Exile on Drochtrèdia

Back to the Blight: The Demise of Willowbite

From the diary of Caeladyn, which is hastily scrawled on dirty bits of slightly burned parchment, with notes on encountered flora and fauna written in the margins:

Our party (consisting of myself, Gil, Peren, Aiden and Mordecai, a human monk who I had not met before) set off from Mariner’s Landing towards the edge of the Creeping Wood, with a first destination that was referred to by the rest of the party as Ed’s farm. Instead of traveling on foot like I’m accustomed to, we used an odd form of transportation Gil showed up with that he referred to as “the gilly”. It was a fairly ordinary horse-drawn covered wagon, but instead of being drawn by horses, it was pulled by an odd horse-like creature, seemingly made of water and instead of wheels, it just floated on a handful of Gil’s favorite discs. As we got underway, we quickly realized that the horse’s appearance wasn’t the most remarkable thing about it, it was also incredibly fast, faster than anything I’d ever encountered and was able to keep that speed. However, we kept it to a normal speed slightly faster than jogging as Peren had brought his armor-clad giant ram Stubbs, who was too large to fit in the wagon.

The first bit of the journey passed without incident. The first sign of anything wrong came from Peren, who had been riding with his legs out the back of the wagon, keeping an eye on Stubbs and softly talking to the ram (who I will admit is rather impressive for a tamed creature). Peren pointed out vines, which he had noticed criss-crossing the path below the wagon and Stubbs’s hooves. Taking a closer look, I noticed they were somewhat thick, mottled with veins of pink and violet. My companions confirmed my suspicion, this was the blight. With a tinge of worry, they remarked that this was the furthest out they had seen it. It seemed like it was definitely spreading. We decided to continue onwards towards Ed’s, hoping to warn him about the blight, but we feared it was too late. As we drew closer, we began to notice signs of creatures following us: deer, the bushy tails of wolves in the shrubs.

With more miles behind us, I started to make out the shapes of buildings on the horizon. Those who had been there before confirmed that we were approaching Ed’s farm. As we drew nearer we noticed vines already covering most of the buildings. Everyone looked grim as we realized we were too late to warn Ed of the incoming blight. We began a fruitless search of the surrounding for Ed or any signs of his current whereabouts. As we conducted the search, we noticed an enormous creature standing still in a nearby field, clearly blighted. A battle then began, as we were attacked by a whole assortment of blighted creatures: wolves, sheep, elk and many others. Thanks to Mordecai’s acrobatic attacks, Aiden’s flaming blades, Stubbs’ bravery, Peren’s flaming arrows and Gil’s usual clever tricks, we finished the fight victorious. The only real casualty was the “gilly” which had been charged and destroyed by a blighted elk.

After defeating the last blighted creature and still seeing no sign of Ed, we decided to set up camp for the night. Since the chapel was free of blighted vines, we figured that would serve as some sort of protection and was probably the safest place nearby to spend the night. Gil got to work repairing the wagon, with the help of Mordecai. Aiden had trained his rabbit to find bullweed, and rewarded him with a small bulb of it when he retrieved some. This had a far more drastic effect than Aiden intended and I spent the next few minutes enjoying the spectacle as Aiden tried to calm his rabbit. It dashed around the area, wriggling out of Aiden’s arms every time he tried to restrain it, drawing blood occasionally. Finally I decided that Aiden had suffered enough and went over to talk to his rabbit for him. The rabbit was clearly very affected by the bullweed, babbling and confused. It ranted about Aiden a few times, calling him a bastard, then claimed to be a genius and said it would be a wizard someday. Seems that pets do imitate their people…the rabbit began burrowing and Aiden started teleporting all around the area, looking surprised but pleased with himself . I figured they’d just tire themselves out, so I went back to observing.

Shortly after they returned to normal, we were ready to retire for the night. Gil barred the entrance with a magical dome and we all settled down in the back of the church. Close to dawn, we awoke to what we all feared when we chose to spend the night here. It was nearly completely dark, with no moonlight or daylight entering the large stained glass windows of the chapel. It seemed the blighted vines had snaked around the chapel, trapping us. With a combination of torches, fire spells, fire arrows, and steely ram muscle, we managed to burn/bust our way out of the chapel. We sprinted towards the gilly, hoping to put as much distance between ourselves and the blight as possible. As we boarded the wagon and prepared to leave, a section of the vines peeled away from the roof of the chapel and lashed out as us. Stubbs and I were both attacked by these vines. We were able to disable the vines fairly easily and continue on our way.

At first, my wounds from the vines seemed fairly minor, as it barely hurt. But as we traveled, I gradually began feeling a burning sensation in the wounds where the vines had struck me. This feeling started to spread throughout my entire body. Looking down at my arms, I noticed my skin was shiny and red where the vines had met flesh. I began to hear whisperings of a voice in my head, though it was faint enough that I could not understand it. I decided to speak up, letting my compatriots know about the burning sensation, the appearance of my wounds, and the whisper in my head. They exchanged worried looks and began a muttered discussion.

At this point, my recollection of events starts to become a bit hazy, as this affliction took hold of me. I’m not typically much of a talker; my many years alone in the forest have given me an appreciation for quietly observing instead of constantly talking (a quality I have not encountered in very many other adventurers in Drochtredia). However, this was different; I found myself unwilling and unable to communicate with my fellow travelers, instead just sitting in the back corner of the wagon. Gradually, the voice in my head got louder and louder. I recognized it as Druidic, a deep, deep voice repeating itself over and over again.

“Give in… Give in… Stop fighting… Give in…”

As this repeated, I slowly lost control over myself. I was overcome with the urge to lash out, to hurt everyone around me. I still had a smidgen of control over myself, so I was able to incoherently croak “Help! Can’t…going to hurt..” Fortunately Mordecai got the general gist of what I was trying to say and deftly tied me up. I also noticed that Stubbs was thrashing around similarly and Peren was tying him up. I faded in and out of control as the others discussed the situation. I watched them circle around Stubbs, Gil looking very unhappy. Suddenly Stubbs began thrashing and emitting a horrible noise, somewhere between a scream and a pained bleat. I had an awful feeling that whatever was happening to Stubbs, I was next. Stubbs eventually returned to a normal state, calm but a bit anxious. The group shifted over to me, and the last thing I saw was Gil’s grim face.

Screaming, pain, fire. This was the entirety of my world as my body was engulfed in flames. I yelled in agony, but the voice in my head was louder.

“Fight it…This isn’t real..Fight it.”

I realized the flames were an illusion and snapped out of it. The pain faded and the flames vanished. Aiden realized I was not returned to normal and stepped closer, lowering his flaming gauntlet. My body was again awash in flames, this time real. I screamed louder, the deep Druidic voice again returning to its refrain of “Give in…Stop fighting…Give in…” I drew closer and closer to death, and the voice continued, swelling and becoming less coherent until it reached a peak and stopped. My mind cleared and I opened my eyes to find everyone else standing above me, looking miserable and guilty.

I got back into the wagon, tended to my burns and tried my best to forget the whole harrowing experience, though I fear it will haunt me. We continued following the tracks of Ed’s flock until something slightly out of place caught our eyes. A wooden stake was driven into the ground, with a goblin impaled on it and the goblin’s entrails intricately braided down the spike. As we contemplated it, we noticed another and another and another. There was clearly a line of impaled goblins intersecting our path. A number of theories were thrown around, the foremost being that this was the work of the blightmaster, trying to repair the leyline.

We continued onward until we reached a clearing with a statue in the middle of it. As we drew closer, we realized it was some sort of shrine, a small pool in front of a stone box topped with a bull statue that my cohorts referred to as the Bullfather, the creature who had blazed the path we were following. We pulled the bull statue-topped lid off to take with us, but the contents of the shrine had clearly been removed.

Further onward, it became apparent who had raided the first shrine. Another shrine was ahead, with a dozen or two kobolds trying to pry off the bull statue lid to get at the contents inside. We made short work of a few of them and the rest scattered. We pried the lid off the shrine to find some coins, a candle, a bronze scroll case and some scrolls.

As Aiden admired our findings, I noticed his face suddenly contort in confusion and he asked if anyone else heard a buzzing noise. I saw a colorful blur above his shoulder, a small hummingbird, which suddenly transformed out of its animal shape into the form of a scruffy, hairy human. “YOU!” Aiden bellowed and lunged towards the druid, his hand on his rapier. Luckily Peren’s elven reflexes were too quick for Aiden and he was restrained.

From the journal of Duke Aiden Montyouc, purifyer of the blighted.

“I HAD HIM! HE WAS RIGHT THERE ONLY INCHES FROM MY BLADE.” Why did peren stop me, surely someone on their own quest for vengeance, who had been victimized by this many faced man would understand. Is he secretly suffering from the blight? Is he in league with the blightmaster? Surely not, no I cannot think such things. Although, if being on drochtredia has taught me anything it is that no one can be fully trusted.

Instead of letting me end this traitor they gave him food and separated us from each other so they could question him. He “claims” that he is sorry for what happened and the dragon made him do it. He also informed us the dragon is hunting Ed and if we do not make haste he will be the next prisoner. I don’t trust this druid but having no better leads we decided to follow along….for now.

We carried on a bit farther and eventually we heard a shriek all too familiar. We left stubbs and the gilly behind for safety and proceed up the hill stealthily to scout ahead. Once we were on the hill we were able to see ruins like we had never seen before and it was there, curled around a tower, Willowbite.

We decided to wait till nightfall so we could try and get Ed out of there. Gil made a magic house while peren and I set upon dressing it with grass to better camouflage it. Since Mordecai and myself were still fresh we volunteered to stay up and watch the prisoner so the others could rest up. Eventually I settled my dispute with the traitorous druid but his words struck me true. The magic running through my veins spoke to me and relaxed my anger. In a show of peace I handed the druid my personal flask of whiskey and informed him that if he did not cross us here that I would vouch for him upon return to mariners landing.

Once night was upon us Caeladyn turned into a cat and began searching the buildings from the ground while Gil sent Saila to do so through the air. Throughout the night they both searched stealthily under the dragon’s nose until it finally noticed Caeladyn. Luckily since she was still in cat form he paid her little attention. The final building she explored appeared to be some sort of temple with a basement but when she explored the basement a type of ooze began moving towards her. She decided to regroup with us and we thought of all places here that basement was Ed’s most likely location.

We made our way safely to the temple and after fighting several oozes and disarming a trap we found ourselves in a mausoleum to the bullfather. We decided that since dawn was breaking it would do us well to rest here for the early morning. A few hours later Fey’lor woke us with his shouts. “The dragon has found him”.

Our stomachs sank, almost all present had encountered this beast at least once or had at least heard of his power. We had gone out of our way to avoid a fight with him in the open but as we silently moved to the top of the stairs our worst fears were realized. The dragon had pounced on Ed who had been hiding among his flock in a hastily thrown together disguise. We moved closer to see if he was alive or dead and when we got about 120 feet away we heard his voice. He was wounded but alive, the dragon kept saying “We have plans for you shepherd” and when he mentioned Stiles we knew exactly who the dragon was working with. We were unsure what role Ed would play but we knew that above all else we could not let the blight master have him.

Our impulsive Monk soon leapt over the hill and began bargaining with the dragon and although I admired his effort I could have told him it never would have worked. We realized that there was no going back and we would have to fight at which point Mordecai’s negotiation went south. I told the others I would buy them some time and lept from the hill in my scarlet clothing and fine, feathered hat. The dragon immediately forgot about the monk and locked eyes with me “YOUUU, I REMEMBER YOU……” THe dragon lept from eds location and moved forward to question us both. To distract the beast I used my new found magician powers to conjure an illusion of Mac Woodfleet’s severed head further enraging the beast. I prepared my rapier sheathing it in magical energy and readying myself to strike when the dragon got near. That is when I remembered that the dragon could breath poison…….

The gust of noxious air filled my lungs and sent me to the ground. I didn’t know what had hit me, how could I have been so foolish, I saw images of my father on his throne dismissing me after my brothers death, I saw the two of us playing as children, the flyer for the boat that brought me to mariner’s landing, but most of all I saw a light welcoming me to the next life. I could hear my allies, the dragon had used its horrific breath on me and I could hear Peren’s arrows connecting with the creature as it writhed in anger. I heard Gil scream out in pain then fall silent but then almost as quick as I had fallen I felt breath re-enter my lungs. As I lept to my feet I saw Caeladyn call out “we could use some help” and I immediately reached for my hand crossbow and began taking potshots at the dragon.

As I fired off my bolts they seemed to harmlessly fall from the dragon but I did have his attention…..unfortunately. He turned to face me “Dont you ever stay dead?” and like that he swept down and slashed me across my chest knocking me to the ground again. This time the light grew brighter and just like before I thought i was at the end of my luck I felt the life return to my body only this time the monk was standing over me with a empty health potion bottle. Just then our new friend Fey’lor made it over to Ed and whispered something into his ear and he fell dead. Willowbite shrieked out and tried to make his way to their location but right then Mordecai managed to land on the dragon. He held on for sometime but was eventually thrown but it was too late for the foul beast as Peren’s aim was true and one last fateful arrow found its mark and the emerald nightmare of the creeping wood fell from the sky. As we closed in swords drawn the dragon groveled and begged for its life, promising to deliver the blightmaster if we allowed it to live. Peren and I nodded in agreement and with no hesitation our blades found their mark for Mac, for Brennus, for Wengruc, for Tahli, but most of all for ourselves. Also, I want it noted, I in fact did take pleasure in it.

In the aftermath of the battle fey’lor revealed ed’s demise was a simple druid trick to save his life by making him appear dead. With Ed restored and very confused we tended to his wounds and quickly set upon loading what remained of the once mighty Willowbite into the Gilly to bring back to Mariners landing for all to see. This will be a symbol of hope, this dragon had spread fear throughout the landing and the tale of how we defeated it may be just the thing to give our people the hope needed to defeat the likes of the Ghouls and the Blight.

We may not know what dangers Drochtredia holds for us all but the sky’s will be safer, for the time being at least.

Duke Aiden Montyouc, Willow-slayer, Defender of New Blainsport, Purifier of the Blighted, Guardian of the Free People of Dawnbreak, Great thief of Stataghs Hoard, Ghouls-bane, Enforcer of House Makovica.

Future adventure hooks

THe blightmaster is using the leyline to power something, more investigation needed
The blightmaster and Willowbite were working together, more recon necessary to figure out what.
There was a sign with a lightning bolt on it that lead to a path, possible point of interest.

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The New Yorick Road

Brennus Artaius
Daedrick Blackheart
Immeral Eathalena
Lexa
Wengruck Fireforge

Upon Arrival in Mariner’s Landing I immediately set to work. If I am to gain the favor of the all-father then I cannot just rest and be a eldhúsfífl. I overheard word of a quarry and of skilled dwarves in the area and after assessing the “quality” of the walls of the city I determined the best thing for everyone was to speed up the stone delivery for this city.

Going to the local tavern I managed to recruit a few promising candidates and a few that I was unsure of. A few days later everyone arrived outside the guild as I had instructed them. The boss of the guild caravan told us we would be paid based on our performance and I made sure to point out the weak links he needed to watch out for.

The first few days of work went by fairly uneventfully aside from the cleric leading us in the wrong direction for a day or two. We managed to correct this and find the stream that lead the last party to the quarry but on our third evening we were set upon by a pack of wolves.

The Cleric and his Ram, I really need to get one of these, made quick work of the first two wolves and while the rest of the party assumed battle formation I took my opportunity to charge. It had been too long and I had been itching for a good fight so I charged one of the wolves while slathering myself with the meat from a fresh kill and prepared to strike the beast down when it came at me. Just as the beast charged in three booming lights went flying by my head and like that my enemy was dead. The cowardly elf use his sorcery on my foe and ended it before it had its chance to fight me, my glory denied.

Day 4 and 5 went by uneventfully aside from some rain and confirmation that the cleric had gotten us lost but we were apparently back on track. On the evening of the 5th night I refused the help of the elf who had denied my glory and took watch myself. Towards midnight I heard a rustling in the tree above me and as I looked up a smile spread across my face. I immediately alerted the others and went into a frenzy as several giant spiders lept from the trees and attacked us. We dispatched them rather quickly and the cleric gathered a vile of their venom to experiment with back in town.

Days 6-9 went by without much of interest. I grew ever more restless, I am here to fight things and so far there hasn’t been much to fight. The elf kept mentioning an Ape following us, not sure what that is but it doesn’t sound very tough. Eventually we found the beautifully constructed Dwarven road to the quarry and began the last bit of our travel.

On Day 10 this “ape”, or whatever it was, found us. It came barreling through the forest at our side, knocked over our wagon, and beat one of the crew to a pulp. This beast towered over us all but I went into a frenzy and began attacking the beast. Soon after the courageous brennus and lexi followed suit. The cleric charged in with his ram and we had the creature surrounded, all the while the elf hid like a coward until he finally popped up and made a box appear over the beasts head. The beast confused and cornered hit itself in the head and accidentally cut its own throat. I made sure offer the group the beasts heart as is tradition in my clan, I had doubted them all but they had proved themselves to be valiant and courageous warriors, well almost all of them.

The next day I made sure to follow my clans tradition of celebrating a victorious battle by painting my body with the runes of victory and spending the day naked. The others seem put off by this display but it did not stop me from following my traditions, the gods must be shown their respect when they have delivered you to victory. After a few hours of marching we managed to make our way to the so called “Big Mac Quarry”. In the ruins of my people we found a great statue and when one of ours said they detected magic in the sword by its side we knew we must investigate further. The gods took humor in our endeavors and took away the good fortune and coordination we had found in battle leaving us in a ridiculous display of clumsiness but after some time we had managed to remove the sword from the statue.

After much discussion the group signaled for me to claim its power, a shining beacon of hope emerged from the sheath. Tunglskin, or moonlight in my people’s tongue shall be thy name. The elf managed to find a ring but we were unsure its properties. The guild happy with the road paid us for our good work and out of respect we named the road after the fallen worker Yorick, thus the New Yorick road was opened.

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Hag Hunters
We are #1

(I am really sorry this took so long)

Mac, Stor, Peren, Azoth and myself met in front of the dungeon in Mariner’s Landing to give Mac a crack at King Glacbrack. We went into his cell and gave him hell, trying to get him to spill the beans.

He got real spooked and he informed us that one of his fellow bullywog prisoners had a fake iron tooth, too large for his mouth, which he could use to communicate with the hags. We ‘delicately’ removed this tooth and deliberated over our plan loudly next to it and decided to “APPROACH FEYWATCH KEEP BY WATER” all the while winking knowingly and nudging each other, happy to be in on the joke.

We went to the docks and captain Stor took the tooth and put it on a ship. He told Mac that he told the captain exactly what happened and that they should be very careful and that everything was just fine.

After that we decided to make good use of our time and head to New Blainsport to check out our respective homes. I was pleasantly surprised to see my bees had taken residence in my attic and a constant swarm was happily buzzing around the house. Mac spent some time fiddling with her catapult in her back yard. At this point we decided to cross the river and began heading inland to feywatch keep. After a bit of trekking we found a statue of the Fleet. It was a pretty neat statue and apparently some adventurers found it before.

We proceeded to head back towards the river and walked parallel to it about 1/4 mile away, towards Feywatch. At some point I felt a briny and flotsemy dark fey presence at the edge of my awareness. We went back towards the water and hid, with Peren a ways from us. A dark bubble came up the river and we put illusions in the water to get it to stop.
The bubble then bobbled away. We then dispatched some eel hounds, which when defeated turned into lily pads and disappeared.

After this, we continued heading parallel upstream until we came to a tributary stream which was 60ft wide and filled with crocodiles. After trying to tempt them with meat, we just continued upstream where there were no crocodiles. We crossed a mile upriver and started noticing claw marks from a very large creature about 6 ft up tree trunks. It was a troll. Azoth dug us a trench where we would spend the night against some trees. We awoke to a troll talking to itself about wanting a midnight snack. Stor used his grease ring and it fell into the pit. Twice. Stor mocked it viciously. It was not a good outing for the troll. The next thing I noticed was Mac holding it’s head while screaming and lighting the body on fire. It was very strange. Seemed overkill to me, it couldn’t even stand up on its own.

Mac did not get a good night sleep, she suffered some night terrors. We believe it may be from the hag Annie. In the morning Peren and I snuck to the keep and the remainder of the party quietly followed behind. We walked right past a camp of 10 ogres and a troll and got to the castle which was patrolled by winged creatures, a 15ft wide moat, and Granny Jetsam’s bubble going under the wall. We returned to the others and Mac sent her raven up to check out the chalice we had seen last time. Mac found an imp who tried to eat the raven. Mac lured the imp back to use where Peren and I deftly captured it with our superior
netting skills.

We interrogated the imp by befriending it with magic. He kept trying to evade us by getting smaller, turning into a mouse and other small mammals. We were able to keep a hold of the bag and submerge it which kept him from being too unruly. He told us everything he knew, including his most very real name, Elmozibub. All of the details of what he told us are hard to remember since we spoke with him for some time, but we learned of a coven of hags living in Feywatch Keep, Granny Jetsam the sea hag, Annie a huge ogre looking one, and Sally Skinner a night hag. He told us that there were likely around 20 devils summoned in the castle, around 10 ogres outside, and probably a troll somewhere. Supposedly there is some old feud kicking off again which brings the devils back to fight. Granny is living in the now flooded dungeon of the keep which has a secret entrance submerged on the east side of the castle.

Learning all this and figuring it would not be safe to release the imp, we decided to send him home. He erupted into flames and went home. Upon dispatching Elmosibub, we returned to the landing with our new knowledge in tow.

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The Final Resting Place
The Tail of How We Didn't Die to the Queen of Death (Yet)

Send to:
Flate’s Flask’s and Flammables
Mariner’s Landing
Droctredia

TO: The People of Mariner’s Landing
FROM: Your friend, Tahli
-————————————————————
Hello Mr. Flate,

I didn’t know where to mail letters to Mariner’s Landing, so I hope this finds you well, and that you distribute this letter amongst the citizens of the town, and all my friends.

My hands are still shaking a bit. I can not return for this exact moment to Mariner’s Landing as I find myself with a companion who is not welcome there. I am staying with Windrinse Highpeak for now with the dwarves. I have yet to meet most of them. I need to tell you about what happened in our adventure north.

Arrival:

Gilvaldellin (Gil), Windrinse Highpeak, Gerald Poh, Valen Aldarin, and Myself all followed Gil as far north as I think anyone has been to investigate a vision Gil had of a necrotic cave plaguing the leyline. It was over a hundred miles away, but Gil had a fabulous wagon that floated and was pulled my an incredible horse made of water! It galloped so fast I thought we were flying. After 5 days of travel along the mountain ridge we found the canyon Gil recognized. It was darker than normal here. Everything felt still and grey, as if devoid of color and emotion. There was minimal life…and it was so still. We found a body that seemed to be young, but he just withered away, almost as if he died of old age.

The Cave:
At the end of the canyon we find the pit that Gil saw in his vision and descend the staircase to see what lies below. At the bottom is a small pool of rainwater that trickles down the hall, leading lower and lower. The walls had fantastic markings on them, depicting burial rights, souls being put to rest, and clergymen, with one black, hooded, dark bishop depicted as a powerful person.

Down the hall we find a room that has four shadowy cloaked figures holding a pedestal over a pit. There are also sick beds, an alter, and pews. We looked around for a bit and I heard spatterings of a voice coming from farther down the hall. We take a look into the next room and there is a corpse with this manic look on it’s face, and we are attacked by an Alip. It was this maddened ghost like creature that could walk through walls and howl so loud we were stunned. Despite this, we dispatch the creature, and look around some more. It seemed as though clergymen lived here, and they were healers of some sort.

Going Farther Down:

Eventually we decide to see what is in the pit the four statues are holding. We take an old gnoll body and put it on the pedestal, and after a bit it descends below, where something drags it under. The statues emit a paralyzing gas when it does this. We climb down and dispatch two skeleton gnolls, and continue on our way.

We were faced with a series of hallways blocked by one way doors with part of an inscription on each one that said the following:

“All are welcome, sick or healthy, all may come to take your rest
Admit there is no second chance, come and join in the final dance
Go not to heaven’s distant strain, nor hells that seal with curse and chain
You built this place with blood and bone, where should one rest but in Her home
We welcome you with open arms, so sleep here deeply safe from harm
Our children left will surely know we’re always watching from below”

The hallways were lined with hundreds of skeleton’s graves. They were decorated with pieces of their past, including robes, jewelry etc. We prop open the doors with bone, and Windrinse takes a few rings to pocket. After about the 5th room, Windrinse has the idea to look back to find the doors have been shut. We can’t open them, but I try laying a hand on one and it does open. It seemed to respond to my necrotic energy. Skeletons awaited us on the other side and told us it was a one way trip to meet the queen of death. Naturally, we continued downwards.

The Final Resting Place
Finally we find a large room with a throne perched atop a pile of skulls. The bishop sat on the throne, with two statues guarding the room as well. His voice was chilling but enthralling. He wished us here with open arms, and invited us to meet the queen of death. I wanted to meet her badly, but after a pause, he stood to hurry us to our inevitable graves. His hood fell back, revealing he was a Bodak, and that was all I remembered for a minute. I woke up to someone pouring a health potion down my throat, and for a few seconds, people just kept falling over dead. He face was horrifying, it’s jaw fell open nearly a foot down, and it was death to gaze at his eyes.

The fight was grueling and horrible. We were on the smallest of health at all times, and he seemed to be invincible or resistant to nearly everything we threw at it. He called two ghosts to aid him, and one did something to me. I….I aged 30 years. My face isn’t the young face I remembered the last time I looked in a mirror, and my hands have started to show lines. I am not old, but I have lost my youth…it saddens me to think about.

Outside the door, I activated a wall of fire stick, scorching a dozen skeletons. Windrinse and Gerald managed to continue hacking away at the Bodak, but they could never stay up. Most of mine and Valen’s efforts were spend healing the party. Gil surprised me once by turning me into an elephant!! I killed a ghost as this mangificant beast, but Gil was knocked unconscious shortly after, rendering me back to my original state.

The fighting continued and we all though hope was lost, but the Bishop continued to wither, and eventually it started to panic. At the end of the room there was a dark pit, calling strongly to us. Gil made an illusion to displace the pit in the Bodak’s mind, and it dove into the ground in confusion. It was haggard and panicked and frightened, and we were weak and tired and out of potions and spells. Valen bravely threw one last radiant beam towards the bodak, it flinched violently and dove headfirst into the pit. The remaining ghost shortly followed. The fight was over.

The Queen

The party wanted to take a long rest here. I thought it was a horrendous idea seeing as there was a literal pit to death calling at us to run into it in this room. Gil set up a hut for us to hide in, and we compromised at a short rest to lick our wounds. A ghost came to keep an eye on us, but returned to the pit after a while. Windrinse tried to intimidate it but was obviously whimpering like a small child the entire time. I don’t think it was very effective, but it gave us a few laughs which were a welcome comfort.

Then I heard her. This voice was in my head asking me why I came here, and I told her the truth. I was here to learn how my magic works, why I have it, and where it came from. Why do things I touch wither and die? Why do the corpses not bother me, why can I poison and rot whatever irritates me and why do I just know I can bring something back to life soon?

She said she could teach me…she said she was the end of Droctredia. She was the Queen of Death and she promised a silent and a deep slumber with no war, no fighting, no pain, no harm. It would all just end. It could be peaceful and numb. She said she used to be a half elf like me, and she was tired of the plagues on this land, so she rose to power. She is the reason why the dragons do not own this land. She wanted me to stay, to aide her as a living thing. I could know everything I ever wanted to know.

I wanted to go with her to be honest. It was the most tempting offer I have ever faced, but Gil kept me sane enough to deny her request. She said that if we returned the things we stole, she would let us leave, just this once, however, she wanted to see what her world has become in her absence. A skull dislodged itself from the pyramid and rolled to my feet. It would be her eyes, and one day I could return with it, full of memories of Droctredia. I will carry it with me from now on. This is why I can not return to Mariner’s Landing. The party was uncomfortable bringing it to a place so safe. We returned the items we stole, and she was true to her word. The skeletons let us pass, and returned to their slumber.

I hope I can return soon, I need to make my acquaintance with these dwarves and see what they have to say about this whole ordeal. But for now, my best wishes and kindest regards. I hope this letter bring you the information you need.

Your Friend,
Tahli

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Bees
Bees.

The Outset

Azoth, Captain Lingo, the Cleric Wengruck, the Druid Caeladyn, and I set out from the docks aboard the Skinblanthir after I explained what exactly my ‘Help wanted ad’ had meant. Everyone seemed in good spirits, especially Captain Stor who had just recovered from our last journey up the waterfall. I’ll admit that I had yet to fully recover from that adventure myself. I still had a vague feeling of unease from that night spent in the alcove which I elected to ignore and focus on the task at hand.

The Landing

We spent a short day rowing to the peninsula where Stor and Caeladyn had seen the bees near the hut, and I promptly decided to try to follow the bees home. They were not going home. As I wandered in circles in a flowery and grassy field the others discussed the problem. Perhaps we should search for the hive or wait for nightfall to follow the little creatures home. Once I decided my circling was fruitless, I agreed with them and we set off into the tall grass to find some beehives.

The Redcaps

As we set off Azoth picked me up and set me on his shoulder (to my surprise), I was mildly embarrassed and uncomfortable, but now I could see more than a few feet in front of me and the grass wasn’t hitting me in the face anymore so I didn’t protest. From my vantage I spotted some movement ahead in the grass and alerted my colleagues to a couple red hats bobbing around in the grass. We prepared an ambush with an illusion of a great deer and waited. They were two Redcaps who were quite competent fighters, but we dispatched them and took some time to recover from our wounds.

The Halfling

Stor sat in a nearby tree to keep watch while we all rested. When it was time to move on Stor returned to the group with a halfling named Marie who he cheerily introduced as a good friend who was also in the tree and who claimed to live “west of here”. The members of the party who didn’t know the Captain were skeptical, but if Stor trusts someone, I tend to trust them as well. She did make a passing comment about my quality of sleep which I found strange, but I wouldn’t doubt that I looked a little haggard after the day of sailing, hiking, and fighting so I passed it off as nothing and she joined our little group.

The Bees

At this point Caeladyn and Wengruck, the only ones seemingly capable of finding bees, found a small grove of trees with a hive high in the branches. And so began the most complicated part of our adventure. After a bit of discussion, I used my climbing kit to ascend the tree and reach the hive. It took… a while. Upon reaching the bees I tried to calm them by communicating with them. Of course, bees aren’t known for their intellect, nor do they have a hive mind, so they didn’t pay me much attention. Having expected this I used a torch to smoke them and pacify them so that I could cut the hive down and lower it to the others. Unfortunately I did not have enough rope to reach the ground. At this point Caeladyn climbed the tree partway as a spider and waited to catch the hive and tie another rope around it to lower it the rest of the way. Surprisingly, the bees did not like what was happening to them, and the ball of angry bees approaching Caeladyn seemed to inspire some worry in my companions. Wengruck took immediate action by climbing the tree and summoning a small rainstorm just above the hive which made them much less aggressive and gave them time to lower it to Azoth’s mage hand.

The Hag

From my vantage point in the tree I noticed a dark blob rushing through the water along the coast. I pointed it out to the others and Stor used his spyglass to see a hag, king Glackbrack, and some bullywogs along with a toad creature come out of the water. Marie suggested we run, and Caeladyn started down the tree. In order to reach the ground quickly, I decided I would jump from the tree, after all, it had to be the fastest way down. Wengruck caught me halfway down almost as if he knew I was about to jump, which was probably good as I regretted jumping as soon as I had done it. He carried me to the ground where Caeladyn had wrapped the hive in a blanket and turned into an elk. He put me onto the elk’s back and we took off away from the hag. A lengthy chase ensued which ended with Marie nowhere to be found and the Succubus from the waterfall road in her place. Strangely there was far less suspicion about her now that she wasn’t a halfling anymore. We decided to make a stand and fight the creatures behind us, Azoth making his fabulous fortress, Stor setting some traps, and all of us nursing our wounds.

The Fight

The hag arrived with her large toad companion and we immediately began fighting. We all fought well and managed to defeat the toad creature and even the hag. However, just as she fell King Glackbrack arrived and sent a bullywog to help her escape then caused a cloud of fog to obscure her completely. At this point we had identified the hag as the one who lived in the conch and terrorized New Blainsport regularly. I leapt from the fortress and dashed into the fog hoping to land a killing blow to end the threat permanently. Unfortunately in my weakened state I misjudged my location in the fog and found a bullywog instead. I don’t remember much from then on until I woke to an enormous flame wall and a charred Glackbrack laying nearby with the succubus standing over him.

The Return Home

We escorted the three bullywogs we captured back to Mariner’s landing by land where they were arrested and likely put away for questioning. I hope this leads to less violence around New Blainsport in the future, though there is a hag out there who will likely hold a grudge.

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Underwater Spelunking

Kaltharax walks into the Driftwood Inn. After ordering a drink at the bar, he turns to some of the other patrons and says, “Come, friends! Listen to a tale of greatness!” While several of the other drinkers seen intrigued be this announcement, most turn away in annoyance. Undeterred, Kaltharax continues.

“It all began at Kerrhylon the Mighty’s homestead. Her, Captain Stor Lingo, the intrepid Merpip, the brave young Mordecai Brown, and myself, Kaltharax the Magnificent, set out to explore an underwater cave system that had been found a few months ago. While Kerrhylon doubted Mordecai’s abilities, I was sure that he had a great destiny to fulfil.

“After an uneventful trip to the river, we came upon the cave. The entrance was below water because a beaver had built a dam just downstream. While the rest of us discussed our options, Merpip brave went into the beaver dam, and found that Droctradian beavers are quite large creatures! This one had a litter of kits, so we knew that destroying the dam was not an option.

“At this point it was decided that Kerrhylon would swim ahead into the caves. She found three passages: the first contained overturned book shelves with moldy books. The second, giant spiderwebs that blocked the entrance! When she explored the third, however, she encountered a slime creature that tried to eat her! Only her quickness saved her, as she was able to escape back down the passage were the creature was too large to follow.

“Kerrhylon reemerged from the cave and told us of her findings. We all then ventured into the cave and went to the room with the books. The room was of unnatural construction, as if it had appeared there from somewhere else. The stonework there was very smooth, unlike the rest of the caves. While we were there we examined the books. Most were destroyed beyond recognition, but a few were still readable. They were primers for several different languages. There was a tunnel on the other side of the room that lead to a small chamber. Inside was the dried-out husk of a basilisk! What the creature was doing here before it died none of us knew.

“We then decided to venture into the room with the spider webs. We we all reached the room, I cleared us a path with a mighty gout of fire! It was at that moment that some sort of squid-like creature dropped from the ceiling right on Kerrylon’s head! As fought it off, suddenly it was enveloped in a shroud of darkness. Two more dropped down; I count one on my shield, but Merpip had on land on his head as well. It was at this moment that Mordecai showed his greatness. He bravely leaped into the darkness surrounding Merpip, and with a single mighty blow struck down the creature!

“After finishing off the other two, we ventured further into the cave. There we encounter a rock monster of some kind. They said it was from the plane of Earth. The creature was eating gems out of geodes it found here in this chamber. Captain Stor was able to converse with the creature with the aid of the books we found. It told us that the spider traveled through dimensions, and that the creature wanted our help to catch it so the creature could catch a ride with the spider to another plane. We agreed to help it.

“Mordecai, in a show of great bravery, went over to the web and pretended to be caught in it, so as to lure the spider into out plane. It took the bait and appeared out of nowhere and attacked us! We were ready for it and Karrhylon lassoed it as Stor threw a grappling hook at it. We held it as the rock monster climbed under the spider and held on as it blinked out. Unfortunately, Stor was too close to the spider and was pulled along with it!

“As Stor tried to cling onto the spider in the hope that it would go back, it turned and attacked him! Stor was faced with an impossible dilemma: his only was home was trying to kill him! It was at this moment that Mordecai noticed that as the spider moved on the other plane, it rustled its webs here on ours. He came up with a brilliant plan. He and I ran toward the web trying to lure the spider back. It worked! The spider came back, and it brought Stor back with it! This time, when we drove the spider back to the other dimension, all of us stayed on our own dimension.

“As we were preparing to leave, we discovered a magic scroll in one of the books, and a magic ring inside the throat of the basilisk. The creature was too dried up to be able to collect anything of use from its corpse.

“Mordecai ended this adventure with an incredible back flip”, Kaltharax proclaims as he concludes his tale.

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Waterfall Wonders
A Keep Lost

Date: Unknown

Something is wrong…very wrong. While we have all survived the trip up and over the water fall on the Blainsport River, I am ill with fatigue and weakness. As soon as we make port at the Landing I shall go to the clinic. Gil suggests the Consortium and Peren the Advocates. Maybe someone will know what to do. I fear falling into the Etherial Plane while fighting the Fey Spider has split my soul in two.

As for the expedition, we have mostly terrible news. The Feywatch was occupied by evil forces from hell including ogres and bearded devils. Our battle flag no longer flies over the tower. I also suspect yet another hag is present, possibly named Annie. Both Merpip and I are greatly distressed by this loss and can only blame Captain Quinston for failing to garrison the fortress. Valen seemed disturbed at such evil forces and wished strongly to retake the Keep but no good plan seemed to take form.

We met with the Fey creature McGrogan. He seems aloof to the new occupiers. Something seems off though almost as if he is complacent or aiding these forces. He did remind us that Billy has a date with the Moon king.

After killing two ogres, one by a brilliant longbow shot by Peren, we chose not to engage the Keep forces and instead approached the Waterfall. It was four or so days from Blainsport. Behind the waterfall was found not a dragon, but instead, a riddle of a poem warning travelers. All of us pondered meanings of this poem.

To avoid the first obstacle, Gil hoisted us over the cliffs. We marched onwards to a bridge guarded by a troll demanding payment. Gil fooled him with a piece of coral after my grease spell failed.

We then encountered the ladies, one a redhead and one a brunette. Two nearly naked damsels blocked our path sealed in invisible fields of force. We knew one could be a friend but not whom it was. After numerous questions I realized we could determine a liar by asking if they were attracted to me. One said no and the other yes. Clearly we knew who was lying. Peren released the darker haired of the two and she quickly changed into a winged creature clad in leather who thanked us for setting her free. The redhead simply vanished.

We marched on until dark where we found a small cave and a skull. Another riddle was etched here. It referred to a highwayman and someone named Flain. I don’t understand its meaning. Again my sleep was interrupted and I feared my death would be soon.

In the morn we tied ourselves together and nearly lost Merpip in a gust of wind. We did survive despite my clumsy knotwork and poor reactions.

Next we came upon a swamp with water dripping out of rock. I tasted it with regret as it was water mixed with oil. We took a flask of it based upon our reading of the first riddle. Thankfully it may have saved my life by doing so.

Crossing the swamp, a mass of entangled vines and debris attacked. It seemed immune to most of our efforts but finally Peren landed another spectacular shot and bubbles were all that remained.

My health remained perilous so I asked the party to hurry. We found a hill with a tree named Stoop. After providing the oil water from the swamp to this creature, Peren learned it was cursed to kill any that touched its sap. We have returned samples of this poison. The tree told us about the land beyond but to use the water below to get back to the waterfall. Gil very much wished to continue but we ran low on supplies and I had become a burden to the mission.

We rested one more night and I expected not too last. Strangely, as my nightmares returned, a winged figure guarded my soul. This fiendish woman which we had freed earlier claimed me as hers and fought ghostly figures away. I rested well the rest of the night protected by my lady of darkness but my constitution appears permanently withered.

We found the Feywatch deserted when we returned but Gil’s loyal owl noticed an invisible presence so we fled. The Feywatch is lost. Another hag may be after us. Something evil lurks in the tower. Beware all who travel in the area and may my existence be saved by Gozreh or my new fiendish friend.

Captain S.L.

New Hooks:

  • Retake the Keep
  • Finish the puzzle run up stream into the wilderness
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The Second Obelisk
Also with Dragons

Tahli Karan
25th of Desnus
Notes from the Grey Hills

Aiden Montyouc, Gilvaldellin (Gil), Caeladyn, Peren, and myself travelled with Captain Von Blitz once again to Fort Dawnbreak with the hope of checking in with the fort’s progress, and finding the second obelisk to clear another patch of fog.

The fort has been coming along well for the amount of men they have. The women and children have taken up farming, and the men are training and building defenses. They are in desperate need of stone, wood, and people. We spoke to a man named Devin from Mariner’s Landing who seems to be the leader of the fort. He informed us small ghoul scouting parties have been frequently spotted, so we set a trap for one to interrogate.

We set up a false camp outside the fort and waited for ghouls to arrive. There was a group of 5 with two 2-headed wolves alongside. We dispatched all but one and interrogated it. It informed us of the following:
1. The 2nd obelisk was a half day’s journey on the road past the turn for Wyrmroost.
2. The ghouls were building up defenses just past the fog. There was a fort that was plotting to destroy Ft. Dawnbreak once they were ready.
3. The ghouls live in the Catacombs underground. This is where they are made, and there is an entrance somewhere in the Capital. He made it sound like these catacombs were immense, nearly 5 times the size of the grey hills. Whether that is in depth or not we are not sure.

After interrogations, Aiden decided for the rest of us that it would not be smart to let this ghoul live. We slept, and set on towards the fog in the morning. About midday a black dot in the sky was spotted. It was moving quickly….VERY quickly. We dove out of the way and in front of us landed a black dragon, slightly larger than Willowbite. “Give me one to eat and I will let the rest go” it offered. Terrified we approached and raved to it of it’s majesty. Aiden offered up a coin taken from another dragon’s hoard which it took, significantly wounding Aiden with just it’s reaching grasp. His name was Sorthan the Black, the Corrosive and Majestic. After a long time of praising this terrifying beast, we mentioned the ghouls just beyond the fog, and managed to begin to convince it to let us witness it’s majesty in action while it destroys the ghoul’s fort. Final persuasions were shaky, but with the team’s combined effort we managed to convince it to let us witness it’s destruction without eating us.

We set on towards the fog with the dragon flying high above us. When we found the fort….it was chaos. The dragon wreaked acidic havoc and pain on the fortress and it was a horrible and traumatizing sight to behold. We found some human peasants running about and managed to get a dozen to escape the devastation and make it to Fort Dawnbreak. Terrified for our own lives, we slipped away into the fog while the chaos ensued.

Another day’s journey and we made it to the second Obelisk. This one had a cavern underground we needed to dig to discover. It was a cave with a few different levels to it. On the second level we fought an Earthen type elemental which summoned two others just like it. When we broke it’s concentration, these two dissipated and it was just the main elemental to fight. We killed it without too much issue and made our way down to the third level.

On this level we found the bottom of the obelisk with a large stone surrounding it with four corners protruding out, ivory veins running in and out of the nearly polished stone. From previous experiences we figured we ought to destroy these stones, so we got to hitting. Unsurprisingly, a mountainous mound of moving boulders rose up and the fight was on. It was a slow fight, but eventually we found destroying the corners of the stone uncovered a bright green gem which dealt great damage to the mountainous elemental. We had two of the four gems destroyed when the elemental grabbed Peren and shoved him inside of itself, suffocating and beating him. A good while seemed to pass and we thought we may have lost him forever, when suddenly a tree pushed his way out with a great shove and toppled to the ground, freed at last.

The remaining stones were destroyed and the elemental fell to the ground. We relaxed thinking the fight was over, when suddenly the ground started to shake violently. The cave was collapsing over our heads. We sprinted to the top, nearly getting thrown off a collapsing ramp, but with just a minute to spare we all managed to get to the surface to find a cleaner air. The fog was dispersing and the ridge Wyrmroost sits on came into view in the distance. Our mission was successful.

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Eastern Island Exploration
Island Description & Jornal Entry

The Eastern Island: (soon to be named)
Explored and mapped by: Captain Stor Lingo
Kaumuali’i, Lord of the Ocean
Gil, Renowned Wizard
Merpip, Landowner
Tahli, Necromancer

The island is oblong in shape running roughly east-west with a dock and tower on the westernmost shore. The tower is made of a light stone and has a curved window bulging out of it pointing west. We hypothesize, due to the concave roof with a hole in the center, that it is designed to catch and hold rainwater. From the tower a path goes north and south around the edge of the island. The southern path is collapsed at a small bay and is impossible to traverse without a 20 foot bridge. The northern path wraps all the way around the island to join up with the southern one at the gap. In all, the loop is about 3 miles of fairly easy terrain. Behind the tower is a currently dormant volcano with rather sheer sides. The volcano nearly splits the island in two, it’s sides reaching down to the water’s edge. To the east of the volcano are hills decreasing in size from the volcano to the shore where there is a small abandoned settlement we estimate to be more than 100 years old. Besides the tower and dock these are the only buildings on the island. The village is in a small depression which is filled with about 1 foot of water and the few buildings still standing are rotting on stilts raised above the water. The location of this village and it being the only one on the island sparked some discussion among us, and further study may be required to determine why it lies in such an inhospitable area. The area between the village and the volcano is a fairly dense tropical forest full of birds but devoid of spiders and monkeys. The waters surrounding the island are very deep and appear to be infested with some kind of human-fish creatures called not-sahuagin. These creatures are very dangerous and hostile, they can speak common, and some appear as humans. Be cautious when approaching anyone on the island, do not travel alone near the water, and do not leave ships unguarded.

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Witch Hunt

XXVI Gozran, MMXVIII

Dear Diary,

Captain Lingo has put together a crew to investigate the conch shell near the pool of false wealth to help make the waterway between Mariner’s Landing and New Blainsport safer. He asked me to come along to offer guidance on magical matters, to which I happily agreed. I have been wanting a chance to test my skills against another spellcaster and I have some ideas regarding the pool, making that safer to study would be in my best interest.

XXVIII Gozran, MMXVIII

Dear Diary,

I write this on my first of two watches for the evening. Nerves are wearing thin and I do not know what dangers the night holds. We found an abandoned homestead with some unusual tracks around it. Large webbed foot, three toes. I really should brush up on my biology. The druids, Billy and Caedalyn, were at a loss as well, so I didn’t feel so bad. Naivara looked around the homestead and said the area was clear, but as we looked around large thunderheads started to form in the distance. In hindsight I can tell this was unusually rapid, but we decided to hunker down in the house to weather the storm. Stor was very prepared for this outing and we arranged barricades of wooden spikes around the door and windows, just in case something tried to make its way in. Caeladyn and Saila returned and informed us that they were being followed by a gaunt figure that had managed to stay in their peripheral vision. We decided to take some additional precautions and made an illusory door to fill the empty doorway after everyone had returned. That was when Caeladyn saw the creature out the window. She panicked and scurried away while we all braced for an attack, but nothing came. Moments after, a half rotten fish dropped down the chimney leaving a terrible stench that I quickly masked with some prestidigitation. The storm has reached its full height, the ceiling groans in protest to the wind, but it should hold. We have doubled the watch, and I have two shifts since I do not sleep.

XXIX Gozran, MMXVIII

Dear Diary,

We survived the night to find a ring of dead and half rotten fish, eels, and vipers surrounding the house, which I have decided to name the Stormward Estate. From there we proceeded to the conch, knowing that the hag was well aware of our presence. The conch has an entryway about 20 feet tall and is possibly 120 feet at its fullest height, it would make an impressive calling horn. Upon approaching the entrance, we were beset by a few hundred rats, in swarming mentality. Naivara and Billy held them at bay while Stor, Caedalyn, and I struck at them with spells and arrows. From there, I sent Saila into the conch under the protection of an invisibility spell. We determined it was safe to enter, and sacrificed about 15 or so of the poles Stor had brought along disarming shark jaws enchanted to serve as a sort of hunting trap. As it turns out, the hag, Granny Jetsam, decided to abandon her conch. We found a message scratched into the wall that read…

“Nice of you to finally drop in
Hate to rob you of your your shoppin’
but you invaders just aren’t stoppin’
so Granny Jetsam’s gone-a-hoppin’”

She was even courteous enough to include the necessary apostrophes when leaving off the last letter of the words.

Despite her cleaning, we did manage to find a few items of note after sneaking past a few Myconids and opening a locked chest. After examining her “garden” of various fungi and the oven she seems to use as the crucible for her work, I have concluded that Granny Jetsam has been arming bullywugs with various fungal weapons and inciting them to attack New Blainsport. She has also been cooking up a few terrors. I am not entirely sure of what nature, but she has some sort of creature lurking about. The shark jaws later rearranged themselves into a sort of shark jaw construct, like a tooth skeleton golem, could it be more of something like that? The only remaining clue we have was a partially damaged piece of paper that seemed to have the letters “ERHOB”. I am unsure if that is the beginning, middle, or end of the word, as the page was burned partially. I must think more on this, as Granny Jetsam is clearly a foe to be reckoned with.

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