What gentle dream?

Taz: The Emotions of Others Are Not to Be Relied Upon

I followed Gareth and Deth to the marketplace; they seemed to be on a mission. I suspected that it was a mission similar to mine.

According to Shale, there is a way to keep the Quori here without them having to change when the dream changes. A willing host is required, although Shale did qualify this with “or stupid,” so presumably the willingness only needs to last until the process is complete. Since, in effect, he’d be melding with another individual, he might change anyway due to the fusion of two personalities, but that shouldn’t be much of a hurdle. We’ll simply have to find two individuals who are very attractive and rather dull.

My presence did not go undiscovered; as I’d half-expected, Pneu was along as well, hiding unseen until she chose to reveal herself, and me along with her. Oh well. Shale also said that, for a price, he could locate suitable individuals for Fahrezz’s and Deth’s new bodies. Price: 100,000 gold a head. Steep, but we ARE asking him to help with something rather labor-intensive. I shall make the appropriate inquiries and collect the necessary resources. I am sure that Gareth has Deth’s half well in hand, but if necessary, I’m sure we can combine forces. Our friendly barbarian is not what one would call a planner.

1 usefulness point to Shale for being a reliable businessman. He attempted to bargain for the item he’s been seeking, but gave up—or should I say, postponed his attempts for another time—when it became clear that Gareth and Deth would not part with it. I am curious as to what he wants with it; as long as it isn’t to destroy time and space or something, we may yet come to an arrangement in the future. Shale is certainly the most forthright of our self-declared opponents.

Gareth purchased a basket of tomatoes from his produce stand—really, that man has the most singular sense of humor. Shale, that is, not Gareth. Pneu warned him away from eating them. I examined one of them, but found nothing amiss. Was tempted to take a bite, but was unsure of the effect a tomato from Leng would have on my constitution. I wonder what this town will have become in a few years…

When we returned to the inn, Pneu decided to feed Cedric a tomato. For science. She concealed it within a sandwich she made. Cedric made a face and commented on the unusual flavor, but beyond that, no effects were observed. I shall have to keep a close eye on him in the future. I drew some blood as a sample. Aside from a faint smell of sulfur owing to his familial bloodline, it seemed to be ordinary blood. He complained, but then, he’s never shown himself to be of a scientific bent.

With that, we set off into the Mournlands. The carriage ride until dusk was long and boring; there is little to comment on.

Fahrezz paid me another visit in the night, and I explained the possibilities to him. He was uncharacteristically slow to grasp what I was trying to say at first. I left the choice up to him whether he wished me to proceed. He was very baffled as to why I wanted to help him stay around. I do not think he’s had much in the way of affection. Just as a tool to be used, like you. Like everyone. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to remain stuck in one form for the rest of his life, which I could certainly understand. I’ve read in some of my books mentions of simulacra, artificial bodies into which one can transfer one’s consciousness. If such a concept could be applied to Fahrezz…

I mentioned this to him, and he again expressed wonder that I was going to so much trouble. He was also rather endearingly concerned that I would cease to find him interesting in a static form. I cannot imagine Fahrezz ever becoming dull, no matter his shape. This seemed to reassure him.

After some thought, he agreed.

To obtain: 200,000 gold.

Morning. Manufactured: 5 bombs, 1 cure light wounds, 1 extract of bomber’s eye, 1 shield extract. The scenery this morning was a bit more remarkable; we traveled across a plain of glass. In a carriage. Which did not seem to me to be the brightest of ideas, but I didn’t bother protesting until Gareth and Deth also spoke up. Honestly, the others can be so thick sometimes.

Midway into the Mournlands, we were greeted by a guest on the carriage roof: our old friend Rapier. He was as irritating as ever, but did give us some useful information about the size of the force we’d be facing in the warforged city—namely, that we had a snowflake’s chance in hell of making it out of there alive with a frontal assault. Obvious. We’d known that already. He did comment that he thought the Lord’s “god-rock” was a mistake.

He was willing to give us some information in exchange for Warmonger, who still screeched ineffectually every time we slotted her into Seeker. We’d gotten what we needed out of her, so we agreed. Who knew that the warforged were so sentimental?

According to Rapier, the only way to get the Worldstone was to challenge the Lord of Blades to a showdown, with it as the stakes. Well, it and our lives, of course. He seemed honest. These types that live by codes are very strange. I don’t think I will ever understand them, not if I live a thousand years.

In order to prevent collecting all the pieces in one convenient location for the Lord of Blades to loot from our corpses, we sent some of them back with Shel and Seeker. I do hope he’ll be all right.

AND SO WE WENT TO WAR. Or to challenge the Lord of Blades to a duel to the death. Same thing.

I was not sure the plan was going to work as Rapier had predicted at first; there were a great many of them and they didn’t like us one bit. He had the Worldstone on his person—machine?—er, body. Interestingly enough, he was quite a manipulative fellow. He was using the concept of a god to compel and encourage his subordinates. Didn’t believe in it himself, but I suppose it scarcely mattered. He had his gang in his pocket. Eventually, we goaded him into agreeing to the fight. He chose some of his subordinates to even out the odds, and we began.

I GOT HIT BY ONE OF THEM AND IT HURT. Drank: 1 shield extract. Drank: 1 cure light wounds potion. I avenged myself upon him; it was most excellent. After a long fight, we finally triumphed over the bastard and got the Worldstone. Left him alive, which COULDN’T POSSIBLY COME BACK TO BITE US IN THE ASSES LATER. Obtained: 236 gold. Amulet, ring, cloak, armor, spear. Divided up among party. Deth was quite insistent on giving all the protective items to Gareth, the fool. I suppose keeping him alive is good. Then we hightailed it out of there before some idiot warforged decided to avenge their boss. Kept: Short spear and leather armor. Of little use, but can sell it to begin amassing funds, anyway.

And then we started heading to Thrane.

You know, I quite like the Mournlands, actually. I can see myself building a very nice home here. A very nice life indeed. I’d nip out to the border whenever I started feeling poorly, of course, but there’s no downside other than that. It’s got a sort of majestic, austere beauty once you get used to it.

Seriously, let’s go back to the warforged city. There’s only hundreds of them. We’d be fine.

Thrane just sounds so dull, so very very dull, and I think we’ve done our part for this quest already.

He’s in Thrane.

I don’t suppose I can talk the others into staying around here, but that’s all right; they can go on ahead, and I’ll visit them later.

He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane. He’s in Thrane.

There is no need to panic. You are quite literally no longer the same person. It will be fine. Everything will be just fine.

In summary:
I’m not entirely sure what day it is anymore. Oh well.

Ranking of companions:
Shale: Usefulness- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Jaela: Usefulness- 13 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 16 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 20 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 23 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.

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Pneumonia: Private eyes

I feel much better now. It really is too bad, she had to die. She was always so strong and confident. I’ll miss her wind.

The current carries us all. Drifting, flowing, never knowing where it will take us. A dead girl led us to a farm of death, where we found woman of death, and now Gareth seeks a way to save Deth. Trying to protect them is a difficult task. The loud one insists on taking us with him on a suicide march. I’ve no intention of dying nor sacrificing my beloved. I will see to it my family is safe and then send him away. Patience and cunning as Sarah always said, “See with your eyes and listen with your ears and let the your feat be as the air that moves around us. Silent, deadly, invisible.” I see even now her Invisible Hand and yet even she couldn’t predict what has come. All this thinking is exhausting. I think I’ll make some soup. Maybe potato with cream and vegetables, with some tea; of course.

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Cedric: Entry 23

We were able to successfully open the door to Anna’s workshop, and were met with a descending flight of stairs. The lights on the stairway flickered as we walked, as if our very presence were what was causing them to light. The stairway ended in a strange sort of laboratory, with a large metal humanoid in chains at the back. It demanded an “identification code” and after some searching through Anna’s journal we hazarded a guess with the word “seeker.”

Unfortunately, this activated the machine and caused it to attack us. The battle that followed was nearly disastrous, but we were ultimately successful. Of interest is the fact that throughout the battle, we heard a woman faintly crying, begging us not to hurt the creature that was attacking us: likely Anna’s mother. Once we stripped away the outer shell of the machine there was a significantly smaller and more elegantly designed one underneath. No sooner had we recovered from the surprise of finding it than we heard a whistling noise from outside, to which the machine responded with “command accepted.” This seemed to please the ghost of Anna’s mother, who we did not see or hear from again. It was also fortunate insomuch as the machine no longer deemed it necessary to attack us.

I healed Lady Jaela while others searched the remainder of the room. Upon leaving the workshop we found a woman with one arm and bright red hair, who introduced herself as Terra. She was Anna’s friend and none too pleased to see us, especially given the fact that Gareth had already told her why we were there. As the closest approximation to a living relative we could find, we gave her the journal and then set out to lay the remainder of the family to rest. She insisted on following us despite her dislike for us, and her self-proclaimed hatred of men. Needless to say I do not enjoy her company, particularly given the fact that she seemed to bond with Sally over particularly gruesome methods of murder.

Once the last of Anna’s family had been laid to rest, Taz read to us of some journal pages she had found in the laboratory. Mostly the concerned Anna’s young life, but of particular, unfortunate note was the mention of her father’s “earthy rock.” From what we could surmise, a band of warforged attacked Anna’s family to obtain the Worldstone. She was the only survivor, and went into a deep denial of the event afterwards. I believe Terra is the only reason she was able to grow up at all, given that the woman would come to check on Anna periodically and make sure she was well. I suppose it could be said we owe her thanks for that much…

Given that none of the pieces, Gareth, Deth or I carried reacted during our time on the farm, we concluded that the Worldstone was likely no longer present. With nothing left to do there we returned to the inn. It should be noted that the small humanoid machine that was inside the larger one has since been taken in by Taz, and dubbed “Seeker.” She is endlessly fascinated by him, and I myself am entirely neutral as to his presence. Once at the inn I pulled Gareth aside to relay the information I had gathered from Fahrezz, concerning the distinct possibility of his mother being sent after us in the near future. He nodded silently and returned to be with the others. Following that I reunited with Shel, who has gotten quite adept with the sickle. She was happy to show me what she had learned.

We all retired for the evening, and in the dream world I was greeted by Fahrezz. He wanted to thank me for the advice and assistance. He also told me he had gotten Taz’s permission to visit her, and that things were going well between them. It is somewhat strange to say it, but I am glad for that. As I have stated previously, I have hopes she will draw his better nature out. He also did something very kind for me, but on the insistence that I will then “owe him” instead of him remaining in my debt. Before leaving to see Taz again, he created a door and told me to step through. After a great deal of wandering through an exceedingly long hallway, I found myself in Shel’s village. Shel herself was there as well, and upon me telling her that she was dreaming she kissed me. For the first time in quite a while, I was not anxious to awaken.

In the morning I helped Lady Jaela heal and restore everyone to their full capacity. No sooner had I done so than I heard a door broken down. I immediately rushed to see what had caused this, only to find Gareth in Pneu’s room. She was unconscious and sweating profusely. I was at least able to determine that it was because of Sally, and that neither of them were in the dream world. The others were quick to join and we began to discuss possible means of helping Pneu. Unfortunately Gareth did not take kindly to so many people in one room talking at once, and yelled at us all to leave. No doubt the stress of seeing someone he cares for so deeply ill had an adverse effect. Admittedly I cannot see why she would appeal to him: she is fickle, childish, and irritating. However, for all her faults Sally is infinitely worse and with her destruction, we would be relieved of a great concern. Furthermore, her faults are far from making her deserving of death, and I would hate to see Gareth suffer as a result of her dying.

Deth, Terra and myself waited outside Pnue’s room for some time. I did not leave until Gareth asked me to obtain water for Pneu, no doubt to help with her sweating. Upon my return I overheard him explaining to Terra how deeply he cares for Pneu, and how much is does not want to lose friends now that he has just gotten used to having them. Had the circumstances been different I might have smiled. Instead I spoke with Deth, who was likewise worried for Gareth and Pneu. Soon after Taz approached, and told us she had found a way to get us into the dream world, thanks to Fahrezz. He had also given her the ability to navigate dreams and pull Sally and Pneu in, which would be necessary if we were to find the two of them.

Taz went in to speak with Gareth about this, while I went to find Lady Jaela and explain the plan to her. Lady Jaela also took this time to explain that she does not know what will happen to Pneu once Sally is gone, but she does believe that it will improve her condition… Provided that Sally remains dead, once she is killed in the dream world. There is only half of a chance that she will stay dead, but even if she were to survive it will still take time for her to recover enough to start harming Pneu again.

Gareth was agreeable to the plan, and we all decided to bring Terra with for additional support. Taz explained the dream world to her, and I promised Deth that I would look after Gareth for him. With that settled, we set out.

Fahrezz greeted us in the dream world, and after a long string of embarrassing conversations, he eventually asked for permission to visit Gareth. I was hesitant to oblige, but eventually told him it was up to Gareth. I have faith in Gareth’s ability to hold his own against Fahrezz, and I am quickly beginning to realize that his interests in the party are not necessarily harmful so much as cruelly mischievous. Gareth seems to be inexplicably fond of Fahrezz regardless.

We soon found Sally and Pneu, who were locked in combat. Our battle with Sally was difficult, but ultimately successful. Afterwards Pneu was able to wake up easily enough, and I watched as all the others slowly faded out of the dream world as they too awoke. In the end I was alone with Fahrezz for a short while, and I took the opportunity to genuinely thank him. My words seem to fluster him, and he was rather strange about the entire ordeal. Of course, he is often strange about many things.

I finally awoke with a terrible headache, which Lady Jaela regrettably shared. Deth made a quip about only do-gooders suffering from such headaches upon awakening, but I hardly expect anything less from him.

With Pneu recovered, we decided to visit Terra’s mother before we left for our next location. By her own admission she was grievously ill, and Lady Jalea was more than capable of healing such maladies by now. Terra took us there without protest, and Lady Jaela easily healed her mother. I also saw Taz and Gareth slip money under various items in the house, no doubt to assist with the ramshackle conditions in which she lived. Even Deth provided money, although he did so directly by handing it to her. Still it made my heart swell with joy, to see them so willing and happy to do good.

Following this we returned to the inn to regroup and discuss our strategy for where to head next. It was then that Pneu chose to reveal to us that she had captured the blue “spark” that has escaped Warmonger’s body every time she has been defeated, until now. She suggested we could speak with Warmonger in order to find the whereabouts of the Worldstone with the warforged. She then proceeded to place it into Seeker, despite Gareth and I’s protests. Fortunately he contains such commands as to prevent her from taking over his body, but from her words she was undoubtedly the same wrathful, stupid entity as before. Our attempts at diplomacy were ill-fated, but once Terra managed to find a means to threaten her, she said she would tell us on the condition that Deth spit on me. I reluctantly agreed, and made sure to wipe the spittle from my face onto Deth’s own face afterwards.

We ultimately learned that the Worldstone is with the Lord of Blades, in the “City of Making.” The city itself is within the center of a glass plane, and exceedingly dangerous. Despite the risk, we must go there next and either parley with the Lord of Blades or take the stone by force. The world itself is at stake, and we cannot fail.

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The Sound Track of Our Lives

Taz: Fake It // Seether
Numb // Linkin Park
Just Like You // Three Days Grace
Sounds of Maddness //Shinedown
Pretender // Foo Fighters

Jeala: Second Chance // Shinedown

deth’Ruki: Blow me Away // Breaking Benjamin
A World So Cold // Three Days Grace
Sounds of Maddness // Shinedown

Gareth: Down With the Sickness // Disturbed
You’re Going Down // Sick Puppies

Cedric: Time of Dying // Three Days Grace

Phnu: Until the End // Breaking Benjamin

Terra: Riot // Three Days Grace

Sally: Inside the Fire // Disturbed

Fa’Rez: Never Ending Strife // H8_Seed

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Taz: New Friends Are the Best Part About Solving Mysteries

Since we’d finally obtained the key, we headed back to Anna’s workshop to take a look around. Sure enough, the key worked, and we were able to enter. Anna had rigged up an ingenious light set-up by which wires attached to the wall ignited when the door opened, in turn lighting the torches they led to. Fascinating.

No sooner had we gotten into the workshop than we encountered a large golem, looking much like the warforged—albeit with some rather…interesting improvisations—chained to the far wall. It awoke as soon as we entered and demanded an identification code. Anna, as was par for the course at this point, had neglected to supply any such thing in her journal. We tried shouting out every phrase from the book that seemed like it might be it, but the golem was not to be dissuaded from considering us intruders, however much we attempted to explain that we were Anna’s friends. FRIENDS NOT CANNON FODDER DAMN IT.

The golem—identified as “Seeker” by the journal—pulled itself from the wall and began attacking us, swinging a GIANT POLE around a confined area with VERY KNOCKABLE SUPPORT BEAMS. I tried to get everyone to move back up the stairs and out into the open, where the ceiling wouldn’t fall on our heads, but they’re bad at instructions. WHAT THE HELL, ANNA?

I snatched the journal from Cedric and tried to look for the password while he and Gareth held the golem off, but nothing I tried worked. Then Cedric got himself caught in a net, which was very clumsy of him. I made the net explode, which I don’t think he appreciated, but I was trying to get it off him.

It was at that point that I noticed the last family member had decided to make her appearance. “Ma” seemed quite adamant that we not hurt the golem—ignoring the fact that the golem had started it—and expressed this desire by summoning a SWARM OF BEES. Gods. Used 1 bomb trying to get the bees off Cedric. Got slapped for my trouble, too; he had damn well better appreciate that. Once there were sufficient explosions, the remainder of Seeker’s armor collapsed in a heap, revealing a very small version of him instead. HE IS ADORABLE.

A whistle came from outside, which Seeker recognized as the “identification code.” Bloody finally. WHO WOULD HAVE EVEN THOUGHT OF THAT, ANNA? Ma disappeared, smiling at us as she departed. I have had just about enough of ghosts.

I offered Seeker a ride on my shoulders, which he accepted. HE IS SO PRECIOUS. Gareth went to investigate the whistle, but I thought it best to investigate the workshop first. Found: 10 acid, 5 alchemist’s fire, 3 vials of a blue substance, 3 rust cubes, some alchemical perfumes and ingredients, and a journal.

I tucked the journal away to read later and headed outside. Upon emerging, I found that we had gained a visitor, a striking redhead with only one arm. Wonder what she did. She said that her name was Terra, and although she wasn’t what you would call friendly, she was willing to hear us out. She was a friend of Anna’s, and she knew exactly what had happened to the family and the farm.

Apparently, a contingent of warforged attacked the farm one night, killing the whole family over a series of days. Anna managed to hide, and was the sole survivor. Oh, well done. Terra said that Anna was never the same after her family died, which is quite understandable. She continued to live on the farm, with Terra checking in on her and bringing her food. She also refused to acknowledge that her family was dead.

Terra seemed most unfriendly toward the menfolk of the party, making reference to some man who was the one who’d cut off her arm. She seems to like violence a great deal, a point that Sally—who’d made an appearance by this point—seized on as a topic of conversation. Fortunately, she didn’t seem to take a dislike to me. Good thing I’m not a man at the moment.

She followed us back to the cornfield while we took Anna’s father down from the scarecrow and held a proper burial. I gave Terra the journal, thus discharging our Debt. It is quite possible that Anna saved our lives by acting as she did—at the very least, Deth’s—and she deserved the proper recompense. I do not think the gesture was quite understood, but I did my best.

After the funeral, I read the journal to the rest of the party. It detailed Anna’s life up until the attacks—just normal kid stuff—as well as the attacks themselves. The warforged attacked the farm, killing one family member each night, saving the father for last. It seemed that they were after something he had, something Anna called “Daddy’s shiny stone.” After this entry, the journal goes back to normal, as if she was still living in the house with her family and nothing had changed. It was rather…sad. Her mind obviously couldn’t take the strain and cracked, allowing her to believe that her family was still alive. Are all blood-families like that? Can they all not bear to lose one another? We buried our dead…or drowned them…and moved on. If a Debt needed to be paid, it was. If retribution was needed, it was done. Family…seems to be different.

We surmised—given the description of the rock as “earthy” and the fact that the warforged wanted it—that the rock in Anna’s family’s possession was in fact the WORLDSTONE. It was most likely taken by them when they attacked, as we found no sign of it in the house.

When we headed back to town, Terra followed us. At first, I assumed she was just going in the same direction—there are limited paths away from the farm that actually lead somewhere—but no, it seemed that she had decided her path lay with us for awhile yet. She expressed her intention to join us. She certainly looks like she can handle herself in a fight, at least.

I kept Seeker on my shoulders the whole way back, which he seemed to enjoy. He really is a delightful little thing. At the inn, we discussed plans for the future. It was my thought that he’d make an excellent sneak-monkey—being smaller than I, he can get into places I cannot—although it’s clear we shall have to work on the sneaking aspect. I gave him a cracker. Although he does not need to eat as such, it seemed rude to be eating around him without offering him anything. At any rate, he pronounced it “delicious.” SO CUTE. I foresee an excellent partnership.

He and I then left the others and went to the priest to see if he could do anything about the damage I’d incurred. Alas, he had nothing for today, but he said he could prepare something for tomorrow. It was good to have something to hold in reserve in case SOMETHING MORE PRESSING CAME UP FOR THE OTHERS. AGAIN. It is predictable, of course—everyone looks out for their own. On the way home, I attempted to show Seeker how to be sneaky, but it is clear that some modifications will have to be made in order for him to be successful at this.

When I fell asleep, Fahrezz was waiting for me. He was in the guise of an unfamiliar man this time. After expressing how much he missed me—again—really, the man is quite interestingly dense in the most adorable way—we…proceeded with the usual. One thing was not usual, however; one thing was most odd, and although Fahrezz seems to think that people are continually confused by the way his mind works (which generally does seem to be the case), I confess that this is the first time I have been so. Seeing him apologetic was one thing. Though sweet and unexpected, it was not something outside the realm of possibility. But this…

It was an offhand remark, really, pillow talk. He said that I was beautiful.

Well, I’d known that, of course. I’d invented a very fetching shape for the evening. But then he went on to clarify that he meant my original shape. Me. He meant me. Not the masks.

I did not know what to say to that. He was being honest, but what a strange thing to think. That form is not beautiful. There is no one who admires a blank canvas. No one, except apparently for Fahrezz.

I…shall have to think about this.

Morning. Prepared: 5 bombs. 1 cure light wounds potion. 1 block seed extract. 1 shield extract. I fell asleep snuggling Seeker, but he must have gotten bored—he doesn’t sleep, after all—as I found him in the corner in the morning. He was attempting to carve a pipe. Awww~ <3>ll just say many points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 13 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 16 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 20 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 23 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.

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Cedric: Entry 22

Upon returning to the ship after our successful battle, I we occupied ourselves in the usual manner. Taz and I took to fishing for some time although we know it would not be possible to catch anything. When we disembarked we said our goodbyes to the Captain, who told us in no uncertain terms to not fail. The weight of our mission grows greater every day.

We made our way to the lightning train’s station in Passage, and procured tickets with ease. The ride was short and, perhaps most surprisingly, uneventful. It seems I have grown accustomed to being assaulted or fighting in some way while traveling, and the absence of such occurrences is strangely disconcerting. Once at our destination, we obtained directions to Anna’s family’s farm, and traveled there without event.

It was sunset when we arrived, and Pneu immediately ran into the cornfield to… do what only the Host knows it is she does. It did not take long for her to scream, which I was unsurprised by. I had told her to remain with the rest of us, and had the others not gone to her aid I would have left her to deal with her problems on her own—for at the time, I had thought she had done nothing more than find something unpleasant, or perhaps mildly dangerous, yet in either case nothing that a woman of her skills could not handle on her own.

It was in fact fortunate that I decided to come with, given that it was an undead creature of some sort that had caused Pneu to scream. Her presence in the cornfield had disturbed it in some way, and before we could enter the cornfield she ran out and the creature appeared behind her. Gareth suggested we leave in case it could not leave the cornfield, and I agreed although I did not do more than step a few feet back, in the hopes of being better able to study it. At the time I had expected it would be necessary to warn the Applefields about what exactly it was that had taken root in their corn field, and so felt it necessary to actually know what it was that had developed.

Unfortunately, I was unable to discern anything of great value or detail, other than that it was in fact exceedingly dangerous. Given that the remainder of the farm was deserted, and that the creature was able to leave the cornfield and began to chase me after draining some of my strength with no more than a touch, we decided it would be best to retreat, recover, and return later. The retreat itself was less than efficient or what one might consider “lucky”, especially considering that we were forced to fight the creature rather than flee entirely. Fortunately we were successful, and returned to the town we had originally arrived in to find an inn. Once we did so we were all more than willing to go to sleep without the customary rounds of carousing.

My dreams were uneventful, and so I have been taking special care to watch Taz for any signs of upset. She seems her usual self, which I take as a good sign. In the morning Lady Jaela and I healed what damage we could, and set out to gather information about Anna’s family and their farm. After asking about, we learned no one had been seen about the farm for the past ten years. The man we initially spoke with directed us towards Father Michael, who had served as minister to the family. He was an older man, who recognized my family name and told me he had known my grandfather, Lord Cáel. No doubt he had traveled here during his service in the Last War. He said that while there were no known enemies of the family, there had been smoke and commotion when they disappeared and when he went to investigate there were signs of violence on the body he did find—that of Jonathon, Anna’s father and apparently the scarecrow that had attacked us earlier. He too had been driven off by what remained of the man, and told us that we must lay the spirits of him and his family to rest in order to make the area safe again.

He also told us he had not seen Anna since she was five years old, before the family disappeared. However, he did tell us we could inquire at the post office to determine where the letters she had written home had been sent. At said post office, we were told all letters had been delivered safely to the letter box on the road—no doubt because it was beyond the property—and that all of them had, somehow, been picked up as it is standard procedure for the couriers to take back any remaining letters and they never had cause to do so.

We decided to return to the farm, so we might honor Anna’s memory and her sacrifice by laying her family’s spirits to rest. Before that I asked Shel to stay at the inn with the carriage, so she might stay out of danger. She was agreeable to this and I kissed her cheek, as I am wont to do before leaving. Taz made some remark about this perhaps being the last time I may see her, and I worried so I pulled her in to a proper kiss, which the others were quick to mock in their own way. It was done lightheartedly, however, so I did not mind.

When we set foot on the farm again, we did not encounter Jonathon and made our way to the shed marked on the map we had found in Anna’s journal, labeled as her workshop. The door was locked with an elaborate mechanism, some parts of which to unlock it with were also in her journal. However, we were unable to completely unlock it. Fortunately, further directions were yet again with Anna’s journal, instructing us to find a key within her room. The complicated nature of her journal and the undoubtedly unusual circumstances of her upbringing lead me to wonder if she did not in some way expect her death to occur? And if so, for what reason did she expect this?

Regardless, on the porch of her house was a strangely solid banjo as well as swarms of rats. We were able to dispatch them and who we assumed was her grandfather’s ghost with relative ease, and entered the house. Inside the fireplace lit itself and we heard children laughing, no doubt her siblings who also saw fit to upend a bucket of water onto my head. We made our way into the kitchen, where the ghost of her grandmother compelled us to eat. This was an exceedingly poor decision, as I could feel it sapping away my strength. Gareth unfortunately seemed to have the most difficulty resisting the urge to eat, and so, after some difficulty, I pulled him away from the table until Taz managed to temporarily dispel the spirit and remove the compulsion.

We then traveled up the stairs, which iced over as we traversed them. Lady Jaela and Taz fell down them because of this, and so Gareth and I carried them up. Lady Jaela was of course disappointed that it was myself and not Gareth that carried her, but it is not his duty to watch over her, as it is mine—imperfect as I may be in carrying it out. With luck her infatuation will pass quickly, and with little more distress.

Once up the stairs we entered into various rooms, one of which was Anna’s. In there we found a key, but made sure to investigate the other rooms as well. While we did so her siblings saw fit to harass us multiple times, and more than once they caused my pants to drop beneath my armor. This would not have been as embarrassing as it could have been—my armor covers much of what would otherwise be indecent—but Taz saw fit to attempt to molest me and Gareth saw fit to stroke my tail, which although I am sure he did not understand the implications of at the time, I am equally certain now he does. I am only glad he did not fixate on the… reactions such behavior elicited.

Instead we continued on, investigating each room until we came to the one belonging to the children. I noticed a latch on the ceiling, and beseeched Taz to climb upon my shoulders to pull it down. It lead us to an attic, were we found the bodies of two young children. After looking them over for some time, I concluded they had died violently, with great struggle. There were also burns on them… Gareth was kind enough to offer me some canvas with which to wrap them up, so we could bring them outside to be properly laid to rest. Lady Jaela oversaw this, and the sending off of the grandparents’ spirits as well. Soon we will be investigating Anna’s workshop, and with luck soon the entire family will be laid to rest, and at peace. I hope Anna will find such an action a suitable means of honoring her memory, and repaying her sacrifice. I also hope that Gareth and Deth particularly will find some closure in the action; they most of all have taken her death to heart.

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Taz: Keeping it in the Family is a Bad Idea When The Family is Dead

I still have not solved my charm problem. The others say they don’t notice any difference, but I can FEEL it. The words do not slide off my tongue as they once did, and everyone else keeps getting damaged in ways that are APPARENTLY more important. We made our way to our destination. One entertainment point to Deth for snark. One entertainment point to Gareth for molesting Cedric.

We arrived and had to bid farewell to the ship and the captain again. I’ll have to ask Cedric how he summoned him, for future reference. One never knows when one might need assistance. We disembarked in Passage, although I couldn’t even attempt to conduct my necessary business. How am I supposed to convince my family of my idea now?

We had an uneventful ride on the Lightning Rail for once. I occupied myself drawing more schematics. When we arrived in a much smaller town, we STILL had to take a carriage to get to the farm, after asking around for a bit as to its location. We kept getting odd looks in response to our inquiries, the reasons for which soon became clear. It was sunset by the time we got there. Pneu wandered off, as per usual, while the rest of us approached the farmhouse. It looked…quite shut up.

Before we got very far, we heard a scream. We went to go check on Pneu—I’m sure she can handle herself, but a bit of backup never goes amiss—I shouldn’t say never—OUR backup doesn’t typically go amiss. She came tearing out of the cornfield, saying something about a corpse in the scarecrow and a ghost in the cornfield.

What she was talking about soon became unfortunately clear, as the ghost emerged out of the cornfield after her. I do wish she’d chosen a different direction to lead it in. Although it likely wouldn’t have mattered; the thing seemed dead set against forcing out intruders. Which it seemed to perceive as us.

We made a strategic retreat, by which I mean we ran away like a kid chased by Wharf Boys. We headed toward the farmhouse, thinking that, if there was a ghost on their property, Anna’s family would likely know of it—and probably know how to placate it, if it was in fact some sort of guard. It was for naught. The farmhouse, upon closer inspection, was boarded up and in disrepair. It did not appear that anyone lived there anymore, and likely hadn’t for some time. One usefulness point to Jaela for helpfulness. I finally managed to shoot the cornfield ghost. We made our escape back to town, deciding to return in the morning when we were well-rested and had perhaps gathered a bit of information on WHAT THE HELL HAD HAPPENED TO THE APPLEFIELD FARM. (Can I say again, FUCKING SMALL TOWNS. Nothing good ever happens to us in the middle of nowhere.)

There was some debate as to whether we would in fact return, but the others insisted. Anna’s family, such as they were, clearly did not live at the house anymore, so I didn’t see the point. We have discharged our Obligation in making the attempt. Our debt to Anna is not substantial enough to merit such risk; however, the others were determined. We decided to make some inquiries before returning.

When I fell asleep, I had a visitor waiting for me.

It was a green-eyed woman, whom I immediately recognized as Fahrezz. The shape she was wearing was also somehow familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. She began talking to me in a rather roundabout manner. It took me a moment to realize that she was APOLOGIZING for his ruse. But Fahrezz does not apologize. He makes it a point not to, in fact. It is quite possibly the oddest experience I’ve had, although flustered Fahrezz is…cute.

She seemed much relieved when I accepted the apology, and our discussion turned to other things. She mentioned seeing Cedric again, claiming that he doesn’t trust anyone. That has not at all been my experience; on the contrary, that man trusts far too many people with far too many things. He displays his true face to the world even when he would do better with a mask. Fahrezz said that he’d “gotten all tattoo-y” on him (which I later clarified).

Fahrezz…my reading on her was…remorse. I believe her to be truly sorry, which is reassuring. I managed that quite well; I do not believe he will be making light of my identity again in a hurry. She even got me a secret as a peace offering. I was quite honestly touched by the importance of such a gesture, and am not sure if I concealed it well enough. Given that Fahrezz can read minds, I suppose it hardly matters.

Anyway. The secret.

He’s in Thrane.

He’s in Thrane.

V.

I cannot adequately describe my response to this, so I will not try. I am not sure if I will be able to avoid him, if our courses run so parallel. He is not working for the church—I am not terribly surprised—but why? Why is he there? Why now?

Fahrezz revealed to me that his current shape was in fact a female version of V, which I could…not un-see after that. I asked him to change to someone less…just less, which he did. Someone anonymous this time. Someone safe.

He seems to enjoy trolling Cedric too, which I was greatly amused to hear. (If the man wouldn’t make it so abominably EASY…) Apparently, Cedric made him promise to get permission in order to keep visiting me, and not to visit anyone else in the party without permission as well. He “did a thing,” which I assume is the aforementioned tattoo. I am not sure which to be more surprised at, that Cedric cares for my mental well-being in so extreme a fashion, or that Fahrezz actually agreed to such a Deal. (I can only guess that that is what the tattoo represents.)

He mentioned that he had been “off his stride” lately, but was not terribly forthcoming as to why. I grew frustrated attempting to read him. Conflicting emotions are always difficult to handle, particularly when they are so alien. I said that it wasn’t fair that he could read my thoughts, but he was a blank to me. And then…he offered me the chance to read his.

It was difficult. For a moment, I could absorb nothing but a confused tangle of images, most of them very bizarre indeed. The experience was…interesting. And exhilarating. Is this what it’s like to be a true one, not a shadow? At the center of the whirlwind was an image of myself, from our last encounter, angry with him. Good heavens, did I look angry. I almost frightened myself~

So the thing that caused him to lose his stride…was me?

I am accustomed to having such effects on others, but I am not accustomed to it mattering. I wonder if there is a way to keep him here when the rest of the Quori realm is destroyed. I believe Deth and Gareth are in search of such a strategy for Deth’s benefit, but I doubt they would be willing to share it with Fahrezz. Perhaps he himself would have some ideas. Perhaps that will make him see that survival is the best option.

I do not know if Fahrezz quite grasps what is happening at the moment. It seems that things such as affection may be too alien to him.

But he knows me. He knows everything. And he does not flinch.

He’s from a nightmare world; of course he doesn’t flinch. Don’t be foolish. Sentiment is not advantageous.

He may be able to read thoughts, but he cannot read emotions. That is, I believe, part of the reason why I am confusing to him; he doesn’t know how I feel about things. You should not be doing so in any case.

Also. He said that I might be able to read the thoughts of others in the dream world, although it is difficult to do discreetly. I may have to experiment with this at some point. I do not believe I’d be able to manage any of the Quori, but perhaps the others would not be so much of a challenge. I also asked him if it was true that you couldn’t teach someone to navigate the dream world as the Quori did, as Deth had claimed. Fahrezz said that it wasn’t IMPOSSIBLE, just extremely difficult for mortals, both since time passes differently and the nature of the world itself is rather…lengthy. He did say, however, that he could take me most of the way and drop me into someone else’s dream. Hmm. Another experiment that I chose to save for a later date.

I think experiencing affection is quite confusing to him. He was different, even after his apology had been accepted. More…hesitant.

We passed the remainder of the night in the usual manner. I have missed our interludes. I requested that Fahrezz be him, just for…acclimatization. Still the same. That’s all. And it was nice to have the upper hand on that bastard, for once.

Morning. Prepared: 5 bombs. 1 extract of bomber’s eye. 1 shield extract. 1 comprehend languages extract. 1 cure light wounds extract. 1 cure light wounds potion. I was, alas, still not charming.

Our intelligence-gathering mission was rather disquieting. The word from the townspeople was that “no one goes to the Applefield farm”…not in ten years. The timeline immediately stuck out as odd. Anna had always spoken of her family with happiness, with no hint of any sort of destruction in her past. Certainly no mention of a haunted farm left behind. But if the farm has been haunted for ten years…Anna would have only been a child at that point. Had she been adventuring on her own since then? That does not at all match what she said to us; she indicated that she had only recently left home. The man we spoke with didn’t know what had happened to the farm or its inhabitants, just that everyone was gone one day.

This was not right.

Why would Anna direct us to such a place? Was there a different Applefield farm? (No such luck.) She’d never mentioned anything that would indicate such a disaster; it was my impression that her past was utterly unremarkable.

The man said that a Father Michael might know more, so we went to speak with him. He confirmed what the other man had told us, saying that they’d tried to go to the farm ten years ago, but “Jonathan Applefield” wouldn’t have it. The body in the scarecrow was him, apparently. There were signs of violence at the scene; they’d seen smoke and heard a commotion before they’d gone over, but by the time they’d gotten there, Jonathan’s ghost was there and chased them off. He seemed truthful. He said that the bodies would have to be laid to rest in order for the ghosts to vanish.

Anna had mailed letters home. We went to the post office to see if they were there—after all, no one remained at the farm to collect them. They weren’t. They were all delivered. (What the hell kind of a town is this, that KEEPS DELIVERING MAIL to a farm they KNOW is ABANDONED? Something fishy is going on here.) And…they were all collected.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

Who could have collected them?

We set off for the farm again, leaving Shel behind. Cedric was being a pansy, whereupon I told him to kiss his lady-friend like a real man. He did so. Pneu and Gareth seemed to take this as encouragement for themselves. I was feeling a bit left out until Deth decided to kiss me. It was quite a good kiss, too. One entertainment point for Deth.

As per the post office’s report, the mailbox was in fact empty. There was a shed off to the side of the farm labeled “Anna’s workshop.” This whole undertaking has taken on a much more sinister tone. I took a look at the lock and verified that it was janky as shit. We had to insert several of the coins from Anna’s journal into it, then it opened to reveal a space for a key. According to the journal, this was in Anna’s room. At least, that was our assumption; it was written in…well, Anna.

ANNA I HAVE HALF A MIND TO FIND A WAY TO BRING YOU BACK TO LIFE SO I CAN KILL YOU MYSELF. WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A DEATH-MISSION IS THIS?

We approached the farmhouse—staying away from the cornfield—and heard banjo music. There was a banjo hovering above a rocking chair on the porch, seemingly playing itself. FUCKING COUNTRYSIDE. NOTHING GOOD. EVER.

And then there were rats. And the ghost of an old man, whom I assume is “Gran’pa.” Used 1 bomb. CAN ALL THESE GHOSTS JUST GO AWAY?

THE OLD MAN SHOT ME IN THE HEAD. IT DIDN’T HURT THAT MUCH, BUT NOW I DON’T THINK AS QUICKLY. I’M STUPID AND NOT CHARMING. MY SURVIVAL CHANCES ARE DIMINISHING BY THE DAY. GODDAMMIT ANNA. Used 1 bomb. FUCK YOU RATS.

One usefulness point to Jaela for attacking that evil old man. One usefulness point to Pneu for helping make the rats explode. Used 1 bomb. Finally, we got rid of him. Banjo splintered into dust. That counts as putting him to rest, right?

We headed into the house. I almost tripped on a toy car in the living room THAT WAS NOT THERE A MOMENT BEFORE. And Cedric got hit on the head with a bucket. Kids’, unless I miss my guess. Little brats. Little DEAD brats.

We proceeded into the dining room—save for Pneu, who had decided to sit in the living room smoking a cigar (where did she even get a cigar?)—and suddenly the lights went out. When they came back on, I found myself sitting at the table with the others, who were just as confused as I was. A woman whom I assume was “Gran’ma” appeared, bearing food. Normally, I’m all for free, non-poisoned food, but this was a special case. I stashed my portion under the table. The others, particularly Gareth, couldn’t seem to stop eating. I hurried off to the kitchen. I’d gone after something corporeal to get rid of the old man. Would there be something similar here?

There was a stove. I put a bomb in it. Used 1 bomb. It seemed to do the trick; she was gone when I came back. In her place was a cookbook. Gareth was over in the corner puking his guts out. What was IN that food? Probably ghosty bits or something.

Then I got pantsed by brats. Deth got his hair cut, which was kind of funny. He ran off to Pneu like a prissy little princess to get it mended. He might have saved his effort; it only got cut again. (You didn’t think to wait until AFTER we got out of the stupid farmhouse, Deth?)

Kept hearing creepy laughing kids as we went upstairs. They were icy. It hurt. I MADE THE WRONG CHOICE. I should have just stayed with Pneu. Maybe she had another cigar to share.

We went through a bunch of kids rooms, including one that seemed to be Anna’s. We finally found that stupid key. SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE. THIS IS STUPID. We still need to lay everyone to rest somehow, APPARENTLY, although I don’t see why we’re all damn bound and determined to be heroes all of a sudden. We made our way through more bedrooms. One entertainment point to Jaela for snark.

Then we found an attic with a bunch of dead kids. Skeletons by this point, mostly. Grand. They weren’t missing their fingers or tongues or anything, so it wasn’t a Payment. I don’t think they even do that here. They definitely didn’t go easily, though.

GODDAMMIT ANNA. When you sent us on this quest to find your relatives and inform them of your fate, you might have thought to mention BY THE WAY MY RELATIVES ARE FUCKING DEAD. Just a nice note in the journal would have been handy, drawn in crayon like everything else, maybe a DRAWING OF GHOSTS AND A PILE OF BONES IN THE ATTIC.

DID YOU FUCKING STAY IN THIS HOUSE WITH DEAD PEOPLE FOR TEN YEARS? IS THAT WHAT YOU DID? WHAT THE FUCK. AND HOW THE FUCK DID ANYONE ELSE IN THIS FUCKING TOWN NOT FUCKING NOTICE THIS?

FUCK.

In summary:
Day 41, continued: Entirely satisfactory.
Day 42: WHAT THE FUCK.

Money obtained: None.
Loot obtained: None.

Ranking of companions:
Jaela- Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Deth: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Gareth- Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Jaela: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 16 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 20 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.

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Pneumonia: Smoke and a pancake

Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Sip, relax. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. This trip is dull. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. I want to pick our next vacation. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Sip, relax. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale.Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Sip, relax. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Sip, relax. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Lotta dead people round here. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. This scarf is coming along nicely. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Sip, relax. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. I could really go for some waffles. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. I think I’ll make some waffles. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. This wine is a good year. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. Puff, puff, puff, exhale. I’m definitely making waffles later.

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Cedric: Entry 21

After our fight with Warmonger Omega, I gathered up what supplies could be found and returned with the others to where we had left Shel and Whitepaw. Needless to say I was quite surprised to find them surrounded by the corpses of drow; apparently they had attacked them while we fought with Warmonger and the other warforged. According to Whitepaw, Shel had done her best to help, but more than anything I am simply glad she is unharmed.

It was a few hours’ journey back to Stormreach; fortunately they passed without issue. We thanked Whitepaw for his services, and then returned to the tavern where we were staying. It seems Kihda, Eve, and Dawn since set out, as they were not there. I wish them well on their journey.

Not to speak of things overmuch, but I wish Gareth would be more trusting of Shel. I would greatly appreciate time spent alone with her, not merely because of… carnal desires, but because her presence is a much-needed comfort after the days’ past events and I sleep better with her beside me, as I found while we traveled. I did not bother to explain such things to him, however, as I doubt they would have swayed him—although I am beginning to think they may have had some effect on Deth. Regardless, after I grew weary of the resulting teasing, I went to my room to disarm and read for a short while. Lady Jaela and Shel were kind enough to join me shortly after, and I spoke with them for some time. It was a relief to some of my stress, although I do not think this grief will settle until Anna’s family has been notified, and I have found a way to truly lay her spirit to rest.

A short time after Lady Jaela and Shel left, Taz came in to speak with me. Apparently Fahrezz has been speaking with her—but nothing more, fortunately, despite his claims otherwise—and told her that I had killed a young woman back home when she did not return my affections. I told Taz such things were of course untrue, and she was subsequently reassured. She thinks perhaps Fahrezz is spreading lies amongst us to sow discord in the group. I am unsure whether or not I agree with such an idea, but it is certainly a reasonable one.

I asked her to see if she could not find more information about the World Stone, given the number of connections she seems to have. She agreed, and also gave me the word necessary to activate the diadem in the manner that we need. Then we turned to other topics, such as what we wish to do should we survive this. I considered telling her that I did not fully expect to survive this journey, as if someone is to activate the diadem it would only make sense for me to be the one to do so. However, that is my task to complete and I have no reason to burden her with such thoughts. It may well be that another way could be found to activate the diadem, and I will not need to give my life at all: I do not court death or endless dreaming, only welcome it if absolutely necessary.

Instead I told her what I planned to do if I survived this journey at all, which is simple enough. I wish to continue my work with Lady Jaela, perhaps as a knight in her guard or a representative of Dol Arrah if she and her people would have me. I told her she also ought to come visit my family and myself; when she expressed concern as to them liking her, I assured her that only my mother, Abigail, and I are paladins. This seemed to placate her, and descriptions of Sophia and tales of our great, great aunt Machli’s exploits as an informant for Aundair in the Last War were enough to considerably perk her interest.

While speaking of such matters she began to tell me about a “code” she had once lived by, as well as a number of details of her life as a younger woman. Her “family”, such as it was, held her to an unfortunate code of conduct in the process of thieving and she understandably left to escape it. She mentioned too that because of her leaving her former associates are still after her, although she hopes she has lost them permanently. I assured her that if they were to ever find her, the others and myself would protect her. She is our friend, after all, although she still seems to have some difficulty accepting that fact. It is unfortunate, as I genuinely enjoy her company and learning about her view of the world, however strange it may be. I pray one day she will come to understand the value and meaning of camaraderie.

She left shortly after that, although returned a moment after to ask that I not tell Fahrezz about our conversation. The request initially surprised me, as I had assumed she knew of his ability to read thoughts, but it seems she does not. I told her I would not tell him, although unfortunately I believe he will know regardless. She expressed a desire to not “tip her hand” just yet, but if he continues to interact with her I have no doubt that she will soon learn the futility of such an exercise. With luck I will be able to prevent him from harassing her any further.

That evening I did not dream, which although I was grateful for, it worried me also. No one seemed to be behaving unusually the next day, however, so I do not think Fahrezz disturbed them. In the morning I left with Shel and Lady Jaela to procure traveling papers for the former, and to sell what pieces of equipment I did not need or the others could not use. It was an enjoyable outing, and gave me time to clear my head somewhat. Lady Jaela and Shel seemed to enjoy themselves, which was nice. While we were out, I also looked for a means of us traveling back to Aundair, or at least Khorvaire. Afina chose this time to speak up, and told me about a way she knew to summon the Captain. I am beginning to realize that while she may be knowledgeable about some things, she is regrettably far from intelligent.

Regardless, when I informed Lady Jaela of my plans she insisted on accompanying me that evening in my attempt to summon the Captain. I saw no problem with that, and in the meantime we returned to the inn to wait for the others. I gave Pneu the arrows I had found on the warforged, and gave Gareth the humanbane sword. He expressed a desire to sell it for money in order to acquire magical shackles, and I was able to rightly surmise that he intended to use them to help Deth in some way. Ever since my conversation with Fahrezz regarding the Q’uoris’ fate I have wondered if there wasn’t some way to prevent Deth from suffering the same one, and it seems Gareth is searching for one as well. To that end I gave them one thousand gold, which they appreciated. I hope for both their sakes that these shackles are truly able to help.

After I went with Lady Jaela to the ocean, where I followed Afina’s directions as best I was able. Unfortunately I was unable to speak the words in Infernal—I have never had a talent for that tongue, nor do I wish to acquire it—so Lady Jaela spoke instead, as she knows the language. Afina then told me I would have to hold her underwater to the point of near drowning, and Lady Jaela consented although I was nervous about doing so. To that extent she nearly did drown, as when I pulled her up again I initially had difficulty restoring breath to her lungs.

I was ultimately successful, however, and once she was breathing again I healed her and she regained consciousness, thank the goddess. The captain appeared and as I explained to him my reasons for summoning him I pulled my cloak off my armor from where I had left it on the shore and wrapped Lady Jaela in it to dry her off. I then carried her back to the inn, apologizing all the while. Thankfully she was never in any true danger, but I was still worried for her and rather embarrassed by my own failure to heal her initially. For a time the Captain accompanied us, and I asked him what he knew of Shale. What he told me was not all that different from what I expected: he is a businessman that keeps his word. However, he warned against signing any contracts with him, and I made a note to never do so.

I told the Captain we would like to depart in the morning, and with that he left Lady Jaela and I to return to the inn. I accompanied her to her room, and then returned to my own to sleep. I braced myself for the worst, but instead of his usual antics I found Fahrezz was… pensive. Apparently Deth had contacted him earlier, in a desperate bid to save us from Ganitari’ran. He expressed confusion over the fact that he did not know how he would have reacted in such a situation, and rambled at some length how he always knows how he will react in situations… except for this time. Apparently, such novelty is fascinating to him.

He also wanted my advice, oddly enough. He told me of a woman he had intentionally wronged, and of the unexpected consequence that he felt what I eventually realized was remorse for such an act. The idea of him feeling such an emotion was entirely foreign to him, and he was quite adamant at first in his denial of the ability to feel such things. I was eventually able to convince him of the truth of the matter, however, and explained to him at length the complexities, pitfalls, and benefits of caring about people. I also gave him advice about what to do next. Needless to say the entire experience was nothing short of surreal. Giving such advice to Deth endeared him to me, whereas speaking of such things with Fahrezz only felt… strange, and somewhat uncomfortable. If it were not for the fact that he clearly felt the same and, with one exception has been surprisingly honest throughout all our exchanges, I would have thought this was simply another game of his.

Ultimately, and most strangely, I feel some semblance of hope from this conversation. It was attachment and kindness that convinced Deth to not betray us; perhaps these same qualities will improve Fahrezz’s moral character to some extent. Although he was reluctant to divulge too many details of his situation, as the woman in question is very secretive, he told me he would likely ask for my advice again at least once. I can only hope I will steer him in the right direction, and find redemption for even him.

We also spoke to some extent of the Q’uori faith; apparently they do not worship so much as placate the entity whose waking and sleeping creates their world. I remember Deth had mentioned it by name once, but not gone into details. I also learned about the state of things in Thrane. Krozen is tightening his fist around the people, and it will not be long before inquisitions in other countries start. I fear for my family’s safety if such a thing is the case, as I know many in the Silver Flame hold no love for those of us with fiendish blood, no matter our actions. Strangely enough Fahrezz offered to do… less-than-savory things to Krozen for me, which I declined although the temptation to ask to have him whipped, strung up and bled dr treated less than kindly was great. I fear he may so regardless, but there is little I can do to stop it.

Most importantly for the immediate future, he told me that the eyes that circle Ganitari’ran are the souls of those she’s killed, and that the one housing Anna’s soul is cracked… something he has never seen before. He told me he would try to find out a way to obtain it and free Anna’s soul, for which I am extremely grateful even if I am reluctant to trust him still. He also gave me his word that he would not bother us until respects for Anna had been given… A consequence of me explaining the purpose and emotions behind funerals, no doubt, as the concepts of both were foreign to him at first. I must remember to tell Gareth as well that his mother will likely be encountered after such respects are paid, as Fahrezz stated she has been anxious to move against us.

I… also received some advice for my own personal issues from Fahrezz, as well. I expressed my conflicted feelings regarding killing and smiting those that are evil, to which he responded by reminding me that defeating evil does not always mean killing it. After all, “have I not defeated my enemy if he is my friend”? It was incredibly strange to hear him speak such words but I cannot deny their truth, either… If anything, I now believe that I have been given these interactions with him by the goddess as a means of learning this lesson more strongly than ever. He is truly an evil creature if ever I encountered one, and yet he has shown signs that even he might be saved.

When we ran out of words to speak and he made it clear he was not interested in more intimate affairs tonight, he also expressed an uncertainty of how to part after engaging in the conversation that we did. I taught him how to clasp forearms as warriors do: a sign of mutual respect even in the face of animosity. He seemed genuinely pleased by the concept and we parted on surprisingly good terms.

In the morning I came down to find Gareth and Deth had sold some sort of rocks to Shale, which worried me somewhat given the nature of the conversation I had had with the Captain. There was no contract involved that I could see, however. I asked if this transaction, too, was for funds to acquire the shackles they had mentioned before, and they confirmed that it was. The three of us set out and I did the majority of the speaking for them, as neither of them are particularly… delicate, when it comes to such matters. I managed to find out that such shackles would be sold in Carnath or perhaps the Demon Wastes, while a buyer for the sword I gave Gareth would likely be found in Aundair or Carnath.

We returned, and then boarded the Captain’s ship. Once aboard I took the opportunity to speak with Deth about what Fahrezz had told me. He was evasive, as I expected, but in his attempts to distract me and discredit my source of information he inadvertently confirmed exactly what I wished to know. He was expectedly embarrassed, but did mention he had a “last resort” in case the shackles did not work. I am unsure what such a thing could be, although I expect it has something to do with Gareth in some manner… Whatever it is, I hope he will not have to carry it out.

The Captain told us that it would be significantly faster if we were to dock in Passage and take the Lightning Rail to Fairhaven. Although we would have to pay for our tickets on it, we ultimately decided that it was an acceptable price to arrive in Aundair sooner. With that settled, the Captain informed us we would fight tomorrow morning.

In the evening I was visited by Fahrezz again, who was in a mood similar to before. He wanted advice again, as he was not sure if he would actually mean it if he apologized. After thinking on it for a short while, I told him to view it as an experiment; he seemed agreeable to that much. After speaking at greater length regarding the nature of the woman he had angered, I eventually realized it was in fact Taz he was speaking of. After resisting my initial urge to strangle him, I demanded to know if he had done anything to harm her. He said he had not, and I swore that if he does so in the future I will hunt him down.

Surprisingly, he asked me not to ask what it was he had done to anger her, which I agreed to. He also called her secretive, which I found surprising given that she has never been especially reticent with me. To that he responded by staring at me intently, as if he were riffling through my memories. It was most disconcerting. However, he ultimately came to the conclusion that she is more honest with me than she has been with anyone else. I cannot say such a thought would have ever crossed my mind previously… But it does make sense she would be raised with a penchant for secrecy, given what she told me of her past. It is unfortunate she grew up in such circumstances.

We eventually returned to the topic of his apology, and I suggested that he give her something that was either explosive, or novel in some way. She shares his curiosity, after all, and ultimately he decided he would find her a secret of some sort that she would appreciate. I am hesitantly hopeful that she will coax some semblance of a better nature out of him. Surprisingly, he was unperturbed by my assertion of such, and freely admitted to attempting to do the same to me, albeit with regards to becoming less righteous.

Eventually the topic of him visiting others in the group arose, and I made it clear to him that I would not tolerate him visiting or harassing any of them in any way. Although I made a slight concession for Taz should he obtain her permission to do so, I stipulated that if she revokes such permission or demands he leave that he must leave her alone as well. He even agreed to allow me to inscribe a holy mark onto his hand that would activate and curse him were he to break his word, although as I drew it he made no secret of his distaste of its appearance.

With that he told me we were even in our debt to one another, and I agreed. He also mentioned that he has yet to obtain more information on Anna despite it being three days, although he said he would continue to search. With that, and a few more verbal barbs exchanged between us, he left. I imagine and reluctantly hope that I will not see him for some time, although I also pray for Taz’s safety and sanity during such an interlude. I must be certain to keep a close eye on her for signs of distress.

Come morning, I went down to meet with the others. We docked and Deth pushed Shel back inside, and I yelled sharply reprimanded him to be more patient. Gareth chimed in that he did not want Shel to die either, so it would be best for her to stay. Given that, I am glad for both their concern… I only wish they would show it in a more polite fashion. Regardless, I kissed her cheek and told her we would return shortly. It pains me to leave her for any length of time, but it would pain me even more to see her harmed.

The boat had docked in an oasis of some sort, deep within a desert. The sand being blown about made it rather difficult to see. However, we eventually found six foes and fought them with some difficulty. Taz warned us to avoid the arms if possible, while Deth informed us that some had a “mean stare”. I quickly realized that looking in their eyes induced a number of unfortunate effects, one of which caused Gareth to become extremely disoriented, so that by the end of the fight he mistakenly attacked Lady Jaela. Thank Dol Arrah I was able to take the damage for her. I know he cannot help it, and I know he was certainly disoriented enough to not consider listening anyways, but I do wish he would have listened when I told him to put his axe down until he regained his senses. Regardless, I am simply relieved Lady Jaela was not harmed. I am anxious to reach port in Passage and continue on to visit Anna’s family.

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Taz: Well-Met By Chance on a Moonless Night

I do believe I’ve finished with the schematics for the warforged suit. Just in time, too. Imagine the mass market possibilities. This means it’s my turn next, doesn’t it? (Not if I have anything to say about it.)

I also had a chat with Cedric about the Concern. In summary. I told him that Fahrezz had mentioned to me that he (Cedric, that is) had killed a girl back home when she hadn’t returned his affections. Cedric was very offended at this implication and told me it was nonsense, which of course it was, and I said I believed him. I mentioned that Fahrezz’s plan may well be to divide us from one another, and asked if he’d said anything about the others of the party to him. Cedric said that he had not.

An interesting gambit, Fahrezz. What did you hope to learn? What did you hope would happen? That I would crack, slip up? Not a chance. I am too well hidden for that. Still, if nothing else, I can trust Cedric to be Cedric, i.e. stupidly honest. He knows nothing of who I am. Perhaps Fahrezz was trying to gain leverage over me. The power is in the knowing.

Cedric wanted me to make inquiries about the Worldstone, so I shall. More information is always good. He also said that I should come visit his family when this is all over, which made me laugh. When I told him that I didn’t think his family would like me very much, he pointed out that they weren’t all paladins. His sister especially sounds like an interesting individual. Perhaps Taesaria will have to visit Cedric’s home after all.

In the process of our talk, I told Cedric…things. More, I’m sure, than was wise. I don’t quite know how it happened. Perhaps it is his very guilelessness that encourages talkativeness. I do not believe it is calculated, but I shall have to remain on guard in the future. I explained a few of the Rules to him; he seemed quite shocked. Perhaps now he understands my distaste for living by a code. He said that the party would protect me should certain…individuals come to call, which is quite sweet, but honestly. None of them would have a chance against V, save for possibly Pneu. And she would try to kill him, which is not at all Allowed.

In any case, we ended up back on the captain’s ship through a series of events that I am not sure of—those plans took up a great deal of my attention. I have missed him. We’re planning to take the Lightning Rail to Anna’s and also possibly drown some old women (I do not remember the context of that particular notation but it’s in my notebook, so it must be important). One entertainment point for Gareth. One entertainment point for Deth.

Morning. We had been informed that we would be paying our fare today, so I prepared accordingly. Manufactured: 5 bombs. 1 cure light wounds potion. 1 cure light wounds extract. 1 extract of bomber’s eye. 1 shield extract.

We engaged in battle in the middle of a desert. There were sand cacti and a sandstorm. It was quite exciting. The ship had docked (?) itself in the middle of an oasis. Soon enough, the creatures emerged. Deth said that the one in robes with fanged eyes had “a mean stare” and not to look in its eyes. I identified the others as a type of rakshasha. Nasty fiends, their arms spit at you. It’s most unpleasant. I found out firsthand that they hurt when they stare at you, too. Drank one (1) bomber’s eye. Then the thing with the snaky arms vanished. Drank one (1) shield potion. One usefulness point to Pneu for badassery. And then I got confused. And then cursed. It was unpleasant. But we beat them, so our fare is paid.

I think I will need to have Words with Fahrezz.

In summary.
Day 40, remainder: A relief and another problem.
Day 41: I have sand in places I didn’t know I could get sand.

Money obtained: None.
Loot obtained: None.

Ranking of companions:
Gareth: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Deth: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Pneu: Usefulness- 27 points. Entertainment value- 30 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 10 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 28 points. Entertainment value- 15 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 18 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.

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