to scout out the entrance so we weren't getting ambushed, and she goes out. Shockingly, Reuben defends the clergy from my suspicions saying that I am just suspicious of everyone. It seems Reuben's god is more inclusive than our kingdom's. Oh, bright soul Reuben, I value the friendship more than being right. I drop the argument there. There are only 3 things that could come from his continued trust - his getting betrayed, and learning that not even the clergy are above corruption, the clergy really is not against us, and my suspicions are empty, or...most worryingly, that the clergy learn of us, and don't betray us until they've prepared enough to take us down for good. But, we are destined to save the world, so we'll be able to fight them off.
Noki returned to report that there were in fact no ambushes set up by the entrance. On the surface again, Blunder suggests looking for chieftains, but they are probably dead as well. Reuben got the idea that he could recognize Fun's son if he was holding the orb of memories while walking in town. That's about our only lead, so we kind of have to take it.
So, we begin the long trek back to town...when we see smoke near the area we camped last night. Oh no. This is bad. We've been found. The group moves in to investigate though. I reluctantly followed along. At our campsite, Noki noticed that there was a root that was lit on fire below where we....apparently made our camp fire. "Oh great Goddess. What is this going to mean?" And then Blunder spies the burnt ruins of a farm house only a mile or so away. "Well damn, I somehow feel responsible for that." I think out loud. "Why? You didn't light the camp fire." Red does bring up a good point. I can't shake the feeling though.
We meet up with the farmers...who were supporting their children...who were supporting THEIR children in the same house. They didn't even have any tools left to farm. Well, the Ah Nok Re Awed was not kind to these folk, but so many people and their equipment in one place? They were kinda asking for it, in hindsight. Blunder was gives away a bunch of gold...a shocking deal of it, even for a noble as myself, and for no promise of anything. Quite like the tainted fairy tales of my kingdom. I rid myself of the terrible thoughts by giving away one of my more valuable necklaces as well.
"If you offer us shelter, I think I have a spell to rebuild your house." Reuben proclaims. I look at him sideways. "OK, we got a god of creation here." Red and I think simultaneously. So, we stay until morning when Reuben prepares the spell. I was admittedly curious with how he was going to do this. With one word, lightning arcs from his hand and charges the foundation. The broken and worn foundation lines up and looks solid as a though freshly made - same with the fire place that had about crumbled down. The ash, on the other hand, jumped and swirled with the charge, then disperse. Well, that was slightly dissapointing, but it's better than nothing. Why did we need to stay all night for Reuben to say just a word?
Regardless, we move on afterwards, and the farmers say their thanks.
Spoiler: Entry 4: The awakening
So, it turns out that one of the eldest goblin asked Reuben to teach one of their children, Neruby. Reuben seemed up to it, and he doesn't need diapers changed. I definitely don't sense this goblin as being one of us like Loys or Freja, but the family seemed grateful enough, and the goblin said he'd stay out of the way. I don't think this would be an assassin.
Along those same lines, one of the middle-aged (so I assume) goblins asked to go with us to town so he wouldn't get attacked by ruffians. It seemed reasonable enough. I just realized that together, we probably just donated so much gold to them that it would actually make them a target. So, same with Freja, I help him distribute his gold around his body to reduce the visibility of his wealth.
That reminds me, Freja seemed to back off when we reached the outskirts of the forest. I wonder what happened to her. Along the way to the town, Reuben expressed that he was deeply troubled by the little kerfuffle where Freja wanted an extra 50 gold pieces of the loot for her healing. She ended up putting it back after the rest of us (some more angrily than others) told her that's not how things work around here.
Reuben thought that not having strict gold-dividing rules was a serious flaw we had, even though Freja wasn't here anymore. So, I, with my handy knowledge of laws and legalities, drafted a simple, basic, and loophole-proof charter for how we'd divide the gold value of our loot. I doubted it would actually mean too much, but perhaps those who aren't so used to handling money do need some guidance.
We all agreed it looked good. I admit to being prideful at their approval of my work. This, however, slowed down our progress.
After I pull out another map, it is abundantly clear we can't make it all the way to town in one night, unless we force marched, at which point, if we encounter the mercenaries, we would be tired, and unable to fend them off for certain. I do notice that there are other farm houses a good 20 or 30 miles from us that's a decent distance from the town. So far, the farmers we've encountered have been courteous enough. We could get a safe rest without risk of someone seeing us out in these plains.
During journey, Blunder begins spilling the beans on his family being murdered while he was asleep. He looked for 15 years, and couldn't find the people who did the deed. I could sympathize...to a degree. I caused the death of my very own mother, the queen. I hold my luck ring, which she gave me before her death, close to my heart but don't say anything.
We didn't make it to the nearest farmlands, though it was getting dark. Noki proposed the idea to simply not use our tents so our profile would be lowered. I still feel exposed compared to the potential of some kind of housing. I just hope we don't get attacked.
The night was not restful though. In the middle of the night, I awoke to Reuben leaning over Blunder, saying something along the lines of "His face is melting." The sky was overcast, so it was pitch black. I could see nothing. "Can you not heal him?" Reuben doesn't respond, he was so entranced in Blunder's face. Noki was briefly awakened, but soon went back to sleep.
Reuben said Blunder's hair turned into a bird, and flew into the air. I still could see nothing. I knew it was a bad idea to not make it to the farm houses. He's been afflicted by a magical poison. Who would be next? I hide in the brushes nearby; they can apparently see much more than I did. None too much later, it would appear that Blunder cast some sort of magic whilst I was watching for a follow-up attack. They eventually settled down and went to bed. I stay in the brush to make sure I wasn't attacked, but eventually found sleep again.
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Re: Journal Entries from my D&D campaignSpoiler: Anne's Journal (continued)
Spoiler: Entry 5: The question
I awake to at least a good hour or two of picking twigs out of my suit while we walked. Turns out Blunder's hair really did turn into a talking Raven. Says it's his family...they share a semblance, don't you think? Yeah, that aside, we finally made it to the town again - the town of Junis Amil, as one of the goblins said. It's odd of me to not try to remember the name of the towns I go to, but everyone has their off days...especially when mercenaries try to kill you.
Fredrick heads for the temple almost immediately. Well, I guess he didn't want our protection now that he's got his censor. Fortunately enough, when we eventually went to the temple, my fear for him was unfounded. He made it to the temple safely, and returned to censor to the church of St. Cutberth...and informed the others of us. I disliked that, but I kept quiet about it.
Back to us entering town: "OK, I and Blunder will go into the markets to help guard Geedro as he buys his supplies. Reuben, you said you could perhaps pick Fun's son from a crowd if you were holding the orb. Noki, you go with Reuben to a crowded portion of the city. While holding that orb, Reuben is quite vulnerable." The rest of the group must have been as lost for ideas for what to do next as I was, because there was little fuss when everyone agreed to do this.
One of the first things the goblin did was pay some ruffians to guard him, and buy a couple carts to move the new stuff he'd be buying. We keep around him for a while regardless due to me not trusting those ruffians while he still had most of his gold on him. As soon as the goblin filled up 2 carts though, I felt it was good enough to let them be. That had to be a large portion of the gold we gave them, and building supplies aren't the most valuable of theft targets.
We head off to the town square to find Noki and Reuben to see how they fared. We walked in on Reuben and Noki carrying the captain of that gang that attacked us to a city guard. I was stunned there as Red nearly took complete control. It took several seconds to convince Red to not draw the weapon, and even longer to let me have control again. "He is burnt to a crisp, and there's a guard right there. It would be a terrible idea to attack." Red wanted blood. So did I, admittedly, but I knew there was a place and time for that. Even after he relinquished control, he sparked and tingled beneath my skin, waiting for the slightest sign of aggression.
When my ordeal was done, I noticed Blunder had continued without me to them. How completely insensitive! Regardless, I hurry on up. The guard was about to take the captain into custody when Noki said "Yeah, uh, I think he left his coin pouch on the ground back there. Someone should go get it before his gold is taken." Or something to that effect. It doesn't sound as bad in writing, but I wasn't even aware of the situation, and I had a good idea she took his money.
I am overcome by an absolute sense of exasperation. I drop to the ground half crying, half laughing. I knew she wasn't a good talker, but darn it, I thought she had better sense than that. Luckily, I was far enough away that no one really noticed. Red noticed Blunder pick up pace and try to save the conversation by patting Noki on the head, and saying something. Exactly what is beyond me. I couldn't really pay attention myself.
Well, whatever Blunder said was apparently not good enough. The guard asked the group of the 3 of them to come along. This was where my years in the thieves guild helped me. I shadow them, making sure to blend into the crowd as best I could. Oddly enough, the crowds got thicker and thicker as we made it closer to the guard station. It was uncomfortable. Why were they gathering around us? We looked to the crowds, but it definitely didn't seem as though they were intentionally following or shadowing us, even to me. They seemed like they were just going about their own business. But this wasn't the center of activity. It shouldn't be this crowded. We were at the guard station, and the crowd was bursting at the seams.
Finally, Reuben took in a deep breath, and I could clearly feel the familiar spark of his magic. He spoke of the atrocities this captain comitted. Everyone in the crowd instantly turned towards the guard and Reuben. They too, every single one of them were throwing out examples of how this man wronged them, or someone they knew. It was a cacophony of support for the imprisonment of the captain. It seemed even the guard was affected by such mass magic. The guard looked to the captain accusingly, and said "That's good enough. I'll take it from here."
Reuben, Noki and Blunder make it out of the crowd which soon disperses. I meet up with them, and Reuben suggests we go to the temple of St. Cuthburt. This wasn't the one with the orc. As they reminded me, that was the temple of Heironeous. It appears the nearly blind guess that Fun's son, Phaneous Illutirk, was in this town payed off, and Reuben found him. Funnily enough, Phaneous worships at the same temple as Fredrick.
I was quite uncomfortable in the temple, and let Reuben do the talking. Even though I knew I was beyond the reach of my kingdom, and I was taught the truth of the religion, I learned for nearly two decades that worshipping, or even acknowledging, anything other than The True Goddess would result in my getting burned on the stake. It's not something easily shaken off.
Reuben asks for a room for us to speak with privacy. He then began detailing our adventures in Fun's Tomb, and when he was finished, he didn't seem like he was going to stop talking. I didn't think we could trust this Phaneous, but I decided to leave the question of trust to Reuben this time. Thus, I didn't oppose telling him - in fact, I helped explain the truth so Phaneous would understand.
But, from that point, we were, again, lost as to what to do. We now have a priest who knows about us, and related to Fun, but... Well, we gave Phaneous the orb that contained Fun's memories while we sat in the room, trying to figure something out. One of the memories we saw in the orb had shown that the Elf we saw when we first came to this world had shown Fun the cave that would be his tomb (though Fun knew not of it's future purpose of being his tomb). The elf could also turn into a fairy dragon of sorts.
"The Elves are never far away,
They flitter around unseen.
They sneak away the froward child,
They dance among the forest green."
Someone rattles off in thought. Blunder proposed: "Perhaps if we look through the forest green, we can find this elf. Or heck, we could be bad children, and perhaps we'll be sneaked away." This idea was met, jokingly, by Noki saying, "Yes, the others of the shades probably spent their two weeks going crazy dancing in the forest, when the elf decides to summon more of us."
Blunder then suggests: "Well, what if we joined into a shade again, we could banish the shade, then return Lacina, and then just 'wake up' and return to this world again." Well, we didn't have the slightest clue about becoming a shade, and no one even thinks the shades are a real thing. It's doubtful we could find out how to do it. Especially if we do actually have a two week window to do this, as Noki, perhaps unknowingly, suggested. Though there were instances of other shades like us here, they didn't actively help to protect this world with us, at least not for long. The thought that we would split like Loys' party if we didn't complete what we're suppose to do was terrifying - much more so than any demon.
Noki then comes up with the idea of searching through Fun's memories to see why Lacina wasn't struggling when she was being banished. Turns out that she willingly let herself be banished, as penance for someone having used her presumably, to summon demons. I wondered why we only just saw the demon, when we first searched for Lacina in the memory orb. Perhaps the orb just showed the memory of her demon destroying Fun's village because it was the strongest memory, and such a general request for information on Lacina wouldn't pierce it. Well, doesn't matter now. Reuben is now dead set on the banishing, and returning at least Lacina.
That definitely seemed like the only direction we have to go at this point. "But who do we banish?" I ask. We do have an amulet which would return one person, supposedly, but Reuben said that it wasn't magical. How would it bring us back? As expected, the selfless Reuben said he'd go. Then Blunder began to debate that he should go. Noki cut into the argument, "Why does it have to be one of us? If they are going to be trapped, why not find a deathly ill person to do this?" It was a reasonable idea. But, what if they can't be trusted to not simply waste the banishment by coming back themselves, instead of with Lacina? Blunder then suggests his bird would go. Isn't that creature basically manifested magic? This banishment realm has no magic. What would happen to it?
We were at a standstill. "OK. We know we are going to do the banishment. We can figure out who we are banishing as we go to the shrine. We need to see if we can't get Phaneous to assist us, and restock. We got new gold in a world of magic, there's bound to be some useful stuff."
Though I liked the looks of the runed sword, It wasn't all that great...and I needed money to fund this magic smith's research into this cool idea I gave him. He has quite the reputation, and even had entries of himself in books. If that doesn't speak for his skill, and how this could be a great boon, I don't know what is. Besides, if it works out as I plan, it will be much more beautiful than a simple sword with writing on it. I think I still owe Noki the next item she wants.
Spoiler: Chapter 2
Spoiler: Entry 6 The Encounter
I write this in my tent after my humiliating defeat, again. This is twice in a row that I have not only failed to help my friends, but also damned near got myself killed. I at least retain my memory, and wasn't driven to madness. I suppose it's best to start where I left off though.
We managed to convince Fun's son to banish one of us - the person of which was going to be decided on our way there. I bought some basic supplies. I also visited the library to investigate one of the craftsmen, and he was obviously good and inventive. I couldn't find Loys, but I guess he had his own mission. I helped Noki to get her a new chain shirt. For all my flaws, I could still haggle. She ended up paying about 200 less gold than she was about to, if I hadn't passed by when I did. She even got to try it on before buying it to make sure it fit well. When we met up to leave, Blunder had a mule toting a cart loaded up with spices and herbs.
Our conversations on our way to the shrine were long, and the goblin that was following Reuben was writing most of it down. However, while discussing who'd go, Blunder tried to explain that he was not as useful as Reuben, and didn't have as much to live for. I hate those who don't value their own life. To not value your life is to spit on those who came before, and worked so hard to bring you into being. How could the sole survivor of a slaughtered clan do this? Banishing either Reuben or Blunder had about even loss of value, but this set me off. I give Reuben my mother's luck ring and my blessing for the banishment. He was to give it back to me when he came back to this world. If I asked the goblin cohort Reuben now has for his writings, I could probably know what exactly was said, but I don't feel like speaking to others.
I noticed Noki was getting antsy, and realized she hadn't gotten a good fist fight yet. She obviously was itching for an unarmed duel, as she explained was her culture, a while ago. I was going to scratch this itch for her. "Ashante" or whatever, was the official declaring of this duel. I was trying my best to avoid her attacks, but she was obviously much more skilled in combat, and was little more than playing with me. 'Twas for the best to get her focused and relaxed for whatever happens during the banishment, I guess. I treat my bruises with a couple herbs, but they still sting. She was damned near unharmed, though.
Well, regardless, we find the site at which we found ourselves teleported to this world most recently. We took shelter here while it hailed outside our tents. It was probably going to be best to do this in the morning after everyone was fully rested, rather than while we were still tired, anyway. During Blunder's watch, something happened - a ball of weeds was rolling towards the camp, and we found out that it was some kind of fairy. It sang a soft, beckoning song. This screamed of tales of monsters that lead men to their deaths. Sirens, elves, faeries. Regardless, they were insistent on following it, so Noki and I follow it while Blunder helped Reuben don his armor.
This ball of weeds led us to a tree. From this tree, a woman stepped out. She actually stepped out without there being a hole in the tree. It just kind of rippled out as she passed through it, like water. She told us to be quiet, and led us into an alcove to wait for our friends to follow. She was the guardian of the oak, she said. She tells us all that there are weird creatures, unnatural creatures, in the shrine, and that they weren't there yesterday.
Blunder says he can send his raven to scout it, and see exactly what was there. It was still night out, and the raven was black as night, save for the slightest color in it's eyes. It seemed a safe bet. And, it would appear that not only could the raven talk, but that Blunder could see directly what was being seen by his raven. He detailed the creatures as though he were looking at them himself. There we 3 blobs of fat, and then a blood-red creature with a bladed beard. "They are demons." Reuben told us. "I will need to pray for my spells; give me an hour."
Demons...could someone be wanting to stop this banishment? Who? More importantly, why? We knew not the answers, but we knew we had to destroy them if we were going to be able to do this banishment. We wait an hour for Reuben to finish his prayers, and it was now light out. We tell the goblins who accompanied us to stay at the camp until either we come back, or until midday, in case this takes too long.
Outside of the shrine, I began scaling the wall to get a height advantage over the battlefield, but Reuben said he was going to cast spells on us. He blessed my ammunition, which sparked visibly. He then turned his attention to the rest of the group, and I climb halfway up, and wait for the all clear. This wall was clearly decayed from 15 years of being abandoned, so it was fairly easy to climb - not so easy to stand on top of. I kept my profile low on the wall to keep from being seen. These demons were very intent on the breaks in the wall that served as entrances to this shrine. Noki then peaks in, and as soon as she does, every demon inside stirs like a hornet's nest had just been kicked. In fact, another of those blood-red bearded demons popped out of nowhere right in front of Noki, and tried to take a stab at her with it's devilish glaive. Noki just dodged back quick enough for Reuben's magic circle of protection to redirect the hit, and make it strike the wall instead.
Everyone stepped into action at the unexpected aggression. I get my legs underneath me, but the decayed wall shifts and I had to catch myself before I could do anything else. Reuben called a prayer to Thor, and thunder roared - my skin tingled with a sparkling sensation. The demons seemed affected as well, but in a less positive way. Noki then rolled past the beard demon as it was still recovering from hitting the wall, slashing it with her dagger, Kaia, as she came up. As the demon turned toward Noki, Blunder took the opportunity to move into position behind the Beard demon, and visibly tried to cast magic fire, but all that came out were weak embers, of which both the demon and blob of fat laughed at.
Everyone was blocking my shot at the beard demon, but nothing seemed to have noticed me yet, despite me standing fully upright on the wall. I guess even demons fall prey to people's weakness of never looking up. In a well placed shot, the iron ball flew toward the blob of fat, crackling with the holy energies of Thor. The head flies off - disgusting. I almost feel pride at my vanquishing a demon in one hit...but the other blobs of flesh had been moving in at the same time, and when they came close to my friends, one basically fell onto Noki's short spear and dispersed, while the last remaining blob got cut while Blunder was moving back to avoid a blow from the beard demon's glaive...and dispersed. Well, I definitely gave away my position to them, and they are paying attention now. I won't get as good a shot now. I wasted my positioning on such a pathetic demon.
I had let out a sigh, but at least was assured that the other two would be just as easily felled. But, Blunder was impaired by the blob, and a something like a mix of breaking glass and thunder sounded as the original beard demon (the one that didn't suddenly appear in front of Noki) broke through Reuben's magic circle, and made a direct hit on Blunder with it's glaive. The wounds bled a sickly green miasma as well as his blood. The cuts were deep. Noki, on the other hand had focused her entire attention on the one that appeared in front of her. She beat it back constantly, parrying it's thrusts with her own spear, and once it had tumbled on one of the steps of the shrine, she pulled her dagger, and grabbed it by the neck, and started hacking away at it's face. She was consuming that thing's entire attention throughout the fight.
I felt the initial spark of Reuben's magic, but then his magic disappeared. It was...unsettling. It left a hole where I had come to expect Reuben's magic to be. I ran back to get some distance, careful of the crumbling bricks that were covered in the hail from last night. "Throw some dirt in it's eyes! They can't hit you if they can't see!" I remember yelling. I had either gone too far, or he simply couldn't hear the words through the pain of the sickly poison. Regardless, I try to keep an assault of these blessed projectiles, but each time I did, it'd step back just slightly - enough to avoid the attack. It avoided stepping near them, but I couldn't land a good shot. Damned bugger was able to be paying me too much attention while at the same time keeping Blunder at bay.
Occasionally, Blunder would break through this demon's defense, and make a few cuts with his dagger, then it'd back away to keep it's glaive between it and Blunder. Blunder's blood ran as he did, but he fought with the tenacity of a bull. Again, and again, Reuben's spells failed, being foiled by whatever dark enchantment was on those glaives. The half-lived spells bit through me like spears in and of themselves. "I need to get in there and stop the demon from moving." I declared to Red. "That is a horribly stupid idea. Do you not see what's going on?" He retorted. "Yes, I see perfectly fine. The demon is using the glaive's reach to it's advantage, and keeps moving back to leave them exposed! Just control my legs while I try and launch my last ball." Reluctantly, he agreed to comply and jump off the wall. I used the momentum of the jump and the fall to aid in making the shot powerful, but yet again, it avoids it. I really wish I hadn't sold that sword now. Regardless, I drop my iron breaker, and pull one of the blessed arrows I had in my climber's quiver, and charged at the Beard Demon that was fighting Blunder.
Then Reuben's magic completed at last. Blunder's wounds stopped bleeding, and the miasma cleared. "By Thor's holy might, you will be purged!" Reuben declared through frustration-glazed eyes. From his hammer shot a beam of pure, searing light at the demon Noki had been fighting. The thing...screamed...as the light entered its body. It was an earsplitting shriek. The light then burst out through the knife and spear holes it had from fighting Noki.
"Wait for me to get into position, then we strike from both sides!" I call to Blunder as I approached. His head was cleared, it would seem, as he did wait for the moment that the demon turned to face me, but it wasn't enough. I had tried to dive, and take out it's legs, but in the split moment of my attack, the beard demon plunged it's glaive into the ground and clawed upwards on my face. I could feel The Evil itself seeping through my veins. I couldn't move as the thing turned its entire attention onto me, seemingly passing through my armored suit, and flaying the flesh from my back. Red took complete control, and had been...corrupted, or driven mad by the presence of The Evil. He turned over, holy arrow still in hand, and aimed right for the beard demon's eye. It didn't matter. As Red held up the arrow to strike, the demon's beard encased his arm, and flayed the it to the bone. I could no longer sense anything. Red took a more complete control than I could have even imagined.
The next thing I could remember was being in the middle of stabbing the dead bearded devil's eyes out with the arrow. It took many minutes to get Red to stop. I ran to my tent in absolute shame. How could I be so easily felled when everyone else had fought so hard? I couldn't do anything. I was so useless when everyone needed me the most! I don't have the holy ferver of Reuben, the new magic of Blunder, or even a fraction of the combat skill that Noki has.
When I finally had my senses back, I had taken stock, and found my arm was weak, but almost uninjured. Red had calmed down, but he changed. He is no longer as cool and collected as he once was. And most worrying of all, I still feel The Evil's corruption. Now that I have finally finished the journal - the only thing I seem to be useful for, I think I'm just going to retire to my bedroll for the day. I'm going to find a way to not be such a detriment to everyone. I swear it!
Spoiler: Entry 7: The Disease
My other entries from this week seemed to have vanished. I guess I'll briefly go over what happened during the missing days as well. We freed Lasina, who was apparently a citizen of my...former kingdom, and practiced witchcraft with another witch. They were lucky to not have been caught. Of course, having seen what magic could do, perhaps it was a bit more than luck. We still have no idea why demons guarded the shrine from us. Perhaps her last master, Gustavio, held a grudge for her seeking redemption, but that's all we've got so far. I probably should have asked when we met with the fairy dragon, Laomedon, today. However, unless it was him who sent them, it would seem as though he wouldn't have known either way.
The banishment was...odd. Reuben just disappeared as Lasina had. He said it was like walking in a painting. He talked with Lasina for a long while, and gave the amulet to her. Nothing happened immediately. But as the two talked, the my mother's ring had started to burn with extreme intensity. The amulet did as well, as Lasina claimed. They both had come back to this reality. Around Reuben's finger, the ring had shrunken so small it couldn't be gotten off, and the finger was dead flesh. Noki cut the finger off with Kaia, her dagger, where upon my ring regrew to normal size. I thanked my mother for having looked out for Reuben.
Blunder says I was getting agitated on our trip back, but I didn't notice it, myself. I guess it does make sense, as it led to a confrontation with Reuben when I asked Noki to investigate the church of Heironeous. All the evidence just pointed to them. I had come up with the perfect answer to convince Reuben that they needed to be looked into, and we wouldn't even ruin their name unless the connection was made abundantly clear. At the end of my speech, he just walked away. No rebuttal in their defense, nor acknowledgement of my deductions. If it had been any other situation, I'd have taken that as though I've won but I just feel really bad about it.
Well, regardless, from what Laomedon (the magical elf) just said, it would seem as though we can well ignore these Heironeous practitioners, as the leader of the mercenaries, Hab Boterel, as Laomedon said his name was, was apparently part of Gustavio's plan to enslave the races to believe in magic. How the hell that'd work, I have no idea, but if it involves the bastard who had the demons who scarred my face, I'm more than OK being against it.
We were then nearing the gates of Junis Amil on Friday, when suddenly, the scratch on my face burst, and caused my skin to boil while the rest of my body was drained of heat. I collapsed in infernal pain. I lacked even the strength to scream. Thankfully though, Reuben and Phaneous had reacted quickly enough, despite it feeling like an eternity. They managed to magically cure whatever happened, but the damage was done. I had to be essentially carried all the way to town. The scar expanded, and was much more ragged than it was before.
But, what's worse was that Red was...gone. His voice was gradually able to reach me, as the days since then dragged on, but it was a loneliness surpassed only by the day when I returned to my world without Rueben, Noki, Blunder, or the dozens of others who made up the "shades" that were us. Red says it felt like he was ripped out of my body, and thrown into a cold pool. I simply couldn't sleep well - I had to get out and about. Thankfully by Saturday, I was capable of doing this under my own power, and a couple walking sticks Phaneous loaned me.
I floated around from stall to stall in the shopping district, selling bits and pieces of this treasure Lasina gave us, in exchange for "favors" from some, but mostly to try and make some contacts here and there. Surprisingly, I didn't find too much underworld activity despite the general activity of this town. But there were still the couple of shady dealers, who would prove to be helpful. I had found this human magical armorer, Reginald. My suit felt extremely heavy, as though it had absorbed a load of water, so it was obvious I wouldn't be able to use it much, if at all, in my current state. So, I asked Reginald if he could make my armor magically silent.
What was particularly interesting during all this carousing was that there was an explosion from the jails, while we were gone. Reuben insisted on waiting until Monday before investigating. I was exhausted by this point, so I didn't argue much. Apparently, Hab, had been broken out by someone with some serious magic. Of course, in this world, that can be anyone. The weapon of destruction that caused this explosion...a dried pea. It still has enough magical power to create a 10 inch crater in the ground when thrown. After an incident with a merchant's cart being blasted by it, we decided to wrap it in a cloth, and keep it in a small, glass vial.
So then, Tuesday, we, with Lasina's help managed to contact Laomedon. We called out Laomedon's name while in the fairy portal behind St. Cuthbert's temple and were teleported to a realm of blackness, wherein he materialized. He answered many questions, including the reason why we had a different number of years between the last summoning as shades, and this summoning - mostly that we just perceived the time differently. It made about as much sense as magic does. Laomedon was much more forthcoming with answers than I expected from a creature that claimed to be more powerful. I guess their race's dependence on other races' belief in magic would give them some humility.
So, we must somehow convince the other worlds to believe in magic. We would do this by opening the gates through the shrines using some key...and then doing something. He also mentioned we need to get this key from Hab, who had escaped - quite predictably. This is almost like a storybook I read before. Yet, we had virtually no clues as to where he went, and not even Laomedon, powerful as his magics may be, knew where he was. This constant lack of knowing what to do is getting quite on my nerves. I was hopefully able to keep my frustrations from his notice, until we exited the realm we used to speak with him.
Luckily, Blunder and Reuben had the idea of using Blunder's magic to disguise himself as someone to ask questions through my contacts so that no one knows it's us who's looking for Hab. But, I'd assume if he knew someone was looking for him, it would be kind of obvious, but it at least proved to give us some kind of lead. Roughly 48 miles to the South West, people who fit the description of those who worked with Hab, were transporting food. I really could care less about how this guy knew, but Blunder found it out, and payed for his answer. I am predicting this is a situation similar to our map trick we played on Hab. If we're lucky though, it's a legitimate lead.
Spoiler: Entry 8: Shaded Eyes, Jaded Mind
So, it was decided. We were going to chase down Hab to his bandit camp. How we were going to do that without alerting Hab that we were coming was going to be a bit of a hassle. My original idea involved putting Reuben in the cart under the spices, as the armor was going to be the least easily disguised thing we had, and he didn't like the idea of walking without his armor. We'd pose as people who were making a supply run for these bandits.
As such, I instructed Blunder to buy a wagon for his donkey while his disguise spell lasted, since we decided we didn't want Hab having any warning that we specifically were looking for him (I think he knows because of that elf, but that's aside the point). He claimed that it would cost 50 gold. My funds were running low, and that's a deal more expensive than I expected, but if it meant our entire group could stay together, and get past any road patrols in relative peace, it is worth it. While he was purchasing stuff from the merchants to fill the wagon, and put together disguises for us, I went to the library.
I had heard there was a book of magical materials there from the Altzibar, and my curiosity got the better of me. It was packed full of really interesting things like shadow silk, adamantine, and death lotus, just to name a few of them. It cost more than three times as much as my most expensive story book, though, and I didn't have enough. I considered stealing it, but considering I just asked to buy it, if it went missing, I probably would be the first suspect, and I expect to be in this town a few more times, and that's not even considering magic. Magic makes things so complicated. We'll just have to hope we can obtain the bandits' ill-gained wealth on our way to get Hab.
After a couple hours or so, the group met at one of the town gates with disguises and the wagon. But, before we even left, the group decided that, instead of looking like the bandits doing a supply run, we would look like regular peddlers, who would be looking to trade with them. It kind of ruined my plans for our cover story, but they made some good points. The bandits might very well know all their members at least well enough to know when someone wasn't one of them, and the disguise would lead them to attack us instead of just talking - completely counter to the original idea of the disguise.
So, instead, Reuben, with a paint job over his armor, would be my guard while I was a peddler. Noki would scout ahead of us. Blunder thought the idea of someone hiding under the tarp of the wagon to pop out was a good idea, and said he should hide under it instead. It didn't matter too much I supposed, and it would seem abnormal to have 3 people with so few trading supplies as part of the same trade group. And off we went, with a plan finally in place.
Along the way, I thought about how the guard described Hab in the days before he broke out. It was more than obvious that Hab was under some kind of duress. Though it rarely helped those who went to court, it did generate a sympathetic opinion from spectators. If it did so with the rest of the group, and we killed Hab, then this could cause a catastrophic rift between us. I had to avoid that at all costs. Thusly, I asked, "What do we do with Hab when we catch him?" Blunder seemed oddly at ease with letting him off easy, and bringing him back to the jail, saying he didn't even do much to us....you know, besides trying to kill us...on more than one occasion. But, he didn't in the end. Odd logic, but good thing I asked. Reuben, on the other hand said we don't have the authority to kill him, and should take him back as well. Did we have authority to do anything we do? I somewhat doubt it. Noki on the other hand simply asked why we shouldn't kill him for what he's done. I raised my arm to the rib that was broken in Hab's assault on us in the tavern. I mostly agreed with Noki, but I felt it better that we avoid killing him, as it was likely the safest thing for our continued cooperation. I'm not sure if Noki agreed, but I'm hoping for the best.
Nothing too eventful happened until we encountered the guard post on the road. It was the "Red Bandits" as Blunder called them because of the red bandannas they all wore. It seemed the plan worked somewhat. One of the bandits hailed us from a rock. I responded in kind, being as friendly as possible. The bandit had finely made equipment. Impressive. I explained that I was but a simple merchant who's investment in spices went south, but a friend informed me that one of his buyers was this way, and would get rid of my spare spices that I couldn't sell. He called an archer out from the woods to escort us at first. However, after going back to their little camp off to the side of the road, they asked how much I was selling it all for.
Damn! We didn't have much in the way of actual goods. 25 gold would be appropriate for what we had, given my role was as a desperate salesman. But, if we sold everything, we wouldn't have a viable reason to keep going. What are we going to do? "I do have a pound of eating gold. You guys are so kind for buying my stuff, I'll even sell this to you, if you've got enough for it." They offered a small bag of gems, easily worth twice as much as the gold. Well, I was in no way going to turn this down, but by Goddess, this plan backfired so hard. We are going to need to fight our way out of this. "OK then, come around the back, I'll help you unload. Just hold out your arms and I'll give you the goods." I knock on the wagon as I get off to help, signalling Blunder that things have gone South. The Red Bandits seemed to quite appreciate the help, and that they were getting this stuff. If they hadn't been Red Bandits, this would have gone so much better for them.
I load a couple pounds of flour into their arms, when suddenly I hear a whistle I am all too familiar with. An arrow was flying at us. "We're under attack!" I yell as I roll on the ground while Red pulls our iron breaker from under my disguise. I instantly spot the culprit, an archer in the trees - another Red Bandit. He must have seen through us, but how? I then follow where he was aiming. The bastard hit, and pierced Reuben's armor! At the same time though, while I was looking back at our group, we saw Noki drop from a nearby tree, and onto the head of one of the Red Bandits that was holding the flour. She stabbed veraciously through his skull, and with each stab, frost grew over the wound. In the same instant that she began the evisceration, she was done, and the guy fell backwards, head shattering when it hit the ground.
I tried to pull myself from the sight I've just seen, and instead aim at the guy who harmed Reuben. We weren't allowed to kill them. We'll just target his arm and bow. When I went to fire, though, darkness clouded my vision. I...couldn't see much after that. The guy in the tree fell, as I could see the vague outline as he fell. I don't know what happened. By the time my vision had recovered, Noki was already stripping the bodies. I feared Reuben and Blunder would have protested as all the Red Bandits were actually dead. Luckily they didn't, though.
With Red's help, I was able to keep down the sickening reaction this scene of death might have caused otherwise, wispy as Red's presence still is. We found an extra set of gear in their small camp; everything was finely crafted. Well, at least we have something to stuff the wagon with, but I don't think the disguise will work now. I put on my Apollonian Spider Silk again. It was so much more comfortable than the coarse linen that Blunder made the disguises out of.
The group let Noki scout the encampment ahead, while we hide the bodies, and the wagon. It was getting to be dark out. Blunder's crow family thing, Crackny, went with Noki so she could find her way to us when she was done. After we'd finished hiding the wagon, we were still waiting for Noki to return. So, I had to test to make sure my eyes weren't failing me. I load my iron breaker, and take aim at a tree branch about 60 ft from my position. Direct hit. No darkness. I try again, and again, though making sure no one saw or heard us between shots. My explanation to the rest of the group was that I was simply practicing my aim. It was nearly dusk. Noki still wasn't back, and I was quite worried, but I fire at another branch. There it is! The darkness overtook my eyes. Neither I nor Red could see what was causing it though, so we sat patiently while it faded.
Then we noticed something. We were facing in the direction of our shadow. Strange thing was though, the shadow wasn't in the opposite direction of the sun. I bend down, and instead of rocky ground, we feel like I was stroking a fine, velvety silk, even more so than my spider silk. Red had the same idea as I. We fire again in the direction of our odd shadow. Again, darkness overcomes my eyes, though less intense this time. The outlines of objects around me were more well-defined. Satisfied with solving our mystery, I lie down to sleep. Noki still wasn't back, but she's strong, and wouldn't get caught. Anyway, if something did happen, Crackny's connection with Blunder would tell him.
The next day comes after various nightmares of us running from a wave of darkness. When at last, the shadows had me in their embrace, the morning had come, and awakened me. It didn't feel...bad, just shocking. Regardless, I move the issue from my mind, and look for Noki. She was in the tree, sleeping peacefully. How nice. Everyone was still asleep, so we take inventory, and try to clean up the damage to the leather that the Red Bandits had on. Luckily, because of Noki's frost magic in her knife, there wasn't actually all that much blood on them, save for one - apparently from the one that dropped from the tree, based on the blood on the back. It was a bit taxing to get that out. Still, stitching the holes together would improve how much we could sell these for. They are already finely crafted after all.
Soon, everyone awoke, and Noki explained the situation, including the fact that the camp is a castle. It apparently only had one patrol around it at night. They felt safe, I suppose. However, she saw no real openings, save for the main entrance, and we kind of abandoned the idea of bluffing our way through. It was dark though. So, this time, I went with Noki to help reduce the time it takes to scout this out. My shadow seemed to have gained some kind of substance compared to yesterday, as I nearly tripped over it while helping Noki. Thankfully, though, it wasn't too obvious, and Noki didn't notice the cause. I'm going to investigate what I can do about this strange shadow when I get the chance.
The camp definitely knew about the 3 people we killed back there, based on the frantic activity on the castle. From a good vantage point through my scope, I saw that on one of the towers in the center of the castle, they had what appeared to be a drawn-on version of a fairy portal. That's worrying. I even asked if I should try and take a shot at it to mess with the drawing. Noki decided against it. Probably for the best, as alerting them that someone was actively attacking was probably the worst thing we could do if we wanted to sneak in.
Noki and I saw a cave that could lead underneath the castle. It seemed quite like a trap, but considering we had no other true option, other than taking the chance with pulling on some vines to send one of the towers crashing, or just busting through a wall, we decided to go with it. We shall wait until dusk-fall to strike.
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Re: Journal Entries from my D&D campaignSpoiler: Anne's Journal Part 3
Spoiler: Chapter 2 (continued)
Spoiler: Red Hearing (part 1)
It was decided that we'd go at the break of dusk, when it would be dark enough for us to walk from the tree line to the cave system. During the interim time, however, Red was getting anxious. So annoyingly so that I had to walk it off - away from the group no less! I told them I'd be careful, and they gave me space to myself, thankfully. Apparently, this was because of this unusual shadow, which had become more material throughout the time I spent scouting with Noki. Due to Red's insistence, we began trying to figure this shadow out, or at least some method of actually using it, while keeping an eye on the sun to make sure I'm not late for the attempt through the caves we hoped were an entrance to the keep.
Unfortunately, not much was gleamed from this session. Later during this testing, the shadow could be picked up, and dripped between our fingers like a thick mixture of flour and water, but as the sun set, it lost this ability. Red was clearly displeased, complaining more than he'd ever done before for the whole of the venture into the keep. It would seem as though this shadow isn't magic, evil, or undead, or else Reuben would have pinged it. But if it isn't magic, what could it be? How frustrating.
Regardless, dusk came and we tried to traverse through to the cave. However, it was a particularly -- no -- unnaturally dark night. The stars and moon shone not their light. Even the "Border Vision" as I am calling it would only allow me to see within 10 feet of myself. Noki and Blunder appeared unaffected by it, Reuben seemed similarly afflicted as I. Was it because we came from the human world? We couldn't light a torch, as doing so in such absolute darkness would easily reveal us. Similarly, to keep Reuben's armor from making an immaculate amount of noise, we used the rod of silence that Altzibar created. Thusly, we had to quickly come up with couple of symbols for use in this area of no noise so we could still communicate, particularly to turn off the rod so we could talk.
With no small effort, guided by Noki and Blunder, the group made it to the cave system, wherein we found an underwater entrance which led to a well in the keep. Despite my - and Red's - expectations, there were no hostiles within the well's cave system. Did they simply not understand where their water was coming from? It screamed "traps", but none ever showed up. Hell, when we made our way through the keep, it was obvious they didn't even know we were there...until Blunder opens his mouth to speak with guards, but apparently 600 gold is enough to keep these guards from raising alarm. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
When we stepped out of the well, we could see but one building - an eatery of some sort - as it was brightly lit internally, but even then, that light came to an almost abrupt stop at about 20 feet from this building. Thankfully, though, thanks to Noki and Blunder's unhindered vision, the group was able to get a decent initial scout of the area. After we helped to form a plan with the group, Noki and Blunder ran off to find Hab - neither being successful.
We, and Reuben, however, had to sit back near the well, as we couldn't see far enough to be useful. And as I sat with Red, the confusion of the shadow and this darkness, as well as the frustration of being so useless gnawed at my mind. Reuben tried talking with me after Blunder returned once, but I was constantly feeling distracted, thanks in no small part to Red's new-found impatience showing it's face. "Yes, we needed them to find the place where the captain specially sleeps, but they are already doing that." Then I remembered I didn't actually bring it to the forefront of their minds that they should look for the tower with the fairy portal painted on it. And this is when the previously specified failure of Blunder came up, and he returned to us with Noki, having abandoned his disguise. Thankfully, it seemed as though this failure didn't cause enough trouble to actually hinder us though.
When the group met after their failure, I mentioned the tower with the fairy portal, and they say that they've seen it, and we could go. At long last. Red leaps at the opportunity to do something other than sit in a dark corner, contemplating the unknown, within the second. With the silence rod (which I'll now call the SR) in my right hand, and ironbreaker on the left as normal, we set off, following Blunder. Noki disappeared off in the distance as she went across a thinner wall above the cliff-side of the keep. Going up the tower, it would seem as though there is nothing but the fairy circle - no rooms, nothing. Well, Hab had to be nearby at least. The elf Gustavia is too central to Hab for him not to be.
Thankfully, after following Blunder along the walls, we found not only the keep's stock piles, but also Hab's residence. Then there were talks of using fires and explosions as distractions. Then just more arguments about getting the 3 people that were in this residence out alive. And then it just argued circularly without resolution! I normally could have handled this, but, for the first time all year, Red began taking control. "Screw it! Just knock this Hab out. Hell, we aren't even here for Hab, we are here for the key. Just burst in under the cover of the silence, he can't scream for help."
Reuben burst through the door, shoulder first, and got the rod within range of Hab, and right behind him, we poured into the room, and something triggered Red. He flew into a frenzy that I could barely control, drawing the sword we looted from one of the dead road patrols. Noki ran in before me, and got on the other side of the extra guy who was in the room Hab was in. Charging, Red ran him through, pushing him into Noki's daggers, and they eviscerate the guy before he even knew what was going on. Then there was Hab.
Red ran at him (with a guttural scream, had it not been for the SR) and spun as though was spinning the ironbreaker. Hab ducked, and the strike hit the wall, leaving a deep gash. Pushing us away, Hab swung his weapon at...someone. I couldn't tell who. Instantly recovering from Hab's attempt, Red charged to impale Hab. Hab moved to the right, and the sword stuck into the wall. Then, he blindsides Red with a strike to the shoulder, sending him flying with enough force to dislodge the sword, which struck Hab from behind.
For the first since I knew Red, he showed fear - not logical distaste for dangerous action, but true fear. Scrambling behind the stairs, Red fled, and released the control back to me, though his raging emotions were...distracting. My right shoulder was badly injured, but thankfully I was left handed. Taking my ironbreaker, I prepared for one last strike before I ran out the door.
Wrenching my sight back under my own control, I could see Blunder roll out of a pool of his blood, onto the far side of the wall, then felt a burst of Reuben's magic as my shoulder moved back into socket. Blunder pulled out a stick, and said words of power. From the stick shot magical, glowing bullets, one striking right on Hab's shoulder where my sword cut him before he threw me back. Battered and bruised, Hab jumped for Blunder, then a flash of white lightning enveloped my vision as Noki charged behind Hab, mid-jump. Unable to dodge, and with his wounds preventing him from blocking, he was easy pickings for such a deadly fighter as Noki. She drove Kaia into Hab's throat, squirting cubes of frozen blood for a brief moment before his spasms stopped. It was...sickening, but fascinating at the same time. I couldn't move my sight from the gruesome scene.
At last, I could wrest full control from Red. I turned off the SR. "Quick, the key." I spoke through faded breath. Hab didn't take much effort to hide it on his shelf, next to a copy of some Demons and Daggers book. Looking back, I saw Reuben just barely standing in his own armor, with his shield propped against the door to keep it closed. Reuben, short on breath, said there was a witch outside that drained him of his strength. "Could your magic not return your strength as it does mine?" He shook his head weakly.
Spoiler: Red Hearing (part 2)
Regardless, the group quickly cobbled a plan together, even through the cloud of emotions that ran through my head. Reuben, and I, guided by Blunder, would take the invisibility potions, and activate the silence rod, would walk out, holding each other's arms so we don't lose the others, and we'd all meet in the well. Noki would rush out and try to set the fire she supplies to slow them down, as well as distract them from our escape. (She was really obsessed with fire this night, for some reason.)
As we tried to escape, Noki ran into the stockpile. A flash of light, and a brief yelp from Noki forced me to turn around. She'd been hit, but kept running relentlessly for the cover of the stockpile. The raw anger that burned inside was only kept restrained by the fact that both my hands were attached to Blunder's and Reuben's. Good thing too, as - well, I'll explain it in the next paragraph. I don't want to break continuity again.
We moved around the back of Hab's residence and and then behind the tower with the false fairy portal on it, and back to the well. Still, the night was so unnaturally dark, I could scarcely see farther than 10 feet in front of me. Once there, Blunder gave the signal to turn off the rod of silence, and said he was going to go back to help Noki, and he left, I presumed. I turned on the SR again, and helped lower Reuben into the well, straining the little bucket and our silken rope. Not a minute later, and a guard, obviously just awoken, runs out to the area by the well, with a torch and a sword, but in night clothing. I took my time and aimed a shot square at the bony part of his back, testing my new spiked bullets.
As the ball was released from my ironbreaker, the magics of the invisibility potion was ripped from my form, like someone yanking off a giant sheet. Thankfully, my bullet flew true, and the spikes caused it to stick in the poor sap's back, and he fell without a word. Blood poured from the wound. Even more disgusting than usual, but again, this strange...attraction. I go up to get my ball and look for his gold pouch, trying my best to not look too much at the wound I caused.
At the very least we finally know that these potions are canceled by the iron breaker. Or perhaps it's that shadow thing again, but in the reverse? Revealing me to everyone, instead of hiding everyone from me? By the Goddess, this hurts my head. Well, we've not any more potions to test this with regardless of my speculations. Perhaps I'll ask Altzibar when we get back to town.
Regardless, afterwards, I see a flash of lightning in the distance - a strike from Thor himself upon the castle's wall. But I didn't feel Reuben use his magic. Then, the sound of a hundred crossbows firing in near unison. I was...incredibly worried. I couldn't stand here and just do anything, but, I couldn't see. What could I have done? After hitting the side of the well in frustration, I hopped in, hoping that we wouldn't need to know what's going on with them. We were to meet in the well after all. May as well get on down here since my invisibility's gone.
Finally, seemingly an eternity of night later, we heard Noki's signal whistle from the cave's entrance. That was our signal to get back to the wagon. We headed out, assisting Reuben, with his slowly-returning strength, as we walked back.
The night came and went as we retreated from the keep, ruby-like gem that's supposed to be a key, in hand. Even while the sun was on the rise, it was unnaturally dark. I reprimanded Red for his rash, and uncharacteristic behavior in Hab's residence. He remained disturbingly silent while we slept.
Spoiler: Entry 10: The Dream
The dreams of darkness and shadow flood through my head. It wasn't the warm comfort of a loving embrace as it was last night. I'm struggling. Drowning. The heat races away from my body like cockroaches exposed to candle light. Then an almost familiar voice rang in my ears, piercing through the shadows that threatened to choke my life force. My breath slows. I quit struggling. I fall deeper and deeper into my dark surroundings.
It's almost as though I'm floating on air now. Again, it feels comfortable, and life reenters my body. Still in darkness - still moving, but different. A figure in the darkness showed itself. A being of shadows against darkness, yet still visible. The strange voice again. It was coming from her. Amazed - entranced - I moved towards the figure. "Fear not my child. I will show you to control your powers soon." And she disappeared.
Seemingly not a moment later, I awake, cloaked in misty shadow-stuff. Where this shadow-stuff and other shadows met, my body became see-through, nearly invisible. Thankfully, it seemed Red was back to his old self, and kept us calm. He seemed much less agitated now. His voice has recovered since the encounter with the demons' disease.
I look at the shadows that flowed across my body like clouds across a windy sky. "Well, I don't think there's much hiding this from the group," I express aloud. Red agreed that it would make little sense to try and hide this now. After this entry, I shall inform them of what's been happening with my shadow.
Spoiler: Entry 11: Inherited Power
I explained to my party my suddenly obtained...powers? Essentially, these tiny shadows race out from the ring my mother gave me, covering my body, before linking with the shadows in this world, opening a very minor rift to the plain of shadow and effectively making me invisible, or at least that's what /she/ said happens, but it make enough sense. The experience was taxing the first couple times - disorienting too - but I think I can use it effectively now. My team didn't seem too shocked when I showed it off. We're even going to use it in the carnival. How exciting. Doubtful though I am of its potential for success, it sounds like fun. I've even found a couple of goblin musicians, with a flair for the dramatic, that can be used in the carnival.
We also met a messenger boy for Gustavia's army of 4,000 orcs. Good thing too. Everyone needed to be prepared for whatever attack they had planned in 3 weeks' time. It started off when Reuben started talking to this boy with a red bandanna about having been at the keep and how it was on fire. Not the best way to start off a conversation, but /she/ decided just then was the perfect time to actually wake up and start explaining things.
Oh right, who is /she/? Heck if I know; she wouldn't respond to that question, only that by my mother's lineage was she bound. That's foreboding, but the good news is that Red didn't actually do anything last night in the keep. The bad news: it was her. She says it wasn't intentional. I still don't like it. I had Red under control, and then she shows up and I... well, at least I didn't almost die this time, but I think that's not the point. Anyway, she did say that the ring was an amplifier for the connections of the in-between-worlds. My natural connection to the shadow realm and her being "bound", gave rise to this power.
Right, about the messenger boy. He was to tell the keep to be prepared for the army. We presume it's to assault the goblin world, as well as some other stuff of minor importance. So, essentially, they no longer have the key to the goblin world, so we hope. They also had their supplies burned down by Noki. As such, we suspect that they will try to raid Junis Amil once they find out. For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to just let this poor boy go. Not sure why. Thankfully, my companions thought it better to instead pay him off to go back home and forget about this army, and even the red bandannas. Considering their generous offer, it was truly no surprise that a commoner would have chosen such a bribe. Well, if nothing else, it delays their attack, and means they won't know to stock up for so many people, leading so some initial wear from lacking supplies, if we're lucky.
We also talked to Laomedon as well before retiring. He claims his magics don't work close to the shrine, and so won't be able to protect Junis Amil, but he'd think about helping to delay or otherwise harass the army that's on its way. Also, about the half-finished meal when we arrived in this world, there was no significance, so he said. It was an attempt to make us more comfortable? Well, at least that nagging question I had was answered.
There's none too much more exciting stuff that happened. It was thankfully a fairly quiet couple days while we prepared to go to the goblin world and simultaneously defend the town. Hopefully these adventurers who were passing through in hopes of treasure will answer our pleas for assistance in our efforts.
Spoiler: Entry 12: A Crazy Plan
Goddess damn it! I wanted to go with the goblins we sent to the other world so the others could remain safely in the known world, but these blasted merchants aren't being cooperative even with the imminent threat of an orc invasion. Well, they certainly aren't going to be getting a good deal out of me. Noki will go in my stead. These bastards will pay if Noki comes back with even a single hair missing. She was just starting her entries into the journal again.
My worries have been absolved. Noki only acted as a gatekeeper for the goblins we sent in, and she seemed all well and good. I am glad that my worries ended up being unfounded. Blunder was even able to finish up the costumes we'd be using. It would definitely appear as though her plan for a carnival is well under way. I'm quite excited by the fact that the Goblins that we sent in also seemed to be in relatively good health, from what I can tell.
After getting all the information we could out of the goblins we sent in, the concept of this world is deeply unnerving. It was a visibly dying world, with plants rotting as they grew. I wondered how long it would take for us to start rotting. Regardless, we were going to walk in anyway. It's the only way to keep the other worlds from being like this, after all. In which case we wouldn't be able to run anymore. But it at least couldn't be any worse than standing here, in the shrine where beard demons attacked us.
Please excuse my poor penmanship. Ever since entering this world, it felt like I was leaving parts of myself behind. It's hard to concentrate, and my fingers move on their own even now. Red is virtually asleep and when the dark lady, whom I'm now calling Black speaks, it's as though hundreds of buzzing insects become active in my head. Even with my close friends, I feel alone. I remained in the wagons, trying to hold myself to stop from shaking violently until we came into range of the town, where it was almost tolerable. This place is very disruptive. Does no one else feel the deep scars that run through this land?
At least the carnival didn't go too poorly. After we decided the price of admission to be 10 gold to allow as many people in as possible, Noki suggested a neat idea: have it cost 15 to enter, but only 10 if they "believe in magic". If nothing else, it was an adorable idea, and those who got entrance seemed to think so as well. She may not be a real people person, but if it wasn't for her unique ideas, our lives would be much more mundane. Sort of the same idea when it comes to Blunder's blunders as well...
Our plan was to start from the least magical performance to most magical, with the bards we hired playing music between (and during) the acts. Reuben would go first, then Noki, then me, and for the final act, Blunder. Reuben was to be the amazing puppet, "mastered" by 4 goblins with sticks. Noki's disguise was as a humanoid...lion(?) with an oversized head. I've got to ask Blunder what her costume was supposed to be of. Meanwhile, my costume was of "the world's largest goblin", and when Blunder casts his "Prestidigitation" spell, the pigments would change to orange, and I'd put the reptilian tail on, under a screen a smoke, appearing as a monster. Well, that was the plan anyway. And Blunder's costume was that of an incredibly old goblin, who'd change into other forms.
Reuben's performance was indeed quite mundane - well to the untrained eye. First, he cast the spell he used to make that crowd Junis Amil side with him when imprisoning Hab. Immediately, the crowd begins to act as though they were really thrilled about his performance. The magic he used was absorbed into the land and... something... awoke, entreated by his magic, and I got chills running down my spine for his entire act. Next, he raised his hammer and called out Thor's name - which was supposed to make it shine brightly in brilliant lights, but the magics he was calling into his control was being slurped up at a greater speed than he could could manage to call it. Improvising, he begins a slap-stick comedy, hitting himself over the head, then tried to have it light up yet again. More voraciously than before, the energies seemed to fly directly into the ground without even touching Reuben's hammer. Again, he tries, and again it fails. Thankfully, the initial, enthralling spell he cast was still in effect, and he could bow out with great applause from the crowd, and the presence that I sensed calmed down.
Next was Noki, whose act proved a tad more successful. She rolled out in the cage that opened from the top, like a vicious animal, and suddenly leaped up to the top of the cage, and began her performance. We brought out the magical targets that would attract the knives we had built for this act. Pulling out a knife, she throws it while facing the target. The magics wavered slightly, but Noki's skill was able to compensate. The crowd was intrigued, but not impressed, then she turns around and hits a bull's eye while facing away from it. Suddenly then, she speeds up in an absolute flurry of throws, all landing on the target, no matter the angle, or how seemingly impossible the shot was, including an impressive one where she threw it the opposite direction, for it to slow down while spinning like a top through the air, and change directions to hit the target. I'd typically be inclined to say that was the magic target setup, but I wouldn't be surprised if she could do that regardless.
She then began with the next part of her act. She filled a bag with water, flicking it onto the audience so they could see that it really was water. Attempting to pull Kaia from the infinite bag, it seems to get caught briefly. Luckily, she recovers, and stirs the bag of water with Kaia. She throws the bag of "water" into the air, and it rains snow. Reuben walks back on stage, and carries not only Noki, but the cage she was on, offstage.
Finally, it was my turn. Despite my lifetime performing in front of large crowds in the courts, I still had an uncomfortable feeling, beyond that which the lands were giving me. Was I...nervous? The lights dimmed. The bards' song began. The 3 desks roll out. And I hesitated still. Time seemed to not move, as I sit there. Then my ring flared, "Go!", Black instructed through the buzzing. Yes, I prepared for this! I could do it! I run out, towards the desk nearest the crowd, and tumble behind it. "Focus!" I thought, "Open the tunnel!" I felt my hand get yanked down, and the connection to the shadows failed, causing me to tumble out on the other side of the desk. "No problem, just try again." I reassured myself. and back flipped back behind the desk, and it worked. I melded with the shadows, and went behind the second closest desk to the audience, where I made another backflip out from behind it. I jump onto the desk, and do a short pirouette to focus my connection, and dive behind the desk, jumping back up behind the furthest desk with a great flourish. What were the audience thinking? I couldn't tell. I was purely focused on my act.
The music slowed. I pulled out a vial of our colored water from the large drawer of this desk. Noki's cage is being rolled out on it's side, so I could walk into it ominously with Blunder's smoke swirling around me. I was finally in, and the cage was chained up. The music's thunder started, so I take a drink, which signaled Blunder's smoke cloud. I quickly pulled the tail from its hiding spot, before my skin paint's color changed, and took a deep breath for my roar like that of a mythical dragon. Embarrassingly enough, I breathed in the smoke cloud, which was supposed to hide my "transformation." My 'roar' turned into a cough... Noticing this, Blunder thought he'd be helping by magically projecting an explosively loud roar behind me. I flew onto the side of the cage, knocking it over. Deafened and in my brown pants, I signaled that my act was over to get the cage rolled out. Even without being able to hear, I could tell the crowd was likely laughing at the performance. At least they were entertained.
And at last, Blunder was up next, and the presence I felt seemed engorged, and didn't bother him. He walks onto the stage in his magically created disguise of an ancient goblin with graying hair, and a gnarled cane. He came to the front of the stage, and chanted a few words to have a deck float in the air. Suddenly, the cards start flying individually, and sticking to his body. Boom! He shouts the name of his other form, and the cards fly away to reveal a gentleman-like goblin, complete with monocle and a fancy cane. The crowd found it impressive - indeed this was when I first saw it as well.
Then he floated a glass prism above him. He said he'd shoot light at the prism, and have a fantastic rainbow-light show but he came up with it late, and didn't practice. He began casting his spell, then I recognize words of the spell, from when he cast his fan of flames. Fire! He's going to burn down the whole damned tent! And I ran to get the bucket of water we had. By the time I get back, there's a lump of molten glass on the wooden stage. I threw the water onto it the wood-be fire, and count myself lucky that he didn't light anything out of my reach on fire. The audience had backed up at least a good couple feet.
I got one of the goblin workers to refill the bucket, as we prepare for his next performance, as he didn't signal he was done... He takes out and lights a tindertwig...oh Goddess. I get the bucket ready to throw. He puts it in a bottle, and tells the audience to back up, which they do without hesitation. He puts the bottle up to his mouth, extinguishing the tindertwig, and motions as though drinking from it. And then exhales a cone of fire above the area where the goblins used to be. He bows out. With nothing and no one burning, but just to make sure, I throw the bucket of water on Blunder.
And thus concluded the first day of the carnival, or at least, our part in it. We retreat to the living quarters to plan and prepare for our next performance in 3 days, while the ringmaster took control and saw the audience out. That was fun. Such a nostalgic feeling. I've not felt that in years since Mother's death. I have a couple of ideas for my next act, but I need to meditate and work on my connection, and "metaphorical magics" that Black has spoken about.
Something isn't right here. I feel we are under threat of something other than just this world's collapse. I'd best keep an eye out between training sessions.
Spoiler: Entry 13: The Coup
Yes, during all the hubbub with the carnival, I forgot to write in my journal. Not to mention though I, dare I say, had fun, it was relatively mundane, even when Blunder nearly burned down the tent...for the 5th time. I somewhat wished that it had stayed mundane, rather than have those we once held as allies become enemies. You'd expect that a noble would be used to this backstabbing...but it came as such a stark contrast to the past couple of days. I had let down my guard.
So the day started by us finding out that the pregnant goblin, from the family we helped with the fire incident, Oyla, had gone missing. Or, I think so. My memory in that land fades so quickly. On the bright side, we are back on the inner world, and Red has reawakened. I quite missed him for the week or so we stayed in that place. Eh, right. So we started the search by investigating those whom we let actually know about Oyla, the 5 "Very Important People" from the town.
Our first visit was with the guy whom Reuben pinged as "Good", Gilfred. When we found his place, through a lengthy process of asking the goblins around town, we noticed that it was covered in blood, and Blunder couldn't join us, as it reminded him too much of what happened with his family...and I too almost stayed as well, for, even asleep, Red doesn't like blood. It's too indicative of danger. But there was this unnatural worry that kept me going. In hindsight, I probably should have been more worried why there was so much blood, and so few bodies. Regardless, we found Gilfred hiding in a hole in the wall. Reuben heals him up and asks what happened here. He was "attacked" by Ak'rala and hid, according to him. We now know this to be a falsehood, but there was no reason to assume so then. He was to join us to help look for the other VIPs. Originally a good idea, Reuben started to invest too much trust in this guy.
Next we looked to the combat veteran that was impressed by Reuben's healing a fresh cut on his hand. This VIP was at a house of ill repute, by the looks of it...and the state of undress he was in. After a brief questioning, I found he was not only innocent but legitimately concerned about the well being of Oyla. Thus, I was going to let him finish up his business, and have him search on his own later, reporting back in at the tent. Reuben disagreed with the idea and had him come with us immediately, as soon as he got dressed. Again, a nice, cautious move, in case he wasn't legitimate in his claims of being concerned, but this was probably the one we could have the least likelihood of betrayal, due to the high impressions he had with Reuben.
Our time was running short, and still haven't found Oyla yet. So we cut the stealth, and march our way to Melvin, the one Reuben pinged as evil, amassing a mob which followed us. Reuben even payed people to amass more. I was uncomfortable being followed by a bunch of pitchforks, so I stuck to the shadows and tried to guard the group from injury. Luckily, nothing came of it, though. When at last we made it to the edge of town, where Melvin's house supposedly was, we found the place to have been rapidly packed up and abandoned - likely due to the mob we've drawn. However, we found a note, which said we were to bring the key to the shrine by midnight, or Oyla would be killed. Reuben passed the note to the veteran, but he couldn't read. Disappointing. So it was then passed off to Gilfred, who "confirmed" it was Melvin's handwriting. Even back then, I found it odd how the most influential person here would want to leave, let alone demand the key when he disbelieved in magic. But, we needed a target - a stepping stone at least.
"Should we make the announcement here, and get people looking for Melvin? Perhaps starting off with Blunder's reproduction of a baby's crying?" I suggested. (No goblin children have been conceived in 15 years on this world, so far as we've been told.) We mulled over it for a good bit, then it was decided that we would gather the other 2 VIPs and make the announcement in the town square. They had no interest, it would seem, in returning Oyla, or at least didn't see how they could help. We should have asked the old scholar if he recognized it as Melvin's handwriting. We were too trusting of this one person.
Regardless, we started the gathering, while Noki tried to track down Melvin. Blunder and Reuben were on stage, giving the announcement while I ran through the shadows - oh, so calm and soothing they are, especially on this world - and kept an eye on the crowd. During the announcement of magic being real, there was ... my memory is fuzzy, but a general motion of acceptance. Guess it's not to hard to believe in magic when it was constantly being shown off for more than a week. However, there was a group in the back who was disgruntled, mostly along the lines of "Oh, now they believe in magic?" type of deal. Ingrates, the lot of them. At least they finally came around to seeing the truth rather than staying in ignorance to the detriment of the cosmos. Yet another clue that Gilfred was a traitor, but even I was blind to it. How frustrating.
After all was said and done, we headed off to the shrine, where the letter instructed us. The two who had accompanied us all day had offered to accompany us here as well. And not only that, but they offered to get their company to help us fight. So, so many downsides to that. But the potential if it worked out is that we had more people with us. So, I deferred my judgement to Reuben again. If I had been paying more attention, I would have spotted the betrayal - seen it coming. I probably would have offered a greater wisdom than I did, if I hadn't been blinded by trust of someone we knew for only a few days. We didn't even know where he lived. It was my willful ignorance of the situation that led to Noki getting so hurt...
And so we took the extra men, extra traitors, with us, as Reuben decided, and headed down to the shrine. Around this time, Noki found her way back to us to report that Melvin was probably dead, due to there being a flayed corpse, and Melvin's trail ended there. Both Reuben and I believed it to be a ruse, a diversion, but we didn't have time to keep searching for him. We discussed how we would deal with the messenger who was at the shrine on the way. This is where I finally stepped up and said there's no reason for the others to know what we are planning. We can just tell them their role. Turned out this one act of suspicion saved Noki in her final confrontation with Gilfred, where she distracted him with the fake key, and slit him from his anterior to posterior torso.
Perhaps this...turn of events could be good though? It might teach Reuben that blind trust isn't the way to go, and that a bit of suspicion is nothing to be ashamed of. At least it is over. I've got preparations to make before meeting with the elf.
Spoiler: Chapter 3
Spoiler: Entry 14: Invasion Day
*Various notes on magical theory and planar connections to magics of all sorts, from godly to arcane and beyond. Particular notes made of shadow magic and the plane of shadow.*
*A few notes on orcish movements a couple days out from the city.*
Day of the invasion:
Here comes the moment of truth. The orcs are no more than a few hours out, so I put up the horse I was loaned. I will now be working with Noki to scout out the enemy movements as the battle progresses. I am beyond confident in my ability, and know Noki is the most capable of all of us in a fight but...I don't like this. They have 4,000 orcs, and Leomedon would not contact us, even through the fairy portals. Noki could get overwhelmed. Orcs normally stand as tall as Reuben. Even with a numbers advantage at 5,000 goblins, they only stand a little smaller than Blunder. Not to mention we don't know if we truly have their loyalty. We could well be looking at Junis Amil's final moments. I just hope that our efforts in harassing them, and ruining their supplies worked.
I'd rather not be risking my friends, but this city is too valuable a resource to simply abandon. Here's hoping the primarily archer formation will make up for our lacking their physical might. Red seeks to run - to not face them. Had I been...an early version of myself, I probably would have given in, maybe even after I met my new friends. I abandoned friends to save myself before... But that is not me anymore. I have this new power. We somehow saved an entire world. And more than anything, I wish never to be alone like that again. Black is able to see the wisdom in keeping this city safe, and keeping the trust of my friends, thankfully. So he- They're here.
Bloody hell. We did it. They are running! I don't know how we did it but they are running! By the Goddess, we have won! The battle was but a few hours, but it felt like an eternity. The orc army's initial assault was exceedingly weak, a test of the defense. They rammed head-first into our south-eastern walls, and were annihilated, with us taking minimal losses. But it was nothing. Next, they charged and tried to encircle the hastily made fortifications, knowing we had weak installments.
The horde that had been held back, like a dog waiting to be released on the fox, charged forward. The suddenness of this mass movement took even me off guard. Noki was hit, and I had abandoned my post, stupidly, getting myself harmed as well. At least we made it back without too serious of an injury. However, despite the massive movement that was observed at first, the army...disappeared. I didn't sense a shift in the shadows. Was this a mass-invisibility spell? I thought orcs were inept at magic. "Nine hells" I thought, as all the scouts reported back in, one after the other that none were spotted. Their Elf had to be assisting them. We moved our troops to try and offer a semblance of defense at all possible points, with emphasis on vulnerabilities we thought they'd go for.
Reuben seemed rather uncertain about committing units to defense, wanting to keep them in reserve to move around, all through out the battle. Thanks to my convincing through the communication rings we got, we were able to mount solid defenses without sacrificing that maneuverability. Good thing too, as the large volleys lead to many an orc's dismemberment before even reaching the wall, which I think was the primary reason we held. They indeed did not have near as many archers as us, and we had more cover.
We got lucky, and our bets on where the army would move, for the most part, paid off. Their invisibility broke as they attacked, much like the potions we used to escape the keep. Did they really have that many potions? They broke through the northern gates, though, as we were not expecting them to get all the way to the north within such a short deal of time. The stride of an orc must be unnaturally long, or they again used magic to help. Perhaps it's their leader? We never did manage to spot it. I admit, this is where the compromise with Reuben for holding back some of the troops did come in handy, as we were able to relatively swiftly make a counter attack before they could swarm inside.
The orcs retreated from the south, for the most part, and redirected their efforts to the West and North, thinking they'd be able to capitalize on their advantage, but they must have been out of their potion, as we saw their movements clear as day. We countered, and they scattered. It was a trial, but we made it. At last. I'm going to sleep. We no doubt have prisoners from the fight. I need to be fresh and ready when we interrogate them...if we are even going to be allowed access to them. But we should have access, as we are with Rueben who was essentially acting as commander in this conflict. And we brought the extra 4 thousand heads to the battle. Yeah, we should have no problem getting access, they'd likely be extremely grateful, if anything.
Spoiler: Entry 15: This can't be the end
"Trust", "Faith", "Gods", All weaknesses. All lead to destruction. Where was Leomedon when the city was under attack? Where was The Goddess when I needed to capture the witch? Where was Thor when his greatest servant was captured by evil? Nowhere. Not a single bit of help. I sat there, watching my friend suffer - die, as I thought, drowning in an eternity of despair. My foolish, unsubstantiated trust in the possibility of the deal lead to this. I learned not my lesson last time. I will retain this one though.
...I...I could do nothing. I was useless. Worse than that, I was what caused this whole mess in the first place. If I had spoken up when I thought the idea of giving supplies to the enemy, then we wouldn't have even been there. If I had taken the initiative in suggesting that going into the heart of a fortress with thousands of enemy soldiers was a bad idea, we wouldn't have went in, in the first place. If...if I had kept my mouth shut, not trusting them to stay peaceful, I might have avoided the conflict entirely.
It was my fault. I was supposed to be the suspicious one. I was supposed to keep Reuben's optimism in check. But no, I made things worse. It felt...so nice to feel like I could trust someone, even if I said that I didn't trust them, I liked the feeling... I took it much too far. Black's warnings were true. I didn't want to believe them, but of all those out there, she was the one who was actually here to help me.
This may be the last entry I ever make, for the enemy forces are many. So, may I be complete in my last job. It started off when I was sent as an envoy to, what I thought, agree to send the supplies so they can get out, as well as potentially get an audience with Oovar and Serena. And we were able to get an agreement for both. Turns out Reuben wanted to make the supply agreement with Oovar himself, instead of with lower officers, citing that they needed to talk to them to make the deal actually remove all the soldiers. It seemed reasonable enough.
So, we brought 1 wagon of supplies, and against my warnings about not being able to escape, it was agreed that we should do this, and that offering supplies would get the entire army out of here. We were escorted by guards, none of whom drew their weapons. We walked further and further into the fort. We were to meet Oovar and Serena in the deepest recesses of the enemy lines. We would be completely surrounded, and I took no heed of this. I simply followed, assured that we would come to a peaceful agreement. "Why would they not just try and forcibly take what they wanted?" never even crossed my mind...or perhaps, I simply wasn't listening.
And there, we met the two. The talk was peaceable at first, but then I let slip that we were actually at that blasted fort before, and that was when Serena noticed us. Hostilities rose. We tried to trick Oovar into abandoning the witch, but he grew suspicious, and we could not. We were surrounded. Surrender was the obvious choice, but I couldn't mount a reason to do so when Reuben said he would not. All words of opposition fled my mind. Such was my trust. I *knew* I could trust Reuben's choice. I always looked to him for a final decision. My trust for him grew far too great. I...now understand the folly of my ways.
Rueben stood up to cast his spell, then suddenly Oovar and Serena took action, and then there were 7 different Serenas and Oovar moved in to hack at Reuben with his sword. "He could handle it." I said to myself, as I chased the now running Serena copies, after Noki destroyed one. I ran passed Noki, praying to the Gods and Goddesses I learned durring my time of intense study, for guidance. I saw it, the correct one! I dived for her, to take out her legs before she could warn the rest of the guards. No. I was wrong. I reached out, and met empty air. The illusion vanished, and I tumbled down the stairs, forcing Noki to jump over me. I'm...so useless. I only worked to help the enemy.
Noki wasn't fast enough with me blocking her way. The witch ran up the stairs and jumped out the window. Noki saw her getting the guards, and told us so through the rings.
"We could still kill Oovar, and there'd be a good chance to get out." I thought to myself, my vision was turning red. My throat swelled as I tumbled down the stairs and towards Oovar. I could not speak, so great was my frustration. My spells didn't work. As I tried to blind Oovar, he bashes me back with his shield. Again! I'm interupted by Oovar over and over, even with me, Ashes, Reuben and the new guy surrounding him.
Then I couldn't control my body. I ran to a corner. My vision...distorted. I felt only fear. I could see nothing but Reuben's fruitless struggle. I saw his light flicker...and turn off. It was so dark. It felt like everything went in slow motion. How long was it? It was like an eternity.
Then Black spoke, "This is not the end, son of Elera."
I could see Reuben again. His light was dim, but the sparks were still there.
What are they going to do with him? I don't know, but I will not leave until I get Reuben out. This shall be my repentance. Everyone is an enemy. I will urge against such foolishness from now on, as I should have been. I will no longer drown myself in hope. That's not my path.
Finished with Anne's Journals. The other players didn't make near as many journal entries, so I could post them as well, if desired. (Probably in a single post as well.)
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Re: Journal Entries from my D&D campaign
Noki's Journals (Yay, got permission)
Spoiler: Cutscene (part 1)
I've never fallen on a deer before. Drop-killed before, yes, but actually fallen on one like I had slipped out of a tree and collided, never before. But I am getting ahead of myself.
I had laid out some dried corn like I had been taught, then climbed the tree above it and waited quietly, drawing breath very slowly through my mouth, quietly sniffing the air on occasion, aware and keeping my eyes and ears alert. It always takes patience, and fortunately mine was rewarded. The deer was small, but hunting by myself, I wouldn't have to share it. Just as it was below me, I dropped from my limb silently, dagger in hand-
And then I was somewhere else. Around a campfire with friends. Friends? I guess that is the word for that is how I perceived them in my mind, but I don't remember ever actually meeting them. I've not fought with them or hunted alongside them, but I know them as well as if I had. They are not Lupan but hiding my tail from them is not my first instinct. It was a strange sense. And then we were somewhere else again, a forested area under an oak tree. The plantlife was all familiar, but this was not my forest. It smelled different. Nearby there were sounds, a lot of garbled noise, and we noticed a large, round wall. Agreeing to investigate, I was the first to peek through an opening to see what was going on. Inside was an amphitheater, a large number of what I could only identify as goblins, judging by their appearance, and in the center an altar where a more finely dressed goblin was chanting and what I suppose was a human was tied down. There appeared to be some kind of ritual being performed. After a brief talk, the four of us decided to rescue the human. I circled around to the other side of the amphitheater, Anne to the side, and Reuben and Blunder from the front to draw their attention.
But of course, I'm not always the best when it comes to following a plan. I know this, but I never seem to be able to stop and think. As soon as Reuben made his presence known, I dashed in with my dagger, Kaia, in hand. A bit too soon it seems. I pushed my way past several goblins that seemed less armed, more like spectators, and leapt for one nearer the center that was more clearly a guard. Next thing I know, I'm surrounded and getting poked with spears and knives from all directions. Stupid impulsive me. What was I thinking? I'm not even looking at what the others are doing, I've got my hands full as it is. I'm so used to being the hunter, but right now I feel like the prey, and that gets me thinking. Prey. What does prey do when it is caught? It feigns injury, pretends to be beaten in hopes that the hunter will let down its guard. There is no much feigning here, but I tried it anyway. Two of the goblins did indeed let their guard down and left the third to finish me. That was all the opening I needed. I couldn't risk a charge, so I did the only thing I could. I flipped Kaia in my hand and threw her, hitting the goblin in the eye and killing him. I'm so sorry, Kaia, I had no choice. Everything will be ok though, we're still alive.
I finally get a chance to look around. The other goblins have fled, a few lay slain where Anne clocked them with his iron breaker, a few more that were apparently run over when Blunder and Reuben charged together. And then the human is gone, simply vanished, and the remaining goblins surrender. Surrender? They can do that?
While I hold my wounds to prevent from bleeding out, the others get the 'priest' goblin talking, and I'm surprised to learn that in this world, apparently the goblins are the good guys and the humans are evil... whoops.
Then everything vanishes and I'm back where I was just before it happened: in mid-air. I'm disoriented this time and have completely forgotten that this is what I was doing before all this happened. Like I said, I've never fallen on a deer before.
Spoiler: Hunted Hunters (part 1)
A year later, age 21:
"Koth! Aschente!" I shouted with my fists raised for combat. I know I'm not nearly a match for him, being the pack leader, but I haven't had a good fight in a while, and I need to blow off steam. Koth is my favorite to fight because even though I never win, I imagine it like I am attacking the authority he represents, and that always makes me feel better without actually defying him openly. Besides there is no fun in fighting someone I know I can beat. He smirks in response, sets his large axe aside and stands up. His hair and tail are jet black, my polar opposite were it not for the few streaks of brown in his hair. He is a great deal taller and more muscular than I am, but that hasn't stopped me before. "You just don't get enough, do you. All right then, Aschente!"
Aschente is a word of the old lupan tribal language that we still use to declare a challenge to an unarmed fight. There isn't a literal translation to the modern common tongue, but its meaning has not been lost over the years. As with all our fights without weapons, it does not declare a challenge to the death. First to knock the other to the ground wins. It is different than a spontaneous strike to start a fight in that it is as friendly as when the settlers sit down and have a 'chat' as they call it. Such strange, backwards people.
I keep Kaia on my belt as she never leaves my side, but I unsling and set aside the spear that I mysteriously kept from my encounter with the goblins a year ago. I thought it had just been a hallucination, but since I still had the spear when it was over, I still don't know what it was. I kept it as a token of that mystery.
I take my practiced open-close stance, one hand in front, open for parrying, the other drawn back and closed for striking. In this style of combat, when the back hand strikes, it becomes the forward hand and opens for parrying while the front hand draws back and closes, effectively switching sides with each strike. This forces the opponent to keep switching as well to keep the hands and feet matched.
Despite all that, though, I'm on my back almost immediately as Koth overpowers my first parry and sends me tripping backwards over his foot. I'm a little shocked that I lost this quickly and I just lay on my back frustrated for a few seconds, grumbling. Koth just walks away chuckling softly and mockingly while he shakes his head. I get to my feet and charge at him, again shouting "Aschente!!"
He responds immediately, "Aschente!" turning, but I'm ready this time. As he tries to trip me again, I step around his foot and jab him in the side as I pass, keeping mobile this time so he can't catch me. He may be the stronger of us, but I'm the more agile. I turn when I'm a safe distance away and wait for him to charge again, but he is already practically on top of me. I duck under a swing and land another few strikes on his rock-hard abs. He takes a few more swings at me with his large arms and legs, I occasionally get caught by them, but I stay on my feet and keep landing rapid, successive hits, even though I know he barely feels it. I don't even bother trying to grapple him as superior as he is strength-wise.
Our bout is interrupted by a horn sounding and someone shouting, "Hunters in the woods!"
Koth's attitude changes and he snaps at me, "Noki, stand down!" I want to be angry with him, as I already know the fight is over, but that makes me catch myself and realize that I am still moving to attack him. I stop myself and flex my fingers as I relax. I retrieve my spear as everyone else grabs their own weapons and we begin to make for where the forest is thicker, which makes us harder to hunt.
The grove we use to avoid hunters is about half a mile deeper into the forest, but we make it there without any other sign of the hunters. I climb up into the branches, and by the time I make it up, everything has gone silent. The other Lupans have silenced their breath, the leaves do not rustle, twigs do not snap, and birds do not sing.
I keep my ears alert for any sound to indicate approaching Settlers, though I am aware that they can hear far better than we tribals can. Fortunately our sense of smell is superior, and I can definitely smell something on the wind from the direction we came.
But something is off about the whole thing. If I can smell them, then they approached us from upwind, giving away their scent. They've hunted us before, and they know better than that. If they had wanted to get the drop on us, they would have snuck up from the direction of....... this very grove that we ran to.
I sample the scent in the air again, and it is weaker than what a hunting party would give off. One or two settlers at the most, but certainly not a band. I turn my attention to the immediate area and look and listen for anything out of the ordinary. I hear the faintest of clicks and I finally am sure enough to say out loud, "It's a trap!!"
The words are scarcely out of my mouth when the ground beneath the trees practically erupts with net traps that had been hidden very well beneath the forest floor. A rain of arrows fills the treetops, one only just missing my ear, so close that the fletchings give it a tiny nick. My eyes dart around, but the settlers have concealed themselves and their traps very well. After the sound of my own heart pounding in my ears from the initial surprise passes, I can hear Koth shouting orders from somewhere on the ground, "Cut him down from that net! Spread out and draw them farther in! Make them move and reveal themselves!"
Great idea, I think sarcastically. Broadcast your strategy so they can hear it too. Our pack encourages a balance of strength and intelligence, but in the end it is the strong rather than the smart who end up in charge. I stay where I am, crouched on a limb and concealed by thick leaves. I can see the pack moving farther into the woods, but I wait to see if I can spot any pursuers. I wait... Wait...
Then there it is. Directly below me I see the twitch of a settler's ear. He is camouflaged into the ground, but the leaves and moss that make up his disguise can only irritate those large furred ears for so long before they have to flinch. I slowly and silently draw my dagger, forcefully willing my tail to not swish. And then I drop.
Quiet as the snowfall for which I am named, I descend through the air and land on my target, embedding my dagger into the back of his neck. He only twitches once before going completely limp. The detail of his camouflage and his apparent age is evidence of his skill as a hunter. He has likely been doing this for years. I immediately look around, listening for more, but I don't hear or see any. I put Kaia away and unsling my spear, holding it on one hand as I creep along the ground on my other hand and feet, staying low and quiet. I look up in the net traps, and four of my pack-mates were unfortunate enough to get caught by a net and then riddled with multiple arrows. But so many arrows in such a short time, there had to be at least fifty of them hiding here, but I can only find the one. I look around some more, poking at the underbrush, and I finally find my answer. There are stationary crossbows set up all over, aimed directly at the hanging nets and remotely set off by the pull of a string. The nets and the bows must have all been triggered together. By the one hunter.
The settler whose scent triggered our alarm must have been hired just to scare us off. The more experienced hunter had already set up his traps and was lying in wait, knowing that we would run here, then we would run away again when the traps started going off, leaving him free to collect the tails of the ones he had killed single-handedly. The settlers may not be as tough as we are, but they are very cunning. That is why we hate them, and that is why we run.
Spoiler: Hunted Hunters (part 2)
The pack will eventually return to pack up camp when they feel safe enough. I can meet them there. I cut down the dead from the nets, salvage their weapons and equipment, then drag the bodies a good ways away in different directions before covering them with leaves and leaving them. That is how we handle the dead. Just as we consume nature, we leave our dead to be consumed by it in return. We don't let anything go to waste by burying tools, weapons, or bodies.
I roll the Settler that I killed over. I add his equipment to the pile and set up one of the nets as a drag to bring it all back with me. It is slow, but as I near the camp, I can hear the pack has already returned. Someone is howling in pain as the pack herbalist is treating a deep arrow wound. Others are packing up for relocating soon.
I realize my white clothes have blood on them. I'll have to get the herbs for the stains later. Someone sees me and gets Koth's attention, "Hey Koth, Noki's back. She's alive."
Koth turns his attention from the cleanup and comes over to meet me. "Where were you? I ordered a retreat, we thought you were dead."
I drop the net and look up at him, unable to keep a hint of annoyance from my time, "You ordered a retreat when the danger was passed. There was only one hunter. If I hadn't stayed and waited him out, he would have Nai, Nox, Seraph, and Yhotu's tails mounted on his wall."
Koth looked past me at the gear I had brought back, then back at me, more somber this time. "All four dead?"
I nodded, "Their bodies have been hidden respectfully."
Koth took a deep sigh, "Regardless of how it turned out, you should have run with us. You were right this time, but some day you are going to be wrong, and it is going to get you or someone else killed."
I tilt my head at him, "Wait, you're telling me I should have let him live?"
"No, that is not where you went wrong. Your failure was in not following the order to retreat."
I can feel my skin heating up, and I'm sure my face is turning a little red.
"The pack is my responsibility, and as the leader, when I give an order, it should be followed without question. The alpha structure is what keeps our pack alive. There's no room for insubordination or anarchy. The pack lives or dies together. If everyone acts how they see fit, hunts fall apart, power struggles break down our strength..." He trails off, probably noticing my anger. My teeth are gritting so hard I feel like my jaw might break and I can no longer control my breathing, but I can't make myself relax again. He picks up again, "I know you are more independent than most and I try to respect that, but when life or death is on the line, like when hunters are in the woods, our survival depends on everyone listening and following orders."
Who does he think he is to berate me like this? I just watched four of my family die and was the only one of the pack who kept my head together in a crisis. Who is he to tell me that I did something wrong? I am still red in the face and I put my hand on my dagger hilt. Koth takes a step back and puts a hand on his own weapon, "Noki, stand down! If you draw that weapon on me, you can't take it back. One of us will be dead by the day's end if you do this now." He narrowed his eyes and emphasized his words as he repeated, "Stand. Down."
I knew what he was doing. This wasn't about keeping both of us alive. He was establishing dominance, reaffirming it over me and the pack. If I drew and we fought, I'd be dead and an example to anyone who would defy him. If I let it go and submitted, I would appear to the whole pack as submissive and my independence would never be respected again. I clutched Kaia's hilt tighter, holding back tears of rage in my dilemma.
A third option came to me though, and it seemed like the only good one. I slowly let go of my dagger and drew in a deep breath, though the knot in my throat kept making me hiccup every few seconds. "I'm... leaving *hic* the p-pack".
I turn and start picking some things out from the collection on the net. My fair take for my kill, which can't be disputed, but I pick out things I will need for life by myself.
Koth cautions me, "Think about this, Noki. If you leave, you can't come back. You can't hunt in our woods, and the pack won't protect you."
I take a deep breath, "We know this has been coming for a while. I'm not suited for pack life. I can't live under anyone's authority. It's just not for me. It's like there's a weight on me, pressing from all sides. I have to leave. For myself and for the pack. I'm just a burden here." I keep my back turned so nobody can see the tear that runs down my face as I keep rummaging and taking what I need.
There is a long silence. Someone needed to say something before I couldn't hold back a sniffle any longer. I can't let them see me weaken.
Finally Koth does say something with a small sigh, "I know you are right, but I sorely wish you weren't. Take care of yourself." With that, he turned and rejoined the pack.
The hunter had a cloak, a rope coil, and a few gold pieces with him. I also retrieve a stone skinning knife from the stash of equipment. I was afraid to take too much more, and I could make do with what I had anyway, so I left it at that.
As I walked away, I couldn't look back. If I did, I know I would have broken down, and that was not how I wanted to be remembered by my family.
I guess not my family anymore. I'm no longer Athemakoth. I'm Noki, and I'm a lone wolf.
As soon as I was sure I was well out if earshot, I sat down and cried.
Spoiler: The Cutscene (part 2)
Two years later, age 23:
The winter has been long and unkind. My corn bait and snares have netted only a single squirrel in the past week, and I haven't even seen a deer in a month. The fishing ponds are frozen, and my spare rations are running low. The blanket of snow doesn't help matters, so I didn't have a choice. I would have to make a trip to the nearby Settler town to resupply, get a decent meal, and a warm place to sleep.
I have the gold to spare for such a venture, but I try to save it as much as I can, and I try to avoid contact with Settlers as much as possible. Though the thought of a warm bed is far more appealing than shivering in a tree.
As I near the edge of the forest I make sure my cloak is thoroughly concealing my tail and put my hood up to cover the fact that I don't have Settler ears. When I walk through the snowy streets I keep my head down and my tail tucked as best I can. First stop is the trading post for some more died corn and preserved ration packs. I can pick out the vegetables later. The store owner knows my face and is friendly enough. No other customers to worry about, so all is fine there.
Next is the inn. That's where the food and warm bed will be. Just please let there be no gambling please no gambling please no gambling please no-OOH they're playing cards!!
Next thing I know I'm sitting around the table with a full house and having to sit on my tail to keep it from wagging visibly through my cloak. That combination of discomfort plus my excitement over my hand and I can barely keep still. I fail to stop a squeak from escaping, and then for some inexplicable reason everyone folds and I win only the blinds.
I don't mind the money I'm losing. I'm having a great time. But out of the corner of my eye I notice two men at the bar eyeing me and muttering under their breath. At this point it is probably a good idea to move on from gambling and get some food.
When I move to the bar and order my food their eyes remain on me, with their ears riveted. Their expression does not strike me as one of attraction, but more of suspicion. I catch one of their hands fiddling with the handle of a knife at his hip. Maybe spending the night here is not a good idea. I'm a little disappointed, a warm bed was such an enticing thought after all that snow.
I finish my food and sigh as I shudder and tuck my cloak closed against the cold night and head back out towards the forest. I don't look back until I reach the edge of the trees, and sure enough, I'm being followed by two figures.
Drawing my weapon would be the easiest way to deal with the problem at hand, but then the Settlers investigate their missing men, then come the hunting parties after a bounty on any tribal they can get their hands on, and outwitting a hunting party on my own has never been easy since I left the pack. Also, a fight would let out what little warmth I am containing in my cloak. I just need to vanish. I try to use the shadows, but then comes the torch light. The trees are too small to climb, and too thin to hide behind.
I guess I'll have to let out the heat anyway. I break into a run to put a burst of distance between us. Cloak comes off and is thrown one way, I take several long lunging steps in the other direction, planting my feet at the bases of the trees to avoid leaving prints. I then take a deep breath and grit my teeth to brace myself before throwing myself against the fresh snow and laying still, blending in. My pale skin and white hair ought to work well to avoid being spotted. I would bury myself, but the snow is not deep enough. But damn is it cold. If they can't see me against the snow, they can surely hear my teeth chatter.
I don't hear them. After a few moments of silence, I risk a look up. I don't see them or their torch. Maybe I lost them. I shiver and am about to get up when a net is suddenly cast over me.
I panic and reach for my dagger, but my hand gets caught in the net and I realize it is laced with hooks that catch onto my skin. I yowl in pain as I realize this quite suddenly.
And then everything is significantly warmer. Comfortably warm, in fact. It's some spring or summer morning, and I'm in a campsite with Blunder, Reuben, and Anne. This again... I guess the timing was as opportune as any.
Spoiler: Chapter 1
Spoiler: Entry 1: The Town
We proceeded through the open land, stopping once at a farm where Blunder thought it a good idea to give farmers farming advice. I'm not sure how that went as I kept my distance. My life experience has taught me to avoid permanent settlements whenever possible. My experience just prior to being brought here is reason enough of my distrust for towns and the people in them, and farm-houses still make me uneasy. Even at that distance, I kept my cloak shut tight as far as we were from the comfort of the protective forest. But of course, our next destination was a rather large city, and my unease grew as we approached. I know this isn't my world, but I still instinctively keep my hood up, my cloak held shut with one hand, and the other on my dagger just in case.
We cross into the city by ferry, and pick up in conversation with the boatman mention of something called the Awe Nok Re Awed, which seems to be some kind of supernatural event that causes unlikely things to happen, whether good or bad, and it brings adventurers to this area. It raises more questions than it answers, so the others decide to do some searching around town for answers. Probably the most astounding thing that I saw was that of all the races occupying the town, Lupans were among them. And not just Settlers, but Tribals as well. Lupans with Settler ears and those with Tribal tails were walking in the open together, intermingling, not seeming at odds with each other at all. This didn't feel right at all. I kept my hood over my head and my cloak covering my tail as I stuck close to my companions as we waded through the crowded streets. I know deep down it is probably unnecessary, but my force of habit cannot be broken so easily.
Reuben and I go to a shrine to ask about the ring we found, as well as the Awe Nok Re Awed. Truthfully I just wanted to go where there may be fewer people. Reuben did most of the talking while I kept quiet and just processed the words that were said, but also running through my mind was the question of what would happen if we were returned to our own worlds? Would I still be caught in the net with the hooks digging into my skin? I have all the time in the world to think, but I can't come up with any way that I might escape it if I were to return. There has to be something I can do...
Back to the here and now, the information I can piece together about the Awe Nok Re Awed are as follows: The woman Lasina had made her campsite where this city now stands. The Awe Nok Re Awed affects the area in a one or two hundred mile radius from here. The Awe Nok Re Awed began when Fun the goblin died. My deduction in my head is as follows: The Awe Nok Re Awed has points of contact with Fun and Lasina. The only point of contact we know of between Fun and Lasina is the ritual that we tried, and fortunately failed, to stop. I believe that the ritual of banishing Lasina from this world also tied Fun to her power, keeping it suppressed while he was still alive. Upon his death, that suppression began to weaken, and Lasina's influence began returning in the form of the Awe Nok Re Awed. All of this is conjecture and supposition I know, but I am not unintelligent. I deduce things in my silence.
The priest that gives us this information also leaves us with a lead: a book in the library that might give us further insight. It seems as good a place as any to try next. It is on our way back to town that a thought comes to mind, and I keep my eyes out for the next Lupan I see. As late as the hour is, though, the streets are far less crowded and I can't spot any. The library is closed for the night, and though there is talk about breaking in, I distance myself from that idea if there is no consequence for waiting and getting some sleep.
While the others stay at the inn, I again avoid the company of strangers and find a nice flat roof to roll out my deerskin bedroll. It's cheaper, safer, and more familiar to me anyway. It lacks the familiarity of shade from the leaves that trees normally provide when the sun rises, however, and the bright beams grant me a rude awakening the next morning. I yawn and stretch myself awake, taking care not to roll off the roof. I roll up my bedroll and strap it to my back just above my dagger and climb down to street level, and that is when I spot him. Another Lupan, brown and blonde tail. I move close enough to catch his attention when I finally throw my cloak aside and reveal my tail, calling out to him "Aschente!" while holding my hands up, one open, one closed.
There is an awkward silence as I wait to see whether the Lupans of this world are the same as the ones I used to know. To my dismay, rather than accepting my challenge and fighting, he simply nods with a smile and says, "Why hello, aschente to you too" and keeps walking, just as if I had bid him nothing more than a good morning. It was at that moment I actually felt homesick. The fighter in me cried on the inside. Lupans of both kinds living together, Tribals that don't fight... this place is so backwards. If I can't get a good fight in somewhere, I will surely lose my mind.
Hiding a blush of embarrassment, I put my cloak back on and keep it held closed tighter than ever. The group met at the library where we encountered a halfling that all of us recognized as Loys, another from the amphitheater scene. Like the rest, I had never actually seen him before, but knew him just as well as if we had been friends forever. Between himself and the book, we found that Fun had been afraid of the return of what he called the 'Shades', which upon further research referred to us, the ones who had appeared as one and many to try and stop his ritual. He had also acquired all the materials to perform the ritual again, as well as to bring someone back from wherever it sends the subject. Someone named Frederick also had a map to Fun's burial site, where we might find said items. If we could perform the ritual we could follow Lasina to whatever realm she was banished to, put an end to whatever she is doing to affect this world, and come back. I assume that is what we were brought here to do.
Loys takes us to meet Frederick, and his condition is if we find Fun's tomb, he wants the censor that he used in the ritual. He seems sincere in his intention to use it for religious purposes, but in my mind I am thinking that the censor may be required for the ritual. It was used in the first one after all. So I form the thought in my mind that would have to see if we required it, and when we had completed our use with it or determined that we in fact do not need it, we would be glad to hand it over in exchange for his help. I formed this thought in all sincerity and politeness in my mind, but when put to words, it came out more like "You can have it when we are DONE with it!" This may or may not have been accompanied by a fist slamming on the table. It was then that I remembered why I let others do the talking when there is talking to be done. I put my hood back up and look down to cover another embarrassed blush while they salvage the situation.
Frederick leaves for a moment while we discuss our plan, and I look up finally when I notice him returning. I seem to be the only one who notices the knife to his throat and the handheld crossbow being pointed over his shoulder. The part of me that was itching for a fight springs to action.
I step up onto the table and leap towards Frederick. In midair, I analyze and plan. If I snake my arm around the knife hand, I can force the knife directly away from Frederick's throat while moving him out of the way. And I do indeed do that. With Frederick out of the way and his assailant exposed, I can see that he wears similar armor as a city guard, but has the look of a gangster more than anything official. I hear a drawing of weapons behind me, and on a quick glance I can see that there are more that just the one. The one front of me is my priority, though. I unsling my spear and use the back end to deflect his attacks, the sharp end to send my own. I hear Anne from behind me, "Noki, get down!" I know he has the iron breaker, so I duck momentarily, but in the time that would have a perfectly coordinated shot, nothing happens except a thud on the wall.
I hear the combat behind me stop as I hold the guard in front of me at spearpoint, and apparently Blunder is using Frederick as a hostage. Negotiation starts, and my mind starts working again. If I can get past this guy, I can get an attack on him from behind and I could call for assistance from the real guards of the city. What these men are doing can't be legal. I raise my spear non-threateningly and mutter to him, asking if he will let me go, that I don't want to be a part of this. He doesn't go for it, but it was worth a try. Behind me, I hear Reuben negotiating and he gets Anne to hand over 'the map'. Inside, I frown. All that work for nothing. But wait, when did Frederick ever give us the map? When did we even get a map to begin with? Hah, good one guys... While Blunder held Frederick hostage, Anne had the foresight to buy a map, and Reuben the good sense to bluff that is was what they were looking for, all I could think about was how to win the fight rather than avoid it altogether. I guess that is the single track of my mind. I just can't get my mind off the fight, can I?
We make it out of the tavern alive, but we all agree that we can't stick around. We have to leave town immediately. We set out that night, and I make sure to take the time to cover our trail so we can't be followed. We press on until early morning, getting some sleep before the sin rises. Fortunately, Blunder's drinking habit came in handy when he had bottles to set up as a trip alarm. As an extra precaution, we made sure to clean up our campsite to leave no trace.
Glade Edited: I don't want the solution to that puzzle published. Zerocaliber's character is going to need to get past it. I PM'd the part I cut out to you so that we can put it back in after this Friday.
We found Fun's tomb and a room filled with creepy looking angel statues. There were two clues, one to follow the footsteps of those that came before us, and to "Choose the right".
After crossing the room with the angels we find Fun's sarcophugus, inside are a few of Fun's belongings, but we scarcely have time to examine them before the bones littering the floor begin moving and form skeletons. Skeletons with weapons. Yeah, try bluffing your way out of this one, guys. This is where the combat tactics take over.
No sooner had we joined combat with the risen skeletons did they turn and run as if commanded by another... And then into the lightning field while there was much raising of eyebrows as they were struck down. That was easier than I anticipated. Through the field of angel statues I could make out what looked like torchlight coming towards us. I readied for combat again, wondering how the men from town could possibly have followed us, but as it came close, it illuminated the face of Freja, a farmer I remember from the first episode in this world. She has what looks like a living fireball following her and lighting her way. Between what Reuben can do with magic and now Freja, any other Lupan from my world would be on their knees to worship these two, though personally I never got into the whole magic-worship gig. I wouldn't expect it of the Lupans here either since magic seems to be far more prevalent than at home. That is not to say I would actually be aggressive toward a magic user, I was taught at least that much respect for them.
We move on through a series of passages and traps, one of which catches me with a shock, to which I will never openly admit being out-reflexed by a Dwarf. One puzzle has us arranging floating tiles over a pool of water, and there was some sort of fiasco with Freja turning into a bird, running into walls and dodging fish while we looked on with yet another single eyebrow raised. I am a problem solver, but I focused far too hard on the tile board and not the clue to solving the puzzle. I used to think I was good at this kind of thing, but the puzzles in this tomb were apparently designed by a more intelligent mind than can be found among Lupans it seems. *sigh*
After completing another puzzle and getting everything we needed from the tomb, we left, divided the ample treasure that we had come across, and began to plan our next move. As we walked and talked, I was more concerned with the area around us and avoiding ambush than solving the mystery that the rest of the group was hard at work solving. Habit of being Tribal, I guess. At least it allowed them to think and discuss without fear of attack.
As we approached our campsite from the previous night, it was cleaned up well enough, but I could smell something burning. Nobody else seemed to detect it, but my keener nose tracked it to the location of our camp fire. There was no visual evidence, but I got down on all fours and started to dig. As I got deeper and my tail swayed high back and forth in my curiosity, I discovered a root deep below the surface that was still burning somehow. Following its direction, we saw a plume of smoke in the distance that turned out to be a farm that had inexplicably burned down. I know there was no way we could have anticipated this, but I still feel somewhat to blame. In hindsight, I should have said 'No fires' when we made camp, especially considering we were trying to leave no trace. Damn it.
Several of the others start emptying their pockets for the farmers, and I am hesitant to do so given that this is more gold than I have ever held at one time, but so as not to appear greedy in contrast with such generosity, I match 500 gold to help them rebuild their livelihood. And then Reuben spends all night making preparations to speak a single word that rebuilds their structures for them. At least I didn't have to pick up a hammer and do it the hard way.
Spoiler: Entry 2: I must speak but I can not talk
The Goblins are thankful for our generosity, as they should be. We earned that gold at no small risk to ourselves. Freja, however, disappears over the night that we stay with them. While the others talk politics with the Goblins (As far as I can tell. Without fists flying, it is hard to determine what passes for politics with these people.), I sniff around to see if I can catch any sign of Freja, and I catch a scent and a small trail. I follow it around to the farmers' sheep pen where it ends. I do find Freja's coin purse, which seems justice enough for her attempt to take more gold for herself. Dang, I should have started a fight over that... It would have sated my need for some friendly combat. Grrr, I need a fist fight, this is driving me crazy! Weapon fights just don't hit the same nerve!
Upon returning to the group, it seems they've made a deal with the goblins to have one of them accompany us as some sort of scribe or something. Not sure how that one was worked out, but as long as he doesn't get in the way. He doesn't strike me as combat-savvy. We prepare to move out and plan our sleep schedule. If we booked it to town, we would be tired upon arrival, which would not do us a service if we encountered those thugs that chased us out of town, so we opt to set our destination for the outskirts of the forest nearest to town. Blunder tells us about his family being killed, which triggers flashbacks of my own memories of seeing my own pack-mates in nets with arrows everywhere. I feel fortunate that I was able to avenge them as soon as I did.
Upon reaching our destination, I insisted that we not make a fire or set up tents to reduce our signature. After what happened last time, I didn't meet much argument about the fire, though Anne seemed a little perturbed about no tents. Nobles. Always expecting the luxuries. He can suck it up, dang it.
My dreams are filled with more memories of home, and none of the good parts. All nightmares of being hunted, seeing family caught in nets, all the things that make me shudder. The kind of things that draw out the emotions that I put up my strong face to keep contained. I awake to the others kneeling over Blunder, something bizzare going on with his face and hair. At first I think it's magic, but then his hair turns into a bird, and at that points I decide I'm still dreaming. Compared to my other ones, this is actually pretty tame.
And apparently it wasn't a dream, for the next morning Blunder has no hair and has a raven with him. Great. Now this is going to make all of my dreams seem more real. On top of that, Blunder now has magical powers, which makes him appear closer to divine, in my eyes. I try not to dwell on it as we make our way into town, but I find myself glancing at Reuben and Blunder occasionally, making sure to not be caught in the act. I don't want to look like the kind of Lupans that throw themselves on their knees in worship in the mere presence of a caster. It's how they tried to raise me, but thankfully it didn't take. Frederick departs our company, his task complete it seems, and no longer worried about being ambushed. I suppose we don't need him anymore anyway. His fate is no longer our responsibility.
The others talk of splitting up, two going shopping with the elder goblin while Reuben goes to scan the crowd for a descendant of Fun. I opt to go with him as protection. I can't let a God go into a- dang it, there I go... I can't let a... friend go into a potentially dangerous situation without protection. We find a crowded area, which I know I won't do well in even before we get there, so I climb a building to watch him from above. I have a better vantage and can watch the flow of the crowd better anyway.
I can't look at each person in the crowd, but I can watch the flow. A crowd has a tendency to follow the flow pattern, and I am looking for anomalies. Things that go against the flow. It's like fishing: everything will flow according to the water, and it will look smooth. Even sticks and leaves will follow the flow. A fish will be something that moves without regard to the flow, disrupting it, and standing out. And that is what I am looking for, something that disrupts the flow, moving against it. Everything seems normal for a while, no disruptions until something catches my eye where the crowd is resisted and someone within it alters their course towards Reuben. Upon inspection, it is the captain of the thugs that attacked us the last time we were in town.
My first thought it to dagger-pounce. I'm in the perfect position for it. But I have to think tactically. How would the crowd perceive it? To them, I would appear as the aggressor, and that is the story that the guards would hear. I need him to make the first move and be seen as the antagonist in this encounter. But if I let him get to Reuben, he could be put in danger. I don't even need him to attack me, I just need to draw him away from Reuben, maybe to where there might be some guards, but he doesn't see me. I have to get his attention... how can I do that? My corn bait! I still have it in my pouch! I fish out the little bag of dried corn, no more than half a pound, but it will be enough. I consider throwing a single kernel at a time, but there is no guarantee that I will hit him, nor that it will draw his attention even if it does. A small handful ought to do the trick, so I gather up most of the kernels (there are not very many), and fling it at him.
Success! And he looks mad. Perfect. I still have a few kernels left, and I start throwing them his direction as I run along the rooftops away from Reuben. And then comes the crossbow, which I was not expecting. Fortunately, I'm able to avoid getting hit. Just as I lob my last kernel his way, there is a deafening bang that makes my ears ring and a blinding flash. When I finally recover, the captain is lying on the ground, his armor smoking, and a large scorch mark on the ground around where he lay. The Awe nok re awed is really a thing, I suppose.
I arrive at his body at the same time as Reuben, and he appears very much dead. As has been engrained in my mind since as early as I can remember, nothing ought to go to waste. Looting corpses is perfectly normal among my people, though I know the settlers do not practice such conservation of resources. Under the assumption that the people here will be more like the latter, I make the lifting of his coin purse as sneakily as I can, feigning concern for the deceased, then emptying it into my own and laying it aside.
It takes the guards time to come to us, and to my surprise, the captain wakes up as they arrive. My fear now is that he will notice his coin purse missing eventually and will accuse us. Upon being searched, they may find the bag with the items from the tomb, which I know he would be interested in, and that could escalate the situation, which would be bad... So to try and cover my back, I blurt out in the middle of Reuben's explanation, "I think he dropped his coin purse, someone should go get it before it gets stolen!" And even to myself I sound guilty. I need to just resolve to keep my mouth shut. Like, forever. If my tone didn't give my away, my red-hot blush surely did. I think some more as we all follow the guard to his post. Under my cloak, I carefully count out the gold that I took from him into the empty coin purse that I found from Freja. I hand it to the guard and make sure to phrase myself carefully, "This belongs to him." There. No lie, no admission of guilt, no crime. Fortunately, that is enough and we are allowed to go. I will try to remember to bite my tongue the next time a clever idea pops into my head that involves talking.
We meet Fun's son at the temple where Reuben offers him the memory orb, and we see about getting him to perform the ritual. What concerns me is that we know what we are MEANT to do here, we know HOW to do it, but we still don't know why. The why is the most important part to me, but I have learned from my last attempt at speaking to problem solve, and I keep my mouth shut. Ideas are tossed around to try and figure things out, but we don't seem to be making much progress. We still don't know if the elf that sent us here is good or evil, and the same can be said for Lacina. The last thing I want to do is to be duped into releasing an evil on this world. I will not be made a fool of!
And idea crosses my mind, though, and I keep it to myself for a while for fear of talking at all, but I finally think it through and see no reason to not pose it. "I'd be interested to know what happened when Lacina was captured." I'm a little excited that this is the first clever idea of mine that has worked out. I shouldn't let it go to my head though. As it turns out, Lacina went willingly and was used to do the evil things she was accused of. That makes the decision pretty clear. We are not being duped, we were sent here to bring her back. Phaneous agrees to perform the ritual for us, and we set off the next morning after some shopping to resupply.
Along the way, I don't pay much attention to the conversation, but I do ask about the Lupans here and why I don't see any of them fighting like we do back home. I don't get much information, but Anne offers to spar with me, at which I of course jump at the opportunity! After issuing the proper challenge and having it reciprocated, I don't try to end it quickly with a leg sweep. Sure, I could have won by just knocking him down, but as long as I have gone without a fist fight, I was going to draw this one out as long as I could. I don't aim for the face or anything that could permanently injure him (I know nobles are fragile). He doesn't put up much of a fight, but he makes a great punching bag. It was a big weight off my mind, and I felt much more at ease with everything. I was like the tension that had been building was gone. Now I can focus.
- Join Date
- Aug 2014
Re: Journal Entries from my D&D campaign
Noki's Journals (continued)
Spoiler: Chapter 1 (continued)
Spoiler: Entry 3: A dryad encounter
We camp a mile or two southeast of the shrine to be good and rested for the ritual, just in case anything were to go wrong. We rotate the watch, making sure to allow Reuben his full night sleep. He may need it more than the rest of us. During Blunder's watch, we are awakened, and though I initially want to go back to sleep, I catch a look in the dark at what the matter is. It looks like what I can only describe as a tumbleweed rolling towards us through the forest. Or strikes me as most strange that there is no wind to speak of. It stops and sounds as though it is calling to us, though the sound is hard to describe. I get up and move to investigate, but as I get closer, it movers away, keeping equidistant from me no matter how close I get. When I stop, it stops and its call becomes more urgent. I don't know whether it is drawing me into danger or not, so I keep my senses aware, but I follow it nonetheless.
And then comes Blunder's damn bird, which grabs the tumbleweed and brings it to me. As if I would know what to do with it. No, I am content to follow and see where it is leading me, so I put it down immediately and shoo the stupid bird away. This is the only way that answers will be found. When it finally stops, it has led me to a tree, which then comes to life in a person-like form. I have never heard of anything like this on my world, but if there were a danger, I am confident it would a more imposing form than that of a tree. It beckons, and the part of me that was raised to worship magic overwhelmingly takes over. Hell, I almost bow to the thing, but I manage to retain at least that much sanity. As it starts to whisper, I hear the clunking of metal that is Reuben coming up behind me with Blunder and Anne. I quickly shush then, and the tree finally speaks, warning us about creatures waiting for us at the shrine. The descriptions she gives are cryptic at best, but they don't sound like the guards we fought before. We won't be able to talk or trick our way out if this one.
Come to think of it, we as a group have not won a fair fight since the day we meet. Our first fight in the shrine we failed our objective and the enemies surrendered, in the tavern we talked our way out, in the tomb Reuben sent the enemies fleeing with his godly powers (damn, there I go again), and a lightning bolt out if nowhere saved us from fighting that captain again. We would have to see this one through.
We opt to surprise attack the creatures at sunrise. Upon arrival at the shrine, we attack up at the south entrance, keeping Reuben near the back for protection. Of something were to happen to him, I would be dwelling on my failure to protect a magic user for a long time. I make a snap peek around the corner into the shrine, and I am immediately attacked by a bearded devil of some kind. Total enemy compliment three slime balls and two demons with metal beards. I push through with my spear to allow everyone else through, and the devils out reach its with weapons of their own. I hold off one bearded devil while the others handle the other. The slimes practically fall apart under our weapons, so they are nothing to speak of.
I get several good hits in with my spear, but the wounds close up when I withdraw it. In my frustration, I drop it. Useless goblin spear anyway. Kaia is drawn and I attack with refueled ferocity. Kaia is much more effective, and the devil reels from my first strike, stepping back with its glaive pointed, trying to keep me at bay. I wait... Wait for the thrust. When it attacks me, I use my off-hand to push the attack to the side, then turn and use that momentum to stab my dagger into the devil's neck, finishing him. I finally glance over to the others, and I see Anne being lined down by the last devil while Reuben and Blunder try to keep it from finishing him. That leaves its back to me and give me an opportune time to strike. I reach my blade around under its arm and punch it up through its carotid and into its skull, under its obnoxiously solid beard.
The demon slumps to the ground, dead. I retrieve my spear, though I question it's viability for anything but hunting in the future. Everyone is fine once some healing spells are cast around. By way of Blunder's talking poultry, we send word to the goblins that they may follow us safely. The ritual goes off without a hitch, though I despise long goodbyes. I honestly had no idea how we were going to get Reuben back. Or for that matter if we were going to be returned to our own worlds after this. I'm not ready yet.
After the ritual is complete, Reuben vanishes. A few minutes later, he is replaced by Lacina as she returns, just as planned. To our surprise, Reuben follows shortly behind her. That honestly could not have gone better. As it turns out, a ring that Anne had given Reuben had the same properties as the necklace and he was able to use it to bring himself back. It apparently shrank in the process, cutting off circulation to his finger, which will have to be removed. At this point, just taking off the ring would not be enough. If a blood clot reached his heart, he could die. I take Kaia out. I suppose it could have gone a little better after all.
Spoiler: Entry 4: Noki's Return
It's been a while since I last did one of these. Where were we, where to start?... I guess the last thing was bringing Lacina back and returning to Junis Amil. On the way back, my bad habit of speaking may have gotten the better of me, and I began regaling our escorts from the temple of Hieronius of my exploits back home, how my people grow up learning to fight, and how I think the philosophies of the Lupans ought to be better applied. To me, it all sounded very logical and well-spoken, but I fear what I hear myself saying and what others hear may not be in perfect synchronization.
At any rate, they expressed an interest in learning my style of fighting and some wilderness survival, so I took a brief leave of absence from the group for a trip into the woods with the prospective students. If I was going to spread my own interpretation of the Lupan philosophy from home, this seemed as good a start as any to hone myself as a leader and a teacher. I know I am nowhere near ready to lead a pack, but some experience in that direction ought to do me some good.
My first thought it to teach them some combat from the get-go, but in considering where to start I remember my goal: Balance in everything. Balance. They need to learn control first. Anyone can swing a fist or punch through a board with enough strength, but when you are facing a stronger opponent, that is where control and technique come into play, so I start with some basic exercises, having them move slowly in some defensive techniques, checking their stance, breathing, and posture, then repeating those motions to gain muscle memory, steadily increasing the speed as they are able. That alone took the majority of the day. Control is not easy to teach to the impatient, but I was proud when they finally learned to be patient. After that, we were able to move into some entry-level combat techniques, vital spots on the body for precise strikes, and how to win a fight without actually hurting your opponent. I'm glad I taught them control first, otherwise their first sparring sessions would have been a lot more chaotic.
And all the while I waited for someone to go for their food or water from their pack. As soon as the first water skin came out, I yanked it and poured it out. They were a little confrontational about it at first, and it took every ounce of my self-control to not turn it into a fight. As nice as a fight would have been, my take on the philosophy was to fight over things worth fighting over. A water bottle that was still full, sure. One that was empty? Not worth a fight, more worth finding a solution. So I stepped back and asked as calmly as I could, "How would you find a water source?" In hindsight, I think it actually came out more like me throwing it to the ground, and yelling in an almost taunting fashion, "You're out of water! What do you do now, huh!? Are you going to complain and fight about it, or are you do something that is actually useful!?" But either way, the message was conveyed. I taught them to listen and how to use the terrain to find a source of water, and they took well to that, accepting the lesson of when to fight, and when to solve the issue at hand. In looking back, I surprised myself with my adherence to my objective and not devolving into the primitive infighter my culture raised me to be.
Over the next few days, I taught them some of my hunting techniques to add to their own, and how to spar without actually hurting their opponent (a few bruises never hurt anyone, right?) and they did all right, and as a group we all learned how to read one's opponent. When we returned to the city, we decided to put that to use betting on fights at the arena, and we made a decent sum from that. It felt good to gamble, but was less of a thrill when I felt like I had an edge. Still, extra spending money never hurt anyone. I found a place where I could get my dagger infused with an elemental magic, and while fire was tempting from a survival point of view, but I decided to infuse my dagger with frost magic. Because you know, name means Snowfall and everything. It seemed appropriate.
I met back up with the group, and apparently the guy I had gotten shot at by managed to get out of jail and escape, so we were on our way out to take him down. They also filled me in on what was going on in the bigger scale with the worlds falling apart. We needed to travel to them and somehow convince the people there to believe in magic again. There was a lot that happened while I was in the woods, so I was a little lost on it, so I decided to just go with the here and now, get done what needed to be done now, and figure things out as we went.
Spoiler: Chapter 3
Spoiler: The recovered writings
((A few specks of blood dot the pages, and the writing is more scratchy than previous entries, as if written in a hurry or under physical strain.))
If anyone finds my dead body and this journal, please take everything of use, especially my dagger, and hide my body in the bushes. Do not bury me. In the event that I do not survive this ordeal, I feel it important to document the events leading up to my fate. My last entry was a while ago, so a brief summary is in order. We intercepted information that a large army of orcs was making its way towards Junis Amil with intent to conquer the goblin world. We managed to sabotage their supply stock, then enter and stabilize the goblin world by revitalizing their belief in magic. We recruited an army of goblins to help us fight off the orc army at Junis Amil, still intent on conquering their world, but they needed the key that I carried that was our way of getting from one world to the other. We kept it safe and drove them back to their keep, southwest of Junis Amil, and most likely close to where you have found me if I don't make it.
We did not want to press the fight and cause more death on both sides, so we agreed to attempt a truce. We would bring the orc army enough supplies to get them home and allow them to withdraw. It was a good idea, I thought, but they had no intention of withdrawing and took advantage of our gesture. So much could have been done better, in hindsight. We could have brought a smaller amount of supplies to last them until a deal was reached and then bring them the rest. We could have agreed on a neutral location rather than accepting General Oovar's hospitality surrounded by the majority of his standing forces. But it was our risk to take, assuming they would accept defeat. While Blunder waited with the carts of food, myself, Anne, Reuben, and Vincent von Cleese waltzed right into Oovar's keep, no backup of our own, and overconfident in our negotiating skills. By the way, nothing in our record would indicate that we should have ANY confidence in our negotiating skills. I still think we should have had a fist fight to settle things, but neither side seemed keen on that idea, so blah, we'll do it the boring way.
We were in trouble the moment the first words were spoken. Normally I'm the one to ruin a dialogue, but Anne's response to their welcome to the keep was the simple statement that we had been there before, affirming that we were the ones who wrecked their supply stock in the first place. I could have made things worse by bonking my palm to my forehead, and I was sorely tempted to do so, but I managed to refrain. So that happened. And then things got worse because I took over the dialogue at that point. If I want to be a leader some day, I need practice, so this seemed like as good an opportunity to try my hand as any. An environment with less hostility and smaller risk would probably have been better for an amateur like me.
Oovar first made it clear that he had no intention of withdrawing, and it was then that I knew we were in trouble. We did not have any sort of exit strategy should things go wrong. Our only backup plan was that Anne would hold onto the key and use his teleportation to escape with it should things go south. Reuben, Vincent, and I had no way out. I racked my brain for every clever idea that I could think of. I tried to appeal to Oovar's sense of greed to get him to go to the goblin world alone, but he was smarter than I would have given an orc credit for. He didn't earn his position for nothing. I tried to convince him that we could get the goblins to accept him as their leader, just to try and get us out of there alive, but he didn't go for that either. His mind was one-track. We had the key, and he wanted it. Just when we thought we were making progress towards getting out of there, he would find fault in our logic.
In hindsight, a few things had not occured to me. First, that the desolate goblin world was not worth conquering because it had gold, but nothing of value with which to buy. The goblin world was short on food, and there is no way they would be able to support an influx of over a thousand hungry orcs. An occupation would cause the world to destroy itself, which would in turn destroy the other worlds. But none of this came to mind, because I was leading the negotiation, and typical me, all I could think about was how WE were going to survive, forgetting the larger scale consequences of their intentions. It might have worked too, if I could have thought about anything but myself.
Inevitably it would come to combat, and it eventually did. Anne activated our rod of silence to prevent an alarm from being sounded, but the sorceress made a multiplied illusion of herself, making her harder to hit. It was immediately evident, though, that she had no intention of fighting, but instead used her illusion as a cover to escape and get outside of the silence area. I tried to tackle her to stop her from getting away, but I kept hitting illusion after illusion. My one attack at Oover was deflected easily by his broad armor, and with the troops outside mobilizing to surround us, staying to fight would only get us killed. We should have surrendered when we had the chance. I'm more confident in my ability to escape than to will myself not to bleed.
I had followed the sorceress to the second story window, from which she had leapt and made it to safety. I knew Anne could get away, but Reuben's armor would weigh him down. I didn't know how we were going to get him out. Maybe setting the building on fire would be enough of a distraction, so I climbed to the roof with my flint and steel ready to light up the thatch, but before I could even get a spark, I was set upon by very large hailstones, clearly cast from a magical source, I assume the sorceress. She is high on my hit list with how impossible she is to deal with. I have never had to kill a magic user myself, and they come as close to Gods as I can envision. I'm not sure I could bring myself to do it if it came down to it.
I tried to hide on the roof, but the hail kept coming. I looked for a way out, and the only part of the rampart not manned by soldiers had no platform to stand on, only a wall, and the top was 10 feet above me. I was already hurt from the hail, and if I went back into the fight now, I'd surely be killed. I had to escape and pick up the pieces later. I took a bight of my rope, long enough to reach one of the pillars on top of the wall and leapt, swinging my rope to loop it. Somewhere mid-flight, an arrow struck my thigh, but the adrenaline pushed me through the pain. I was able to climb, switch to the other side of the wall, and lower down on my double rope. I left the rope on the north wall in case I need to sneak back in to get the others, but for now my concern is to stop the bleeding and heal enough to where I can function again. I limped a good ways from the keep before setting down to tend to my wounds. Fortunately I am still within communication range through our magic rings, so through that I know that the others are alive at least. The potion I took may help my condition, but in case it doesn't and I die here, this is the state of things. I still have an arrow in my leg, I have several very large bruises that make it painful to move, my friends are captured, and my waterskin is almost empty keeping myself hydrated. Hopefully the world does not end with me. Hopefully removing this arrow won't cause further damage.