Exile on Drochtrèdia

Ice River Adventure
Aka Ladies Night

It all started when Alistra came by asking for help, which she doesn’t normally do so I knew this was important to her. I didn’t really ask for many details, I just knew we’d be going to the ice and that the rest of the girls (Tahli, Caeladyn, Mac) would be coming along.
We left the Landing on an upgraded Tears of Quartz ship, an icebreaker, now named “Horn of Lingo”. I saw Alistra’s small smile at the name and I felt my heart break a little. I’d never gotten to know Stor, but from what everyone’s told me he was well loved by the folks of Mariner’s Landing.

It was a long trip to the ice river aboard the “Horn of Lingo”. I stayed busy by getting my workouts in; as my old mentor used to say “a strong body can lead to a sound mind”. Tahli spent her time trying to get the sailors to arm wrestle her zombie friends. At one point the zombie’s arm nearly fell off, scaring the sailors. Mac on the other hand was working on her ‘cannons’ as she called them. Not sure what they really were exactly other than they were some sort of loud magic. And of course, Alistra was having fun shooting fireballs at icebergs.

Around the 11th day of sailing we spotted some whales, damn those things were big. Someone said something about being able to hunt whales for their blubber for oil? Didn’t really know that was a thing, but sure, whatever floats your boat Captain Rocksalt.
Finally, after 12 days we made it to the river. We split off into 2 rowboats; with Mac and I in one and Caeladyn, Alsitra, and Tahli in the other. It was pretty fun rowing the boat down the river, taking in the scenery, until these polar bear wolf things (which Caeladyn later told me were called Mahoru) showed up and tried to sink the other boat. Caeladyn summoned octopi in retaliation, but one was killed by the Mahoru. I guess the Mahoru was a sushi fan since it took the octopus corpse and ran off to eat it.

Ok back to the calm, cold beauty of the winter landscape. Or so I thought. One of the girls said we were being followed. Great. Mac, still kinda spooked from earlier, attacked the thing preemptively. Turns out it was a Frog Hashar (again, according to Caeladyn) named Krillex. The little guy gave us some good info along with a bit of a shocker. He said that Alistra was a winter elf?? I didn’t know there were multiple kinds of elves, so yeah. It surprised everyone, most of all Alistra. Krillex said to go more upriver and talk to the Queen of Ice and Snow at the head of the frost flow as she would have more info for Alistra. Oh yeah, this was all said in Sylvan so I didn’t understand a lick of it until the ladies translated for me.
We continued our journey upriver, past some grasslands and glacial rocks, for about 2 hours until we came across a small structure. We knock on the door and are greeted, again in elven, by two elves named Malornis and Kiara. Well, according to the ladies (all of who spoke elven by the way) they’re not elves they’re Eladrin. Not too sure on the difference as they look similar to elves to me, just kinda gloomy. So maybe that’s the difference. And there are different kinds/courts of Eladrin?? Like fall, winter, summer, spring. I don’t know, you’d have to ask the other girls on that one.

Anyway, Malornis and Kiara were pretty chill and gave us a lot of useful information. Or rather, they gave Alistra, Caeladyn, Tahli, and Mac good info. The girls translated some of it for me, and what I picked up on was that this land was a part of the Feywoods, which melds into the Feywild somewhere. Also, that these Eladrin were a part of this alliance that fought the ascendant elves way back when. Then they said something about the “desert-lands of the crystal flame”, whatever that is.

Malornis and Kiara run this place as a small trading post, and had some pretty fun stuff like these awesome little snowglobes. They didn’t want money for them, just sad stories. Ok it was a little odd. But they were some pretty cool snowglobes. Everyone told a sad story and I felt like hugging them all, but reigned it in. Didn’t really like talking about mine, but I did it for the globe. Not gonna repeat any of the stories; personal stuff that happens on girls trips stays there.

Kiara offered to be our guide to Aurora, the main city out here, and we happily accepted. Along the trek there, we saw a Bheur Hag scowl at Caeldyn. Wonder what her deal was. We came across a trading outpost, this time it was owned by some fall Eladrin. I have come to call them Falladrin, which Mac seemed to find pretty funny. We learned that Lieutenant Roth’s men attacked this outpost, killing many Eladrin. There was a mound of corpses belonging to his men that was supposedly haunted. So we decided to take a look. Yup, definitely had some ghost shit going on. We fought 14 shadows and 1 male banshee. It was a tough fight as the banshee continued to sap our strength, shrinking my muscles and destroying my gains in the process. Thankfully Caeladyn, Mac, and Alistra were able to deal damage to the thing and kill it. Upon inspection of the bodies, there was an Eladrin in the mass grave that mistaken for one of the Lieutenant’s men and that’s why he became a banshee. I swear I turned around for 5 seconds and Tahli’s army of skeletons has increased in size. She probably raised some of the corpses from the mass grave, but that’s cool with me. She usually has it so they get hit instead of me when we’re in a scrap so I’m all for it.

After that was dealt with, we continued on towards Aurora. It took the five of us 3 days to get to the Emerald wood and another day to come across a burnt Gnome village. It looked as though it was attacked by werewolves, or maybe the Bear King to the south. We didn’t investigate as we were on a mission for Alistra.

From there it was another week to Aurora. It was a beautiful town the size of Blainsport filled with Wood Elves and Eladrin. We saw some of the Eladrin on these long pieces of wood called skis. There were three paths to the Ice Queen, we chose the one with mountains going northwest to southeast. As we were climbing, three of Tahli’s skeletons fell! Tahli looked pretty sad about it so Alistra sighed and climbed down to retrieve them. Despite all her complaining, I think Alistra didn’t mind helping Tahli out. I think she’s got a soft spot for all of us, though she’d deny it.

We followed the path along a forest edge that went west and then turned south. We came across a shed containing a dwarf that seemed to freeze to death. Poor little guy. We also found some skis and a sled and had a lot of fun trying them out. Continuing on, we heard a pack of wolves wanting to ambush us. Thanks to Caeladyn we were able to understand this and hide in the trees for an ambush of our own. Surprise, there was a werewolf and a white dragon too. Alistra caught like half the trees on fire while Mac was able to yell at the werewolf to run away. I had some awesome acrobatic moments in this fight; swung from tree to tree with a rope and was able to Tarzan swing/kick at the dragon. We ended up killing it and getting its horn.

Finally Alistra spots the path to the Ice Queen’s tower. This whole trekking in the snow bit was pretty exhausting. Once inside, the tower was freaking gorgeous. I’m talking mithril plate, automatons, lot of cool decorations, and a rotating throne with a giant glass lens near it. Apparently the Ice Queen uses the giant magnifying glass to watch literally everything going on around her. I had planned on hitting on her, and while she was beautiful she was super intimidating. So I definitely did not do that. She explained to Alsitra that her contact with the Queen’s snow had caused her to become a winter Eladrin. She also told us that this dragon called the Onyx Queen has reawaked…well…shit that sounds terrifying. Other scary news includes something evil stirring and gaining a following at the far southern edge of the continent. Coincidentally this is where Lt. Roth is. Yay. ANOTHER bloody dragon (Stataugh) is around here somewhere. Specifically in our desert moving north to giant lands and followed by a few dozen gnolls.
Other info of note:
• Fey were exiled by green and realtra faith
• Ascendant Elves leadership tomb, nothing grows for miles
• Dragons came to Drochtredia first
• Willow spawn of Witherwing who’s lands are NW of desert
So yeah, that was our trip. We learned a lot and helped Alistra figure out what was going on with herself.

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The Death of the Blight

The threat of the Blight had returned with renewed force recently, looming over the Landing. If it was not dealt with once and for all, then it would eventually creep its way to the walls of Mariner’s Landing itself. The party consisted of Alistra, Brennus, Mac, Lexa, and Peren. Their goal was to search for the Blightmaster druid, and kill him once and for all, hopefully stopping the Blight. They knew that he was somehow using a leyline and a large tree to potentially create more blighted creatures. The druid Na’lor gave the group items to help ward off the Blight’s infections.
It’d been too long since I’d ventured out. Helping out at Feywatch was necessary, and a good time to start forming the unit, but I just can’t stay cooped up too long. Seemed like a chance to do some real good for everything here that ain’t the Blight.

The group decided to travel to the leyline that led into the Blighted woods. On the way, they came across what was once Ed’s farm, now overgrown and twisted with vines and plants. Mac saw a few giant rams, and went to go say hi, but when seeing them up close, he realized (too late) that they were blighted creatures, with disgusting plant parasites inside the mouths controlling the creatures. The ensuing fight was short but brutal, but the rams and the blight plants were killed. The party decided to rest in the barn and finish travelling to the Leyline the next day. In the night, the party was attacked by a dozen or so blighted snakes. This was another rough fight when the party realized that they would keep regenerating unless fire was used. While they were destroyed, Lexa and Brennus had been infected with the blight. They tried to tough it out, but after waking every hour or so sick and feverish, they eventually got Alistra to burn it out of them (instead of using the blight antidotes).
Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes? But we made it out. Really glad we had a mage with fire. It was definitely painful, but I’ll gladly take it over knowing there’s some parasite eating away at me. And could’ve been worse, at least I could sit down afterwards.

The group reached the Leyline entry to the forest within the next few days. They found poles with runes inscribed on them, with goblins grotesquely impaled on the poles. The group guessed that this was how the Blightmaster was “rerouting” or corrupting the leyline energy to the tree, so Brennus started chopping down the pole. At which point the Goblins began screaming in alarm, so they started beheading the goblins before they cut down the poles. They did this as they traveled into the forest, only encountering a group of blighted Goblins.

They found the center of the blighted forest that they sought. More surprisingly, they found Na’Lor and his wolf Stella captured as the Blightmaster sought to corrupt him. The party tried to intervene was couldn’t stop him from stabbing Na’lor with a blighted thorn dagger thing. The party attacked him and the two Owlbears with him. A brutal combat ensued, damage taken and damage given. Things looked grim, but when Alistra freed Stella, the wolf (star wolf?) healed the party with its essence. Eventually, the Blightmaster was brought down and destroyed, and Na’Lor saved.

This was when the real threat appeared, the large tree that apparently was sentient. When the party refused to bow to it, it attacked with branches and powerful spells. The fight took everything the party had and more. Brennus relentlessly attacked with the Felling Axe, drawing the tree’s ire. Lexa valiantly joined the melee too, with fist and staff. Peren used flaming arrows, swords, and his tree guardian form and spells to great effect. Mac, even though stricken with a mind contagion by the Blightmaster, overcame it once to provide aid. Alistra provided extremely effective support with fire spells. The tide turned when Stella sacrificed the rest of her life force to heal the seriously wounded or downed party. Even with this sacrifice, it ultimately came down to a final fire spell from Alistra, with everyone else down or out of the fight. But the tree exploded into flame, destroyed, and all of the party members lived.
Never experienced anything like that…hadn’t much thought about how to fight a tree. Thought killing the Blightmaster was easier than I expected. But he was the puppet, not the master. In the tribes, the Druids were some of the most powerful, more than the Chieftains. We feared them, and now I remember why. When that twisted thing came at us, I… froze. The fear stopped me in my boots, couldn’t take a step forward. If it weren’t for that wolf, I might have watched them die right in front of me. We won, and lived, and saved Na’Lor too… but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like a coward.

It turned out that the tree was something called the Living Ward created to defend against the Blight. But in a turn of events, the Living Ward came into contact with one of the shards of the Codex. The shard, being intelligent but without morals, would use any method to put itself back together. So it used the Living Ward and the Blight to spread and try to find the other shards. With the tree destroyed, the Blight will eventually wither and die, although it will linger for some time. The last known location of the shard was that a lone survivor of a Nomad caravan had it and was fleeing with it.
All this talk of Codexes, shards, other big threats. More going on here than I think any of us realize. Or we’re beginning to realize, maybe. Every time we face down something big, feels like something bigger takes its place. Guess that’s how it always is for the people they write legends about. And the Landing needs all the help it can get anyways, so nothing to do but keep moving forward!

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Fort Dawnbreak's Time of Need
The Invention of the Chickenscope

[OoC tl:dr
-Shadows
-Ghouls
-Black Onyx Queen Demands final obelisk destroyed in one month and march on ghoul capital two months after that.
- Khangar needs glasses]

Khangar’s Journal:

After finding The following message nailed to a post:

URGENT, HELP REQUESTED AT FORT DAWNBREAK.

There is something in the darkness, its killing the common folk at night. We don’t know what it is, all we see are the withered husks it leaves behind.

I request urgent aid, we need someone to come and help cleanse us from this evil before we are all lost to the black.

Make haste,

Ralph of Wrymsroost, Acting Commander of Fort Dawnbreak

I tracked down Captain Ron and told him we could earn the respect of the locals if we took on this mission. He wasn’t interested at first but when I told him we would likely be sailing there, he jumped at the opportunity to be on the sea again.

We set off to the docks looking for the person who posted the urgent message. We found them standing next a svelte looking vessel. The rough looking sailor made it clear we were not his first choice but this being an urgent matter, our help was better than no help.

As we boarded the ship an enterprising elf emerged from the shadows. He introduced himself as Thero Denirav and inquired about a reward, “Is there to be an award for providing aid? Surely it must be a vast amount for such an urgent matter!” The sailor, obviously in a hurry, confirmed that there would be an award but insisted that we must leave now! Thero, assured of payment, hopped on board.

We set off along the coast in the narrow long boat that sat low in the water. The sailors made great haste inspired by Captain Ron’s rendition of “Come Sail Away” and the speedy vessel glided over the water. We reached For Dawnbreak in 4 days time.

We were rushed to the lighthouse to see Ralph. As we approached lighthouse two other adventures walked up to greet us.

One of them was a familiar face, Daedrick Blackheart. I have adventured with him many times now. I find him to be brash and demanding but good in a fight. The other was a large half-orc, he introduced himself as Rowan Oak. He told us that he used to be a slave of the ghouls. After gaining his freedom, he took up the mantle of Paladin and became a follower of Umbros.

Ralph filled us in on the grizzly events that had befallen Fort Dawnbreak. 7 emaciated bodies have been found. All of them were alone and housed on the outskirts of the fort. Ralph noted their locations on a map for us. He also noted that the most recent body was being held in the local Temple of Realtra. He told us to speak with Brother Conalt if we wished to inspect it.

Our group set off to the temple and inspected the body under Brother Conalt’s watch full eye. The body was slightly shriveled and had a slight rash like marking around the neck area.

We convinced Conalt to let us cut open the body. Rowan knew this man in life and believed he would want his remains to be used in any manner that helped put a stop to the attacks. After some group peer pressure, Thero agreed to perform the autopsy.

To the surprise of everyone involved, Thero quickly and professionally flayed the body open. Revealing a corpse full of organs and shriveled muscle. Captain Ron threw up.

Unfortunately, not much was gained and one lunch was lost during the dissection of the body. If that wasn’t bad enough, Daedrick decapitated the body as we were leaving.

He was very obviously trying to sneak behind us. Then he drew his GLOWING sword, chopped the corpse’s head off, and proceed to act like nothing happened.

Rowan, Daedrick, and Conalt started to argue. Rowan got a good hit on Daedrick. Daedrick followed with a hit of his own, which laid the half-orc out on the floor, and then walked out of the temple.

Rowan was amazingly quick to get back on his feet. He rushed after Daedrick and continued the argument outside.

Captain Ron played some smooth Kenny G. to cool everyone’s temper. After many insults later and Daedrick’s telling of his childhood Draugr story, things finally settled down.

Rowan and Daedrick were no longer at each other’s throats but they were far from friends. With this new group tension, we continued our investigation at the last victim’s tent.

The dwelling was sparse. We found a trunk containing a necklace with the symbol for Umbros, Rowan took this for safe keeping. The only clue we found was a marking on the bed that resembled the rash found on the corpse’s neck. It appeared to be some kind of necrotic damage.

Under the guise of getting leads from the locals, Ron and I suggested we go to the tavern for drinks. This was met with general enthusiasm from everyone.

Captain Ron bought a round of drinks for everyone in the tavern. This helped loosen some tongues. The only lead we picked up was on an Ulstra character. The town’s folk seemed a little hesitant of her presence. They described her as an herbalist and a loner. Some even went so far as to accuse her of placing hexes on the townspeople. She lived in a tent on the very edge of the settlement.

It had grown late in the day so our company agreed to stay the rest of night in the tavern.

Daedrick and Rowan exchanged drinks and agreed to let bygones be bygones. This soon devolved into a drink off. Thero, Ron, and I egged them on. Rowan hit the ground first. Thero performed some slight of hand to encourage Daedrick to take a final shot before he fell onto Fenris, his wolf.

Ron and I carried Rowan up to his room. The three of us still standing settled in for the night, while Fenris stumbled around outside with Daedrick latched to his back.

During the pre-dawn hours Rowan, Ron, and I were woken by shouts from the guards. We rushed outside and met up with Thero and Daedrick. Thero told us he had seen a smoke like creature leaving a tent while he was patrolling the wall.

We inspected the tent and discovered 3 bodies. Whatever was attacking these people was growing bold. This tent was close to the wall and an entire family was slain.

Our group headed to Ulstra’s to check on the old woman. I found her to be a kindly person. None of the town rumours held up to scrutiny. She even gave us a couple necrotic resistance potions!

As we were saying our goodbyes, two guards rushed in and told us to get to the temple. We ran to the temple. We found a haggard looking Brother Conalt outside. As Rowan healed him, he told us that three smoke creatures appeared out of the recent bodies brought to the temple. He was able to slay one and escaped.

We entered the temple and confronted the two remaining creatures. I was the last to engage the enemy. To make up for my tardiness, I rushed in with two mighty swings of my hammer…both missed. I could feel Daedrick’s disapproving gaze bore into the back of my head. I heard him say, “What a disappointment!”.

The creatures continued their assault and seemed to pull the strength out of Daedrick. His muscle mass was visibly diminished. Even in this weakened state, Daedrick smited one with his radiant blade. The other was put down by a well placed arrow from Thero.

After he had seen the creatures first hand, Brother Conalt identified them as Shadows. They had the ability to suck the strength out of a body. Given enough time, a new shadow would emerge from the corpse. We all agreed it would be best to move all of the townspeople behind the wall for the next few nights. Before we left, Conalt handed us 3 vials for holy oil. He said it should prove damaging to the Shadows.

Shadows usually stay in dark caves during daylight hours. Our group poured over the local map. There were some cliffside caves but they were to far away from the fort and the Shadow Thero had seen traveled in the opposite direction.

Looking at the map I saw the well centered in the middle of the settlements outside of the walls. It was in the general direction that Thero saw the shade travel. Surely nothing bad’s ever happened in a well? Rowan thought it would be worth checking out. Our group proceeded to the well to investigate.

As we approached the well, Rowan was able to sense 6 creatures under us. Wanting to get a better sense of the terrain at the bottom of the well, our group brainstormed an item that might become the number one piece of adventuring kit…the chicken scope. I tied a chicken into the well bucket, Daedrick used beast sense on the chicken, and Ron lowered to poor foul to the bottom of the well. Looking through the chicken’s eyes, Daedrick was able to confirm the creatures were Shadows and that the bottom of the well opened into a large cavern. We reeled in the chicken scope and tightly sealed the well.

An elaborate plan was hatched. We would construct a tent surrounding the well. Ron and Thero would then use prestidigitation to project stars and the moon on the inside of the tent. This night time scene would draw the Shadows out, then the tent would be removed and they would be slain in the daylight. During preparations, we were interrupted by screams to the south. We rushed to aid the citizens but were too late.

Two Shadows claimed another victim. We shredded the tent to expose the creatures to daylight. This weakened the creatures. After dispatching the two Shadows a third creature started to manifest from the fresh corpse. This one was finished before it completely left the body.

It was now clear that the cavern had multiple exits, not just the well. With only 4 Shadows left, we chose to take a more direct approach. Rowan poured vial after vial of oil down the well. He then lit the oil with a torch. We all gathered around the well, everyone readied an attack. Thero, Rowan, and I applied the holy oil to our weapons. I was eager to finally land a solid hit on one of these creatures. Daedrick struck first, his glowing blade vaporized it’s target. Next up, Rowan cleaved a Shadow in two with his axe. Then Thero pinned one to the side of the well where it burned to ash. I readied my killing blow on the last monster…just as Captain Ron shouted, “Mine!” and cast some spell that sent the creature back into the flaming pit it was trying to flee. Before the Shadow had a second chance to reach the lip of the well it turned to ash. All eyes turned to me…and Daedrick just shook his head.
Our party returned to the town victorious. We settled into the tavern were Captain Ron regaled the townsfolk with tales of our heroic deeds but the festivities were to be short lived.

That night I drew 3rd shift for my abysmal combat efficiency the prior two days. As I peered out from the wall, I saw 20-30 humanoid shapes in the waning moon light. I had seen these shambling monstrosities before. “Ghouls!!!”, I shouted to the guards. They started sounding a warning bell and woke the garrison.

We readied ourselves on the wall and waited for the ghouls to come into range. Daedrick pulled out a strange sling device, loaded a javelin into it, and proceed to launch a javelin further than I had ever seen. It landed squarely in the chest of an approaching ghoul. Using my superior battle tactics and the fact that no one else could hit the damn things yet, I commanded Daedrick to launch another javelin. Another ghoul was quickly skewered to the ground. I heard him laugh and say, “that’s the most damage you’ve done all week!” I held my tongue (But am making a note to count that one as my kill) and focused on the battlefield around me. The first wave of ghouls had come in range of the archers.

In all the comotion, I heard a creaking noise. I rushed to the inner side of the wall and saw a little girl lifting the bar from the gate doors by herself! I shouted to my companions to stop her. Rowan was the first to close, he dove to tackle her and was brushed aside with just one of her arms. Daedrick charged in on the back of Fenris, slashing at her shoulder. The image of the girl was pulled away. In its place was was a large ghoul. The ghoul threw the gate open as the first wave neared the wall.

I leapt to the ground and delivered two heavy blows. On the second blow I attempted to trip the monster by sweeping its legs. The swing connected but the leg stayed firmly rooted in place. It was like striking a tree trunk. Daedrick was able to close the gate as Rowan and I flanked the ghoul. Unfortunately this left me, Rowan, and the large ghoul outside the walls as 7 more ghouls closed in.

The large ghoul mounted a counter attack and broke through the door, knocking me back inside with it. Rowan shouted for us to shut the gate. I aided Daedrick and together we were able to close and bar the gate.

Thero and Ron moved up the wall to cover Rowan as he attempted to climb over the wall. On his second attempt, he was able grab Ron’s hand and was pulled up. To hear Captain Ron tell it, Rowan’s first attempt was like watching a fly smack flat into a window pane.

Daedrick and I re-engaged the monstrous ghoul. Maybe due the fatigue of holding the door, Daedricks first attack went wide of the mark and missed. I could see the frustration on his face. I followed this up with, “See! It is hard!”. This got a grimace out of Daedrick. I proceeded with my attack…and missed. Eventually (longer than it should have taken) we put the creature down.

On the other side of the wall, the ghouls tried following Rowan’s example and jumped at the top of the wall. Being much shorter than the half-orc and peppered by Thero, Ron, and Rowan they stood no chance. By the time Daedrick and I made it back to the top of the wall, it had become somewhat of a sport. I tied Daedrick to the end of my rope and swung him like an angry mace back and forth along the wall. We were able to kill 7 more ghouls in this manner (making a note to also count these as my kills). I pulled Daedrick up after he was good and bloodied. Honestly, I don’t know how much of it was his blood or the ghoul’s.

The Ghoul line finally broke and started to retreat. Daedrick then did a very Daedrick like thing. He jumped on his wolf and chased down a couple of the lagging ghouls. This went well until the edge of the retreating line realized what was happening, turned, and fired a volley of heavy crossbow bolts. Two of the bolts hit Daedrick square in the chest knocking him clean off Fenris. We rushed out to provide aid. Between Thero firing arrows and Captain Ron throwing insults, the ghouls continued their retreat. Showing only a small amount of hesitation, Rowan healed Daedrick.

We gathered what we could from the ghoul corpses, the only thing of note was a necklace of sending. Someone back at the landing is sure to be interested in this. We headed back to the tavern. Finally, it seemed this ordeal would be over. I got a good night’s rest, woke up to a big breakfast and a bloody mary. Then I heard it: thwoomp, thwoomp, thwoomp and the shouts of “Dragon!” coming from outside. (Note to never stay at this tavern again) I asked the bartender for her best bottle of bourbon, thinking it might be my last drink.

Thero and Ron joined me at the bar. Thero asked Ron how fast that boat was and his reply was not fast enough. We all made piece with the situation and passed the high shelf spirits between us.

There was a loud crash from outside as the dragon landed inside the walls. In a booming voice she introduced herself as the Onyx Queen. She demanded to see those from Mariner’s Landing and the leader of Fort Dawnbreak. The three of us sheepishly exited the tavern.

To our surprise, we weren’t killed immediately. She demanded that the Mariner’s destroy the final obelisk in one months time. We all just nodded. Sure, sounds reasonable to us. But then some foolish young soldier rushed towards the dragon, weapon drawn. Daedrick and Rowan tackled the kid before he made it to far. The Onyx Queen then turned to Ralph and demanded that he ready every blade (man, women, and child) to march on the ghoul capital two months after the fall of the obelisk. She then punctuated her point by crushing the foolish soldier in her claw. The wet crunch and scream that followed were gut wrenching but we were powerless to stop her. She threw the body to the ground and took flight.

Rowan checked on the mutilated soldier. He was able to stabilize the young boy but it was clear he would be disfigured for life. With this ominus news hanging over us we quickly said goodbye to Ralph. We boarded the boat and set off with all haste. We must deliver the Onyx Queen’s message to Mariner’s Landing.

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Interogation of a Half Drow

To the citizens of Mariner’s Landing and New Blainsport,

We must share what happened today. I don’t want to alarm anybody, but I worry there may be a serious threat looming in the heart of Drochtredia. Let me start at the beginning.

Immeril, Mac, Erevan, Alistra, and myself all wanted to ask a half drow named Faven some questions. Faven had been arrested under many charges a couple months back. He had gone mad, claiming he had been shown a cataclysmic event that would be the death of Droctredia, and decided to have some fun, creating horrendous flesh golems which murdered at least four people, and several animals. We were curious about who this man was, and we wanted to learn more about this vision of his.

During the peak of the day we made our way to the New Blainsport jails, and were surprised to see Captain Quinston in Faven’s cell with the guard Rodrick. He was confused as to why we were there, but Alistra informed him she would ensure an orderly interrogation, and he gave us permission to speak with the half drow. He told Alistra that he felt the man had gone quite mad, and that we weren’t to believe everything he told us.

With this warning, we approached the dark skinned man, who was sitting at the back of his cell, looking resigned and calm. Alistra began by reading the man the charges he has been accused of, and informing him that his sentence could perhaps be shortened with his cooperation. I won’t bore you with the details, but we found Faven to be a man resigned to his fate, whose soul had been corrupted by some evil that was beyond his comprehension. He claims he was exiled here from the empire for a crime he didn’t commit, with no trial or hearing. The police raided his house and stole him away without even giving him the knowledge of what crime he was accused of. Perhaps racism was a factor. While in Droctredia he wrote to his sister, Acordia often, but never was graced with a response. He claims to have sent dozens of letters, but perhaps they got lost in transit, or perhaps some higher power in the empire didn’t want his words to escape Drochtredia. Perhaps this was part of his punishment. Since then he has learned the true nature of this cruel world. He claims the empire is sending us all here as sacrifices to some greater power.

The most disturbing of his musings however, was about this vision he had. He said he had travelled to the desert and found himself at a welcome sight, a small temple which he entered to escape the maddening heat of the dry desert sun. In the temple he was shown a vision full of terror and doom. He claims he met a goddess who spoke to him. He said he went mad looking in the eyes of a true goddess. How insignificant you seem in the presence of something so powerful. He said this goddess wanted people to follow her. Perhaps she even offered shelter from this cataclysm? Her ambitions were unclear from his story, but she was not who, or what, he was afraid of. He was afraid of something much more menacing, a shadow that seemed to erupt from the mountains and engulf the continent. Faven said this vision had granted him the power of sight, and he was eager to show us if we would like. Despite being a madman, we all agreed he seemed genuine, and that he believed every word he was saying. Faven was not lying to us.

So, I reached out and took his hand so I could see this cataclysmic vision.

It was disorienting. My ears rang so loud I thought they would burst, I fell into a fog that took me thousands of miles away, and after a second that lasted longer than it seemed, I was in a desert, a wide expanse of a desert and the sky was plagued with terrifying storms and wicked winds. There was a small temple in front of me, that radiated a strange energy, that almost seemed to beckon me.

Just as I got my bearings, I was engulfed in fog again and travelled what seemed to be hundreds of thousands of miles, to somewhere no where near where I was before. I was surrounded by dead trees, on a coast with a cold and unwelcoming bay. I turned around and saw the mountains behind me, and from the mountains, towered a gargantuan shadow that raised up high into the sky. Sun bursts seemed to emit from the outline of the shadow and it was horror itself. Every ounce of me wanted to bolt, to run, to never see this horrid, terrible sight ever again, but I couldn’t move. It was worse than the nightmares that plagued me as a child after I was cursed with the lich’s dark magic.

And then the ringing returned, even louder than before, and I blacked out for a moment. When we came to, all of us were together, back inside that temple in the desert, with all of our items missing. We were in an endless hallway, surrounded by a thick fog. Before I even had the chance to say anything, I felt a huge slash that came from nowhere in the fog cut me across my chest. I staggered back, just to be caught by another deep cut. I stumbled to the ground and felt a final slash draw more blood than seemed possible from my back, and I fell unconscious. I don’t have any memory of the rest of our time in the temple, but the others said some force was using our blood to speak with us. It spelled out the words “HELP; UP; ME; WAKE” in the blood from our opened bodies. They said any sort of offensive attack was useless against the invisible force.

When I came too again, we were back in the jail cell. Alistra told us when all events were over, that she had seen a robed man with purple skin and tentacles for a face standing over her and disappear before the rest of us woke. The seen we were greeted with had Faven lying slain in his cell, and three ghastly looking creature that we later learned were Banshees cornering a nervous Rodrick and standing over our recovering bodies. Before we could even all stand, one of the Banshees let out a blood curdling shriek that was the worst sound I had ever heard in my entire life. I saw multiple of the party fall unconscious from the shear pain of the shriek itself. I was shook, but managed to maintain my composure. I tried to heal as many of the party as I could, and sent my two zombies who didn’t seem to mind the sound to attack. It quickly became apparent my specialty of magic was useless against these creatures, so I spent my time healing as much as I could. Mac fought valiantly and charged, in, getting in the face of the banshees that cornered Rodrick. Alistra struck hard with blades that seemed to cut the mind. Erevan’s sprite and wolf fled the scene to find help as he laid unconscious on the ground. Everything happened so fast. Rodrick and Mac were both knocked out, and Quinston ran in, shocked by the scene, and slashed out with a brilliant miss again and again, cursing up a storm about how the god damn desk work was making him soft.

The fight continued on, Immeril blessed his bat with dragon’s breath and shot fire out to burn the strange beasts. And suddenly, Faven rose up, an animation of what he once was, but with a fierce hatred in his eyes. His body was definitely not under the control of what was once Faven’s soul. “TRAITOR” he yelled at Erevan, and held out his hand to the startled drow. Erevan froze up in an unnatural state of paralysis, and endured hit after brutal hit by the animated Faven. I did my best to keep the party fighting. Alistra found herself cornered by a Banshee, and a now awake Mac did something that pulled the banshee towards her in a brave move, which cost her her consciousness yet again. The battle was long and drown out, but eventually we felled one, then two Banshees. Quinston and Rodrick found their grove, and Quinston showed his expertise as a true leader and commander of a pack. His sword glowed bright and he slashed through the final banshee and barked out orders to stand tall and fight strong!

Finally, only Faven was left, and we crowded the Revenant and fought until he was barely standing. Erevan dealt the final blow, stabbing Faven through the stomach. Faven’s eyes seemed to flicker, and cleared for a moment. His face relaxed, and wearily, he raised his hand to stroke Erevan’s face. “I wish it didn’t have to end like this….” he murmured, and fell, lifeless, to the ground.

We staggered back, and took in the events we just endured. Rodrick started talking hurriedly, saying he ran in after hearing a commotion and saw us felled on the floor. “Wake up! Help me!!” he had been yelling. Quinston looked furious. “What happened?!” he demanded, and Alistra pulled him aside to speak with him and debrief. While it was entirely unexpected, the interrogation was incredibly successful. We learned of a great potential threat, and have many questions to pursue answers to. I feel a great draw towards the northwest, in the direction of the desert. Perhaps I will travel there soon to see what we can learn of this danger. I know some of the party in Mariner’s Landing will be interested in our findings. Immeral talks about mind flayers and Ilithid. He claims these beasts can deal devastating mind attacks, which is likely what happened when we were in the foggy temple, getting slashed to pieces.

I am greatly disturbed by these events. I hope this information was useful, and I hope we can come together to learn about this looming threat.

Your friend,
Tahli

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Looking for Work
Found an obelisk

Submission to the Imperial Academy for Archeological Sciences

From: Finrick Finkleberry the Fifth, Archeologist

Professors,

As you are aware I continue to explore for the lost ruins of the ancient Elves in the Imperial colony of Drochtredia. Recently, I traveled back into the countryside to locate additional evidence of the past civilization. Rounding out the expedition were our cook and spiritual guide, Azmund, two bodyguards, Khangar and Daedrick, and an entertainer and forager, Captain Ron (although why he is a Captain remains quite unclear). Supplies and instructions were obtained in our base camp city of Mariner’s Landing. A most beautiful Elf named Alistra provided us some insight as to where to look for additional roads into a “Ghoul” Empire. She went on and on about needing to identify all the access points into their Capital City and to be very careful if we encountered any fortifications. She said some great leader might reward us if we returned with helpful information. After making sure all had enough food for the journey, we departed into the wilds heading generally Northeast following the coast for a couple of days.

The first part of our trip lacked any finds of notable import. After a few days travel, after becoming disoriented with navigation, we stumbled upon the beginnings of an ancient road. We were able to determine it to be of ancient origin, many hundreds of years, but not whom the maker may be. The Dwarves in the party seemed quite determined to examine the stones but to no avail. Following this road we eventually intersected a very large body of salted water. At first we believed this to be a lake but the greatness of its expanse far exceeded the typical volume. Perhaps it is an inlet or part of an ocean.

Captain Ron continued to show some foraging abilities and Azmund proved to be a capable cook of fish and small game. Daedrick appeared to favor flavors closer to the living state of the animal. One night while standing guard we were rudely awakened by a call to arms by Azmund. Some fish people, known as Sahuagin, approached the camp in force. Unbeknownst to me, my bodyguards and Azmund informed everyone of an alliance between the Empire of Fish with the people of Mariner’s Landing. This seemed to resonate sympathetically with the Sahuagin warriors and they returned to the sea. They did provide some crude directions towards a bridge and the Ghoul Empire.

Once we had recovered from our lost sleep and eaten a bit more food, we traveled for days on end without anything to note. Perhaps 10 days departed until we stumbled upon a bridge of epic dimensions. Before we could do anything, Daedrick charged onto the structure determined to ignite a clash of steel. Waving his weapon fervently, he stood valiantly against an onslaught of nothing.

I believe it was Azmund who spotted the strange figure sitting in the middle of the bridge. A strange character dressed as if out of a story book. A high pointed hat with bedazzled robes, this figure gazed our direction. Quickly, I and Captain Ron hid completely out of sight while the others ventured forth. Before I knew what was happening, money exchanged hands and all of us, me included, vanished from the bridge and emerged near a giant obelisk. How that magic worked with me being so well hidden is beyond my knowledge of mages. To complicate matters further, each of us were transformed into the shape of wild beasts. I myself took the form of a formidable brown bear.

Azmund took to the sky as an eagle. Daedrick wiggled across the ground as a ball of snakes. Khangar found himself a wolf and the Captain was a walking tree. Our mental faculties greatly diminished the events following are hazy at best. It is more as if it were a dream from a different universe.

Somehow, Azmund knew we had to find a magical amulet and return it to the strange figure from the bridge. This amulet was easily spotted on the obelisk but fully protected by a magical force. A staircase allowed access to the lower level of the structure but a metal entity held the pass. Skeletons laid all around this metal beast. Daedrick chose to wiggle close to see what the entity would do and we all quickly realized that our animal forms would not provoke attack. A room filled with purple mushrooms provided little resistance to our animal horde and it was not until our tree fell into grey oozes that we felt the sting of severe wounds. One by one the oozes were sundered apart just as the mushrooms had fallen before. Each of us adjusted quickly to the use of bite, claw, or limb in inflicting injury to our foe. Next two insect grubs guarded the way and while they poisoned my bear form, they to, fell to our furry fury.

After finding a key to a secret doorway hidden near a skeleton locked in an ancient jail we uncovered a room filled with potions. Myself and Khangar being quite wounded downed three potions which helped us regain strength, but our snake Daedrick engulfed the entirety of a climbing potion with vile and cork into his gullet. Another room finally opened to the sky but it appeared to be a substantial climb. Azmund flew to a perch at the top and managed to tumble down a long chain which reached to the bottom. I raced to the chain and as soon as paw met metal, a slash wounded my side from a creature none could see. While I raced up the chain, the others fought these invisible monsters and somehow, guided by instructions from the Daedrick, hit and destroyed them. Once downed the creatures revealed their form to be skeletal with giant claws.
Finally, we found access to the amulet in the middle of a circle of stones. Daedrick or Azmund, I can’t recall went to retrieve the item, but upon touch, a giant snake grew from the ground. Daedrick hissed out for all to attack the stones, but this made little sense to our animal brains. The battle waged with many taking hits while others struck hard into the beast. Daedrick broke at least two of the stones while others concentrated on the snake. Captain Ron tried to cast a spell in tree form but it failed to take full effect. Finally, the entity crumbled and Daedrick promptly ate the amulet. I ripped the remaining stones from the earth and heaved them over the tower’s side. Once all removed the earth shook and the foggy air cleared until the sun once again lighted the pathway back to the bridge. Having recovered the item, depending on one’s definition of recover, we knew by our animal instinct to return towards the strange mage who sent us here.

A fiddler fiddled on the shore line as we approached. He then flaunted a flute. A drum drummed as we approached. Strange was the stranger but he kept to word and transformed us all back into our natural humanoid forms. A magical hand reached into Daedrick’s belly and pulled out the amulet without destroying flesh. Once he held it, he offered compensation with magic items. Each of us chose a tattoo in the form of our transformed state. I myself, now have a bear on my right arm. I am sure the ladies back in town will find it most becoming. Maybe the beautiful Elf will give me notice and invite me to a party with her on my side.

Azmund chose to summon nearby Sahuagin to inform them of the destruction of the obelisk. A few fish people did emerge and offered a small token of appreciation for the aid. We did not suffer any incidences on the way home. However, it appears Daedrick suffered a lingering effect from being a snake. His teeth continue to be tapered into point and his tongue cut in two.

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That's a Lot of Magic (The Floating Island)

(Sorry this is so long overdue, I had honestly totally forgotten I was still on task to write it). And I’ve probably forgotten some of what happened so everyone else feel free to chime in and add in/correct me.

The party consisted of Aiden, Tahli, Caedalyn, Gil, and Brennus. The original purpose of the expedition was to epxlore what was west of the mountains, by taking the already discovered pass.

The group began by traveling to the quarry to recuperate and ensure that all was well there. Upon arrival, the group was confused and concerned to see it seemingly abandoned. It turned out, however, that all was well, and that those at the quarry were instead holding a surprise party for young Gil’s birthday. So the group rested at the quarry before continuing.
The journey to the quarry was pretty uneventful. Apparently, there is a custom in the Empire of surprising somebody for a birth celebration. I say surprising a warrior like that is a good way to get a spear in the gut. Was a good time though. Haven’t known too many Elves, but Gil’s a good kid. Really good with his spells, but sure could stand to put on a little muscle.

After resting at the quarry, the group took stock of their options and decided to instead travel to a mysterious floating building of some kind that had been spotted previously but never explored (or read about? I don’t remember the origin). The party headed out, and if I remember correctly, arrived there without too much trouble.
The structure itself was a truly awe-inspiring sight, a large Temple-like structure built on a large floating island over a lake, with a waterfall falling from the center of the island to the water below. The only thing that otherwise stood out in the scene were the remains of a camp and remnants of a large catapult. The best the party could determine was that a group of Ogres had attempted to launch themselves onto the floating island, with little success.

The first step was to get onto the island, but the water in the lake had somehow been either previously poisoned or magically contaminated. With the ever creative use of Gil’s water magic, the party managed to ride up the waterfall and into a sort of magical support/mechanical area of the complex, where the water was filtered, etc.
The party began exploring the grounds of whatever the place was. The outer grounds seemed to be divided into eight sections, like a wheel with spokes. Many strange magical phenomenon occurred. Creatures trapped in crystals (or mirrors?), a one way illusion maze, an overgrown garden, a frozen pond of ice, etc. The party came to the conclusion that each area of the outer grounds was dedicated to a different school of magic. The group then headed inside the actual large structure.
Don’t know what I signed up for on this trip, but it was NOT this. Nothing against magic itself, but this was just weird. I knew there was something off about this place.

The interior of the structure was much more methodical and “normal” than the grounds, all things considered. At first the group had thought it was a temple, but upon exploring the interior, it seemed to be more of an arcane university. However, there were also guards’ quarters and an armory. In these the group found some well-crafted magical weapons. There was also an extensive and impressive library, although the party did not have time to investigate it thoroughly, other than grabbing magical objects.
The party also found a cafeteria type hall that magically stocked food and drink, which was a nice touch. The next part did not go as smoothly. A small corridor led to a sealed door, guarded by two floating skulls. The party attempted to talk to them, but after some discussion the skulls scorched the hall with fireballs. The party eventually defeated them, and entered the sealed room.
This room appeared to be a conference room, and perhaps held the most valuable secret of all. A large stone (crystal?) globe with a map of the major leylines on Drochtredia on it. There was also a logbook containing entries of the types of magic that went through the leylines.
At least the inside of the building made a little more sense. Great hall with magic food and drink of choice? That I can get behind. And the spear I took is an excellent weapon. Been meaning to find something better since the dragon broke the one I brought with me.

The party moved into what must have been the main gathering hall/audience chamber of the place. There was a large seat on a dias with a corpse on it, but it seemed to only be some long dead remains. The party found a small room in the back and managed to open it. It was the safe room of what must have been the headmaster of the school, or something like that.
Through a log book, the party discovered that this was an ancient Elven place, and that disagreements had broken out over the use of magic. (Or was it that a secret faction had been practicing darker stuff that started the fight? Or was it an external enemy? I honestly can’t remember for sure). One rival faction had been expelled, but managed to magically poison the water supply of the school. This sickness caused healing to have the opposite effect, meaning that most of the Elves died off from it, as they could not be healed.
It turned out that undead did indeed haunt this place. Upon exiting, the party was attacked by a wraith, some more dangerous undead (Wights?), and other things. Ultimately, the party proved victorious, although it was a scary encounter, and a few adventurers came dangerously close to becoming undead wraith specters themselves.
Can see why this place sat untouched for so long. Kinda sad, really. Never seen anything like it, but now it’s just a monument of a dead kingdom. They’d have called me the barbarian, but in the end, look at what they did to each other.

After that, there were no significant encounters. (I think) the party decided to leave the large globe for a return trip, but took the logbook. The place could prove to be a valuable stronghold or outpost in the future, if it could be permanently cleared of undead corruption and any other contamination. For now, the party was very happy to have explored it and come out alive.

Also, since no one else claimed it, I think I’m still holding onto the +1 Longsword also. Or at least, I was during the Feywatch mission. I don’t really use swords so I’m totally fine with auctioning it or giving it to someone else, I just think we never decided and forgot about it.

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A Return to Arms
The Siege of Feywatch

A Return to Arms
From the Journal of Azoth

The stars are quite beautiful here, far from the riff raff associated with the settlements. A story book of constellations that dance across the Autumn night sky. The Warrior surges forth with the fury of Bahamut at her back, together they charge towards the Medusa guarding the Chalice. The Dove flees from this conflict, knowing that peace against such a creature was impossible. The Great Bear grazes far to the east, as nature cares little for this conflict, or any conflict for that matter as it has far outlived the conflicts of even the elves, long in their lives. The only thing it cares for is preparing itself and its offspring the Twin Cubs for the coming winter.

In the distance I hear the river gently flowing and the wind rustling through the trees. As cold as this breeze may be, we are protected from the courtyard walls of Feywatch, newly liberated. Even with the protective walls one can smell the forest, with every deep breath my nostrils and lungs fill with an air free of sea salt and the urban sprawl of my apartment at the landing.

Even with this peace I cannot sleep. Within these walls are many dark relics that need to be purged. Within that forest a hag still lives, running for now but for how long? Between those stars, a horror that, in our desperation, I had allowed onto this world today. That is why I sit here, wide awake in this courtyard, writing by the light of the brick Warg had given in thanks for saving him from the machinations of Greeley and from Death itself. Aiden, Mac, Brennus and even Gil lay in a deep sleep in a clearing we made of the rubble. No one dared stay in the keep aside for Tahli until we had cleared it of the bizarre relics and fetishes that had been scattered about by the previous residents. I believe her to be asleep now too, as I can no longer hear the distant mutterings of her talking to the newest members of her undead cohort. She seems to keep a distance from our camp, I’m assuming because people feel uneasy around the undead. The only other one I know to be awake still is Merpip, who I see diligently patrolling the battlements above, ensuring we are not ambushed in the night. They had all fought valiantly today, to say that they deserved the rest would be an understatement.

We had left Driftwood Tavern several days before, each carrying part of Merpip’s astounding beeswax model of the keep, with what we had hoped would be a worthy plan. We would approach the castle from the east, following the river from New Blainsport. Aiden would use an oil that Merpip and I had discovered in Greeley’s chapel that allows one to walk between our realm and the ethereal plane to scout Feywatch unseen. His objective would be to find the secret underwater entrance in and perform any other possible reconnaissance. Knowing that information we would sneak in with Merpip’s guidance and fight our way up, with any luck catching our prey off guard. Our primary target was Jetsam, both due to her being perceived as the weakest link in the coven and due to our own animosity towards her. Plans fall apart easily though, when met with reality.

In the wee hours of dawn, we gathered outside of New Blainsport. Tahli was the last to arrive and she seemed tired. Almost as if she had little sleep as of late. Behind her marched an assortment of skeleton’s that none of us were familiar with, they appeared to be that of hobgoblins, long deceased. Knowing her eccentricities, we kept any questions to ourselves, instead using the time to hand over unused equipment to arm them. The empty sockets where their eyes once were stared at us, silently accepting the weapons. As I handed my dagger to one and my crossbow to another I could not help but feel cold, something I often find welcoming but this time setting me at unease. Mac also started handing off components to what I assume was the catapult she kept talking highly of after several drinks in Driftwood to the undead horde. A possible contingency that likely saved our lives.

The three days march was uneventful. Silent even. There was the occasional banter and brief conversation one breakfast over a possible new plan but that was quickly dismissed. Perhaps it was fear over the coming battle? Contemplation if there was something we had forgotten? Curiosity if we were ever to return to New Blainsport again? The silence was finally replaced when we reached the outskirts of Feywatch, still far too distant for us to see but its presence was made known. The forest itself trembled from the creatures that took residence there. From the branches, dolls made of grass and cloth hung. Bizarre totems placed by the coven that, while not magical, made their presence well known.

Seeing that this was likely our last opportunity we decided to have one last breakfast, courtesy of Aiden, from his tablecloth that had recently been repaired at the Lonely Tower. After a long march we were hungry for a substantial meal that was not our dry rations, and without a second thought we began to feast. It was foolish of us to not prepare in some form. Halfway through we heard the hellish shriek of one of those winged devils and before we could react it escaped. Our position was known and the feast became more hurried as we had hoped to finish before we were met with the repercussions of our oversights. Mac, Gil and I set out our winged companions to fan the forest, keeping an eye out for any patrols. My new companion Whateley saw what appeared to be 4 ogre’s coming our way, Psalme saw a similar retinue coming from another direction. Knowing that without intervention our feast would be interrupted for all before the magical benefit set in I donned the black mask and assumed the form of Granny Jetsam.

Stepping away from the table and into the forest with the undead retinue behind me I went to meet the patrol. But before I could lay eyes on any of them the forest filled with a thick smoke and the sound of charging footsteps. I warned the others and dove behind the wall of bone and metal as a troll and a 2 headed entity that looked somehow familiar to me charged outward. The feast was lost and we could only hope our lives weren’t lost with it.

Brennus surged forth and toppled the troll as it made its way for Tahli and myself, Aiden and Gil ran to the left to guard our flank while Mac and Merpip guarded the other. The skeleton’s dove in onto the grounded troll on Tahli’s command and brought down the might of death itself. Four more ogres charged forth from the left, not seeing Aiden as they passed him by but coming towards me. The one that reached me was scared off from my spellcasting, and ran right into Aiden who felled the beast. Through Gil’s deception the other three simpletons were distracted through a series of flashing colors and dancing lights that freed up Aiden to focus on the center. Four more charged the right as Aiden dove into the smoke cloud.

What happened next was cut short as the troll, the ettin, the skeletal horde, Brennus, Tahli and myself were consumed by a new smoke cloud. All around me I could hear the din of combat but I could not see my own hand in front of my face. The din was replaced with the howling roar of what sounded to be a thousand insects to the right and a scream of help from Aiden in front of us. Being scared for my friend’s safety I carefully backed out from the fog, knocking into several trees on the way. Tahli was already out here and to the right was indeed a swarm of insects, far larger than I had ever seen. To the left a box was where Gil once stood, I’m assuming another of his tricks and to the right Merpip shot his magic bow between the insect swarm and the fog cloud, flanked on either side by crossbow wielding skeletons. I quickly joined them and fired several eldritch blasts from my still hag form before backing away. An ogre, seeing movement ran forth at me but stopped short when he perceived what he thought was Granny Jetsam.

The fog cloud fell revealing Brennus and the skeletons still wailing upon the troll and trying to bring it down. One of skeletons unleashed cones of putrid acid from its maw which finally felled the beast. Brennus came running to my aid against the ogre but instead I feigned an attack against the gladiator and told the ogre to pursue a nonexistent group getting away. The ogre, having a brain nearly the size of a bulb of bullweed fell for the ruse and ran behind us. A sight that the skeletons did not seem to find amusing as they lodged two crossbow bolts into the back of its skull, vanquishing it.

As we turned the tide of battle and it seemed we were going to win this fight all the vegetation started to die around us. Tahli and Merpip’s skin turned blackened and Saila exploded into a cloud of feathers. From the cloud of insects Granny Jetsam appeared, marching towards us with intent in her eyes. Merpip released two arrows into her torso and she fell to her knees, but it was not a wicked cry that filled that air but instead the girlish scream of Aiden as his Disguise Self ended and he fell into the dirt. Tahli looked over at the unconscious form of Aiden but with a sigh I waved her off and force fed him one of my potions. He awoke with another girlish scream as he was met with my own visage of Jetsam.

Turning around I saw that we were met with two of those winged devils hiding in the trees, as the skeletons dispatched the distracted ogres one by one. Tricking them to come to my aid, the demons came down beside me where they were swiftly met with a fusillade of eldritch blasts and various projectiles. Turning back, we saw two ogres far off making their way back to the keep and the rest of the creatures felled.

Our presence was known, the element of surprise was gone. The forest quivered with a dark energy and the brazier at the keeps tallest tower was alit. Thinking quickly, we assembled the catapult and rested while Aiden slathered himself in the oil for his reconnaissance mission after consuming several of the groups health potions. During this time, both Tahli and Mac blinked out of and into existence. Tahli told us of a strange forest with wax dolls as far as could be seen, Mac told us of a similar forest but instead she saw what she thought was Stor in the distance, but returned before she could make contact. This had to be some form of trick from the coven, there was no other explanation for it. I also went over to the defeated ettin and flipped it onto its back. Examining it until I realized that I had seen the very same one on my trip up to the Phantom Peak, where I had first met a hag and where Caeladyn received her curse. I hoped that our quest today would not meet a similar fate.

After an hour Aiden appeared before us, winded and with several more puncture marks in his shirt. While on his mission, he gathered much information about the secret entrance and of a trap that lay there in the form of a fish person but before he could gather much more information, Sally Skinner jumped into the same realm as Aiden. The two fought but both broke off before one could slay the other. Aiden says she ran in fear but regardless of what actually happened he was bloodied and bruised and needed rest.

Now, under the protection of a Tiny Hut that Gil brought into existence, we tried for Brunch and Aiden healed himself. Over ale we discussed a new plan. With the advent of the catapult and an army of unseen servants brought forth by Gil and myself, we would use that to lay a continuous barrage on the keep. Under the cover of this barrage, we would sneak into the moat, I disguised as Jetsam, and Aiden disguised as if he was caught in my net. We would convince the fish person that I was Jetsam and that the rest of the party was getting away on the river and he was needed to pursue. Upon leaving the tunnel he would be jumped by the rest of the group and we would make our way in. It was the best we could think of considering the situation and we set the plan in motion. Leaving our orders to hold fire for 10 minutes to the servants we made our way to the tree line under the cover of Merpip’s Pass Without a Trace.

Mac and I practiced my Jetsam voice while Gil granted us all the ability to breath underwater. Then we waited. Silence filled the air for several minutes until with a dozen thuds and the smashing of clay the first volley hit the keep, along with our first fungal bomb, courtesy of Caeladyn as a gift for the hags. The demons watching the walls ducked and we made our way into the river unseen. Aiden and I made our way into the tunnel and were quickly met with the creature.

I do not know what came over me, perhaps my voice cracked? Perhaps I was made nervous by this narrow confine? Whatever it was, even through the use of magical means my deception was met with a harpoon in my chest. It tried to reel me in but I planted my feet into the ground and hexed the creature to weaken it. The sound of combat filled the tunnel behind me as Aiden swam around the cut the rope connecting the harpoon to the creature. I was free.
Suddenly the tunnel behind me was filled with an eerie silence. Over my shoulder I could see Brennus fighting with bullywugs but there was no sound. In my quick glance they seemed deformed in some way. I couldn’t help them, as Aiden currently stood valiantly before the merrow and needed my help. Together we fought against him, though unarmed his teeth and claws were still sharp. Behind him gathered 2 more of the deformed bullywugs but they couldn’t get around the large torso of the merrow.

The rest of the group filed into the tunnel, single file, as Aiden killed the merrow. Leaving us with the bullywugs, one standing strong before us, the other peculiarly slinking back. In the blink of an eye the rear one dropped its deception and revealed itself to be Jetsam. A spell coalesced in her claws but was cut off through a well-placed counterspell by Gil. Seeing Jetsam, my heart filled with rage as I transferred my hex and unleashed a torrent of eldritch blasts into her. Seeing the overwhelming group coming towards her she backed away into the dungeon, leaving with her an opened vial. Thinking nothing of it we kept up the attack but at the bottles location Aiden became stuck. The water there was filled with some form of magics and pulled him away. We gave chase and freed him, Gil through his cleverness, changed the color of the water elemental against the surrounding water, allowing us to defeat it with ease. Unfortunately, that, along with the harassment of the bullywugs behind us gave Jetsam enough time to make her escape upstairs.

This was it, this was our final chance, we had no means of escape but if we could defeat Jetsam, the coven will fall. We prepared ourselves and together, following Aiden mounted on Gil’s phantasmal steed we charged upstairs. Aiden was out of sight before I made it to the top, but I saw Mac face to face with Sally in the room before us. I fired at the purple flesh of the hag and dove into another room for cover. The room though, was covered in symbols of a dark nature, their very presence brought memories flooding back to me. I stared blankly at them but stole myself and returned to the fray, my friends needed my help.

Making my way out the door, I saw Merpip and Brennus in the courtyard with Annie and her troupe of ogres. Firing into Annie I got out of the way to make room for them to fall back inside the building. Turning about, the door where Mac and Sally Skinner were had sealed itself but no noise came from the room beyond. I should’ve tried to help her, but in the door to the chapel I saw the sinister smile of Jetsam. My emotions got the better of me, Tahli and I gave chase but the hag had already disappeared into the next room, with her cursed fungus guarding the door.

This is when things got blurry to me. Where I made a terrible mistake. In my periphery I saw 2 redcaps going after Tahli, what was left of her skeletons trying to protect her. All I could think of though was Jetsam, my hatred towards her and her kind. How much she’s tried to hurt me and my friends. It had to stop. She had to be stopped. That’s when I saw it. A ripple in our realm, faint as it was, but it was there. With no other thought I snapped my fingers and it tore open. The chapel filled with darkness and screams as our reality opened up. Even from a distance you could hear the beasts slithering, eternally hungry for whatever nightmare world they had come from that had clearly been picked clean by them.

Everything after that is spotty for me. The redcaps charged out and attacked Tahli. Annie tried to attack us through the window but was bested by magic curtains. Brennus ran in to protect us while I fed Tahli a health potion. Sally came from the eldritch darkness and tried to stop us. A rumble came from the distance, before Aiden appeared in the chapel by our side.

Then everything froze. The castle shook with a dark energy. Sally screamed obscenities towards Jetsam. Annie fled with her followers. It was at that moment, I knew, Jetsam lays dead in that darkness. Sally slowly turned her head towards me and said.

“You will pay for your crimes.”

Before she vanished to what I can only imagine to be one of the hells.

The last redcap vanished from existence and I closed the rip in reality. There laid Jetsam. Her body mangled and ruined. Much like how I saw my own people that fateful day. What have I done? At what cost is our victory? What abomination have I fed?

Merpip’s watch is going to be over soon. I should go volunteer for the next watch, I won’t be sleeping much anyway, I might as well let the others get some more sleep.

Summary:
Open Hooks:
- Sally Skinner and Annie still live in their respective realms.
- There was an extremely large cauldron of poison needed for an unknown purpose.
- During the ransacking of the keep we found a young girl trapped that only spoke Sylvan, where did she come from?
- The keep must be prepared for the arrival of the Hobgoblins.
- Aiden made a deal with some form of demon and unleashed it into the country side.

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Baybridge Area Exploration Log
Journal Excerpts From Khangar and Captain Ron

Khangar Amboss’s Journal Entry Baybride Expedition Day 1:

I saw a job post for an exploration mission sponsored by the cartographer’s guild. The mission statement was to explore the area around Baybridge. Having newly arrived to Mariner’s landing with little coin I decide to take the job.

I met the exploration party near the edge of the Blighted Forest. Mac Woodfleet was the Cartographer’s guild representative. We were joined by Captain Ron, an interesting bard who washed up on these strange Drochtredia shores. A captain without a crew. Our last member was a strange round creature, named Finrick. He claimed to be a gnome. Now in all honesty, I come from a very small secluded clan, but Finrick was rather more portly than any gnomish description I had heard before.

Finrick had a propensity for pastries, he was distraught that he hadn’t brought any. He wanted to return to town and get some before we set off! Luckily Mac had traveled with Finrick before. Mac used some strange form of magic to make a stale old crust of bread look like a close approximation of a fresh pastry. Finrick ate this and seemed satisfied. Finally we were off.

Our first stop was at Farmer Ed’s. Ed was a quiet man of few words. I got the feeling he was overwhelmed by the four people on his property. He gave short clipped answers to Finrick’s questions about the surrounding ruins. While Finrick and I were admiring the ruins, Mac convinced Ed to watch Fluffy, his ram. Ron commented on how fine the Rams were and Ed started to relax. By the end of the conversation Ed was even making jokes…something about my mother having a beard. I decided to let it slide. We continued on our way and left Ed and Fluffy behind us.

The first few days were easy going. Captain Ron surprised us all, including himself, at how good of a forager he was. He caught two large porcupines. I showed the group how to pack the porcupines’ back in mud and then bake them in the fire. The quills released from the meat easily after be backed into a brick. In the morning we each recovered a hand full of quills from the mud bricks.

The following day we encountered the bay and another cross roads. Captain Ron pulled a haul from the sea. Various shelfish: Crawfish, shrimp, and crabs. That night we camped near the road. I treated the group to a Clan Amboss crawfish creek boil.

The next morning we discussed which path to take. Mac told us of a land of fog and ghouls that lie to the south and a city of fish people that lie to the north. I had always thought ghouls were a tall tale used for scaring children into doing their chores. I was skeptical but stayed optimistic as we packed up camp and headed towards the land of the ghouls.

As the sun began to set, we came to a thick wall of fog. Mac informed us that this was the boundary of the ghoul kingdom. Mac, Finrick, and I set up camp while Captain Ron foraged. He returned with a small doe. I studded the meat with some wild garlic and roasted it over a spit. After dinner we turned in for the night and took turns keeping watch. During Ron’s watch he saw a shadowy figure in the distance. He quietly alerted the rest of us. Finrick noisily dove into a bush that was two sizes too small for him. But in that commotion Captain Ron and I were able to hide. The figure inched closer and a stray breeze lifted his cloak slightly revealing the decayed flesh of a sickly pale arm…I now believe in ghouls.

The ghoul threw its head back and bellowed out a blood curdling command. Just then a small black dragon swooped down behind Mac and I, it exhaled it’s black putrid breath on us. It felt as if my lungs were decaying from the inside. Before we could mount a counter attack it reared its head and unleashed another volley of fetid air. My head went light and I lost consciousness.

The next thing I remembered was Ron yelling at me to play dead. He had used his magic to revive me. I still felt like shit, so playing dead was not hard to do.

The dragon flew off towards Finrick and Ron. The ghoul summoned some kind of ghostly weapon behind Mac and attacked. Mac went out cold. I had had enough of lying down. I summoned my inner reserves, took a deep breath and ran towards the ghoul throwing one of my axes. With my ax lodged in its shoulder, the ghoul started to retreat.

I heard shrieks of the dragon behind me but I didn’t have time to check on Finrick and Ron. I raced to Mac, rummaged through his pack, and force fed him a healing potion.

We heard a victorious shout come from behind us as Ron and Finrick downed the dragon.

With the dragon defeated, the ghoul hastened its retreat. But it was no match for Mac’s magic and my axes. Mac landed the final blow with a magical blast that turned the ghoul’s head into mist.

We looted the dragon corpse and found a control collar around it’s neck. Collectively we skinned 4lbs of scales from the dragon’s hide. These were small scales, too small for crafting armor but someone back in Mariner’s landing may pay a pretty penny for them.

The ghoul corpse had a Ruby necklace that must have allowed it to command the dragon. We also found some small change and a carrier pigeon note written in their ghoulish language. We agreed that translating the note should be our 1st task once we return to Mariner’s Landing.

(scrawled in the margin- Note was translated to: “Keep an eye on the west. Watch for the Mariners. Keep them off the main obelisk.”)

As we were finishing our search of the corpse, Mac spotted another shadowy figure fade into the wall of fog. We quickly packed up and moved a couple hours further from ghoul territory. We camped through the rest of the night, unmolested.

Through the next few days, we returned to the crossroads at the bay. Captain Ron’s foraging luck had started to wane. He caught some small game but it wasn’t enough for us to subsist on and we had to start dipping into our rations.

Captain Ron’s Journal:

Captain’s log: Expedition Day 6
Since I’m the newest member of the group, I volunteered to forage AGAIN. Today when I went out, it was the first time there wasn’t some fresh road kill less than 2 minutes from camp so I actually had to find something this time. My luck is starting to run out.

We started to travel NW along the coast, which I didn’t mind. I’m more comfortable near the sea. After a few days of travel we finally found some ruined buildings. Our attention was drawn to a Chapel with some broken wooden doors. In the chapel was what looked to be an Elven made pedestal in the center of a bowl. We examined the bowl for what seemed like hours. I could tell Finrick was getting hungry and I was worried they were going to ask me to go forage for food again.

We ended up throwing everything but the dwarf in the bowl to see what would happen. After we added dirt, water, blood, a porcupine quill, and lit it on fire we started to examine the mixture. It appeared to age everything it touched, including Mac’s hand, the glass bottle and even a stone bowl. Clearly the bowl in the chapel was enchanted. There were some Celestial markings on the pedestal that Mac copied onto a piece of paper, then we made our way out of the Chapel.

When we exited, Khangar, unprompted, told us that he believed that the ruins were 400-500 years old. I’m pretty sure he was just making that up, but I was still impressed. Khangar and Finrick then scoped out the water and found that the ruins were underwater as well.

We then traveled NE on the road and continued following it after it bent east.

On the 12th day we came to a new intersection (well it was new to me anyway). Mac pointed out that the Sahuagin were farther East. He’d never been NW, and since this was a map making mission that’s where we went, towards the mountains.

Captain’s Log: Expedition Day 14
There’s less and less food to be found, and Finrick is giving me the evil eye everytime I come back empty handed.

Captain’s Log: Expedition Day 15
HOLY CRAP THERE IS NOTHING TO FORAGE HERE! I’m too ashamed to make eye contact with anyone.

On the 18th day we approached a cliff pass. And then our day went from hungry to nearly deadly. Looking down on us were 3 harpies. They immediately started to sing their enchanting song. Lucky for us these harpies were tone deaf. Seriously, these 3 couldn’t charm a toad. I glanced at Mac during the “song”, and he glanced back with an eye roll. We drew our weapons and attacked.

My first action was to conjure my vicious wit to mock their terrible hymn. The harpy whom heard my retort was visibly shaken (clearly this was the first time he was informed that he couldn’t sing). We each got a few hits on the harpies, however, it appears that the joke was ultimately on me because the Harpy reached back and clubbed me over the head, knocking me unconscious.

When I came to, Finrick was celebrating his multiple kills. Clearly he was hangry and taking out his frustration on the Harpies.

Later that day we reached the summit of the mountain. About 40 miles away we saw the beginnings of a desert that stretched as far as we could see. We all savored in the moment. It was one of those accomplishments that you wish you could capture, and share with everyone you’ve ever met to prove to them how much better you are than them. If only there was a way to do that…

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Neature Walk
It was pretty neat

As I wrote last time, I went into New Blainsport – about a week ago now – I left a note on the notice board for anyone interested in an exploratory mission around the Emerald Wood. I do not think anywhere near you. I suppose if it had been there would not be a reason for this letter. The day I posted arrived and I met with the fellow adventurers next to the notice board at dusk.

There were three dwarves, an elf, and myself on this journey. Daedrick who I spoke of last time, Goran, Khangar, and Immerial who I also wrote about last time. As we departed south, (that wall I told you of is getting much bigger!) we discussed the land we were traveling through and the adventurers that occurred before the other four in the group arrived on the continent. While discussing the great bulls, someone postulated that perhaps the land is so swampy from the giant bull tracks. What a novel idea!

The wolf is growing nicely, he is not able to speak very much yet, but sometimes he understands and follows my advice, so that is certainly an improvement.

As we walked the land slowly shifted from marshy hills into a much flatter land. The Emerald Wood sort of appeared after cresting a small rise, the inviting dark stretching to the Southeast and Northwest as far as the eye can see. We camped for the day in the shade of the woods.

In the middle of the night our meditation was interrupted by Daedrick shouting some odd dwarven words and dashing off into the forest after some fey creature. After quickly packing up at the druid’s suggestion, we followed his yelling into the darkness. As it turns out he was chasing a quickling, very odd. Seems they don’t have the “Quaint Quiet Quickling” tale wherever this dwarf grew up. We coaxed him into coming back with us. The wolf helped us find our way back to the camp beautifully. We marching into the day as it began to storm until the dwarves got very tired.

Daedrick caught a fish by talking to it and then grabbing it. Apalling. We continued South Southeast and the forest began to turn more southward.

The next day we marched on until we found a large sinkhole, 24ft wide, 40-60ft deep. The day was very quiet other than the faint noise from the sinkhole.

The next night we began to climb into the hole but we were surprised by some eyeless creatures about to climb out. They seemed equally surprised when we jumped into the hole and delicately landed on the bottom of the hole. We were greeted by a great many Grimlocks and a few Basilisks. We carefully dispatched the foes and realized that we didn’t tie a rope off at the top. Daedrick volunteered to fly out and at the top was met with some pointy spears and an offer to help us out. We accepted.

We were met by centaurs of the Heard of the Crescent Moon. They gave us some beautiful daggers and a sum of gold for clearing out the sinkhole and we asked them some questions. They told us of a large group of armed men who were indiscriminately killing as they traveled. They also told us that in a month or two the great bull would be heading this way. There used to be many more bulls but they traveled north one year and only a few returned. They also told us that there is a place called the Sapphire city which used to be the capital of the continent, but it is now the possible grave of many ascendant elves. Apparently it is on the water. The violent humans can be found much further across the King’s river, after finding an abandoned camp. Further south the forest is patrolled by the Heard of the Approaching Dawn. Other near the Moon King’s land it is patrolled by hags. It was a very scattered conversation.

For the next few nights we traveled along the edge of the woods uneventfully.

Several days later we ran across a small abandoned village with an impeccable statue of a gnome riding a lion with the inscription reading “Ningle the Lionheart”. There are a lot of cats living there and they are VERY protective of Ningle. The cats decided to send an emissary to see if New Blainsport is a place to live for all of the cats. They sent Prince Moonrake with us. From there we followed more South even a little West. The hooves continued South.

The terrain got gentler, into fine grazing land. We happened across a circle of standing stones. In the center there was an altar with a symbol which we identified as a symbol of Realtra.

Daedrick stood on the altar and demanded a challenge, when none presented itself, he cut his hand with his moon blade causing some magical mist to descend around us and a goblin creature to appear and attack him. We stood by and offered support as Daedrick defeated the goblin-thing. It disappeared and a starry entity appeared and told the raging barbarian something, thought I was too far away to hear what he said. We left and headed back towards New Blainsport. On the way I couldn’t help but notice that not all of the hoof prints were from the one great bull. There were different sizes seemingly in a small heard running in the same direction.

I am still residing in the cave the half drow we defeted lived in. It is less gory now, though I have a long way to go before it is fully a home. Hopefully I will be able to tell you more about those rumors of other drow in a cave soon, I am very excited to meet them.

Ever your faithful servant -
Erevan

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The Wandering Room(s)
And Rising Elf Church

Report After Action
Many Day of Arodus

4: Supreme Land Commander Quinston

From: Optio Adiiranc

Mission: Escort to Wandering Room Non Military Peoples

Alistra Adiiranc
Caeladyn
Merpip
Azoth
Derg Stonesmasher

Peoples:
Optio Adiiranc, Military Advise, Elf Most Preferred and Noble

Caeladayn, confirmed Druid, Elf who hides behind trees

Merpip, Leader Expedition and Trader, Gnome

Azoth, probable Warlock, Lizard like

Derg, maybe Wizard, here after Dwarf 1

Events Notable:
Departed Landing of Mariners 3.0 days food on West/Northwest road. Stopped at Quarry, name unknown, ownership unknown but claimed part by Dwarf 1. Garrison discipline poor; reprimand guards gate. Cart alarm alerted presence Dwarf 2; clearly intoxicated. Dwarf 2 talked missing Dwarf 3 in cave under Quarry. Confirmed Dwarf 3 important to Quarry leader, human, name Quailboar. Crunch down march all day in caves. See light brick in dark big cave room.

Combat:
Tentacle Rock A grab and bite Dwarf 1
Tentacle Rock B grab and bite Azoth
Missiles, wasps, and fire destroy 2 tentacle rocks
Wounded Azoth, Merpip, Caeladyn, Dwarf 1
Killed 4 Caeladyn wasps.

Resumed cave travel morning.
Dwarf 1 lost down door slide trap. Attempt find lost Dwarf 1 and 3 in cave (note inability of dwarfs to travel cave safely). Discover beautiful ornate room of Elvish architecture and Dwarf 1. Dwarf 1 enter door containing Elf church.

Combat:
Dwarf 3 attack all with red eyes
Orb of crystal attack Dwarf 1 with black energy force
Dwarf 1 attack all with red eyes
Bears, missiles, and fire destroy Dwarf 1 and 3
Azoth bravely scream at orb causing cracks and end of black light
Wounded Azoth, Caeladyn
Killed Merpip, 2 Caeladyn bears, Dwarf 1, and 3
Revived Merpip, Dwarf 1, and 3.

Discover papers of Cleric Rising Elf named Greely forced to steal souls by kobolds; could not find Greely, Rising Elf, in orb ruins. Kobolds left last words, gold, and few items magic. Items claimed party. Removed Dwarf 3 at Quarry
with Dwarf 2.

Travel North/North West for find moving room with books.

Combat:
4 bandits on road attack
Destroy 2 bandits with missiles
Warned 2 bandits to change life

Found moving room of books; traveled plane of ethereal; found another room of books and statue of Skath, possible Fiend; one book Elf heretic thoughts.

Went to field of sand in room; mountains to far East long 1.4 to 2.1 day march; waited 7 days time stifling heat for room back ethereal; dug sand for nothing.
Returned plane of matter; no books left rooms; did not see Stor Lingo, Succubus, or Spider; Begin travel to Landing of Mariners.

Caeladyn save wine cart and driver, George.

Found changed mind bandits at Quarry assigned to Gate Guard; taught salute way of Empire.

Merpip open bee vomit trade route with Quarry Inn.

Return Landing of Mariners.

Problems:

Enemies in deep caves under Quarry kill miners any day
Unauthorized live stock in Port of Blain; no further details
Explore field of sand possible with ethereal room
Unexplained self teleport during mission 3 occasions
Merpip and Dwarf 1 seem ill of mind

Requests:

Volunteer train Quarry garrison
Horse, saddle, military grade
Enchanted ink and paper

Signed:

Alistra Adiiranc, Optio, Landing of Mariners

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