Godsmack II

Session 0: Captured and Confused
The party is captured by mysterious bandits

Captured and Confused

Each character has begun this adventure in a different way, but all are united in experience and situation. Every member of the party has the same story to share: They were found and waylaid by a group of bandits all in the same uniform of black and red. No one can quite pinpoint how many captors there were in their event since so many of the foes were hidden or obscured, taking pot shots upon them with poison-tipped arrows and blades. Each kidnapping party was primarily human, but led by an orog in chain with some mysterious symbol on his chest. Trolls and ogres were also united with the humans, primarily distracting their prey with their presence to not pursue the orog or the humans.

The party awakes, surrounded by complete darkness, largely naked and confused. The few belongings they have are enough clothes to make them decent, but tattered to confuse them for a beggar. Each have a lingering headache and throb in their head from the insidious effects of the poison that made them fall unconscious. Besides a few scrapes, they are largely unwounded – mended, even, from their more grievous woulds from being stabbed and shot.

Many questions lay unanswered: How did they get to where they were? Where exactly are they? Who were these fierce and merciless bandits? What do they want? Why did they get healed? When will they find their stuff and loved ones?

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Varish's First Entry (session 01)
The First Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,
I started out on this journey to look for my brother, but things have certainly gone pear-shaped indeed.
I have been robbed by a group of bandits. Thankfully they left you behind so that I may divulge my thoughts to you privately where nobody else can see. For my thoughts are personal and strictly for my eyes only. That’s the whole point of a diary after all. But I digress. I have been robbed and all of my possessions have been robbed from me. Robbed I say! Robbed. One of them may have been named Rob. But I have no proof. I will find out. But they were probably humans, adding to what I already know about the general stupidity of the human race. They are mostly idiots. I do know a few good humans, but they are few and far between.
The odd thing about the attack is that they healed us afterwards. We woke up in a dark place. There were voices. Light filled the room and suddenly I saw a dwarf holding a severed arm. A human and a halfling ran at me and tried to embrace me for some reason. I refused to let them, of course.
The dwarf’s name is Drekk or something. I couldn’t hear him clearly through his beard. They should learn what shaving is as well as basic grooming.
Before long, we set off, looking for an exit to the cave in which we had found ourselves. In that cave were rats and a snake. They seemed to be fighting. The halfling, apparently named, “Tink,” for some reason. Whether due to nickname or poor naming ability of what I assume was the human half of her family, I have no idea. She seemed particularly attached to the snake. I assume it is her familiar. I threw a rock in an attempt to help and, you never believe this, Diary. It bounced off like 3 things and landed exactly back where I picked it up from. It was the COOLEST THING! You should have been there. Well, you were there, but you are an inanimate object, incapable of viewing the awesome events which make up my life and are in existence for the sole reason for my ability to vent and express myself in a safe, personal manner, or so my therapist said. I was doing pretty well last time I saw him, though because he said that there was nothing more he could so for me. But back to the fight. The halfling whose name I don’t know yet took out a rat on his own. She seems pretty cool and pretty pretty. The dwarf got attacked by a rat. It was kind of funny, but I decided to help him. He seems gruff, but still nice and despite our racial differences, we could turn out to be friends. As the great elf, Lartin Muther J. Kunior once said: “Boycott shampoo. Demand the real poo!” By which he meant that we must wash away the crappy-looking differences of those who are not conditioned by the same upbringing as ourselves and try to be friends anyway. Or that was just from a weird dream I had. Either way, it holds true. While I was distracted by these thoughts of friendship, I ran towards the rat and, you’ll never guess what happened. I tripped over THE SAME ROCK I THREW EARLIER!!! It was so crazy. I did a really cool recovery though and I thing the cute halfling noticed it. She seemed pretty impressed. At the same time, the small blue thing froze the rat and the human finished it off. It was a pretty great battle.
Also, two of these people, Kyra (a human) and Tinka knew Aiith. I’ll have to follow this up and see where he went. Anyway, one of the rats started moving even after I crushed it’s skull, so the girls got freaked out (“girls” includes the fairy, but not the cute halfling, by the way. She’s pretty tough). Anyway, we left. I talked to the halfling. She’s totally interested in me. We had the best conversation about the weather that I have ever had with a female halfling that I met after being mugged on the road and having to fight off direrats.
Anyway, we get to this room with like these 2 snakeman statues and a missing hole in the wall. The room was really clean, which is odd for a cave. So, we decided to leave. The halfling in front of me started to slip, but I totally caught her. In the end, we made it all the way up back to the room with the rats. The rat was still moving, but we cut off the arms and legs so if it comes back to life, it’ll just look ridiculous.
Anyway, we decided to go down the tunnel towards the area that had a bunch of footsteps going in that direction. Before long, we saw lights at the end of the tunnel.
There were orcs and goblins that wanted to sacrifice us or whatever, so we took them down. The dwarf took one of their clubs pretty quickly, then the halfling (the pretty one) ran by everybody and attacked the main goblin. It was so amazing. Then the other halfling (the Tinka one) made a giant snake appear, but it didn’t do too much. Then the halfling (the cute one) got shot by an arrow. It looked like it hurt. Then another one shot her too. That was too much, so I ran up and punched one in the face. Two of the orcs tried to stab me, but I was too fast for me and they’re incompetent. Then the fairy shot a snowball at a goblin. Basically, we were destroying the orcs and it wasn’t even close. The dwarf got ambushed from behind a boulder though, which was also bad. Lots of stuff was going on at this point and I couldn’t really keep track of it all except for what I was doing. Speaking of which, the orc I was fighting tried to stab me, but I broke the javelin through sheer awesomeness and intimidation, then caught 2 pieces of the javelin and used them to hit him in the face. Basically, diary, I’m awesome and the halfling chick is totally going to be into me. Because I’m awesome. And because I’m awesome I hit him in the face with my spike hand and killed him. By that time, the other bad guys were dead or ran off. I got 5 javelins from my dude and a leather pouch with 8 gold coins. The halfling looked pretty, but also pretty bad, so I hope she’s okay. I decided to carry her until we could find a way to heal her. I hope she’ll be okay. At the end of the tunnel, the dwarf and the fairy saw a bunch of enemies in the room and we decided to turn around and go the other way. We saw the moving rat again and I realized that there was just a smaller rat underneath it, so I kicked the larger rat off of it, to put an end to this charade. Then we kept going.
We found an area full of blackness and Drek went in to check it out while I waited with the cute halfling. Drek took a while, so I went in after him, due to my being really heroic and whatnot. I found Drek in the dark and had to try to carry him out. Before long, I found a silver scroll and I had the amazing idea to use it to light our path and find a way out. We were able to find some torches to light along the walls to light up the room. After we lit the whole room up, a stone lady appeared and opened up secret doors along the walls. In one of these hallways, I met this little white rat who motioned for us to follow him, so we did. It’s not like we have any better ideas. Then we found a room full of gold and on the wall it said: “Time is short, e see it all, Gold meets gold, all to all, One to find in the all, Before e are placed in all.” Then the wall started to move in and probably would have crushed us if I hadn’t saved the day again. I put the last brick in the wall and stopped it from crushing us. Anyway, we’re sitting in a huge pile of bones now and they seem to be moving, so that’s all for today’s adventure. I’m going to catch some shut eye and fill you in on what happens tomorrow.
So long, diary,
Varish.
P.S. Wish me luck with the halfling.

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Varish's Second Entry
The Second Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,

In case you remember from the end of my last entry, we landed in a pile of bones after I saved us from the moving wall that tried to crush us. But, we weren’t out of danger yet. There were skeletons in there. They didn’t seem very friendly, so we attacked them. At least, they attacked us. The one in front of me almost took my arm off with a vicious hit. I decided to respond by hitting him with a bone. I’m sure he was struck by the irony of it all as I struck him in the face. Get it? I’m hilarious. He didn’t seem to appreciate it since he still tried to fight me, but I blocked him pretty easily. There were some silvery sparks or something at one point, but everything was sort of a blur as I was kind of focused on not dying. I cracked my bone over his head and split his skull, but then he seemed to hit me and everything went black.
When I finally came to, Snowball was over me, waving his hands. Apparently, the skeletons had been killed by the dwarf (I knew he was cool) and we opened a chest that was in the room. But all of this was secondary to the fact that my beautiful halfling had been severely wounded by the skeletons. I could only wish the one who did this was still alive because I had a bone to pick with them. (no pun intended) Anyway, there was also gold and I got some of that for myself. Unfortunately, Snowball was out of healing spells, so I was the only one who was able to heroically carry the halfling, whose name I know not, to safety. And I did it on the first try, diary. Then Snowball told us about the talking rat he met and asked if we could stay the night. He seemed nice. But he wants to die. Anyway, we summoned his magical street merchant to help us but he left while he was saying he “has the right…”. More irony. I would have guffawed heartily aloud if the situation hadn’t been so, non-guffaw worthy. Anyway, we bought some potions and I gave it to the halfling. She was ungrateful. I’ll change her mind eventually.
Anyway, we got the magic merchant guy back and Snowball and I went on a shopping spree. A very. Long. Shopping Spree. And by spree, I mean we took a very long time to buy very little. Although I did get a sick bladed composite bow. In the meantime, while people were purchasing the goods, I thought of ideas for the book I’m writing. Maybe something where a human dresses up as some sort of creature to fight crime. Something that flies. Like…a bird. No, something scarier. Like…a bee. Or they could be separate heroes and team up. Needs work. Also, this merchant seems obsessed with fish, stones, bears, and a festival of mooning or something. But silent moons, if that makes sense. But he seemed hesitant to sell us weapons because even though they were celebrating being silent, nobody was allowed to be deadly. Odd indeed.
Before long, the group needed my amazing acting skills (they must have heard of some of my work back when I was in the Cactus Bunch (I miss those guys. (I miss my brother, Aiith. (I wonder what happened to him. (I’ll have to check in on that later. (This is a lot of parentheses sets.))))) So, I got to act as a tough Dragon House guy. Stabbed a dagger on the table and everything. But I got the job done. It was awesome.
After we finished (and possibly got the merchant killed?), we rested for a while, then continued moving. We went down the hall, by a big 12-sided shape in the wall. Near there, there was a “hole” in the ceiling. The halfling used the moon lamp we had to look at the ceiling and find the numbers 4-1-1-2. We used them to try to figure out the 12-sided thing. We couldn’t figure it out, so we kept going. Then we found a secret door. It went to a black room kind of like the one Drekk and I got caught in earlier. So we knew what to do this time. We found a mirror that, when we put the same silvery stuff on it that we had the last time, a bunch of words showed up on the wall, all pertaining to different types of moons. This place seems to have an obsession with moons and such. Humans are weird. Then there was a riddle about singing the word moon. I said the word moon and my genius was enough to help everybody else figure it out. Because apparently my amazingness is contagious…ness. Sorry. I wanted that to rhyme. For artistic reasons. Then the stone lady appeared again. Tinka kept singing about moons. Stuff kept appearing on walls. You get the idea. But me, being awesome, solved so many of the riddles. Because I’m awesome. Then the lady left and we got the door back. So we used it. I feel like we’re going to be stuck in this cave for a while. Speaking of which, we found an exit, but it was caved in. So, we will almost definitely be stuck in this cave for a while unless we find another exit soon. I guess that that goes without saying. Eventually, we got back to the snake cavern because we found a brick with the skeletons that looked like it would fit in the missing brick place. So, we put the brick in and a snake came out of the wall and started wrapping itself around Drekk as the wall started to crumble. Then the snake statues came to life and started to try to kill us. Just like almost everything else we’ve met so far. (Except for the rat guy and the merchant with short-term memory. They were chill.)
Anyway, we killed them and found a secret room. There were tapestries and what-not. Well, that’s all for this post. I think I found something about a silver princess. I’ll have to investigate further. I’ll keep you posted, diary. Toodles.

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Varish's Third Entry
The Third Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,
The tapestries turned out to be pretty interesting. They told a story about love, betrayal, death, and what not. Speaking of which, by the way, Kyra told me that Aiith is dead, for some reason. So, that friendship is over. I don’t know why she would lie about something like that. First, of all, we’ve been traveling for A WHILE. And NOW, she decides to bring this up. We already talked about my brother. And I was told that he was okay and that he had saved a small cheese village. All of a sudden, OUT OF THE BLUE, she decides that he died in the process of saving said cheese farm? I said I was looking forward to seeing Aiith, my brother, my twin brother, whom I have cared for and loved ever since he escaped from the womb a mere 3 hours after myself. My younger brother with whom I ran, played, and adventured with all throughout the Unmentioned Forest in the Realm of Hawkthorne that was our home. We promised that we would see each other again. I guess we were wrong. No. No, we weren’t wrong. We will see each other again. Kyra was lying. She was lying. She has to be. Kyra is lying to me.
I’ll have to get back to this line of inquiry because the halfling, the dwarf, and the halfblood were fighting some magic woman thing and four statues or whatever. I don’t know. I tried to focus on the fight, but my mind was wandering. I tried to focus. I remembered what I told Aiith once when we were practicing with the Cactus Bunch. “Inhale on short distance shots. Exhale on long distance shots. Look at the target, not the arrow. Feel the shot, don’t watch it. Draw the bow, don’t pull it. And when you release the string, be as gentle as through you were caressing a butterfly’s tear.” It worked. I managed to hit the woman in the chest, knocking her back so that the dwarf could finish her off. But the statues were still up. They were next. I hit one of them with 2 consecutive arrows. It wasn’t doing much, but it was more than our human was doing by singing, not being of much help to anybody. Humans. So…ungraceful. So…rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful. They don’t seem to care much about the beauty in the world. Just death. Destruction. So much so that they are willing to lie to someone about the death of a loved one, just for a passing fancy. I killed the statue I hit earlier with 2 more consecutive arrows. I was starting to run low. But I had to finish this first. Drekk was having trouble with a statue, so I finished it off for him. I was locked in at this point. My shooting at a point it had not been at for the entire adventure so far. There were only two statues left. Aiith and I used to be two. Just the two of us. Working together. Side by side. I knew I should have gone with him. Or he with me. We should have stayed together. I’ve lost one brother already. The reason for us splitting up was to look for him after all. But that’s no excuse. We should have stayed together. We should be alive together or perished together. Now I’m alone. I have nobody. It has become clear to me that the halfling will never return my advances. Not that I ever really expected her to. Maybe it was my attempt to fill a void I somehow already knew was there. I’m alone now. I lost one brother. The Cactus Bunch broke up. Now my brother is gone. I’m alone. And I always will be from here on out. There were two more statues. I killed the next one. Now there is one left. He is just like me. Alone. But not for long. Soon, he’ll go to join his brothers. Just like I’ll eventually join mine. But he’s going first. I’ll make sure of it. I wonder if Kyra has any siblings. Anybody she loves. Somebody she would do anything for. Somebody she would die for. And I wonder what she would do if they were to be lost to her. Forever. I wonder. While I was lost in thought, I killed the last statue. It was child’s play at this point. There were no more enemies in the room. Well…correction. There were no more statues in the room trying to kill us. I’m not so sure about the lack of enemies.
After the dust settled, we showed the group the tapestries and I noticed a whole in the wall. It wasn’t big enough for all of us, but most of us (myself, Snowball, and the halfling) were able to get in. We found a 10 foot lady inside with a stave. She told us of the vizer who would visit the tomb. She is here to protect it and he would visit through the stave. We went back out and the halfling noticed a symbol on the chair. We pushed it and a door appeared behind the tapestry where the hole was. We went through it.
There was another room with a thing in it. Gold. And a jar of something that the halfling and I drank. It made me feel powerful. Everybody else left the room, but I decided to stay behind to figure this out. And I did. I went back and told the party. The halfling gave me the ring since I figured out that being married to the princess would allow us to get the stave. We went back into the room. I got the stave. I came back out. Then I figured out how exactly the stave works. At least part of it anyway. I’ll figure the rest out later. I have a lot to figure out. But it seems I’m making excellent progress.
We made it back to the intersection chamber and decided to go north. We found three orcs in a room. We took them down. I got to try out the stave. It didn’t disappoint. One orc ran away. The same one as before. Coward. We tried to blast our way through the rock cave in, but it didn’t work. So, we went back to the cavern that had all of the orcs and goblins from before. Once again, there were several orcs and goblins there. Drekk tried to pass himself off as an orc. It basically worked until they asked him to come out. That almost worked too, but the only goblin who didn’t have a severe need of spectacles apparently noticed that the “orc” was just a halfling stacked on a dwarf. Idiots. So, we had to fight them. We killed them. I had some problems with the stave. I managed to break it up into a wand and a shield and keep using it. Which was perfect since we found another room with goblins and an orc. The halfling killed one with a sneak attack with the bow and arrow. It was quite impressive. Then the rest of us burst in and we were fighting once more. The effectiveness of the stave seemed to be wearing off. Or something was wrong with it. Either way, it didn’t seem to be working all that well. Drekk started taking a pretty serious beating by that point, so I decided to stop messing around with magic and return to what I knew. Archery. The good strong wood of a bow, the feel of string between my fingers, and the woosh of the arrow as it flies towards my target. It worked. I fired at the ogre and he fell. Then one of the beasts hit Drekk and the halfling with a fire ball of something. They were both out for the count. I moved in to try to take him out, but the incline of the room threw me off. It didn’t matter. I found my footing again and hit him with my next two arrows. The beast then released a cone of fire which hit everybody in the party except for me because I was wise enough to keep my distance. Looked like I would have to carry the party once more. The stress got to me and I missed my next to shots. Kyra was trying to revive the party. Tinka managed to finish off the orc thing. We had won, but it was very close. I noticed that Tinka hadn’t done much for a little bit, but when it counted, she managed to come through for us. So, we looked around and we eventually saw a little hole above the wall and eyes watching us. We didn’t really have any way to get up there and we were pretty tired, so we decided to sleep in the sarcophagus room. There was a lot to think about. And a lot that I still had to do.

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Drekk's Thoughts
Notes & Happenings According to Drekk

Met a lot of interesting characters in this dark hole I’ve been tossed into.

A human bard who likes to sing during the fights (seems to help everyone out, but I prefer a good Dwarven battlesong myself). Calls herself Kyra Fields. Likes to carry around a pouch of potions, and can fix up almost anything we’ve found. Potions of hers have saved me several times. Also good (sometimes) at throwing stuff. Not sure what her and the sorceress affiliation with the elf is, and not sure what will happen when we get out of here, but only time will tell.

An elven ranger who’s pretty handy with a bow, when we actually got one. He seemed okay when we all first woke up, and then tried hitting on the halfling a lot. Sort of annoying listening to a one-sided conversation about the weather when you’re trying to see if anything ahead of you is trying to kill you, but all elves are like that. But his character really changed after the fight with the snake statues. Had some really good teamwork taking them down there, but he really closed himself off from everyone all of a sudden after that. Not sure why, but why would a dwarf care about an elf that much? Also, calls himself Varish Gambish.

A halfling spellthief who calls herself Ashira Tiarni. Figured out that she was a thief and then a spellthief later on. Found a dagger in the room where we woke up, but then she was somehow able to take it away from me without me noticing. Pretty good there. Then she saved my life later when I was commanded under the spell of the undead lich witch. Did not like seeing the face of my dead wife again, especially on a human like that. Anyways, the halfling took the curse away from me onto her, and then I killed the lich in return for her. Worked out in the end, but I hope there aren’t any lingering effects from that. Ashira’s been pretty good at helping out in front sometimes. Seems to take a LOT of hits, but not dead yet, which is good. Halflings are tough.Also, very convincing at playing a small child, especially with that magic shopkeeper. Will have to keep an eye on wallet tough.

A half elven sorcerer and her pet snake. Calls herself Tinka . Not sure about the snake’s name. But she REALLY likes that snake. Caresses it all the time, and also talks and sings to it, especially during battle. Seems kinda transfixed by the sake a bit. But, she has been handy at times. Likes to snap her fingers and create lights, which is good for everyone else who can’t see in the dark. Also, saved our lives in the last fight against the orog, though she could have helped some more during the actual fight, instead of just at the end. Still, kudos for the good form and style used to finish that fire-breathing b@$*#!d off. Probably gonna get better over time, still seems a bit new to battle.

And lastly, the weird, annoying, chubby and blue midget elf thing. Never gave us a name, but liked to throw snowballs at the enemy, so we all call him Snowball. Don’t like him. Doesn’t know when to shut up (when he’s around), and likes to insult dwarvenkind. Gonna keep an eye on him, as he seems to disappear quite a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Wasn’t there in the golden death room, in the lich fight, and only seems to heal people when they are about to die. Not very caring it seems. Also, has a weird stone circling about his head that he found in a mouse hole. I’m curious to see how he will survive if we get out of here. Other humans probably really won’t like him. He can’t hide himself like the halfing can. We’ll see what happens.

Other than them, some other stuff happened. Killed orcs, goblins, stone snake statues, a lich woman, and skeletons. I’m usually the only one up front, while all the others are shooting stuff everywhere. Don’t always hit stuff. Surprised they haven’t hit me yet with their inaccuracy at times. But then again, sometimes they can be really accurate. The halfling has stopped a couple of monsters from running away, so that’s pretty good. And the elf shooting those statues, wow. Met a spasming magical vendor and his talking rat after almost getting crushed. I got an interesting dwarven axe and magical breastplate from him. Gonna have to find someone to identify the odd workmanship on this. Also we have been solving a ridiculous number of riddles everywhere. Most rooms have something we’ve needed to solve, or be stuck darkness forever. Pretty sure we missed some stuff, but more focused on getting out than looting everything. Had some really close calls with death. Got zapped by a trapped chest and flew across a room. That one hurt. Then I was burnt by a small fireball from the orog, and then immediately after the fireball got burned again. Seems that orog needed to make sure we were dead, as if the smell of burning flesh wasn’t enough. Lost part of my beard to him. ARRRRGHHGHGHGHG. NOOOOOOO!!! NOT THE BEARD!!!! And I was just getting it to a respectably long length too. Ah well. Just gonna have to see how this all goes. Maybe the bard could mend my beard for me. Let’s just get out of this dungeon pit before those woomfing sound find us, whatever they are. Onward ho. For Moradin!! (Or his Godsmakk equivalent).

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Varish's Fourth Entry
The Fourth Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,
We woke up and Snowball was gone again. He left some arrows though, so I took those for myself. We left the snake room, hopefully for the last time, and went back to the orc room to see if we could get out of there. We decided to go up to the little window we saw there. The halfling, the dwarf, and I climbed up, while the useless human bard stayed behind. Once we made it up, we saw 4 goblins in the room. One of them saw me first, but I managed to throw him down to the ground behind me, 20 feet down. He was alive, but hopefully our bard would make herself useful and finish him off. She did. Drekk, the halfling and I made it up to the top and engaged the other 3 goblins we saw there that seemed to be attacking a wounded man. I missed my first shots, but once I gathered myself, I pinned their shaman to the wall with 2 consecutive shots to the heart. In fact, I split my arrows. I surprise myself sometimes. After that, Drekk and the halfling seemed to have the last goblin pretty taken care of, so I searched the shaman goblin and managed to get one of my arrows back and a cool hat. Also, I searched the human we found and he had some cool stuff, too. We decided to leave him in the room, but kept moving down the hallway. We saw evidence of the human’s valiantly violent entrance. Lots and lots of dead bodies. I got extra arrows from one of them. Eventually, the halfling turned into a scaredy-cat. She got scared from 1 monster just because she didn’t know what it was. I managed to convince them, though, so we made a plan so that we would go and surprise him. We sent Snowball out as bait to make sure that he could actually be a useful participant in this fight. It worked. I guess. The orge turned into a gaseous form and blocked our way out. He fired a lightning bolt I managed to partially avoid, but it still brushed by me. I missed my first shots, but I hit home with my next two. Then he blew cold at us and managed to hit most of us. Drekk got a solid hit to his leg in return, though. I was trying to warm myself up, so I hit him with another arrow. Then he turned the room dark and as I managed to dispell it, he turned back into gas and disappeared through a crack in the wall. We went through his stuff and found a bunch of stuff. Armor for Drekk and magic grenades for everybody else. So, we went back to the other room and noticed that the human ranger was awake and was able to answer some questions. He tried using the crystal I found to attempt to message his team. The rest of us used a fulcrum to push the boulder out of the way. Except Snowball. Because all he seems to do it use up our oxygen and generally be a waste of space. Even the hobbled human helped and we managed to find a hidden door. In it, we found another magic shop and a magic shopkeeper and a human cleric who the shopkeeper brought back to life. It was neat. I’ll have to make a note of that. Anyway, we have a cleric now. Another human. Maybe he’ll be a good one. Time will tell, I guess. He healed Drekk, so that bodes pretty well so far. Then we took the plate and put it into the wall opening we found earlier. I tried to figure out the code and I became blind. It stinks. I heard what sounded like the halfling try the code. Then it sounded like she also turned blind. Then they listened to my advice and had the bard give it a shot. Then I could see again. That was cool. So, I went through the door and found another room with three doors. The cleric immediately went for the snake door and opened it. Snowball tried to tackle me for no apparent reason. I punched him in the face. Then we followed the cleric into the snake room. It was essentially a jungle in there, but there was also sky. So, that’s…good. Although I climbed up and discovered that the sky was fake. Then Drekk told me to push the button. I really didn’t want to, but he was convincing. So, I pushed it. That turned out to be be a bad idea. A giant snake man thing came out and tried to kill and eat us. But the cleric talked him out of it. I knew he would come it handy. So, as a thank you, we made sure the dragon was still locked up and got some rats to feed the snakeman thing. The dragon might not have been as locked up as we had hoped. Then Snowball started being an a-hole. So we hit him hard. Then we went to the rat door and had to start fighting three were-rats. The halfling threw a fire potion which basically hit everything. It was awesome. Then the cleric’s zombie killed one of the rats. That worked out well. The halfling threw an acid potion this time and that worked out fairly well. Before long we killed them, but almost immediately, about half of us were convinced by the dragon to open the door. So, we did. Then, we went and let him go after a long time of discussion just because, I guess. I don’t really know. But we did that and now we’re just standing around wondering what we should do next.
Wish me luck, Diary, on whatever happens next.

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Varish's Fifth Entry
The Fifth Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,
Snowball died today. Nobody cared. At least now he can be useful to the plants that his dead, decaying body will be able to provide fertilizer for. Who knew that in the end he might eventually be helpful. I didn’t. But whatever. We went back to the room with the half-elf and the human. He wasn’t fully better yet, but he said he was getting there. So, we decided to rest for a while. While that was happening, the halfling and Atlas made people things out of their bead things. It was odd. The halfling and his snake lady had a staring contest for a while and Atlas got a piggyback ride from his treeman, which he named Tree Beard. It felt unoriginal. I’m not sure why. Anyway, more “whomps” happened during the night. So, that doesn’t seem very good. Anyway, the next morning, we went back to where we fought the orc mage with the human and decided to try and go through the entrance which the boulder was blocking. We tried sneaking in, but that didn’t work out well, so we started fighting. There were three orcs as well as a bugbear and plenty of humans chained to walls. We weren’t fighting the humans since, you know, they were chained to the walls. Annyway, we beat them and began freeing the humans tied to the walls. At least I did. Everyone else seemed pretty interested in looting things instead. Well, in the halfling’s defense, she did throw me the keys to unlock them. Also, Tinka snapped out of her stupor that she’s been in for the last day or so. I told her not to eat those mushrooms. Update: Tinka is still shiny and Kyra has been rubbing her sparkle fingers together like she’s been playing the world’s smallest violin orchestra or something. But that’s enough of that. The next room over had somewhere around 300 orcs or so in that room. So, we had a little bit of a fight to prepare for. We could use the humans we freed in the room to help but that still only put us at around 24 fighters total. It took us some time to plan out an attack, but we eventually figured it out. I managed to take out 15 of the orcs before their king apparently became the avatar for their orc god. So, I guess we’ll have to kill that next. I should go. I really shouldn’t be writing in my diary with all this fighting going on around me. I’m going to focus on fighting and I’ll fill you in once we finish this battle.
From Varish

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Kyra - Sessions 1 through 5
Yep... It's a bit.

Reflections Outside the Dark Chamber – Session 1

[The party arrives at the dark barrier]

What is this, a wall of darkness! Well, at least it doesn’t seem to be corresive or anything. At the very least, it isn’t to the dwarf. He’s going to go around and check it out.

My gosh! Oh how strange things happen. And right now, they seem to be happening to me.

So where did this begin again? I haven’t really thought of it, although I have had a long time. Those hallways were long. Still I was walking then. And right now, I’m waiting, only hearing of some markings on the wall being called out. Hear! There’s another one.

Well, I guess I should sort things through now. Let’s see…

Somewhere in between celebrating in Cheese land and trying to find that random guy, I, with others, was attacked. That in itself isn’t so, strange, however. After all, I’m sure plenty of people have this happen to them all the time. It would have made a great story, I suppose, if we had been one of those few groups who overcome the countless odds and killed the whole hoard of them. But we were not. Unfortunately, like so many others, the hidden arrows flew and hit their marks, and we collapsed to the ground, dying.

But here is where the story is branches from that common root. Instead of being left on the roadside to perish, we must have been dragged into some dark room. And then healed or something, but still left poisoned. Because, when I found myself waking up, wozy-headed, but otherwise okay.

I suppose I might be dead. But I don’t feel dead. So I don’t think I am. So I am not.

Anyway, I was in the dark room, and there were others there. Tinka was there, as well. I don’t know what happened to the others from my group, but hopefully they are okay. They not in the room, and that is all I know. There were also some random others in this room. There was a dwarf, who, when we got to the battlement, killed /a mon/ster with /his strength, and then there’s this halfling, who is practically dead right now (assuming, of course, we are all still alive in the first place), who in soft silence slew. There’s also this little fairy thing, who has thrown snowballs, but that’s about it. Oh, he also has not given back my javelin. But anyway, there is also, of course, me, and Tinka, and him.

Him being Varish, and not Aiith. And Varish being the brother of Aiith. Now this brother Varish, it so happens, wants to hear news of this other brother who, it so happens, is DEAD!!! And Varish kind of hinted he might do something damaging to the rest of us if we (Tinka and I) told him the truth. So yeah.

Still, I told him most of the truth. I’d already started writing it, so I think I did a pretty good job. Although I improvised a bit, considering the audience. But, I kind of left off the ending. Actually, I didn’t “kind of” leave it off, I left it off completely.

The dwarf is back, he didn’t find anything besides the knobs. He’s going back in straight, waving that orc’s weapon in front of him. I wonder what kind of room this is, and why it was made to be dark. It probably has some cool history.

Too bad I don’t know its story. But as to the story I do know, I’m not quite sure when I want to tell Varish the ending. Scratch that, I know exactly when I want to tell him- NEVER! Unfortunately, he has a right to know. And even if he did not, I know I would want to know this news, if it was for my quest.

[A period of silent thought on her own quest (see bio)]

[Kyra realizes she has been in thought a long time, and has not heard the voice of one person in particular]

Huh? Where’s that dwarf? He did not spend that much time in the room before. What happened?

[a conversation between those outside the room, ending with Varish going in after the missing member]

Well, there’s another gone. Hopefully, neither of them for good. I am left with Tinka, the injured halfling, and the fairy, who is playing with an ice ball or something. I am to care for the halfling, whom Varish seems to be particularly close to (were they in like a like manner to mine, brought here together?). And, if there is one thing I do not want it is for Varish to loose another one he loves. Goodness knows one is more than enough! I shall try to make this one as comfortable as I can, while we wait.

But, if this one dies, it should not only be bad for Varish, but for me. You see, I don’t have the exactly perfect record in taking care of people. Aiith, however, was not my fault. Pete, however, was. I was supposed to be protecting him, said the others. After all, I had convinced them it would be okay if he came along. But then, he ended up dying. No one really blamed me, because he had insisted on being with those who would help set the bomb… But still, I would start feeling really bad if this happened again. One death, after all, is more than enough. More than enough for anyone involved.

[Kyra thinks of those having been lost, and sits with halfling]

Hmm… Speaking of death, Varish and the dwarf have yet to return. I suppose, since the other three ends to this tunnel are either filled with a danger the four of us cannot face or lead to nowhere, we must try to continue on the way through this unknown thing. I shall talk to the fairy.

[a conversation between Kyra and Vere]

Well, the fairy’s in, and with it, my spear. I hope that there is no danger within, for I would rather not have them die in darkness, or without, because I don’t have anything to defend us with. These rocks, I suppose, will do.

Yes, it seems good enough. You know, I’d say I’m pretty good at throwing rocks. I manage to hit and hurt the things I hit half the time, which is better than some people. And I do not trip over rocks I throw. Yes, I’m pretty good at throwing rocks. Or at least, I have just managed to be extremely lucky. Either way, I’ll take it. As long as it keeps me alive. Although, looking competent is not bad either…

Strange, how I cannot hear the rock I threw land in the darkness. Actually, it is kind of strange that we have not heard anything from there. Oh gosh, I hope they are all alright. I also hope my rock did not hit anyone… Not that it would really hurt the or anything. I’m not that good. I wish I was. It would be pretty cool. To be a hero that everyone else writes about. Except… I’d be the first to write about me. The first to spread a new tale that will be told for the children of all ages. Listen, and you will hear the story of Kyra…

[she fantasizes]

But that is not to be. It is a shame, but I was not born to be so great. But I’ll take the greatness I can, that is, even if my name gets buried in the dust of centuries, at least the song I write now shall be sung for ages.

Unless I die now. My gosh! Where are those people? Oh look! Speak and it shall happen, the fairy has returned, but by himself…

[Conversation between those outside. A decision is made to form a chain. Vere enters halfway, Kyra discovers she cannot pull him back. Vere then continues to enter the darkened room. Those remaining outside converse. An arrow is stuck half-way through by Kyra, then is pulled through by something.]

They are alive. Or something is, something that can pull. But I think it is them. I hope so, for I doubt the three of us who remain can do anything. I wonder what is going on in there. If it were not for this halfling, I’d be tempted to peek. This suspense seems almost worse a fate than death. Although… I do not know. I have not died, yet. Unless I’m dead already but I don’t think I am.

Oh! What light is this that now shines from the room! Look! They are all there, alive and well!


Reflections Before Sleep – Session 2

There is so much to consider since the last time I have had to think. And now that we have spent a whole day together, or something like that, I suppose I can better reflect on these my companions.

First, there’s little blue-ball. When we entered the Gold room (how could we help it? It was gold!), he did not even go into the room with us, but waited outside, and apparently talked to the white mouse. And then, after pretty much everyone was knocked out, and after all the skeletons were killed, then he decided to show up. And he healed those whom he could. Anyway, although I could applaud him for being able to avoid the beautiful trap, I do wonder why he didn’t cure the halfling earlier. I mean, for goodness’ sakes, she had been bleeding like crazy since the orcs! I have decided I dislike him. But not because of this, but because he said I hurt him when I did no such thing… Well, I did leave him to the mercy of the others, but they were not going to kill him, so it was okay. But I so did not help them. But he thinks I did. So we both don’t like each other right now.

Anyway, there is also, of course, Tinka. She’s pretty much the same since last time, but now she has a pretty dress! And it changes colors! All sorts of colors! It’s so cool! She also, when we were fighting the skeleton, managed to make herself disappear once, and then tried to do it to me, too, but all I got were white spots. Luckily, they went away soon. But anyway, besides that, Tinka still is pretty awesome because she helped me get a bunch of gold.

You see… After we had killed all the skeletons, we were able to look in this chest and there was lots of gold. Unfortunately, we could not take it all with us because we did not have enough containers. So we took what we could, and went to this place where there was this merchant. Except… he was not really there (more on that later, too). Anyway, after we bought some potions to heal people, and Varish woke up the halfling, I made the suggestion to go and get the rest of the gold. And trouble happened.

You see, since each of us only had containers for fifty gold, we decided to leave the gold with someone here while the rest of us went to get what remained. Someone suggested we leave it with the dwarf, but then blue-face (who, remember, has not helped us at all while the dwarf is doing everything) has the nerve to insult the dwarf, and then they all started fighting, except Tinka and I. Anyway, this looked like it was going to take a while, so I gave my gold to Tinka and went to get the rest for myself. I made a makeshift bag to carry it all, tying corners with bed sheets. Originally, I was going to share, but the others were too busy to help be get any. So I did not give any to any of them, except Tinka.

Anyway, on to the dwarf. His name is Drekk. He is definitely cool. He was pretty much that made sure we did not all die in the skeleton place. Remember how I said lots of people became unconscious in the skeleton room? Well, pretty much, it was just Drekk, Tinka, and I left- scratch that, we were the only ones left! Anyway, he kept hitting them and hitting them, while Tinka was trying to help stop the others from bleeding anymore (because blue-ball was missing), and I was trying to bash the skeletons with bones. But I wasn’t that good at it. I have discovered that rocks are much more easier to throw then bones are to whack things with. But anyway, Drekk managed to save both of us, bleeding though he was. And then, he opened up the chest in the room, and got knocked out. I managed to stop him from bleeding, though. It was good. The only bad thing, though, is that the merchant sort-of-here-not-here guy did not seem to like him. I wonder why…

Oh, a little about the merchant guy. He’s gone now, presently, and he’s actually been gone for a long time. How to phrase this… Hmm… Something happened a long time ago, I think, that made this time overlap with a certain time there. Whatever it is caused it to stick in such a way that the merchant’s pet mouse ended up not dying after a normal life span. Anyway, it was really weird when we bought things. First of all, it was some sort of festival, so it was hard to get things weapon related. But I did manage to get a bunch of potions, and at a good price, too. Apparently, I was very pretty (which I am, but it always feels good when others notice) and I’m a good barterer. But anyway, here was the really weird thing. As I said before, it seemed like his time overlapped with ours. And so he said he saw us, but he did not see our clothes: he saw what they were at that time! All the twigs, cotton, and such! It was weird. Another weird thing: when Tinka and the halfling got the lantern, they saw him with a women, and then they saw him die. That’s the second woman we have seen so far, the other being in the dark room.

But anyway, on to the others who actually compose our party: of the two left, I’ll start with the halfling. She’s okay, I guess, but I have not really seen her do or say that much. After all, she was almost dead all today, although she did manage to stay alive for longer than I thought she would with the skeletons. She is a surprise, and shall be, I suppose.

Now on to Varish. His name should probably be Varnish. I mean, he took the credit for filling the halfling’s money bag, when I totally did! I don’t know exactly what is on the inside, but I am starting to feel he will lie about anything just to make himself seem favorable to people. But I let him do it, because he really seems to impress the halfling. You know, the one he really care for. And since I have the news about the other one he cares for… Uuuughhh… What am I going to do about that? He almost died today, and if he dies before I could tell him… I’d feel really bad. I bought a lot of potions to prolong life, but… what if I don’t get there in time? What if he dies? And what if, when I tell him, he tries to kill everyone? What is beneath this outer coating remains to be seen. Will it be yielding, like yew? Or will it be gnarled and solid, like oak? What shall it be? How shall I tell him?

I guess I’ll try to tell him when we are alone. That way, at least he will not be able to hurt the others. But when this chance comes, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it.

O, gods! Grant me courage!


Bonus: A Summary of Kyra’s Thoughts from the Second Dark Room to the Snake Chamber

I’ve got glowy fingers! I’ve got glowy fingers! This is so cool! It is totally awesome! Glowy fingers! All I have to do is rub them and…. Yay! Glowy fingers…. Glowy fingers…. So awesome! That moon ladey was great! Glowy fingers are so cool! Yay! Glowy fingers….

Oh, drat. Snake golems. Ughh…. Guess I have to stop rubbing my hands together and actually do something.


A Note – Session 3

[written on a scrap of something]

I, Kyra Fields, son of John Fields, do claim that I have lived, and for the most part, have lived well.

If you are reading this, there can be no doubt but that I have died. How I have died, you around me can probably see, and as to who killed me, you probably can guess, yet I ask you not to blame the killer. He did what he felt he had to, as did I. It has happened, and that is the end of it.

Oh life! How brief you are! But at least, you were something! I did try to do my best for you today. I tried to keep you alive- there are two more healing potions in my bag, by the way- and threw a bunch of rocks at other things. I even got to shoot some arrows. And you did much for me as well, from giving me your once held weapons, to fighting and basically keeping me alive. I thank you, you who have shared my last meal with me.

For what I have done, I ask you to do two things for me. One, bury me, or something. Here or somewhere else, it does not matter. Just do not let the orcs and goblins and other monstrous things get me. Ha! Is it not fitting that I should die in a tomb! I shall share the same room as the old princess, both of us killed, by one zealous for his family.

And two, I regretfully must ask you to do me this other favor, the same one which got me killed: give this small piece of parchment to my father, John Fields, if you on your adventures do ever see him. Yes, for my one real regret is that I have not been able to him one last time, and comfort him in his age.

~~

Father, I love you. I always have, all the way to and beyond the end on my life. May your days be blessed, and forgive me if I have done you wrong. Oh, Papa, I love you so!


Through the Forest – Session 4

Well, the good thing is, I’m still alive. Thankfully. After everything, I’m pretty glad.

To begin with, I now believe it most unlikely that Varish will murder me. Will he let me die? Probably. Exchange me for the life of another without a second thought? Very likely. Leave me behind? Indeed. But I don’t think he’ll kill me. At least not now. Which, I am very, very grateful for.

Although I was dying twice today. Not by his fault, but by this giant blue-faced guy. In this case, little blue face (who everyone else seems to call Snowball) actually proved to be useful. He saved me twice. So now, I guess I’ll stop being mad at him for accusing me of stuff when he got himself into trouble with the Dwarf (and everyone else).

But I’m alive! And this is very good!

But as for other people who are alive…

We found these two guys. The first one was almost dead. He was being attacked by goblins, I suppose. I mean, I did not see the part where he was actually getting attacked. See, it was going on over this wall, and I stink at climbing, so everyone else got up before me. Then, as I was going to climb, Varish threw this half dead goblin at me, so I killed it. Then I climbed up. And by that time, the goblins on top had already stopped attacking the guy and were attacking us. But yeah. Anyway…

When the battle was over, the halfling stabilized the guy. We lowered him down the wall and then left him with Tinka by the fire. Then we went back up and went to see where the man had been running from.

And what happened then was kind of disaster, at least for me. You see, the halfling saw the giant blue thing, and so we backed off before coming forward again to attack it. And I chose a spot in the back, so that I could see everything and help out. But then the blue thing decided to mistify itself and move so that I was in the front! The darn thing! And then it attacked. And then I passed out. And then Snowball healed me. And then it attacked again. And then I passed out again. And then Snowball healed me again. And then the blue monster (not snowball) left through this hole in the wall. Result: everyone was hurt, little blue face has a little more esteem in my eyes, and I DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING! The part that I was out kind of annoys me… Ok, it really annoys me. But anyway, everyone was hurt. So I gave my last potion to Varish, the most hurt,- indirectly, of course- and we went back to the fire.

I do not know exactly what Tinka did, but when we came back, she was able to wake up the half dead guy right away. Anyway, the guy wakes up, and tells us that he, Raklan, and a group of people came here to see what the goblins and things were doing. But they got caught. Then he and one of his friends escaped. But we only saw him. Anyway, long story short, there is a way out of this place, but it involves climbing or a wizard. And considering I’d likely fall somewhere on that eighty foot climb, I would really like the other. Hopefully, his party is still alive. We left him there, by the fire, with the halfling’s bow and some of my arrows….

But speaking of new people…

There’s this other human, Atlas, who is likely some 1000 years old. He told us enough so that we know he lived- and died- before the God Bowl, and his birth was some 400 years after the death of Ashtara, the princess. Unfortunately, I don’t know the dates in between, so I don’t know his age. A pity.

But anyway, onto this guy. We found his bones behind a rock in a small cavern thing that looked somewhat like Parizzo’s shop. Then, we summoned with a coin this magician who, to prove his power, brought the bones back to life. And the then formed Atlas proceeded, after the inital shock of finding himself in a strange time without the gods, to ridicule the very shadow of the guy who had brought him back to life! Anyway, he was able to walk. So he came with us.

In fact, that is why we are in this room in the first place. You see, he, like Tinka, seems to like snakes. A lot. In fact, after the lock thing (which I solved, with the halfling’s help), his love of snakes caused us to be in this room. After all, there were three doors. Who knows what is behind the other two. All I know is that there is a forest in this one, and a waterfall further up, which we will reach if ever we can hack our way to it.


Before the Battle – Session 5

So, how are we supposed to take down a force some twenty times our size, even with these extra people helping? I say we burn down the archers, then go it. But the others don’t agree. They think it will take too long or something. So? Why should it matter how long it takes? Let’s say it takes a while. Sure, the other enemies would notice, and probably come to attack us, but we could stay inside this room, and they would bottleneck at the door, and we could kill them all! But no. The others think this is a terrible idea. I guess they know best. I hope they know best. After all, we are kind of betting our lives on it. So, anyway, we are just going to run out there and try to kill everyone. It would increase our numbers if we could get Raklan’s group, who is imprisoned out there, to help us. So we are probably going to split in three parties, and then…

Oh…

Um… Scratch that. It is most likely going to be two parties and Atlas. Someone here has not been telling the whole truth.. So… Atlas. Turns out he’s a changeling with and can turn into things. It seems I am not the only one who leaves things untold. Still, I wonder if there is anything else he’s hiding. He never gave me a definite answer about whose side the dragon was on. And he, in the end, with the help of some of the others, released it. Whether it was a good idea for them to do it or whether that was the worst choice ever remains to be seen. I’m not sure I trust him. But he trusts me… I mean, last night…

Last night, apparently, was interesting. I happen to sleep very well in general, so I miss stuff. And, apparently, I missed a LOT last night. But Atlas was so kind to wake me up and tell me about stuff. Like their are things inside the floaty beads and some other stuff as well. And then, I asked why he was telling me this. And he said he trusted me. I’m not sure I can return the sentiment…

But he’s outside now. He should be getting there soon- Hey look! The magical talking jewel thing does actually work! So, we some five extra people who in the cave. Plus us. And all the people whom we have saved.

There were a lot of them who were attached to the walls. We did not get them all off the wall as soon as possible (because, I, for one, was blocked by the giant tree thing from the floating pebble for a while and someone else had the keys) and this one lady, who nobody else knew, started speaking scarily. So she stayed on the wall for a while. And then Tinka talked to her and convinced everyone to let her down. According to Tinka, this one will be good at evening the odds… however much that can be done.

Anyway, everyone is pretty much ready to go. I’ve been assigned as leader of the main group of new people, and we are to charge down the ramp and kill as many things as we can. Let’s hope this works…

I’ll sing some song for their benefit now. Let’s just hope I can sing the song of them later.

Let us begin!

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Varish's Sixth Entry
The Sixth Entry of Varish

Dear Diary,
You may remember from last time that we were fighting orcs and such in the giant cave when Grimash took over the body of the orc chief or whatever and joined in the fight. Drekk and the halfling jumped down from the ledge to help out, so I stayed up top to provide (air)row support. Because there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned air superiority. I made it rain. My vision focused as though I had hawkeyes. I was down on one knee next to a pile of arrows, so from a distance, I probably appeared Legless to the untrained observer. Like a gardener plants with a green thumb, I planted arrows in the chests of my opponents like a green arrow. William Tell, Katniss Everdeen, Apollo, and Cupid walk into a bar and I…killed more orcs? You get the idea. I was doing pretty awesome. Anyway, we won. After we finished off the Grimash guy, all the orcs ran through the fires and disappeared. So, that worked out well. Then we found a room of food and we took a break and ate. The woman I let borrow my magic staff showed me how it worked and what it could do. So, that was cool. Then we looked into another door and checked out the room we found. Seemed pretty cool. I found some wine barrels and such and most of the people with us decided to drink it, especially the dwarf. The halfling was being all secretive and whatnot about what she was reading. Then we took a much needed rest after which we had earned after a long hard day’s work of fighting. Kyra kept her distance, which was good and Tinka was her usual quiet self. Next morning, we got ready to head out. Or, we would have but the halfling was gone. So, we had to go and find the little bugger. Or buggerette, I guess. If she wanted to make so much Trouble she should have gone to Parker Brothers. So, we headed off and found a room with a portal in a room with some fire beams and another riddle. I figured it out and got a cool golden weapon changing thing. Then we left out the roof of the orc den place and I realized that I was nowhere near where we started. I decided to go East in a different direction of Kyra. After a like 3 days, I saw Grimash destroy a small town of humans. Maybe Kyra had made it there by then. I continued East and didn’t look back. I was going to find my brother.

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End of Chapter 1 (Session 06)
The party escapes; a god reborn

The night sky was bright and clear, no cloud even to mention. The late summer air was settled, except for a small breeze that would dare rustle the rich green blades of grass in the woods and among the knolls.

The party that survived the orc caves has separated again – an action not entirely foreign to our heroes. Ashira, the finally named halfling rogue, said her final goodbyes as the party climbed out of the orc pit and carried herself West in this unknown part of the world, off to seek the city that she knew she was meant for – Neverwinter. Drekk, the valiant warrior dwarf, not knowing who to ally with goes with the one that has both been the greatest burr in his beard, but also closest friend in the would-be tomb, follows the halfling, his new axe in tow.

Varish, still not trusting of the human bard and her sorceress companion, seeks out to carve his own journey, and his own vengeance, heading East. Atlas, the newest companion, a changling who lives in an alien version of his world where a millennium has passed, leads Kyra and Tinka North to follow the humans they had encountered, following the footsteps of another adventuring party: Raklan’s Rangers.

Three long days have passed. Varish stumbles through dark brambles and wispy woods, striding through a woods that seems to be untouched by the hand of man in hundreds of years – yet, not even animals make a sound in this part of the strange wood. Ashira, normally quiet, seems to gain confidence and grows her friendship with the always battle-ready dwarf, Drekk, and set camp for a full day near a freshwater lake that is teeming with wildlife and bright stones on its shores. Atlas and company have only a few silent moments as they trek Northwards, with the only real long stretch of silence being the first day when they realize the ones they have fought side-by-side with have abandoned them and sought their adventures anew. That day of silence was only broken when Kyra recalls that the great dark red moon they had saw reminded her of a tale of a Red Moon Festival that once was called “The Festival of the Silent Moon” – it seemed that history in some sense has repeated itself.

It was on this third evening that the earth was still until the darkest of night. Varish and Ashira and Drekk have set up camp, Atlas and company pushing just a bit further saying, “Just one more hill, I swear.” Once the party crested the hill a bright red flame flew through the sky and settled high enough that it seemed the whole world could see: Grimish, his hands still cuffed and chains swaying from his massive arms, gathering and molding fire into his very palms and letting loose unto a small unsuspecting fort town.

As this chapter comes to a close, we are left with answers: the bandits were in league with these orcs to summon a god, no they aren’t anywhere near where they once were and mistrust can still exist despite the direst of circumstances. However, greater questions come to mind: will Varish ever find the killer of his brother? Will Ashira find the great fabled city and find her fame? What sort of man is Atlas, really? Will Kyra get to tell her tale? How will Tinka survive in a world where magic is controlled and constrained? How will Drekk ever achieve his destiny?

The heroes ponder the fate of Oswald and Nadia, the human couple leading a caravan that got caught. Or perhaps Trish, the wild mage who had enough power to fight toe-to-toe with the most skilled magician they’ve ever met so far. Did Raklan and his Rangers make it to Trackem? Are they there now as the city burns? Or, perhaps, will the party every see itself whole again as they once were before?

Each hero must seek his own answer, his own quest, but the world is strange and new and one reality has come to be before their very eyes: the gods really do exist.

Two great questions arise here as the heroes enter the next chapter: Who, if anyone can stop Grimish and secondly, are their other gods? Where are they? Can they too be brought back to life in this mortal realm?

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