The Un-Made Crown

I hate writing journals, pt 5
Into the Shadows

This whole shadow walker thing has me so unnerved. After entering Bolger’s shop to investigate, I could see the shadow realm portals in the corners of the room. I tried to head Liddie’s warning about what might be there, and also my own fear of who might detect me using them when I approached them. Yet my caution did me no good, and I was sucked into it anyways. Thankfully, it was just a hall with some tables and some packages on them. I quickly grabbed one and attempted to return, mindful of how upset the others were at my previous disappearance. Thankfully I was able to go back to them okay.

Then my aunt showed up. I wonder if she CAN track me through the shadows. And if she can, what else can. I know Liddie seemed to think this is a skill I need for what lies ahead, but I don’t trust it. And I am used to trusting my instincts. I know the others were upset that I did not tell them of my new skills, or that Esmeralda was my aunt. How could I tell them, when the news was so raw and unsettling to me still? I would have, once I had wrestled it into some form I could deal with. I just was not given the time to do that. I am sure they have lost trust in me. But that would not be a new situation for me. Just it makes me kind of sad, as I do like most of them. Esmeralda seems to still be under the effects of the binding, and her magic contained. I don’t like her or trust her, but I feel like she was telling us the truth about not being involved in Bolger’s death, and about the connection between it and the slavers we fought. Yet I am sure there is more to it than that, and that she has her hand in the mix somehow.

I refused to go back into the shadows on my own, so to return the package (which was likely just some treatment for this albino lord), I got Roh to go with me. I was able to bring her through, so that was a comfort. It was still just the hall with tables, and we put the parcel back, but this time I took the time to look around. We found Bolger’s ledger, and were able to account for all the packages but one. The one missing contained something called a frost egg. Whatever that is. But seems like it might have been the reason that Bolger was killed, so likely something valuable or powerful.

Finding nothing more of use in the shop, and unnerved by our encounter with Esmeralda, we decided to go visit Roh’s mother. The nuns would not let us in. I could see why immediately, but could not tell the others while we were still in the presence of whatever was pretending to be the nun. I could see the emanations from the shadows around her. Slyph managed to go see Roh’s mother, from the doorway, but I did not like the whole situation. Something was off. Very off. I left to go outside, so I could prepare a disguise. When the others came out I greeted them discreetly as one of the nuns, before slipping inside. I was able to get to the room without incident, and indeed it did seem like Roh’s mother was there. Until I slipped further into the room, when the nature of the illusion was revealed. It was like a painted screen was there but with no substance to it. The room was in fact quite empty- Roh’s mother was not there. More emanations from the shadows were present, but I could not tell from when they were made.

When I got back outside and told the others, several wanted to storm in and demand answers. I was not one of them. I had no idea how many were not as they appeared, or just what the nature was of those replacing the regular nuns. Of course, we went back in. We found what seemed to be Roh’s mother, on her bed in her room. Yet she was not quite herself, and when we confronted her, what we got was a hag. The damn things are everywhere. After a fight we managed to subdue her, but not before the hospice was set ablaze. On our escape, we found some of the real nuns slain in the main entrance area. Someone set the blaze while looking like Connor, and so when we exited, several cried out that he was the one responsible. The authorities arrived and we had to explain that it was not Connor. Thankfully there were a few witnesses who I spoke with that could confirm that Connor could not be in two places at once, and one of them ran off to get Liddie at my urging.

We managed to convince the authorities to let us question the hag. She was a piece of work, and twisty and cunning. Still I think we got some truths out of her. I am concerned about who the hags work for. This one seemed almost afraid while still in awe of whatever she answers to. The hags run the slavery business it seems, and there is much more going on that just that. I am not sure what part we play in all this, but they took Roh’s mother for a reason, and maybe it was to get our attention, or maybe something else. The hag tried to rewrite history, which must be one amazingly powerful spell, but Connor and I were not affected. Once more we made our escape. Soot was most insistent about where to go. The cat led me to another shadow portal, and entered it. Not quite sure what kind of cat Soot is, but clearly an unusual one. Grabbing hold of the others, forming a chain, I entered. We had a place where we could take, even if I was not sure what might be listening to us.

We must go find Roh’s mother at the place the hag told us. Roh knew where it might be from the hags cryptic reply.

View
Letter to Ma - 4

Ma,

What is going on? Something, bigger… scarier than any army is against us; why? Please tell me.

Roh’s mother has been taken.. I’m infuriated; no ones mother should be touched. I miss you.

The hags have some kind of underground market for slaves, and other things I’m sure. Roh’s mother was abducted by them for some reason; I’m still not sure why. They attempted to trick us, but thanks to Genna (lovely little halfling) we were able to catch them.

When I heard… I remembered you. All I thought of was if you were captured, what would I do. If any of my friends were in the same situation; what would I do?

Something dumb, as usual. But we caught the hag, we took her to the Templars. She knew something, something bigger than her, something she was terrified of. And when she got to close to telling us; the world changed. The ENTIRE world! Memories, events, people, all shifted… except myself and Genna. Something protected us.

I don’t know what is going on. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I just want to find someplace quiet and hide.

But Roh needs help; all of my friends need help. I need to stick by them.

Stay safe Ma, if all this is happening here; I can’t imagine what is going on there.

Love,
Connor

View
Conflicted Spirit, Part Sept
Something lurks in the shadows....but who might it be?

Things have been growing stranger and stranger by far. As if we were not already looking behind our backs for signs of treachery, signs which followed our party no matter where we went, things have grown even stranger. Genna wanted to check out the Bolger’s shop in Highbridge. Wanting to support her and help answer questions surrounding his death, we went with her. Upon arrival, we found nothing amiss. The shop was warded with magic wards that seemed to be in place. It is odd that a tea shop would be protected by wards. Why would it need to be so? It seemed I knew far to little about halfling culture afterall.

As soon as we entered the shop, Arnexus and Genna seemed mesmerized by something in the air. There was residual planar energy. It seems to unnerve Arnexus, which puts me ill at ease….but does the opposite to Genna. While we looked around the shop, Genna was somehow drawn into another plane…disappeared completely. Out of concern we called for her, but received no answer. After several minutes, she finally emerges from a shadowy corner of the room with a package, meant for a prestigious nobleman, in hand. She told us that she had found a table laden with packages similar to these all tied with a knot that only could have been done by the Bolger. I am sorry to say the curiosity of my companions insisted in opening the package. I could hardly disagree even though it felt wrong. Still, what if these packages held the key as to Bolger’s sudden onset of a strange illness?

Inside the package was none other than powder from a ground rhino horn, an illegal item highly taxed but with many uses in various medicinal practices. Lord Telflorian was not the most healthy of men by any means. It made sense why a man in his position within the city might wish for discretion. So it was that we confirmed suspicion on bolger being a smuggler of sorts.

Genna wanted time to explore this new realm more but was highly cautioned against it. The idea of traversing another plane clearly was cautioned against by the wizard. It was for this reason that Rohveka joined her as she returned the package. What time they were away, I was nervous. What if something happened to them? It was not like we could follow… I did not like it one bit. Only when they emerged unscathed was I comforted. Genna and Rohveka then told us that they had found a ledger listing the items there. Only one package was missing, a frost egg meant for an L. Bertrove, a name which does not ring any bells. Genna did not seem to believe that the Bolger’s death was the result of an illness. She thought someone might have wanted this frost egg.

As we further discussed the matter, we heard a sudden knock on the door that startled us all. It seemed that Esmerelda knew where we were…how I do not know. It was with trepidation that we opened the door and let her in. Here before us stood the very woman who was named in the attack upon Rohveka’s mother. Sensing Rohveka’s tension, I drew closer to her. Facing this dangerous woman here and now would be disaster. We needed cooler heads prevailing.

Esmerelda then told us that she was not responsible for the attack on Rohveka’s mother, but that someone wishing to eliminate those gifted with the ability to walk through the shadow planes, the very plane we had seen Genna disappear into earlier. She went on to say that the Bolger’s death was not an illness, but the result of a very specific poison, one dangerous only to haflings. All of us were shocked by this news except for Genna. It seemed it was a highly kept secret among the halfling community, for their own safety I imagine. All Esmerelda told us seems strange but I can sense no dishonesty from her. As foul tempered a woman she is, she was not wishing us harm. She instead seemed very concerned about her niece….yes, Genna… Why had she kept such things from us? Yet, this was not all we discovered. Apparently Highbridge was built around several shadow portals. It had been a highly kept secret all this time.

So, not only are we looking for some person seeking to kill or apprehend the son of the former king, we also have someone…a very powerful someone who can transverse the shadow planes and eliminate those who also can walk the planes. Esmerelda parts with the advice that we should further seek out information on the slavers.

Rohveka wished to return to her mother. Given her state of mind after this strange encounter with Esmerelda, we all felt that we should go with her. Things were moving far too quickly…and strangely to be left alone. Still, I had not forgotten the announcement of my sister’s sudden engagement. Other matters were far more pressing, though.

When we arrived at the ward where Rohveka’s mother was being kept, we were told that she was sleeping and could not be disturbed. This highly upset Roh….eventually I was able to convince the nun that it would ease her mind to have a friend just look in on her. When I was taken to the room I was still prevented from entering. She seemed to be sleeping peacefully with three healing candles burning around her. All seemed to be normal….how could I have missed it though? It was only after Roh remembered the herbs that Liddie had given her that we discovered the truth. Genna disguised herself as a nun and snuck into the room….Roh’s mother was not there….

When Genna returned to bear this news Roh and Connor grew livid. Without taking the time to formulate a plan, they rushed off in anger back to the hospital, demanding to be let in. Even Arnexus seemed to be behind their insistence. This was not how matters should have been handled. I understood exactly why Roh was upset. Still, without a plan at hand, we were walking into an unknown situation….possibly into a trap. Roh pushed past the nurse with the rest of us at her heels only to rush into her mother’s room.

Roh’s mother was here….and awake….but Genna had said she was not here. It made no sense…. Just then Arnexus noticed that this woman shimmered while Genna saw two shadows where only one should have been…she was not as she appeared. Right before our eyes, she transformed into a hag and lunged toward Roh. A fierce battle ensues but we eventually are able to subdue her. Just as we secure her, the smell of smoke fills the halls and drifts into the room. The hospital is on fire! Genna and Roh drag the woman out while Arnexus, Connor and I try to help people evacuate. The bodies of three nuns are in the waiting area, murdered with blood pooling around them. The hag was not alone in her deception. This had been a trap….eerily similar to the one laid out for Genna’s family.

Once we are all safely out, we come upon a crowd already forming. People begin pointing and shouting that Connor was the one seen setting the fire. He has no other choice but to hide among the crowd, blending in. Arnexus tries to soothe members of the crowd just as the Templars arrive. We share with them what we discovered in the hospital and amazingly get their support to question the hag before she is punished.

Genna sends for Grandma Liddie to aid in the questioning. I am beginning to loathe hags just as much as Connor. How many were behind all of these events? After questioning we begin to discover that Roh’s, mother was taken for healing that only the hags could perform…and to “tell the story right”. It seemed that Bolger’s death too was the result of these hags so Esmerelda could be blamed for the attack. When the hag was further questioned about the slaves they had taken, she told them that they had been moved from the warehouse in Helian to “where the fae oaks grow when not in an elven forest”….the Old Nemi Grove?

That is familiar to me…. Ninkali supposedly fell in love with a mortal ranger and gave birth to seven daughters. Her husband, Hurne, hunted them so they were turned into oaks for their protection. The royal populace was so entranced with the story that they tried to recreate it. Over time the land was flooded and all remnants were washed away.

The hag is forced to tell us that there were three who had come to Helian but more than a handful were involved in this plot. They wanted Esmerelda dead and urged us to kill her for our safety. They had tried to kill her numerous times and failed to do so over and over again. If we killed her, they might even release Roh’s mother. Things turned more odd when Arnexus posed a question to the hag that she did not want to answer…actually seemed afraid to answer. Was the hag involved with the being that had corrupted the world? Her only answer was “that which you see was never meant to be”.

All of this is a blurr….Genna and Connor told us later that it was indeed a hag we had questioned and not a mortal man. Some powerful magic is at hand seeking to make us stumble. We’re getting closer…but to what?

We have to rescue Roh’s mother. Of that there is no doubt. Still…my famiy….I fear I may not see them again. I should write a letter to them…but what do I say? I know nothing of this man she is to marry. Yet, I trust my father and mother. They would protect her and see that she marries a strong man who will be good to her. Of that I have no doubt.

Goddess watch over us as we walk further down this path. We do not know what we might discover. Grant me wisdom to act wisely and help guide my companions. Walking this path in the real world is much harder than I had anticipated. I fear I am not ready…but I trust the Mother’s wisdom in sending me out. Light our path ahead.

View
Journal of Arnexus 7

Our first task this day was to investigate the murdered Bolger’s shop. His shop was magically warded against intrusion which is interesting if he were only the proprietor of a tea shop, but obviously based on our information from Liddie he was more than what he outwardly seemed. Oddly, within the shop magical energy not of this plane was leaking into the shop. It was energy from the plane of shadow. Genna seemed entranced by something, I suspect it was the rift and when she went into the corner she disappeared. It seems that Genna was able to enter the plane of shadows and found some packages.

One of the packages was for Lord Sherrad Telfore, a mover and shaker of the city. While it is not odd that a noble might want to move something into the city unseen the timing could make him a suspect. Within the package was ground rhino horn. I began to wonder if we found someone’s libido treatment or useful for someone with a weak constitution. Given the Lord is an albino it seems likely he’s using it for a poor constitution. There were many other packages within the shadow. It seems the halflings are using this tear into the plane of shadow in order to smuggle packages; quite clever. Genna was able to bring Rohveka through the rift to go put the package back.

There was ledger within the rift and one of the packages was missing. Something very valuable called a frost egg was missing.

As we discussed the matter there was a knock at the door. Esmerelda Black looking rather bored was the source. Apparently Esmerelda Black was her niece, something she’d failed to mention. I suppose in her defence she claimed she had just found out, but it would be rather more effective if information was more readily shared. It seems the gift “shadowwalking” runs in Genna’s family, like Bolger’s. Esmerelda claimed she had nothing to do with Bolger’s death nor the attack on Rohveka’s mother. The curse around her seemed to be intact. Then she postured about the power of halflings, quite inanenly. She claimed that the likely attackers were related to the slavers we foiled in the hills.

We decided that we needed to go visit Rohveka’s mother and Liddie. The nun would not let us in to visit her. We managed to get Slyph in to look but apparently what she saw was an illusion. This was discovered after a disguised Genna entered the room to give her the tea that Granny Liddie had given us. Rohveka and Connor wanted to enter and confront the nuns, while Genna and Slyph didn’t seem to think it was a good idea. Personally, I didn’t think all the nuns were complicit in this. I doubt they were able to counter whatever powers the forces arrayed against us were using. It seemed the best course to “attack” quickly and catch them flat footed. It was the best course to determine what was going on.

As it turns out we were right. It seemed that Roheveka’s mother was there, but something was off. Calling such out, a grey hag attacked. She was fixated on hurting Rohveka. The hag was rather resistant to our spells making subduing her rather difficult. Connor was able to grapple it in an impressive feat of skill given she had recently ripped out of a web bolt cast by Rohveka. We managed to knock the creature out and tie it up like a worm. Unfortunately the three nuns in the reception were slain and the building was set on fire. We managed to rescue those wounded within the building. It seems that whoever set the fire made themselves look like Connor. I did my best to clear up this misconception.

The Templar showed up shortly and we explained the situation to them and agreed to a compromise about questioning the hag. We brought in Liddie to aid with the matter while the hag was within the cell. The hag said that Rohveka’s mother was taken so that they could tell a story that Liddie needed to hear. She said that hags run all slavery within the world and that they made a deal to do so. She gave us half truths and attempted to anger members of our party. She admitted that the warehouse William looked at used to be their headquarters.
The hag answered the new location with a question “Where do fey oaks grow when not in an elven forest.” Rohveka knew the most about the matter which was apparently in the Nemi Grove. Apparently there are temple precincts underneath this location which is likely where the slaves have been taken.
The hag claimed she had nothing to do with the frost egg being taken and that she’d want nothing to do with it.
It seems the hags want Esmerelda Black dead, claiming she is dangerous and powerful. The hag said Esmerelda knew things that her kinds shouldn’t. The hag claimed that if we knew what Esmerelda looked for that we’d gladly accept more hags. She wants to awaken something dead. I believe the “attack” on Rohveka’s mother was a play to get us involved in harming her. All their previous attacks, assassins and their own kind, have failed. The claim of demons and angels seems a little far fetched, unless she is this Enemy our blue dragon friend spoke of. That or perhaps she is in league with the Enemy.

I had to ask if Esmerelda Black worked for this Enemy. The Hag was torn in answering the question. She knew something about it. “That which you see, was never meant to be.” was her answer. She refused to say any more.

A powerful spell attempted to erase the hag from existence. Luckily, Genna and Connor were able to resist the spell otherwise we would have been foiled entirely. The spell made us believe the hag was a con man the entire time. Genna’s cat led us into a shadow plane where we could discuss the matter. It would take a being of immense power to cast such a spell. Quite worrisome. I wonder if it is our Enemy…

Slyph wanted to resolve a family matter, which I felt could likely have waited in lieue of rescuing Rohveka’s mother and the slaves. We would likely need to ask William for aid in storming the new slaving headquarters.
View
I hate writing journals, pt 4
Revelations of the shocking kind

So we get to Helian, and William has gotten us a nice spread going at this really nice inn. I never turn down good food! But we barely had any time upon entering the city to enjoy the reward before we started getting various summons. For me, its from Grannie Liddie. I knew I couldn’t dawdle in getting to see her. I figure its a good time to introduce Connor to the Cousins anyway. He has talents, but needs some guidance and likely some protection. He’s been acting all shifty since we entered city, and rather than enjoy the good food, he just stared out the window. I know what a person who thinks they are being followed looks like, and its just like Connor. So when I go to head off to Grannies, I tell Connor he is coming with me. I leave it up to the rest whether they want to come, and they all do. Maybe they know the importance of a summons by Grannie Liddie. I know Roh does.

On the way, I signal to the Cousins I see to keep an eye out for anyone who may be following us, as I am sure they will find someone is. When we get to Grannie Liddies, several of the young ones signal me and point out the one who is. I don’t get a good look at him, but I let them know to keep watching.

Roh has her own reasons to come. She has found out disturbing news and was told to seek out Grannie. When we get there, Grannie tells the most amazing tale. The sickness now plaguing Rohveka’s mother is likely caused by a witch by the name of Esmerelda Black. One that Liddie and Roh’s mom had once remade with their own powerful spells in an attempt to remove the witch’s source of power (something to do with something on her arm, so they remade her without the arm!). Only now it seemed the witch was back and able to work her evil again.

A middle man of my own kind, Bodger was found murdered. Liddie revealed to me that the witch was likely responsible for this as well. All because she is seeking some powerful artifact or talisman. I am to investigate. She gave me a special knotwork, which we disguised as a glove, and then she indicated that she wanted to speak to me alone. I asked the rest of my group (and soon to be company) to wait outside for me.

Grannie Liddie then asked how much I know of our halfling history. I know the basic stories about coming from another plane to here, but Grannie tells me its much more than that. To make that crossing required some powerful magical skills, halflings capable of working a form of shadow magic to assist transit and detection of other realms. And who do you think has that skill? My own family. Who are dead apart from me. Only Grannie tells me that is not the case, and nor is the magic we hold dead. The two of us who remain harbor it.

I am astonished. I hold no magic save that of stealth and the ability to disguise myself at times. And I know of no other survivors from the bakery fire but me. In the weirdest twist of fate, it seems I actually have an aunt, a very powerful witch, with a penchant for evil. One Esmeralda Black. To save me, Liddie bound my own magic away. I do not even have to ask where, before she calls in a lovely dark cat. Liddie tells me that the time has come for my magic to be freed, so that I might take care of my aunt. My magic has been hidden and bound in shadows with the cat. Grannie Liddie unknoted my shadow from the cat, and restored my skills to me. The cat, Soot, remains with me now, a new companion. I am not sure just what my new abilities are, but Grannie has said I will be able to see into other realms, ones of shadow, and discern things that others cannot see. Eventually, I may even be able to transit through the shadows and other astonishing things that seem to belong to someone else.

I left Grannie Liddie’s in a state of shock. We decided to head back to the business area so that we could hire a replacement for Arn (who between you me and the fence post is most likely dead and gone, but he bought us time to get to safety, and so I will miss him). The cat followed me. The others commented, but I just said the cat was one of Liddies and seems to like me. The man following Connor continued to follow us, but kept his distance. As we moved, I noticed a new alley where one never was before. A female halfling was watching me. I knew who it was, but aware of Grannie Liddie’s warnings about my being in danger for having the magic I do, I pretended not to notice anything and continued on. I hope Esmeralda did not see the goosebumps on my arms under my coat.

We hired our new merc, a strong looking fighter type, and registered our new company, the Company of the Blue Dragon. We head next to Boldger’s shop to investigate, and then to the warehouse. And we will need to look into Connor’s problem soon as well. It’s kind of been a lot to take in.

View
Letter to Ma - 3
Connor

Hey Ma

We made it to Helian, beautiful a city as any. Looks like my friends… yeah I’ve got friends now… and I have some errands to run through here.

Genna, the little halfling, apparently knows The Cousins, I guess they are supposed to help me with something.

Arnexus has a kid… never would have thought, but he does come off fatherly…

Roh, she has some connection to The Cousins, but it seems kinda complicated. Doesn’t matter, if she needs help I’ve got her back.

Sylph, that stubborn priestess, she had something with her family going on, but I can’t remember what it was. If its important I’m sure she will tell us.

Oh…!!! I’m now a part of a registered Company!! Me! I don’t know exactly what it means, but its all official; we even got to hire a mercenary (don’t worry he seems like a good enough bloke)

I saw the Reds again… I knew it wasn’t going to be too long before they found me. I really shouldn’t have come back here; I’ve put my friends in danger. I just hope that if the Reds get me, they leave them alone.

Sleep well Ma

~Connor

View
Conflicted Spirit, Part Six
Love As Thou Wilt

Two days have passed since we parted ways with Arn…

Nothing has been heard…I worry about him and fear the worst. I pray to the Goddess that she has kept him safe, yet I feel as if my prayers go unanswered.

I have never lost someone close to me…not that I knew Arn particularly well. Still, he is to be missed.

During these two days, things have not been quiet in the least. Helian has had many strange happenings take place. There has been strange deaths that have occurred within Aldersgate. With it being so near to a watch tower one would think crime would be nigh nonexistent there. So many lives ended…some before they had much time to begin… The servants of the Crone have been busy of late. Shivers as she writes this, thinking of the hag.

Rohveka found out upon returning that her adopted mother was badly injured and not doing well. What her mother revealed to her disturbed her greatly and seemed to tie in the attack to another strange occurrence in the Halfling part of town.

Genna discovered that a man she knew passed from this life into the next. It was no surprise that Grandma Liddie asked to see her about the arrangements. I think all of us knew it might be hard on her and went along. Still, it is strange that Rohveka’s mother would send her to Grandma Liddie…or so I thought until I got there. It seems there’s much more to this halfling matriarch than meets the eye.

We learned that Genna had some strange ability locked away for her safety, but now time has come for her to be free and use it to fight this witch named Esmerelda Black. The woman sounds power hungry and extremely dangerous. It was she who had attacked Rohveka’s mother while looking for something called a Skin Plate Codex. While people were told that the Bolger’s death was due to illness, it really was an attack by this woman. With Genna’s new ability awakened and the sigil on Rohveka’s back, she will be coming for them next. We will not give her the chance, though.

While all of this seems oddly tied in, there were some other happenings that were just as dangerous. Since returning to the city we discovered that the slavers cleared out the warehouse they had been using. We’re hoping there might be some trace left behind in their hurry to leave.

Connor has been acting weirdly since we met in the tavern. He believes someone is after him, a bounty hunter wanting to cash in his head. Before he came to us, he had run into some big trouble. Some of his fellow soldiers were killed. Whomever did it made sure to make it look like he was the one who did it. Instead of fighting the accusations and going to his superiors, he deserted. Why must he always run? I do not understand. If he had just stayed….but that is no longer an option. Hopefully we can find out who indeed was responsible and bring them to justice. Yet, we have more pressing matters…even though he is the prince…I still struggle with that idea.

Arnexus learned that his daughter had come to Helian as well, but he did not seem happy to hear this news. I don’t know the story behind that relationship, but you would think someone would be happy to be reunited with family.

Which brings things back to my own family. Before I could catch up with my own family, I heard news from the gazette about my sister’s betrothal. Lathina…getting married! She was not even seeing anyone. It is not even proper to be getting married in such a short period of time, unless there are reasons to hurry the process along. I sincerely hope she has not become in a motherly way before marriage. Just think of the family name and reputation! But I will not borrow trouble until I know more. I just hope it is a match of love and not out of necessity.

Sir William gave us some good advice concerning reputable houses where we could hire some help until Arn can join us again….if he can join us again. We found a man who has some strong morals but seems a little rough around the edges. He comes highly recommended and seems okay. He will never be another Arn though. sigh Once we had paid his dues, we made our way to the registry to sign up as an official adventuring company. We chose the name “The Company of the Blue Dragon” in honor of the dragon who seems to be guiding us even in his death.

I do not know how things will go tonight. We will be attending the memorial for Genna’s friend and then seeking out this Esmerelda. May the Goddess light our path and strengthen our resolve to face whatever may come our way.

View
Journal of Arnexus 6

Returning to Helian brought back the stark business of human cities. They scramble around like an upset ant pile in comparison with the rather sedate pacing of elven doings. Though perhaps the sedate nature is more insidious than I’m letting on. The sheer number of events that have been occuring since we were gone is intriguing.

It seems events are sweeping us up into them, and news that my “daughter” has returned to the city. I am still unconvinced that she isn’t a Midnight Court spy. The Red Leaves could very well be members of the Midnight Court. I shall have to be wary of her tiresome botherances.

It seems that the slavers cleaned house prior to our return and thus we don’t have any more information. We should likely check on the warehouse in case something was missed by the Crown’s investigators.

William also mentioned that we should register as an Adventuring Company, which is something I feel is an excellent recommendation. We’ll need to find a warrior to “take Arn’s place” and mention to Arn’s order what has happened to him.

Apparently Genna thought Connor needed to see a Granny Liddie, which surprisingly so did Rohveka. “This should prove interesting…” I remember thinking. Liddie is much as I expected. Apparently Connor was in need of some help from “The Cousins”. I was intrigued to find out what that was about.

Apparently it is believed that a halfling known as the Boldger was slain by a halfling poison. It is possible that a being known as Esmerelda Black, who is the one that attacked Rohveka’s mother/mentor could be active again. She may be attempting to write her own codex of seals, similar to the Seal of Ascalon. Rohveka told us that her mentor said that we should not confront this Esmerelda. Granny then gave Genna a knotwork item similar to a scroll which then was changed into a glove. The quilts and knotwork apparently work as Liddie’s spellbook of a sort.

On our way to the mercenary’s guild Connor spoke up that he might be hunted. It is based upon his military desertion related to a false murder charge. It seems he was likely set up. Slyph, as normal, pulled out her vast array of nosey questions on poor Connor. I decided to attempt to rescue him as he obviously did not really wish to answer.

We perused the most likely additions to our group at the guild and found one Rennik to be the most likely addition. He seemed of the right moral mindset for the most part, if a bit more nihilistic. He specializes in incapacitating his enemies which could prove useful.

Next we went to the adventuring register. Thus we birthed the Company of the Blue Dragon. Hopefully the grand name doesn’t end up cursing us.

View
Letter to Ma - 2

Hey Ma,

Did you know? I guess you had to know..

What do I do? I just wanted to fight the good fight, protect the farm; like Dad… who was he? Where did he come from?
Did he leave because I wasn’t his son? Were you a mistre..

I guess it doesn’t matter now. Whats done is done.
I remember you stories of the Reverend Mother, when she would hold the Great Ceremonies of the New Year. You had always wanted me to see them. Well, I saw her. She is… she reminds me of you; same strength and wisdom.

I wasn’t sure if she knew they were looking for me, so I tried to keep quiet. I guess either she didn’t care or word had not travelled to Bastion yet. But she spoke to me, Ma… to me. It was, humbling. I wish I could have stayed, if felt safer there.

That priestess, Sylph, and I had a nice chat; I think it got to her a bit too much. She is a stubborn one, but means well. I hope the road ahead doesn’t get to her.

That girl I told you about with the tail, Roh, I think she got some news that shook her up a bit too; but I was too distracted to remember what it was about.

Then like every time, I had to go. Trouble was following and my friends and I couldn’t let people get hurt. That hag.. I’m sorry she insulted you like that. I should know better than to let her get to me. But I promise you Ma, I will find her. I will… she will regret her life.

…Sorry Ma, you didn’t need to hear that.

We’re off to Helian now. After the news in Bastion, I’m not sure whats happening, but I need to keep moving.

Love ya Ma

Trev

View
Conflicted Spirit, Part Cinq
Do I Cut the Strings or Dance to the Tune Being Played?

All fears of the Reverend Mother’s safety were quickly answered. Thank you, Goddess, for your faithfulness in protecting your servants. I did not know what she might say about our killing of the imposters. She knew it had been a possibility though had made doing so unnecessary. I am humbled to think that I should be more quick to think things through before acting irrationally. Of course she knew the men were imposters! She had not risen to the position of Reverend Mother without reason.

We were not questioned or chided for our actions. Instead, with the grace befitting the Reverend Mother I so admired, our wounds were treated and we were properly fed. It felt so good to be home…yet odd too. I was not to return until my year was through but my current duties as William’s escort made it necessary. I saw many familiar faces, but had little time to interact with them. None should interfere with one walking this path to sway their decisions. Still, I am honored that I had the chance to come home, even for a brief time.

Once we all had our bellies filled, we were called before the Reverend Mother. Immediately, I knew things were not quite what they seemed. Though the Reverend Mother sat regally upon the throne of her station, she did not have her typical guards present. In fact, the Great Hall was completely absent of them, a complete deviance from protocol.

She began telling us that she had heard much of our adventure from the Listeners. I could feel my cheeks flush at that knowledge. Of course she would have heard of what we had been up to. I quickly apologized for my actions at the gate, but she said there was no need. “We did what we had to do.” She proceeded to tell us the imposter was not given the scroll he had wished to obtain. It was a scroll meant for Emile instead. She went on to explain just how prophesy worked to my companions, for which I was thankful for. I still think that Arnexus is not a believer. I don’t understand why he is so skeptical.

She then handed me an ornate scroll and told us that it was meant for us. THIS had to be the scroll the blue dragon had spoken of. It was breathtaking to behold. I could not help but feel a chill down my spine as I looked upon it. She told us that it could not be opened until the time was right. A part of me does not want to even open it after what the dragon had told us. If we do not open it, will it stop the prophesy he had told us? As much as I hope such is true, I feel that is a childish way to handle matters. No, we need to be prepared. It is what she next tells us that sets my blood to run cold. The need for secrecy soon presented itself as the Reverend Mother conveyed a dark secret of the Bastion.

The Listeners receive the prophesy from a captured evil being from which Yeenoghu had wanted to conceive a demigod son. The Bastion itself was build to house and contain this evil to keep such from happening. It was from this being that the prophesies were spoken and recorded by the Listeners. All that I had once believed….everything I thought I knew about the Order of Ninkali….all of it was wrong. How could the Reverend Mother condone taking prophesy from an evil being that was not safe to be loosed upon the world? Who was to say that these things that were spoken were not to force some evil will on creation? When these questions were raised to the Mother, she simply side stepped them by saying how could we say Ninkali was not using this being? My faith is great, but to swallow a pill such as this? It requires more than just a glass of water.

Before I could let my mind dwell too much on what had been shared with us, the Reverend Mother dropped another laden platter before us to consume. Rohveka’s mother was enslaved to the Demon Witch Queen, queen of the Abyss, Valeria the Bloody. Though she had once been a good woman, her powers led her down a dark path. She now is the sustenance the servants of Valeria, the succubi, feed upon. When Rohveka was born, her mother’s soul turned dark and Valeria feasted upon it. I do not know Rohveka well, but can imagine that hearing such not a simple matter by any means. Though it is a woman she never knew, it is her mother. No one should be forced to live out a life of such horrors.

The Reverend Mother tried to speak to Connor, but the man is too much of a fool to listen for his own good. He is so stubborn! Why would he reject counsel when it is offered? She practically told him that she could possibly explain why his sword burned with a flame around certain persons, or creatures. Still, he would not ask. He must be daft or scared. There can be no other excuse for willful ignorance. Still, he finally did come around to ask about his father after Rohveka had spoken to him. What we heard next none could have been prepared to hear. He is the illegitimate son of the deceased king of Helian. He does not want to believe it. In fact, he acted as if he did not care. As far as he was concerned, the king was not his father. He knew his father.

Rohveka had asked for privacy in speaking to the Reverend Mother, which both Connor and I granted. It was just outside the chamber doors that I finally had a few words with Connor. Though he acted a fool about his past and his bloodline, he is not a complete fool. Still, having him chide me for my actions, putting myself in harm’s way when I should stay at a safe distance to help aid him and the others, did not sit well. He spoke of war and battles that I had to admit I had never seen. I had never seen real combat until joining Williams’s escorts to the Bastion. Humbled by his words, I admitted he was right and agreed to stay back. Still, it does not change the fact that though he cares he is an imbecile.

Once Rohveka rejoined us, we were approached by an acolyte with a note saying Sara, the hag, was waiting for us at the gate. None of us thought it wise to go face her alone. So, we decided to gather our party first. Rohveka told us that Arnexus was inside the library and that she would tell him while the rest of us looked for Genna, who had wondered off. It took a little time, but eventually we had a good idea where she had gone. Unfortunately, it was somewhere I was a forbidden to enter. With no other choice and out of concern for her safety, I distracted the guard while Connor slipped past and went to find her. Luckily it did not take him too long.

With out party gathered, we went to meet Sara. She knew that we were aware of what she truly was. She “warned” us that Yeenoghu wanted revenge for our defeating his shaman. He is sending his champion after us. Why was he sending the champion against us when it was she who had killed his shaman? When asked that very question, she assured us that if we did not help her that she would not only kill the boys but make sure that when we faced her that it was in front of the village. They would not see us striking down a hag but killing a poor defenseless mother. We have no other choice but to aid her…by right do I when she bears a symbol of Ninkali? I still do not know if she is a servant of the Goddess, but how can I say she is not. Even the Reverend Mother could not say for certain if a hag could not or would not serve the Goddess. Before we depart we speak to William about our trouble and ask that he seek the aid of the Bastion to return to the Queen and also to take the papers we had found aboard the slaver’s ship. He agreed to do so and wished us well. As we prepared to leave, i saw Rohveka approach the hag and offer her a feather. Apparently both had made a deal in order to secure the counter potion to the transforming magic placed upon the poor townspeople. The Reverend Mother had assured us that she would do all she could for them.

So, we made our way toward Helian and prepared for the ambush. We were able to find an overhang where much of the party waited while I stayed with Arn in the road, ready to meet the attackers. The battle was fierce, but we were able to quickly beat down the undead champion and then thrash the gnolls who attended him. Yet, it was not with my aid that such was possible. In fact, I helped very little. It was Sara, no…the hag, that had protected Arn and the rest of my companions. She called forth such spells that only a priestess should have known. Her skill far exceeded my own as well. Were it not for her aid, we might not have been able to defeat our attackers. Were it not for the prophesy of the dragon, I would question my place even among these heroes…

We agreed to let her go. I was reluctant to see her go. i had so many questions…yet she never answered those poised to her. Even if she was a servant of Ninkali, she had killed just as a predator does to survive. Perhaps Ninkali has a good reason to have such a being serve her… It is not my place to say. Even if she is a priestess, she is a foul being. She could not resist the urge to poke Connor and threaten his mother. It took all of us to keep him from going after her and killing her on the spot. If we cross her again, my companions might not allow her a second chance to escape. At least we were finally able to lay to rest what remained of Sara Carver.

Helian lies before us and many decisions now weigh heavily on our mind. Once we meet up with William to see what he has uncovered and receive our pay, who knows where our path might lead…

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.