Servants of the Shard

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.

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.

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.

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…

Guardians of Arete: Session Five
Trouble with the Balacazars 2 and the Search for Phon

Ysobel Shadowcaster:Birth 21: I have one at last.

The past few days seem to blur together up to a point. I don’t quite recall what we discussed with Lord Zavere a few days ago, but I know we left the Illitor in his care. Lady Rrill was going to examine it at her leisure.

Lord Zavere asked us to look into a matter concerning Laneck Cran, brother of Toradin Cran. We did, though it cost us some few hours underwater. I love the surface of the sea, but it turns out that I do not care for getting wet under it.

Laneck wanted us to retrieve his daughter’s casket from a wrecked ship. We would have done so, but Linnel had already vacated the box and was willing to accompany us without it. When we arrived at Laneck’s offices, he was startled and upset that his daughter was no longer completely dead. Unfortuantely he was less concerned with his daughter than with her possessions.

It seems ironic that Linnel’s prized possession was a watched possessed by a demon.

I know that my friends and I were expecting something to happen when we brought Linnel home. We wee not surprised when she attacked her father, ripping his throat out. We were unable to stop her (she has gained quite a lot of power since her death) but we fought anyway. She allowed us to live. She seems to be some form of vampire that can move about in daylight. Unfortunately she still has the possessed possession.

No, that joke is certainly not going to work.

Shanus, Laneck’s helpful secretary, explained why the watch was so important. Apparently the pocketwatch contains a demon that is the only Praemal-bound source of the recipe for Shivvel. It is an evil object that corrupt those who are in contact wth it, which could explain why Laneck’s daughter rose from the dead in sucha n unorthodox form.

Shanus agreed to give us the statue of Lord Abercoomb as our reward instead of spending coin on us. I believe he means to escape the city and his connection with Laneck, though he may seek employment with a different group of scoundrels instead. He asked us to inform Lord Zavere that he gave us the statue freely, knowing that we would pass it on. Lord Zavere was mildly surprised by that information.

We used the reward he gave us to purchase some furnishings for our home. We are on our way to having exclusive rights to the portion of the undercity attached to Verdevis’ domain.

A few days after our adventures with Linnel, Brother Fabitor asked us to help him find Phon. She was abducted from the safe haven he had provided for her. Her host was roughed up in the tussle, but not so hurt he could not identify his own son among those who took her. That type of event is the kind of thing that breaks the hearts of the strongest men.

Rather than confronting the coppersmith, we put out the word that we needed his son for a job. Gareth met us at the Ghostly Minstrel with some of his fellow thugs. Not one of them could have been more than sixteen years old – Gareth was barely thirteen! It pains me to think of such young creatures ruining their lives and the lives of their families by dealing in treachery. Gareth told us that he had been paid to take Phon to a prearranged meeting place and leave her there. He also claimed that she went willingly, and that she knew the man she was supposed to meet. The only thing redeeming about Gareth was the fact that he still isn’t ready to kill his victims – but I fear that may change someday.

In preparation for our expected confrontation with Helmut, we decided to enter the Temple of the Watcher of the Skies in the temple district and learn what we could. I was surprised that the Watcher is thought of as neutral; I am not used to gods that do not take an active role in the lives of their followers. Most people prefer to think that they are being taken care of by their deity.

Several of the people in the temple bore the mark of the Fateweavers upon their foreheads. I knew that Helmut was the titular leader of the Republican movement in Ptolus, but I had not realized that he took an active role in encouraging such groups.

One of the acolytes in the temple gave us some general information about his faith. He also mentioned that Helmut was out of town at a conference far away, and that he would not be back soon.

When the cat’s away…

Poor Minaster. A worse day to be someone’s household sorcerer I could not imagine. To almost die, then to lose the one whom you have been charged with protecting must be a terrible burden. We managed to sneak into the house easily, but the house was not designed to allow silent movement inside. Minaster tried to kill us all with magic, and his sister tried to kill us with her sword. I think the only thing that stopped her was my threat that I would kill her brother outright if she did not yield.

Phon was lying in a secret room beyond the main bedchamber. It was quite comfortable: not a prison in the usual sense. Phon actually wanted to stay until she heard that Helmut planned to have her child killed. She could accept almost anything from him, but not that. I think she will make a good mother yet.

Phon’s guards and guardians explained that Phon’s child was a runebearer and the harbinger of the end of days. Her child is fated to be a part of the Night of Dissolution. Having examined some of Helmut’s other prophecies, I see large holes in his interpretations of these portents. We know that the original runebearers were heroes who fought against the Galchutt; why then will these new runebearers be evil? Of course, he is the one who has prophetic dreams; I merely have strange dreams telling e to look for lost objects. I wonder what Helmut would make of that one?

There are many things we learned after that which I do not yet comprehend. Brother Fabitor was very grateful to have Phon back in his custody. (It cannot be easy to love a beautiful woman who truly loves another man.) He was also shocked to learn that our group is from other worlds outside of Praemal. He told us that the Vallis moon, of which the crystal in Castle Shard is a part, will appear again before the Night of Dissolution, and that we must be here to stop the end of the world.

In fact, the only unadulterated good that came of the past few days is my new obsession. I finally have a gun after so many years of wanting one. I’m going to have to keep it secret of course – only citizens have the papers to carry a gun. Btu if I don’t carry it in the city and only use it underground, will anyone really care? And that large chamber in Verdevis’ domain would be so perfect for a practice range.

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: We led Lineck’s daughter back to his office. We decided we should probably clue him in as to her undead state before reuniting them. He asked if she had anything with her. We told him about the pocketwatch. Freaked out as he might have been, he wanted to see her right away. She entered and suddenly turned on Lineck. She was out for blood, Lineck’s…and lots of it. A vampire!!! Although I have no great love for Lineck, we were still technically in his employ and I don’t really like to see anyone devoured by a bloodsucking demon. We tried to protect him, we got a few good blows in, a few of us were wounded pretty badly, and she still got to Lineck before we could stop her.

She turned to go and we tried to stop her. But she was too fast for us. Surprisingly, before she left, she told us she wasn’t after us and didn’t want to kill us. We were her way of getting to her father, so she left us alive.

Lineck’s right-hand-man, was put out. He started packing and said he was leaving town. He told us Lineck only wanted the watch anyway, it held the secret to Shivvil-making. Anyway, he went to start to pay us and we asked again about the golden statue. After explaining its importance to Castle Shard, he was willing to give us the statue in lieu of our payment, as long as we told Zavere that he gave it to us willingly. Looks like he’s trying to earn a little favor with Lord Zavere. We rounded up a cart and took the statue back to Lord Zavere.

When we got to Castle Shard, Lord Zavere was happy to have the statue back , but they still didn’t know how to release him. We’ll start looking into that right away.

So, we got a huge payment from Lord Zavere, enough to furnish our new house! It’s becoming quite homey now! But just as we were getting settled in, we got a message from Brother Fabitor. It seems Phon had been kidnapped.

We did some recon and tracked down one of the thugs. He was little more than a bratty kid, so getting information from him was pretty easy, though we had figured that it was Helmut and the Watchers anyway. Strangely though, the kid said Phon had gone quite willingly. After a little underhanded research (and bribery), we found Helmut’s address and thought we’d start there.

We went to the house and knocked on the door, faking a delivery. The person who answered said no one was home and there weren’t any servants. We decided we could take them and broke in through the window a little later.

An interesting thing happened. I had a new potion of invisibility to try and thought this would be a good opportunity to give it a try. So I snuck around the house and was promptly spotted!!! Some potion!! I had just made it up the steps and this guy hit me with a blast of fire. Not good! A fierce battle broke out in which I think I may have lost consciousness for a couple of minutes. But Leto must have healed me quickly. Then, in my anger at the first guy, I may have showed a little too much zeal, because I heard Ysobel yell not to kill him, right as I made contact. Well, luckily I didn’t kill him, but came close, close enough to knock him out good. Oh well, he deserved it, throwing fire at me when I’m supposed to be invisible!

So it turns out, the man and woman we fought were the only ones there and they were protecting, you guessed it, Phon! She welcomed us and seemed happy to see us, but not relieved or anything. The kid had been telling the truth, she was happily staying here until she had her baby. But something just wasn’t quite right. I could tell the woman watching her was hiding something, and I wasn’t giving up until I found out what. I think my companions must have thought I was nuts because, after asking several times and not getting a satisfying response, I pulled a knife and held it to her throat and demanded she tell me what was going on. Extreme? Yes, but it worked.

We found out they were planning to kill the baby when it was born because it was destined to bring about the end of the world. Okay, this needs more research and we know just who to ask.

We took Phon back to Fabitor and decided to let on where we were really from. We got more information than I was ready for. My head is spinning, I need a bath….

Leto Schreyer: The things we do for a job. I cannot remember being this run-around in a long time. Where I came from I was learning the arts of being a druid. Learning how to be one with nature and respecting every living creature. Now, Ever since being in Ptolus, that has been put into serious Jeopardy.

When we last left our friends, we were escorting Lanek’s daughter Lanel, back to him. Just to recap very briefly, we found her coffin empty and we found her… dead. Well, dead in the sense that she is no long living, however is still moving about. Really kind of freaky if you ask me. She had been clutching a watch the entire time we had seen her. However, the watch was not magical when I attempted to see if it had an inner light.

We got her back to Laneck without to much trouble. In fact, she was very eager to go. We went into his office and right when she entered, she attacked him and her true from became apparent. She had turned into a being of the night. She had turned into a vampire. No one is very clear how this has happened as of yet, only that it did. And one more thing that has really stuck in my mind… it was broad daylight. How can she have survived?

She attacked Laneck fiercely and killed him. Before we could finish her off, she thanked us as we were the vehicle for her revenge and then misted away. The watch and everything was all gone. We were able to find out that the watch was the key to shivvel production; that it was possessed by a demon and it could have a very powerful way if suggestion about it. Now there is a succubus running around with the key to Shivvel production ad we do not know where she went. This has turned out very bad. We were able however to secure the gold statue of Lord Abercombe and was able to get it to Castle Shard.

After talking with Zavere about the incident with Laneck, he told us about the Covenant of Blood; a vampire syndicate that the Balakazars were holding “hostage” for lack of a better term. We were paid 2000 gp for retrieving his body. Much needed wealth I might add.

After leaving and heading back to our house and furnishing it with very nice furniture, Brother Fabitor had sent a messenger to us and asked us to come immediately.

We go and see him and he tells us that Phon has gone missing; that the person watching her was beaten up and she was taken. After a bit of information gathering, we were able to find the kid that attacked Phon’s protector. It ended up being his own son. The watcher of the sky hired him.

After doing a bit of recon in the temple of the watcher of the sky, we learn that the high Priest Helmut is out of town. This became a perfect opportunity to search his house.

We head over there, after brining a city official to learn his address, and learn that the fate weavers have been helping Helmut in the little adventure for Phon’s care. We find in his house a few prophecies that I will go into later, and we find Phon. She was being kept here. We learn why she seems so important to everyone… or rather why her child is so important. He is believed to be a rune bearer. They believe that he will bring about the night of dissolution. Where the Galchutt (Lords of Chaos) will be able to break out of their prison, which is supposed to be beneath Ptolus, and destroy the world practically.

Well… this little adventure just keeps getting better and better. It has been one little turn after another. Well my loyal readers, I am tired and there is a lot to think about. I shall write more when I know more.

Guardians of Arete: Session Six

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Birth 30 – What have we done?

Our hunt for Shilokar proved successful, after a fashion. I doubt Otto and Nadeira will be welcome at the Onyx Spider ever again. I’m certain Nadeira’s little stunt with the cards is going to come back to haunt us all soon. Otto’s immediate reaction is also unsettling; I understand backing a comrade in an unfair fight, but backing a comrade who was cheating? It unsettles me. I’m glad they only told me the bare bones of that story. On the bright side, Nadeira did overhear some information that proved useful in our quest to find Shilokar.

Leto and I found some information that further unnerved us. The Idol of Ravaan is apparently in the city. I’m not certain whether I should be more terrified of the pocket watch or this thing – they are both so very evil, it is difficult to measure which is worse. The Visage of Liam, another object mentioned in the prophecy Nadeira pocketed from Helmut’s desk, also showed up in various historical texts. We put all of our pieces together and decided to concentrate our search on a vacant lot in the Guildsman district.

The lot itself was quite deserted and full of ruins. We decided to post a watch at the lot all night. Luckily we only waited about half the night for the first blue gnoll to exit the underground labyrinth.

Yes. The gnoll was blue. I promise you I wasn’t seeing things. It also had horns, glowing eyes, and bled green ichor. Leto seemed to think it has some demonic taint about it.

After killing that first gnoll, we used his key to enter the underground lair of Shilokar. IT was apparently once a part of Ghul’s labyrinth –that annoying green stone was prevalent throughout. We took a number of the more ordinary type of gnoll by surprise – there was a lot of blood shed. Then we were confronted by the other demonic creature.

We survived, as you who read this know, but only because Shilokar chose not to destroy us. He stepped forward to parlay after we killed what might have been the last of his guards. I am certain that he could have burned us to cinders where we stood, but he wanted us to take a message to Lord Zavere.

Nadeira was most unhappy about it, but we eventually persuaded her that it was fo the best. I’m uncertain if Leto assented through a true conviction that we had no other choice, or if he is merely biding his time for a later attack on Shilokar. I do not think that would be wise – our current level of expertise with our various weapons is not enough to defeat him and Leto is not yet capable of supplying us with the type of magical support we would require for such an endeavor.

Shilokar’s message was simple: he wanted us to assure Lord Zavere that he did indeed have the restorative for Lord Abercoomb’s unfortunate condition and that he would supply it to Zavere if he were offered asylum within the city. Shilokar, as a dark elf, is not legally permitted to operate within the city limits. He may not even be permitted to reside here for nonprofessional purposes, though I am no expert in the laws of Ptolus.

We did as requested. Lord Zavere is prepared to offer asylum to Shilokar. Our attempt to retrieve the restorative was his only hope of not doing so, and we did not completely succeed.

On a more personal note, I think I may have found a haven within this city. The area known as Emerald Hill is home to a great number of local elves and to a sanctuary called The Wind’s Mystery. I think I shall enjoy making some new friends there. I certainly enjoyed my conversation with Alninai Silvertree. She seems to be the personal assistant to Doradian Mythlord, the de facto leader of the Emerald hill contingent.

Alninai suggested that I should seek our Kaira Swanwing, the leader of the Knights of the Golden Cross. She also has silver hair, but as she grew up in this world she knows more about what that means to people here. I hope she can explain it to someone so unused to the idea that silver is a strange color for hair.

I almost feel distain for the elves I see here – they seem so human and wrong somehow. I must work against that impulse until I no longer feel it.

Lord Zavere also gave us advice about other organizations we might want to work with in the future. Leto is interested in the group of druids working out of the Necropolis. Zavere has warned him not to venture there at night – I only hope Leto heeds that warning. And Nadeira is interested in the Longfingers Guild. It is odd to think of thieves as having honor, but compared to the Ballacazars, the Longfingers Guild seems almost genteel.

Otto seems miffed that he has not been singled out for an organization – but he does not present himself as one looking for sponsorship. Perhaps we can change that.

Lord Zavere almost seemed to take pleasure in our discomfiture as he listed all the people who are showing an interest in us. While Brother Fabitor is pleased with us the Chaos Cults that know about us can’t be happy. And Helmut is not happy. And the Fateweavers are not happy. In fact, I am not happy – Fate seems to be paying attention to us very closely right now, and that does not indicate that our sojurn in this city is going to be uneventful.

Imagine my astonishment when Zavere presented us with friendship bands after listing our “accomplishments”. Now everyone we meet will know where our loyalties lie – and who has pledged his honor to vouch for us. It is a bold move on his part, and a scary thing for us to live up to on ours.

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: My gambling skills may need a little work.

I thought I might find some good information about Shilukar by hitting one of the seedier joints in town. Otto offered to join me in case I got into trouble. It was good to have the back up, but I told him to keep his distance so it didn’t look like I had a bodyguard.

I overheard someone talking about blue gnolls and no one believed him. This could be something. So after his buddies left, I bought the stranger a drink and found out what he knew. Sure enough, I had heard correctly, blue gnolls, and an elf named “Sheelikar”. Coincidence? He told me where to look for him.

I went up to the gambling tables to see if I could find out anything else useful. Yeah, I might have pulled a fast one once or twice, but the hothead at the table threw a hissy fit. He accused me of cheating and it looked like I might have a problem. Then Otto came to my rescue. Good thing Otto didn’t know the guy was right about the cheating, or he might have gone to get a drink or something while the guy pounded on me.

Long story short, we (Otto mostly) kicked his butt and we made a hasty retreat from the tavern. I probably won’t be going back there soon…ever.

Meanwhile, Leto and Ysobel had been doing their own research. So it was decided. We were going to track down Shilukar on his own turf in the Guildsman District.

We scouted out the part of the city he was in and found a door of sorts that led underground, but it obviously used some kind of magical key. So all we could do was wait.

Ysobel wanted to visit Emerald Hill, some Elven sanctuary or something. We all went, but it was obvious Otto and I were NOT welcome there. We waited outside the tavern while Leto and Ysobel did their thing. Pretty place, a little clean for me.

Then we went to the stakeout! Boring for a few hours, then out came this blue gnoll. He was not too hard to take and I pocketed the magical key. Really interesting purple fur! I wonder what I could get for the hide and horns? My plan was to skin him later…

We went underground and fought some more gnolls and a mage. The mage gave us real trouble, but we were doing okay until Shilukar shows up and casts a sleep spell. Otto was out cold, and the battle kind of fizzled. Besides, Shilukar just wanted to talk. He claimed he could just kill us if he wanted to, but he had a purpose for us. He said he’s been orchestrating this whole thing the whole time to get us to take his case to Lord Zavere. He wants sanctuary in Castle Shard and will trade the cure for Zavere’s Golden Guy friend. Whatever…what else can we do? We told him we’d take it to Zavere. At least we got some good loot out of the fight!

So we went to see Zavere. He agrees, what else can he do but offer Shilukar sanctuary. We told him about the blue gnolls, and my plan to skin them, and he blows his top. He calls me a barbarian! Yeah right, like I’d ever be a barbarian! Not in THIS world! So I see we have differing opinions on the case, so I apologized and told him I’d drop it. I guess it was the right decision because Zavere presented us all with Bands of Respect, that will mark us as friends of Castle Shard. That could prove very useful. Oh yes…

Leto Schreyer: Before delving into what might be another epic chapter in the events of my life since entering Ptolus, allow me to preface the words that I do not know what goes through that woman’s head sometimes. I am of course speaking of Nadiera. Who apparently is not as able-bodied at thievery as she thinks she is. Here is what brought me to this relatively simple conclusion:

On the orders of Zavere, we were to do whatever was deemed necessary in order to get the restorative from Shilukar, a dark elf that has sent missive to Castle Shard offering a trade of the restorative for sanctuary. So we went and were going to try to get the restorative in the 2 days we had left from Shilukar’s noted deadline.

Now, Isobel and I were taking the research approach. A noble time spent in the library researching for things and events that might help us. We looked up the Idol of Ravan as well as Visage of Liem. More on those very interesting topics in a moment. Otto and Nadiera were to go to the casino and try to learn a few things about Shilukar and where he might actually be hiding. Long story short, they started a bar brawl that got them kicked out not to return. Although it was not a total loss I suppose. Nadiera was able to overhear about a dark elf that has blue colored gnolls.

Now being of the druid persuasion, I was able to here the account from Nadiera and I quite honestly did not know what she could be talking about. As far as I was concerned, there was nothing like that in nature. So, were going to be going up against a new creature that I am not sure how I will be able to fight against. Except to say hit it hard and often.

Now, where was I… Oh yes, the more sensible research topics. The Idol of Ravan is a squat stone statue of a chimerical beast. It is chaotic evil in nature and will turn your best friend ever against you to the point of death just being around it. The statue being ancient to be sure also has one major feature… it is able to change the features of itself at will. You could be looking at horns on the statue one minute and the next they will be gone. It also has a great negative effect on creatures.

The visage of Liem is a statue on Brandywine Street in the guildsman district. Liem, or Liem Oathbreaker was a soldier that had standing orders to stay at his post when barbarians were breaking down the gates of his city. He disobeyed those orders and took up men and arms and went out and met them head on killing the opposing forces General forcing them to surrender I believe. Isobel had this topic… this is all second hand; for his victory, the erected a statue to him. According to the prophecies that we found in Helmut’s house, we are to seek Shilukar near the Visage of Liem.

Before heading over to the lot, we decide to let Isobel go and visit the elves. We are actually going to see the elves. I like elves. They are very helpful and understand my persuasions better than anyone other than other druids.

We enter Emerald hill and while Isobel and I seems to be accepted, Nadiera and Otto not so much. Go figure that one. Big surprise there. Do not get me wrong, I owe a lot to Nadiera. But there are times when I just want to go over there while she has her back turned and….................calm…......................calm….......................calm.

We head over to what we believe to be the tavern of Emerald Hill. Nadiera and Otto feel it is best to stay outside with Raelic while Isobel and I go in. Probably smart move. Though why they felt the need to make my poor little earth elemental companion play fetch is beyond me.

The waiter who, like all the elves in here are befuddled by Isobel’s hair greets us. They seem to think she is related to the elders. I do not ask questions about it. I am afraid of what the answers might actually be. He gets us our drinks and an elf by the name of Alninai Silvertree comes over and welcomes us the Winds Mystery Tavern. She tells us that she is the aide of Daradian Mythlord who is the defacto leader of the elves here in Ptolus and would like permission to let him know that she is here. She grants her request. Alninai also suggests that since we do not know if Isobel is actually of elder decent to talk to an elf by the name of Kaira Swanwing. She is of elder decent and can possibly help Isobel find her heritage. She also heads and organization called the Knights of the Golden Cross; an order that seems to be trying to stop the night of dissolution.

We also find out that Shilukar is in exile even from his own people. That he has been walking around under the guise of a Scholl elf.

I also find out where the druids of the city are. They are trying to reclaim the area in the Necropolis where all the undead and zombies seems to be. Andak is the leader of the druid resistance. Alninai invites Isobel and I to come back and visit as often as we wish. Otto and Nadiera are welcomed as well, as long as they do not cause trouble.

So we decide to wait till after everyone closes up shop for the day and head over to the vacant lot where the statue seems guarding. A lot of brush and stone are in the area as if something great once stood there. We take up our positions and wait for Nadiera to scout ahead. She was able to find a cover stone that seems to lead beneath the lot itself. Once I get over there I am able to determine that it is a magical opening devise that will take a key. So we wait and sure enough something opens the cover stone, steps out and starts to close it behind him. I would never have believed my eyes, but it was one of the blue gnolls. It was actually a blue gnoll. He put up a great fight. I was worried for a little while. Once dead, I go over to examine the body. He smelled of sulfur and Brimstone. He has blue skin and purple fur. He also has abyssal blood. Great.

After entering and dispatching a few more gnolls (normal gnolls that is,) the second blue gnolls appears and give us trouble. Just as we finished dispatching him and his cleric friend who was incredibly hard to hit and just would not die, Otto falls asleep. I turn around and there is Shilukar. After finding out that he has the restorative, we strike a deal and want to go to Castle Shard to present it to Lord Zavere.

We head up to Castle Shard where we have a huge breakfast. We talk to Lord Zavere and present Shilukar’s offer to him. After discussing our concerns, he has no option but to agree. Shilukar will have Sanctuary and Lord Abercombe will be restored.

Before leaving, we find out more about the Order of the Golden Cross that they operate outside the government per say. They keep a low profile and oppose any chaos that comes around. They have no legal charter however they are not stopped by anyone in the empire. He also tells me about Andak. He is located on Clasthamus Isle just off the Necropolis. He was the head druid of the Circle of Green before Ghul destroyed them. He is trying to make sure the dark reliquary does not expand. Demons in the area are trying to bring about the night of dissolution. He is opposing them at all costs.

After finding this out, Lord Zavere gives us 4 rings. He tells us that these are friendship rings. They are engraved with Castle Shard. This will let anyone know that we are friends of Castle Shard and have earned and deserve the loyalty and respect thereof.

Thus we must close another chapter of my stay here in Ptolus. I hope that my next adventure will not be so exciting. While the excitement is good is most regards, I am ready for just a little less action. Till next time loyal readers.

Guardians of Arete: Session Seven
The Tomb Temple of Kelvin: Part One

Ysobel Shadowcaster:Wind 18

In which we are approached by a mysterious stranger.

That sounds so melodramatic. My teachers would be very proud – it really proves that elves are meant to be entertainers. But it is true. In fact we were approached by more than one mysterious stranger, though not at the same time, and we did seek out the first.

In the time following our encounter with Shilokar, we entered upon various new activities. Otto began an apprenticeship at the Bull and Bear Armory. He intends to craft his own armor from pieces he has gathered in our adventures. I wish him luck – and I hope that his teachers will be good to him and not allow him to produce inferior work simply to make him happy. Leto spent several days in magical studies and the creation of scrolls for later use. Nadeira practiced some card tricks and little feats of legerdemain. Fortunately, nothing Nadeira did was in any way immoral – entertaining people with simple tricks is a far cry from cheating at cards.

I chose to follow the advice of Alninai Silvertree and Lord Zavere. After dressing appropriately, my companions and I sought the home of Kaira Swanwing. The exterior of the house was stone – a very human design and not what I had expected at all – but the interior had all that one could desire: a courtyard full of blooms, animals living without fear, and a serene atmosphere unlike the rest of the area.

Kaira herself was the most beautiful elf I have ever seen. She wears her silver air with pride – not hiding and shrinking as I have in this city. She informed me that the bearer of silver hair has been marked by the blood of the elder elves, and great things are expected of her. We spoke of the elder elves and their great city of Dreta Fantis. In this world, the elves had a king – one who slept eternally. Since the world is still here, it is assumed that he is still sleeping in his city, though it has long since been taken beneath the earth by the dark elves. She spoke of some artifacts that allowed the king to travel interdimensionally: the Dreaming Stone and the Cask of Frozen Dreams. These artifacts disappeared centuries ago.

To my regret, Kaira also told us what happened to the elder elves in this world: they were twisted by Ghul, becoming the harrow elves. While not inherently evil like the dark elves, the harrow elves are quick to anger, more likely to resort to violence, and driven by revenge.

We asked her about the Runebearers and Helmut’s systematic quest to exterminate them. She did not have any answers for us, but assured us that the Knights of the Golden Cross wouldn’t simply sit by and watch. Her order fights the end of all things, and if Helmut gets in her way I pity him. Apparently the Runebearers have only cropped up in the past decade or so. The first was the son of one of the Balacazars, and others have followed.

I felt it important to let Kaira know that I was not born in this world – it seems like lying to claim the blood of their elder elves when I am from a different world. She felt that my world must have been visited by her elder elves at some point in the past, and that my people are all descendants of that race. Knowing this truly set my mind at ease; I no longer feel like my existence is a lie. I also know what to expect when people approach me because of my hair. It is believed that those born with silver hair have an inherent connection to All Things, and have a concurrent responsibility as caretakers of the Multiverse.

Not long after our visit with Kaira Swanwing, a man wearing a hooded cloak knocked on our door. He was younger than I had anticipated when he removed his hood. He explained that he was a priest of Kelvon, ferryman of the dead. He asked us to return to his temple and speak with his superiors regarding the Demense of Verdevis.

We agreed (who can resist a personal invitation like that?) and followed him to the temple district. He introduced us to High Priest Tyrus. Tyrus explained that the demesne was built in or around part of an old burial ground dedicated to Kelvon. Their former high priest, Abasthor, had gone to explore about fifty years ago, but never returned. Tyrus was able to tell us that his order was forced out by devotees of Orcus about 100 years ago.

Tyrus wants to know what happened to the burial grounds. He asked that any treasure we found that was specifically religious in nature be preserved for his order, especially the holy symbol of the high priest, but agreed that any nondenominational loot would be ours if we survived. Unfortunately, the only information he could give us about finding the burial ground was that the door was carved with the likeness of Kelvon.

Knowing that followers of Orcus have a deep and abiding interest in the undead, I prudently armed myself with a club – just in case we encounter any walking skeletons. We also made sure to take some holy water with us, though we may have under packed.

When we entered Verdevis’ domain, we chose the door carved with the visage of Kelvon as instructed. The room behind was a dead end, but we searched until we found a secret passage. The hallway beyond the door was definitely not a part of Ghul’s labyrinth. The stone was not that unsettling green and the walls were carved with images of burial processions.

Much further down that same hall we found another secret opening. We opened it after Nadeira disarmed the traps set on it, but we did not walk further in that direction. Instead we went down the original hallway to inspect the fountain in the large room at the end. The fountain was full of blood, and the skeletons lying in the water sprang to life when Otto entered the room.

I have never been so terrified in my life. One skeleton hit me hard enough to cause me to lose consciousness. When I awoke, Otto was barely standing and Leto had his hands full trying to stop us all from dying. It took a good deal longer for us to kill all of the skeletons – it seems more jumped out of the fountain every few seconds. Leto is certain that more will come after us every time we enter the room – it must have some sort of magical proximity alarm. I am somewhat confused by this, as the fountain did not register an intruder until after Nadeira had been in the room for some minutes, and Leto is able to move freely though the space as well. There is something else happening when I enter this room.

After the intensive fighting, we decided to explore the secret passage we’d found rather than chance more skeletons. I can only hope we’ve made the right decision.

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: Today we did something exciting and terrifying!

First, we went to see Kyra Swanwing. She’s the Elf who Ysobel was told to see. Turns out Ysobel may have the blood of the Elder Elves after all. Apparently, with the help of the “Dreaming Stone” and the “Cask of Frozen Dreams” or something, the Elder Elves could travel to different worlds. Cool, huh? So, I wonder if Ysobel could be able to this too somehow someday. She may be cooler than I gave her credit for.

Then Kyra Swanwing told us about the Knights of the Golden Cross and invited us to join…even me!

Needless to say, I needed time to think on this and went gambling. I lost again, what is wrong with me in this world anyway?

A few weeks later, a Priest of Kelvin showed up at our front door. He asked about the Demense of Verdevis. He took us to the High Priest who wanted to talk to us.

So the High Priest tells us that there were crypts under our house (surprise, surprise) and some undead cults had forced out the caretakers of the crypts a long time ago. Great!

A high priest named Abisthor had gone to find out what happened and never came back. So we’re supposed to go in, hopefully find Abisthor or at least the Holy symbol he was wearing and, oh yeah, hopefully not die doing it. So, of course, we accepted the job!!

When we went back in to Verdevis’ Demense, we found a secret passage we had not seen before in the room the ratmen had holed up in the last time. Then we saw it, a fountain that spewed blood! Gross! But of course we went into the room! It was deliciously intriguing!

Sadly, the rest is hazy to me. All I remember was a wave or 2 of skeletons coming out of the fountain at us. We fought as hard as we could, then decided to retreat. Ysobel went down and I tried to pull her out as I backed out. But the last thing I remember was 2 skeletons coming at me from either side….

Next thing I knew, we were outside in the hallway. Leto and Otto were panting and looked totally exhausted. I guess they got us out but just barely. Whew!! OK, which way now??

Leto Schreyer: Magic can be a fickle thing. I only say this because the Demesne of Verdivis has caused me to be a little weary every time I go down to Ghuls Labyrinth. Ever since that time when my spells went awry, it has been source of apprehension for me, even more so since I have decided to add the arcane side of the art to my repertoire. But more on that later.

When we last left our hero’s, we were thinking about taking some time to ourselves. I had some major scroll scribing to accomplish, Otto was busy trying to make some armor. This was a little funny in its own right. He had found a smithy to help him craft pieces of armor into usable wearable pieces. However, he did not do as well as he would have thought. Let’s just say his first attempt could not be used as a very very large paperweight.

Nadiera was going to go do some gambling. Go figure that out. I only hope she does not cheat this time. Or if she does, that she is better at it this time. I do not know how often she would be able to afford repairs either if she gets caught.

Ysobel was talking about going to see Kyra Swanwing. There were two reasons actually for wanting to go see her. First was for Ysobel to start talking about how she might have the blood of the Elders. Second was to learn more about the Knights of the Golden Cross.

We were able to find out about Ysobel’s heritage and learned that the Elder Elves were able to travel to different planes and realms even though Ptolus was a “prison” world. Nothing in or out. So, Ysobel may have in fact the blood of the Elders coursing through her veins.

The Knights of the Golden Cross are an organization outside the scope of the government of Ptolus. They fight evil of all sorts and anyone is able to join. Kyra even went as far as to invite Nadiera. All joking aside, she may make a very nice addition to the order itself.

After about 2 weeks of gathering information and doing our various and sundry things around Ptolus, we received a visitor from the temple of Kelvin. He wanted us to come see the High Priest of Kelvin. He was asking us about the Demesne of Verdivis and what all we had found down there. He was also concerned about one of his priests named Abisthor. He had apparently gone down to find out what had happened and never returned. He wanted us to go forth and find him, or his remains and if he was dead to bring back his holy symbol.

Now I bring you back to my apprehension about going back down there where the magic seems to be in a uncontrollable form. There have been many unpredictable things that happened the last time and I was not looking forward to it again.

We agree to go down, not only to find Abisthor but also to see what might be coming through our little hide-a-way.

We get down there and find that there was secret passage in the northern room where we though there was no door. We go through the passage and find what I was able to figure out as a warding against good spell. Meaning only evil things can go through. Not a pleasant thing the first time through.

As we traverse further, we find a very large fountain that is spewing and bubbling out blood of all things. But then I thought about it, dark evil dements, eerie feeling all around, why not have it spewing blood. Fits the profile right? So we go forth to try and search the room and the fountain for lack of a better term goes crazy. Skeletons come climbing out and start attacking us. How rude. Oh my kingdom for a Cleric.

We end defeating them after Ysobel and Nadiera fall over dying. I used the wand of healing like candy to keep everyone alive. I was surprised we made it out. Nadiera was out for most of it. Go figure that one. ;) We also realized that only when we stepped in the boundries of the room did the fountain start giving us skeleton love. So we decided to go down a secret passage that we found just before the fountain room.

After healing everyone, we decide to head down that passage and see if there is a different way through.

Well, I must get back to exploring this tomb. Hopefully this wont be the last entry I write.

Guardians of Arete: Session Eight
Tomb Temple of Kelvin: Part Two

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: So avoiding a bloody, skeleton-spewing fountain seems like a great idea for now.

We decide to go down the secret passage we had come across before. It appears the lever we had found might have shut off the traps, but we’ll see. I’m going to keep on my guard anyway! I used my handy-dandy new trapfinding balls and proceded to promptly lose one in this icky sewagy mire. I was hesitant to pull it out, their pretty inexpensive and this stuff looks gross. So I walked on past, heck, I’ve got plenty more balls at my disposal.

There was a thin passage that went past the water toward a door at the end of the hall, so I went that way. All of a sudden, this huge FROG came out of the water at me! He had me pinned to the wall with his disgustingly huge tongue. I didn’t even have the time to think about grabbing a dagger when Otto, that big brave lunk, came slicing at the tongue. He freed me in a swipe and the frog slipped back into the water.

We kept moving and through the door we found a large opening that went many directions. There was a small cliff to either side and a fissure in one area. I wanted to check out the cliff areas first. In one, we came across some empty coffins that housed undead skeletons. Great! In the other, found 6 empty simple sarcophagi and then 2 really ornate ones. My mouth was watering, I expected untold riches to be found in these. But sadly, all we found were 2 ghosts that were near impossible to fight! It didn’t matter how well I fought, I couldn’t touch them. But they could touch me! One of the ghosts got me with their knife and I felt my knees buckle. I could barely stand up, let alone jump, twist or run, which is truthfully what I pride myself on! Oddly, Ysobel hit them every time! Thank goodness! We got out of there alive!

So then come the rats. I hear rats and I have to kill them. It’s just my way. I’m not sure the rest of the group cared, but they went with me to kill them. And it ended up pretty profitable. We got some neat loot from the rats’ nest.

Not long after this minor victory though, we got to some more icky water and guess what jumps out at us? You guessed it! Huge, gross frogs. Otto got bit by one of them, it had crazy sharp teeth. Strange frog!

Something terribly interesting happened then. We came to this fork in the road, the path broken by a huge stalagmite. It was really quite beautiful and fascinating. Otto said, left, he has some sort of issue with always going left (Superstition?) So we went left and came to a stone wall, after getting over it, another wall, and so on. It looked like it must just loop back to the beginning, so we kept going. When all at once, what comes after us but an ogre! Of course! Of course, we’d find an ogre down here! We killed it pretty easily, although I must admit in retrospect, it did seem like we happened upon his home and he was just defending it. Oh well, it was still an ogre and we got tons of good loot out of it!

So, it seemed pretty much like your average day of coming out victorious over insignificant creatures. We kept going into another cavern and fought 6 or so undead creatures. They weren’t too much trouble, so I kept going in further. When I saw something I don’t think I’ve ever seen the likes of before. I started to feel my knees buckle again, only I hadn’t been stabbed or anything this time. It was a wight, and it was horrific! It shot a spell at us and Ysobel ran screaming! She ran right out the room! We all kept fighting and then another spell or something and Otto went running! Alright, this is creepy! Leto, Raelic and I kept fighting and we were doing okay. But if another of us got hit and left screaming, there was going to be big trouble. It seemed luck was on our side though, because the three of us took it down.

We hit paydirt this time, there was a lot of gold and some neat toys in there. Well, I’m off to count our wealth and appraise all our new stuff. More soon…

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Wind 18

A short while later.

Our decision to descend into the secret tombs of Kelvon was a good one. WE are still alive, mostly, and in possession of some valuable artifacts.

I think the giant frogs were the worst part of it. I had expected skeletons or zombies. But giant frogs? Otto seemed to take their measure right away – he chopped through a tongue of two during the first battle. I merely shot the frog’s body, which seemed to do little.

The secret places of this tomb are partially formed from natural caverns. It might be interesting to explore more of the Undercity to see what other natural formations have been adapted for use by various groups. Many of the walls and doors had been defaced with the symbol of Orcus painted in what looked like (but surely could not be) blood. There were also some magical amulets bearing his symbol, but they are not items we are willing to use for ourselves. We plan to destroy them and use the materials for trade.

There were a number of empty sarcophagi in the chambers. We also ran into a pair of shadowy figures wearing the holy symbol of Kelvon. It saddens me to think that these great warriors of their church could be corrupted for such evil purposes when they have long been dead. Perhaps my people back home had it right – it is better not to worship a god at all than to be subject to such an indignity when one is dead.

Something we have learned: my magical long sword can hit some creatures when more earthbound weapons cannot.

Nadeira heard whistling at one point in the cave. At another she heard rats. Naturally we always follow up on Nadeira’s tips. That may be why we are always injured. The rats were large and unfriendly. We had them almost cornered in their den – no wonder they fought so hard! There were some rat skeletons near another tunnel mouth, which we studiously avoided. We have decided that large carnivores are not always ours for the taking (though Nadeira insisted that she heard something expensive down the tunnel).

We ran into another pair of giant frogs – this time guarding a door we cannot open. I think we need a key, or perhaps a magic spell – to open this iron door. We hope to go back and open it in the future.

In another part of the same cavern we were attacked by an ogre.

There is something you should know about ogres before you go haring off on your first adventure. They smell very VERY bad. They are not clean, they are not friendly, and they certainly don’t have anything to say to you. If you, reader, are thinking of becoming an adventurer, please remember this: you WILL meet an ogre, it WILL stink very badly, and you WILL wish you had never been born at some point either before or after the conflict. Take heed, and prepare.

There is something else you should know about ogres, reader. They like to keep things, and hey don’t care what it is. If you expect to get rich from killing an ogre, you WILL have to dig through the foulest pile of trash and excrement you could ever imagine, and you WILL have to carry all of that treasure, still stinking, back home to wash it off. IT doesn’t stop smelling like ogre until you’ve cleaned it properly, and you can’t get the best price for smelly things. Remember, and use lye soap.

We killed the ogre and took its smelly treasure.

The next chamber we entered is different. WE faced the skeletons (common fare around here) with no trouble, but the wight around the corner is another matter. He must have some special power to inspire terror in his enemies, for I was unable to face him. To my shame I fled, leaving my companions far behind. Otto was likewise affected by the creature, but he cannot run quite so fast as I and did not make it so far out of the cavern. I must find some way to apologize to my friends.

When I came back to my senses, I realized that the wight must be stopped. I ran back to my companions, but the wight was dead. Leto killed it. That young man has strange depths in him – I would not have taken it poorly if both he and Nadeira had run after we fled. But they stayed, and they fought, and they prevailed.

Hmm – Nadeira might not make such a bad knight at that.

After destroying the wight we decided that the worst parts of the tombs had been cleared of vermin. We returned to the temple of Kelvon, taking the holy symbol and a few other oddments with us. The priests were better than their word, healing us of our injuries and restoring Nadeira’s strength, lost to one of the frogs, to her.

We now expect to spend some time training to better battle the undead, various spirit creatures, and other nefarious beings in the future. I intend to do a bit of research on a few subjects myself – I need to know what the religions of this world are, how they interact, and what that means to me. People believe I have a destiny here – that we all do. My hair marks me as special. I need to find a foundation I can stand on – one that is not based on what everyone else expects of me, but on what I expect of myself.

Guardians of Arete: Session Ten
Tomb Temple of Kelvin: Part Four

Nadiera Bin Mustafa: After stocking up on supplies, we decided to go down the collapsed-looking area we had bypassed before. Once we started going, we realized it was a definite corridor. It was rough-going, but no problem for me. Otto had some trouble climbing around and apparently made too much noise. Next thing we new, we were fighting this HUGE bug! Gross!! He wasn’t too hard to kill. Among some bones in that area, we found some neat stuff, including a magical throwing axe…Cool! And some malachite…I love malachite!

Next we came across an opening that opened into a bunch of split caverns. We saw a stone statue, the first of many we would find. It looked to real to be carved, which made my hair stand on end. There were weird burrows in the walls. Leto figured out they were cave morays, that would reach out and grab things as they walked passed. I am certainly impressed with their stealthy and sneaky style of fighting!! But as we inspected the burrows, they were all empty, and it looked like something had come through and got them all.

Going down one path, we saw an opening with an obelisk . I was so intrigued that I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Because I ran right into some kind of invisible wall. Ow! The weird thing is that none of us could go past it except for Otto. What’s up with that?

He went in and described some doors that went into a room. Inside there were biers, an alter, sarcophagi and, get this? A candle that kept burning! There was a body that was not decayed and a sword on his chest. Someone figured out that it read “Flail the Great…” I think Leto had heard a legend about this guy and the sword, that he was a hero that was killed by this sword and that maybe his soul was trapped in the sword. Cool!!! Well, we found a hidden way around that we could all go in. They wouldn’t let me look in any of the coffins, whatever! I wasn’t comfortable in that “holy” room anyway! Anyway, after way too much debate, they took the sword to show it to the Priest of Kelvin.

We kept going and came across…the Basalisk!! Luckily, none of us were turned to stone, although truthfully, it was not an easy fight! We fought some more of those disgusting bugs and then, we heard ANOTHER basilisk! Rats! No, not rats this time…

It was a hard fight, but Boy, did we hit paydirt! Tons of gold, armor, jewels! I think I’m getting those goggles of night I’ve been wanted for so long! What a fabulous rogue I will be then!!

But that depends who you ask, because I few minutes later, I guess I got a little too cocky and missed 2 traps on a door that I thought I had disabled. Nothing was hurt except my ego though. Anyway, I guess we hit paydirt for Leto because I swear he was about to start crying when we entered. It was full of books, not my cup of tea but whatever. We carried them out for Leto. He’s helped me enough the past few weeks. We also found a key! This is what we’ve been looking for. Let’s see if it opens the door…

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Wind 21

In search of Abbasthor once more.

When we left the burial chambers of Kelvon, we left some specific places unexplored. A door we could not open still remains a mystery, but the natural cleft surrounded by bones was more straightforward. First Otto fell down into the depressed area surrounding the cleft, then we were attacked by a giant beetle. We really need to buy that young man a ladder.

Otto was mostly unharmed by his fall. The beetle was likewise unharmed until I fired my pistol – and still it took substantial efforts from all of us to bring the creature down. Raelic fell to a single blow. I’m still not sure how much damage that poor creature can take – and I am afraid to talk to Leto about it, for fear the reality is worse than I suspect.

The tunnel guarded by the beetle was in fact a wide passage, easily able to accommodate an abbreviated funeral procession. It was obvious that only important people were buried in this area. The bas-relief on the wall pictured knights in full armor on biers. The perfect spiral to the passage also indicated the importance of this section.

I the large cavern at the end of the passage we found a strange object. A statue of a man garbed as an adventurer stood in perfect detail wearing a look of surprise mixed with horror. The detail was too perfect to have been carved by any hand. Leto found some tracks indicating that an eight-legged creature was in the area. With those two details facing us, we decided that we should assume the worst and prepare to face a basilisk. Leto additionally informed us that we were facing a cave infested with cave morays, carnivorous serpents that lie in wait for their prey.

As we explored this section of the catacombs, we found an odd thing: one of the cave morays had been petrified by the basilisk, and had become a beautiful statue. It is possible that someone among the noble houses in Ptolus could have an interest in sculpture created in this manner. Myraith has indicated that he could find a market for such an item.

Further down the corridor, we encountered an energy barrier that blocked most of us from continuing. Otto was able to pass through. He feels that the barrier was placed there to prevent the unworthy from defiling the tomb beyond. The place was the holy tomb of Flail the Great, hero of Ptolus and champion of the Church of Kelvon. Leto was able to give us some of his history, though large pieces were missing from the story. It is said that he was buried with the blade that slew him, the sword Exordius. Those rumors are true; what is more, Flail’s death seems to have purified the blade and made it something more than just a magical sword.

A fissure had opened up in the rear portion of the tomb, allowing the rest of us to join Otto. The tomb was completely untouched by time except for the crack in the rear wall. Flail’s body is still perfectly preserved. What is stranger still is the fact that, while I now find the thought of a body untouched by time to be unsettling, in the tomb I felt only peace and safety.

Leto cast a spell to identify the magical properties of the sword Exordius. The spell seemed to take on a life of its own – tendrils of light that we could all see reached out from the sword and probed each of us. It was very like being pierced by a blade of sunlight, but there was no pain. The sword contains the souls of those it slew before Flail, and it also seems to contain Flail’s soul as well, though that is speculation at this point. Only a consummate warrior with the right bent of mind could awaken the full powers of that weapon.

As we continued through the dungeon, Otto chose to wield Exordius instead of his other weapons. The sword is a thing of beauty indeed – it glowed when used in battle, and seemed to give pause to our enemies. Even the basilisk could not stand against it, though it tried valiantly. Nadeira harvested its eyes for Leto, in case he wanted to use them in his spells. She struck many powerful blows on this foray, actually. Her blow struck down the basilisk and the large stag beetle that attacked her later. She is indeed proving her worth as a fighter despite her obvious shortcomings – perhaps she will turn to a life of law one day.

Perhaps pigs will fly to the top of the Spire and preach wisdom, dropping pearls down upon the rest of us.

We had another surprise on this trip. A second basilisk laid a clever trap for us. Luckily Nadeira’s eyes were more clever still. Raelic redeemed his honor by striking this one down. The many items of value we found with this one made the extra effort of killing it worth while. Otto now has a pair of gloves that assist him with feats of strength. Leto is better protected from attack by a magical ring. The money we found will enable us to purchase still other magical items to assist us in the fight to clear the tombs.

We also found the remains of an alchemical lab on this level of the cavern system. Leto was pleased to find a wizard’s library, complete with spell books full of new information. The wizard Taren may be the statue we found in front of the hideaway, or he might have been killed at another time. Whoever he was, he dabbled with more powerful magics than he ought. There is a statue of a Vroc in his chambers, and it was not carved but created from living tissue. I pity the fool who reads the name on the plaque aloud.

Also amongst Taren’s things we found a magical silver key. It is marked with two symbols of chaos, and it changes shape to fit any lock. Leto complained of weakness when carrying the key, indicating that its nature is not entirely benign. Myraith confirmed that when we showed it to him. The key is capable of opening any lock – at a price. The price varies, but there is no way to tell the price before you use the key. It drains life energy, disabling the user to some extent. There is no indication that it would stop draining before it killed the user. We have deposited the key in Castle Shard for safekeeping, after placing it in a lead-lined box to prevent someone from scrying its location.

Myraith offered us a kingly sum for the key by itself – and triple that if we produced the chest it had been intended to open by the Tolling Bell Cult. Any item worth 60,000 pieces of gold (and obviously more, for he would simply sell it at a profit) is almost certainly dangerous. I have not decided whether we should attempt to gain control of the chest or not.

After visiting Castle Shard to drop off the key, we returned to the temple of Kelvon to speak with High Priest Tyrus. We presented him with the sword Exordius and explained that we hoped the soul of Flail could be restored to his body. Tyrus explained that such an act was impossible under the circumstance, since Flail’s soul was trapped in a physical object designed to imprison it. He also mentioned that there were none within his order capable of casting the necessary spells, even if it had been possible. His unhappiness, though muted by acceptance, was painful to see – his order has faded since Flail’s death and the loss of their burial chambers, and they are no longer one of the great religions in this land. I hope that the worship of Kelvon does not fade altogether. Even the gods get lonely.

Otto told Tyrus that he was not worthy to wield the sword. In the interests of being quite truthful, I told him that none of us was capable of awakening it to its full potential at this time, but that we would like to be considered for such an honor if the situation changes. Otto may not feel that the stewardship of such an artifact is a suitable occupation, but I disagree. The preservation of a weapon made to give the wielder the soothing comfort of sunshine and the knowledge that his fight is just is both an honor to perform and a pleasure to fulfill.

That is one of the troubles with humans, reader. Only the things that happen right now are important. Tyrus cannot see that his priesthood might gain status and followers from our actions, so he cannot see that a champion may arise to take the blade. Instead he will offer it to the Knights of the Veil to aid their fight in the Necropolis. This is also an admirable cause of course, but…

Why do I bother rationalizing my feelings? It felt like someone had torn my uncle from me once again when we left that sword in the temple of Kelvon. I had hoped never to relive that night, but my dreams are filled with images of the long darkness and the crazed light of the next dawn. The magic I once wielded haunts me. The sword I never wielded haunts me. What have I done to deserve such disquiet? To what god should I turn in my hour of need, I who have no god to follow?

Guardians of Arete: Session Eleven
Pythoness House

Leto Schreyer: Study…..scribing…...spell books…...scribing…...studying…...Oh My!!!

As you have probably guessed loyal readers, I have been doing w hole lot of scribing of scrolls and into my spell book. I was not prepared for how tiring a process it is to copy thing from one to the other. But, it will help a great deal in the long run.

After our last encounter, while I was cooped up in my quasi lab, Ysobel went and was trying to do some research on Pythonis House. Otto I believe was trying to work more on his crafting skills and Nadiera, well I find myself better off not asking too much about what it is she does in her spare time.

We found out about this history of the one time brothel as well as some of the chaos cults that had recently moved in and used the brothel as a cover. We learned that the Knights of the Pale went in and tried to clear the house.

We spend some time at the pub and while there; Nadiera tries to pick up some guy. A shadowy figure. The more I looked at him, the more I realized he was just her type.

Ysobel and I spend some time on Emerald Hill, which I needed after the long time scribing. Just to be able to sit in a place where nature is revered, reminds me of home. How I long to be there. While the city of Ptolus is nice, I miss all the forests that I was able to go to and just commune with nature. I feel like I cannot do it here, or I should say cannot do it here comfortably.

For now, that is all I have to report. In a few days we make our way into Pythonis House. We shall see what we find there.

Nadiera Bin Mustafa:It’s been an interesting week. We decided to catch up on our research and get some mundane tasks out of the way before we go after the Blasphemous Chest. We ordered some new magical armor from the Dreaming Apothecary. It sounds like kind of a creepy process, from what Leto said. I don’t like the idea of someone creeping into my room while I’m asleep leaving toys, even if they are really good toys!

Ysobel did some research, she’s awfully brainy like that. I’m glad she enjoys it because, although I know we need to know these things, I tend to lean more toward the more physical way of getting information out of people.

We have a new addition in the house. We hired someone to cook and clean the house for us. There was a beggar woman we had talked to recently. She seemed to know the score in town pretty well. She has 2 sons, and we’re providing food and lodging in exchange for her services. Good, our place needs a good cleaning!

There’s another interesting new development in town. We went to the Ghostly Minstrel for dinner and there was a Fateweaver telling fortunes out front. He seemed on the level, so we asked him about the Chest. The “Icy Grip of the House of Python”, he says. Great…that’s not ominous sounding! Turns out Pythonus House has a very interesting and rich history. It was apparently a brothel run by a Chaos cult. But The Knights of the Pale ran out the cultists and now it sits empty. It is owned by an Elven historian who moved away and left it in bad need of repair. Otto’s foaming at the mouth over it. He wants his castle. It would be kind of cool to live in a castle…

One other interesting thing we came across this week – we saw that woman again at the Ghostly Minstrel, the one with the red crystal arm. I’m not sure what to make of her. She looks tough and has a strong-looking entourage of mages and fighters. I think they’re pretty powerful. One of the guys even glows!

I probably shouldn’t even put this in writing, but I’m terribly intrigued by something else that happened. While I was trying to eavesdrop on the crystal-arm chick, this rough looking fellow signaled me over. He had heard I was inquiring about the Longfingers Guild. He said to come looking for him when I’m ready…exciting!!!

Lots to do now, we’re going to check out the Pythonus House soon!

Ysobel Shadowcaster: Wind 29

Of dreams and disquiet and the calm after the storm.

We are now the proud owners of some highly sought-after and much prized items, and we purchased them fairly through reputable dealers in such artifacts. Truly we have become persons of means in this city. I make no immediate plans to court the nobility for connections or additional patronage (we have little enough need of such things) but in the future I think the nobles might very well come to us.

Leto placed our order for some interesting items with the Dreaming Apothecary. He mentioned that all of the bargaining took place in his dreams, but did not go into details. Suffice to say that Otto now has a magically enhanced shield, Nadeira has a magically bolstered suit of armor, and we also purchased Goggles of Night for her to use, with the condition that the other members of the group also be allowed to play with them from time to time. I have never before known what it must be like to be a dwarf. I don’t think I like it, but I can see the usefulness of being able to see in the dark.

It was even worth waiting for a week to get the items.

Having something to wait for is entertaining, but the time would have dragged had we not put ourselves to some work. Leto spent the time working with is spells. I think he said he was scribing words of power into his books, but I might be mistaken. I never did understand the need for such artifice when the power is so easy tom manipulate without training. Rather, the power was so easy to manipulate.

I’ve been having dreams again. Dreams in which I can cast spells, but no spells I’ve ever seen before. I can do things I would never have dreamed possible, and it feels like I’m living in the heart of the sun. I truly wish those dreams could become my reality.

Enough. Otto spent his time at the armory working his apprenticeship. Nadeira was busy as well, but she did not tell me what she was doing and I found myself reluctant to question her. I went to the library (ever a place of refuge) and looked for information on the Blasphemous Chest. It seems the item is incredibly powerful and was sealed with strong magic to prevent whatever is inside from being released. It is supposedly still inside Pythoness House, which has stood empty since the Knights of the Pale raided the brothel there about three years ago. Pythoness House does not have a quiet history; the original family who lived there were slain by brigands intent of robbery. Navaan Blueflight, the current owner, chooses to live in the Moonsilver Forest some distance away. A house should never be allowed to stand empty for so long; the soul of the building dies when a house is not also a home.

I also spent a short while looking up the gods of the elves in this place, but there was very little information. Celeston and Myliesha were the two prominent figures in the myths I found. I know that Doradian Mythlord could teach me everything I could ever wish to know of this subject, but I am reluctant to pester so important a person for what seems a childish fancy. Alninai Silvertree suggested that I seek the temple of Celeston in the city and ask for guidance from Ranael Silverstroke.

We have made a point of taking time to help someone in need. The woman outside the Temple of the Watcher of the Skies that we met some little while back was still begging there. It came to me that our efforts to save the world and thus everyone in it from destruction might fail. While our attempts to cleanse the dark places under this city are noble indeed, those actions may not ever impact the people who live under the clouds. In our current flush of fortune we can help individuals greatly by offering honest employment to those in need.

We now have a housekeeper, one Joan Discon, and her two sons, Ingram and Archibald, as our household staff. Ingram and Archibald are young, but can be trained as messengers if we need them. Otto has expressed the willingness to take them on as squires when they are of the right age. Joan is not trained to maintain a household but she seems quite capable and willing to learn. Our needs are simple for the moment and Joan should be able to manage them with little trouble. We have obtained a small apartment suited to her new station and have paid the rent for a year in advance so that she may have some security. They are now fed and properly clothed and, I assume, sleeping happily in their new home like children will after being out in the tempest. I hope those children have not lost their innocence from life on the street.

I cannot think of anything else of import that has happened these past days,

I write to hastily it seems. We did have an odd run-in at the Ghostly Minstrel these few days past. A young man named Bryan, a Fateweaver no less, has set up a booth in Delver’s Square and offers fortunes to passers-by. He is not unfriendly. What is odder still: his fortunes sound very true! He confirmed our guess that the chest we seek is “in the icy grip of the house of the python” and some other small fortunes we requested. He is an odd creature certainly. He said he woke up one morning and it was as if his whole life had changed: he suddenly was given a license to set up a booth on the square. He has tried to divine who gave him this gift, but was prevented form seeing clearly.

I do not think he was making this story up. He said that he had been stopped from seeing clearly by a purple haze – as if the person who gave him his license was on the other side of some barrier and only an image was bleeding through to him. The purple haze made me wonder if the shard were involved somehow, but Bryan does not reek overly of otherworldly things the way Otto and Nadeira do. I do not think he can have been brought through from somewhere else.

But has anyone though what might have happened to bring us here? Perhaps someone was thrown hence and locked out of this world when we were locked in. How very strange.


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