Ascension

The Denizens of Spellscale
Thorman

From one unwanted place to the next we travel, drawn by some malevolent or ironic force that takes pleasure in returning us to the pinnacles of fear in our lifetimes. I’ve managed to bring Kestral back from the depths of Carceri, or rather Nerul chose to let us return. We were brought to the remnants of the oasis, a once sacred place tainted by death and magic. There we met the last of the abhorents who seems to as lost as much hope as the rest of Tera. With his help we were able to locate Jhulaer and were sent through some portal in the center of the oasis to her location…Spellscale. From one unwanted place to the next…I can’t remember what horrible place will appear next in our journey…or perhaps I just don’t want to. Upon on departure I saw a vision…a warning of Blood Raven’s demise. We must hurry…I’ve had one to many premonitions or visions to dismiss them as trivial.

Kestral and I find the ruins of this monumental prison…so this is what Balidor spoke of…where he fell. A figure in the distance turns out to be the Minotaur we spoke to in the underdark. He points us to hole in the earth…a tunnel leading down to the core of this place…where Jhulaer, Balidor and Alton have gone. Begrudingly, we descended. It’s a long journey down before we finally met up with them. A look crosses Balidor’s face upon seeing who’s in my company, but of surprise or disappointment I am not sure. We eventually came to what seems to be the finally floor of this place, a large chamber with marked and locked doors…housing evils I care not to know. We are only here for one. After some inspection of this chamber I find an opening in the floor, which Kestral manages to trigger. We are lead down to a vast catacomb filled with rows of pillars…hiding whatever I can see moving on the ceiling. This place is ancient…ominous and unnatural. I have a strong suspicion this existed long before spellscale was built…that perhaps it layed the very foundation for this accursed place. A throne. We come to the end this chamber to find the being we seek sitting atop his perch. A predator. That is all I see when I meet his gaze. I’ve spent days…years watching animals hunt. Wolves chasing deer, owls watching mice…in his eyes I see the same piercing glare those animals had… that sees only one thing. Prey. The man we are here for was on a table to his left…I can only imagine the horrors he’s endured if he still lives. Soon we learn of two key things. The first being that Dorin brought the man we are here to rescue here and that he is responsible for this..Vonerost’s imprisonment here. The vampire speaks of something Dorin possess…something precious to him. The second…is that he has no intention letting his prisoner go. Balidor steps forward, faces this monster and states what we all know. That we will take him by force…or die trying. He will not be all that we fight…I don’t know if the others have noticed as well…but he is not alone in this place. We’ve fought nothing like him before…let alone whatever mysteries this place holds. I draw my blades, and the fray begins.

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A Change of Plan

Hedar
Inside a castle… or a cathedral? I see them. Pain and Suffering. They stand before a crowd that chants the name Erythnul. The twins of destruction announce their intent on traveling to Tantalas for the coming of their god. Afterward they follow a cat out of the building, an animal possessing the eyes of Doran. The elves were led to a familiar sight; the abandoned house where Doran captured Balidor. Inside they stood before Doran. He warned them of an individual coming to stop them.
Wind brushes my face. I had fallen asleep on the airship heading to Velistirith. I struggle to comprehend the dream, or vision I had just seen. Pov revealed himself from the shade and noticed something wrong with me. I told him of my vision. Weary as I was to let Pov reveal this information to Locklear, I don’t see how leaving my current ally in the dark anymore can help complete my task. What is my task anymore? The elves will likely be out of reach by the time I arrive in the city. I told Fyord and Haargrim of my vision and the danger we will likely encounter, but they seemed indifferent to it and a bit doubtful. Can I blame them? I would not believe myself if put in their place. Locklear approached with Pov and began to question my intentions after we arrive. I told him I would visit that same abandoned house. I will seek out Doran’s presence there. And this time… there will be no running. No matter how many of him spawn from that place of darkness, I will stand my ground to the bitter end until I discover clues to his weakness. Locklear expressed his intent to bring Pov to the other chosen. I did not argue, but simply repeated myself; I side with whatever decision Pov makes in this regard. I have told him what I know about the previous chosen. I will do nothing to prevent whatever his fate may be.
As the journey continued an Osylith airship was spotted in the horizon, heading straight for us; fast. I immediately warned Locklear and the captain before the battle began. Despite my personal favor toward Osylith in the war, they currently endangered a chosen; a potential answer to this world’s downfall. I decided to avoid engaging in the crossfire and cast invisibility on myself. I quickly found myself in the engine room of the ship and took the engineers hostage. I brought them to the deck. Fyord and I questioned them, discovering that they were attacking the ship for its cargo. I quickly made way back onto our ship and searched the deck below, finding nothing of value. After Haargrim cut the lines loose from the enemy ship I realized that they had come for Pov. If Osylith carries knowledge of the chosen and wishes to prevent their union, there is no doubt they knew something of Danden’s true intentions. And if Osylith knows of the chosen… who is to say Doran does not. Doran wanted to control the storm… The chosen were said to stop the storm… Doran killed the chosen… History is about to repeat itself. But what am I to do? Convince Pov to leave Locklear? Persuade Locklear that Danden is not in his own mind? Or let the present fate decide what will come of it.

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Another Underground

Our arrival at the ruins of Spellscale went without incident, and for a time we rested, attempting to make sense of the events of the past day. For some time, Alton and I spoke, and I explained to him how he had come to be with us again. After collecting ourselves, we began to search the ruins for a way into the underchamber which supposedly houses this “first vampire”. In an effort to help, the minotaur pounded his fists into the ground, giving what he referred to as a sort of signal to a friend. Not knowing what he meant, I merely waited and watched. While we waited, Brier came to speak with me, and expressed his concern that, being so close to a Dorin, as he felt he was, he wasn’t certain he would be able to control his own actions, and could become a detriment to the party, and because of this, he needed to leave. Shortly thereafter, the “friend” arrived. However, I had not expected this friend to be a bulette, or landshark, nevertheless, the friend, began to dig a tunnel for us, and after a short while, we began to make our descent. Before we got much further, I recieved word, supposedly from Thormin, as to his intent to join us again. Wary of the truth of this statement, as it came from one I didn’t know, I opted for vague words and descriptions, that hopefully only Thorman would know.

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Fate
Thorman

Hell. I stand on a smoldering peak, facing something I know far too well; battle. Clashing and felled warriors strewn across these endless plains that lie before me. I’ve arrived in Carceri. After another futile attempt to rouse what’s left of Balidor’s humanity, I managed to find passage here, at the expense of a much lighter coin purse and the mental haze and fatigue that now hangs over me like a fog. It matters not. I will no longer stand idly by while a friend suffers needlessly for other’s mistakes. I’ve come here for one, singular purpose. I will free Kestral, or I will die trying.
I drew upon on my blades and my will and entered the endless fray. I knew not how long I would fight, or where this battle would take me, but it isn’t long before something different occurs. A portal, an obvious variance on this plain of not but blood and iron. Having no other recourse, I entered it. I found myself in room, dim, eerie, and not alone. A man sits in the corner, familiar. I can’t believe my eyes as I see him..Kestral..alive. Something sticks in the back of my mind as I go to him..this was far too simple. He doesn’t see me..or chooses not to. I can’t imagine how long he’s been here or what he’s seen. I choose to get him moving, with his help or without it. He follows, not reluctant but not willing. He seems empty..unable to grasp if I’m real..if he wants me to be. We trek endlessly in halls of glowing vines…nothing changes..no doors appear..no exit gets closer. Kestral says little..as do I. Now is not the time. Finally I lash out in anger at the vines clinging to the wall. A liquid springs forth from the wound. I managed to avoid it..Kestral was not so lucky. Some sort of acid has left him scarred…but I know this is simply the beginning of the pain.
The light from the vines fades like blood seeping out from cut veins. The light from Faith is all that remains as a noise emanates through the halls. A door. We enter and are blinded by the sudden surge of light. We’ve found the source of the vines. An enormous plant creature stands at the back of this room, guarded by..minotaurs? no…some plant-like abominations molded to match them.
We fought them. Kestral seems to have learned a few new tricks in his time here, as I lose track of his movements quickly. Slowly but surely one monster after another falls until Kestral and I stand atop a staircase, the room slowly filling with that same acid. I can accept this. A death by the side of a good friend. Preferable to a life lead in selfish pursuits of ignorance.
A knock. A door behind us. We found ourselves in a room..a glowing orb in the center. A voice speaks..one I’ve heard before. Nerul. He brought me to Kestral..brought us here. He speaks of his return…of his vessel who now stands with me. We are all just pawns…and drift to the will of those with the power to play the game. We have little choice. Regardless…I’ve found my friend…and by my will or not…he’ll return.

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Escape from the Underdark

Balidor

The time to act is now. I grow weary of Thorman’s incessant need to hear himself talk, speech after speech. Under different circumstances he would have made a fine preacher for his sermons can be described as such; excessive and inconsequential. Too long have I simply stood in his shadow listening to his incoherent babble, and where has it gotten us? No where. The time for action has come and I’ll be damned if he drags us down any further with his idle chatter.

But as luck would have it, Thorman has disappeared and I can wait for him no longer. Typical Thorman, just when we find a lead, a path to follow, he goes off and creates his own. No matter, he shan’t tarry us any further. I urge Juhlaer to continue on our mission with haste; the quest ahead of us is time sensitive, every minute that ticks away could be the very last for our quarry, this Brother Jonathan. Gods only know what tortures he could be suffering at the hands of a vampire lord, let alone one deemed evil enough to be locked away within the confines of Spellscale Asylum.

Before we can leave however, Juhlaer informs me that one of her “gifts” from the card game we played was the ability to change a single event within her life and that it must be used immediately or else she shall lose it forever. And her mind is fixed upon one single person; Alton. My mind immediately wants to dismiss her attempt to change the past, nothing but suffering has come from past attempts at a feat such as this in addition to my knowledge that saving the life of one has always cost another theirs. But my heart, feels the polar opposite; I know all too well the pain that she is suffering, I too was witness to the death of one I loved…and I would do anything, absolutely anything to bring her back. And for the first time in a long while, in a battle between heart and mind; the mind loses.

Nothing seems to happen. But memories begin to flood me, memories of two separate time lines; one in which Alton dies and one in which he lives. I wouldn’t believe the new memories if I hadn’t seen Alton with my own eyes. And there he was, standing right in front of us across the street. Juhlaer ran ahead and embraced him with such enthusiasm and vigor that I have never seen from her before. But our happy reunion was short-lived however, we were soon interrupted by the Drow woman who sent us against the Minotaur not but a few days ago. We would find out rather quickly that she was not alone.

The battle was swift and the injuries were minimal, thankfully. Our brief encounter with the Drow revealed that they had taken our Minotaur ally prisoner and his execution would occurring within the hour. We quickly hopped atop of Juhlaer’s scaled back, for she had transformed into a great dragon in the midst of combat, and made way swiftly to the ruling counsel’s chambers. Our path there was wrought with obstacles. With great force Juhlaer was able to burst through a wall directly into the counsel’s chambers. We were met with even more enemies there; they had been waiting. We did not dally and stand to fight, this was to be a quick rescue mission and against all odds it succeeded.

Though I fear we have only put ourselves into far greater danger by going to Spellscale. “Out of the frying pan, and into the fire” as they say….

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Five Days
Fear has Found Us

Hedar
We advanced into the room. Inside there was a long table with silverware set for a meal. Against the wall was a minotaur hanging from the wall with stakes in his hands. We freed him and attempted to tend to his wounds. He said his name was Hagrrim and he could only remember darkness before his arriving here. I offered him to join us and perhaps find out whom or what brought him here. We advanced back into the common room and I made my way to the door at my left. Inside was a lone candle and from the next door a banshee attacked us. Its horrifying screech killed Caulkin and turned one of Fyord’s hands to pure ice without leaving a trace of magic. We attempted to revive Caulkin, but to no avail. Could my new wish alter events like this; replay events leading to one’s death? Whether it could or not, I decided to save it for another time. Fyord carried Caulkin’s body outside while Hagrrim had come across a bundle of cloth. The cloth began to move and from it appeared a decrepit hag. My only assumption was that this hag had to be Alice, Doran’s right hand, mentioned numerous times by Thorman and Balidor. I attempted to pry for information from her, but only discovered that she and Doran expect Erythnul to awaken five days from now, and that I play a central role somehow; the raven bathed in blood… She retreated back into the darkness. Without any desire to waste more time with her I threw my last vial of oil at her and ignited the fabric with a spark spell. No sound or movement came from the burning figure in the dark. When I returned into the main hall I observed Locklear aiming a drawn bow at me; he noticed my human self. Despite every ounce of my being wishing to take revenge for Alton’s death, I simply told him that we needed to set our differences aside for the time being. I also discovered that Irony is still alive, held in a mage prison in Tantalas. I advanced to the door with light coming from underneath. Inside there was a large window, a desk, and a man sitting behind it; Doran. I began to talk with the evil presence before me. Like Alice, he only responded with illogic. An intense pain began to flow through me, showing me… visions… fifty of Doran’s spawn charging out of an abbey door… Once I had regained control of my mind I stabbed the evil man through his head. Then just below us I heard the abbey doors slam open; the horde. I quickly ordered everyone to gather round me for our escape. A dark part of me considered leaving Locklear behind. Despite the fact he killed my friends and I could kill him now, he was protecting us and willing to fight against the same evil I seek to destroy. I teleported all of us out, not knowing where we’d end up. There’s only one thing I know for certain. Erythnul returns in five days. Five days could be all that I have left to live, but in those five days I will do anything I can to rid this world of Pain and Suffering.

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Conditional Release

Countless times I have walked this path. I know its every twist and turn. There is nothing but the path and the path leads to nothing. Thorman is urging me on, as though brave words and blind hope are all that’s needed to escape. He knows nothing of where he is, and it is clear he has no plan. I was like him once—I assume—certain that perseverance and endurance could break even the greatest prison in existence. I suppose I shall have to show him the truth of his new world.

We walk for a time. He is still very much of the old world, lighting our way with his weapon, casting strange new shadows to play with. That will at least pass some time, until the magic runs out of course. At times he breaks the silence, attempting to encourage me. He doesn’t understand. It’s not that I lack courage—there simply is no use for it here. I offer token responses, more out of reflex than conscious effort—I’m not even certain what I say. This will all pass soon enough. In time he will learn the ways of this place.

As the path gets more difficult, his curiosity finally overcomes his determination. I slow my pace to allow him time to investigate the vines that line this place. To see their pulsing veins, full of blood that burns. To reach out to the plant-like flesh, to feel the sting of their hidden defenses, the long thin needles that pierce skin and soul alike. I need not watch his discoveries, I have lived them. I even know what he will do next—try to sting it back. I tried this as well. The vines can be cut, but they are thick, and their acidic juices will injure any attacker, and the tools he bears, far too quickly to do any lasting damage. As I wait, the part of me that still feels hope wonders if maybe when this fails, he will learn give up.

But this time I was wrong. It must be his weapon. His powerful, magical sword—it seems different from what I remember, perhaps it’s new—it cuts deep into the vines, severing their connection to whatever gives them life, and dousing me in their purple blood. The pain defies description, it is the pain of terrible death, of flesh stripped from bone, of waking from the deepest of nightmares. For the first time in an eternity, I feel.

We continue down the path and force myself to remember the gnomes, the monks of chaos. They taught me much about control and I need their skills now to manage the pain of the exposed tissue on my jaw and throat. The blow Thorman dealt was clearly a killing one, at least for that section of vine, as the light it cast went dark. This is something new, I no longer can assume I know this place. And sure enough, no sooner do I think that than we hear a loud noise in the distance. A pounding, or a banging of some sort. It continues, for some time. When it doesn’t seem to be moving appreciatively closer to us, we decide to press forward. The path is still familiar looking, but as we move closer to the source, I find myself anticipating our progress for once. Perhaps it’s finally time to meet my jailer.

But that sense of excitement is soon tempered as the path ends, the same way it always does, in front of a very familiar-looking door. The pounding is louder than ever now, but I know what faces us on the other side is disappointment and emptiness. And again, I am wrong.


The room is, in most ways, not unlike the rest of this place. It is made of stone, with walls covered in the same indigo-blooded vines. But is it not my room. And it is not empty. Three hulking figures, nearly three times the size of a man, are gathered around a section of the floor, seemingly digging a pit. Their backs are turned to us, but they appear to be large minotaur-like beasts. In one corner is a stone platform which leads to what can only be the source of the vines. An enormous flower-like creature with razor petals, pulsing with purple acid, and possessing a horrific beak in the center where the stem would connect. It lets out an ear-curdling screech, alerting its minions to our presence and, as they turn it is clear they are not minotaurs, at least not now, as their faces are miniatures of the plant beast’s. A familiar, if long-forgotten feeling comes over me as my pain and suffering are buried under a surge of adrenaline and my mind turns to tactics. The giant plant-beast is clearly the key to this place—it has grown around the entire facility and is likely in control of the monsters now facing us. Defeating it is likely our best chance for escape, so I make its death my primary objective. I drop my cloak at the door (the last thing I need is to get it caught on something) and quietly instruct shaed to cover Thorman as make my way to the platform, dodging vines as I go.

There are stairs leading up to the platform, which almost appears to be some sort of sacrificial stand, as it drops off straight into the “body” of the vile creature. But the path is criss-crossed by more vines and would take too much time to traverse, particularly with Thorman and shaed under threat. Fortunately there is a wooden pulley system mounted to the ceiling that will make a perfect shortcut. As soon as I am in range, I point my left arm to the rigging and launch my grapple, covering the distance almost instantaneously. I dismount quickly and turn to inspect my target.

Up close it’s every bit as hideous, and I can now see it is riddled with the same red needles its tendrils conceal. It seems quite resilient—the only possible point of vulnerability a quick survey reveals is the space around its beak. I quickly check in with shaed—Thorman is holding his own against the beasts, with the shadow attacking their mobility in support, but it worries how long my friend will be able to hold out, as the creatures hit very hard.

With time of the essence, I decide to test the creature’s surface resistance. It turns out the flesh in its “face” is much thinner than that of its vines, as I manage to land a couple of hits with throwing daggers, which remain firmly lodged within. Next I try a flask of alchemist’s fire, hoping its as vulnerable to the flame as a regular plant would be, but despite a direct hit, it does not seem to suffer greatly from the affects of the potion. Fortunately I have a couple vials of Liquid Ice as well, another common enemy of plants. This seems more effective, but I barely have time to consider how to use this information when a scream from shaed grabs my attention.

It would appear the beasts below can strike even the immaterial, and they do indeed hit hard. If my shadowy companion had physical form I would call him bloodied, and by only a single blow. I tell him to retreat to me, as it does neither of us good for him to fall to these things. Thorman still seems to be standing his ground, he may even have felled one of his foes, although now that he lacks backup, I decide to redouble my efforts. It comes to me in a moment—the only clear path. I am not a ranged combatant—I cannot deal with this creature from afar. If I fall here, today, at least I go free from the darkness of my memory. The least I can do is save my friend from the fate that befell me. With that thought in mind, I draw my trusty rapier and leap toward the creature with the blade outstretched.

Miraculously I hit my target perfectly, the point of weapon buried in the creature’s face. I find footholds with my previously thrown daggers, and attempt to grind the thin blade in as much as possible, until the monster lets out a gurgling scream and begins to sink, almost as though deflating. The acid blood begins filling its chamber as it dies and I steel myself against what is bound to be an excruciatingly painful demise. But then I hear a shout—my name—and I see Thorman atop the platform, stretching his hand to me. I dislodge my rapier from the now-corpse of the plant-creature and take one more leap of faith, finally accepting the reassuring grip of an old friend.

Once on solid ground, our position doesn’t look much better, as the purple liquid is filling the rest of the room as well. Our way back to the path is nearly closed already and we could never make it back in time. I survey the room one last time, only to discover behind us another door, certainly not present earlier. I walk to it and throw my companions a shrug—apparently we have won this trial. Perhaps now we must go deeper into hell.

What lies beyond is a new degree of nothing. Even with my newly developed night vision, I cannot see beyond our own light sources, and I light my bullseye latern for the first time in ages. Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be any nearby walls—the entire thing must be a very large chamber. We continue forward, using the pattern of the stones in the floor as a makeshift path. Eventually, we see a glimmer of light in the distance. We head for it, again out of lack of other options. When we arrive, we are met with a voice. My warden, at last. The lord of hell itself. Nerull.

Thorman confronts him, as Thorman does. Decries him for imprisoning a friend and ally. The god claims his right to take mortal lives, both as the ruler of death, and as a means of punishment for our former ally, Balidor. It almost makes me laugh, the sheer ignorance he displays. As if my loss would be anything approaching a punishment for that arrogant bastard. Shows how out of touch these gods are with the world they wish to rule. Nerull continues to brag how we are only escaping now because it is what he wishes, part of his plan to return to the mortal world through a new vessel. Me. He believes he has sculpted me into the perfect conduit and is releasing me now, on the condition I work for him—eliminating his enemies, Erythunl and Pelor. Very well, let him think that. For the time, our desires are in sync. If this is the price of our freedom, so be it. At least he gave me enough warning to prepare.

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Eternal Denouement

Pale indigo light casts the dimmest of illumination upon an endless hallway, featureless, but for the walls, lined, or perhaps composed entirely, by thorny vines. Arteries criss-cross the overgrowth, pulsing with the same purple glow that fills the chambers, in a way menacing without overt threat, save the sections of the path in which they travel down from the walls to cross the path, as though the separate sides were briefly reaching out to one another. A sharp eye might chance to catch something in the peripheral—movement, as if a dancing shadow—but that, of course, would be impossible, as the glow which permeates the world is uniform, a place in which shadows cannot possibly live. Occasionally at one end of the hall there is a door. Less occasionally, it opens, revealing a sparse room. And on rarest occasion, a figure passes through it, solemn and silent, treading carefully, almost ritually. It does not look up, for it has seen this place an infinite times before. It does not speak, for it knows there is no one worth speaking to. And it does not fear, for fear only exists for those who yet have something to lose.

Kestral

Choices. I’ve made so many choices in my life. I… never claimed to have all the right answers, but I always took pride in making decisions and standing by them. I thought… it was the best I could do… to make the hard decisions… to keep pushing forward… What a fool I was. I thought the world was against me… that I was doing the best I could against it. But it turns out… my choices… I brought suffering upon myself… and those around me.

Some people think hell is burning or freezing. Physical pain. Those people know nothing of suffering. The true horror of this place is so much more than pain, more than the imprisonment. It’s the relentless honesty, stripping away the comfort of all the little lies we tell ourselves, to protect us from the harsh realities of our lives. I… deserve this. I finally understand… this place is where I belong… where my decisions can no longer harm anybody else. I will remain here for eternity… if that’s what-

Wait. Is this… some new kind of torment? It’s not bad enough I must relive my decisions over and over, I’m now visited by the ghosts of those I’ve wronged? It must be a vision, because he can’t possibly be here. Perhaps if I don’t respond, he’ll disappear. Go away, Thorman, and leave me to persist in solitude.

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The Game

Balidor

“Balidor” the unknown voice whispers to me once more. Ever since we traveled to the Underdark I have been haunted by an unknown presence. This time the voice came from the window, never in my wildest imagination would I have guessed the sight that now greeted me; Pelor. Or at least Pelor as I remember him, his appearance mirrored mine save for the fact he has not aged as I have.

He spoke to me of his coming awakening, and despite our sorted path he still needs me in order to complete it, it seems that he cannot survive without me. And given the time I have had to reflect upon it; neither can I. It seems our fates were forever linked the moment I donned the Amulet of Pelor those many, many years ago. I have lost so much since the day we parted ways, I’ve lost the man I once was, the woman I once loved, and the companions I once called friends. I am dying, this is the reality, my time on this earth is short and I fear I no longer have the strength to face what is ahead, my only chance may be to join with Pelor and become one. Who then, would be able to stand against us?

In order for the awakening to happen however, I must find his disciple, his prophet, a priest who goes by Brother Jonathan. I remember him, it was him that raised me from the dead at Spellscale Asylum. It seems he was never able to leave that cursed place, and worse he has become the prisoner of a powerful vampire. A vampire who is rumored to have existed long before Dorin, and at one time was a companion of his. There is a fear in my heart I have not known before; fear of a powerful entity that we may have no chance of defeating. It is likely that this quest is folly and in it we shall meet our fates. In any case this journey will take my life; whether it is at the hands of this vampire, Dorin, or my joining with Pelor. I will not survive, and I greet my fate with open arms for I no longer have any connections to keep me here, attached to this mortal shell.

I inform Jhulaer and Thorman of my plans and ask they make haste with me, I hold nothing from them, there is no need to. Not wishing to intrude upon them any further I make my leave after being informed that we shall have to wait at least one day before starting our journey so that Jhulaer may be outfitted with a new leg. I shall simply have to wait in the meantime.

A mere hour passes before I hear Jhulaer’s voice, informing me that she must speak with me and ask if I will meet with her. Upon confirmation I am instantly ripped from the comfort of my room to some sort of empty void. A voice speaks to us telling us we are playing a sort of game, that each of us must take a share of ten encounters. Wary of what we might be facing, I opt to only take two. After we were decided a pedestal rise from the floor, on it appear fifty-four cards in total, we are told to draw the amount we chose.

I was hesitant to continue; a memory from years past surfaces….one of pain, suffering, loss….these cards feel like a long lost nightmare. But I resign to my fate, the choice was made, I must follow through. “The Paladin” the voice cries out as I draw my first, a sword appears at my side…but no ordinary sword, a Holy Avenger! Most fortuitous indeed. I draw my second card, “The Peacock” I begin to feel my skin crawl and harden….it’s painful…but I feel stronger…but slower at the same time. And eye for an eye as it were. I relish the thought that I was able to avoid any extreme misfortune, but I choose not to tempt fate any further and make my leave.

The void disappears and I reappear once again in my room at the in. But immediately the threshold begins to quiver and shake beneath me, and the inn collapses around me. Thankfully I able to avoid any serious harm….Thorman however was not so lucky……this is a most auspicious beginning to our journey out from the Underdark.

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A New Road

I’ve traveled alone for quite some time, with only the occasional companion for short expanses, but perhaps this is a chance for a change. A half orc, a drow, and two Halflings make for odd company, but hopefully such an odd group will be unique enough to handle most obstacles. For the time being I seem to be taking the role of guide, and while I don’t fully understand our goal, I’m happy to be on a fresh path, even if it means taking roads I’ve traveled before.

I was meditating in the barn when Haskan and Pov entered and introduced themselves. After a good sleep and a hearty breakfast, we spent several hours earning our keep, herding cattle. After we finished, the drow expressed interest in traveling to ________, and asked if in my travels I had been there, as they were looking to make their way there. They invited our host as well, but it wasn’t until we had hit the road that he caught up and told us that despite his wife not being happy with him, he was going to join us as well. Perhaps our wanderlust had rubbed off. As we walked I soon picked up bits of information about my companions. The drow seems to have some magical ability. Not something one sees much these days, but it’s not surprising that the denizens of the deep would still have some magical aptitude. The Halflings seem to have some abilities of their own, one seems to almost disappear into the shadows, while the other has displayed some control over the elements… how I came across these three in this day and age, I don’t truly know. It must all be part of Farlarghn’s road for me.

After several days travel, we made our way to the drow’s destination. What he wanted with this old building I don’t know, but it appears that a certain archer may be determined to prevent our entrance.

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