Doom of Irafan

Cale's Journal - "Flashback: Callon"

Day 7 – It’s been an exhausting week in Callon. I have been everywhere asking about Dahlia. No luck. I did find an interesting clue about another denizen of the Shadowfell who is here in Callon. Its not Dahlia, but maybe this “Malaki” has ways to help looking into her whereabouts.

Day 9 – I remember why I miss the Shadowfell. There is power in the cold, dark corners of my home plane that I had forgotten about. The warmth here, even in winter, has been changing me over time, and the camaraderie with my friends had begun to lower my guard. Malaki changed that. The assassin is actually a shade. An undead shadow of his former self. This would infuriate the Raven Queen, to take such liberty with the gifts she gives her children… but there is power in it, and I believe that if you can keep it from consuming your soul, it would be incredibly useful. I would never go as far as Malaki, but if I can convince him to teach me the secret of his art, maybe I can control it better.

Day 10 – Malaki has agreed to teach me his art. This instruction comes with a price. In return for all my wealth (almost 12,000 gold pieces worth of coin and gems), and proof of my abilities, he will show me how to actually control the boundary between planes and pull shadowstuff through to use as I see fit. The proof is in the form of a mission. I must sneak into Callon’s palace, obtain the signet ring of the duke and return it to Malaki as a testament to my skills. This, he says, will prove I am one with the shadow and ready for his instruction.

Day 14 – I passed Malaki’s test. It has taken me four days of casing the Palace, learning the routines of the guards, and waiting for the right moment to infiltrate the grounds. I was lucky that the Maelstrom sent some thick cloud cover last night, else I would have had to wait another two weeks until the moon had waned to a
sliver. It really was not as difficult as I would have guessed, based on Malaki’s challenge, but it matters not. I have passed his test, and he has agreed to teach me the ways of the Shadowblade.

Day 21 – So weak… I almost went too far. Tonight I tore into a nexus of pure shadow and it spilled out into this plane with the force of a tidal wave. I can still hear Malaki laughing from the next room. He insists on teaching me in ways that are extremely dangerous, claiming that it is the only way to learn to fully control the umbra. This last week has been exhilarating and deadly. Tonight was the closest I had come to death however. I think I am getting the hang of it. I have neglected my journal for this last week, but it was worth it.

Day 22 – I am done. For now. I have mastered the ability to darken an area of even the brightest light. Its the first step taken on the path of the Shadowblade. Malaki has rewarded me with a cloak and armor infused with the shadow I spilled into the room last night. While his laughter seemed cruel at the time, he was actually able to benefit from my mistake and contain some of the stuff for use in fashioning these magic items. The items are able to perform a more minor form of this new ability I have been learning to wield. They too can darken an area of even the brightest light. These items, when combined with my new ability, can take a sunny day, and convert a small pocket into the blackest night. In addition, since I am the creator of this darkness, I can see clearly while within it. This is what I have desired ever since walking along side the knight of Daimon all those months ago. His aura of shadow… so delicious.

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Cale's Journal - Illithid Soul Drill

Infection. We came across a town close by our destination that was infected similarly to the cities to the south. By reports from the villagers, they were possessed with some kind of malaise that slew some immediately upon the onset, but left others alive. Those who survived suffered memory loss, fatigue and skin discoloration. We learned that recently a mage named Fistandauntilas came through and attempted to cure them. When he failed, he left without a word. Our questioning eventually agitated the town’s council, and the villagers attacked us en-masse. Gabriel thinks they were possessed by some powerful being that was angered at being imprisoned. We escaped the village, only having to slay a few. I do not fear retribution, as they will probably forget who killed them later anyway.

We came upon an illithid encampment, where they were building some sort of device. It looked like a giant drill. It was a metal frame, with a glowing sphere atop it, and housed a gigantic quartz crystal suspended spinning within. Along the perimeter was a ring of eggs, each housing either a sarnathi, shifter, or in one case, a silver skinned humanoid that Gabriel was extremely interested in.

We destroyed a trio of illithid, two lesser, one greater. A horde of villagers arrived and attempted to destroy the drill. Before we slew the greater illithid, it, and a dozen or so human thralls, attempted to protect the drill from them.

What happened next was amazing…

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Cale's Journal - Road to Callon

I’m writing again because the influence of Aeon (or the lack of influence of the Shadowfell) has affected my judgment once again. We’re out of the pyramid (* note to fill in the blanks here later, maybe once we get to Fort Elgard) and on the Moriven road headed southwest to Fort Elgard. We just left a small town, Ronian, one of many that dot the Moriven Road as we get closer to Fort Elgard. We are headed to Elgard in hopes of finding a guild mage there who can transport us via portal to Callon, otherwise it will be a month or more before we reach the capital. I’m writing this because of what happened in Ronian, this town that would have otherwise been considered insignificant.

The leader of this town, Mayor, proprietor of the only inn, captain of the guard… whatever title he had isn’t important… what was interesting was that he was keeping a half-elven female in his cellar as a slave. Apparently she was sold to him years ago via some Aslaa slavers. Why there would be ties between a small town and the Aslaa empire is extremely interesting, but not out of place with all the other strange occurrences that have been plaguing Irafan in the last year.

The Mayor was also believed to have met with three illithid who have been hunting Lucan. I cannot confirm this myself, but the fact that he was in the same room with these illithid that were supposedly hunting him… and that they didn’t notice him with his new disguise… is somewhat promising. Maybe we’ll make it to Callon after all. This small town Mayor is obviously connected to some seriously evil shit however.


We got a portal from Fort Elgard to Callon. Twenty gold per person. Not bad. Vyrellis sees a lot of potential in Callon. Big city. Lot of business opportunities for people with our… skills. We’re going to take the Seekers to the next level.


Vyrellis found us a sponsor. We have funds to build a guild hall. Nothing too big with what the sponsor is fronting, but it will be enough to set up shop and get this mercenary troupe venture underway. Looks like we might have a couple jobs lined up too. Meeting with Vyrellis later to talk details.


Three jobs:
1. Pays twenty thousand gold. Stop whatever is coming out of Melingoth.
2. Pays twenty thousand gold. Stop the “plague” in Apophis.
3. Pays a half million gold per artifact. Find five artifacts. Could mean extraplanar travel.

We can’t decide which job to do. Vyrellis has a way to magically contact the client for item #3. The other two are far more straightforward to sign up for.


Z’yra is missing. Its not unusual for her to wander off, but it has been several days. Captain Moroes, one of the many district captains of Callon dropped some news to Vyrellis about some shifters and sarnathi that are turning up missing all over Callon. We met with him, and he explained that he has been ordered to stop looking into them, but he’s concerned. He gave us two contacts who might have additional information. One is a seer, an unreputable one, and the other is a street-rat, a boy who saw something in the third ward. The boy apparently indicated a warehouse where the missing persons are being held. We’ll stop by the seer and the boy on the way to the warehouse, hopefully find out more about what’s going on.


The seer seems legit. He must be new to the area, because they don’t seem to be established, but we’ll see later if his information was good.


The street-rat is likely dead. Samyaza, the merc rogue Vyrellis hired, found where the kid “lives”. But there were several dead children’s bodies, and an old monk who checked up on them suggested an armored man he ran into might have been responsible. The man was seen heading east. That’s the direction we were headed next… to the warehouse.


The warehouse was the location of several kidnapped shifters and sarnathi. We eliminated the kidnappers. Several humans lead by an illithid. The only prisoner that was lucid was a sarnathi who explained the illithid was stripping their minds to gain information about old legends of Irafan. He said he saw Z’yra, but that she was no longer here. He has no idea where she is.

We found a map with a location of the “geographic center” of Irafan indicated on it. That’s the same location we saw months ago in the mural… the one on the ceiling of the ancient catacombs under Cloverdale. There’s also a ledger, and shipping orders to move quartz and other materials purchased in Callon to the location marked on the map. Someone is building something at this point, this nexus, this… whatever this place is where fingers all over Irafan are pointing.

This sarnathi we rescued must be either lucky, or exceptional in some way. Why he was the only lucid kidnap victim is curious.

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Carniverous Vegetables

I am beginning to think that this Prison of a Pyramid is just one plant filled death trap after another. Just when we thought we were all done with this nasty little plant creatures we ran into their “bosses”, even bigger and nastier plant creatures. It started after the first serious rest we decided to take since entering this place. Though for us it has yet to be a day, as Cael has commented time does not seem to flow the same within this structure…who knows if when we break free of this prison if we will even be returning to our own time and place? Cael scouted the edges of the areas on this level of the pyramid we had not yet been too and found 2 sets of closed doorways. One was a ways down these strangely lit corridors and another close by. Someone made a comment about feeling a bit lazy wanting to take the closer door (And why not? It is not like we wouldn’t get some exercise fighting the next batch of monstrosities within this place). AT the end of the passage we decided to take stood a large wooden (and actually unlocked) door. We spied through the keyhole and saw a square room that sloped downwards towards the center of the room from its four edges…slid down into some strange looking plants. Yes yes…they turned out to be blood sucking monstrosities that wanted to feast on our bone and flesh. There was a Satyr in the room as well…but he turned out to be little more than target practice for the thrown daggers of Cael. Also in the room were a few of the tree druids that tried to ambush is earlier…all but one was quickly dealt with and Lusitania and I tried to prevent one from escaping into the next room. Unfortunately we failed and a large tree with a very ugly face and the strength to rip other trees out of the ground and toss them like twigs followed us back into the other room just as Grimlock finished off the last of the blood sucking trees bashing it into kindling with his massive hammer. At first it seemed like we would be overwhelmed as since we were already tired from our fight with the trees in the square room and this one looked to be even worse as the giant tree was joined by another plant creature that was healing many of the wounds we dealt them. But we all dug in…Cael darted about dagger flashing here and there leaving great rents in the bark-skinned creatures. Grimlock lay about with powerful blows shattering his foes into literal splinters. Z’yra summoned a wall of light down upon us making our blows strike harder and truer, and deflecting many of our enemies counter attacks. Lusitania and I focused our skills on the large tree that had followed us (a Roper?). Her blades slashed wildly about literally whittling pieces from the creature as it screamed in pain, while the harsh sounds from my song blade reverberated painfully through its system. And then it was over…we stood weary, tired, bloody but victorious. What was our reward, the spoils of victory? A rather unremarkable Longbow that Lusitania decided it was time she started using. During the battle she took some risk to retrieve it from the slain Satyr (sadly it was un-enchanted)…I don’t have the heart to tell her we have a few long bows already in our bag of holding. We also found an enchanted shield clearly crafted for a mightily armored warrior, the enchantment allows one to protect others from harm by transferring their wounds upon themselves…since I am the only one who uses a shield this was passed to me…I must say I am not looking forward the lumps this thing will surely bring me in the future.

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Arthropoda Insecta's and Plants oh my!

After a good rest we continued on and out of the room with the statue of Vyrellis thinking we had left the mantis creatures behind. Beyond we encountered another room full of the mantis warriors, past a curtain and down a hidden passageway.

These creatures attacked not only with weapons but with their minds as well, causing blistering mental pain with each of their attacks. This new group proved to be quite a bit more capable then the previous one, perhaps due to being led by a grey cloaked magician wielding a staff of arcane power. Z’yra found herself completely engulfed in some magical trap as well and her divine might was denied to us during battle.

Though much better organized and backed with traps, psychic and magical aide they nonetheless quickly fell to our steel. We searched the rooms of our fallen foes and discovered three things of interest.

The first was quite a lot of loot both magical and monetary. Secondly a riddle carven into some pillars beneath a dome…The Key of Knowledge shines beneath a holy dome. Metal Key adamantine, first in hardness but not in place. On the body of the wizard beneath the dome we found a key, which we think at this time to be “The Key of Knowledge”. Third and most shockingly as we searched the spell users body Vyrellis exclaimed in excitement. “Kravikos! This man was Kravikos…or at least a part of him. I could feel his presence much like my own throughout the pyramid…though now I feel it a little less since you slew him. Perhaps he is spread throughout the pyramid much like myself.”

Which led us to wonder…perhaps we should take him alive next time we see him for answers and to be sure we are not “freeing him” by somehow slaying host bodies. We would not want to resurrect him as we plan to with the precocious talking head.

Vyrellis also seemed to feel that both her body and her remaining memory shard were somewhere above us, in another level of the pyramid.

Our next encounter led us into conflict with some animated druidic plants, and a massive boar. They lay in hiding among leafy brambles and bushes deep within a maze we found further within the pyramid. Fortunately whenever I see a maze I think TRAP! And sent my owlish familiar flitting up and over the maze unseen to report to us on the location of our would-be ambushers.

The mobile foliage and rather large pig were not prepared for their trap to be sprung upon them and we left much kindling and boar fertilizer to feed the less aggressive plants that made up the maze. During the battle a Hag with a horrid voice that made ones ears bleed to listen to her song was also laid to her eternal rest upon the battle ground despite her attempts to flee.

Alas neither gold nor magic’s were found upon the bodies of our enemies, though perhaps the lizard men with who we seem to have an uneasy truce, will appreciate our “cleaning up” the area?

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Pretty Ladies

Though numerous the humans were neither strong of limb nor strong of mind, and other then a large werewolf they had released in a mindless fury on the party had quickly fallen to a few well placed sword thrusts, thrown daggers, mighty crushing blows or flung spells. Of deeper concern was the symbols they all wore…the same symbols as warn by the guards now in charge of Silverheath. Just how has this group spread so far so fast?

The werewolf too fell to before mighty and well-placed blows but not before biting deeply into the shoulder of Lusitania. We will have to watch her closely to make sure the deadly disease of Lycanthropy was not transferred to her, fortunately Z’yra the Priestess of the Raven Queen knows a thing or two about treating diseases.

Deep within the encampment of the humans the party had run across a maiden most passing fair locked behind a very heavy door. By looking through the keyhole it seemed she was praying before an altar to Journe, god of peace, justice, weather and craftsmanship. As if a beautiful woman in obvious distress was not reason enough to enter the room, Vyrellis said she sensed another of her memory fragments within.

Beautiful beyond description this fair maid was, but upon talking with her, the story she spun of her plight was filled with gaps one could drive a cart and pack horse through. Something was up, and when confronted she refused to budge from her story false though it obviously was. What was not a lie was her inability to escape from this room due to demonic guardians that appeared whenever one would attempt to open the doors and leave. Cale attempted the locks and given time I believe he would have succeeded but after dispatching the guardians a few times Grimlock took a more active approach and battered the door down, and amazingly enough that solved the problem…no more guardians.

Her deception no longer needed the gorgeous beauty began to tell us how thankful she was for our help and transformed into a bat winged but still lovely Succubus before our very eyes. Before she could finish what she was saying Z’yra grabbed the demoness in a bear-hug, which made it all the more easy for her to fall prey to her demonic kiss. Though this kiss of a devil we are told is to be feared, I admit that I almost felt jealous that it was not I receiving the passionate kiss from the lovely seductive temptress.

At first it was feared a battle would ensue, but with the aggressive Z’yra now calmed with but a kiss, the Succubus continued her speech. Thanking us for her freedom and telling us should we meet again she owed us one. With that and a wink she was gone from our sight, teleporting from our vision and leaving a stunned but returned to normal Z’yra looking around in confusion.

Within the room of the devil woman the next memory shard was found and given to Vyrellis, with her me memories returning to her (never at a useful time for us I have noticed…foul play or unfortunate occurrence?) it appears she is half-human and half-Shadar Kai, and was in a position of power. The Shadar Kai having once lived in the realms of Aeon long ago…are the Shadar Kai simply an offshoot of the human race?

The pyramid itself is a prison created by the voice I had heard earlier, Kravikos, to bind within it hall his enemies for torture and experimentation. He was a wizard of great power and her husband, Vyrellis told us with contempt in her voice for him. He was the High Priest of the Morivan Empire which collapsed over 600 years ago. Then he had tried to ritually kill her when she found he had been breaking the laws of the Raven Queen. This had led to her head no longer being attached to her body, which she also senses somewhere within the confines of this prison. She also informed us that time worked differently inside the pyramid then without and sleep was possible but not needed, nor easy considering the ever present lights that shone everywhere within it.

Armed with that information we continued on towards where she sensed the next fragment of her memory lay. On the way we encountered a room full of bones and large rats which were quickly dispatched and then found ourselves within a very large and well stocked library.

Within the center of the library on a small plot of grass was a statue of a woman fair in both form and face…the face of Vyrellis. She seemed quite upset at seeing it, finding it creepy that her hated “husband” had this created after her dismemberment and torture. I immediately felt some sympathy for this woman despite her unusually sharp wits and tongue.

Z’yra and I decided to take a quick look at the books within the library and found it odd that many of the pages were blanked as if wiped clean, yet many other sections of the books remained filled with print. Something had been done to these books. Further inspection was interrupted as the party found itself assaulted by a large group of humanoid mantis creatures. Fast, skilled and agile though they were…they too proved no match for our blades. Though they did bloody us, their bodies littered the floor at the end of the fray.

A quick search did reveal some useful rituals Z’yra and I could use to aid the party. After which we all admitted to feeling greatly tired, and as we settled down for a much needed rest, I wondered what next we will find within this trap of Kravikos’?

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Pyramid Suprise

Gabriel saw movement. A feminine shape moving stealthily through the encampment of the Orcus cult deep inside of the Moriven Necropolis. The woman seemed to be heading toward the large pyramid shaped object they had come here looking for. From the look on Lusitania’s face she had also seen the movement. He began to signal to the rest of the party what he had seen when the Ranger hurried forward to confront the figure presumably before she could abscond with it.

Fortunately a brief conversation, as well as the return of Cale (who had been scouting another section of the encampment), prevented any conflict. In fact the woman turned out to be one Dhalia another Shadar-Kai, who Cale had been searching for the past months. We decided after a brief discussion to remove ourselves far from the cultists, share some information and decide our next step.

Gabriel thought back briefly to what had brought them to this point. Heading south by crossing through the Moriven Necropolis had brought them to a bridge. One which when they had tried to cross exploded from beneath them sending them into the hard cold and very fast running waters. It seems a Necromancer working for the Orcus Cult was out looking for raw material to create zombie laborers for the cult. Gabriel and Lusitania had been caught in a sort of net and struggled most of the battle just to reach shore. The rest of the party quickly dealt with the Necromancer taking him alive for information. It was thus they had learned about the magical artifact in the shape of a pyramid and the cults searching for a way to use it among the nearby ruins.

Dhalia then informed us of how she had come to be here at the very same moment. It appears she had left the Shadow realm that she and Cale both came from some months ahead of him. She survived for a time performing odd jobs of larceny for various employers. One such contract brought her into conflict with an order of monks and a certain jewel she was supposed to relieve them of its burden. From the description of the gem it seems almost a twin of that inside the Illuven Monastery, this gem will require some investigation and most definitely will be mentioned in my next report. Dhalia had made the attempt but failed. Her punishment was to serve the monks in their monastery. She discovered these monks were descendants of Shadar-Kai themselves having come to our world many lifetimes ago searching for power when calamity befell them leaving them trapped in this plane. She had also learned during her captivity with them that our plane of existence is currently under incredible scrutiny and interest by many powers throughout the alternate planes of existence. This is most worrisome indeed. After she had spent some time with them she began performing missions for them. Her last such mission landed her into conflict with some group by the name Cult of the Yellow Sign. When she narrowly escaped them and returned to the monastery she found them all dead and their mysterious gem destroyed by “Shadow Walkers”. This destruction seemed close in time to the very attack the party had foiled at the Illuven Monastery. The last bit of information she had brought her here looking for the pyramid device.

As to why she originally came to our plane of existence…that question has yet to be asked.

Gabriel decided to attempt a ritual of magical detection upon the Pyramid to determine its powers and purpose much like he had recently performed upon the standing stones that seemed to be rising up throughout the land in response to the many new dangers facing it. He has learned from the rituals last casting that the stones had been carved by a Long Tooth Shifter in a very large warehouse like structure where many other stones stood, as if they were being mass produced. He had also learned that 5 linked Changelings (those of his very own race), stood in a circle about it chanting words of power over it and infusing it with power and then seemingly to link it to another stone somewhere far distant. The stones do not appear to be something one can actively tap into and use but they do seem to aid against creatures of the nether realm trying to enter ours at the very least. Its magical energies had helped the party in its fight with the creatures spilling into our realm from that of the realm of Chaos. The age of the stones seems to be great; as the stars in the sky did not seem located properly…perhaps an astronomer would better be able to determine this?

This time the ritual led to a much different result. Voices exploded into Gabriel’s mind, discussing him and his fellow party members as if useful pieces on a chessboard they could use. He was able to force them from his mind but not before all of them (except for Dhalia) were sucked into the very pyramid itself and into a deep pit of bones and frantic battle with an Ettin, his two pet Carrion Crawlers, and some zombies laying amidst the bones. After a brief but fierce battle the Ettin and his minions were no more.

Crawling out of the pit they all heard the voice of a woman down a corridor inside the seemingly vast pyramid (a mini-dimension?, a tesseract?). Hanging on a peg on the wall they found the animated head of one Vyrellis, a Shadar-Kai with serious memory problems. She informed us that she thought she could help us escape from within the pyramid if she could regain her memories, which happened to be stored in various “Thought Crystals” throughout the pyramid, of course in the hands of various “unfriendly’s” seeded throughout the pyramid. She also revealed that the voice Gabriel had heard likely belonged to one Kravakos, who was the one responsible for her present state of affairs. He too was somehow trapped within the pyramid and had likely brought us here in order to somehow help him escape it as well, how or why we would help him remains unknown at this time.

So off the party marched carrying the head of Vyrellis looking for her lost memories. The solid defeat of the Ettin proved useful in another way. Gabriel was able to impress a large group of Lizardmen they encountered enough with their defeat of the large creature that no battle was required to bypass their swampy area and find the first on the memory crystals they were looking for.

Their next encounter with a large group of humans within proved a bit more difficult…

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Cale's Journal - Day 16

Day 16 – In a pocket dimension inside a small pyramid.

Need a good way to track time while in this pyramid. The urge to sleep is lessened here. Some kind of preservation magic that keeps this place “alive” has allowed us to go longer than we otherwise would. Fatigue from combat is still normal, but normal cycles aren’t going to be a reliable way to measure days.

I write this because we decided not to rest after all. There were a couple sets of doors we didn’t want to have to constantly watch, so we checked them out before resting.

Oh! One of them had a succubus!

Succubus

Dahlia would be jealous. We’ve always talked about them, but I came >< this close to being kissed by one and didn’t even realize it. How exhilirating. Instead, she kissed Z’yra then dissappeared. I imagine we’ll have to deal with her later. Unlikely she was able to leave this prison on her own.

It was a temple of sorts that we found the succubus in. She did a terrible job of pretending to be some lost and wayward lass, as both Gabriel and Z’yra smelled her lies right from the start. Impressive really, that they weren’t fooled, even by a demon bred for deception. In a secret chamber at the back of the temple, a chest contained the second shard of our guide’s memories. Only one remains, and she says its somewhere to the north.

The other set of doors wasn’t as exciting. A room with statues, one of them was enchanted somehow to direct us to the succubus locked in the temple. Odd. This might be a piece of a mystery that will be solved later, for now I’m logging it so I don’t forget about it.

However, we did run into the rest of the human expedition. Their leader, Garrosh, had a nice suit of armor… Dwarven Chainmail. Rare stuff in this world, from what I understand. Dwarves are not common on this world “Aeon”.

They also had a “pet”. One of their men had lycanthropy and was suffering as a converted werewolf.

Werewolf

They released it before we could finish them all off, an obvious last ditch effort to defeat us. We felled the beast, but at a cost. Lusitania has been bitten, and Z’yra thinks she’s doomed to become a werewolf. I think the ranger should embrace the gift, but apparently it can cause insanity, so it might not be worth it. Time shall tell. For now they will attempt to treat the disease and cure it.

We will actually be taking that rest now, as the battle with the werewolf took its toll on us. Also, we believe we have cleared this entire section of the pyramid, with only the lizardmen remaining. We had contacted them again and our truce still seems to be in place. So with them as sentries of sorts, we think we now have a good base of operations for clearing the rest of this place.

Our guide has mentioned that her captor, the mage who created this prison, may be her husband. And he may be fragmented similarly to the way she was. She senses him in three places… which mirrors the three fragments of her memories we have been collecting.

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Cale's Journal

Day 14 in the Morivan Necropolis

I think I might have found Dahlia. After two weeks in the Moriven Necropolis, we were not only subjected to our first ambush, but it bore actual fruit: the location of another Shadar-kai. And a female, at that. It has to be Dahlia. I only have a brief moment as we rest. As soon as nightfall comes I will be scouting an excavation by the Cult of Orcus.

On one hand I hope its not Dahlia. If they managed to capture her, they must be powerful indeed. Though… those who actually captured her were dispatched by the Cult somehow. Something about a small pyramid. Even more reason to be wary.

On the other hand, if its her, my quest might finally be complete. I actually haven’t thought about what to do next. So far its been the hunt that has driven me onward. I can’t contain my excitement. Writing this only heightens my anticipation of discovering if its actually her or not. I think I shall go sharpen my blades.

. . .

Day 15 – In a pocket dimension inside a small pyramid.

Seeing Dahlia was brief, but exhilirating. I hope she’s actually carrying me around right now, assuming that we’re actually inside the Pyramid she pilfered from the Cult of Orcus. Gabriel said he heard voices the moment before we were teleported inside this pocket dimension, and we met opposition almost immediately upon entry.

A two-headed giant and a pair of large, centipede-like creatures. Lusitania referred to them as an ettin and carrion crawlers. They were dispatched with success, though Grimlock took some big hits and used up Z’yra’s biggest magical heal.

Our prize for victory is an annoying, disembodied head in some kind of spherical statis. It appears to be Shadar-kai, though her ears suggest elven blood. She’s seeking fragments of her memory that she thinks are scattered within the labyrinth that is this place. A maze. Reminds me of the time I was in Sigil. I wonder…

More on that line of thinking later. I need to rest. Keeping this brief.

We cleverly avoided a confrontation with some lizardfolk, and a water-filled chamber with some devious pipe-type traps. I’m glad we didn’t have to fight them, though I imagine we’ll have to deal with them sooner or later. In a chamber by the lizardfolk was one piece of the head’s memory. It was encased in a gem… a moonstone. Touching the gem to the sphere allowed her to absorb this portion of her memory. She believes even more strongly now that a man, his name eludes me, has imprisoned her (and all of us) here. Why, we still don’t know.

I think we just dispatched five humans that may have been the ones responsible for Dahlia’s capture. I’m still a little fuzzy on exactly how they fit into all this. Something about the last day’s events is unclear in my head. Possibly fatigue. Possibly something else. I think its perhaps that I’m overwhealmed with thoughts of Dahlia after seeing her. My feelings for her were different, after being on Aeon for the better half of a year. I wonder if she’s been experiencing the same euphoria.

I will dwell on this more tomorrow. For now… I think I need some rest.

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On to SilverHeath

He waited until he heard the receding footsteps of his young apprentice treading away down the hallway, before locking the door against unwanted intrusion. He then activated the magical ward that would prevent all sound from escaping past this door before returning to his paper cluttered desk.

Master Lynn sat back in his comfortable chair and pressed the hidden stud which opened the hidden compartment beneath his desk and scanned the handful of letters within. He paused frowning slightly as he found one marked with the secret symbol denoting it of utmost importance…

“My Lords, if possible the knowledge I have gained over the last few days may point to events occurring that are far worse even than I reported in my last missive. As I mentioned in my last message Silver Heath was my newfound friend’s next goal and one which we did arrive at safely.

Safely did we arrive, but safe we did not feel upon seeing the changes that had been wrought in this once pleasant town.

First of all, the town Reeves are no longer allowed to operate within the city limits. They have been replaced with town guards who wear quite boldly the insignia of the House of Elgar, the symbol of the purely human empire before the signing of the Irifani accord with the Elves. I know this is not illegal, but it is especially troubling due to all the recent rumors of Prince Valorens attempts to garner approval for his ascension to the throne of the Empire over that of the rightful heir and his half brother **, long may he reign!

Secondly the guards are showing open disdain for any non-humans. Something many of my companions were clearly distressed with. I get the impression that on their last visit here they were treated more warmly by the populous. There are also actual printed pamphlets being circulated blaming the Elves for many of the empires current problems.

On further investigation I was able to determine that the guards all seem to belong to the Temple of Correllean and are actively under the commands of Commander Dumbasse, who is a known supporter of Prince Valoren. My colleagues seemed quite upset at hearing this Dumbasse was at fault for the ‘banishment’ of the Reeves and their replacement. It seems they have some unwanted history with this man, and makes me all the more certain that I was wise to join with them as important events to the Empire continue to swirl about them.

Thirdly it seems that the Mayor has received a massive influx of coin as his mansion was being remodeled well above what one of his stature can normally afford. My newfound allies seemed quite certain that he was corrupt from some previous dealings they have had with him. More on him later my lords.

All this on its own is quite troubling enough, but what happened next was even more so. While taking respite for the evening in one of the local inns a Wizard within began to act very strangely. A Wizard a quick question to the barman revealed, who was working for the mayor rumor had it on something very secret. This man began to talk loudly to himself and when I turned to look upon him more closely I could see he was literally glowing like the sun itself to one with the eye to see the arcane. I have never seen its like, only heard it described in literary books from priests who have gazed upon near god-like beings, such as the messengers of the gods themselves. Suffice it to say no one man should contain the power I saw literally flowing off of him.

Of course one of the idiot guards confronted our seeming lunatic and all hell broke loose. With astonishing ease wizard picked up the entire table and brought it crashing down upon the, fortunate to survive but immediately unconscious, guardsman. He then ran screaming from the inn…and we of course followed. Our chase led us north of the town into the Silver Ghostlike flower field that the city is famous for…if the mayor had not strangely ordered said field recently burned to the ground. Here the mage began madly creating summoning portals from which creatures from the pits of hell began to pour forth. What is worse is one of these portals, in defiance of every law of magic we know to be true, remained open even after the magic’s that had created it vanished. We quickly rendered the magician unconscious and incapable of creating any more portals (he seemed capable of opening a limitless number if given the time).

After a harrowing battle we dispatched the summoned demons except for one which had escaped into the town itself. As we finished with the last of the beasts near the impossible portal, that one did return with a child in its arms and leapt through the portal. We gave chase through the plane of Chaos to retrieve this child and prevented him being sacrificed upon the altar before a half-dozen more of these creatures. The gateway did close behind us upon our return so that is one minor bit of good news I am able to report.

Upon our return the mayor of the town did take it upon himself to meet with us in secret. I know not why but all of my companions except the ranger, who had guided me to the Illuven Monastery, refused to speak with him at all. After talking with him it seems the mayor had thought to make some easy coin working behind the scenes with a shadowy organization (possibly the Black Council also known as the Thieves Guild) he could not be made to reveal the members of. I think he now realizes his mistake in joining with them, but is no longer in a situation to do anything but what he is told by them for fear of his own life. He did warn me that on the morrow blame for the wizards activities were going to be pinned on my new allies. He knows we saved the town from a possibly terrible fate, but he stated he was powerless to prevent what the guards would do in the morning.

He further revealed that the Wizard had been tasked with finding a way to increase the flow of magic energy beyond currently possible in the city of Endovar, and turning such efforts into large profits by selling said results on the Black Councils behalf. The portals he created and his unfortunate state seem most likely to be a result of these investigations/experiments. My friends have him in their custody and upon his return to consciousness I will report any information he has to give from his studies that led to the aforementioned events.

The last thing he said to me before departing is the most shocking and worrisome of all that happened during this terrible night. When I tried to imply that he should seek the aid of the Emperors secret agents and their help, he replied with a question of his own. “To which Emperor did I speak of?” My lords I think he was telling me that “another” has proclaimed himself in secret as the Emperor. And more shockingly this False Emperor and his agents seem to have access to great power and know far more of us then we know of them!

I will be leaving Silver Heath shortly with my companions, but I suggest someone try to contact the mayor and gain his confidence. He knows far more then he told me and could provide us with information we sorely lack.

Your loyal servant, G

…Lynn closed his eyes and tried to rub the sudden tension from his forehead, as he placed the message within his pocket. After a brief moment of thought he nodded to himself. Yes Lord Silverhawks plans to dine with the foreign ambassador must be delayed; this was something he needed to be appraised of immediately.

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