Keepers of the Realm

Session 39

-Continue through the temple, Rinn discovers a room with a pool in it

-Rinn listens to the doors in the room: she hears an argument past the south door, nothing on the western door 

-Rinn opens a door and finds a torture room, with prisoners in cages and a rack in the center of the room

-Turami humans/cultists are in the room, Elurin runs in and oneshots a cultist

-little black dood nopes the fuck out into a wall

-group kills the remaining baddies

-little black dood jumps out of the wall an rekts with AoE attack, causes rough terrain

-everyone attacking, Elurin goes down, all hitting the LBD, Thirin gets the kill

-Rinn finds a key and gold

-group spends 1/2 of a metric eternity talking to the captives in the cells

-Wulgreta warns us about Orna, Droth is a puddle of PTSD, Traelle doesn't trust them but wants to help the injured/innocent

-Thirin pops the lever

-Orna joins the party (loud bitch)

-Lead the prisoners to the entrance

-Orna draws out a map (helpful bitch)

-Orna leads the group in the murder of a 2 headed ettin

-Head to the northwest, Rinn almost gets murdered by a stone statue, Orna steps in and says that we're with the Black Earth Cult (lying bitch)

-Keepers rekt a group in the kitchen (skipping the encounter for -12 HP)

-find 2 dudes

-Thirin smacks the fuck out of a dude in plate with Great Weapon Mastery 

-Orna drops Traelle (wtf, bitch) and every decides to sleep instead of protesting (k)

-somehow make it through the night

-Rinn finds a woman in robes, 4 cultists, and "something" shackled.

 

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Session 38: Patience to Persevere

Too little time has passed to be stopping for breath, yet here we are resting after a fight with a room full of Dueragar. Based on my recollection of the last time we ventured into Sacred Stone Monastery and below, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this. I hope to not repeat the failures of our past, but this place is grim and I dread what we might find ahead. The memory of that return still burns in my mind. We disappointed ourselves, burdened Kline and Bronzehammer. Traelle speaks as we sit together, her words refracting my worry into a degree of hope. We must persevere, the only way through is forward. And so we continue on, myself in the lead scouting down the dim hall to another door. Gripping the metal handle of the stone door, I find a single man standing across a ring of wet earth. Tall, misshapen statues of armed men line the walls. Their blank stares pointed to the circle at the room’s center. Perhaps this is touched by magic, a portal? I dare not walk into it, and so I step to the side to let my companions in behind me. The man claims to be the second in command and urges us to leave while we can. “Go attack the Fire cult,” he waves us off like flies batted by the tails of cattle. I look to the others, thinking how to do this. We will fight this robed man, but not in here. They too look wearily at the strange muddy floor unlike the other rooms we have seen.

 

The captain speaks up in agreement and leads us all out the way we had entered. What is he planning? That wide passage before the chasm maybe? That could be a better place to draw blades than the room had been. The man follows us as if to escorts us out, or kill us. There is no way to be sure, but we cannot trust anyone we find beneath the damned keeps. Drak’thal changes pace and enters a room already explored. As we all enter the doorway and turn, the door seals itself with a hiss. We are a bunch of fools once more. I let out a sigh and stare at Drak. I exchange a glance with Thirin and Elurin before Traelle rolls her eyes at me. This was a bad idea. Always willing to make himself useful in a rough spot, the goliath attempts to ram the door with all his strength. Another bad idea. He looks pained by the impact while the door stands unaffected. Pacing now, I flex my hands around the handles of my scythes. Elurin seems to have the same idea as I go check the arrow slit at the north end of the room. We each peek through the narrow space. My raven wouldn’t fit to fly through and out to get help. Patience was never a commandment of my queen, nor was I good at it in situations like this. Stuck. We’re stuck.

 

We both look back to the others by the doorway. Traelle and Thirin sit together watching the halfling run his hands over the stone walls. I’ve never seen him do anything like this so I watch too. After a minute or so, they resume quiet conversation over what to do. I have no ideas so I keep watching Drak’thal fumble his hands over the wall, then suddenly…. Did he just crawl into the stone? Did anyone else see this? I turn to the others, mouth agape. Before I can say anything, the halfling reemerges from the wall looking defeated. “Drak’thal, did you just crawl out of the wall?” He nods and paces in thought. I see his hands holding something, perhaps the item that Adeline gave him at the start.

 

He whispers into it, presumably for help. The rest of us listen for a reply from the diviner somewhere outside the temple. Adeline’s voice comes from the runed object he holds, “Drak’thal? It has only been seven hours.” His answer is mumbled, seemingly embarrassed to ask her to come free us from this predicament. This is not a decision he made without exhausting other options. This space holds no other doors or windows, without the ability to break down the door or find whatever Drak searched for in the stone walls, this is a makeshift prison where we would likely starve. Adeline will come for us soon. Patience again.

 

The clash of blades and crash of stones breaks the silence on the other side of the sealed door. Suppose we pray as we wait then. I turn to the others, restless. Back to pacing and listening to the battle outside the walls that hold us back. Shortly after silence settles once again, a small voice can be heard, “Please move away from the door!” We oblige, all backing away just before the door blasts into the room and crumbles. The blonde diviner barely stands in the archway,  she looks tired. Stepping out, the bloody bodies of legionnaires lay beside the mysterious man who had trapped us. I say a silent prayer as we pass their corpses. Near the robed man is a half crumbled stone creature larger than Thirin. It must have been tough on Adeline with only the five men she brought in with her. She looks visibly spent as she stumbles away to return to her post. Drak’thal mumbled a thanks and perhaps an ‘I love you’ but I can’t be sure. They argued in Glassmoor without regard for our ears, yet he could not be affectionate in front of us? The captain does not need to hold back his words for her near us after everything we have already heard day and night aboard the ship. No matter now, it’s time to move on after collecting some odd black crystals. A green potion, and gold from the fallen enemy.

 

We return to the muddy room that the dead man had occupied for the night. This quickly becomes a problem as Thirin catches enemies coming in during his watch. We wake for battle, dispatching cultists and deciding to abandon the room for another. We all go to the bunk room to seek a place to rest, but this too is a mistake. It’s late now and our tired minds should have known better than to walk into a barracks after midnight. Another fight to finish and flee towards the mud room. The morning comes and we all look as bad as I feel. At least Elurin looks somewhat rested, lucky elf. Traelle encourages us once more to try to push past our tired minds. I resolve to keep moving, another long hall and another chasm comes into view.

 

Large pillars stand in this cavernous area before dropping off to a giant rift in the ground, two bulettes are held back by heavy chains. The beasts strain against the hold of the pillars as they sense us entering their domain. A third appears unbound and roaming right in front of me. It barrels at me and I narrowly dodge its charge. The next closest bulette bursts the chain links as it thrashes and rears toward Elurin. He is soon cornered by the beast though Traelle tries to stop its assault. Thirin’s axe finds purchase on the heavy-hided beast in front of me after I slash at its face. Drak’thal stays at a safe distance, darting in and out of the way of our attacks so that he can lend us strength to stay upright. The paladin aids Elurin to draw the beast from crushing him, striking hard with her dragonbone sword. I glance quickly at the gladiator fighting beside me and smile, he is doing far better than the last temple. Perhaps it was simply a bad start with the sickness that struck him. We fell both free bulettes before running back to the hall again. Better to leave the chained creature where it was and keep searching.

 

Further to the west, I come to a crossroads and ask Drak’thal to take a look at the stonework of a statue. It stands on a pedestal with fist held to the sky, or well, the earthen ceiling. He tells me that it is recently carved, different from the old ruins and ancient statues that we have seen in the other cultist strongholds. Traelle looks over the statue as if to commit it to memory and the goliath urges us forward. And so, forward we go to the south corridor. There is another chasm here but this one has a narrow edge that could be walked, if we were all careful, that leads to the east. With how tired we are, I decide to turn back and follow the hall until we find another room. A doorway soon comes into view at my left, and I quietly open it. The other Keepers follow me in to see an odd sight. A stone woman works over a fire with large tools, and two duergar standing near.

 

She hardly gives us a look before dismissing us as pests to her work, “My fight is not with you, I am to make elemental weapons for Marlos. He has not paid me for more.” The duergar soldiers attack regardless of her words as she continues to work at the forge. Both are quickly felled by our blades, bodies strewn about the floor. It seems that the stone woman is unbothered by their deaths and once again asks us to leave. I have never seen a being like her and gesture the others to the exit. Continuing to the hall might be better use of our time, and they agree as we all make haste to leave her in peace.

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Session 37: Nine Inches, Hot Cocoa, and a Well-Armored Dude

Day 690

It is 3 in the afternoon.  We have just met with Meagan after he gave his wife the holy water that Thirin successfully retrieved from The Vale of the Dancing Waters.  Fortunately, she survived.  The Keepers, minus the ill Traelle, return to Gilmore’s where we greet Sherry.  “We are hungry,” Drak’Thal inelegantly says, “Well, we will be hungry.”  I roll my eyes at this ineptitude and ask Sherry, “do you sell rations?”  She nods her head and we purchase 50. As they are set in front of us, we remember that we are missing Traelle and, more importantly, our bag of holding. Seeing that he is needed, Thirin, his muscles glistening in the light of Gilmore’s emporium, eagerly takes them in his colossal hands and carries them all for us.  Drak’Thal asks for Gilmore but before he can run to him I, noting the lingering stench of death and booze, perfume him so that his man friend might not be displeased.  As Gilmore struts from his office in in his purple suit, he eagerly greets us, “Well, two handsome men, an elf, and this lovely lady.” I note the slight.    “Told you we’d be back,” Drak’Thal says. “What can I do for you?” Gilmore replies. “3 ales?” “Is that all it will take?” At this last question from the merchant, the other Keepers chuckle as Drak’Thal agrees to spend the evening with his beau.    

 

While Drak’Thal and Gilmore venture to a private balcony at the Whistling Pig, Thirin, Rinn, and I walk to the Lord’s Alliance to retreive our bag of holding and Paladin.  As we walk into her room,  we find a curious site. While the rest of us suffered on the road and Rinn almost died, Traelle has apparently been living the life of queen’s cunt.  When we find her, she is laying on her bed eating chocolates and reading a magazine presumably about the latest Earth, Wind, and Shire gossip.  We even hear rumors that she may no longer be a virgin after forcing other member of the Lord’s Alliance to wipe her filthy ass.    I would have loved to tell my new Harper friends about the extravagance and inequality that these lord’s lackeys celebrate but alas, the I must keep silent for the good of the realm.

 

The four of us converse.  Traelle is apparently feeling better (who wouldn’t) which I suppose is good. Rinn, smelling the stench on all of us, suggests a bath and perhaps a haircut.  Having nearly perfect hair already, I reject the offer of a cut but agree that a bath sounds useful.  As Rinn and Traelle get a haircut and Thirin gets a massage, I lounge in the public baths.  It is my first time in such an establishment. I’m used to bathing in the lakes and hot springs of Kelvular among the butterflies and songbirds; this was not nearly as pleasant, although I did get a good glimpse of Thirin sitting naked under a waterfall.  Briefly, I considered his attractiveness but then the Goliath spoke. He’d be hot if he wasn’t so fucking retarded. Preferring to bathe in private (I wonder what she is hiding), Rinn never joined us but Thirin, Traelle, her hair now cut to shoulder length, and I had a pleasant conversation about the Paladin’s tummy ache and our trip to the south.  After Thirin informs the Paladin that she should try the specialty drink at the Dusty Wench, we awkwardly stop talking and decide to leave. We find Rinn, whose hair is now trimmed and darker, and decide to part before meeting at the Keep to inform Kline of our return. 

 

Traelle goes to her shrine to pray and discuss the new shrine of Talos while Rinn and I go to our faction houses. Thirin walks around asking random people about underground fighting rings in the city. He hears about this place called McGregor’s and when the four of us meet at the Keep, we discuss it. Rinn and Traelle inform us that they have been there; it is a place called the Two Shepherds and to get in fighters must tell the proprietor a funny joke. Thirin seems confused about the requirement and keeps loudly asking questions for so long that the guards tell us to move along.  We go inside and go find Kline in his office and learn that he has been checking on Traelle and that Meagan has already told him of our success. I hand him the letters and maps but he knows nothing about them but insists that he will let Adeline know and that we should speak to Meagan and Sven about them. He also reminds us to renegotiate with this Kringle I have heard so much about. Rinn stays in the Keep while the rest of us head to our faction houses for the night. 

 

[Meanwhile, Drak’Thal and Gilmore head to a round table on private balcony at the Whistling Pig where they can watch the sunset together.  Gilmore reclines his chair on the railing so that he see the people frolicking on the street and, perhaps more importantly, to offer Drak’Thal, a better glimpse of his groin. The two converse about what ails the Halfling.  Drak’Thal admits to killing one of his companions which surprises the merchant. After Gilmore complements his beard, Drak’Thal replies, “Glad to have your products around my waste. It keeps my pants up and my beard long.” At this, Gilmore blushes.  Growing sentimental, Drak’Thal thanks the merchant for helping solve the mystery of his dickishness but Gilmore tells him that it was no big deal and that all he asks in return is that Drak’Thal continues to spread the word of “Gillmore’s Glorious Goods. Opening another store, near you.”  Happy for the success of the Gilmore name, Drak’Thal asks if the merchant plans to open another branch of his store.  Apparently, he had been planning on opening a store in Daggerford but could not because the recent explosion. He then tells the Halfing that he heard from several refugees that an orb exploded in Daggerford and that he has been selling goods to the refugees at cost at the behest of Kline and the King.  Drak’Thal thanks him for taking care of his people and Gilmore orders the two of them four expensive ales.  “To long friendship, Drak’Thal” he says as they raise their mugs to each other.  Noticing that Drak’Thal has to grasp the mug in two hands, the merchant remarks on the small hands.

 

“Makes the beard look big,” Drak’Thal replies.

 

“I’m sure it makes everything look big,” Gilmore retorts.  “What troubles you Drak’Thal? I know there must be something on your mind.”

 

“Just my friends. They don’t trust me anymore. Or I wouldn’t.”

 

“I believe that your friends care a great deal about you. And they realize now that the actions you have were not your own but the results of the weapon you were carrying.” 

 

“I don’t want it to happen again.”

 

“I could teach you something.  We would have to work out some sort of payment for it.”

 

“I am taken.”

 

“Drak’Thal I understand this. 1000 gold and I will teach you how to identify attuned items. You will need pearls of rather exquisite value.” He scoots his chair near you and passing on magic is quite a daunting task. We will spend many hours together. Come by Gilmore’s late this evening. I will make sure Sherry sets up a room for you. Drak’Thal agrees and the two drink for the rest of the evening.   

 

After eight glorious drinks each, the two leave the Whistling Pig together barely able to walk. Gilmore picks the little man and sets him on his shoulders only to discover that the Halfling is not so little.  “You know I once called you impressive but I didn’t know how much until now.”   

 

“You know the last time I was this drunk,” Drak’Thal slurs to the merchant, I made Traelle kiss me.”

 

Ever optimistic, Gilmore replies, “Maybe we’ll have a case of deja vu.”

 

"I don’t think I have that spelled prepared right now."

 

"I don’t think you need the spell," Gilmore coyly responds . 

 

The two drunkards arrive at Gilmore’s establishment Gilmore ducks to let them in and carries Drak’Thal to the guest bed.  As they approach the room, he waves his hand and candles light.  He thumps on the bed and lays down with his head still clutched tightgly between Drak’Thal’s knees.  After a while, Drak’Thal addresses the man holding him, “Aye let’s get started.”

 

“What?” Gilmore asks.

 

“You want to get started?” Drak’Thal replies.

 

Doing what? I don’t remember what we are here for?

 

“Weren’t you going to teach me…teach me. You were going to teach me something.”

 

“How to Kiss? I remember talking about kissing.”

 

“No I kissed Traelle. It was magic.”

 

 “Alright get up.”

 

As Drak’Thal refuses to get up Gilmore orders him, “Alright take off all your clothes.”

 

“I don’t think that is how it works.”

 

As Gilmore starts to undo his robes, Drak’Thal shouts, “NO! Don’t do that. I told you.”

 

“No this is how it works, I know what I am doing.  It will make it easier for the arm movements. It is somatic. Somatic. Take off your clothes.  Come on let’s do this. You’re still wearing clothes.  Just do it!”

 

As Drak’Thal continues to refuse, Gilmore tries to reassure him. “Don’t worry. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen it all before. Not on you somebody else.”

 

Drak’Thal takes off his shirt and then waves his hands while saying, “I don’t think we need to do this.”   

 

“You’ll be fine. Just do it. Drop your pants. I will cast it.”

 

“They’re up.”

 

“I will cast it? Are they off?” The merchant starts to move his hand and as he does so, Drak’Thal’s pants start to drop. The Halfling tries to pull them back up but either lacks the strength or the will.

 

Soon Drak’Thal is standing in front of the naked Gilmore with his pants around his ankles.

Gilmore stares at the recently revealed nine-inch rod that lies between Drak’Thal’s legs. The cleric shyly tries to to cover it with his tiny hands but it is too large. “Jesus fucking Christ!” Gilmore exclaims. “How have you not killed her yet? What the fuck is wrong with you?”

 

“She can take it well. Magic.  Magic. Magic.  Magic.”

 

“Alright. This is what you are going to need to do. It is all somatic. You have to wiggle your hips first.”  As Drak’Thal starts to rhythmically wiggle his hips at the table in front of him, the merchants says, “ Oh yeah hang on.” Hang on Drak’Thal does as the merchant retrieves a magical staff that he sets on table.   

 

“What?”

 

“I’m trying to remember what school it is.”

 

“We’re not in school? What the fuck is a school of magic?” Drak’Thal asks. 

 

You need to start channeling divination. 

 

“What the fuck is divination?” the Halfling asks while moving his hips but still trying to cover his penis. 

 

“It is a bard and wizard thing. Hang on,” Gilmore replies as he reaches for his protégé’s shoulder. As he touches, Drak’Thal, he falls asleep starts to snore. He quickly wakes up and says “Divination” and starts to transfer magic from his arm to Drak’Thal’s.   “Alright.  Aye so divination, you channel it. It takes a little time but it is good.” He pulls a pearl out of his bag along with an owl feather.  

 

“Do I really have to be naked for this?” Drak’Thal asks.

 

“You have to have freedom of movement. It is why I wear the robes.”

 

For another 15 minutes, the two stand, rotating their hips as if there is music in the air, and transferring energy before they pass out and fall to the floor. Sometime during the night, the two men find each other and cuddle together for warmth, rotating in unison as if each was perfectly matched to the other.  

 

Day 691

 

The next morning, Gilmore wakes up first and discovers that he is naked with his arms wrapped around his naked friend.  He thinks to himself, “Jesus Christ How the fuck is that thing so big?” He gets up, grabs a blanket and puts it over Drak’Thal.  “Hey Hey Wake up.  Wake up.”

 

Drak’Thal’s eyes open and as his vision adjusts to the room, he sees Gilmore, completely naked, standing over top of him. “Why are we naked? Why am I naked?” Growing increasing frantic, he asks, “Did you do anything last night? Did we do anything last night?”  

 

“I fucking hope not.”

 

“All I remember is telling you about the kiss.”

 

“I don’t think we did anything. By the looks of it, I would be in a lot of pain. Feeling alright?”

 

“A little hung over.”

 

Gilmore yells to Sherry to start breakfast. “There is a pearl and an owl feather,” he notes, “we must have started. Let’s teach you how to do this.” For the next hour, he teaches Drak’Thal how to identify magical items.  As Drak’Thal learns the spell, he feels pain but eventually he learns. They go downstairs and have breakfast. Sherry gives them a nasty look.

 

“Did you make her get naked too?” Drak’Thal asks.  

 

“I don’t know.  No. No.”

 

 “What the fuck?”  

 

“I don’t know. I’m sorry,” the merchant concludes.]

 

That same morning, Traelle wakes up in the Lord’s Alliance bed she knows very well by this point.  She walks to the Shrine of Tyr and holds mass. The people rejoice and afterwards tell her that they are glad to have her in these dark times when a Talos shrine will be built in the city. The rest of us break fast at our city residences before meeting at the keep.  Traelle, Thirin, and I wait for a while before Kline and Rinn walk out together to join us. Soon, Drak’Thal is there too, looking a little weary, hung over, and moderately concerned. “Where is Evan?” he asks.  “At the all faiths,” Kline replies.  I remind the others that we should to Meagan and Sven about the letters and maps we found at the Temple.   As the rest of us turn to leave, Thirin addresses Kline, “What do you know about McGregor’s?”  Kline gives him some information and turns to affectionally kiss Rinn before returning to work.  

 

As we walk from Kline’s office, we keep about McGregor’s.  Rinn reminds Thirin,  “You have to tell him a joke. Just one joke. You just need to make him laugh. It is a lot harder than you think. Traelle said the joke last time.”  I ask what joke was but they are unable to recall it.  Once we arrive outside the Keep, Drak’Thal informs the rest of us of some of his adventures the previous night. Gilmore, he says, taught me a spell. To identify items. Magical items.”   We agree that it is a useful skill to have, especially after what happened to our Captain.  As Rinn ventures to her shrine, Drak’Thal walks  into the Lyceum to find Adeline.  While he does so, I make a new friend: a rat named Steve who seems angered that some of the refuges ate his rat friend Billy.  He asks if I have any cheese.  I do not but perhaps one day I will return with enough cheese for all the Billy and Steve rats of the city.

 

Adeline and Drak’Thal return together and the five of us walk to Gilmore’s. When we enter Sherry sighs.  Drak’Thal gives her the $1000 gold he owes for his evening with Gilmore and we purchase two greater healing and three lesser healing potions as well as additional pearls so that Drak’Thal can use his new spell. I ask about bow and arrows and Thirin buys a bearskin drum. He seems both excited and saddened that he must now spend time beating the skin of creatures that are so dear to him.  At least he knows that the skin is thick and hard to penetrate.

 

We then meet Rinn and walk to the ship to meet Meagan. His wife is doing better. As we talk, Sven walks up and we hand him the letters and maps.  He reads them and starts laughing hysterically. “This has got to be some kind of a joke. Are these real?” I assure him that they are real. “Well, there is no secret palace behind anything. Behind the Tender Oath. Let me take these to some elders and get back to you.”  

 

[As Sven walks away, Drak’Thal talks with Meagan in the captain’s quarters. “I owe you my thanks,” he says, “Thank you for going in my stead.” The always happy to please Meagan replies, “ Aye you have always been there for me captain.”  Acknowledging the thanks, Drak’Thal tells his fellow cleric, “Because you have done so much for us. I would like to do something for you. I would like to give you a higher ranking within the church of Talos. Sperad the word.” Beaming, Meagan thanks his captain.  We leave the ship and walk to the All Faiths Shrine so Drak’Thal can converse with Evan.  He meets the priest who is now wearing the eyepatch of Talos and the priest tells him that he would like to give Drak’Thal additional training so that he might become an Orator and reminds him that followers of Talos are not to sway others; they are to provide knowledge and let others choose their own paths. They discuss the location of the new temple of Talos and though disappointed that it will not be placed on top of the former shrine of Tyr, Drak’Thal is content that it will be near the docks where his people reside.  Together the two worshippers of Talor hit the floor. When Drak’Thal’s hammer strikes it, an electrical charge fills the air.]  

 

We leave the Shrine and walk to the village of Westerhold to meet with Kringle and negotiate a return for our goods.  We arrive and discover that while there is no snow, there is still hot cocoa.  Several creatures that look somewhat like Drak’Thal but perhaps a little smaller, hand us each a mug filled with the delicious drink and marshmallows. Thirin especially seems enthusiastic about the drink.  I too enjoy it and remember the taste for later.   

 

We mistakenly allow Drak’Thal to negotiate. As the two stand face to face, Kringle adjusts his suspenders wihle listening to the Halfling talk about the changes at Glassmoor.  Drak’Thal fumbles over his words quite a bit and indecisely suggests a price of $3000. Sensing weakness in his opponent, the man known to his friends as Santa, says that he will give us $1000 and quickly ushers us out of his office.  As we turn to leave, Thirin addresses Kringle as the rest of us cringe.  “Can you teach me how to make the cocoa?” Miraculously, Kringle agrees but says it will have to wait for the winter.  At least we got something useful out of these negotiations. As we walk to Glassmoor, I ask Rinn if the negotiations went well. She replies with a very long, “Noooooooooooooo.”

 

When we arrive at Glassmoor at 6 PM, Adaline tells us that she thinks it is time to go to bed. She walks upstairs and draws a bath. After a few moments of indecision, Drak’Thal follows her up the stairs, willingly takes off his clothes, and climbs in the bath.  As Adelinee caresses his filthy skin with a sponge, he asks her, “Did you bring the leather?” She smiles and replies “Yes. Did you bring the chairs?” “I didn’t bring any extra,” the Halfling admits.  Smiling mischievously, she tells him, “We’ll make do.”  Later that evening they loudly make do.  To hide from the sounds, I walk down to Traelle’s room, knock on the door, and when given leave, enter and cast silence so that the Paladin can fall asleep. Once she does, I stand, return to the living room, and enter my trance.

 

Day 692

 

Thirin has had one thing on his mind for the last two days: fighting at McGergor’s.  Though the rest of the Keepers try to talk him into fighting in our pit, he insists on fighting in the city’s pit.  Apparently our potential crowds are not enough for him.  While the Goliah salivates over venturing into a pit once again, the rest of us manage to talk about taking money from the vault for our personal needs. We take 1000 and divide it evenly between the five of us.

 

As the rest make preparations to leave, I walk up the windows in the library. I ask to see the death of my cousin.  I am stunned when I see the scene unfold in the glass. I see his death underneath the fangs of a monstrous creature while Rinn stabs him.  I see them kill the beast and then linger before trying to heal him. Rinn in particular seems to have been conflicted about trying to save him.  I don’t know if I should ask her about this but it certainly makes me see our earlier conversations in a different light.  Though stunned by the scene of my cousin’s death, I ask to see another: my father’s present location….  

 

While the rest of us linger downstairs, Drak’Thal and Adelinee return to their bedchamber and stare into the windows because Drak’Thal wants to know what happened to him the night before.  “Be prepared,” he tells her, “because I don’t know what happened.” They watch the whole scene together.   

 

“What the fuck is this?” Adeline asks him.  

 

“Did he really have to do that? Did you not see him pull my pants off?

 

As she watches her half-man nakedly spoon the merchant, she says, “What the hell is this? How drunk were you?

 

“I don’t remember.”

 

“Maybe lay off the alcohol a bit.”

 

“I mean it was free.”

 

“Is this worth free?    Maybe you should cut back to a half-thal size.”

 

“Do you think he could take it?”

 

“I can barely take it and we practice for days.  It still doesn’t go all the way in.”  As she talks, Drak’Thal stares silently at his penis.   

 

Downstairs, the remaining Keepers listen awkwardly to the conversation occurring above until

Thirin shouts, “I think she is talking about his sword!”

 

When Drak’Thal and Adeline walk downstairs, the rest of the Keepers clear their throats.  As they leave the estate for McGergor’s, Drak’Thal walks into the center of their growing village of four to five hundred people and begins handing out some of Gilmore’s card before shouting at the crowd to shop at Gilmore’s.  

 

A few hours later, The Keepers and Adeline open the doors of the Two Shephards and walk to the bar. The dwarf McGergor greets us in the loudest most annoying voice I can image.  Hepours all of us a shot and we all swing them back along with him.  He tells several jokes about snakes and penises before loudly laughing at each of them and pouring us each more shots, five in total. Drak’Thal drinks them all with Adeline standing right beside him.  Encouraged by Rinn, Thirin tells his joke:  “Did you hear about the two drums and the cymbals that fell off a cliff?”  Too excited to wait, he immediately says the punch line: “ba dum tss” along with the requisite hand motions. The rest of us laugh but McGergor is eerily silent.  After what seems like an eternity, he says, “That is not very funny.” To end the awkwardness, Drak’Thal asks the dwarf to tell us a story.  Apparently the dwarf once fucked a goat. I can’t say I’m surprised. 

 

Unable to enter the fighting pits due to our inability to tell a joke to the satisfaction of a goat-fucker, Thirin is disappointed but most of the rest of us are somewhat annoyed when one of his servers taps us on the shoulder and demands 25 gold for the drinks that we did not order and most of us had not consumed.  Thirin hands his remaining drinks out to the rest of the bar. The rest of us drink ours and miraculously do not get drunk.  The alcohol must have been weak.

 

Leaving the Two Shepherds, we go to Gilmore’s for the third time and once again Sherry appears annoyed.  Thirin and I purchase clothing for the north and I buy some fire arrows as well. We go to our faction houses and remain in the city until we leave on day 295. It takes 25 days to reach the city. AS we travel it gets so cold that the crew has to remove ice in front of the ship.  Six evil whales attack us but fortunately Adeline is able to kill three of them before the rest of us are even able to fire a shot.  On Day 720 we reach Port DoesnHaveAName and begin the tenday march through the snow to Sacred Stone.  Along the way, Adeline finds us shelter. 

 

Day 730

 

Inside the monastery, we meet Fendrick and 10 legionnaires of the Order of the Gauntlet. They salute Drak’Thal. We go down the stairs to a basement filled with deadend passages before heading down another set of stairs that take us to a great cavern that seems to stretch for miles.  I have never been to the Underdark  but if this is even close the environment that Alatar spent his life in, I can imagine him going crazy.  Fortunately, we have Adeline.  As soon as we reach the bottom of the stairs, she stops and draws a rune on the floor and presses it. As soon as she does, the entire cavern glows was a magical light.  As we walk forward, the light moves with us.  We spend several days traveling through the tunnel until we reach a large, fifteen foot tall stone door.  Adeline pulls the Earth Orb out and inserts it into a recess in the door.  Slowly it opens and we can start to see inside.  As the five Keepers step forward, she tells us “I’ll be here if you need anything.”  Drak’Thal tells her that we’ll be back but, as the rest of us enter the door, she pulls her Halfling aside, kisses him on the forehead, and gives him a charm in the shape of her holy symbol.  As she presses it into his hand, she tells him, “Speak to the charm if you need me.”

 

We enter the Temple and notice that where the Temple of Crushing Waves had long channels of water, this temple has great chasms averaging 100-200 feet deep.  Fortunately, their sides slope but the area remains dangerous.  Unlike in the long tunnel, here there are lights. Rinn goes first while the rest of us follow ten feet behind.  She goes forward 20 feet. Then another 10. Then another 20.  Drak’Thal is growing impatient but soon we come to a bridge without railings over a 50 foot chasm.

 

Suddenly, Rinn and I see three gargoyles fly down onto the bridge.  Reacting first, I shoot two fire arrows into the chest of one of the beasts. They dig deep into its flesh as the creature howls in pain.  Rinn pulls out her scythes and hits the same beast twice. Our tiny friend rushes us beside the creature and attacks it; then our large friend rushes us and straddles the tiny man before swinging his great axe.  Both prove ineffective.  The creature then reaches down between Thirin’s legs and yanks on our Halfling friend and throws him over the edge of the bridge. He crashes onto piles of orc and dwarf bones.  Meanwhile, a creature has landed behind me.  I pull out my short swords and hit the creature thrice but I can feel the edge of my swords grating against its flesh refusing to dig deep. Strange. The fire arrows had no difficulty penetrating its skin.  Rinn too seems to be having more success with the one immediately in front of her but it is Thirin that takes his great axe and decapitates the creature I had started to kill.

 

Meanwhile, Traelle and I battle the one that has landed behind the Keepers. Traelle strikes true but the creature grabs me and throws me to the ground. I recover and even though I can barely see the beast,  I manage to strike it with two regular arrows.  I smile sensing that the troubles that plagued me in the Temple of the Crushing Wave have ended.  Rinn kills the other in front of her before blinking back to the final Gargoyle.  Growing increasingly reckless with his swings, Thirin exposes himself to the Gargoyle’s attacks. the creature, mustering all of its strength, kicks our goliath off the edge of the bridge. Caught by surprise, he  falls to the ground , impaled on the bones of orc and dwarves. He does not move.  Drak’Thal runs through the bones and heals him while I continue to shoot at the Gargoyle, hitting with one of my arrows. I curse at my one miss.  Traelle, who has continued to mercilessly slash at the beast with her dragon-bone sword, kills it before I have the chance. 

 

With the three gargoyles dead, Rinn and Traelle try to think of ways to rescue Thirin, Drak’Thal and I.  Traelle remembers the rope and rod in the bag of holding. She reaches into her bag of and slowly pulls out a rod. They tie the hempen rope to the rod and lower it to the floor.  Drak’Thal and I look at Thirin and tell him to test it out. He tugs on the rope but the rod does not move. He climbs up.  As he reaches the top, I start to climb and so quickly do I ascend that I am up there before Thirin has secured himself on the bridge. Drak’Thal follows and when he reaches the top, checks the bodies but finds nothing.  We quickly run off the bridge onto the landing.  There, we find massive ruined gates. One door lists unevenly on its hinges and the other lies shattered on the ground. On the wall is painted, a pastoral scene of green hills.  We have reached some sort of entrance.

 

With Rinn in the lead we press on as before, ten feet, then twenty, and ten more.  We walk into a room and find a well-armored dude riding a what looks large a large bulette as well as four hobgoblins. The bulette borrows under the gound with the man still on its back before emerging right next to Rinn.  The wave from its emergence shocks Thirin, Drak’Thal, Rinn, and I.  The thief and I manage to stay on our feet but Thirin and Drak’Thal are knocked to the floor. Not yet recovered from his earlier fall, Thirin falls unconscious. Rinn pulls out her schythes and attacks the well-armored man.  I pull out my bow and do the same. Both of us are largely unsuccessful.  A hobgoblin rushes towards Thirin and I and attacks the goliath while he lies unconscious.  Fortunately, Drak’Thal quickly heals all of us before unleashing his fiends on our enemies.  Still hot from the battle against the gargoyles, Traelle pulls out her dragon-sword and slashes the hobgoblin in front of her in half before she is bitten by the bulette.  As the rider keeps hitting Rinn, she switches to attacking its stead where her blades find better purchase. She hits the beast so hard that its jaw shatters, leaving it unable to bite anymore of us. 

 

With the hobgoblin in front of me, I set my bow aside and pull out my shortswords and quickly run the creature through before moving to the corner to get a better view of the room.  Rejuvenated by Drak’Thal's spell, Thirin rushes to the bulette and attacks the man on top while Drak’Thal rushes to the side of the room and starts to shoot lightning at the man on the bulette.  For what seems like an eternity, we fight the man.  As Traelle swings her sword, Thirin brandishes his axe, and Drak’Thal shoots lighting, I step forward, notch an arrow on my bow, and shoot the man straight through the head.  He sinks to the side of still living bulette, his body held on only by the stirrup. Rinn, who has remained focused on the bulette since nearly the beginning on the fight, finally slays it but not before the creature bitch slaps our Paladin with its feet.  As Rinn kills the beast, I load two arrows onto my bow and loose them at the final standing hobgoblin. Both sink deep into his chest, killing him instantly.  Our enemies dispatched, Rinn and I search the bodies and find 200 gold.  We decide to keep it for ourselves.

 

Dungeon Kill Count:

Elurin 3

Rinn: 2

Drak’Thal: 1

Dusty Wench: 2

Thirin: 1

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Session: 36 The Best Water

-Begin the journey with Traelle not feeling well and not joing us.

-Get super drunk at the bar as we decide what to do before heading out on the journey.

-Decide to stop by Gilmores Glorious goods and then head on our way.

-Travel to the canyon and encounter some beasts along the way.

-Traps are triggered going down the canyon to the temple.

-Come across a group of dwarves who welcome us, then surprise attack us.

-An Oni decides to join the fight and hits super hard.

-After defeating the foes we search the lower temple to see what has happened.

- Find a room of murdered temple dwarves that we were supposed to meet.

-We decide to head to the top half and meet with 3 more dwarves.

-The first two fall very easily, but the stealthed one has done serious damage to Rinn and downs her.

-We end up defeating the last dwarf, and find letters and other goods on his person detailing about another temple.

-Spend a ton of time looking for water again.

-We find the water and head strait back to Meegan.

-We give Meegan the water and thankfully the water I had was not tainted and saves his wife.

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Session 35: The Wrath of an Angel

Captains Log
The Keeper’s Oath

Day: 565 

 

Praying to my god Talos I was unable to receive indication of his presence. I even sacrificed my own chair for him. This is unbelieveable. I am the chosen one. WHY DOES HE NOT RESPOND.

 

 

Day: 570

 

The crew is not working hard enough. All they do is complain. Do they not realize who they work for!? Their lives are insignificant compared to my own. They require my presence so they do not slack off and drown this entire ship with their negligence. While at watch I hear faint sounds of battle below my feet later into the night. All they do is fuck around. They do not deserve to serve under me. 

 

“Keepers of the Realm” HA. The name is such a joke. The ‘Keepers’ will save nothing. Half of these ‘Keepers’ have already died and the rest will go with them. They throw themselves at death. I do everything for them. No longer will I be part of this group of failures. 

 

 

Day: 571

 

While standing at watch today there is talk of a glorious battle last night between Krunak and Thirin. This must have been what I had heard the night before. Krunak ultimately won the battle as I thought he would. I have seen Thirin fight and he is nothing more than a large soft bear. His swings are nothing to be afraid of. Krunak even gave a sacrifice of destruction to our god Talos in the final blow. He broke a chair upon his head. 

 

Earlier today I found Rinn and Elurin lounging around in their rooms mid day doing nothing. I put them to work immediately. However useless it may have been. They are only pawns to be played with.

 

 

Day 610

 

Nothing of note has happened since I last wrote. Crew is still negligent. Though the Keepers and Krunak seem to be acting suspicious today specifically. They are starting to really get on my nerves. Perhaps by the end of this trip someone will walk the plank.  

 

 

Day 611

 

Drak’Thal could be tolerated no longer. His actions these past 45 days has made him unfit to be captain any longer. Last night Krunak threw him into the brig to keep him from wreaking any havoc on any of us. These logs show that this was the right choice. He cannot be trusted and will be given no more chances while I am captain of this ship. He will face the wrath of Kline when we arrive in Wyrmwood. This will be the final log before we arrive in the city due to the circumstances. 
                                          

                                                                                                            - Shava

 

 

Arrival at Wyrmwood

 

Day 670 the Keepers arrive at Wyrmwood harbor and dock. Kline and Adeline wait at the docks for the Oath to dock. Shava retrieves Drak’Thal from the brig and carries him, with a dagger to his throat, through the city. The Keepers explain the situation to Kline and he rushes after Shava but he is too late. The refugees from Daggerford have already congregated around them and chant his name. Kline snaches up Drak’Thal and rushes to the keep to meet with the king. King Bronzehammer comes out in his night gown and cap to find The Keepers, Drak’Thal, and Kline in the throne room. Traelle explains what had happened on the ship and within the Temple and they release Drak’Thal. He looks somber and apologizes to everyone with nothing more to say. The king asks him to go out to calm the crowd that has congregated outside the keep. He walks out in his armor, which Thirin had retrieved for him from the ship, to speak to his people. 

 

A man walks forwards and gets on his hands and knees. Drak’Thal stands atop his back, looks down upon the refugees, and speaks with a booming voice. “I am your prophet. The prophet of Talos.” A storm brews above the Keep as he preaches to the refugees. “I will get you what you deserve. A shrine in this city.” Thunder and lightning crash throughout the skies above. He reassures that he will carve a place within this city for them and they should return to their homes with confidence. Drak walks back into the keep to meet again with the King. Kline demands that he stay the night so that they can watch his actions and he agrees. The rest of the Keepers return to Glassmore

 

Glassmore has grown since they have left. Vinyards span the outside of the walls of the mannor and a barracks sits in the distance. A vault is built on the second floor with a mound of gold inside. Tyranath introduces the new barracks captain, Chelaska!

 

Drak’Thal sound asleep is woken up early by the kick of Kline so that he may meet with someone. Evan enters the room to speak with him about becoming the shepherd for the refugees from Daggerford. Drak’Thal questions whether or not he can live up to the task and sends him off leaving the question unanswered for the time being. 


Evan meets with the Keepers to tell them of Drak’Thal’s actions that morning in the Whistling Pig. As Earth, Wind, and Shire play Blue Monday in the background Evan informs them that Drak’Thal is not acting himself once again. He then questions them of the recent events from the point they had started to notice of his change in character. Ultimately they conclude that the spear, Windvane, could be a potential explanation. They finish their breakfast and head to the Keep to meet with Kline.

 

Drak’Thal attempts to leave but Kline does not let him go. This enrages Drak and he attacks Kline. He extends his wing out to the side and in an instant the light is sucked out of the room. Kline appears behind Drak smashing his sword onto his head. A burst of lightning flows from Drak swirling outwards. Flashes of an angel, wings outstretched, towering above a small halfling at the ready appear with each strike of the lightning. Kline strikes down the halfling and the lightning fades to leave the room dark once again. Reaching into his pocket Kline takes out a vial and shoves it into Drak’Thal’s throat bringing him back from the brink of death. With the necrotic slice of death he slices Drak’Thal down. Once again he places a potion into his throat bringing him back just to strike him down once more. One last time he brings him back to life and shackles him with magic. Raising his sword he thrusts it into Drak’Thals chest and turns around to take his seat at his desk. Traelle, Rinn, Thirin, and Elurin walk into his office to see a near death halfling and Kline sitting at his desk. They explain that his spear may be what has caused him to become aggressive and mercurial. Kline tells them to head to Gilmore’s to have him check it out.

 

Arriving at Gilmore’s they ask him to inspect the weapon and then sell some of the loot that was acquired within the last temples. Gilmore returns and explains that this is a cursed item and should never be used. Also that it is a very nice Elven artifact. Returning to Kline he sends them off to speak with Sven and Meagen at the ship about a request they have. 
 

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Session 34 Crushing Waves of Water, Fire, and Dragonsbreath

-Following fight with sea hag, group short rests

-learn of the treasure in the lake

-Elurin says the dragon is in the north

-Rinn leads the group to a room with 8 Lizard people

-Meagan aids the group in their fight, Traelle almost loses magic sword, Rinn is battered multiple times, Elurin "self-harms," group finishes off the lizards

-random encounters to pass time, get ambushed by trolls, down them and take an uninterrupted long rest

-Rinn leads us east, (skip) encounter with a priest and 5 reavers

-Rinn leads south, find an unoccupied prison

-Head north, finding large grain silos, find a room with a Tide Knight, Shiver, and 3 Reavers, Meagan finds gold and garnets on their bodies

-Rinn hears a loud voice in her head as she opens the northeastern door, (Nothics) telling her to tell to leave the room

-Rinn leads us back to a bridge with double doors, unable to open due to a trap 

-Meagan casts water walking ritual on the party, we walk across the water, Dragonturtle surfaces, Meagan and Elurin attempt to chat with the beast, and as the group hesitates, the Dragonturtle wrecks the party, downing everyone

-4 days pass, Shava and 10 seamen come to the Keepers aid, all 10 of the seamen perish, Shava is the real MVP

- "Just trying to pass, turtle," Shava says and the group runs past the Dragonturtle

-Rinn finds a room with a descending staircase and attacks the creature protecting it

-Poison fills the room, creature teleports back and forth across the room, but Shava ends up killing it

-Keepers take a short rest in a nearby room, continue to press on

-Find room with 5 Lizard people and "a red creature," Shava continues on her murdering spree

-With the rooms clear and treasure collected, Shava tells Thirin to swim through a hole in the wall. Goliath forgets how to swim straight, and gets caught in the current. Traelle swims into the hole, finds a ton of books and some waterproof satchels

-Group finally leaves the temple for good and heads back to the ship

-Days pass, and the Keeper's Oath sails for Daggerfjord

-After reading Drak'Thal's apologetic note, the Keepers have him released

-As the Oath approaches Daggerfjord, the city is burning to the ground

-Guantlet Captain greets us, Thirin/Traelle/Rinn attempt to help, but the captain says that evacuees are already aboard ships, they will be going to Wyrmwood

-Drak'Thal resumes his indifferent pipsqueak angst

-Elurin and Rinn receive treatment from clerics

-Keepers board their ship and set sail on a return trip to Wyrmwood

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Session 33: The Crisis Within

This place is wearing on me, and the others as well. I had prayed that things would go smoothly or perhaps something close to it. We have never taken the easy path have we? As each door has opened, I’ve held my breath, dreading what lay inside. The more time we spend in this temple, the more troubles we gather and I feel as though my arms are already full.

 

After we've rested, I see Elurin extend a handful of papers to Drak’thal. They had bickered over who could hold onto them a day before. Drak feigns giving them back before stuffing them into his pack. He has always been odd like this, no surprise that he's being hard on our newest companions. Their support in battle hasn't quite panned out as one would hope. Poor Thirin has been soiling himself since we first arrived on the shore inside this cavern, and Elurin had taken multiple serious injuries impacting his marksmanship.

 

The elf asks Drak’thal for assistance, and he refuses with a look of indifference. Elurin reminds him, “If I remember correctly while you were drowning, I was able to knock a few arrows to free you and kill the beast.” Those water creatures were terrible, Drak’thal should be thankful that he wasn't drowned within them. Perhaps he does not understand the elf’s question, so I clear my throat, “he’s asking you to return the favor.” The real favor is Elurin's cleaning magic he uses to clean up myself and Thirin as he once again shits himself. Gods, why did I sit next to him when I know he's been making a mess this whole time? The mumbling of words magically removes the stench and—-I have to move myself to sit elsewhere, this is disgusting.

 

We decide to continue on towards the northeast where I had seen another bridge much like the one we crossed the day before. I come to a door down the corridor with a particularly strong odor, it smells like Thirin has done it again….. But I am wrong. There are three trolls standing in the room, broken items litter the floor and claw marks rake the walls. I hope they don't see me, and cross myself with a warding spell. It's already too late, their eyes find me and two of the beasts rush me. Tooth and claw grate at me as I scream in pain. This is bad, really bad. Do my friends hear me? I can feel life draining from me and their growls fill my ears.

 

A hand brings me back and there's Traelle standing beside me. I attempt a smile but can only grit my teeth as the trolls continue to batter me. Striking out with my scythes does some damage to their hides, but I've become unstable and miss my second strike. Drak’thal and Thirin soon join the fight as lightning crashes through the halfling’s lance. The so-called gladiator has yet to show us his true skills because of whatever ailment is upon him. Elurin fires arrow upon arrow, few of them finding their mark. His frustration is visible, eyes focused and fiery. I feel the same as my blade misses again and stabs into my foot. Blood fills my boot and I curse under my breath. These damned boots are going to get lost at sea if I keep this up.

 

Suddenly the trolls straighten and flex slightly. What is this? Their wounds appear to be closing! Some remain but the little damage we've managed is now even less. Traelle takes her new dragonbone blade and slices across one of the trolls, killing it. Soon, the halfling does the same with his lightning. The hulking dead body is thrown back into the center of the room, and the third troll rushes Thirin. He swings his great axe over the beast’s head and into the wall before yanking it back out and into its face. The stinking creature leans forward slightly from the knock to the skull, and a lance pops out beneath Thirin and stabs it in the gut. Are these two still keeping a body count? Another for Drak’thal then, stolen from Thirin.

 

Despite the smell, it is safe to rest here for a short time. Thirin looks like he's digging through the broken pottery and bones piled around the room while Drak goes through the pockets of the dead trolls. I pace for a minute looking around on my own and find a bit of gold. Traelle checks out my injuries as I dump the gold into the bag of holding. Behind me, another bad sound from Thirin and then a lament in his gruff voice, “This place is just not agreeing with me.” Traelle makes a face and all I can do is shrug. We must keep going.

 

The next room is full of cult initiates and another water creature among a great supply of sundries. We strike them down one by one, faster than the trolls. The sconces on the pillars around this area give off a dim light, and it opens to a body of water. I dare not go near the water after seeing the giant octopus and shark on our way to the shore. Shuffling around reveals stacks of flour sacks and other goods. This must be their mess hall, with the three large tables lined up in the center. Strange to imagine any of these people sitting beside each other peacefully sharing a meal. Why would they join such a force? I can make no sense of it. Thirin and Elurin look around but find nothing that they would like to take. This time I check the fallen cultists for coin, gaining quite a few pieces of gold for our group fund.

 

Heading north through the passageway, the next door opens to bunks and cooking supplies, and more cult members. Two of them hit me hard before another two cultists run towards me. Something hurts and my pack feels too heavy. Lifting much more than my blades is painful, not a good sign. Once again, the paladin saves me. How many times do I owe my life to her? Dozens by now. The captain springs into action behind Traelle, lending me some strength as well. This time he calls to me, “Pick up the pace! Can’t be leaving you dead!” What is with his attitude now? Does he not see the blood pouring out of me? I'm trying despite how injured I've become. Thirin charges at our foes menacingly, swinging and losing his grip on his axe. Traelle backs up to me and jabs her sword into an enemy. A deafening burst cracks overhead and I bump into her, unsure of what has happened. It…it wasn't a cultist. She meets my eyes and then looks over to the halfling. Drak? My head swims as I see that this has killed most of the remaining cultists. I take my scythe and take out the last one beside the paladin and I, the man's abdomen opens and life leaves his eyes.

 

I slump down to the floor and pull two potions from my pack. My whole body hurts and my mind feels like it's fallen behind. He hit us. A sinking feeling sits in my stomach as I look around to my friends. Traelle approaches Drak’thal, knocking him upside the head with the blunt end of her sword. Her expression is serious as she returns to my side, hand to my shoulder. I'd thank her for healing me but the sound of small footsteps stops my words. Drakthal stands behind her as blood drips to the ground. His voice angry, “What do you think you’re doin?" He stabbed her….

 

She turns and I watch their exchange from the floor. Traelle just stares at him for a moment before answering, I can't see her face but her stance looks just as angry as Drakthal's. “You hit me twice with your lightning” Drak’thal shrugs apathetically, “Ok? You wanna go?” I can feel the tension rising in the room, glancing quickly to Elurin and Thirin. The redhead's answer displeases him more, “Maybe back at the ship little one.” He scowls back, “Don’t call me that.” Her patience with him is gone, “Ok pipsqueak.” This is bad and only getting worse. Drak’thal raises his voice, “Don’t fuckin call me that!” Thirin interjects, “You are quite tiny…” Traelle feigns hearing something with her hand to her ear, “What was that down there?” I see Drak’thal turn red in the face and he casts again. The air explodes around the paladin just as before.

 

I back away lest I get pulled into this mess, feeling uneasy. As they begin to wrestle each other in the center of the room, I can't believe this is really happening. “This, this is the greatest time ever for us to fight with each other.” What is going through his mind? And why now? Surrounded by enemies, a cavern full of cultists. Nearby, Elurin backs away as well, but Thirin runs between the fighting Keepers to try to separate them.

 

I can't help but glance over to the alarmed-looking elf and back to the struggle in front of us. This cannot be happening. What do I do? Too weak to stop Drak’thal myself, I wait, frozen in place. Traelle holds Drak’thal up by the arms to hold him to her eye level, “Let’s get through this, watch your attacks and stop hurting us.” Alas this doesn't calm him, and she continues to hold his body from reaching the floor. “You shattered me and hit me with your spear.” He wriggles in her grip, resisting, “Let me go!”

 

I started praying under my breath, please be over. Please make them stop. Make him stop. Traelle's words remain as firm as her hands holding the halfling, “No, not until you apologize to the others for hurting them, for hurting your family.” His reply startles me, “I don’t have a family!” We all stare at him in confusion. He welcomed the newcomers on the ship not long ago and called us family. Why say otherwise and reject us so suddenly? He continues disowning us all, “None of you are my family!”

 

Something is wrong. Wrong with him, wrong with us. I don't, I can't understand what I'm witnessing. The silence is almost painful as we all exchange looks before the crack of lightning emanating around Drak’thal's weapon shatters the quiet. Every word that comes from my mouth is faster than the next, but I cannot reason with him. He speaks of power and becoming a god. He no longer knows why he is part of this mission.

 

I can't breathe. He's going to ruin everything. This place, the ship, the mission, the world. Everything gone. Worthless, wasted. Fear runs cold in my veins, something I shouldn't feel. My duty to my Queen. My love. Vengeance. It will all be lost. Every oath, each goal of all my friends will vanish along with the earth beneath our feet.

 

Drak insists that he does not care about the world, about our responsibilities, or any of us. “I don’t know why I am here. I should get out of here and leave you all to die.” Sound warps for a moment and panic overtakes me. After all that we have been through, he would leave us behind. Traelle seems to have much the same reaction, “You were the one that kindled the bond between the three of us, these newcomers don’t know what we’ve been through but…” He cuts her off with more words of indifference, “Doesn’t matter anymore.” Yet the paladin continues, “Time has shown that you need us as much as we need you.” She asks him to see it through, and he berates us as worthless.

 

I ask, “Are you just going to leave then?” The little man shrugs. This is what it’s coming down to somehow. He is going to leave us, I can already see his feet shifting to walk to the door. Every bit of reason that we offer up is struck down by his thirst for revenge and power. He spouts nothing but selfish need now. He turns to Traelle, “You’ve been blinded by the light!” She replies, holding her gaze steady, “And you see nothing but darkness.” As he turns his back and approaches the door to leave us, he does not even look back to reply, “I see power, not darkness.”

 

I don’t hear what Traelle says, something about the ship and Shava. Thirin speaks of the king, and there is mention of Adeline as well. Yet nothing changes his demeanor, Drak’thal is unmoved by any sentiment offered. Elurin speaks to him, “If you really wish to leave captain, I will aid you.” My words spill out without thought, “Well there’s the family resemblance.” I do not think the elf knows what I mean, we have never spoken of what his cousin did. A sort of confused look is shot back at me. They keep talking as I sit in my own blood, confused by our situation. Minutes pass and I’ve gone to rambling now. “You’re suggesting that we all leave…you’re talking in circles and I don’t know what to do. I don’t feel good and I’m sitting on the floor here trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do. I…I…” My hands can’t keep steady anymore.

 

Drakthal turns back and flails his fists out at the paladin, she steps out of the way. “You have no fight!” She shakes her head as he strikes with his lance and the rest of us watch as her body falls and tumbles backwards towards me. Elurin runs to her side and I reach for my last potion of healing. Thirin runs at Drakthal with axe in hand, chasing him out of the room. Elurin and I bring Traelle back to consciousness and prop her up against us to support her as we make way for the shore where we left our boat.

 

When we arrive on the shore, Thirin is panting and looking out over the dark water. We quietly get into the boat and shove off to follow the halfling, expecting trouble back at the Keepers Oath. What do we do about our captain? After a day in our small vessel, I send my messenger bird ahead to Shava telling her to expect trouble with Drak’thal. We have days to ponder and dread what may come when we reach sunlight again. If we are to go back into the Temple of the Crushing Wave, it will take another five days. Did we not learn this lesson in the North long ago? There is no other option, we cannot leave this place incomplete. If the prophet is here, they must be slain.

 

Once we’ve come aboard, we ask after the captain. Shava tells us that he’s been thrown in the brig and silenced for now. The rest of us are satisfied with this, though unsure of how to proceed. A dwarf steps up beside Shava, introducing him by the name of Meagen. He will take Drak’thal’s place for now so that we can finish our duty here. This new fellow looks excited to join us, I hope that whatever has happened to Drak’thal is resolved while we return to the watery caverns.

 

Later, some days later, we return to rooms we had already cleared and searched. Meagen proves himself a good ally and our luck has seemed a little better without the captain. We face a nasty woman covered in some seaweed, eyes blurry with age. She looks as if she had crawled out of the sea after years submerged, wrinkled and damp. Two ogres lumber beside her as we fight, felling them both before she takes an arrow through her flesh. Elurin walks over to her dead body and pulls his arrow from her eye socket, dislodging and pocketing her dead eyes. I cringe a little at this, turning from her blank empty face to search among her things. Among some gold and papers, I find a ruby-hilted sword and hand it to Traelle.

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Session 32: Treacherous Shit

…Thirin seems to have contracted something as he is constantly shitting himself.  Either that or he is the worst gladiator ever.  If he keeps shitting himself before, during, and after every battle I can’t imagine him being good at this job for much longer.  Once it was so awful that he even shat on Rinn; she was not pleased to see her unicorn armor soiled.  To prevent the stench from betraying our location to our enemies, I keep cleaning and perfuming him with the spell uncle taught me but seriously the man needs to learn to control his bowels.

 

After I slaughtered that shark-riding whiney bitch of a knight and his minion who dared to attack me, we rested.  In just the previous hour, I had also killed a zombie, octopus, and that little fucker’s shark.  I deserved a rest.  We all did.  As we rested, we agreed to stay on land as much as possible as we investigate the rest of this temple.  We proceeded as slowly and silently as possible up the corridor heading what I think is North. Surprisingly, the Paladin seemed to move the quietist. Even with my powerful eyes, I could not see her.  Hopefully we can count on her to do so in future, especially as Rinn remains grievously wounded. 

 

We first encountered a door on the left.  Rinn opened it, walked into the room, and found five massive bugbears. Alerted by the opening of the door, they quickly discovered her.   Three apparently rushed her and attacked.  Two of their axes seem to have found her flesh but she dodged the third.  Hearing the battle, Drak’Thal, Thirin, and Traelle rushed into the room and attacked the nearest enemy they could find.  I initially stood in the doorway and fired an arrow at the one creature visible to me.  As the rest of the Keepers swarmed the enemy, I lost sight of him, so I moved into the room and pulled out my short swords to attack another.  That was a mistake.  Apparently out of practice with the weapons, I managed to swing far too hard and now I have difficulty breathing.  I still managed to kill the beast but not without significantly harming my accuracy and exhausting myself.  Still, that was nothing compared to the injury Thrin inflicted upon Rinn.  Instead of his customary great axe, he chose to attack with his hand axes.  On one of his swings, he swung too hard, missed his target, and on the downswing, severed three of Rinn’s fingers.  I hope the damage is not permanent for she seemed far less competent afterwards.  The battle lasted forever as the bugbears refused to die.  I managed to kill two but one was only because of the massive strike Traelle inflicted upon it [3x damage Hoff!] just before I launched an arrow. Drak’Thal killed another two and Thirin managed to kill the final one. 

 

As the fight concluded, Drak’Thal cursed the entire party and stormed to the door we had just entered before realizing that it was stupid to leave the safety of the room and going to sit in the corner instead. As he sulked, the door on the north wall flew open and in streamed six soldiers with shark teeth swords and shell-shields.   Behind them, a man with one eye strolled into the room. As our enemies surrounded us, Drak’Thal cast a spell that conjured lightening fiends. I retreated into the corner where I could have a better view of the entire room before pulling out my bow and killing one of the minions.  Rinn killed another before teleporting—what an amazing ability! I’ll have to ask her how it works—to another.  As the rest of us picked the swordsmen off one by one, Drak’s fiends killed two more. Seeing his minions nearly killed off, the one-eyed man rushes up and attacks Drak with no weapon.  Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Traelle and Thirin shuddered from the same attack though Rinn seemed mostly immune.  When my companions described the attack later, they mention a simultaneous feeling of cold and thunder as they drew closer to the man.  Strange. While my fellow Keepers surrounded and Rinn killed the one-eyed man, the lone remaining swordsman focused on me.  For some reason, I had enormous difficulty hitting the bastard and had to be rescued by one of Drak’Thal’s fiends. 

 

After the fight, Drak’Thal again addressed the party with his apparently customary bullshit. “Without me,” he boasted, “you all would have been dead.” For once, he might be correct.  I never miss and in that fight, I missed five times.  My inability to breathe is making it nearly impossible for me to get a good swing in or hold my bow steady.  I hope Traelle can help me because I doubt Drak’Thal will be willing.  Thankfully, Thirin, for once, did not shit himself after the battle.  I did notice an odd exchange between Traelle and Drak’Thal.  As we took a few moments to rest, Traelle healed herself by laying her hands on her chest.  As she squeezed her left breast, Drak’Thal made several lude comments. Then Traelle, I think, attempted to appear more seductive while doing so just to piss Drak’Thal off—almost as if to show him the body he can never have.  It is hard to say though.  I’ve heard rumors that she is a “frigid cunt”(1) but so far I don’t see much evidence beyond that she enjoys annoying the Halfling who seems to deserve it.   

 

After Rinn searched the bodies and found gold and a key, we entered the next room from whence the reinforcements arrived. Lined with equipment and ingredients, the room is clearly a former alchemy lab.   Once we clear this temple of enemies, I should return here and see if there is anything salvageable.  Thirin and I quickly searched the room and found a small iron chest. Before I could suggest letting Rinn try the key she found on one of the bodies, Thirin ripped it open with his bare hands.  Inside we found gold and an assortment of unsigned letters written in common. Thirin handed them to me and I quickly read over them.  They were letters sent to the cult from a spy who had been following the Keepers since they first entered Red Larch several hundred days ago.  The last letter in the collection, detailed the arrival of me and Thirin to the Keeper’s Oath as we left Wyrmwood 111 days ago.  I immediately relay the information to the rest of the group. Rinn, Traelle, and Drak’Thal immediately begin discussing potential spies and traitors.  Rinn seems to think it was Alatar—I can’t say I’m surprised but I wonder what is going on there—but the three of them discuss almost everyone they can think of who has been with the Keepers for a long time.  They even briefly accuse the truth-telling Tiefling from the ship—Opie I think.  After some disagreement, we agreed to send word immediately to Shava (another suspect) through Rinn’s bird.   Drak’Thal then decided to try to take the letters from me but I refused to give them to him until after I had read them more closely.  He kept insisting which raised the suspicions of Rinn who quickly managed to intimidate him into backing down.  I kept the letters and we agreed to proceed through the temple and discuss the matter later.

 

We left the room through the east door and proceeded down a corridor with Rinn in the lead and the rest of us following as quietly as possible.  We walked down a long twisting corridor until we reached another door.  Upon entering Rinn discovered what appears to have been an old brewery.  A mural with hop vines and dwarves working the fields is on the wall and there are six ancient vats in the room as well as two new glass tanks that come equipped with carrying harnesses and appear empty.  and two new glass tanks with carrying harnesses which seem empty. Immediately sensing the possibility for alcohol, Drak’Thal ran into the room and began to open the taps to see if any beer survived.  Thirin followed him.  As they did so, I remained in place, smiled, and turned my water into a beverage that tastes like beer.    Drak’Thal and Thirin each open a vat and find it empty.  As Drak’Thal opened up the next in the line, however, fluid, apparently ancient, escaped and started to attack him.  I then walked into the room and noticed the strange creature.  Unsure if it was friend or foe, I raised my bow.  It then attacked Drak’Thal again. This time, its watery tendrils latched onto the dwarf and pulled him inside of it.  Seeing this, I immediately launched two arrows at the beast and, still unable to hold my arm steady, missed both times. 

 

As Drak’Thal and I fought the first creature, another appeared.  Thirin, managed to hit it once with his great axe and cut straight through but these creatures don’t bleed.  As Traelle walked into the room, she saw Drak’Thal drowning, laughed, and walked over and attacked the other creature.  Something has clearly gone on between the two of them.  Rinn also avoided helping Drak’Thal and concentrated on killing the one in front of her and Thirin.  Her strike with her scythe seemed to hurt the creature but like Thirin’s axe and my arrows, her second scythe hurt the creature little.  As Drak’Thal continued to struggle to break free of his creature, Thirin attacked the vat from whence his came. Unfortunately he missed and, as the creature retaliated, pulled him inside of it as well.  With two of her allies drowning, Rinn cases a fire spell on the creature in front of her.  When the fire hits the water, steam fills the room and the beast lets out a beam of energy that travels directly into Rinn.  As the five of us fight the two creatures, another appears from behind and attacks the Shadar-kai.  I finally managed to hit the creature but as my arrows soar through it they wobble.  It takes several minutes and, for Drak’Thal multiple trips inside the bowels of the water creature, before we subdue them.  I manage to kill one of them while Traelle and Thirin killed the others.   As we talked afterwards, Drak casually mentioned that he can control water. Hearing this immediately after he spent nearly a minute drowning, the rest of us begin to laugh. Hoping to make amends with Drak’Thal, I gave him one of my healing potions but he did not seem particularly grateful.   Fully exhausted after three difficult battles, we decide to return to the first room and rest for the evening. Avoiding the flea infested mats, Drak’Thal, Thirin, and I fell asleep sleep but Rinn and Traelle stayed up.

 

[Rinn and Traelle discussed their new companions.  Traelle(?!) apparently thinks that the new members need to pull their weight a bit more.  Rinn thinks that Drak is being an ass but Traelle reassures her that he is just hazing the newcomers.  They then discuss the letters.  Rinn thinks that either it was Alatar or that someone in Alatar’s faction informed on them because Alatar told his faction everything.  Traelle defends Alatar and Thorrun and then suggests that perhaps it was Rinn who keeps blacking out. Eventually they agree to think about why it started in Red Larch].

 

After my fours hours of mediation, Drak’Thal woke me up.  Upon rising, I saw that the Halfling has been stabbing the flea-infested pallets with his lance.  I sigh, roll my eyes, and sit down to read the letters more closely.  I notice that all of the members of the Keepers of the Realm, including Shava and Krunak are mentioned.  It seems odd that a spy would report on his or her actions in the third person so I begin to think that perhaps it is no one in the Keepers.  I resolve to tell Traelle this in the morning.

 

After two hours of reading, I woke up Thirin and we talked about bears. He insisted on showing me his totem and before I could say no, pulled the massive thing out. Mercifully, it did not appear to be covered in shit.  I must say that it is impressive and even more impressive that he wraps it to his back at all times.  Afterwards, we had a pleasant conversation about nature.  Apparently, he too can speak to animals.

 

Session Kill Count:

Drak’Thal: 5

Elurin: 4

Rinn: 2

Thirin: 1

Traelle: 1

 

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Session 31: New Friends, A long Journey, and A Poke In The Dark!

Finally! Today was the day, not just any day, but the day I didn’t have to hide in a room any longer. King Bronzehammer has assured me that traveling with the Keepers will regain my reputation and I will be able to put these silly events that got me here into the past. I have longed for the smell of fresh air, with freedom and the promise of fighting and great honorable achievements await me! Hearing of the tales of the Keepers has only increased my insatiable need for something thrilling and adventurous! I truly hope these new friends will be welcoming of my skills and fighting prowess, but truly it has been months since I have been in hiding and I sit here waiting for a messenger to be sent from Bronzehammer to meet them.

 

After what felt like an eternity of waiting, there was a sound of armored footsteps heading towards my room. Time felt like it had slowed down, with the eagerness to leave my hiding I prayed this was the messenger that would send me to where I will be meeting the Keepers. “Thud Thud Thud” the sound of hard hitting knocks shacking the door, and a voice, “Thirin Beardrifter I have been sent by King Bronzhammer with special instructions.” This was music to my ears, and hearing this I rushed over and flung the door open, almost breaking it off its hinges and leaving a sizable hole in the wall where the handle met the stone, “You! Guard! Please tell me this is the greatest of news!” The guard hands me a message with the stamp of the King sealing the parchment. “This is all I have for you today, please read and follow the information” Excitedly and with a great smile “This is the best ever! Thank you shiny messenger!” and with great force slam the door behind me causing dust laying in the rafters to whisk into the air. Quickly I opened the letter near the only window in the room,

Message to Thirin from Bronzehammer:

 

My friend Thirin,

               Travel to Wyrmwood with the provided guards, and from there you will gather supplies and necessities needed for traveling to the eastern continent. Don’t forget to stop by and say hello my friend, it has been a while since I have seen you.

                              Bronzehammer”

 

This is it, this was the message I have longed to hear, I gather my pack and the personal equipment needed to make this journey and throw it on my back. Taking a look around the room before leaving, I take a long breathe in and pass through the door that has kept me separated from the outside world for far too long. Waiting for me is an escort of guards. “Thirin Beardrifter!” the same shiny guard yells to me, “Take seat and we must hurry you to Wyrmwood” I rush over to the cart and sit in the tiny compartment for the travel.

-

 

               The Keepers were last seen with Kline in an area known as the Temple of Howling Hatred, messages stopped for a while as they had gone into the temple. Days had passed and more information arrived. Kline had been badly wounded and was being treated by Drak’thal and Traelle. Rinn has fallen into a coma-like state and has yet to awaken from the slumber, and Alatar has sadly passed and is now in his eternal rest.

 

After the ninth day of rest Rinn awoke from her sleep, Kline is awake as well but where his old wings were there are now strong pristine black feathered wings. Drak’thal and Traelle are confused and amazed that Kline now has these wings and wish to know how he has grown them back. Kline has mentioned that Rinn has the details and she tells them of how this has all happened. They were given to her by the Raven Queen and how Kline is a fallen angel exiled for his father's actions with the Raven Queen. Drak’thal and Traelle are awestruck by this new information presented to them and proceed to ask many questions regarding Kline, Rinn and the Raven Queen. Alatar’s body was sent to Wyrmwood where his body was prepped for burial and his parents given a choice on the location where he should be buried.

 

After much heavy discussion among the Keepers, Kline has informed them that they will have just around a day to prepare before they must depart and sail back to the Western continent on the Keepers Oath. They will take the griffons back to Wyrmwood to meet with the king who is awaiting their arrival.

 

After the long travel the keepers arrive back, Kline departs from the group informing them that he has matters to attend to with the king. After much discussion the group decides to visit Gilmore’s Glorious Goods, to relieve themselves of the items they are carrying and to find out about the magical properties of the weapons they have found. After selling and purchasing different goods, Rinn has decided to head back to the keep, Traelle to her shrine to pray for safe journey and Alatar’s death, and Drak’thal to the keep. After spending some time the Keepers decide on improvements need to be made to Glassmoor. They decide on building a barracks and a vault so that they can store there valuables in a much more secure location than in a piano. The Keepers spend the night at Glassmoor for a much needed safe rest and must tend to their journeys wounds before departing once more. Kline stays with Rinn, Adeline stays with Drakthal, and Traelle lays awake for some time.

 

On the next morning Kline meets with the Keepers and provides them with new information regarding new individuals on their boat waiting for them. Drak’thal says, “Should we trust these new men?” and Kline explains, “One is a friend of Bronzehammer and the other is a kin of a former ally.” Silence greets the group, Drak’Thal questions “What is the meaning of this?” Kline sighs and says, “Bronzehammer has provided some more assistance for your journey and that is all” before he gives Drak’Thal two Keepers of the Realm pins to give to their new comrades. After finishing up breakfast the keepers get ready and travel by horse to meet up with the crew on the Keepers Oath.

-

 

Ahhh! The fresh sent of the Ocean and sea water, this is the just magnificent” I think to myself. A small woman has greeted me before entering the ship. “My name is Shava, I will show you to your room then you must get ready and greet the Keepers in the War Room for they are almost here by horse.” She turns away and motions me to follow her onto the Keepers Oath. “This journey will be very long probably around 100 days or more my guess. I hope you have a strong stomach for the sea!” As I look at the ship I am surprised that these adventurers have such a magnificent ship with so many people attending to them, I can’t help but feel these new comrades are very important individuals that deal with more than just the average reward on a sign post. Heading deeper into the ship I find myself already getting lost with all these different rooms. “Throw your wares into this room this is where you will bunk,” Shava points into the rather larger room modified for me and another person. “Hurry I need to bring you to the War Room.” I toss my goods and follow her swiftly. Down some more wooden pathways, I see men and woman tending to the boat and people getting things ready for the departure. Shava opens a pair of larger doors inlaid with pictures and scenes of great fights and the thrill of sailing on the ocean. Once inside the circular room, it looks quiet militaristic with maps hanging from the walls and weapons of all manor hanging about. “Sit and wait here Beardrifter, the Keepers will be here shortly.”

 

A loud commotion begins to happen on the ship, and after a few minutes the group join me in the room. Immediately a small figure barges into the room and with his beady eyes stares, staring at me then heads off into another room without saying anything. “Ha a tiny man, I have never seen such a shiny face on a small person in my life!” I say out loud to the silent halflling. Drak”thal walks back into the room, “So you will be joining us” speaking to me and another person I didn’t notice in the room with me. “I believe so, that is what Bronzehammer has summoned me for,” the elf also agreeing with what I have told Drak’thal. Then the rest of the Keepers walk in soon right after he is talking to us. Traelle quickly chimes in “what are your names adventurers.” I respond, “I am Thirin Beardrifterand you woman with hair fire red what is your name!” Traelle responds “I am Traelle of Dawnfoot!”that is amazing next, short one with the shiniest of faces what is your name!” Thirin pointing to Drak’thal “I am Drak’thal and I am your captain and you are both part of our crew and now part of the family and must prove yourself to us” Drak’thal hands us a pin symbolizing we are part of the Keepers now. I slam the emblem into my bear totem. I point to Rinn, “Next! One with the hood what is your name?” She removes her hood and replies, “My name is Rinn.” “Ahhhh yes I know much of you and the King has told me much!” I point to the elf, “And you, the other thin one what is your name!” “I am Elurin from the great Oak Tree, but I lived there for many years before moving in with Alatar's family.” After the greeting the new Keepers settle in for the long journey ahead of them at sea.

 

Over the next one hundred and eleven days, the newcomers get to know the Keepers and the crew as they sail west. After the long journey the Keepers take some time to get their bearings back on land, but not long after Shava gives them their information do they head to the keep in search of the disturbances that are originating from there.

 

We make it down to the cave entrance that Shava has lead us to, we split the party into two groups take the river for a day to meet at the entrance of the stronghold. When we land there is a door that we must enter, around the door is writing that is hard to understand, but seems written in a Dwarvin dialect. Shava opens the door to the stronghold and mentions that if we need anything, she will be watching and waiting for us at the entrance. We begin our decent into the dark and murky stronghold. After a short while we emerge at an underground lake with many buildings that have crumbling stone on the sides of them. Bronze sconces are scattered around the cave-like area and burn with fresh flames giving little direction for us to follow.

 

We land to the shore closest to us and head into the first room hoping nothing is waiting for us on the other side. Rinn leads the group and enters the first enclave, when entering the area there appears to be slow moving, human-like creatures that have a chain with a rock attached to their legs. They immediately see Rinn and move toward her getting ready to attack. The first creature misses her and the second one seemingly hits Elurin knocking him unconscious and dragging him into the water in front of us. I notice this and defeat the foe in front of me and rush to save the elf. I swim down through the darkness and grab a hold of the elf to bring him back to the surface. After emerging and tossing the elf to the shore, I see the other party members have defeated most of the remaining creatures.

 

Once we have downed our remaining foes, we decide to move back into the boat and try and see if we can enter at another point. The stronghold has a very eerie  feeling, the water remains calm except for the paddling of our boat. Venturing forward we see a shore where we can land, but along the way we notice that the water begins to turn a little and out of nowhere a huge tentacle begin to attack us. I begin using my javelin to poke into the water, and the rest of the group does the same. Elurin greatly weakens the beast by shooting arrows, before jumping into the water to shoot another arrow and drop the beast. Elurin emerges from the water and we drag him back into the boat, narrowly missing an attack by a gigantic shark. Again we begin to attack the aggressive beast and after some fighting we kill the shark. The water is extremely dangerous and filled with strange beasts, so being more diligent and quiet should hopefully reduce drawing any attention in the future.

 

We begin to move towards the shore, it is still quiet and we slowly land our boat again. Quietly moving up the shore, we are surprised by a group of ugly sea creature humanoids, with huge fish-like swords and seaweed dangling from their bodies. They quickly surround us splitting us apart from each other. I’m close to Traelle, and begin to attack the foes closest to us. The creatures attack with great vigor and cascade ice around our bodies, slowing down our attacks. After taking down several of the foes we notice one seems to be their group leader and attack him, he is a worthy opponent doing heavy damage to the party, but like the others is downed and left along the shore line with the other creatures bodies. We search them to see if we can find any valuable loot or perhaps a map of the area, but we only find some gold. The recent fights have made us tired and we take a short rest before moving on with the stronghold..

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Session 30: The Finest Cloaks and Armors In the Land

Within the darkness that surrounds the shattered rooms ahead a large rumble sounds. A shadow begins to advance towards the Keepers . I can barely see within the darkness ahead as our group runs in towards the monster. As I prepare my warhammer and move in an overwhelming sense of fear comes over me. I must leave here. Nothing matters anymore I must leave. I turn and begin to run away from the beast. Alatar follows close behind me. We come to our senses and realize that we must help our friends. As I approach the beast and the Keepers I notice that Rinn had also fled from the beast. I run towards the doors she had opened and see a hoard of undead attacking her. I unleash the power of Talos in a burst of lightning and they all fall to the floor. The beast behind is slain by Kline. Stone dwarven gods stand above tombs lain about the room. We barricade ourselves in the room and rest for the night.
 
I open my eyes and see the red haired woman lying across from me. What did I see in her? I think to myself. She's changed so much since we have first met. I almost had her in Dawnfoot. I was so sure she would join me but I guess that’s not what was meant to be. She has become soft since then like she has forgotten of her past. I can’t blame her, though, I have done the same. I get up to see Alatar is already up and ready to go. 
 
After everyone wakes and has a bit to eat we decide to continue our investigation of the city. Rinn scouts ahead to the next room. She reaches down to the lock on the door and opens it flawlessly. We wait in the darkness outside. I can’t see much farther than the next person in front of me. The waterfall rumbles faintly in the distance. Every so often what sounds like wailing comes from the distance throughout the city. Rinn appears in the doorway calling us inside. “It’s all clear there is nothing here except for that cloak over there.” She points to a cloak in the corner of the room. Alatar walks over the cloak to pick it up and try it on. He throws it over his shoulders and turns to us to show off his new fashion. The cloak wraps around him rises up above his head as a large mouth appears it bites down onto him. What do we do?! I think to myself as I quickly prepare for a battle. We begin to attack the monster, but not without a price. It seems like the cloak is using Alatar as a shield. The cloak continues to latch onto his head as he looks more haggard. I begin to attempt to heal him but the repeated attacks makes him fall. Kline reaches to Alatar healing him bringing him back up and then once again attacking. The monster transfers the damage once again dealing another fatal blow to the Elf. The cloak falls to the floor with Alatar in his grasp. I reach down to his body to see if he is alive. There is no pulse. “EVERYONE We must do this now.” I yell out. Rinn and Traelle surround us. I pull out the diamond from my bag and begin to pray. Rinn pulls out her feather and Traelle, her shield, praying to their gods for aid. I stand on his chest with arms towards the sky. Lightning begins to flow along my arms to my fingertips as I pray to Talos. I hesitate a moment. Is this not what he wanted? He has been longing for death to relieve himself of his sins. I can give that to him…. No not today. I slam down my hands towards his chest pushing the power of Talos into his heart. I step off his body to his side and we wait. And wait. And wait. Nothing. The gods did not answer us. Perhaps this is for the best. We hang our heads down at the loss of our ally. One of our family and crew. However, there is little time for us to grieve we must continue on.
We continue down the hallway deeper into the city. We come to a plaza with a dwarven image above a door. Scattered broken tables are strewn about the hall. Casks behind broken bars in the corners of the room. Seven men and dwarves stand at the ready. I unsheathe my warhammer and we slaughter the enemies. Realizing we have almost scouted the surrounding city we quickly continue on.
 
One last dark hallway comes to a door. Behind is darkness. A faint image of a worm head sticks out from a hole in the middle of the room. Kline asks for a torch and Traelle hands him one to light. He takes it and from afar throws it down the hole. It falls for what feels like forever. The light is no longer seen in the darkness and then. Thump the sound of wood hitting the floor comes back up the hole. Kline turns to us and says “We will send men back for this later. We must continue on.”
 
We leave the room and decide to head back to the pyramid since we have cleared the main area around the pyramid of remnants of the cult. We take a pass around the pyramid to scout. As we pass at the back entrance a shimmer of light catches Rinn’s eye within the moat surrounding us. She points this out and we decide to come back when we are not in such a dire situation. We decide to head into the front door. As we walk in we see a marble hall with pillars holding up a 10 ft ceiling. To our left and right are ascending marble staircases. At the center a large open pit catches our attention as howling seems to emanate from it. Seven men dressed in windward clothing meditate at the back of the room. They float 3ft above the ground and don’t seem to notice us. We enter the room casually and continue forwards to the men. Each spotting an opponent and approach. Kline calls me to him and just as he gets to his side Kline grabs the back of my armor and thrusts me through the air towards the windwards. Flying through the air I ready my hammer and bring it down upon one of the men. The others immediately unsheathe their weapons and begin to slaughter the men. Pools of blood and bodies fill the floor and the Keepers turn to quickly head to the upper parts of the pyramid with the queen in their sights. 
 
Arriving at the pinnacle of the stairs we turn towards the throne. Pillars with tapestry between line the way to the Throne. In the middle of the room the city is delicately etched into the floor. A tall Elven woman stands at the throne with wings sprawled out in display. Another stands near her hooded and praying. I look up to Kline and see his dumbfounded look. He begins to approach the woman and we follow. “I commend you for making it this far. If you leave now there will be no more bloodshed” says the queen. We question her of her intentions she answers “We seek to destroy the black earth cult.” Traelle says that she potentially is leaving information out about her intentions to stop them. Kline stands in awe seemingly not listening to the conversation. He unsheathes his sword and lunges forward toward the queen in an attempt to slice off her wing. His sword falls right through it as though it did not exist. “BLASPHEMY!” He yells as he realizes she is not what she seems. The queen holds up her hand and releases a bolt of lightning that arcs through the Keepers damaging us all. Blows are traded from one group to the other until we are worn down. Ten men rush from behind the tapestries surrounding us. I realize that something must be done. I reach for my necklace and hold it high. “A sea of damned, swell from the hells, breach unto this world. Cleanse with the power of Talos. Crash unto my enemies!“ The acolytes all fall to the floor lifeless and cleansed. The Queen looks down on us unhappy. She chants under her breath and a mist begins to fill the air. My lungs begin to burn and I keel over gasping for breath. My allies all fall around me and then… darkness.
 
Kline is the last one standing. He looks around and bows his head. He extends his wing it shimmers with radiant energy. Clasping Wolfbane he brings his sword up from the floor continuing past a normal stance he places the blade at the base of his wing. With a quick slice forward blood runs down the sword as he brings it back to a normal stance. His wing begins to slowly fall to the floor growing ever brighter with radiant energy until it fills the room. The light begins to fade out and the wing has vanished. 
 
Light shines through my eyelids awakening me. I feel mighty and restored. The rest of the Keepers awake restored to their full might ready to defend their realm. Rushing forwards they all unleash on the queen in one last attack. Kline attacks last delivering the final blow. 
 
A hand reaches down to me and I begin to fly towards the alcove where the spiral horn rests behind the throne. With no control of my own body I smash right into it shattering it from existence. Looking back at the battle a large genie appears behind everyone. He looks to a space within the room that is devoid of any enemies or allies. A raging air elemental appears revealing what has been attacking us throughout the battle. We turn, and with the aid of the genie, finish off the Queen’s right hand man and the elemental. The air elemental vanishes and the Queen’s right hand man falls to the floor. The room fills with blue and white. Clouds form all around us and the floor and walls vanish to an endless sky. We are no longer in the temple in which we had just been fighting in. The genie fades into existence before us and thanks us for helping him. He hands each of us a vial for each of us. After we receive his gift he fades once more. The vast expansive sky begins to darken. Walls and a floor forms around us as the clouds fade from our view. We are back. The throne room. I think to myself. I head up to where the Queen had fallen on the throne. I find some jewelry and a weapon. Quickly, I pocket the jewelry and begin to investigate the weapon I picked up. A Spear, the weapon of Talos. I can feel there is something special about it it holds power. He has graced me with this weapon. I am meant to have it. I descend from the throne and follow the Keepers out of the room as holding our heads high, victorious. 
 
Rinn reminds us of the shimmer she saw within the water and what the slaves had said in the room with the wheels. Setting up a relay of information from the moat to the room we eventually drop the water out of the moat to reveal the bottom of the moat. Bones and dead bodies are scattered on the water slogged floor as we descend to where we saw the shimmer. Gold and silver items are piled on the floor. We pick them up and head to the exit. 

Walking out of the temple Kline speaks with the men and tells them to head inside to acquire Alatar’s body to bring it back to the city and to station men at the dark room with the hole. The wind has picked up quite a bit since entering the Temple. I think as we walk towards the gryphons that await us as we exit. I hear a THUD and turn to see Kline carrying Rinn towards us. She must have passed out again. At least she doesn't do it at critical moments. Kline takes her to the gryphons and secures her for the trip. I stop for a moment as we are walking to leave and turn to look at the troops. There is one more thing I must do before we leave here. I walk up to the captain of the troops and say. “Oye Captain”. “Yes” he responds. “Quite a fight we had in there. You know what carried me through that?” I ask. “What?” he inquires. “This.” I point at the unicorn on my shoulder. “This armor here. It’s the best in the land.” “What brand is that?” The Capain asks. “Gilmores.” I respond.
 

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