Today I have finally been sent out on my first Journey. Livy decided that I was to join a group of adventurers who helped us defend the city. Generally a start of a Journey is cause for a joyous occasion for a Paladin, but the events proceeding my Journey overshadow it.
Today, the Gods returned to Tariff. Grimish killed Brother Lidum at our monthly Festival, before joining forces with Karath, Nemeth, and Takhis to assault the city. Given our knowledge about these Gods, this alliance seems strange and uncharacteristic of Grimish. This alliance could be a temporary truce between greatly weakened beings until they can regain their strength. As it stands, they are likely considerably weaker than the Gods who are still worshiped in great number, such as Paleen. Another possibility is that over the last three hundred years, they have changed, or the relationships between the Gods have been vastly altered. Regardless, orcs, undead, and “rose women” were attacking the gates, the market square, and the locations of about every conceivable entry point for an army backed by supernatural beings.
As always, there were several groups of adventurers attending the festivities. Most of them were willing to help. One group specifically asked me to help them defend the West gate. Their leader, Atlas, seemed to have great interest in Lidum after Grimish killed him. Despite what he says, I am certain that he was trying to steal his armor. But then was not the time to discipline him over his attempt, nor is it wise to confront him now. He was not able to accomplish anything, and he will probably stonewall any accusation by claiming he was trying to ‘heal’.
Still numb from the death of Lidum, I accompanied this group to the West gate, where we encountered a group of orcs, along with an ogre, who were bearing the crest of Karath. This was the first real fight of my life. I have fought to subdue street brawls, and I have needed to defend myself from the occasional vagrant, often drunk, who thought that the “pretty boy” looked too smug, but this was the first fight where my life was seriously in danger, and I nearly did die. Although this was partially due to my inexperience, I also found that, while the chain-mail I often wear works well against blunt swords and sticks, it doesn’t hold up against broadswords being swung by towering orc chieftains. I was quickly surrounded by the lesser orcs, but the elf psychic, who had formed a psychic link with me, and the rogue helped keep them disorganized and from stabbing me in the back. However, this quickly ceased when the rogue decided that he could torch the orc chieftain, who up to this time had been watching from the distance. This failed and the orc chieftain, with his enormous guards, decided to make mincemeat of us. Given this action and a few following actions, I’ve determined that the rogue either greatly overestimates his own skill and cleverness, or he has the intelligence of wild boar, which attacks whatever threatens it. The orc chieftain proceeded directly towards me and quickly chopped me up. What happened after this was a blur for quite a while. Someone helped me regain consciousness, and Paleen blessed me with enough strength to stand again, but I was able to accomplish very little and was nearly struck down again. A couple mages showed up and started to help us, but when all but the chieftain were killed, the rogue, in his astonishing wisdom, sent them away, telling them that “we can handle this.” The chieftain then bowled me over and would have cleaved the psychic in two if he hadn’t been as nimble. The rogue himself took quite a beating, and the ranger finally managed to finish the archery duel he had been having the entire time with an org. Somehow during this fight he twisted his ankle and fell from the roof he had been standing on, bring with him half the tiles which nearly crushed one of the orcs and infuriated the chieftain another degree. Eventually, Atlas, who had finished killing an ogre, came along and assisted in taking down the chieftain. At this point, I believe the emotional stress and my wounds began to take their toll, and I fell into a sort of daze. I hardly remember anything except climbing through vines which had somehow grown in the city and seeing an Ogre Magi, but I could be mistaken, and I believe I fell behind the group several times. Eventually I came to my senses in time to flail against a bearded demon, and to see this said demon cut THE TAIL OF THE ROGUE, which appeared to have been rapped around his leg inside of his pants. After we finished off the demon, the elf and I questioned him, but he was not very forthcoming with information and was very defensive, which is understandable. From what I know, I believe that he is a tiefling, and for obvious reasons has spent his life trying to hide that fact. We then returned to the temple, where I relayed to Livy what I had learned about orcs following Karath, before I assisted Atlas in caring for the injured and homeless who were by this time filling the temple. Around this time Atlas procured Livy’s permission for me to accompany them in questing.
I am not certain why Livy wanted me to join this group of adventurers, or why she wanted me to do so at this time. Given the state of the city, I could probably be of great help at the temple, and there is no telling where the party may decide to go to. My guess is that it is uncommon for a party to ask for a specific Paladin, and Livy decided that this was too good of an opportunity to miss. Lidum wanted to send me on a Journey a long time ago, but something always came up that prevented that, or made it prudent to delay such plans. However Livy knows even less about the party than I do, and not everything is promising. I had cast detect evil in the presence of the party to partially determine their alignment. Although it is often insufficient, knowing someone’s moral alignment is a good starting place for discerning how they will behave.
Atlas, the leader, is a human cleric, but I do not know what deity he worships, but I don’t think I would appreciate that deity. I am not certain what I detected for alignment, but I would guess that he is lawful, but of neutral morality. He appears to appreciate order and kindness, but his attitude towards others is often condescending, and he possesses a few artifacts that are decidedly evil. I am certain I saw his cloak, which does have an evil aura, strangle and drain the blood from an orc. One of the beads on his necklace also has an evil aura, but I am not certain what it does. Atlas also appears to at least slightly mentally unstable. He often speaks to and argues with people who aren’t there, but other than that he has a firm grasp on reality. Too firm.
Varish, the elf ranger, and is most familiar with Atlas. He is also the ambivalent character I have ever met. I did not detect any evil on him, and he appears to be neutral in every way, but maybe leaning toward chaotic. He appeared to have no understanding of the grief that Livy and Lilly are going through, nor did he appear to be concerned about the implications of Tristain having a tail or why he might not want to tell every passerby. He has a strange sense of humor that leaves me struggling between strangling him or turning him into a bard.
Tristain, the rogue, by most appearances is human, but is likely a tiefling. Besides having tail, he has a surprisingly strong evil aura. Because of that, I believe that he is either much stronger than he would like us to believe, which I doubt, or he is part Outsider. While I do not believe he is defined by his parentage, I will definitely keep an eye on him, as he has already shown signs of moral ineptitude. Moreover, one of the swords he uses has a definite evil aura. While I do not know what it does, blades of that nature are rarely something that I would want to approach. As it is, I will treat him and his weaponry with a great deal of caution. After the party discovered his heritage, he has been very depressed, and for some reason has been tending to stick around me. It makes sense given that he is trying to avoid Atlas, who seems to possess a malevolent glee concerning the whole affair, and Varish, who can’t seem to keep his mouth shut about the tail. However, I doubt that I am comfortable for him to be around, given my celestial parentage. I do believe I forgot to inform Livy about Tristain. I’ll have to do that in the morning, after everyone has had a chance to rest.
I haven’t been able to find the psychic elf, Ithyl, all evening, and I know very little about him. He seems intelligent and more normal than the rest of the group. I am still uncertain as to how he ended up with them, unless he too was kidnapped by the raving Atlas.
These are the people whom I will be beginning my Journey with. It is impossible to tell if I will spend the full year with them or longer. It seems fitting that I would start at this time, since this year will make it 20 years since I first took my vows, and 15 since I cut my hair. I would be happier, since this is a milestone I have trying to reach for quite some time, but the death of Lidum is hanging too heavily on my mind. The Brothers and Sisters have been like family to me, and he was like a father. I don’t know how much rest I will be able to get, but my wounds and fatigue will probably make me sleep. I doubt that Livy or Lilly will be able to sleep for several more hours. I will do what I can in the morning to use their labors, but since Livy has sent me with the adventurers I will probably be leaving tomorrow. I am not certain who will take over the leadership now. Livy is an obvious choice, but there are others, such as Brother Mandil. I hope that that will be resolved without any strife.
I received as spoilers some full-plate armor, but it has the crest of Karath. The first thing that I will do when I rise with the sun is purify and then bless, so that I can use it in service of Paleen.
I will try to turn in now, but this may be a restless night.