Protectors of the Silver Marches

Blundering in the Dark part two

So once we were done with almost dying for the moment, we came across the weird tapestries. Well, yes, I would have to agree, they were indeed weird. I had walked up to the one with an odd looking fighter, one of the people we had fought earlier in Sorrow’s Refuge…I think they were called Shadar-kai. The guy in the tapestry said something about what crows do, and to bring him one. He obviously didn’t mean a real crow, but for the moment I was at a loss. Instead I walked around to where the Cleric had been after he threw a small fit. Listening to what the guy there said, I pondered it a bit, before trying a few different phrases. The answer turned out to be “with me” for where the shadows walked in the valley of darkness, and that led to answering the Rogue one I guess. Elia had to pull me aside to explain the shadar-kai one and I have to say it took me a moment to think of a story that I could blow out of proportion to make it a larger than life story but still have a ring of truth. For the first time since the betrayal, I spoke of my friend and his wife. I spoke about the defense we set up against the rivaling clans cavalry.

After I had talked about them, I didn’t give names, I couldn’t help but think of home and those other times before I came to this colder land. Before I had been so desperate to run away from everything that I hadn’t really paid attention to all the distance I put between me and my home of Thesk. Just thinking of my home brought the memory of being able to stare out into the large body of water of the Easting Reach. Vivid edges of the Thesk mountain peaks seemed to rise up in my mind and I had to shut them away lest I get lost in the memories of brighter and mostly happy times. Thesk led my mind to Nene, and from her it jumped to the violent betrayal of my long time good friend. Forcing my mind to stop those thoughts I grabbed one of the violet colored candles that showed up and we continued on. I fear that sometime I might be forced to deal with my past, no matter how much I wish to just leave it there to collect dust. I can kind of understand that desire that Elia has been under, though I think there is a better way of going about it.

Oh, what do you know, another bellow that needs to be taken care of, and a few people that we first were thinking of walking by, but it was decided that we couldn’t let them continue. A silent agreement on a plan swept between Carnifex and myself. As we moved into position to fight, it seems that the Shar priests had no intention of letting us pass. The battle was over before it seemed to begin as the last of the men fell. There’s a scream and then all my members rush out to follow suit. Well, I certainly didn’t want to just be left hanging, especially in this place. This place makes it so that even Yumekichi’s constant presence isn’t comforting. A short possible encounter and then the enemy is gone. Rather anti-climatic if I do say so myself. I of course would shortly regret that thought as we stepped out, and came face to scaly face with none other than Despair. I’m really starting to hate dragons, this one in particular, and perhaps things like lizards at this point. This Despair cretin hacks up some acid towards us, and I was forced to do an evasive maneuver even while carrying the slowed Cleric. Oh, right, I didn’t mention that. The cleric got hit by a spell and was slowed. I was the one to offer to carry him and that is how it led up to me having to do a near dive towards the entrance to the bellows area while holding onto the man. Landing on my back the cleric had started to slip, so of course I caught him. He wasn’t about to die on my watch. Manage to hoist the man and myself into the cave and sit there trying to catch my breath.

To get rid of the dragon, Carnifex suggested that Demi distract the dragon. Serenity casted a couple of spells on Demi to help her in this heroic feat. If the little pixie comes back to us, I will definitely have to look at her in a new light. The fact that she was even willing to do this, smacks of more heroism than most of us in the group have in reserve, myself including. There is no way that someone who can’t face their past can be considered a hero. I can safely say I’m a nice guy who will do his best to help those around him, but when it counted the most, I failed. That failure will haunt me til probably the end of my days. Which, might be soon if we don’t come up with a plan to deal with that dastardly dragon. While Demi is doing her amazing deed, we make our way to the area that the barracks should be. The last half of the dash was slower than we wanted since we had to douse our flames and walk via Elia’s vision. Not sure how that worked, but she got us there as quickly as she could.

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Serenity's Contemplations Part 10

Wanted Posters and Snowy Cottages

I was packed and ready for my next adventure with my new found group of friends, and Elia. I was determined not to settle into a melancholy over my family. There had to be people out there that knew my family and I wasn’t going to find them sitting here in the college walls. Plus I had a duty to the people of Waylon Hill. Someone needed to save them from the danger they must be in. Not just anyone could do it, it needs to be people with power and skill, and it needs to be people with honest hearts and clean souls. It was going to us or no one would! We were these peoples only chance at being saved! I thought on how I would feel if my family…If Elia would be taken as they were, what would I feel? What would I risk to get them back? The answer was clear! I would risk everything and not stop until I was beaten or they were safe! So I go out in the dead of winter with finales in school looming over my head. I head to save people from turmoil or worse. That is my conviction.

I decided that talking to Serianos was a good idea. He had helped me so much and he was like a father to me, the only one that I will ever truly know. How odd for a human to have an Elven father. I have heard of stranger though in the North there is a dwarf with two human children. Are we truly so lost as that we can no longer depend on our own to parent us? Are we so lost as a short lived creature that other races take pity on us and try to teach us the ways that our own parents never could? I really think that if I was left in an orphanage as most all human children without living parents are that I would have died much sooner. I am glad for the lessons that Serianos has taught me. I want to make him proud of me and show him not all his words were lost on me. I will protect him as if he was my own father, for he is to me.

I found him at the front gates of the school. He must already know that I was leaving. Damn Damien must of told him. I really wanted to tell him myself. But my classmates always seem to rat me out first. Maybe it’s out of concern I will never know. He had the same stoic look on his fair features. Elves never age! However when I showed with my traveling pack and Bale’s box I swear I saw him age there in front of me! I told him Lady Alusterial had given me permission to leave on this important quest. He looked older as I kept talking so I just stopped. He then took out something from the folds of his robes and said if I was bound and determined to get myself killed he wanted to give me a fighting chance. He also told me that some men have been asking about me at the city gates. That I should lay low with the Spellfire for a short time. I thanked him for his help and told him I would keep up with my studies on the road.

As I walked to the gates I noticed a wanted poster with a person that looked a lot like our new member. I gapped the poster t to ask Elia about it later. I skipped over to the meeting place. We all showed and when Carnifex showed he brought the newly improved cart! It had armor! And it looked damned scary from the outside! However when he opened it, the thing was beautiful! There was a small heater thing in the middle to keep us warm and enough room for everyone! I was excited to start if we were going to be traveling in this! I had Bale make a picture of it with everyone around it! Then we left the gates. That is when our new member caught up with us. And that’s when everyone asked about the posters. He said it wasn’t him and he seems believable. Elia said she would take him and clear it up. I am glad she was helping him because once the guards think you are the guy they will not rest till they get you and some of them are downright scary! You would think they were priests of Torm!

They came back and that is when we got out of the protection of the Mythal that protects the city from everything from spells to really bad weather. This is also when I remembered how much I hate snow! It’s cold and no amount of clothes will ever keep you warm in a silvermarches winter. It sucks! However Carnifex’s creation helped with that. He kept it warm and we even had good food to eat! Carnefex can cook! And as good if not better then the college cooks! He never ceases to amaze me with what he can do, however if one is as old as he is you would pick up a few things. However Serianos must have talked to him at some point because he nearly ordered me to study my books while we traveled! Well fine if he was going to be that way I will show him the caliber of student he is working with! That is also when Keiji decided to help with the studies. Seraphim joined in as well. I managed to fool them into believing that I “read” the chapters over religion and a few others then blew them away with my arcane knowledge but bit the dust at history. Never was good at that subject! However Keiji was a well of knowledge over that subject and even helped me figure out a few tuff spots. I kept getting this vibe that someone was glaring at me. However never found that look on anyone’s face.

There was a few bumps on the road and I had to whip out a few spells to help but mostly it was a smooth ride. One night there was a blizzard and the new recruit was going out to scout. I cast endure elements on him so he wouldn’t get too cold. I went back to bed. I awoke when someone rude had made it very cold and uncomfy in the cart! I found out that Keiji had watched over me while I slept I am sure how I feel about that. I kind of hoped that Elia was going to cuddle up to me. But instead I had a furry monkey! I let go of him, then sheepishly asked Keiji to leave so I could get dressed. He waited for me outside the cart and I saw that it snowed so much that the cart was nearly berried. Someone had made a path around the cart but I was sure that walking in such dreadful weather would only mean for me to get lost. Wet, and cold, Not my favorite things. Keiji must have seen the look on my face and picked me up and carried me. He was taking us to a very small cottage. Why was there a cottage in the middle of no were and were was our damned Ranger thatg was suppose to keep us from getting lost? At that point a snow ball hit me in the head and even though I looked around to see who threw that all I saw were a bunch of kids rolling around in the snow. Keiji carried me on and I saw Elia in the door way. Keiji tripped on something but managed to keep a hold of me. He set me down gently like before and walked into the cottage. I saw that this was a small orphanage of some sort and that there was some small dwarf lady being the headmaster. I helped clean the place up and even amused the kids with pyrotechnics. One lad seemed very intrigued and asked about my training I told him about Silverymoon and how he may be accepted and that there were scholarships for payment as well. Then we left and headed to Waylon Hill.

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Dark Bad Conspiracy Place

We Re still here. Guess what Steeve? Damn dragon followed me! Yup. But it’s okay, the hallway is full of light pellets now, so it can’t just appear out of nowhere like abdamn magic…thing! Yeah, take that! Hey, and here was a room with another one of those shadowy death holes. Holes, holes everywhere! Where do they go Steeve? No where good that’s for sure! We must.destroy all the holes!

The dwarf cleric we rescued from statuedome keeps saying he “just needs to rest”. He’s been doing it for my last three recollections. “i’ll be fine if I rest”. What does it mean? I think he’s an imposter! He’s trying to keep us here longer, I don’t trust him.

I started reflecting on my logs thus far and I think it’s time for bed. This realm has not been kind to my brain. the sooner we get out the better. This in mind, I decided to join Bale for the evening and sleep off my troubles. He was welcoming as always, though a bit cranky. Perhaps he didn’t like it there either.

As we were resting there was a loud explosiony sort of sound and then a large rock, like the biggest rock I had ever seen was blocking the exit! But Carnifex said not to worry and that he would take care of it.

Sure enough by morning he had carved a lovely archway out of the offending stone! Hooray! Carnifex saved the day (story of our lives).

We continued on to the location called creepy mural. I was beginning to calm down, and get my wits about me again. I don’t know why I was so worried! We would be out of there in no time! It’s a piece of cake-!

Bad mural is bad! Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck! There’s guys, and they’re bad, and the mural moves in the dark, and its bad, light makes it go away, keep.the light! They want me to place a candle, but the mural wa-watches me, it wants me to place the candle so it can give me bad touch! No! I don’t want to! But the giants say I have to. Alright fine! Here’s your damn candle and here’s me on the opposite side of the room again! Oh, now they are saying I havr th stand next to them, something reflecting out shadows, but I don’t want to! I don’t like this game! Serenity is getting mad. She’s scarier that the bad shadow men, so fine, I will sit there and-heeeeeeye, our shadows are fighting the bad man.in the painting! Go shadows go! Yeah! Ooh is that a doorway?

Okay, so getting a grip now. Our shadows came to life against the seamingly real painting and we watched then defeat the man in the throne. Then a door way opened. Feeling slightly more calm now, I flew through to take a look and-

insert incoherent babbeling about shiny things

So after we left the.dragon’s hoard with new shiny shiny shinies, oh my god so many shinies! I mean um….right! After that we went to the place called floating stairs, which were litterally floating stairs with huge gaps in between. At first I was like “Now what?” But then remembered that I didn’t care because I can fly! Wheeee!

So off I was going when something attacked Keiji! Can’t we just progress in this hell hole without something trying to kill us? I was too far away to help him but it looked like the cleric was going to help instead so I let him be. I worked on finishing off the rest of the dudes who couldn’t seem to see me, so they couldn’t touch me. Haahahah.

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Life Without Insects

It has been several months since life as I knew it changed for both myself and the forest I reside in. Anybody who knows me knows that this in truth happens to me a lot, but because I make it a point not to let anyone know me, I will give you the short and sweet version. It’s like one day I am a father to be, trying to maintain a house I can raise a family in while constantly batteling my cravings and inner demons- then the next I’m a Satyr! Living off the wilderness, pissing on trees, getting scared by wild things, and having my things stolen by a sentient insect. So, as you can see change is something I am well used to. Being a vagabond of sorts, if something were to compromise my livelihood here I would move on to find a new life, and so I am always on the lookout for trouble. Well since that damn pixie left, there has been nothing but trouble!

I never thought that the presence of such a minuscule…..thing would make such an impact on how things run here. It is more than just the weird sense of emptiness has filled the gaps between trees and leaves where she used to hide, all invisible, waiting to drop acorns on my head- It’s like the trees are depressed or something! Seriously, the other day this sappling was like drooling, and sap with leaking. I never said this, but part of me even hopes to hear the sounds of her ransacking my home, going through my things, or that something I owned was hers now because I left it out for grabs. I actually overslept for the first time in years the day after she took off because she wasn’t there at dawn to poke me in the face with a wasp-stinger spear!

So yeah, bitch flew off (story of my life) and now shit is all sad. But more than that, something isn’ t right in the woods. The others don’t believe me, but lemme tell ya, purple bubbles don’t just fucking appear out of no where. I just noticed it one day as I was out making my rounds! Just this big, fuck off, glassy looking wall around these creepy ass ruins that have been there for like ever. The others say I’m over reactiong, but seriously- that shit ain’t normal. I always say that you know you are boned when shit just darts randomly appearing out of nowhere with no explanation or reason or anything! Like zombies! Fuck zombies man. Or bills, tavern wenches, angry exes…..

What was I saying? Oh right, the wall. Yeah so shit must be getting real down in the woods of whole structures are juat cropping up out of nowhere. All I know is that when shit hits the fan if there isnt someone to help cool it down I am gone. dont get me wrong, I love this place and all its done for me. But I get the feeling that whatever this is, it’s big, and totally out of my hands.

Steeve

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Flight of the Bumble Bee/Coming Home

We continued our travels in the realm of ’Can’t See Through This Black Shit so Fuck Off and Despair’ , not knowing really how much longer it would take us, nor how long we had been there already. After all in a land with no sun, how can one tell the time? In a world with no color and no smiles, how could anyone be bothered to think about time?

We came upon a building in which stood an armor clad general of sorts. I slipped in all invisible like. He was looking into a mirror that wasn’t really as mirror because it looked into other places, except it looked like a mirror….but it wasn’t. Anyways, he looked into a shack we had been into earlier, which now housed the dead body of a gross, fleshy giant named lumpy. He yelled that there were intruders, and ran out the opposite door. Then I went to open his chest and released this horrible purple gas….and….

What was I saying? Sorry, I just lost my train of thought. That locomotive derailed…I just can’t think clearly. All I want is to go home. I just keep thinking about everything else that is better than this place, which is everything. I just want to leave. What is the point of looting? I don’t really want any souvenirs from this place. Well, maybe if it’s particularly shiny…but no really, I just want to go.

Anyways…so Carnifex looked in the mirror, and then the guy saw him through it and it shattered. Then he came back and we kicked his butt…like seriously. Poor man didn’t stand a chance…I think. What was I doing then? I can’t recall. Can we leave yet? The tentacles are too much- I think they’re making fun of me. They look at me funny- I can see it out of the corner of my eye. I thin they whisper. Steeve always said never to heed the whispers of wriggling tentacle esque limbs….wait he never said that! What am I talking about? I think this place is making me think unclearly. What’s the word for that?

But, we ki- I mean, handed them their bums on a platter. The we got to the place marked on the map as ‘Spiral…kind of’. It was tentacles too. Trying to keep our integrity intact, for those of us who still had it when we started, we made our way down where some Sharitans were performing a ritual. I didn’t bother asking questions this time. The dwarf wanted out, I wanted out, and we all figured these guys were just more no good doing priesties. I tried to intimidate one into telling me what the ritual was, but it didn’t work. Foiled again, Steeve! What advice would you give me now? Perhaps ’It’s pointless to intimidate something five times your size’. Well fuck you Steeve…I miss you, you prick.

‘Weird Tapestries’. Or was it ‘Strange Tapestries?’ That was where we came to next. And there were some really odd looking tapestries. They had people on them. A warrior, a mage, a cleric, and a rogue. We all went to our respective sports and then the fancy curtains spoke to us…I really must be going crazy! Drapes don’t talk! It gave me a riddle. I didn’t figure it out till it was too late- it was just a hint to one of the other riddles…‘Speak with me, and find the key’ or something…riddles…talking curtains…man, this shit really messes with your head Steeve. The longer I’m hear, the more I start to sound like you. What’s up with that?

It wasn’t long before I had the biggest intervention in my entire life. Never thought I’d need something so large and terrifying to snap me out of my funk, but it happened, and it happened quick. We came to the place marked ’Don’t Play with the Corpses’or something to that effect where we were essentially standing over a large empty space full of black. And then a dragon happened.

It spat acid at us. And it occurred to my team mates that they didn’t have a chance of beating it in a big, black, open space where they couldn’t see it. They needed to get to a better spot.
“Gee, it’s a shame we don’t have anyone in our party who can turn invisible and fly really fast, who is quite small and can maneuver easily in the air” Carnifex said, looking in my direction. How the hell can he see me anyways?
“Yeah, I don’t know who that could be.” I had responded. But it didn’t work, and soon I was agreeing to play mouse and cat, prey and predator…you get the point.

It as it this point that I would like to write down my living will. I would like all of my possessions to be divided fairly between my team mates. My stuff I left at home Steeve can have. Most of it is his anyways. Presuming my tiny body can be recovered, I would like to be buried in some place with a lot of color. I don’t want to be left here.

Anyways, so it went kind of like this: “Dragon, meet Demi! Demi, meet OHMYGODFLYAWAYGOGOGOGOGOGOGODON’TEATMEEEEEEEEEEEE!” I flew around the dark chamber, unable to see very far in front of me, with a light pellet strapped to my back. it couldn’t get to close to me with the pellet, but at the same time I made myself a beacon. It was like I was screaming ‘Pixie Buffet’.

I flew around like this for some time. Serenity had quest a spell that would alert me when she was ready for me to come back. Soon, she signaled me. But I needed to lose him somehow. So I flew into this tunnel. I lit it up at all ends with light pellets so he couldn’t get it. But then I had to decide- would I exit the way I went in or at the other side? I decided to go through the way I came in- perhaps he wouldn’t expect that. So I did. As I flew towards my destination, while I had no idea where he was and couldn’t see him, this didn’t mean much as he had repeatedly appeared and disappeared before. Knowing this, while I had the group nearly in sight after quite a long flight, I decided to error on the side of caution and hang out in the back a bit, in case he chose to come screw our shit up. Then I could run epic pixie buffet distraction once more. Sighs I love my adventuring life…

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Blundering in the Dark part one

Our time spent in this darkened world is definitely some of the worst minutes in my life. Each second seems to tick by painfully slow, making me hyper aware of how long we are stuck in this colorless place. Nothing good has really happened since we stepped through that portal and really I hope that we get to the villagers, save them and get out of here soon. It just seems the farther we go, the odder the things get. Take for instance, the “guards” around some of the buildings that we came across. They were giant swarming masses of black tentacles.

The first ones we came across we had Demi check. Her oh so calm response was something like, “it’s all a trap! We are ALL gonna die!” Now, hysterical wind chimes are interesting to hear, but we didn’t take her at her words probably because of that. Carnifex continued forth as if the pixie hadn’t proclaimed our imminent death and promptly got nabbed by the tentacles. He managed to get out of them after a few seconds but we did learn something about these tentacles and that is that daylight spells don’t matter to them. Probably the first thing in the place that this is true for, and that probably disturbs me more than it should. It makes me extremely uneasy that there are things in this place that don’t follow the norm…and I have a feeling that that will prove true for more things here other than just these weird tentacles.

Demi was sent back in and was gone for a brief period of time. Her report to us after coming back was simply “now it’s full of purple hazy stinky stuff”, and I had no idea what the stuff could possibly be, but I had a feeling that it wasn’t anything like a spell, which left only a kind of poison. Carnifex just tumbled passed the tentacles and went on in. Shortly after that I heard screaming from the other side of the place and I guessed it was time to make my own way in passed that writhing mass of disgusting blackness. Taking a deep breath, I told Yumekichi to do the same and I jumped quickly through the tentacles, touching down on the floor inside I did a small half spin, braced my hands on the railing and hopped over it in a quick move, landing the few feet below gracefully. Only the grinding sound of broken glass at the land. Looking behind me, I saw what looked to have been at one point a full length mirror. Going over to the door that I thought I had heard the screaming I saw that Carnifex had already gotten everything under control.

Well…I wasn’t about to hop down there and more or less be in the way so I went to where I saw another door. Opened it and took a single step out to get out of the haze and to be able to breathe. Of course, the one huge thing that I had let slip my mind until a second later was “oh hey, there are angry tentacles outside”. Victim number two to their rough grasp was indeed, myself. I was more frustrated at my slip up than I was afraid, figuring that I would be able to get out if necessary. Demi had tried to help but all that led was to the tentacle shaking me, I don’t suggest that particular ride to anyone else. This place was really starting to get to me, gods did I hate this dark loathsome place! I wasn’t really motivated to act quickly until Serenity spoke up. Looking up sharply, I was keenly aware that I was now on show to other members of my party. Within three seconds I had freed myself and tumbled to safe spot on the bridge away from the tentacles. Trying my best to not look too much like a fool.

We met back up with Carnifex after he got back on to the bridge. We were just about to continue on this new path when I was stopped by Carnifex. Looking up at the other, I was kind of confused as to what he wanted, but he held out gauntlets to give to me. I’m sure my previous attempt to not look like a fool was ruined, and I’m just as sure there for a moment I looked like a fish out of water. I wasn’t expecting such a gift, and I hope that he knows how grateful I am for them. I had begun to think of the other warrior as a friend, and definitely as a companion that I could rely on and one I could work well with. I would almost be willing to say that with this gift, that he might see me in the same light. If this is true, I would be greatly honored to be considered as such by this highly skilled warrior.

At the end of this bridge, I was once again staring at another one of those horrid tentacle beasts. To get through this, we shrunk the cleric who was absolutely not going to be able to get passed them by himself. He was plopped into Serenity’s satchel and then she was up onto my back. Taking a steadying breath after watching our other teammates go through, I followed suit. It would have been just as graceful as the first time if I hadn’t been being choked by Serenity. Making it into the place which was only being lit by Elias’ torch and there was a faint shine of blue light at the bottom where Carnifex must be. Serenity didn’t let go so I pulled my own torch out, held it against Elias’ and started down the path. Serenity let go after that, deciding that she didn’t want to stay on my back as I walked most likely towards an enemy. I wasn’t expecting her to put on her aura and then go down the path in front of me. “Give me five feet”…well, I would love to do that, but they path was only wide enough for one person…no sooner had that thought really processed, then Serenity was face to face with an enemy. This really didn’t bode well, didn’t bode well at all.

My attention was caught by Carnifex down below, the sound of bones breaking had me looking down. Carnifex had just broken both arms of a mage before smoothly hacking them off in an impressive fountain of blood. He must really not get along with magic users. A scuffing sound in front had me whipping my head back up to see the man grab a hold of Serenity and toss the both of them off the side, straight towards another of those cursed bellows. I didn’t let myself think any longer, I had to get to her! Running forward, as I neared the edge, I slid and stretched out and just managed to grab a hold of Serenity. Only a twinge of discomfort as my hand passed through the blue flame and I caught her by one thin ankle. Unfortunately the man grabbed a hold of Serentiy by her neck. She seemed desperate and I assured her that I wouldn’t drop her, and she could do anything she needed to free herself of him. In response she burnt the other man to a crisp, his body snapping off at the wrists and what was left of him fell down into the darkness. I hauled her up and helped her remove the hands that were still grasping her neck. Patting her down lightly, I checked her over for any other injuries and just as soon as I let my hands drop away she said “I had a plan!”…a plan? Really? Well…that made what I just did seem a bit pointless, especially after she points to a ring and informs me that it has the spell ‘fly’ on it.

In my defense, I didn’t know she had that! I told her that, it didn’t really matter. A few potions could be replaced, and that all that mattered was that she was safe. Elia of course had to run down after I did the saving and throw her two cents in towards the whole thing. There might have been some bitterness resting in my chest from that, though I hope I didn’t let it show too much. Serenity wasn’t just going to let us try and cap this bellow, she used her magic to put it out of commission. Most of us, evacuated the building before letting her go ahead and do that. Once that deed was done, we continued down our ever dark path. I didn’t know exactly what to expect as we set forth, but I knew it wasn’t going to be friendly or easy. There is a small chance that we will get a break, and for our young mage, I’m concerned about how well she will be able to hold up if we have to continue at the pace we are, without breaks of any kind.

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How I Got Here

A lot has happened since I have decided to put my tails to writing. We returned to Silvery Moon, where we discovered that Darvin was behind the death of a girl that had come from Wayland Hill, or at least willing to cover up her corpse with a tree. I nearly died in a fiery explosion as we apprehended his secretary, and if not for the metal man Carnifex pulling me out of the blaze, my tiny body would have burned up and never been found. I owe him everything.

I have been getting more and more in touch with these strange abilities I seem to have. I have learned that I can make myself even more untraceable, see things other can’t see, and that blasty thing I can do keeps getting stronger. I keep wondering where these abilities are coming from and how I got them. I don’t really know. Perhaps I’ve had them all along?

We gained and lost a companion. I think his name was Vino. Seemed like an okay guy, but man, he was a terrible liar, and had a penchant for tall tails. I don’t really know where he went. It’s just the five of us now- oh yeah, sorry, Marina is gone too. I will miss her. I think she got heartbroken by Keiji. She staid back in Silverymoon. But there are plenty of giants in the city, she will find someone for her! Or perhaps several….ahem! Anyways…

I got word that Darvin was heading for home. I wanted to go there right away, but we had agreed to go find the townsfolk missing from Wayland Hill. I sent a messenger pigeon. Hopefully it finds one of the guardians in time.

But the truth is…none of this matters now. There is so much that happened but I have realized that it all pales in comparison to the reality we are all in together. How in the hells did we end up in such a place? Why are we here? What is our purpose?

This place makes me think a lot about home. They call it “Sorrow’s Refuge”. They should have been more blunt and just named it ‘This Place Sucks All the Dicks’. It is a place devoid of love, color, and smiles- devoid of everything I remember about home, so to cure it, I think of home, and how I got from there to here. Technically, I became an adventurer and went through a portal, but it’s so much more than that.

Steeve once told me that you have to chase your dreams. Not follow, he said, because dreams are always changing, and always one step ahead. If you just follow, you’ll get lost in the woods. If you chase them and always keep them in sight, one day you might catch up. He told me not to get caught up in what other people expected of me, but to also keep a clear head. He told me to stay the hell out of taverns. For the most part, I haven’t let him down. Back then, I didn’t give him much heed. But right now, I would fly any length just to see his stupid face.

I am here because knowing it or not, I decided to take his advice. I flew out of the woods, chasing the tails of a dream that I wasn’t even entirely sure what it was. I met new friends and foes, saw new places, discovered new things. Day by day, me and my team mates watch each other learn and grow. The more I learn about the world…the less I want to know. And yet, I want to know it all, to know the truth, the full truth! And I don’t think that’s even possible! I feel like I’ve been flying around aimlessly, waiting for something to hit me in the face. Well, it finally did. I am here now, in the horrible, terrible place full of bad and gross and all I want to do is get the hell out. So that’s what I’m going to do- I am going to get out. Keep moving forward! There is so much more than this realm of black, so much more I can do to keep people from coming here like the rest of us. I have seen good, bad, evil, mean, beautiful, and there is still so much more than that. This world is a lie- it is only the bad, but even bad has colors. This place lacks everything that makes everything. But if I can get out, that means it isn’t forever, and I can keep chasing my dreams, I hope…I would like to see trees again. I think my next goal will be to return home.

Here is the truth: We are all here for something. We are all chasing something. Keiji is chasing the unknown in pursuit of spreading love. In a way, he and I are alike- we are both rushing head first into the black. Serenity is chasing many things. She is chasing her ideal of a mage, and she seems to be searching for some sort of information too, but what that is I’m not certain. I don’t know about Ellia, but she seems to be running after something…or perhaps running away. Carnifex is unreadable as ever. But he too seems to have a goal. I just don’t know what at is. Sometimes, I think he looks lost. But he doesn’t make facial expressions, so perhaps it is just my imagination. But anyways, everyone is going after something. And this yuckiness is just another bump in the road. How such a place could even exist is beyond me, but one thing is for certain- this isn’t the end. We are here because we found our way here, and we can find our way out. We got here because we could.

I don’t know what the others are thinking about. But I am glad they are here with me. I couldn’t be here alone. All I want is to get out of here, with them, to see their faces full of color, smiling in the sun.

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Woes In Silent City

With the morning came the preparation to depart, and checking in on Serenity, led me to the realization that her upset the night before became anger. Dealing with my aunt Matsu, taught me that when a woman is irate, the best thing you can do is allow them to do their worst. A small query of “would you feel better if you hit me?” led to an assault of small objects, then broken pieces of bed. Not quite what I was expecting, but I stood there with all diligence, letting Serenity blow off her pent up steam. Just as it seemed she was slowing in her assault, and I was about to venture further into the room, Elia slipped in under my arm and went about her business with the young mage. I’ll let you know, but I was rather put off by this, but I’m not about to tell Elia that. Instead I left the two of them together once I knew there was no more danger and went off to try and find Yumekichi who had run off when the pieces of bed started to fly.

All too soon, we were ready to go, and we stepped through the portal. My already low heart, sank a bit further as I took in the landscape before me. Snow, and lots of it, in a light shade of gray, as it fell it made me think more of ash than anything innocent like snow. Large drifts of the stuff laid out before us, some open areas of floor showed through where it was thinner, but the background was all in shades of black, gray and white. A quick survey behind us met with a forbidding broken structure that has an uncanny resemblance to the building we had just left. It wasn’t until I looked at my teammates that I realized the most horrifying part of this new realm. We ourselves are in monochrome! How dare such a place exist! I looked down in growing despair to find my own, usually bright and cheery, clothing in mixed shades of grays and blacks. The only thing that looked normal were the striped armbands, guards on my legs, and of course my jaunty feathers. That didn’t make me feel any better though, and Yumekichi didn’t seem to appreciate the change either. He ducked down into my outer layer and seemed to decide to just stay there.

We went into the building before us and quickly met a creature that I would really rather try my best to forget. The room was something of a disgusting matter as well. Let’s just say, a four armed cat like giant that likes to disembowel and skin people stayed in a big room with hooks in the walls. Making quick work of him, was foremost in my mind as I did my best to NOT look around. Went up the stairs and encountered wraiths. Fun…and more fun…thankfully we ended up not having to fight them and after Carnifex played with a big creepy throne we left the building. I was both relieved and worried as we left the dark place and set out into the dead forest. Our next encounter was somewhere in between the four armed shadow cat creeper and the wraiths. The man before us might as well be a mountain, a literal giant of a being. He kept shaking a barrel and looking in our general direction. Demi seemed to perk up a bit and flew off a trailing “I know what to do!” going behind the small blur. In no time she darted back into existence and dropped into the barrel a human skull for each of us. Five skulls later, the being stood up, waved a giant lantern around and started to walk off, of course we followed after him, staying close enough to stay in the light. The light seemed to keep the other shadow denizens at bay, which I am more than glad to note.

We come to a set of buildings and of course we send Demi out to investigate it first. She swoops back after a moment or two and says she “sleep arrowed” the guy she came across. Some day we are going to have to explain to her, that her sleep arrows don’t put the guys to sleep…but kills them. We go in, and explore ourselves, Demi goes off once more on her own while we finish up in the first building. It doesn’t take her too long to come back in our general direction screaming for help. Moving out to see what is going on, it isn’t until I get across the bridge and look to the side before I see one of the ugliest dog like creatures to ever exist. Just as I was taking in its…lovely…attributes, it decided to try and tongue me…from 25 feet away. That has to be my new definition of bad touch for sure! I grab the slimy appendage just as it was about to slap onto my face. Why do they always go for my face? The creature seemed surprised but it didn’t stop it from lolling its tongue around in my grip. With a grimace I jerked the creature towards me and with a single stroke of my sword I cut it in two. It made me feel only SLIGHTLY better to have done so.

Looking around we found an obviously homemade map of the area, with lots of added notes and rules jotted down on it. Opening the back door we found a bridge that went down into complete darkness, after a brief discussion, what do we do? We continue forth of course. Oh, look at what we found on the other side! A flesh golem. Of course there would be a flesh golem in the shadow realm. It was more than just a disgusting atrocity…I’m not even quite sure how to describe the abomination. A good way of describing it now would be “a pile of goo”. Carnifex went in, he say, he slaughtered. It’s always a bit of a surprise to see someone be so proficient at killing other things. Definitely doesn’t give me a chance to relax, if I don’t want to seem like I’m incapable.

What kind of name is “Deep Bellows”? It wasn’t a typo on the map either as we soon found ourselves looking at a giant bellow which seemed to be sucking in the very darkness of the shadow realm. Whatever kind of purpose this thing had, it is definitely not something that we want to have continue. It didn’t take us long to take down the people that were standing guard and after a big debate about how to take care of the bellow, Carnifex came up with a solution after he…gathered large crystals of some sort. I must say, the crystals were fascinating, never mind the fact that they were shining PURPLE. Purple! A color other than shades of black and gray! I was in awe, but that awe didn’t last very long as Elia and the others decided going in disguise would be for the best. The reasoning made sense, you know, cutting down on how many enemies we were going to have to take down…but the end result was definitely NOT something I wanted. After some coercion, and I will admit, a break in my dignity, I allowed my feathers, hairsticks and hair style to be changed. I was too…I think they used the word “fabulous” to pass as a Shar disciple. I think this place is starting to mess with me, or at least how I am reacting to things. Hair now slung over one shoulder in a low ponytail, I allowed Serenity to keep a hold of my feathers and hairsticks for the time being. After a coin flip to see if we would head towards the “boss” or further down, we went further down the side of a cliff towards the deeper part of the shadow realm.

I am going to be brief about this encounter, since I said many a rude thing and did many a rude thing. I’ve never had much of a liking of dragons, especially the more sinister ones. Elia said there might be an encounter with a dragon, she didn’t say that it was DESPAIR. Despair, by the way is the leader of this little ritual or whatever is going on. The big, bad boss of the area is the dragon…a flying black jerk of a dragon, who by the way, spews acid from his maw. The first fly by caught us all by surprise and I must say I’m glad I wasn’t wearing my feathers at that point. The second fly by, came not long after and a few of us were more worse for wear. I’m ashamed to say, I panicked and didn’t keep to my job very well. I will not let this failing to happen again though. I can’t let this dark place get the better of me, there are no “ifs, ands or buts” about it.

We got to the bottom of the area, and what joy, we found a Gorgon. Carnifex all but swoops in, beats it upside the head, and before I can fully take a breath, the beast is down and out for the count. Coming across what looks like a statue of a Mystra Cleric, there was a debate about if it might have actually been a person or not. Demi, the pixie, thought there might be a tool to use, just in case since there is a gorgon there and all. I fear for our group when the pixie is the one making most of the sensible comments. This is further proven when we de-stone the cleric and we have try to talk him into trusting us to at least get him out of the shadow realm. Who better to smoothly talk the cleric than our resident pixie? I don’t know to be amused by this or concerned. I never really thought of Demi in that fashion before, and for once I think I might have underestimated a team member. If I did, I know I will feel bad for how I have weighed her words in the past. Though, it’s hard to give much weight to words that sound like they are coming from a wind chime, without first knowing the person that is saying them.

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The Not So Friendly Refuge From Sorrows

So, Sorrow’s Refuge, totally sounds like it has the possibility to be nice. Don’t let it fool you! There is no love here, and you definitely don’t want to come here for a vacation! It was no surprise that the place was locked up, and after Demi went and did a little recon, we started our plan. Now, I say we started the plan, but really all the plan was us getting into the place and how we were going to do it. Not much of a plan and one of these days us doing that is going to land us in hot water. Carnifex decided rather quickly what he was going to do, and I watched in amazement as the big guy quickly moved across the ground and all but hopped up on top of the low roof. Well then, guess I might as well follow in example!

Once I was on top I only gave it a moments thought before dashing across the roof and as I neared the edge, why not put on a show, tossing my large blade up in the air, while it twirled in the dark sky I did a back flip down, landed nimbly on my feet, spun and caught my sword as it descended behind me. There might have been a somewhat dorky grin on my face BUT I made a impressive entrance if I do say so myself! Though, the enemies didn’t quite react the way I thought they would, instead of what I did expect, I had to quickly parry a spiked chain that came towards me and tilt my head a bit while doing so to dodge an arrow that had been going for my face. A flash back of Bels’ ricocheting arrow arose just before I was reminded, that hey, there are a couple zombies behind me. Turning to deal with them swiftly, I caught motion at the corner of my eye and turned just in time to see Vino poof in, kill one of the guys and get beat in the face with a bow by a man who was trying his best to sound like a woman. I find that an interesting way to use a bow. The one zombie had proven easy enough to deal with, but the second one was being a little harder. Grabbing a hold of it’s head I did my best to keep that gaping maw away from me just as Seraphim called out to see if anything was needed. A simple “This one is mine, but some healing would be nice.” was my answer as I let go of the zombie a second before skewering it with my sword. It found its eternal rest after that. Was just about to walk away when Serenity called my name, now I must say I’m getting kind of used to this as she hops down from the roof saying “catch me”, and then doing such a second later and then gently depositing her on her feet on solid ground.

After gathering any equipment that we could from the bodies of our enemies we contemplated the building before us. We weren’t exactly quiet about the first idea which was waltzing through the front door, but that would just be bad taste and they would expect that. What we did instead was FANTABULOUS! We walked to the side of the building, Carnifex found the weak spot in the wall and the two of us simultaneously struck with our swords and obliterated that small section of stone wall. It was exhilarating to do so and I might have showed that exuberance just a bit. Carnifex went up to the main leader and told her to surrender after dropping one of her guards. When she didn’t seem to like that idea, he hit her in the head with the pommel of his sword and she crumpled to the ground. “What did you do?” Serenity sounded shocked, but not as much as I was by his response, “I made her surrender”, I couldn’t help but laugh at that. It just proved that the big guy has a sense of humor. With grin still in place I swept my sword across the two enemies that I went towards, cut one of the armored men completely in two and the armored cleric was not in much better condition as he fell to the floor, armor barely keeping his organs where they belong. There were a couple of mages in the room besides our own young one, and I wished to even the playing field just a bit so I took a heavy swing at the one closest to me, the same Mountain Hammer strike that I had used against the wall by the way. It was ‘Super Effective’ :3

We started to work on clearing the room, and as I made my way down to where the blonde Damians were trying to escape (by the way, they were all named Damian…not sure why though), one did manage to open a door, since we can’t have that happening, I knocked him out and that led me to having to step through into the darkened hall way. It wasn’t until I was there that I heard the ever spooky shambling and slight moans. Great, I just HAD to find the one room full of zombies. I drop a daylight pellet onto myself and light the room up, and immediately wish that I hadn’t. Quickly immobilizing the closest one I quickly found myself surrounded by five zombies. Well, someone must have changed my cologne from the usual scent to one of bacon or something. This was not exactly looking my way at the moment. Serenity showed up briefly, but shouted “Spell stealing fuckwads!” Shot some blue fire and dashed away after getting hit, which I can’t blame her. I struck out at the zombies to draw their full attention so she could run away and hopefully get some health back. One of them becomes flaming, thanks to an assist from Carnifex who just as quickly seemed to walk away and I was also assisted by Demi if that toothpick sticking out from one zombies eyeball was any indication.

It was a frightful few seconds later before I dropped the last zombie and managed to stumble back out of the rotten smelling hall. I’m dubbing that room, “the hall of death”. I tie the unconscious guys together to a pillar and then collapse down to catch my breath next to the weak Serenity. After we catch our collective breath we finish this area out, sadly not finding the remaining villagers (the zombies turned out to be them turned undead), Carnifex did most of the work since there was a big nasty shadow croc thing at the top of the stairs, by the time I went up them, the thing was all but collapsed and drooling in a corner. I quickly put it out of its misery with the least amount of extra damage possible. It broke off into shadowy bits and dissipated…such an odd way of dying. Turns out there were druids being kept here, and we went about freeing them. Learning that we would need to go through the creepy portal in the main hall area (joy), we got ready for a night in the place.

Serenity had pulled Elia aside into a room and shut the door, me being who I am, of course I had to try and listen in. I couldn’t let some kind of argument happen between the two, though just as I was about to listen more carefully since all I could hear was murmurs, I got a door to the face as Elia stormed out, leaving a crying Serenity. How could she make the sweet girl cry?! I wouldn’t have any of this sort of thing and quickly went in to try and calm the crying girl. Since I wasn’t too sure what set her off I was not sure how to comfort her, other than trying to be soothing. The first sign that things weren’t going very smoothly was that I got burnt by a flicker of blue flame, and also her panicked look as she realized it. Darting out of the room and slamming the door just in time for the sound of a small explosion and flames licking out from under the door. Carnifex bravely went in and scooped up the girl, which was quickly placed into the care of Seraphim. Though I was shooed away after following into the room where the two of them were to be staying. I had just wanted to make sure that everything was alright before calling it a night. I’m afraid that I’ve become rather attached to the young mage, and don’t wish to see her hurt. Have it be physically hurt, or even worse, emotionally hurt. She is too young to have to deal with any more tragedy so I will have to step up a bit as far as being a protector from now on. Even if that means I might end up having to stand up against other party members.

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Fear and Self Loathing in St. Louis

I’m sure that you expect to hear all about our super special and exciting adventures right where I left of last time. Well here’s the jist of it: We killed some dudes, then killed some more dudes. That doesn’t make for a very good story, so here’s what I did after I got bored halfway through our assault on the temple:

I received the notice of the tournament after our stop at the orphanage. “BE THE BEST WARRIOR IN THE LAND! WIN THE UNDERGROUND FIGHTING TOURNAMENT AND YOUR GREATEST WISH WILL COME TRUE!” Well there’s no way I can pass that up. So after we cleared out the courtyard, I took my leave. Fuck those guys. If Elia and the cleric die, I can claim it was all part of the plan. If the wizard dies, then I’m boned, but I’m willing to take that risk.

The tournament wasn’t that far away, only about four hours walk as the Honda flies. For those who don’t know, a Honda is a pitch black winged bird with opaque black eyes that cries out heavy metal songs at midnight while delivering food. It runs on the black oil found in some mines and is incredibly good at making sharp turns and killing squirrels.

I arrived and met up with some friends of mine who had split a hotel room. I picked the lock and set up a pillow and blanket on the floor. I really hope I don’t get charged as much as the guys in the beds.

The morning arrives and after I take some energizers a shaman made for me I’m ready to go. Our group travels to a nearby diner to get shitty food served by sassy fat drow maidens. I’m going to be spraying blood out my ass for days after this. Totally worth it.

We arrive at the event sight and get registered. There were around six hundred people expected to turn up for this event, but there’s barely one hundred. Man, Barret Moy must be pissed. I mean, the person organizing this event that totally isn’t based off the guy running the event must be pissed. My bad.

The first round begins and I’m faced off against Sir Weedlord Bonerhitler, a formidable looking knight. I offer greetings, but he spits on the ground in front of me. This is some shit of which I will not fucking put up with, so I take out a dagger and prepare to mutilate this motherfucker.

He swings his sword and I dodge and shove my dagger in between the plates in his arm armor. Oops, did I forget to mention I poisoned that dagger? My bad. :3

So as I rip off his helmet he’s all like “Noooo don’t kill me” and I’m like “Well should have been more polite motherfucker” and he’s all like “I’ll totally pay you ’cause the Bonerhitler family is loaded” and I’m like “I totally don’t take gold from burned people” and start carving tiny Stars of David in his corneas before I cut open his throat and shit in it. The crowd, after overcoming their shock of seeing a guy shit down another guy’s throat (usually that’s reserved for chicks) go fucking nuts.

Aw yeah. Hail to the king baby.

Round two is this fancy southern looking guy and he start pulling out chickens out of a sack and throwing them at me. I can’t attack the chickens or else they’ll swarm me, so I pull out the bow and shoot him in the dick.

Round three is some tough looking drow who calls hisself “Pookie.” Pookie pulls out a piece, but we both west side so we legit. He drops after I tell him that Tyrone owes me a favor and that I’ll transfer it to him. Pookie legit. Fo shizzle.

Round four is some whiny gnome in power armor. He’s cryin about he doesn’t want to fight and how daddy never loved him so I paint the armor purple and green. It looks pretty sweet, so he drops out to hang with this albino chick and some redheaded bitch.

Round five. I’ve standing across from this rocker dude. He’s got a bass guitar stained with blood. He growls at me at starts moshing his way through the audience. Metal. He starts laying down this absolutely sick beat which makes me wretch. I quickly throw a dagger to cut the strings before letting out a brutal war cry. MEGADETH UNLOCKED.

Round six, the last round, is… Bel? “What the fuck are you doing here Bel? This is for morally ambiguous characters.” “I totally killed a cop in that one town.” “That’s preeeetty cool mang, but I gotta win this wish.” “Fair. Hey, isn’t that the narrator?” “Huh?”

JESUS FUCKSHIT. I HAVE A FUCKING ASS ARROW IN MY BUNS. BEL SHOT ME. HE SHOT ME HE SHOT ME HE SHIT NE KILIL KILKILLIKOOSDF

WAUGHHH I ATTACK and he’s like “Nope.” and shoots me in the head.

THankfully the arrow was nonlethal. Turns out Bel’s wish was for his luck not to be bad, but they couldn’t do it so he just wished for some booze and we partied the rest of the night and beat up the felch wizards in the room next to ours because it seemed cool.

THE END.

P.S. I TOTALLY DIDN’T GET MY ASS KICKED AT ALL AND WAS COMPLETELY AWESOME THE WHOLE TIME AND ANYONE WHO SAYS OTHERWISE IS A LIAR.

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