Servants of the Shard

Guardians of Arete: Session Four
Trouble with the Balacazars

Leto Schreyer:It is amazing how fate seems to be playing more for our side than we had originally anticipated.

Welcome back loyal readers. Fate does seem to have her own agenda and it seemingly in line with ours. If you remember from our last adventure, we had just finished getting the Illitor from the warrens of Verdivi. The Illitor turned out to be one of many.

After getting it “Identified,” we decided that since people might stare and gasp as we are walking down the streets of Ptolus with this very large and important artifact, that our safety might prove to be in some danger of an unknown form. This of course we could not allow. So where is the one place that we could go that no one would think to come and steal it; who is the only person that we feel at this stage of the game, can be trusted with this discovery? Lord Zavere of course. We end up going up to Castle Shard and dropping the Illitor off to him.

After exchanging the usual pleasantries that we have become accustomed to here at Castle Shard and answering some questions about the Illitor like how we came across it, he informs us that he was actually about to request our presence here at Castle shard.

Now here is where fate seems to be having a little fun with us… as it happens, we meet with Zavere and he has a job for us. What are the odds? No sooner than we end one job, does another fall in our lap. Again, the odds makers take a beating.

He would like our group to infiltrate the Balakazars, and more importantly, infiltrate Laneck Cran.

I would like to point out at this time that Zavere when we first met, told us and in fact didn’t just tell us but emphatically encouraged us to stay away from the Balakazar Crime syndicate. Now he wants us to infiltrate that very same syndicate and to top it all off, under the very brother of the notorious Torden Cran, the one who ordered the killing of Phon.

After some witty repartee, we agree and head off to see Laneck. As it happens, he was looking for a group of adventurer’s anyway. So we head over to see what he wanted us to do. As it turns out, nothing that seems to out of the ordinary… at least at first.

There apparently was a fire on an island in the Ptolus bay where some buildings caught fire and burned everything. We speculate that it ended up being a Schivvel plant that Laneck was in charge of for the Balakazars. Schivvel being of course a major drug in Ptolus. Now, if the syndicate lost everything due to Lanecks incompetence, then they may want to seek retribution. There was also a ship that was supposed to dock at the harbor that never made it because it also caught fire and sank to the bottom of the bay.

Laneck wants us to go to the bay and retrieve the coffin and body of his daughter. “Apparently” she perished on the island. He was keeping her there because he did not want her to become involved with the things happening on the main land.

While discussing all of this, we see behind Laneck, in his office, a very large life size human stature. Extremely well detailed, almost as if it had been cast. Here was the kicker… it was made of solid gold.

Back to the job…

Nadiera Bin Mustafa:So now we have this priceless illitor, in a city we know little about, filled with people we’re not sure we can trust. A little intimidating, to say the least. After much research into Lord Zavere, we decided he was the only one (and the only place) we could trust to keep it safe. Strangely enough, Zavere did not seem to know anything about the illitor. I found that surprising, considering how valuable it is supposed to be. But I believe he was sincere. In the meantime, it turns out, he had been calling for us. He had a task for us that was right up my alley.

Toridan Cran’s brother, Lineck, was up to something. He was looking for delvers to find something he had apparently lost. Zavere wanted to know what Lineck was looking for. So we were going to work undercover!

We went to see Lineck. He seemed more or less like your average thug. Except he had this eerie statue that looked like a man dipped in gold. Part of me was a little freaked out, but another part of me wondered how much something like this would be worth.

Anyway, it turns out what Lineck was looking for was his daughter’s coffin. The boat her coffin was on had gone down. I admit, I was surprised, I was expecting our quest to be for some priceless gem or weapon.

We went back to Lord Zavere and told him what we had found out. He reacted strangely when we told him about Lineck’s daughter. I can’t quite tell why, but he seemed upset. I just can’t read that guy. But get this, he seemed to know more about that weird statue. I don’t get it all, but it may be some guy under a spell. We told him we’d find out what we could.

So we took the job.

When we went back to Lineck’s, his assistant lead us to the place where the ship went down. I tried to ask nonchalantly about the statue. But I‘m more of a get-to-the-point gal and he saw right through me. A guy named Shilukar had given the statue to Lineck. I’ll try to find our more about him later.

We took a boat to where the ship went down and dove in. We found the ship fairly easily, but as soon as we got close, these fishy-looking monsters attacked. Only one got away, but it was not an easy fight under water! The ship was empty, no loot, no coffin. What now? Then we came across a MERMAN hiding around the side of the boat. He told us the fishy monsters had looted the ship and he knew where they had gone. He helped us get to the mouth of a cave that was under the city.

We snuck in and on a ledge that had a door near it, we saw some thugs AND the coffin! It was a fun battle that followed. We snuck up on them and took them down easily, with the help of their own servants!

But the coffin was empty!

The servants told us the coffin had held the little girl, but she had gotten up and run the other way. So we went to look for her. We found her, but the rest is hazy to me. I had a vision, a dream… a hallucination maybe? about her death. Well, suffice it to say, she’s dead. She really is, but she’s moving around and wants to go home. Okay, here we go…

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Guardians of Arete: Session Three
A Nest of Ratmen

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: Today was a good day! We decided to follow the map that the other party of adventurers had left for us. After much research, we went in thru the sewer gate. It was the crack of dawn, so nobody was around. We easily entered unnoticed. Down in the sewer, we crossed a bridge and went in thru a broken glass door. We heard scampering and whispering as we went down the corridor. But when we got to the end of the corridor, they weren’t around. We heard more noise off to our left and figured they went thru that door to hide.

So, there was a door off to the left, a door off to the right and a door straight ahead. It wasn’t on the map, so I thought maybe we had found something cool! But when we opened the door, it was trapped! I’m disgusted that I let it get by me, and all for nothing. There was nothing behind it!

We decided to go into the room on the left and find out what was hiding in there. Ratmen! Yuck, indeed, just like the map had said! There were just a handful so I expected we’d kill them all. One of them surrendered though and we talked to him a while. He wasn’t any help. He just kept calling us “sacrifices”. I was done! I lunged at him, but missed. Weird feeling… I’m pretty impulsive, but this was more rage than I’d felt since I left my father’s house. I thought I’d left all that behind.

I think someone tied him up or something, I was distracted.

But anyway, we decided to try the door on the right. It had a very nice opening mechanism. I was genuinely impressed. There was sculpture on the door and we had to pour water down the throat to get the door opened.

There was a really neat room/hall with columns in it. There were arches with recessed spots in them. They looked like you could insert an activator key of some kind. I know there is more to this than meets the eye, but we left it for now.

In the middle of the room was this freaky “hole” or something. It kind of throbs and gurgled. ICK! We weren’t sure what it did. We tried throwing things at and in it, but nothing happened. We left that room and good riddens if you ask me. It was too creepy, and I’m a fan of creepy.

So we explored the rest of the area. We came across a room with a nest of Ratbabies. OOOH, the moms were mad! Some of them just used swords, but there was this priestess that kept hurling spells at us. And this albino that had a poison knife. Suffice it to say, we fought long and hard and were very lucky when the priestess and the albino finally ran off.

After some more exploring we hit paydirt! Gold and gems and other neat things. We did not go thru the rat warrens because we were all too tired and battleworn. But it looks like this place can give us access to the undercity and we are all anxious to explore the columns and arches more. We found out there was a house for rent right above this place. So we decided to rent it. We have discussed hiring adventurers to explore the rat warrens, so we’ll see what comes of this!!!

Leto Schreyer: Sewers… I hate sewers. They are nasty, filthy and smell read bad. This particular entrance into the dungeon we are trying to go through is no different. Why cant there be any entrances to the Undercity dungeons in… I do not know, a wooded area for a change. Oh no… We have to go through a sewer.

Welcome back loyal readers. When I last left you, we had just received a map from Brother Fabitor. A map that was to lead to Verdivi’s secret hideout. What we found there is more chilling than anything we have seen… and more rewarding than anything thus far.

For me, Delving into the depths of the city sewers is not exactly what I had in mind for a good ole time. But that is where the map that I was able to copy down from the library said we needed to go in order to infiltrate this wizard’s hideout.

Let me say that once entered into this dungeon, we encountered resistance. Rat men were everywhere. It appeared that they have taken over this area of the dungeon for themselves. Nasty little fighters. Especially their priestess and this albino that we encountered. They had set p a nice encampment here and part of me feels real bad about the things we have had to do in this situation. I am a lover of nature and of all creatures. Not much else I can say about it.

In addition to the rat men, we also encountered what we believe to be a pit of insanity. Enough said. The opening to the pit seems to be a flesh-lined hallway with pustules and boils that are bursting and pulsating. It was the most bizarre and insane thing I have ever seen in my life. And that is saying something readers. I have never been afraid of anything but this made me think twice about this whole venture.

The pit also had one major side effect that caused the rat priestess and me a great deal of trouble. The pit causes every spell we try to cast go a little awry. Otto now has lizard-toned skin and Nadiera has a silver streak in her hair. Results could obviously have been much, much worse.

After reaching Verdivi’s actual chamber, we were able to find a spell book and a lot of wealth. Including the Illitor. The magical artifact in all of our dreams. We found it. We actually found it. Now, what to do with it is a completely different story. But this must be kept a secret. After consulting with a few people we feel that Zavere should be able to keep it safe for us until we need it or are able to keep it safe ourselves.

I must say that thus far, I have begun to have a better understanding of how our particular group seems to be fairing in this lovely city of Ptolus. We have held our own against some interesting foes and have wandered across a little fame and defiantly some fortune.

Nadiera has begun to grow more and more on me. While a little squeamish about certain things, rat men and the like, she is not as meek and shy as I thought she might be. Although, the whole bathing everyday and sometimes more than that is interesting.

Otto has proved to be a brave and noble person. He has become a knight in his heart and in my mind. He has been a great companion and I will be forever in his debt.

Ysobel has been proving more and more a leader everyday. She has great ideas and even greater follow through. I am still thoroughly impressed with the way she handled the watch over the Cran incident. Kudos for you here Ysobel.

And me my readers… I am just surviving. I have been trying to figure this world out and more importantly, how to get out of it. Do not get me wrong, I like this world but I also miss mine very deeply. And while fumbling around in the dark of Verdivi’s chambers, we may have come across a way. There was a room in there, a columned room with runes all over the columns. There were arches that spanned the tops of them.

They were beautiful. The runes themselves were interpreted by me to be a means of magical transport out of the realm. Now, according to Zavere, this should be impossible. But so was our transport in. In the arches, there seemed to be a missing keystone for lack of a better term.

Because of these discoveries, we have petitioned the delver’s guild to let us lay claim to this part of the dungeon system. We have also rented a house directly above and Raelic will be able to create an entrance directly to our new base of operations. However, more research on the pit of insanity will need to be completed as we do not know if prolonged exposure will result in any ill effects.

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Birth 12: After offering ratling babes to the Brotherhood of Redemption.

I am of two minds about the killing of defenseless evil creatures. They are evil, but they are defenseless. I am not sure which is the greater crime: killing them without mercy or allowing them to live and menace the rest of the civilized world. One action is hard on one’s soul, the other on one’s future existence. It is a good thing I am not paid for my philosophizing.

We explored the areas detailed on the map sent to us through Brother Fabitor. The stink of the sewers was almost overwhelming, but we pressed through that to the glass door on the map. It must have been lovely once – perhaps we can repair it once we remove the filth from this place.

The doors beyond showed the mark of Verdevis as we had found it recorded in the city library. His demesne was sizeable, and it has been inexpertly expanded by ratmen over the last generation. We did not explore their tunnels. We were not prepared for fighting in such close quarters and did not choose to risk our lives in such a foolhardy manner.

To be perfectly honest, there may have been too many ratmen present for us to defeat in one day.

From the design of this set of chambers, it is obvious that Verdivis was a mage of no little ability with a rather sadistic sense of humor. The first door we attempted to open turned out to be a trap made to look like a door. Nadeira thought she had disabled it, but its magic had not dissipated and blasted her instead. I’m sure any ratmen watching would have gotten a laugh out of our astonished faces. Do ratmen laugh at funny things?

The first group of ratmen we met fought well, but they did not have the coordinated defense required to withstand our attack. They had retreated into a room that they seemed to think was a safe haven. Perhaps they were planning an ambush. Unfortunately they had chosen a room with only one exit. We fought them and won, leaving only one alive. He was not very helpful but we could not in conscience kill an intelligent creature who asked for mercy. That is, three of us could not. Nadeira seemed to lose control of herself for a moment. I’m sure she simply feels the heat of battle more than I do. She is a human, after all.

We entered the remaining portions of the workshops through a door with an interesting device worked into the lock. Instead of using a key to unlock it, you pour water into the mouth of the beast depicted on the door. I’m not certain where the water drains to or if it is used up in some magical effect inside the door, but it could be an interesting mechanism to copy in the future.

The most disturbing part of this exploration was not the chamber of connected columns with empty sockets for stones of some sort. It was not the ratmen nursery full of mewling babes. It was not the fact that the ratmen abandoned their children rather than fighting to the death to save them, though I found that profoundly disturbing indeed. All creatures should feel the compulsion to protect their young at all costs. It is a part of nature that ought not to be subverted.

The most disturbing part of this whole adventure was the fleshy tunnel leading off one of the large rooms. The ratmen seemed to avoid it. It pulsed and moved like something alive, yet did not react to the objects we tossed down its length. I almost expected to see teeth at the opening. Perhaps this is the opening to the Pit of Insanity mentioned in those documents we were able to view about Verdevis. Certainly the spells that the ratling sorceress threw at my friends were affected by something. Leto turned the ratling red (a very pretty shade, too) while our friend Otto now has scales. I am worried that the effects of this spell may not wear off – it is possible that proximity to something as powerful as a pit of insanity may cause magical effects to become permanent.

Of course, were we to control access to such a pit, we could become comfortably wealthy in a very short time.

With the ratling sorceress there was an albino fighter. He did not fight as Otto does, with a sword out in front and his intentions known. Instead this ratman fought as Nadeira might one day – deviously, with poison and much subtlety. He escaped us, but he was badly wounded and should not offer too much resistance in the future. The sorceress also escaped.

The last room we visited seemed to have been a laboratory of some sort. There were two chests in the room that had not yet been ravaged by the ratmen. One contained some chunks of precious stones that could be useful in the future. We also found some money and other valuable items, and the one thing we had truly been looking for: The Illitor. That dream we all had a few nights ago has haunted me – it was a relief to see that my dream was a true prophesy. Perhaps now I can get some undisturbed sleep.

We did a bit of extra research about the area above this section of the city and found a house that sits atop the demesne. We have applied to the Delvers’ Guild for a special dispensation to control this section of the sewers and undercity and hope to make a more permanent base of operations. It is our hope that other adventurers will be interested in clearing out the ratmen infestation and assisting us with sealing off the area. The possibility of riches to be found or the certainty of a ransom from the Brotherhood of Redemption should be enough reward.

We took the Illitor to the oddity shop for identification. Myraeth offered us a hefty sum for the thing after one look, but when we told him of our dream he knew there was no price he could give us that would compensate us properly for its sale. He did tell us what it does: apparently the Illitor is the key to the jewels of Parnaeth, small pocket planes that surround the Spire. The one who wears the Illitor can enter the planes. The one who knows the order in which to enter the planes and can pass through all of them can become a god. Surely the prison of Praemal would not be able to confine a god; I may be able to go home yet.

Our next move is to take the Illtor to Lord Zavere. If he cannot keep it safe for us, no human can.

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Guardians of Arete: Session Two
The Mystery of Phon Deepens and a Side Trek to a "Haunted" House

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Birth 9 – after several days of hectic activity

We’ve spoken to Phon regarding the name Toradin Cran given to us by the elf we defeated at the warehouse a few days ago. She is unable to give us any information, so we decided to find out why he is involved in the assassination attempt ourselves.

I should try to avoid having bright ideas in the future.

The house itself was not difficult to find. Located in what seems to be a depressed but not entirely impoverished area, the house looked abandoned from the outside. Of course, many of its neighbors also looked abandoned, but people appeared as soon as a fight began.

But I confuse the story.

My brilliant tactical skills prompted me to try to gain entry into Toradin’s house. The plan was for Nadeira to gain roof or window access where she could shoot something, while I was to knock on the door to get the rest of the party inside. I disguised myself as the elf Lachio by donning a helmet and covering my hair, betting that a non-elf wouldn’t look closely enough to tell the difference. Nadeira has already determined that Toradin was a half-orc, so my gamble wasn’t as great as it would have been wee he human. Even in this world, half-orcs seem known more for cunning than true intelligence.

It was a good plan. It would have worked, had something not gone horribly wrong. Nadeira must have slipped – the roof was quite steep and she may not be used to this type of architecture. One of the people inside the house heard something and Toradin came out to investigate. He spotted her hiding on the roof and started throwing things at her.

She may not be as morally upright as some of my friends have been in the past, but she is my comrade. I kissed the pommel of my sword for luck and ran out into the street, hoping that my appearance would be distracting enough for her to get away. Unfortunately Toradin had a pet wizard in his house. Not a very good one, compared to some of the Archanists I have seen, but competent enough to send a nasty spell after Nadeira. Toradin accepted that I was Lachio and that my other companions were here to assist him – until someone attacked the wizard. Or was it until someone attacked Toradin? I don’t clearly remember the order of battle. Nadeira managed to jump off the roof without injuring herself, and to eviscerate the wizard while doing so. It was actually quite an impressive move. I hope she practices so it becomes second nature.

Toradin decided that that was a good moment to call me a traitor. I don’t like being insulted, especially when I haven’t done anything particularly wrong (though picking a fight in the middle of the street was not particularly right either), and so I felt the need to disabuse him of that notion. I took off my helmet and revealed my true self.

That sounds a lot grander than it actually was, of course. I probably said something silly. But it distracted Toradin enough that I managed to wound him rather badly. Unfortunately he’s a half-orc, and wounding him wasn’t enough. The next thing I remember is Leto telling me not to die. I was bleeding a lot, but I seemed to feel better than I should, considering the amount of blood I had lost. Leto must have healed me.

I tried. I really tried to stop Toradin before he hurt the rest of the party too badly. But I just couldn’t stay awake after that last swing.

When I woke up, Toradin was unconscious. Apparently Leto got the final blow, though Otto had done most of the damage. Nadeira had also taken some injuries and was still unconscious. We dragged the bodies (both dead and unconscious) into a neighboring house and I went to search Toradin’s squat. I found only the obvious things, but I wanted to make sure we had possession of them before the Watch arrived.

Apparently the neighbors don’t like it when people fight in the streets.

The Watch arrived quickly. I think they were less impressed by our apparent willingness to cooperate than by the fact that we had apprehended a wanted murderer for them. I’m sure the captain planned to take the credit, of course. He also took some of our gold – I am uncertain whether any of it will make its way into the Watch coffers, or if he’ll keep the majority of it and distribute the rest among his men.

Toradin Cran seems to have been a remarkably well-organized criminal. He had a ledger with neat entries detailing who had paid for what crimes. This could come in handy in the future, though most people seem to have given him false names, including the man who hired him to kill Phon.

We may have made a powerful enemy. I hope he doesn’t find out our names.

Yesterday we moved on to another adventure. A man in the North market district hired us to clear a house of unwanted ghosts. As it turned out, the ghosts were only a group of goblins trying to keep people away from the house. I felt a twinge killing such silly creatures, but they are not able to integrate well into city life and must be taught to keep away. We also sealed off the tunnel leading from Ghul’s Labyrinth under the city into the cellar of the house in question.

I must admit that I was taken in by the goblins at first. Though I was skeptical and expected to find a mundane answer to this otherworldly problem, when the stirge flew at me covered in a sheet I truly believed it to be the ghost of a woman long dead. Perhaps the stench of the offal in which I had been covered twisted my perception of the beast. In the end our kill included ten goblins; two escaped to find another lair.

Errol Yennick, our employer, was quite surprised – and I think slightly embarrassed – to find that the problem was goblins instead of ghosts. I think we should perhaps have piled the bodies in the house until we contacted him, and only then pulled them out for the neighbors to see. We don’t want to seem condescending to the people who pay us, after all. Humans don’t like that.

In addition to a large pile of nearly useless weaponry, we obtained two kegs of a well-aged and surpassingly fine brandy from the cellar. The money from the sale of the kegs was more than enough to make up for the small amount the people of Errol’s neighborhood could afford to pay us. After that find I’m sure all of us would be happy to render Errol any assistance he might need in the future.

At this point, the only thing that mars my contentment is the fact that I keep falling asleep. It’s unheard of – and actually quite scary. These dreams are nothing to shrug off either. Perhaps I should seek out some elves to ask how they deal with sleep – there must be someone out there who can help me.

Nadiera Bin Mustafa:So we went to find this Toradan Cran. He was the one who hired the guys at the warehouse. The house was in an abandoned-looking neighborhood, which was creepy because that’s when you always feel lots of people are watching. I much prefer to make myself invisible in a populated, busy area.

The houses looked like they were falling down. I looked around the house Toradin was in and peeked inside. I saw a half-orc and 2 men inside. I figured we could take them. I climbed up on the roof and thought I might sneak in thru the window and have the upper-hand. Ysobel did something brave, but risky. She put on a helmet and tried to impersonate Lachio. I had a feeling this wouldn’t work, but might provide some good distraction.

So, as I’m climbing up onto the roof, I guess I was not as svelte as I’d tried to be, because one of the guys inside heard me. The half-orc, who I assumed was Toradin, came out. I tried to hide, but there was not much cover up there and it was slippery. He saw me and tried to shoot me, but I dodged brilliantly. But then, this wizard came out and he got me really good with some spell or something. I always say, “Magic can kick your ass, but surprise knocks ‘em off their ass!” So I jumped. I jumped off the roof and twisted around so I could attack with my blade as I came down. I admit, I got lucky. I hit the wizard pretty good and landed without killing myself.

The third guy came out and we fought for a while. All I remember was getting hitting really hard. Then nothing. The next thing I knew, Brother Fabitor was standing over me, looking serious. He had healed me. Whoa! Creepy, I guess I could have died out there. I have new-found respect for my companions. Looks like they saved my butt. And found some interesting information in the process. Apparently, a crowd had appeared in the street during the fight and had called the Watch. They had moved us to an abandoned building and convinced the Watch to let us all go. A wish I had been a fly on THAT wall! They searched Fabitor’s place and found a lockbox. As soon as I was conscious, that’s the first thing I got to work on. I picked the lock and inside was a ledger. The name Methul Watcher jumped out as the person who may be trying to kill Phon. Fabitor did not recognize the name, but when we asked Phon, she froze up. We tried to find out why that name meant something to her, but she wouldn’t say. Otto tried to threaten her, such a sweet boy, but with a mean streak, maybe? Anyway, it turns out, this is Helmut, her lover. Fabitor tells us to leave it alone. But I think there’s something we should do to help her. Fabitor insists he will keep her safe.

On to other things, I suppose. Fabitor has a lead on a haunted house. Something I can really sink my scimitar into.

We went to talk to the neighbor of the haunted house. He says it’s creepy and just a nuisance and would pay us to find out what’s going on in there. Okay! As soon as we entered the house, this bucket of gory ick falls. Interesting trap…disgusting, yet painless. We searched around the house and it did seem spooky. Strange noises all over. Then we encountered a “ghost”. Something covered in a sheet. Otto revealed it and it was not a ghost at all, but stills something strange and not at all like anything I’ve seen in Caedmon. We dispatched it fairly easily and continued searching. We found a door leading down to a cellar, so of course, I had to know what was own there. I’ll tell you, Ysobel really holds her own. She has no fear and backs me up when I’m delving in headfirst. I respect that in a woman.

I’m disappointed to say that I did not detect a bunch of goblins in time and they started attacking us. They were not much of a fight at first, but thru a door and a long corridor, we encountered many more. They weren’t hard to kill, there were just so many of them and Otto couldn’t easily make it down the steps to help.

The last two goblins fled thru a small crack in the wall. We made sure no more could get that way again.

We did manage to find 2 barrels of brandy, which brought us a pretty penny at the inn. And was mighty tasty, I might add!

All in all, a good day’s work!

Leto Schreyer: We had received information, albeit by the end of sword and dagger, that a man by the name of Toridan Cran had hired the two thugs that we have just dispatched. We also learned that his brother is part of the large Crime Syndicate that is very prominent in Ptolus. That will way heavily on my mind. I mean we are not even here a month week and now we risk upsetting the large and very unforgiving Crime syndicate. Not bad if I say so myself.

After our last adventure, I came to the conclusion that I am probably not going to be going home anytime soon. My compatriots on the other hand are in the same boat that I am. I have come to also realize that they are a bunch of interesting people. Being a druid, I have learned to take things in stride…although I have been known to test some of my limits. I have also come to learn more about my companions…idiosyncrasies.

Otto tends to be a little gruffer than he looks like. After a little back lashing from Brother Fabitor, he will be a little gentler when dealing with Phon in the future. Ysobel is a wonderful negotiator. If she does not get an answer that she likes, she simply uses a more convincing argument by introducing her quarry with flip side of her hand. And her ability to “bluff” her way through the watch’s questions in a not so kosher situation. Nadiera, sweet Nadiera is a very bright morning person. A little too bright even for me. Coffee seems to be all she cares about at the start of her day.

Loyal readers… we were about ready to go to Toridan Cran’s house and, in our own way, persuade him to tell us who is responsible for trying to make Phon not alive anymore. Ysobel had been so kind as to take everything from the elf in the red warehouse, and in being an elf herself decided she was going to try to impersonate him. So we went and tried to do a little scouting ahead. Nadiera said she could go to the front window with out being seen. There were 3 men inside the house. 2 Humans and an Orc. Through Conversation that we heard, the Orc was Toridan. Nadiera then got on the roof to try to get a view from there and that is when the fun started. They heard her form inside and then came out and the party started.

The 3 tried to get Nadiera down by daggers flying in the air and at that Ysobel came around the corner with Otto and started joining in the fray. They were startled at this; probably wondering why one of there so called partners in crime were bretraying them.

The one closest to the house started to cast a spell and Nadiera, in a feet of acrobatics that you cant even describe, was able to flip off the roof and take the mage out in one shot. Let me tell you it was a site to see. We were able to get the other 2 unconcious and over to the opposite side of the street. At this point, we have a very large crowd outside watching us since we decided to do this in broad daylight. While Otto and I got the men and Nadiera by the way, I forgot to mention that she was also amongst the unconcious, Ysobel was able to very quickly go in the house to search for anything that may help us in this mystery about Phon.

She was able to find a Spell book and a text on Arcane Matters. While she was coming out the watch came by and demanded to know what happened. Thanks to Ysobel’s fancy talking, the watch let us go with only a 10gp per person fine. However, they took Toridan Cran into “custody”.

We went back to the house after the watch left and found an Iron Lock Box that contained 2 potions of Cure Light Wounds, and 3 bottles with the help of Brother Fabitor was able to identify as Alchemist Fire, 2 doses of Green blood oil poison and a bottle of Anti-toxin. There was also a book that contained a ledger and in the ledger we found an anagram for Helmut Istileien. He is the High Priest of the Watcher of the Skies. We have been able to at least find out who is responsible and in consultation with Brother Fabitor, we decide this will be where we end the mystery and Brother Fabitor will take care of making sure Phon does not get back in the public eye thus keeping her alive. Before leaving, Brother Fabitor goes to his office and while gone a group of adventurer’s come seeking help. Since Brother Fabitor was not around, I was able to help in making sure some of them did not die. I felt good about that. I only wish I could have done more.

Brother Fabitor has decided we could help with another matter. A haunted house was next to a friend that Brother Fabitor said we could try to solve the mystery of. Aerel Ynick of Lylack Street was who we were to see. He said that the Grayson house was the house next door. After visiting him and hearing the stories and1st hand accounts, we go back as prepared as we are able to be. We find the house seems on the verge of falling down. We were able to find out what was causing the ghostly form. Not a ghost but a Sturge. We dispatched him and his handler came out and wanted a piece of us as well. It was a goblin that did not pose a problem.

After killing them we found a trap door in the kitchen leading to the cellar. We went down and Found more goblins. Lots of them. We also discovered Ghouls Labyrinth; a network of tunnels and caves beneath the city. After cleaning up the mess and finding some treasure, namely 2 casks of Grayson Brandy, we went and collected our reward from Aerel. After that we adjourned back the inn where we got the brandy appraised and sold it for 500 gp.

Brother Fabitor had sent us a message to meet him at the church. We went and he told us that a group of adventurers that I had helped came in with a piece of paper that led to another adventure that we have decided to undertake dealing with a wizard and rat men.

After going to bed for the night, all of us had a dream of the Spire with a gold belt around it. From the belt were 2 chains to wristband that were also made of gold. Above were jewels that were circling the spire. They all of a sudden disappeared and a voice shouted from the void ILLITOR.

I am now going to go to rest and through mediation try to unravel some of the things I have seen. More accounts will be forthcoming as I have time to write them.

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Guardians of Arete: Session One
The Adventure Begins

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: What a bizarre day! I had just met up with some people who were cool enough to hang out with and we were talking about taking a job. Then out of the blue, I got dizzy and passed out. When I woke up, I was locked in room with a bunch of strangers. Out of the window, we saw a crazy big city that I’ve never seen before.

I heard people talking through the door and this big Reiksvergian guy in the room with me yells out to them. He doesn’t seem too bright. This sexy dark guy came to the door and started questioning us, like we were here on purpose. We told him we had no idea how we got there, or even WHERE we were. Then, get this, he tells us a big powerful purple crystal had brought us to a world I’d never heard of. He had no idea why, but supposedly we were brought for a reason.

So we’re stuck in this world, which actually sounds pretty cool, big cities, my kind of place. He had a courier take us to an inn, The Ghostly Minstrel. On the way there, we heard screaming, and the Reichsvergian guy, Otto is his name, goes running toward it. I told you, not too bright. Anyway, we followed and saw these 2 thugs beating the snot out of this woman. We messed them up and took their money, he he, nothing better then thieving from thieves!

Turns out they had been hired by someone to kill this woman. Ah ha! Our first adventure! We figured out that they were supposed to rendezvous with the person that hired them the next night. So we offered to let the thugs go if they laid low for a while.

We explored the Undercity Market that night and the North Market the next day while we waited for the meeting. It’s a cool city, I think I’ll like it here. Food is good, too! So it’s me Nadiera, and Otto, both of us are from Caedmon. Otto is a new knight, young and impetuous, brave though. There is a female elf with wild silver hair named Ysobel. She says she’s from a world called Illendell. She seems pleasant enough, if not a little high-strung. She’s a tough cookie though. Then we have a Druid name Leto, from Greyhawk. He’s quiet, but I think pretty powerful. Can’t wait to find out!

We went to the rendezvous at the warehouse. I picked the locks on the front and back door and we surprised the 2 thugs inside from opposite directions. There was a dog, which might have been a problem, but Leto subdued it easily. I think he’ll be handy to have around!

We tried to talk to the men, but they attacked. I’m sorry to say we ended up killing one them. But the other one told us they were working for someone else. This is turning into quite a mystery. Tomorrow we’ll see what we can dig up on this guy. But now, I’m pretty tired.

Leto Schreyer: Darkness… I had fallen into darkness and my head was raging and pulsing. Purple light everywhere. Pulsing… Throbbing. These were the feeling I experienced during the brief blackout period I experienced while trekking through the woods on my way to Cauldron in the Realm of Oerth.

I suppose I should introduce myself. Since I have no idea who will be privy to this journal of my travels, it is the polite thing to do so that I do not appear odd to you or anyone else. My name is Leto. I am a druid of the wood and a worshiper of Obad Hai. My stature is roughly normal to any human you may find in our realm, and build wise, I am somewhat on the average to less than average to any normal human. I wear leathers that would befit the station of a woodland druid. I have sandy/blonde hair and the beginnings of some chin hair.

I have an animal companion that has accompanied my through most of my life. A wolf named Raelic. He has been my trusted friend for a long time. He is mostly white with black fur on his chest region. He is gentle, fierce when needed, warm hearted and kind.

This is who I am. As I have said previous, I hope that you do not find me odd. I, on the other hand, am at a disadvantage not knowing who you are. This will be a unique experience for all involved…I am almost certain.

The darkness had befallen me. I was on my way to Cauldron. A city in the cauldron of a volcano in Oerth, when I felt a dizziness come upon me. I started to fade away in darkness. I turned to look at Raelic, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was not sure what was happening. Then a light started to come into view. Purple light it was. It was a shard of some sort. The shard was floating there amidst the darkness. Beautiful purple light. Then it started to pulse. Throbbing in my head. Then, as if I had been yanked from all existence, one final pull as if I had been thrown back my some great force, I appeared on a floor of stone. The place was dark… except for one window that was shining sunlight through it. Birds were chirping as if they had not a care in the world.

I started to gather myself and look at my surroundings. A stone room was around me. A room I did not recognize. The throbbing and pulsing of my head lessened as the minutes went on. I stood and looked around. 3 other people were around me in the room. But where was Raelic. I looked and found a pile of rubble in one of the corners. It was a pile of stone. I looked and it began to move. It stood to the height of around 4 feet. It looked at me and I at it. It was Raelic. I could not believe it. He had transformed into an Earth elemental. How was this possible? I was not sure but I asked him if he was all right and once I was sure he was not injured, I began to look around at the others that were present and was bound to figure out what was going on, where I was, how I got here and most important of all, how I could get back.

The other 3 were not anything abnormal to what I was used to seeing around Oerth, but they definitely came from all walks of life. Nadiera, a lovely women, looks like she might be after more than just your coin purse with her dark and sleek demeanor; Otto, a young chivalric knight, will almost certainly prove useful in battle; Ysobel is a beautiful and strong albeit sullen elven fighter that has the wisdom to help us in any situation.

As we all studied our surroundings, Nadiera was busy trying to find a way out. She and Otto were over at the door when they heard 2 voices over on the other side. Otto, without much consultation, well none at all really, knocked profoundly on the door and demanded to be heard. The door opened and a Man decked in very vibrantly noble black garb opened the door. He introduced himself as Lord Zavere, Lord of Castle Shard. He took us from our present chamber across the castle to a sitting room that I must say was much more comfortable and proper for a meeting such as ours.

We were offered wine and fruit or whatever we desired in that fashion. We were told that not only were we a surprise to Lord Zavere, but to many others in the castle. He told us that the shard that brought us here, the shard that we saw in our minds, was a piece of moon from a world called Caedmon. He tells us about the Empire came into being about the races and other cities that encompass this world of Praemal. We also learn that this is a sealed world, sealed from inter-planar travel and what has happened should not have happened or even been possible.

After we talk for a while and learn about possibilities of why and how we were brought here, we decide that we must find out how this was possible. The only way to do that will be to will be to go into this world and try to piece together what we know and find what we do not.

After learning some of the customs, the do’s and don’ts, we leave for the Ghostly Minstrel Inne. On our way there, we hear a girl being attacked. Like all good people we have to go and see what is going on. We a young girl whose name we find out to be Phon, being attacked by 2 thugs. We incapacitate them and find out that they were hired to kill the girl. They do not know why nor do they care. But they see the error of their ways after a bit of persuasion from Ysobel. We find out that they were supposed to meet their contact at a warehouse the next night. Well since there is wrongdoing, Otto suggest we take the meeting and see why this young girl has drawn some attention.

We take Phon to Brother Fabitor, a priest for the Church of Lothian. He takes the girl in and tells us that she is pregnant and the father is unknown, but may a man of influence in the city. This becomes more and more curious as this part of my tales begins to unfold. After dropping off Phon, we continue to the Inne. We get our rooms and find that there are individuals of all types there. Even a Ogre Mage who is reading. Not really out of the question, but rather unexpected.

After settling in and having a wonderful meal, we decide to head to an underground market. This is the Undercity Market. Interesting place if you need quick money or are looking to deal in unscrupulous ways. Ysobel seems to have much more knowledge on certain items that the rest of us had not a chance to see or even here about. Guns (as I think she put it) were high on that list.

After getting a good nights sleep, which I desperately needed, we went out to a type of farmers market for some fresh fruit and relaxation before heading over to the warehouse to doing a little preparation for our rendezvous.

After looking about, we see 2 men and a dog enter the building after everything has closed down for the day. Finally, a situation that I am uniquely helpful in. The dog ended up proving to not even be a factor after I was able to interact with it on an animalistic level.

The 2 men were able to be subdued although, one of them died in the process. They informed us, after some help from Raelic on the interrogation, that they were hired to kill the girl. Since they did not want to do the dirty work themselves, they hired the 2 thugs that we had already dealt with. A lot of money, time and effort seems to have been put into the dispatching of little Phon. They told us that a man by the name of Toridan hired them to kill her. Our next move is to pay him a visit and see where all this leads.

At his point, I have come to the conclusion that if I want to find out what is going on, and if I ever want to get back home, then I need to stay with these 3 friends and help them do the same. I cannot do it on my own and they will need my help as well. We seem to be a good group and all seemingly have the same interests at heart. Not to mention that I have not been killed yet and neither has Raelic. That my readers, is a big part of keeping them around. For I have a strong feeling, that it only gets harder on the way.

Ysobel Shadowcaster: It was my birthday.

Simon was being his usual self: strange, gnomish, and curious. We had all adjourned to a local inn for a quick refresher. I was taken ill almost immediately, but no one noticed. Then a purple mist started to gather before my eyes – the manifestation of a type of magic I have never before seen.

I don’t even care for purple.

Then a vision appeared before my eyes: a glowing purple crystal. The crystal pulsed with light, and every pulse made my head feel as though a vise was tightening around it. Thankfully unconsciousness saved me from the pain.

When I woke, I was much disoriented. (Unconsciousness has been particularly disturbing to me ever since the Longest Night.) My head felt just as it did the night my mentor was killed – only this time I hadn’t enjoyed the rush of power first. When I got my bearings, I realized that I wasn’t alone. There were three humans and a rock in the small room with me, and none of them looked particularly happy. Even the rock seemed uncomfortable, though that could have been due to being above ground level.

The view out the window was staggering – a city easily larger than Tir, possibly larger than Claddus! It stretched away as far as I could see with towers soaring into the sky. There were some notable things missing from the view, of course, but the city was impressive in its own right. (I later learned that the city houses some 75,000 inhabitants – more than in many nations on my world. Staggering.)

My companions and I introduced ourselves to one another. Otto seems to be a fairly sound nut, but I’m not so certain of that young creature Nadiera. She seems shifty to me – she was too quick to agree with Otto that they came from the same world. I believe the chances of that are slim at best since Leto and I are definitely from different places. It would seem more likely that each of us was pulled from a distinct place. However, it seems expedient to keep these thoughts to myself until such time as Otto is no longer dependent on her company. And it could be that I am mistaken.

Leto seems to be some kind of priestly nature man – I think they called them Druids in the human lands of Illendel. His rock is an earth elemental name Raelic. Otto is a fighter of some sort, though he seems to attach more importance to the title he earns than to the deeds that earn the title. He also seems very young. Nadiera has a penchant for acquiring object with questionable ownership lineages. The laws in this place are fairly strict in many ways. I hope she exercises care.

Our unhappy hosts eventually deigned to speak with us. Lord Zavere seems experienced for a human – he has the confidence of many years about him. Lady Rrill also has an air of confidence, though not where we are concerned. According to them, we have been pulled from our various homes by the crystal shard from which Castle Shard draws its name. It’s purple. The whole castle is purple.

I truly do not care for purple.

The world in which we find ourselves prisoned is named Praemal. This city is called Ptolus. Lord Zavere indicated that the crystal shard is from a moon of another world, one named Caedmon. (Now that I write this, I recall that Otto and Nadiera claimed to be from that world. Perhaps the affinity of the crystal explains why two were drawn from one place. I shall be kinder to the girl.) There are some strange things about the crystal that I do not wish to think of right now. The crystal has never pulled people from other worlds before. (I must admit that while I could have done without this particular birthday present, it is nice to be treated as something unique again.)

Lord Zavere and Lady Rrill were pleasant enough to a group of strangers. It is understandable that they should, as caretakers of such a powerful artifact, feel some responsibility for its victims, but their efforts on our behalf were most generous. Lord Zavere arranged for identity papers (how barbaric it is to be in a world that requires such a thing) and a brief explanation of the political system (it’s very like a Gnomish farce) for us all.

Lord Zavere suggested that our group may find good fortune as adventurers in the Undercity – a recently discovered warren of catacombs and older buildings beneath present-day Ptolus. He directed us to the Ghostly Minstrel, an inn near the Undercity Market where we could find comfortable lodging.

While on our way to the inn, we encountered a lovely young woman in severe difficulties. Otto and the others were able to handle the problem with little trouble. I feel confident that they will make good comrades in danger. They all seem to have been trained well and to take their duties seriously. If we persist in our endeavors, we might even follow this chain of assassins all the way to the top. It is hard to imagine what reason anyone could have for killing such a pretty creature, but if there is a reason we shall find it.

It is strange to shop in this new place, for nothing is what it should be. Where are the steamjacks, the gnomish inventors, and the flying cities? Why are most of the firearms so old? What are stars, and why do people keep looking to the sky at night as if there might be something to see?

Moreover, what is an Elder, and why does my hair make other elves stop and stare? I have never cared to be conspicuous, and finding myself unable to hide among those of my own kind troubles me greatly. I fear that my differences will lead me into danger eventually.

One thing I know: it was my birthday. Here that day is called Birth 4, and I shall not forget that.

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