Red Hand

Variel's Journal entry 2

July 29, 2013

Sorry it’s been so long, journal. It’s been an… interesting few months. We decided that it would be easier to attempt to steal a diamond from a group of Orcs up in the mountains, rather than hunt down this book. The ranger has some spell casting ability, but it is painfully obvious he is a novice. I mean, getting a hold of the book they had been searching for, and not putting his mark on it? Having no way of tracing it? Amateur.

We met a group of thieves, attempting to steal an artifact form the party. I can only assume they were meaning the book. Which means that these thieves were not only amateurs to think they could take on a group as well coordinated as us, but they were also misinformed about the location of the book. After dispatching most of them, we bound their mage to take with us. Unfortunately, one of them slipped away and took our wagon and two horses with him. He probably thought the artifact was on the wagon.
Fool.

We dragged the mage back to town, demanding the location of their hideout. She was very forthcoming with the information, telling us how to find it and even agreeing to help us, for a small bribe. Or so we thought.

I took my leave of the group, going back to working my stall for roughly a month and half. It was a decent month, the stall was making a good amount more than I had expected to make. I need to buy an actual shop, maybe hire a few people to look after it while I am out. I have started a small savings, till I can afford to buy and fix up my own place. The bazaar is good for the short term, but I’m looking for making a decent living off of my wares. Note to self: find cheap real estate. Perferably close to the market square.

The group returned, without the mage, informing me that she slipped away in the midst of a combat they were in. Fools. After their return, they decided to try and take on a bounty. I, reluctantly, agreed to help them. I should have stayed home, journal. I really should have. After trudging through miles of swamp, we came across out target. A BLOODY DRAGON TURTLE!!! These fools thought it would be a good idea to just waltz up and kick it in the teeth a few times. Well, needless to say, after it surfaced and scalded us all within an inch of our lives with it’s blasted steam breath, we ran.

I am never listening to this group again, without doing my own research into the jobs they take on. Such fools.

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Variel's Journal

July, 22 2013
Variel’s Journal

Well, I guess I better start using this thing. Keeping ledgers and accounts of my actions feels so…. Odd. Totally not what I was used to back home. I guess we all change when we move away from the comfort of our homes, huh? Heh, look at me, writing in this journal like it is actually going to respond to my questions. I have quite a lot to update since I’ve met my new…. Acquaintances? Friends? I don’t know what to call them, yet. So, here goes.

I’ve done a few jobs for Lord Taggart before, he told me it was going to be a simple escort. Show these people how to get to his vineyard, wait for them to finish their work, then lead then home. Was going to be the easiest 500 gold I’ve ever made. That price, for something a simple map could have done, should have been my first clue about the mission’s true nature.

It wasn’t until I arrived and already pledged my aid to him that he told me I would be helping take out whatever was in the vineyard, killing the farmers. I’m not one to go back on my word, but I really wish I would have heard him out before accepting, especially after meeting the group I was being sent with.
At first, they seemed alright. A little under-seasoned, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t compensate for. That was, until I met their gnome and half-orc.

I put my natural disdain for the gnome aside, nothing good ever comes from traveling with gnomes, and traveling with a half-orc didn’t bother me. I think people judge half-orcs a bit too harshly. So I take them out to the farm, finding out the gnome had a very…. Unusual attachment to a goat they had following them. After leaving the animal at the edge of the vineyard, we started off towards the farm.

It was a decent walk, after about two hours we finally found a clue to what was causing the disappearances. We came across a ground of skeletons and a few ghouls. I was amazed at how much the half-orc can put behind a swing of that greatsword. After he was made giant with the use of a wand, he did a decent job clearing them away, thanks in part to my expert usage of healing items. The ranger got taken out in the first few moments of combat, he did not die though, thankfully. It would have been a pain to explain how I let one of the people I was escorting died.

After defeating the undead minions, we went back to town. Mostly to let the ranger rest and recuperate from being so easily trounced by a few skeletons. On our second trip, we made it to the farm, this time we brought the goat, for some reason. The cabin was filled with some kind of magical darkness, which none of us were able to pierce. They made the half-orc larger again, at which point the brute threw the poor goat through the window and into the darkness.

We heard the poor creature bleat it’s last, followed by an eerie silence. I threw some spells through the now open window, hoping to trap whatever was in there. Our half-orc entered the door, only to be caught by my webbing, like a fool. I entered beside him, attempting to discern what could be creating this darkness.

That’s when the blasted thing attacked, two quick strikes and the barbarian was almost drained away. We made, yet another, hasty retreat to the town. I knew what it was, now. The only thing that could drain the strength of a person so easily had to be a wraith. Evil things. We went back, prepared this time.

We exposed half of the cabin room to morning sunlight, a wraiths natural enemy. While the wraith was distracted, I let forth a blast from a scroll I had purchased just for this spirit. It didn’t stand a chance against the blast, and was instantly vaporized. With another spell cast, we had the ability to see again, only to find a tunnel leading underground. Following it, we reached a Shadow Demon. This day kept getting better and better. I gave the beast a few good shots, while our barbarian and the gnome ran away like children. Fools. The ranger and I took on the Demon, till it summoned another of it’s ilk, and teleported away. Lucky beast, his hide would have made a nice set of boots. While we fought the newly summoned demon, the ranger vanished, and ran out of the tunnel, leaving me to fend it off by myself. By this time, our only source of light, and the way to dispel the magical darkness, had fled with the half-orc. Blinded, wounded, out of magical reserves, I dodged and backed my way out of the tunnel, lasting long enough for the foolish gnome and half-orc to return and finally slay the beast.

After heading back, we informed Lord Taggart of our half success, of which he only paid us a fraction of the gold promised. I don’t believe I should be penalized, I stayed the whole time, and the orc and Gnome ran. I should have gotten a bonus for my valor! Alas, the Lord will not see it that way.

This group asked me if I would help them retrieve a book, telling me that it would help divert some form of danger that was to befall Tikal. Now, I’m not saying I believe them, but so far, the travels have been pretty lucrative. I agreed. For now, at least.

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Gertri on a Holy Quest
Gertri on a Holy quest.

After the last contract was completed. We had another fatality and this was Davor. The last of us standing quickly went to town and returned with a potion of cure moderate wounds. It was given to me and after I consumed the vile tasting mixture I was able to stand and begin to heal the others. Davor unfortunately was to far past my healing abilities and had to be carried to town in hopes we could afford to restore his soul and body back together. Gertri asked the priests at the temple if they could assist us once more and we were told that if this were done we would have to begin a holy quest to retrieve a book. This would grant favor to our Paladin Gertri with the temple for performing the ritual of restoration again. We agreed as a group that having Davor back was te only choice.
All we were able to gather regarding the book as it was in the heart of a fortress of dark dwarves, a bred called Duergar. This bald, long-bearded dwarf has dull gray skin, low arching brows, and eyes that seem to absorb rather than reflect the light. But they were not able to tell us his location. So we decided to visit a cartographer. Upon entering the map makers shop we made attempt to describe the type of beings we were looking for. It didn’t sink into his mind at first but then he had a light come on and started talking about the clan. He would have to look into it a bit but would try to find a map for us. He mentioned a tower in town that could likely have an item that could help us against the Duergar, if we were interested. As a whole we decided to accept the possibility and since it was in town took on the tower job. Little did we know!
The tower was easy enough to enter. It was old and dust had settled in alot of places no longer touched by hands. The doors were old and wooden with iron hinges. Upon entering the first time I evaluated the halls for any traps that might exist in the hall. Straight ahead was another larger wooden door and to the left and right in the center of the hall were two smaller wooden doors. After the doors were checked for traps We listened closely to determine if sounds or voices could be heard on the opposite sides of the doors. The room to the left of our position was the first to be entered. OH MY, there were many lizards who occupied this room. They must have been to stupid to get out because the stench was horrid. Th obviously lived , slept, pooped and inbred here. It was foul smelling. The beds were at best straw mats on the floor with very little else to present a normal manner of living. The lizard fold didn’t particularly care for our company and began to move in or direction. Since we had the element of surprise We started the assault first. It was tight quarters we all were cramped into the hallway or inside the room. Towards the end we felt we were doing well until the other door opened due to the commotion and there were 8 more of them now behind us. This fight seemed to go on much longer than any of us cared to deal with. I seen one lizard duck into a hole in the room. Interesting but the battle recalled my attention. Suddenly, there was a lizard in the hall coming from our forward location. Must be a secret tunnel. Gertri needing a better position moved to the hold and went underground as well. Where was he trying to go. Soon he popped out of the hole as the lizard did. He worked on the sneaky one as we turned our attention to the room that was behind us and soon the fight was finished.
After taking some time to recover we moved on to the great door at the end of the long hall.

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Trying to Earn Favor in Tikal
Trying to Earn favor in Tikal

Upon our arrival in the human city of Tikal we began to look for work that may bring us some coin or at least favor wit the city merchants.Through our group discussion we decided the local shop for magic items might be a good place to start earning our favor. Oh the surprise we were in for.
We were told of three contracts that were available for us to complete if we chose the jobs. First was hunt some troublesome lions in the local area that were causing some problems to those in the more rural areas. We were offered 100 gold per head. Feeling excited that we only had to deal with some lions and get some gold we agreed to take the contract. We traveled for a good bit of time to a mountain path that lead up the side of a great foothill. One of the larger hills that one could not see the top of with clarity. There was a well traveled path that lead up to the top and some um well, footprints. Not your standard kitty type, well not even your standard lion type. These prints were HUGE! Guessing from the size these “lions” Had to be bigger than cargo wagons! We traveled a partial way up the path and I decided to attempt to stealth up and try to view what we were about to face. My bladder got a little weak when I was able to finally see what we were in for. Not just one or two there were many of these VERY LARGE Dire lions about. Thankful for my ability to sneak. I snook away as fast as I went up, which wasn’t that fast. I surely didn’t want their attention drawn to my movement. As the group moved forward with me upon my return. Everyone gasped for a moment. We looked at the terrain and found that the path curved a little ways ahead and a valley of about 15 feet divided the trail from the plateau of the hill. Gertri and Davor made their stand at the front of the group to start battle with the lions that may decided to take the path and engage us. Rico and I decided that shooting arrows at the closest one to us across the valley would be a good idea. Terrus, unsure whether to stand and wait or cast a spell was making his decision. Rico prepared a spell of arcane shot and the first arrow took flight. Rico hit the lion and got its attention. I fired and hit as well. The lion roared and turned his attention toward us with a ferocious glare. Rico and I looked at each other and asked ourselves, He can’t jump that can he? We soon had our answer as it prepared to make its leap.
The next closest lions now aware of our presence turned their attention to us. They took the route to move down the path as we expected them to do. Meanwhile the lion Rico and I started with backed up a few feet and began to charge the valley. Unsure as to whether I should move or not. I decided his weight would crush me if I got landed on and I moved aside. This wasn’t the best choice. The lion cleared the valley with ease, flew over us and landed behind us. Now there was one behind and a couple in front of the group. This was a long serious fight. I had taken bad damage trying to hold the rear lions attention. The rear lion before delivering is final blow to me was shoved over the side of the cliff and into he rocky valley below. I last remember seeing him fall, get up shake it off and began his run to return to his pride at the area of battle that was going on. Then everything went black.
Some time after that fight I remember opening my eyes and yet again unsure of where I was. Looking around it seemed to be a temple of sorts. I was on the floor and fires burned in lamps and candles inside the structure. What was this place? Soon after waking I was approached by a person wearing robes with the symbol of a hammer, like Gertri now wore around his neck. The older man told me that I was given a second chance at life and I might ache a bit and to get up and move slowly at first. I sat up and my head was spinning. He told me that a resurrection ritual was made possible by my companions who brought me here. In the process of bringing me back they were using a great magic. Instead of me arising as they planned an older woman rose up from where I lay. She had wiry hair and upon arising before leaving the temple in a rapid hurry, screamed “vengeance will be mine!” Shaken by what just occurred The temple priests in agreement with Gertri’s request made a second attempt to reserect me in the standard way. Its why I had the side effects I was now experiencing. Upon finally leaving the temple and finding my companions the priest told them of the events he mentioned to me previously. They were shocked as well to hear of an old woman with wiry hair. Everyone recognized her description. I guess the heart was out of the bag now! Yep, it was gone from my pouch. I might as well play dumb!
While talking with the group about the events on the mountain, I asked how they all survived? Rico told me in the end many of us fell leaving him as the last man standing. Each took their potions of cure moderate wounds and used it on another party member. It actually sounded amusing but obviously worked. Rico give his potion of cure moderate wounds to Davor, Davor in return give his potion to Gertri, Gertri give his potion to Terrus. Terrus in turn healed the group except for me, I didn’t make it and was dead. Gertri feeling bad for me decided to use his divine favor with Torag and give me a chance to be resurrected. They carried my body to the temple of Torag.The ceremony was performed and now here I stand. Then the questions about the old woman surfaced and I had to admit about taking her heart while the others didn’t see me. Gertri’s jaw dropped in disbelief. I admitted we agreed I wouldn’t take her head, and I didn’t. Trying to act ashamed but inside I was giggling like a little dwarf with a pretty stone.
After resting a while we decided to maybe take another of the three contracts but be better prepared and try to find out more about what were going to pursue.
Later in the day before our adventure and the evening hours, we were given an invitation to attend a dinner function at one of the local nobles homes, a Count Norman Blake. The invite was from the court wizard Tarrill Dobson. He obviously heard of our success in killing the dire lions recently and wanted the presence of our company. So it seemed.
Upon arriving at the dining hall we found ourselves in the company of what appeared to be many mage types. Around the room stood many guards in full gear with pole arms. It appeared the noble wanted no trouble from anyone to interrupt his guests appreciation of the fine meal that laid before us all. Terrus could sense a nervousness in the room and informed us of his premonition. He blessed the food and drink in front of us and we just watched the room not really feeling hungry or thirsty now. Conversation was flowing with the different guests in the hall and all seemed well, until, what appeared to be a wizard slumped over in his seat looking unconscious but not dead. Everyone stopped and the room went silent. Our group began to stand to help the poor chap and the guards moved in to stop our advance.We were asked by the captain of the guard if we were “supporters of the traitors stand?” Gertri cast a detect evil on the wizard and found him to have a very evil aura. Gertri spoke and said we are not. Gertri then took his seat and motioned for us to do the same. He in turn did the same to the noble and found the noble to have a good aura The noble had the wizard removed from the table and taken to another room and chained to the floor. There his body was in a crouching position in the center of the room and Count Norman Blake circled the wizard and pour a liquid from a vial on him. the liquid burst into flame upon hitting the air in its cascade down from its vial. I recognized this and had felt its burn before. He was pouring alchemist fire on the unconscious wizard. Not just a vial but an entire crate was brought into the room for him. The count told the party that this man was a traitor and his punishment of death would be tonight’s entertainment for all to witness. He never said what this man done and had no desire to answer questions when asked by Davor what the man was accused of. After the wizard was nothing but ash. It was announced that he was in alignment with the local orcs. After the burning Rico and I decided to go outside for some air as we no longer wanted to be associated with the function of this so called noble.
The next morning we set out on the second contract to locate an Ettin who had apparently been stealing livestock from the local farmers. After searching a period of time it wasn’t hard to find this giants where abouts. A large cave opening located deeper in the mountains where snow covered peaks could be seen not far off in the distance was found. The air coming from the cave appeared to be colder than the air outside but this was normal for an underground cave except for the foul smell of body odor, like a wet dog and or just straight death.
Again as before I went into a stealth mode to investigate the cave before our group charged into certain pain and misery like we recently experienced. Sneaking into the cave revealed the Ettin we were out to find and to our surprise he had two companions. They were solid white wolves who’s breath was as foggy as the air blowing off of a solid ice mountain top.
Upon finding our foes it was time to battle. Once everyone prepared the battle we began. I first shot at the Ettin twice doing poor damage to him. Now enraged he began his approach on us and his companions followed. Rico puled his bow and cast a spell in it to cast fire upon striking the target fired at one of the white wolves. The battle went on for hours but in the end we all walked out of the cave as a group and not for ware. We had to return to town yet again to regain ourselves and resupply. What a place. Before we were transported to this place we could hold our own against those we encountered, now every challenge is nearly met with death of at least one.
The next day it was time to attempt the third contract. Apparently, this one was a flaying creature that liked open fields and had the ability to fly around. Something called a chimera. Before we perused this creature Rico thought it would be a good idea to read the contract givers mind with the magnifying glass. Only now the magnifying glass worked against both Rico and the contractor. While we discovered more information about the chimera, Rico suddenly developed a case of madness, he dropped the magnifying glass and began pacing about like he was trying to gather hs thoughts. Only while pacing he was mumbling non-sense. We realized before this got worse we needed to get him healed right away. After we were sure Rico was safe and of his right min we left town to find this chimera.
After a short time traveled outside of town we came to field of golden colored grass. Like it had died off in the fall season but not fallen to the ground. They called an area like this “the plains.” About 20 to 30 feet into the plains we seen a large shadow pass over us and it seemed the chimera found us instead. The fight came to us and we will stand against it. The town we are in currently needs us to stand strong. Then the chimera landed in front of us . Since we were all lined up for him he fired off an electric arc and we all felt the heat. Oh my I don’t think we were prepared for this! The fight again lasted for some time. We prevailed and returned to town to collect our bounty and rest even yet again. We all hope these people appreciate our efforts to help them…

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Royal Cook Out

After the group made it to Tikal they decided to take a week to rest, train and make some magical items. During that week Gertri helped save the son-in-law of the high priest of Torag and earned a favor. The group managed to made a name for themselves in the city. They earned a invite to a large dinner at Count Norman Blake’s mansion. The invite was from the court wizard Tarrill Dobson. While enjoying their food at one of the smaller tables, the party could see the more influential people, including Count Blake and Wizard Dobson at the main table. Attempting to make nice with a minor noble Terrus Kelivar noted that they seemed nervous. It was also noted that there were a lot more guards then needed for such a function. Into the night the party gets the feeling that the Count is very paranoid. As the diner neared its end the group sees the wizard fall asleep at the table. After his head drops, the Count orders some guards to carry the unconscious mage to a cleared out area, where he is chained to the floor. A very unkept man in robes brings a crate full of bottles out to the Count. Count Blake gives a speech on how Wizard Dobson was a traitor to the city and is sentenced to death and that it was to be carried out now as part of tonight’s entertainment. The rest of the room is deathly quite and the group attempts to question the Count on why he was doing this. Several things became clear. The Count had no desire to explain himself, the group was out matched with the guards and Gertri was able to tell that the Count was not evil but the wizard was. The party could only watch on in disgust. The Count started pouring alchemist fire on the unconscious wizard with a childful glee. As the body burned the Count placed guards in a ring around it. After nothing but ash remained, a tub was brought in and the ashes were shoveled into acid. The dinner finished shortly after.

The group decided to take on some of the bounties noted in the city to earn some cash. Only three of note were posted and they took all of them. During the first encounter fighting five dire lions Goate is killed. Calling on the High Priest, Gertri looks to call in his favor. The High priest agrees to resurrect Goate and make a comment on it being a good time to try out a new item they found. The party is told to return the next morning and he promised that Goate would be alive. The next day the party is told that something strange happened during the ceremony. That after the item was used to bring Goate back, a older woman with wild hair appeared instead and ran out the room screaming “Vengeance will be mine”. They had went ahead and resurrected Goate with traditional spells afterwards. After being informed of what happened Goate realizes that maybe he shouldn’t have been carrying around the woman’s heart from the slain family. With the return of the party’s rouge, they set out for the second bounty.

The party finds the next two bounties a bit difficult. One being a Ettin with a pair of Winter wolves and the second being a Chimera. Even though the group finishes both bounties they end up with one more party death. After collecting their bounty and selling off loot the group has just enough to pay for the resurrection of Davor and to cure Rico of his insanity that came with using the Magnifying glass one to many times.

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A Strange New Place as Seen by Goate
A Strange New Place as Seen by Goate
I open my eyes to see the bright sun light above me and a thick canopy of trees that nearly blocked out the light. I felt cool air blowing on my skin. Was I dreaming or were we outside again? What happened? I sit up and there were my adventure friends sitting around looking as confused as I was. As I look around, the sun shines though the trees and what were the ruins we were previously exploring, now gone! How could an entire Dwarven city “be gone"? We all try to come to a collective though on a plan of action. During the conversation, I was being informed that the wraith we seen in the ruins was hovering over me before we were pulled away and found ourselves in this place. I was told I would not wake up or respond and had to be carried by Davor the half orc, I call friend. It was mentioned of what appeared to be a young black dragon was seen flying overhead after exiting the underground hole we just departed from. My thoughts were we should follow the dragon but the wisdom of the group reminded me we were still in the rugged mountains we were in before, just in what appeared to now be a different time. It seemed the Dwarven city hadn’t even been established yet. Where were we?

During what was now our confused state we noticed we were being approached by a dwarf and two things chirping like featherless birds. They were jumping and skippering about. Terrus attempts to identify the two chirping creatures, he believed they were goblins, but wasn’t sure.
Meanwhile the Dwarf of the three asks Gertri our new found Dwarven fighter friend if he prayed to Torage, the dwarven god of creation? A detect magic spell was cast on the dwarf and it was confirmed he was very magical! Could it be? Was this Dwarf the diety known as Torage himself? The conversation that lead to this thought was his knowledge of Gertri’s prayer in the tomb. He then asked Gertri, " what did you want?"
My attention now turned back to Terrus who was attempting to play with the magical creatures and the tree behind him spoke saying, " I wouldn’t do that." Shocked, Terrus looked at those of us paying attention to him and asked if we just seen or heard that? It was quickly confirmed.
Then the tree speaks and asks Terrus if he is a follower of Sivanah? Sivanah is is the patron goddess of illusion magics. She is also known as the “Seventh Veil”, a name taken from the clothing she is most-often depicted wearing. The red hand symbol seen on Terrus’ tunic is the symbol that identifies her champion.
Soon after gathering thier desired information. Gertri agreed that he is a follower of Torage. He recieved an amulet that resembled a dwarven hammer to wear. Terrus now uncertain if he wants to be represented as the champion of Sivanah, removes his tunic for now. As evening fast approached we decided to make camp . Just as we make camp to rest we notice the sky a bright shade of red. Upon waking we all feel healed and restored to our normal states.
At this point we know we can’t stay here and must find civilization to get supplies and sale our finds. The mountain ranges ran north and south limiting the decision as to which way to travel. It was decided we would venture north and hope for the best.
After walking a few hours we came upon the smell of smoke. After following the scent we came upon a cottage in what seemed to be a remote location. Around the cottage appeared to be many busted open crates and destroyed back packs. There was a wagon and a two carts, beyond the wagons and carts were 5 horses.
We decided as a group, I would try to sneak up, and look in the window of the cottage to see and listen for any life. I found more that I hoped too. Inside was an old woman with three hefty men. One of the men in full armor bragged about beating up, raping, and killing a young girl in the not to distant past. Upon laying eyes on the older woman, I felt a shudder of fear course down my spine. I quickly withdrew to the rest of my party and told them what I heard, seen and felt. It was decided we would take this place, evil like that should be destroyed and a battle plan was established. I agreed to the participation but the fear I felt from the old woman was still very fresh in my mind. Who was she and why did she affect me in such a way?
After Rico fires his first arrow through the front window and we hear the shattering of glass and the moan of pain from its recipient. Davor and I charge through the back door to find ourselves in a room with another closed door. We can hear Gertri charge through the front door as Rico fires yet another arrow through the window striking his intended target again. Davor and I make it through the second door into a short hall and find yet another door. This time as Davor grabs the door he feels a mild piercing to his hand. What was this, a trap inside the house? I think to myself, strange bunch that occupy this cottage indeed. Davor not affected by what just happened opens the door and enters into the battle. Gertri has already began to attack the spine chilling old lady and one of the three men have stumble against the back wall with two arrows sticking out of his chest, but still alive. During this altercation, Terrus tries to scream a murderous command without success. Upon reaching the old lady first I struck her with my rapier and she falls to the floor but before dying looks at me and says, “Vengeance will be mine!” I feel a knot form in my stomach and at once wish I hadn’t killed this old woman. There is a ghost like laughter coming from what seemed to be all around me. Somehow I feel this slain woman will become the wraith that killed my cousin Sten and anyone else I may ever care for!
She will not rest in piece; I felt that I wanted to keep her head as a trophy. A simple insult that may be used in the future before a demise occurs. If it should be mine or that of the wriath. But Gertri being the paladin that he is to become, stopped me in my moment of rage and denied me the old woman’s head. I agreed to take her outside and burn her body after the skirmish. Davor still in a fight with one of the men dressed in what appeared to be roguish garb swings wildly and his sword lands at my feet nearly cutting off my poor toes. Coming to the reality of the situation I grab his sword and drag it back over to him in my next movement. I couldn’t let my friend fight the rogue unarmed, Before I could hand him his sword h was hit with a massive force and was in a stunned state. After a few exchanges two of the men lay dead and the old woman in a heap of flesh on the floor it was time to deal with the armored one. We all surround him and our attacks begin in rotation. To increase the groups rage I informed them that this was the one who bragged about beating up, raping, and killing the young girl. Soon the Armored fighter fell and we stood over his fallen body with victorious smile over our faces.
After claiming our loot and as promised I help take the old woman’s body to what would be the burn pile. While the others were moving the last of the remains, I took some liberties and made a claim!
The treasures from this fight were many, we divided the lot based on what the members needed and agreed to sell the rest to get supplies we needed for what was to come in our uncertain future. Feeling this cottage now a safe location for us we tended to the horses needs and planned to camped in the cottage over night. We performed our security rotations as we have done many times in the past. Rico taking first watch work at identifying the scrolls and attempting to learn the spells contained upon them. All through the night we rested and in the morning no reports of a wraith appearing on this night give me some relief.
In the early morning hours we decided to travel by using the wagon and two horses were attached to pull it, two of the other horses were connected to the rear of the wagon and Terrus attempted to guide one by hand. Since Rico was only skilled with handling animal he was the wagon driver. He was frustrated with this job as he wished to finish learning the scrolls and study the books from our recent fallen victims. After traveling for three days on the rugged road and seeing no signs of civilization we came to a well use main road. The road ran North and South of the valley we were traveling in. Deciding to travel north yet again we soon came upon a wide area in the road and two large groups of orcs were in a fight. Upon assessing the locations of the orcs, we noted there must be an important female orc who appeared to being defended by better armored orcs attempting to surround her and fight of the attackers. There were two ranged archers who were firing arrows on the group. We felt the need to assist the group being attacked. The horses and wagon were stopped on th road away from the battle and Davor and Gertri moved to assist in the fight. They moved on the archers and quickly made short work of them. A rumbling and large area of brush shaking in the distance revealed a female ogre emerging from the side of the battle. She began to charge into the larger fight. Rico cast a sleep spell that was effective at dropping the ogre into a deep sleep and she fell to the ground. Davor quickly moved in to perform the kill and was successful. The battle continued until two guardian orcs and the female orc, we felt was important, remained standing and unthreatened. We as a group lowered our weapons in attempt to show good intentions to the orcs. Davor attempted to speak to the orcs and they were hesitant calling the rest of the group the stinky ones. Davor attempted to tell the male orc speaking to him that we were his hand and responded to his commands. In the mean time we were inspecting the fallen orcs and noticed they wore different types of symbols. The attacking clan wore medallions that resembled metal jaws with fangs. While to remaining orcs wore medallions that resembled blazing skulls. The skulls had flames over them. It was difficult to tell what they were made from.
Soon Davor had the orcs mainly the female convinced to let us travel with tem as we needed to sell items. As they walked, the conversation seemed to be teetering back and forth between conversations and insults at each other. Davor didn’t seem to be backing down from the conversation with her. One of the orcs went ahead of our group to let the camp know that there were stinky ones coming and that we traveled with the female orc. Upon arrival at the camp we were greeted by stout orcs with blades drawn and pointed in our direction, behind them stood archers with bows ready for draw. There were at least 75 to 100 orcs ready to do battle. Davor shared with us that there were several orc clans roughly 5 that were all battling for control of the area around a local lake. Each clan were represented by their own symbol. There was an iron tooth, bleeding fists, blazing skulls, and flashing thunder clans. It was said that the flashing thunder clan was more half orc like Davor. The female entered the orc camp and the ready warriors opened ranks for her to walk in and closed ranks behind her. She didn’t return to our party and Davor ended up trying to prove his strength to the clan to earn their trust. It was said that we would have to prove our courage by bringing death to the lack dragon. This would take many moons to achieve, we needed supplies and to sell items now. Davor asked to prove his strength so that we could sell to the tribe. So he was invited into a combat circle. We readied to go in and save him if it came to it, he asked us not to interfere. The blazing skulls brought into the ring a dire bear. After a couple of rounds Davor submitted to the dire bear and was humbled. We ha to give 5 of our falchions as tribute to the orcs and we turned South.
While on our new venture to the south we traveled for about one month. Supplies are getting scarce and we must find civilization soon. After about a month of travel we came to an area in the road where two large boulders had rolled into the road. Thinking it a simple rock slide we exited the cart to find on the other side of those boulders were two trolls lying in wait. Damn it an ambush. Weapons being drawn and now at the ready we got ready for what was to be a enduring fight. The trolls moved through the rough terrain on each side of the road with what appeared to be ease and were flanking us on each side. With the first swings the trolls hit Davor and miss Gertri, due to his size, all together. They were a vicious sort, a strike with both hands and an attempt to bite as well. To add to our fun a minitor appeared. What fun this would be. In a surprise swing I swung my rapier at it and struck it causing a major wound! The trolls became very angry and increased their attacks on Davor and Gertri. Terrus not really sure of his gathered thoughts ran into the woods and into the rough terrain unfortunately we soon discovered he was carrying all the healing potions and abilities with him. One of the trolls noticed him and soon started their pursuit. Eventually this forced Terrus out of the woods and behind the cart in a crouching position. What was he doing, I thought to myself! In my distraction the minitor took advantage and made three attacks on me, he sung his axe then immediately made a back swing then an attempt to gore me with his horns. Damn ugly creature he was! His attempt was successful and I fell to the ground in what appeared to be an unconscious state. I would wait for the right moment to strike. I knew it would come.
Meanwhile Rico realized the trolls were healing with the natural ability they possessed and had to try to stop this from happening. He began casting flaming hands on the troll and it no longer appeared to be healing itself. The attacks continued as before. Davor hit the roll that Rico just cast on and ended its life.
The troll that was pursuing Terrus now returned to fight Davor and Gertri as they just cleaved his partner to death. After a few hits Rico threw a fire flask at the troll and the damage ended his life. The minitor that remained was still trying to figure out if I lay dead or not. He swung at me some more but was not able to do any more damage. After a period of time Terrus came around and cast a heal on me. With the minitor’s attention on the others I dealt the death blow that ended his life.
Fatigued from exhaustion and the long travel we just cleared the road and moved forward in our journey.
After a few more hours we found ourselves on the edge of what appeared to be a thriving city occupied by what appeared to be human kind. What a relief…

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Rico's Story pt1

To whomever finds this log of my journey through wherever, or whenever I am, I just hope you can make more sense out of it than me. Gods, deities, angels, demons, whatever you want to call them, I couldn’t care less. All you need to know is that I don’t really know why I’m writing this. I’ve lived my entire life knowing that nothing will change when it ends, but perhaps behind all of it a small part of me wishes my tale remembered, for better or worse.

For the parts that you don’t really need to know. Here it all is:

Myself and four other companions met under some rather uncomfortable circumstances. A large half-orc seemed to be their unofficial leader, waving a massive sword around like a damn fool. It would seem that the refinement of combat has been lost. Another, an oracle of sorts, is an unusual one. I see him often meditating and praying, but to whom I can’t imagine. I can’t put my finger down on what exactly he is, though the look of him reminds me of a race I once read about, Samfaran, Samsaran, I can’t remember. And two dwarves who would look exactly the same to me if not for one wearing nearly a dozen falchions on him.

At a point during our journey through a massive mountain fortress filled with orcs and beasts of all kinds, not the strangest of which was a large moving wooden table, we came across something I had never seen before. An orb, a large black orb that seemed to consume any magic around it and resist all attempts to destroy it. Of course, with this particular group of adventurers, something as odd as this isn’t as weird as it gets. Our half orc found a ladder descending towards what looked like a bottomless pit, wherein he saw something I could never have imagined. A large, reptilian eye giving him a spell that would supposedly destroy the orb and prevent its evil. However, the spell went awry, and after we hit the orb we were sent into a room, a room with no doors, windows, or exit of any kind. Using a potion that my newfound comrades had earlier bought, we managed to escape into an area outside, completely devoid of the ruins that we had fought in for days. I’m not sure what is happening, but I feel a presence, something that I cannot explain. Something that I cannot see or hear or touch, but It feels almost divine…

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Not So Chanced Encounters

As the group prepares to rest for the night several beings walk into their camp. One a dwarf and two very small beings that can only be described as gremlins. The dwarf approaches Gertri, while the smaller creatures stop in front of Terrus Kelivar. The dwarf is asked who he is and responds with a vauge answer about being sent by Torag to find out who this new disciple is that had prayed to him. While Terrus Kelivar is questioned by the smaller creatures with the help of a talking tree and Gertri is questioned by the new dwarf, the rest of the group look on in wonder. Terrus Kelivar is told that his is marked as a champion of Sivanah, which Terrus Kelivar dislikes hearing and promptly takes off his pendent that shows him as a member of The Band of the Red Hand. Gertri expresses a desire to serve as a champion of Torag and is given a holy symbol to wear. All creatures leave as sudden as they appeared. With lots to think on the party beds down for the night. Goate takes first guard and falls fast asleep. The party wakes the next morning fully refreshed and cured from any ill effects they had been suffering.

When the part woke they decided to head north through the mountains towards where the Orc tribe should be located. On the way they find a house that was obviously occupied. Goate was able to sneak up and listen in on a conversation and decided that the humans living here were pure evil. After a bit of planning the party attacks the family as they ate their supper. During the fight Goate kills the grandmother and as she dies a curse is uttered towards Goate. Goate recognizes the woman as the wraith that had stalked them for so long. The rest of the family is dispatched with little harm done to the group. After the fight it is decided to burn the bodies and secure the house for a nights rest. Goate takes the grandmothers body out first and is able to cut her heart out unnoticed while the rest were inside the house. With the capture of the house the party gets five horses and a wagon. The rest of the night goes by without incident.

The group follows a trail north and when they come to a T in the road chose to continued in a northerly direction. While traveling they come across two groups of orcs fighting. They decide to help the weaker looking group and slay the other. After taking out the larger group of orcs along with their ogre, Davor approaches the only female and obvious leader. Davor hopes he is able to win favor with the orc. After a few moments of conversation it is obvious that the female orc is not pleased with the company that Davor keeps. After bargaining, which she strongly dislikes doing, the female orc agrees to escort Davor back to her clan. She never reveals her name and refuses to be polite to Davor during the walk. Though she was rude towards the party’s half-orc, she completely ignored the rest of the group. She does revile that there are multiple tribes at war and that they will only be reunited when one orc stands above the rest in a show of strength. When asked what would be considered the best show of strength she tells Davor that taming the black dragon should do the trick. Upon getting close to her home she has her remaining guard run ahead to inform the tribe of what has happened. After the party comes into view they find an army of orcs waiting on them. Davor refuses to pay tribute and offers to fight their toughest challenge to prove his strength. The orcs agree. Being lead by owl-bears on leashes a massive dire bear enters the circle made by the orcs for the fight. Within seconds Davor is lying on the ground dying. The female orc heals Davor and says that they are now even. Davor agrees to pay a tribute at this point and the party decides that South is a better plan at this point.

On the way south the party runs into an ambush on the road. With boulders blocking the trail, two trolls wait on the other side for a fight. Once the fight started and the main fighters of the group rush forward, a half-fiend minotaur swoops in near Terrus Kelivar. Terrus Kelivar takes a beating and Goate ends up lying on the ground near deat, but the party manages to win the battle. The rest of the trip is uneventful and the party finds themselves at the small city of Tikal.

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Eye Of The Storm

The party wakes feeling like some of their energy has been sapped. It seems the more nights they stay there the stronger a feeling of doom descends upon them. The dwarf they had found in a cage the day before woke in the middle of the night to find the Wraith hovering over Goate and leaving the rouge in a state where he could be of no help. Upon waking and after questioning him the party find his name to be Gertri but has very little memories of his past. Rico belives the Orcs wiped his memories with the magnifying glass. They search the rooms in their current area and walk right upon a Grey Ooze. Terrus Kelivar spots the slime that blended so well onto the wet floor just as it attacks. Even so, the Ooze manages to grapple Terrus Kelivar before anyone can act. During the fight, Terrus Kelivar manages to break the grapple and their new found compainion shows off his barely remembered skills. With the Ooze nothing but a memory they search the rest of the rooms in the area and find nothing. They follow a tunnel that follows the small stream and find an ancient jail cell. In side is a pile of dust that use to be a living being, and in the dust they find a key. Just past the cells they find a Grand stone door that the key fits in perfectly. After opening the door they descend further into the stronghold.

Once they reach the next level the party finds themselves in a circular room with two doors. There are also three statues of dwarven fighters, one on each side of a door, with the middle statue between the two doors. Terrus Kelivar suspects a trap, but with Goate not much of help at this time. Terrus Kelivar is able to determine that there is nothing magical about the statues or the doors. Gertri walks up to the left door and proceeds to open it. Once he turns the door handle the weapons of the dwarven statues strike and managed to cause some harm to the stout fighter. Behind the door they find a stone wall. After several minutes of examining the wall they determine that it is as it appears. Having only one door left and worried about another trap, Terrus Kelivar casts a spell that summons three very small monkeys to his aid. Terrus Kelivar directs the monkeys to open the other door. One of the three monkeys survive the trap and manages to open the door to find yet another stone wall. After an extensive search they find a hidden door heading East. Past the door are twenty-six steps taht lead up to another door. Gertri leads the way and on the thirteenth step a loud voice magicaly yells in drawven “Alert, Alert, Alert”. Terrus Kelivar curses as he relised that the one time he does not check for magic is the time it was needed. With nothing else to do but to move on, the group opens the door at the top of the steps.

As the door opens it reveals a large open area with multiple stone pillars leading down the north and south sides heading east-west. At the far end is a Throne with a small fire smoldering its last life in front of the Throne. From somwhere in the room comes a voice that says “This is your only warning, leave now or die!”. As Terrus Kelivar tries to tell the party to wait Gertri and Rico charge in. At first they could see nothing. Within seconds they understand why, when a enlarged dark dwarf appears out of nothing to fire a crossbow at Gertri. The party finds themselves against two duergar grunts and their leader that happens to be a rouge. The grunts are easly dispatched. While focusing on the leader Gertri slips up. Even though the faild attacked should have taken off Terrus Kelivar‘s head, since he was standing beside him, the dwarfs axe flys from his hand and lands beside a door to the north. Once Gertri notices the door he has a feeling of being pulled towards the door. Gertri also notices a tower shield lying on the ground near where he was batteling the duergar. Gertri dives for the shield before attempting to retrive his weapon. Goate would notice it as Sten’s lost family heirlom, if he was not so incapacitated. The party has no trouble finnishing off the duergar after that. Through the northern door Gertri feels what can only be described as a very distanct devine feeling, but with a feeling of being desecrated. The party is hurt and bleeding and decides to rest once more back where the grey Ooze was slain. Upon waking,and yes the Wraith did visit once more, the party feels so gloomy and knowing that they could not stay another night without coming to harm, they set out to finnish whatever it was they were there to do.

The party returns to the northern door and look inside. They find a room with strange symbols that had been covered up with filth and orcish profanities. There was a alter with a perserved dwarf wearing full plate armour. At the foot of the alter was a crumpled up huminoid body in half-plate and there were two piles of bones, larger then any human bones. Once Gertri steps in, all but the dwarf rises. The skeletons appeared to be the remains of fallen ogres. The creature wearing the half-plate ends up being a orc that had been turned into a Wight. Having faced a Wight before the party focuses on him. Davor is enlarged and is determined to take out the undead orc. Davor was so set on finnishing off the Wight that he missed, a lot. While Davor and Rico work on the wight and Terrus Kelivar hides, Gertri manages to finnish off the two skeleton. Not wanting to be out done Davor starts actuly hitting the wight and finnish it off shortly. After the battle Gertri searches around the room. He has a strong earge to clean off the filth but relises that it was a job of many days and decides to finnish clearing out any threats before trying. He does do a little poking and proding at the dead dwarf but decides to leave it alone where it lies for now. The party returns to the main chamber and has four more doors to chose from. Going through one of the southern doors they find a kitchen and Gertri enters without any problems. Once Davor enters the solid wooden table springs to life and attacks the half-orc. During combat Gertri is torn, wondering why the table did not attack him. Instead of attacking the table Gertri begs for it to tell him why its attacking. Being struck once by the table Davor has no qualms with hacking the table to splinters, and does so within seconds.

After leaving the kitchen, the party approaches the only other southern door. Upon walking up to it there is another loud voice that magically yells “Intruder, Intruder”. Preparing for an attack the party covers all the doors. What follows is a battle that pushes the party to its limits. With only five duergar, three were grunts. One was a fighter with a two-bladed sword and the fith was a wizard. With a single spell of color spray, Davor and Rico would be put out of half the fight early on. As Davor was prone upon the ground, unresponsive, the wizard placed a flaming sphere on top of him. Figuring the half-orc was done for, he could concetrate on taking out the rest of the party. In the end the party is victorious. Though most of the group is close to death and almost all their spells depleted, they dare not stay another night. They have no other choice then to move on.

After gathering all the loot that can be found they party searches the rest of this level. No other duergar are found. They do find a large black orb floating in one of the empty rooms, and can tell that this is where the evil feelings were coming from. Any attempts to strike the orb with a non magical weapon passes through harmlessly. Detect magic caused Terrus Kelivar to go temperarly blind. Any magic cast at it made it pulse stronger. Positive engery from the wand of cure light wounds caused a surge of necromatic energy that hurt everyone. And Gertri putting his hand into it caused him to have some of his life sapped out of him. The party was at a complete lost as to what to do next. Knowing there was one more door they had not gone through the party decides to leave the orb for now. Following a tunnel the party finds a large pit that stretched down into darkness with a ladder. The group decideds to let Davor descend the ladder on his own to find out where it leads. Climbing for what seemed like hours Davor finds himself at the bottom of the ladder. He relises that he had long left the wall and now just hung onto the ladder in the middle of nothing but darkness. After catching himself from almost being blown off the ladder by a sudden gust of wind he finds himself staring into a eye that is larger then any creature he as ever seen. The eye looks reptilian, but Davor is unable to see anything other then the eye. A voice from the darkness ask if Davor had return to fulfill his end of the bargain. Confused Davor ask what bargain. The voice responds that the bargain was made a couple of millennia ago and he requires it to be fulfilled now. Davor ask what he should do and the eye/voice tells him to destory the orb of darkness. Davor tells the voice that they had found the orb but were unable to destroy it. A pain shoots through Davor’s mind as a spell is imparted onto him. The eye vannishes and Davor starts to climb back up the ladder. He increases his speed once he notices that the ladder is turning into rust and falling apart behind him.

When Davor returns and shared his story, he is confused as to how to use the spell. He is not a caster and he has no clue as to how to share the spell to the ones that are. Excitedly Rico pulls out his magnifying glass and uses it on Davor. With the spell came the knowledge that once it is used on the orb that the closer the party was to the orb the safer they would be. The spell allowed Rico to give one item the ability to be used in the destruction of the orb. He chose an arrow. The party gathers around the orb as close as they can and use the arrow on the orb. Everything went dark. The party awakes to find themselves in a small area underground with no way out. It being dark Terrus Kelivar cast a light spell, and gets a feeling like he has a stronger connection to his source of power. Running short on air, Terrus Kelivar attempts to go to sleep to see if he can have another oricals dream. Feeling a even stronger divine pull Gertri attempts a prayer. A crack appears above them. Not wide enough to escape but big enough to allow air to enter their soon to be tomb. As the groups thoughts on what to do next started to wind down they remebered a potion that was bought not to long ago. A potion that they were going to use to enter the lost stronghold. A potion of Stone shape. A within minutes the party was free of the earth. Once out of the ground the party looks around. They see a small black dragon fly well over head. Terrus Kelivar, who is sensitive to changes in the flow of time, has a strange feeling. Upon looking around and seeing that the land had changed, he has a strong suspicion that they had traveled back in time. The party find a defendable place and set up to rest. For the first time in what seemed a very long time, the party rest with no visit from a Wraith.

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No Rest In Undeath

As the party rested a malevolent force spreaded throughout the lost fortress. Near dawn all the slayen woke in a undead form. Most had risen as Ghouls, including the four dead orcs locked in the room that the party was resting in. During the initial fight Davor and Rico became paralyzed by the Ghouls attacks, leaving Goate to fight on his own. In the end the group are the victors. Once they were ready to leave their room, they opened the door only to find many more waiting for them. And leading the pact was the orc that had been throwing axes at Rico, now turned into a Wight. During the fight Davor ended up losing a level to the Wight, but the remains of fourteen orcs filled the small room and hallway. The partys single wand of healing is also being used up very quickly……. The Wraith floats by just as they are leaving.

The party returned to the last room they had made it to. With a trapped door to the North, a door to the South and a tunnel from which the stirges had emerged, they chose to go South. Goate attempts to sneak a peak into the room, only to be seen by a obvious female orc wearing robes. Goate promptly closed the door and fell back, letting Davor take up a position by the door. While waiting for someone to emerge they hear a door close from inside the room, and decide to charge in. Once in they find two female orcs cowering aginst the back wall, a table filled with alchemy materials and three large cages. One of the cages held a unconscious dwarf. Davor placed the cowering orcs into the other cages, one which has soiled herself at this point. Davor then rushes after the fleeing orc. After rounding a turn Davor has alchemist fire flung at him. Within a mater of seconds the orc is lying dead at his feet. The party finds another vial of alchemist fire and a magnifying glass with unknown magical properties on the dead orc. Davor returns to the caged orcs and questions them. The party is able to find out that the orcs have been using smoke sticks to get pass the stirges, that it is unknown what is down the tunnel and that noone has ever made it through the door of firey death. The weeping orcs are set free as the party decides on what to do next.

It is decided that since the Northern door has never been open that there must be great treasure locked inside, and the party decides to have Goate attempt to open it. All things were in Goate’s favor. He knew what the trap did, he understood where it was located and he was in no rush. Still, he managed to have an EPIC failure. After a alchemist fire bath and another charge used from their wand, the party decided to give it one more try. Goate manages to disarm the trap and open the door with no problems this time. Once inside they find a room just big enough to hold the containers with the alchemist fire mix for the trap. The mixture had been used up on the last attempt and the room held nothing else of intrest.

Feeling a little underwhelmed the party makes it way down the tunnel while holding a smoke stick. They were making their way slowly down when they came upon a small hole that they could hear buzzing from. The hole was just big enough for a stirge to squeeze through. The buzzing indicates an entire swarm of the flying blood suckers are on the other side. Using the intelligence that this band of heros has shown since they formed, Davor lit another smoke stick and plugged the hole with it. Once they heard a loud rumbling the partys slow descent became a mad dash into the unknown. The group emerged into a small cavern with a shallow pool of water that had a small stream flowing from it. There was a small island on the other side of the stream, a tunnel leading South and two doors to the East. On the island there was the remains of a humanoid figure, long dead, clutching a bastard sword. Though the remains shown that it had been there for a very long time, along with everything being covered with mold and fungi, the sword looked to be in good condition. Being nervous about crossing a stream shin deep, Davor devised a plan using a rope and a grappling hook to obtain the sword. With Davor and Goate standing on the eadge of the stream and Rico being well back, they put their plan into motion. Davor‘s aim was true, and the mold exploded into a toxic cloud that sapped both Davor’s and Goate’s constitution. They do manage to obtain the sword.

Tired and disheartened, the party clears out the next room and prepares for and extended rest once more. Rico determines that the bastard sword is in fact magical and gives it to Davor. The magnifying glass is magical and all he can determine is that it has something with looking into a persons memories. Eager to try it and with only one party memeber asleep at the time, he looks through it into Goate‘s mind. Rico sees and feels the events of Sten’s death. Having a better handle on what the item does, Rico decides to rest. Upon waking, Davor notices that his strength from the Wights attack has not returned (He rolled a 1 for the save). Goate awakes to find that Sten is not there, and is extreamly worried since he should be. Davor explains how Sten had died and that it was a bad idea to return to find him. With all the time spent in this place, the fortress almost feels like their home. Or their Crypt.

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