What gentle dream?

Taz: Complications Are Best Nipped in the Bud with a Big Vat of Acid

After the excitement of the battle, we had a nice boring day of walking through jungle. I haven’t decided whether this place is better or worse than the middle of nowhere farmland countryside. At least here we have the benefit of interesting scenery. Although it’s probably trying to kill us; some of the animals here are poisonous.

One thing did break up the monotony, however…around midday, I spotted a warforged following us. The others noticed as well, save for Cedric—I really should mix him up something to improve his eyesight; that man’s going to get us all killed someday. Further research needed. This sparked a debate about whether we should attempt to speak with the warforged in question; Cedric, of course, was all for going up and making friends, while Deth and Gareth seemed more inclined to simply kill him. I wouldn’t have minded having a word with him myself—such behavior was, to say the least, unusual, and I was curious about his motivations. Unfortunately, he ran away before we could question him.

Cedric took the opportunity of our dull day to question Deth about the dream world. Deth was characteristically unhelpful, aside from informing Cedric he was wrong about everything. I’d managed to gather that much for myself. Really, the man is quite fanciful in the most surprising ways. He also mentioned that he’s been having “nightmares.” I had a feeling I knew what that meant. He indicated to Shel that he’d tell her more later, so my course of action was set.

When we stopped for camp, Cedric and Shel crept off to have their chat, and I followed. It was clearly apparent that Cedric was not all right. He kept alluding to nightmares, dancing around the subject. First he explained his reaction to my prank. He said that there was someone in the crowd that he recognized…a “friend” that he made it a point to mention he’d known long before he met Shel. I smell ‘former lover’ all over this girl. If you could change yourself for each one, Cedric, you wouldn’t get yourself in these messes.

After much stopping and starting, he said that he felt like he’d done something wrong. Apparently, the night he’d stayed in the temple, he’d had a dream. About Shel. At first I thought that was it, and I was about to pop out of the bushes and whack him over the head. Then he went on. The dream wasn’t just a product of Cedric’s imagination…it was Fahrezz. Fahrezz as Shel.

So that’s what he’s been up to. The rest of what he’s been up to. That individual—

But in order. My notes must be maintained.

Shel was quite touchingly understanding, insisting that it was still “just a dream.” Oh, honey. It’s okay, Cedric isn’t the brightest either. Some days I don’t know who’s worse, him or Gareth. Gareth, bless him, has a head like a brick, but at least he isn’t so nauseatingly naive.

Fahrezz threatened to visit Shel or someone else the next night, so Cedric decided to take one for the team. I don’t know what he’s fussing about; it’s not like Fahrezz is awful in bed, and there’s a certain appeal to hate sex. (I suppose we’ll find out, won’t we?)

Morning. Prepared: 5 bombs, 1 shield extract, 1 cure light wounds potion. More walking. Nature is dull.

white Paw stopped in mid-morning, saying that we were almost there, but there was a problem. A giant problem. A literal giant problem. Three of them, blocking our way into the ruins. Fantastic. Pneu went out to scout while the rest of us unproductively debated our options. She came back having noticed that the giants were snacking on some elf corpses. Wonderful. I had to pick now to decide to be an elf. I am full of endless regret.

One entertainment point to White Paw for effective negotiations. We finally decided that we’d attempt to bribe the giants with food. I thought this was likely to end in disaster, as the giants would more than likely be pleased that their food was being delivered by more food.

Nonetheless, we set off hunting. And found a sleeping dinosaur. An allosaurus, to be exact. Pneu estimated that killing it would be “risky.” I took that as code for “we’re all going to be dino food.” The thing was a hardy bugger. The others wanted to fight it; Pneu tried to talk them out of it. One usefulness point to Pneu for good sense. I headed up a tree as the plan was set, crossbow at the ready. Not that I planned on sticking around if they didn’t kill it right away. My concern was for naught; Pneu felled the creature in one blow. One usefulness point to Pneu.

We began dragging the meat toward the giants. Somehow, I was chosen to be the emissary. How do I let myself be talking into these things? I told the others I was going to disguise my ears and went behind a tree, then became a human. No need to appear any more tasty to the giants than we already did.

I attempted to talk to the giants, without much success. They didn’t seem to understand what I was saying, and without my comprehend languages extract, I couldn’t understand them. I was just becoming convinced that we were about to die when the sleeping giant woke up. Luckily for us, she could talk. She understood our offering, and didn’t seem immediately hostile. A relief.

When we indicated our interest in visiting Harruck Nagos, she said it was death to go up there. Apparently, there was some sort of monster or god—she was somewhat unclear—in the ruins. She referred to this creature as “Chak chak chak chak chak.” No one has ever seen him—at least, no one left alive—only heard the noise. She said that he was an evil god who came many years ago.

They agreed to let us pass, thankfully, although the leader made it clear that she thought heading up there was suicide. Anna seemed determined to make friends with the giants. One entertainment point to Anna for exuberant hugging.

We headed into the ruins. Deth and I flipped up the stairs together. One entertainment point to Deth for being my acrobat buddy.

AND THEN WE FOUND SPIDERS. GIANT SPIDERS. SON OF A BITCH. The big ones were quite obviously poisonous. The smaller ones—I say ‘smaller’; they were our size—were babies. Not quite as poisonous. They looked somewhat like ogre spiders, but not exactly.

THEN CHAK CHAK—fuck it. Then CK5 showed up. He was, predictably, an even bigger spider. Horrifying. QUIT. Drank 1 shield extract. Used 1 bomb. KILL IT WITH FIRE. Gareth became a giant again. One usefulness point to Deth for top-notch click click boom. One usefulness point to Anna for also trying to KILL IT WITH FIRE. Pneu had slipped me some arrows when we’d gone in—odd bolts with red tips—and I took the opportunity to try them out. THEY EXPLODED. One usefulness point to Pneu for her excellent taste in gifts. One usefulness point to Gareth for badassery. Research note: Make tar bombs. Quite useful. One usefulness point to Anna for the idea. One usefulness point to Pneu for badassery.

And then Cedric got kidnapped by a spider and then he fell off the wall and then they were all dead and bits of flaming spider fell on everyone in the way and all the spiders were dead. THANK THE FUCKING GODS. Since the others were considerably worse for wear, we headed back to camp.

The giants were very impressed to learn that we’d slain a god. I was fairly certain that CK5 was not actually a god, but I wasn’t about to tell them that. That would have made us look less impressive. One entertainment point to Anna for playing children’s hand games with a giant. I decided to roast some marshmallows with the leader. (Still haven’t gotten her name.) Manufactured: 1 tar bomb.

And then.

Fahrezz visited. It was quite fun, at first. He chatted about the fun he’s been having with Ced—he showed up as what he envisioned Ced’s kid looking like. Said that he’d made Ced sleep with him like that. That individual has a twisted sense of humor. We had a most enjoyable interlude—I requested that he use his original form. He’d requested mine. It was only fair.

I got some more information on the endgame he sees. 1. Dream ends and all the Quori die. 2. They win, Fahrezz is a big damn hero, and then he dies of boredom. (Unsure if that can actually happen or if he was exaggerating for effect.) 3. They win, and Ganatari’Ran finally decides to off him.

I would not have expected him to be so unimaginative. Hinted that he might want to swap sides. I could have saved my effort. The important thing I did learn is that Ganatari tends to keep her word.

He suggested that he’d showed Cedric the first form. The original form. (Why tell me?) I’d known that it was dangerous, the Quori knowing the secret. Perhaps I would do better to end their dream after all, let them all die. They cannot threaten me if they are dead.

I should have killed him. But I was not sure if I could do so, and failure would have been inconvenient. Choose a side. I have. Mine.

Morning. I woke. Manufactured: 5 bombs. 1 extract of detect secret doors. 1 cure light wounds potion. We headed back to the ruins. Found: warforged parts. Potentially useful. I took them. You had better sort out a way to snatch this contract, idiot, or it’s my name that gets a black mark.

Investigating. Down the stairs. Runes on the wall: “They came from our nightmares. We fought them hard.” Context of engravings makes it clear that they’re speaking of the war between the Quori and the giants. There is potentially useful information down here. Perhaps if we found out how the giants defeated the Quori…

Giant pressure plate in floor. Arrow slits. Traps. Researched by Pneu. Moved along together. Giant lock. Couldn’t open it. More runes: “Those who fell slept forever more. They dreamt only the one dream.”

The one dream. Concept keeps popping up.

Back through other corridor. Next room. More runes: “Of our glory, our nation is great.” Large key on hook. Ghost of a giant. Very large and not my problem right now.

What does Cedric know?

Fahrezz lies like—well, like I do; it’s entirely possible that he invented the story to trap me. He is quite capricious. But there is no way to be sure, no way to inquire of Cedric without betraying myself. (That’s what he’s after, isn’t it; this trap.)

Courses of action:

Talk Ganatari’Ran into killing him. Unworkable. He’s more valuable to her than I am. Besides, she knows too.

Kill Cedric. No. Someone will notice. And he MIGHT not deserve it. Who cares? I have had about enough of you, you amoral bastard. Somebody woke up on the wrong side of the cassock this morning.

Let them all die. They’re too much of a threat. Fine, but what to do in the meantime?

Unless—

Oh, yes.

You have a weakness, Fahrezz.

Cedric trusts you less than he trusts me.

I can manage this without asking any questions at all.

All I have to do is go on the offensive.

Day 38: Mostly dull.
Day 39: Spiders. And disaster.
Morning 40: Investigation. Damage control.

Money obtained: None.
Loot obtained: Warforged parts.

Ranking of companions:
Pneu: Usefulness- 4 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 2 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Gareth: Usefulness- 1 point.
White Paw: Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Pneu: Usefulness- 24 points. Entertainment value- 29 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 27 points. Entertainment value- 14 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 20 points. Entertainment value- 17 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 9 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 18 points. Entertainment value- 18 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.

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Pneumonia: Eyes of the Spider

Rising up, lizards to beat. Need more time, no more chances. Went the distance now I’m back on my feet; just a girl, and her will to survive. So many times, it happens so fast; he changes passion for glory. Don’t lose your grip, on the laws of the cast, you must fight just to keep him alive. It’s the eyes of the spider, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals. As the last known survivor stalks her prey in the night, and she’s watching us all through the eyes; of the spider.
Face to face, out in the heat. Hanging tough, staying hungry. Despite the odds, we still kill to eat. For we will kill, with the skill, to survive. It’s the eyes of the spider, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals. As the last known survivor stalks her prey in the night, and she’s watching us all through the eyes; of the spider.
Rising up, straight to the top. Spilling guts, for the glory. Went the distance, now he’s not going to stop; just a man and his will to survive. It’s the eyes of the spider, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rivals. As the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he’s watching us all through the eyes; of the spider.
The eyes of the spider.

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Cedric: Entry 17

We started our day shopping for supplies; I purchased what I needed as well as supplies for Shel. I told Taz to scour the city for what information about Harruck Nagos she could find, given that she seems to have connections nearly everywhere we go. Afterward I visited the temple of Dol Arrah and was received warmly. It was wonderful to spend time in her temple, as always, and I was greatly calmed. Later I returned to the inn where we are staying to find that Taz had found very little information, but no matter. I found also that she can make antitoxins, which will undoubtedly prove useful for us.

There was also someone throwing things at Pneu, although I had difficulty seeing as such at first. I worry for my eyesight, if the others are able to see things so readily while I struggle to catch on. Eventually I saw that it was a small boy that looked similar to Pneu, hanging from the ceiling. Pneu seemed to know him and the young man that came in later; she called the younger one Charles and the older one Thomas. I suspect they are family, although Pneu was roundabout as always in respect to such things. Thomas claimed Charles had failed his “mission”, although I do not think any real harm was meant to come to Pneu. I still find her and her practices baffling, especially now.

The two boys eventually left, and shortly after Pneu and Taz did as well to resume shopping. Gareth and Deth also left to “go find a place”, which at first I paid no mind to until I realized how worryingly vague that statement was and remembered how prone the two are to behave less than righteously. I followed the trail of shaken shopkeepers they left in their wake, with Lady Jaela, Shel, and Anna accompanying me. Surprisingly, we ended up at a flower shop that is run by a woman we later came to find out is Pneu’s mother. Her name is Meleena.

I bought flowers for Shel and Lady Jaela both, and after more words were exchanged by all we went behind the shop to a courtyard. The table was already set, so I suspect Pneu had mentioned us beforehand. The food was wonderfully familiar, being of Aundairian origin. We ate and made conversation, in which I realized Meleena is extraordinarily hard to read although we were able to obtain information on where we might obtain a guide to Harruck Nagos. For as much as Meleena was difficult to read, Gareth was proportionally nervous. I had thought it was only due to his unfamiliarity with formal situations, although I was later proven wrong in that he seemed to somehow have an idea of what was going to happen to him; Meleena claimed he had “cold feet”. Regardless, as we all spoke Pneu placed flower crowns on our heads and started to dance to music, before taking Gareth off to the side when he claimed he was feeling nauseous; Deth and then Meleena eventually followed.

While they discussed things, I spoke with Taz about training methods and how I do not necessarily agree with those that Pneu’s family employs. She claimed they are very useful, and that a child could not possibly learn to be prepared for surprise attacks by being subjected to them. I do not think this is the case; such methods encourage sloppy, desperate form and prevent one from truly mastering techniques. It is better to learn what has been perfected by others than struggle through the process of it by oneself, I think. We also discussed Meleena and Gareth; we concluded that we were likely not in danger although Gareth’s nervousness was exceptionally odd.

Shortly after the four returned, although Gareth seemed somewhat drunk. Liquid courage, I suppose. We all danced for a while—I fear I was swept up in the moment and neglected to dance with any other ladies but Shel—and were given desert. Then a hot bath was drawn in the center of the courtyard, which I truly wished to avoid. However, Meleena insisted it would be rude to refuse, and so I reluctantly consented. I was simultaneously happy and frustrated to have Shel beside me in the bath; I made a deliberate effort to keep my eyes above the water level.

After the bath, Deth said something about a “joining” that Gareth and Pneu are involved in. Given the context of such things, we were able to conclude that they are essentially getting married. Apparently Gareth’s gift to her in the elven city qualified as a proposal… He seemed extremely distraught about the matter, and Pneu took him off to speak for a bit while Deth kept a channel open between them.

We left them to such things and said goodbye to Pneu’s family before returning to the inn. As we walked back I noticed Lady Jaela was not her usual self: she seemed quite distraught. After some prodding on Taz and I’s parts, she disclosed that she is infatuated with Gareth. Taz and I did our best to console her, but I worry if it was enough. I’ll have to look out for her more in the coming days. I have a number of reservations about encouraging her affections for him—he would not be good for her, for many reasons—but I do not wish her to suffer heartbreak more than necessary. It is a somewhat precarious position, but I will simply have to do the best I am able.

In the morning we went to find our guide, a shifter named Whitepaw. He is mute, apparently, and named a price of 2,500 gold to take us where we want to go. Pneu’s compulsion to comb hair raised the price from 2,000, and I am sure that Gareth’d inebriated, overly friendly state did not help Whitepaw’s attitude toward us. Still, Taz said she would be able to raise the money honestly and left to go do so. She told Deth of all people to watch over us all, and Lady Jaela as well. Truly, her sense of humor could use improvement.

While she was gone Deth did his part to cheer Lady Jalea with the ducklings that have been following him; I was happy to see his attempts to do so. Gareth rambled drunkenly for quite some time, although he mentioned the job offer Lady Jaela had given him as a “professional people killer”—likely an inquisitor. He also spoke with Pneu about the specifics of their “Joining”. He will not have to travel or live with her, and any child they have together will be raised by Pneu’s clan. I am glad for his sake that Gareth will still have his freedom.

Taz soon returned with the money, but we opted to wait another day before traveling due to Gareth’s inebriated state. On our way out we saw Shale in the marketplace, buying an amulet of “protection from good”. No doubt because of my efforts against him earlier. He was not interested in combat, however, and mentioned being more concerned with the operations of other, opposing factions; likely the Q’uori. After he left the others suggested that we work with Shale against them, and I agreed; I planned to suggest the same thing myself. This surprised them all greatly, but we have worked with Shale before and although it ended poorly, he did fulfill his contract as stated and his company is not intolerable, especially when compared to others we have encountered. It is simply good strategy, besides.

I am certain I saw Rebecca in the marketplace, after we finished speaking with Shale. It startled and saddened me, but I did not run after her as it is not my place and we had work to attend to. I was surprised she was without her husband, but it is… somewhat sensible that they would be in such a city, given that they are merchants. Shel and Gareth both wanted to know what was wrong, and I promised them I would tell them later.

I spent the evening in the temple of Dol Arrah, in the hopes of soothing my unsettled heart. I spent my time in prayer, and listened to the head cleric preach for a time. I ate supper with the clerics and other travelers, and enjoyed speaking with them all. There were a number of explorers, as to be expected, and a handful of merchants and laypeople. When it grew late I retired a room with the others to sleep. The beds in temples are often little more than cots, but I find I prefer them to that of any inn.

While I slept, I… dreamt. It was a nice dream at first; Shel and I were together and although I soon realized I was dreaming, I saw no reason to stop; I thought it was merely a dream. But when it was over “she” said that “Taz was better” and from “her” behavior I soon realized it was Fahrezz. He taunted me and I expressed a number of angry sentiments, but ultimately he coerced me into inviting him back the next evening, lest he visit Shel or someone else within the group. I do not have the heart in me to go into further detail, nor do I see a need to do as much. I feel sick recounting it, and dread explaining what happened to Shel. For her own safety she ought to know, although if I fear she will be disgusted by me hereafter, and want nothing to do with me because of it.

When I woke I sought counsel with one of the clerics after the morning’s prayers; she was most helpful in soothing my doubts about my ability to handle the situation, although they are still present. I would have liked to stay in the temple for the remainder of the day, to sing praises and make a proper sacrifice, but I needed to meet with the others and continue our journey. I think I glimpsed Rebecca in the crowd outside the temple in the morning, but I returned to the inn rather than seeking her out. She has business to attend to as well, no doubt, and speaking with her would only bring back unpleasant memories for the both of us.

Upon returning to the inn I spoke with Gareth regarding Rebecca, and explained who she was. He was not surprised, but asked why I simply had not run away with her. At first he did not seem to comprehend the magnitude of what honor and duty mean to me, or what is expected of me as a nobleman. After I explained it he made a number of other points that give me some hope, should things continue between Shel and I despite the circumstances. I talked with him more regarding why he is still with us—he claims as always that he has nothing better to do, although I think there is another reason, yet that he is unaware of—and spoke briefly of Lady Jaela. His protectiveness of her is a great relief, although I fear it will do little discourage her infatuation. I asked him for clarification about Lady Jaela’s job offer he had mentioned the day before, and he confirmed that he might obtain employment with the Church of the Silver Flame as an inquisitor when this is all finished. I sincerely hope he takes the job. It would be good for him, although I learned he and I share a general distaste for many followers of the Silver Flame, particularly the paladins. I did not speak to him of what had happened with Fahrezz—he has enough on his mind for the moment—nor of his “joining” with Pneu, as he still seems to be upset by the topic.

As we traveled through the jungle, our guide was visibly nervous. However, we made it to noonday without difficulty. Shortly after we heard the sounds of battle not too far away; Whitepaw and Pneu went forward to investigate. A group of warforged—headed by the one I had allowed to go free—were fighting a group of drow. We decided to join the fray, and the leader of the warforged instructed his troops to focus on the drow. I did the same, thinking he would be willing to come to a peace with us following the battle, but of course none of the others listened to me and attacked both sides indiscriminately. Gareth and Deth in particular both claimed they had no reason to listen to me in this case, especially when the warforged have attacked us before. I will have to make it a point to instill upon them the concept of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”; such is why I am willing to work with Shale against the Q’uori.

Regardless, I plan to use the remainder of the day to plan and prepare for tonight. Although I suspect we will encounter other enemies during our travels, I feel as if I will be able to formulate an acceptable strategy by the time night falls. I have some reservations about my ability to carry it out, given my limited experience and success with attempts to manipulate dreams, but I must try. I will also be sure to speak with Deth and learn more about the Q’uori, in the interest of knowing Farhrezz’s potential weaknesses.

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Cedric: A Conversation

“Are duty and love incompatible?”
“A paladin should always serve with love and compassion.”
“I mean—romantic love.”
“So long as it does not interfere with your duty.”
“…Remind of a paladin’s duty.”
“You should know your oaths by now.”
“Forgive me, I do know them. I only wish to hear them from another’s mouth.”
“Very well. Follow the faith of Dol Arrah: love others, and guide them to the light. Serve with compassion, wisdom, and patience; well-spoken words may serve as well as a blade. Defend the faith when it is threatened, and aid others of the church whenever you are able. Defend the weak of all nations and creeds, and give succor to the wounded. Love and justly serve your nation of origin. Show bravery at all times, and fight with both honor and mercy. Bring those to justice that have broken laws, and when you must, kill those that cannot be redeemed. Live and act justly in all things; do not lie or break your word. Show generosity to others. Above all, act as an example of the faith. Be as the sun to those lost in the dark, and a force of justice to those that would stay in the shadows.”
“Thank you.”
“Is that all that brought you here, Sir Montique?”
“It is what prompted me to return.”
“I see. And the reason you stayed..?”
“…I have found myself wishing that I might have chosen a different path of duty. Had I been received as a paladin but two years earlier, I would have proven myself in the Last War instead of… my current tasks.”
“You had no choice in when you were knighted.”
“I might have striven harder to enter into service earlier…”
“That may be. But you did not, and now you must serve the goddess as she has seen fit to guide you.”
“…”
“Many times we see the burdens placed upon us as only that: burdens. And we wish we might have different ones, thinking they would be easier. In truth they likely are not any easier. Instead each problem we face should be viewed as the chance to strengthen oneself. The light of the noonday sun is harsh, but without it our crops would not grow.”
“…thank you. I will remember as much.”
“You are welcome. Will you stay for the post-dawn prayers?”
“No, I must return to my companions. We have a long journey ahead of us yet.”
“Blessings and light go with you, then; may Dol Arrah light your way in all things.”
“And you as well.”

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Taz: The Best Way to Occupy Oneself in an Unfamiliar City is Attending a Wedding in the Bath

The rest of the morning (after its rather dramatic beginning) was occupied by shopping. I made many exciting purchases, some of which will aid in my experiments later. I also dropped off those four byeshk nuggets at a weapons-smith’s shop to be forged into a dagger. It should be ready by the time we return from Harruck Nagos.

Cedric asked me to inquire about the site of the ruin, an admirable sign of foresight. People were rather tight-lipped about the place, and many of them didn’t need anything. One man made the odd comment that he’d “make the claim before anyone else.” No idea what THAT referred to.

I also checked in on the Cannith branch office. They’re running quite well, given the staff—lazy layabouts are generally the first ones to be shunted to the branch offices. But the business seems to be going smoothly, at least. I sent a letter to Father: “in good health, advancing our fortunes, respectfully yours, etc.” I made some inquiries about this Harruck Nagos site, but no one knew anything about it.

I met back up with everyone else at the tavern. Deth had obtained a rather impressive gun somewhere; he let me take a look at it. Pneu was barmaiding. One entertainment point for Pneu. I started work on some new bolts for my crossbow, intending to make them freeze anything they hit. I experimented with applying some liquid ice which I had procured for this purpose.

Our peaceful afternoon was interrupted by several throwing stars coming out of nowhere, targeting Pneu. They missed, and she didn’t seem to be overly concerned—she merely retrieved the weapons and tucked them away—but I was intrigued nonetheless. A friend? An enemy?

Finally, I located the source of the stars: a kid sitting up in the rafters. He had a remarkable resemblance to Pneu; I theorized that he was some sort of relation. Pneu referred to him as “Thomas.”

As he came down from the rafters, another boy appeared, this one older. His name was Charles, and he told Thomas that he had failed his “mission.” Could Pneu’s family be trying to eliminate her? None of them seemed upset about the whole business; it seemed to be more of a game than anything else.

Pneu sent a letter to someone, apparently, whom they both referred to as “Mother.” Ah, they ARE family. She inquired if something had been “taken care of,” which Charles replied to in what I assumed was an affirmative. Charles told her to drop by later, so she said that she would do so after she was done working. Not much of a conversationalist, Charles.

The two boys left shortly thereafter, and Pneu didn’t seem inclined to explain the incident, or her relationship with her family. After she was done with work, she announced that she was going shopping. She agreed to my company. She purchased several items, and we finally found ourselves at a flower shop by the name of the Windy Willows. It had quite the impressive storefront, flowers of every color and variety.

We headed inside to find a woman whom I assumed was another relation of Pneu’s, as she looked almost exactly like her. Sister? Mother? Aunt? She didn’t look too old, but you never can tell with some people. She was quite friendly, but very guarded in her expressions. I couldn’t get a proper read off of any of them at all. It was most distressing.

Some of the plants in the shop were poisonous. Hm. Now, why would a flower shop have something like that? Pneu’s family are clearly more than they appear. I purchased a flower for my hair and attempted to negotiate for some nightshade, but she seemed reluctant to sell it to me. When pressed, she said that she might be open to negotiations later. Fair enough. Business is business. Shut up.

Thomas was still trying to attack Pneu as she led us through the hallway. It was cute in a foolish sort of way. Well, he IS still quite young; he has plenty of time to practice. Pneu’s family’s home is very nice; she led us into some sort of conservatory. There was an inlaid tub in one corner, large enough for quite a few people, and a nicely set table. Evidence seems to suggest that Pneu’s family operates as some sort of gang. They are clearly profitable.

Pneu invited us to dinner, and we all sat down. It was most hospitable of them. The food wasn’t poisoned as far as I could tell, and I still had several potions to neutralize poison just in case. I therefore ate unreservedly. Pneu’s relation started asking us about the place we’re looking for, but everyone seemed most reluctant to talk about. In fact, everyone seemed most reluctant to talk in general. Gareth in particular was ill at ease; he does not seem comfortable in most social situations where people are neither naked nor bleeding.

One entertainment point to Pneu for training the kid. He’s not without potential, and clearly has ample opportunity for training here. I foresee great things in his future. Comments indicated that the relation running the flower shop was in fact Pneu’s mother. She introduced herself as Meleena. She said that the shop was “mostly” a family business. They’re definitely a gang. Probably run assassinations at the very least, given the plants in the shop and the propensity of the family members to attack one another at odd hours. It felt almost like being back in Sharn with the other children. And you could sneak up on all of them except for him. Shut up.

Since no one else seemed inclined to converse, I answered Meleena’s questions. The potential harm done by anyone knowing our destination was in this case outweighed by the benefit of gaining more information about the place. According to Meleena, Harruck Nagos is a giant ruin— that is, a ruin of the giant civilization, not an enormous ruin. Although I suppose it could be that as well. She said that her husband would know more, but he was not currently around. She did, however, know a guide, a man by the name of White Paw. She suggested searching for him in the taverns around the shop.

She also said that the two of us would have “much to discuss” later. I found that slightly concerning. She’s a perfectly nice woman, and I enjoyed talking with her, but I can’t imagine what she would need to speak to me about. I hope I haven’t gotten on the wrong side of their organization somehow.

Gareth had been looking more and more ill as the dinner progressed, finally bolting out with Deth in tow. Melina claimed not to have anything to do with his state. As far as I could tell, she was being honest. She said that he might have been getting “cold feet.” What an odd thing to say.

Cedric disapproved greatly of the family’s training practices. Really, it’s a miracle that man learned to fight at all. Lessons may serve you well if you’re engaged in a fancy duel of honor over the hand of some princess, but most people aren’t going to bother following the protocol before attacking you. How is one supposed to learn to cope with surprise assailants if they have been given no experience with them?

Meleena left to go check on the others. This entire set of circumstances was most odd. They all returned shortly thereafter. Gareth seemed to be feeling a little better. When dinner concluded, there was a short dance. It was quite a bit of fun. I danced with Deth, and then with Pneu. The dance was followed by dessert, after which Pneu suggested a bath. I quite enjoyed the idea, but Cedric and his lady friend seemed extremely uncomfortable. I found it amusing.

I pieced it together finally, from comments made. AHA. This entire evening was a form of wedding ceremony—“joining,” Pneu called it. Apparently, he proposed to her without having any idea what he was doing. One entertainment point to Gareth. One entertainment point to Pneu. One entertainment point to Meleena for a most diverting evening. Gareth was not happy with this state of affairs, understandably, and asked to speak to Pneu later. He seemed almost panicked. I personally found the situation funny.

When we returned to the inn, I finished making my ice arrows. I’ll have to try them out later. Manufactured: Two (2) ice crossbow bolts. Cedric and I also had a chat with Jaela, since she’d seemed oddly depressed since we returned. After a bit of cajoling, she admitted that she’s been nursing a certain tendresse for our favorite ax-man. A careless comment from Cedric revealed that Deth also has inclinations. Goodness gracious, I wonder what will happen~ Still, I hope that Jaela recovers. He’s a bit old for her, but I can understand the appeal. I would imagine her life up until this point has been rather sheltered.

Morning. Manufactured: Five (5) bombs. One (1) block seed potion. One (1) extract of bomber’s eye. We headed off to find White Paw, locating him as promised in one of the taverns surrounding the Windy Willows. He couldn’t talk—had a scar across his throat. Wonder who he got on the wrong side of; I wouldn’t fancy encountering them. That’s worse than the ear-tithe. His price for guiding us to Harruck Nagos was 2000 gold up front, with additional charges in the case of hazard pay. Then he upped the price to 2500, thanks to Pneu and her hair-combing compulsion.

It was clear that we’d have to acquire more funds, since certain members of the party had outspent themselves. Any sort of fundraising opportunity would have taken at least a week, if not more, so to Cannith it was. One entertainment point to Deth for lending Jaela a duck.

I told them that I needed the funds for a business opportunity with House Phiarlen, a speculative research contract involving manufacturing. I’ll have to do some form of research on Harruck Nagos in order to have something to show for my money; hopefully I’ll come across something that Phiarlen will be interested in. It is a ruin, so I foresee many opportunities to discover interesting artifacts. The tricky part will be convincing them to go along with a contract; they’re notoriously dreary about that sort of alliance. I’ll just have to find something that’s enough to make it worth their while. After a bit of persuading, the impertinent clerk finally agreed to advance me the money. Obtained 2500 gold.

I set up a shell game stand, just for the sake of old times. Obtained 5 gold.

Returned. One entertainment point to Gareth for communing with the ducks. He seems to be doing slightly better this morning. And then we encountered Shale in the market. At least he didn’t attack us again. He said that the artifacts were fine where they were for now. Grand. He had obtained some sort of medallion, which I couldn’t quite identify. I expect that it will prove unfortunate for us in the future should we tangle with him again, whatever it is. He referred to it as a “protective ward against good”—an anti-Cedric charm, then.

I decided that it was a good time for the prank that Fahrezz had suggested, since they were all occupied with Shale’s appearance. I slipped away, became the woman he’d showed me, and walked through the market. I didn’t look at him, but I know he saw me. When I returned, he’d gone pale and seemed distracted. I wonder who it is. I’ll have to ask Fahrezz the next time he shows up. I spent the remainder of the day crafting. Manufactured: Two (2) antitoxins.

Morning. Manufactured: Five (5) bombs. One (1) cure light wounds potion. One (1) shield extract. Gareth still looked a little rough. It was probably all the drinking; I’m sure he must have ingested an entire tavern. I gave him one (1) alchemist’s kindness to fix the problem. He seemed better after that, although still unsettled.

We headed into the jungle with White Paw, having paid him his money. Should have haggled. The first hour or two were uneventful, until we stopped for a break. Through the trees, we suddenly heard the sounds of a battle. White Paw and Pneu went to observe the situation. When they returned, they reported that a group of warforged were fighting some drow. AND they were taking up exactly the route we needed. Fantastic. Just kill them. We decided to join the fight. Drank 1 shield extract.

Used 1 bomb. One tried to attack me. Ha. One usefulness point to Cedric for coming to my aid. The battle seemed to be going well, so I took some time to look through the corpse’s possessions. Obtained: 2 vials of some sort of poison. Further examination needed. One usefulness point to Gareth for giant badassery. Obtained: 2 more vials of unidentified poison.

Day 36: Surprise weddings are the best weddings.
Day 37: Quiet. Pranks. Preparations.
Morning 38: Killed some things.

Money obtained: 5 gold. 2500 was here and then gone again.
Loot obtained: 4 vials of unidentified poison.

Ranking of companions:
Pneu: Entertainment value- 3 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Deth: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Cedric: Usefulness- 1 point.
Meleena: Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Pneu: Usefulness- 20 points. Entertainment value- 29 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 26 points. Entertainment value- 14 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 9 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 21 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Fahrezz: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 17 points. Entertainment value- 17 points
Anna: Usefulness- 18 points. Entertainment value- 15 points.

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Pneumonia: In for the kill

Today was the day of my joining, an odd thing happened, for once everyone was quiet. It was astounding. I didn’t think it was possible. I thought maybe they had broken their heads when they were young or perhaps had some disease which prevented them from being silent or maybe Meleena is really that powerful. That must be it. She must have used magic to make them all quiet. I should ask her to teach me. Regardless today was the day of my joining. Gareth was very unsettled. He has some very strange ideas about joining. He will be an entertaining partner, I’m glad I found him. I found some interesting magic in town, one to make you big and one to make you fast. I tried the one that makes you big on Gareth and it was effective, but it lacks the edge I’m looking for. There must be more I can do with it. I’m sure I’ll think of something or not. I wonder if there are new animals in the jungle. I hope I get to see some new animals. I bet I can catch one. You know what if I can catch a big one I could ride it. I’ve never ridden on anything before; well, except a carriage, but riding on an animal sounds like it might be fun. I bet I can find some pretty flowers to bring back too. That reminds me we saw some more metal men in the jungle and they attacked the dark skinned elves. They always seem to be unhappy about something and causing trouble. I wonder why they cause trouble for everyone. Maybe they are rabble-rousers or more like fickle fomenters. It is a real tragedy they let that one run away. He is going to cause trouble for us later. I’m going to make a hat. Out of flowers; it’ll be like a flower hat, but prettier. Then Deth can wear it. He’ll be so beautiful in the hat and the sun won’t get in his eyes. Did you know? If you stand on your head everything looks upside down, but you if you lay on your side things don’t look sideways. I should put a strap on the hat so it doesn’t fall off. I really hope we get to see giants. I heard stories about giants. They supposed to be really big. I’ll challenge him to a jumping contest, I’m confident I can jump farther then a giant. But one does not simply run across a giant galavanting gracefully through grisly jungles, gleefully gobbling up grim faced elves; or does one? What does one do to attract such majestic creatures?

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Cedric: Entry 16

Near the end of our journey, a number of events occurred. For one, I came across a young woman that was initially quite disconcerting but soon proved to be charming in her own way. I am still not certain if she is entirely mortal, but I suppose in the end it hardly matters. She is Vandal and Trina’s adopted daughter, Evening or “Eve”. Accompanying her was her younger sister—still merely a babe—Dawn. I have never met a more mild-mannered, quiet infant; she is much like her sister that way. They were both chaperoned by a woman, Khida, who saw fit to first greet me with a blow to the head that nearly rendered me unconscious. She thought I was a threat to Eve and Dawn, although after I assured her that was not the case she was not quite as guarded. After a brief exchange I left to have the sizable lump on my head taken care of by Lady Jaela. I then collected Gareth from his room; it would not hurt to have someone around that was better at perceiving things than myself, in case Khida decided to attack me again. Truth be told I did not think it especially likely, given Eve and Khida’s reactions when I spoke to them about all the others I had met (Eve and Dawn’s parents, Xavien, Deedlit, and that elf) but Gareth had hardly left his room since our first day and I was growing worried. He was not particularly keen on accompanying me—he thought perhaps I was seeing things—but I eventually managed to convince him.

Unsurprisingly I found out that the three of them were stowaways; more because Eve has an unusual tendency to simply wander and Khida is obligated to follow then any other reason. I was ready to work out some way for them to pay their fare—I may be obligated to report them as stowaways, but that is no reason to get them in trouble, either—when Gareth volunteered to simply pay for their fare himself. I was genuinely, pleasantly surprised by his offer to do as such; it was very kind of him.

As we left, Eve surprised me by hugging me from behind; she is very difficult to predict, but I do not doubt she is good hearted. I also saw that her shadow is capable of moving on its own, but could think of no conceivable reason why it would do as such.

The remainder of the day passed without event, but the next evening an alarm bell sounded. I grabbed my shield and told Shel to go and stay below deck before running towards the source of the noise. Apparently a pirate named “Cracktooth” had taken the ship by surprise; he was not normally in these waters this time of year. He demanded five crewmembers to eat, which of course I could not abide by. In an uncharacteristic display of reticence, Gareth was convinced we would certainly lose if we attempted to fight, while Deth insisted that we should give him what was supposedly his. I could not allow this, of course, and attempted to negotiate an alternate method of payment. The entire discussion came to an abrupt halt when Pneu attacked him, thank the goddess.

The resulting fight was most satisfying. During the battle Gareth struck one of the pirates with such force that he flew from the boat entirely; I later congratulated him for such an act, and I was pleased to see his demeanor had brightened considerably as a result of it. I was bloodied by the end of the fight, but I grow to appreciate the thrill of smiting evil more each time I do so. Taz was the one to land the killing blow on Cracktooth; she seemed so pleased with her efforts that I decided to cut off his head and give it to her. She was equally pleased with this, and flounced below deck to inform the captain and crew of our success. Pneu began cooking the bodies that remained—disgusting, but it was not as if could rightly start an argument with her over such when they had attempted to do the same to us. I did however have something of an argument with Deth, but I did not wish to hear what he was saying as the majority of it was either lewd nonsense or dissatisfaction with my moral choices and so I simply closed his mouth for him with my hands. Finally, during the fight Kida and Eve had helped significantly. I thanked them both for their effort before I went below deck for the evening.

The next day passed uneventfully, and near evening we docked in Stormreach. We thanked the crew and said our goodbyes to them. Khida, Dawn and Eve followed us to the inn we found to stay at; Khida plans to earn enough money to bring them home before moving on. I feel as if she truly understands the frustrations of keeping children in check, be they one’s temporary wards or companions. It is a shame I will not have more time to speak with her; I believe we could get along well.

As seems to be becoming usual for us, we spent the night in the tavern drinking. I refrained from having overmuch—I did not want to feel ill in the morning—and the choice proved a wise one. Taz and Pneu entertained us and the other patrons by singing and dancing respectively; they are both extraordinarily talented. Anna and Lady Jaela seemed content to listen and watch, occasionally turning to the conversations the remainder of us were having. Sally attempted to startled Shel but she was too engrossed in her conversation with Gareth. He was telling her stories of his days as a mercenary. They were interesting stories, I will admit, and I was pleased to find that she viewed them similarly. I believe this surprised him and Deth as well, particularly when she began telling stories in turn.

It was… Without going into details, I shall say it was oddly pleasing to hear her speak of such things, despite their context. I like to think perhaps I admire the strength it would have taken for her to do such things, but—well, as I said I shall not go into details. More than anything I was pleased to see that Gareth and Deth were beginning to view her more favorably; they both made offers to help her become more proficient in combat. It was some time after that I pulled Gareth aside to ask if I might be allowed to spend time privately with Shel; the look he gave me was rather incredulous until I explained that Shel had asked me to ask him as such. Unexpectedly he broke out into laughter and hugged her, which surprised her as much as I. I… suppose it is good he appreciated she made the request, even if he still has not granted it.

Somehow parts of this conversation were overheard and misconstrued, and the topic of Gareth and I’s kiss from a few days prior was brought up. From there it was somehow thought I had been propositioning to Gareth, and… I will simply say the conversation got out of hand. I began to fluster, and then Taz began to sing an extraordinarily ballad in Elven, and Deth saw fit to translate to Lady Jaela, and honestly I must say that worry more for her each day. I will have that discussion with her at the earliest opportunity. There was continued banter and insinuations from Gareth towards me, but I rejected them as always; I am committed to Shel and would never betray her in such a way.

Despite the tone of the evening, we all retired peaceably and relatively early. This was for the better, some time in the night Khida knocked on my door. Eve and Dawn had both gone missing, and she wanted myself and the others to help. I asked her if this was typical behavior; although Eve is prone to wandering, this is not. She suspected demons may have been behind it, as they had plagued Eve in the past. I woke Gareth—he left a note for Deth to contact him, should we not return by morning—and Taz. I considered waking Lady Jaela, but I did not wish to put her in harm’s way if it could be avoided. Taz went to find Pneu, and while she did so I checked Eve’s room for signs of where she may have gone. I found a creature resembling a “Shay”, something from the Plane of Shadow. It gestured to us that she had been taken out the window, and made the sign for “two” before it disappeared.

We left the inn and went outside, where we found two ruffians that had certainly seen better nights. I healed one enough so that he might speak, and Taz was able to convince him to tell us what he had seen; two creatures had flown up into the window and then left towards the warehouse district. Pneu and I examined the knife that had been in his chest; between us we were able to ascertain that while the make was similar to what Pneu’s people use, it was forged in Hell. I admit I am always excited in a way to find relics from the planes of my ancestors, but this was of infernal, not abyssal, make. I had thought this meant we’d be dealing with devils—Baatezu—and was equal parts worried and disgusted. Khida assured us that killing devils is no difficult feat, however, and Afina saw fit to inform me that her former employer had been a devil of sorts. I tried to get more information on them from her, but she is sadly lacking in academic knowledge, as hard as she may try to be informative.

We made our way to the warehouse district, Gareth and Pneu leading us with tracks they found, and eventually found a large, sealed-up building. I told Pneu to search for traps; she tried to feign as if she did not know how, but did so anyways when I became insistent. She found one trap atop the top of the building, on a door that had apparently been used recently. The others climbed a rope up the side of the building, while I was… less than successful, due undoubtedly to my armor. Eventually it was that I had to tie the rope around my waist and have Gareth pull me up, much to my embarrassment. As the trap was magical and no one was able to disarm it, I volunteered to set it off as it was also a fire-based trap. I still took some damage, but not nearly as much as the others would have.

Once inside we found Eve and Dawn, restrained but otherwise unharmed. Eve warned us to watch out for “them” as they were hiding; indeed we did not see the creatures until one of the two attacked us. It was stuck together in some strange manner, with one head poking out of the other’s chest. I was surprised to find that Taz’s bombs were capable of wounding it as much as they might any other creature. I smote it, and continued to hack away at it even after another arrived; the damage from my weapon seemed to be the only kind that lasted. Because of this I suffered a good deal of damage myself, but we were ultimately victorious.

We freed Eve and Dawn; apparently they had been after the latter, as the child-by-blood of a holy man. Given that we found a number of defaced holy symbols—which I burned, as is the proper way to dispose of such things—it is sensible that they would target her. I escorted them and Khida back to the inn, and then returned to my room to bandage my wounds. I am glad no one was hurt in any lasting manner.

I feel as if I ought to visit a temple of Dol Arrah to give thanks for her gifts; it has been a number of weeks since I last made an offering to her. I also wish to rest in the peace of her temple, and calm the riot in my heart that battle and travel inevitably incite. Lady Jaela is wise and a true counselor of faith, but as a cleric of the Silver Flame she can only do so much. I find myself missing the prayers of Dol Arrah’s clerics, and the light of her dawn as it shines through stained glass. I shall search for a temple in Stormreach in the morning.

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Taz: Nothing Spells Fun and Adventure Like Stowaways

Morning. Manufactured: 5 bombs, 1 block seed potion, 1 shield extract. Our days on the ship continued peaceably. I noticed a peculiar girl hanging around, so I decided to have a chat with her. She said her name was Eve, and introduced the baby she was holding as Dawn. Cute kid. SHE ALSO HAD THE BEST SQUIRREL EVER. It was jet black and had glowing green eyes. I think he liked me; he curled up on my head and nestled in my hair after I gave him some nuts. :D We played a card game, although the baby and the squirrel did not join in. One entertainment point for Eve. She was quite good at bluffing, which perhaps stems from her impressive lack of motivation. No, motivation isn’t the right word…how can I put this? She seemed to have a complete lack of angle. It was odd; she must be very good indeed at hiding what she wants.

She ended our card game rather abruptly by taking off, just as the ship gave a jolt. I found that unusual and headed up to the deck to take a look. The entire crew was in a panic. I asked Arthurian what was going on; he had gone very pale. He said that a “crack-tooth” was in these waters, whom he hadn’t thought would be here in this season. The term was vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t place it…some pirate or another.

My question was answered as soon as we were boarded. Crack-tooth was a thoroughly unpleasant individual with four arms, who led a bunch of fishmen. Arthurian’s crew did not react as true sailors should; they all huddled in a knot and whispered to each other instead of fighting. Crack-tooth demanded his toll of “five.” It was quite clear what he was referring to. Arthurian attempted to negotiate with him, upon which he increased his demands to seven.

My companions were of two minds. Cedric, of course, could not countenance the idea of sacrificing crew members to him. Deth was of the opinion that it WAS his territory. I thought they were both being silly. Our ship had been attacked, and everyone else was just standing around. Even the ones who should supposedly understand the laws of the sea were cowering at the edge of the deck. I just wanted everyone to decide on a course of action so we could move forward. This was growing tedious.

Pneu came to the rescue. Before anyone really knew what was happening, she’d run up and attacked Crack-tooth. One usefulness point to Pneu for decisiveness. Drank 1 shield extract. Used 1 bomb. As I flung it, I remembered that the ship was wooden. Ah well. The only thing that caught fire was the fishman I had meant to, so that was all right. The crew fled below as more fishmen scrambled up the sides. One entertainment point to Jaela for effort. One usefulness point to Cedric for badassery. One usefulness point to Eve and her companion for badassery. They’d emerged at some point during the fight. Her companion was a dark-skinned young woman who could shoot glowing knives and arrows out of her hands. It was a most impressive display.

AND THEN I DEALT THE FINAL BLOW TO CRACK-TOOTH AND IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

One usefulness point to Gareth for knocking a fishman clear off the boat. I DID VERY WELL IN THAT FIGHT BECAUSE I AM A BIG DAMN HERO. We cleared off the rest of the fishmen fairly easily. I introduced myself to Eve’s companion, she said her name was Zhe. Cedric referred to them as stowaways, which bodes well for their amusement value. One entertainment point to Cedric for giving me the captain’s head. I decided to go show it off to Arthurian; he was very impressed. My reward was quite a lot of fun~ Used 1 block seed potion. Afterwards, I headed back up to the deck to find Pneu, Gareth, Deth and Eve making shark tooth necklaces and having a tea party. One entertainment point to Pneu for arranging the festivities. I made a very serviceable shark tooth necklace, although it wasn’t as pretty as Pneu’s or Deth’s.

Morning. Uneventful. Manufactured: 5 bombs. 1 block seed potion. 1keen senses extract. We arrived in Stormreach in the evening. FINALLY SOME GODS-DAMNED CIVILIZATION. Probably the only speck of it to be found on this continent, if the stories are true. We had a touching farewell with the crew of our ship. Arthurian gave me his hat, the nice one with the feather in it. :D He was quite a nice man, I hope to encounter him again one day.

It was too late when we arrived to do much of anything besides settle down for the night in an inn. I decided to sing in the tavern to earn a bit of money. Pneu danced! 1 entertainment point to Pneu. We earned 100 gold in total, so 50 gold for me. At one point, I glanced over at the others and noticed that Cedric seemed to be speaking of sensitive matters. I decided to adjust my routine accordingly. Pneu joined in. :D It’s so much fun to tease Cedric~

When I fell asleep, Fahrezz was there again. We didn’t talk much, just got right to…other things. One entertainment point to Fahrezz. He is not one to be trusted. But still such an intriguing man.

I was awoken by a knock at my door in the wee hours of the morning. Cedric, after he was done being flustered at my appearance, told me that Eve had vanished. Zhe had asked if we could help look for her. Well, of course we couldn’t just leave Eve on her own! We headed off on a grand rescue adventure. Zhe said that Eve had a habit of wandering off, but she normally did so when Zhe was watching so she could follow. She also said that she’d vanished once before.

We emerged from the inn to find two guys in an alley. They clearly had a poor grasp on the concept of self-defense. One of them was knifed and the other one could only gibber nonsense. I took the knife off the wounded one. It was an odd sort of weapon, couldn’t identify the material. Pneu said that she’d seen knives like these during her childhood, but the material was unfamiliar to her as well. She said that it comes from a different world. Upon further study, we discovered that the knives were in fact from hell. Grand.

Zhe gave us a bit more information on Eve, said that she’d been kidnapped once before. She didn’t go into too many details, but mentioned that part of Eve’s soul had been missing, and she and her companions—Vandal, Trina, Xavian, Deedlit, and that irritating elf fellow—had gotten it back. Apparently they’d had to fight demons to do it. DAMN, Zhe must be a badass. I like her. She said that the demons from before had a “claim” on Eve, but she thought they’d taken care of that problem before. She wasn’t sure if it was the same ones or not.

We set off following the trail of the kidnappers. There were two sets of footprints. They definitely weren’t human, and they were set close together, as if two creatures were carrying something. We had to go up a wall in pursuit, and I discovered that Cedric is terrible at climbing. That wasn’t too much of a surprise, but it was still funny to see him scrabbling up the rope. Eventually, we just had to pull him.

The trail further led to a rooftop and a door. Pneu warned us that it was fire trapped. Good thing that Ced’s fireproof; he opened it for us. We entered a creepy warehouse, where Eve and Dawn were waiting in the corner. She seemed glad to see us, but warned us that the creatures who had taken her were still around.

AND THEN I GOT HIT BY SOMETHING AND IT WAS AWFUL. It was like a devil, but not quite…a fiend of some sort with four legs and two hands. Ah. That would explain the footprints…but Eve had said “they’re here.” “THEY.” Used 1 bomb.

ANOTHER ONE EMERGED FROM THE SHADOWS. Exactly as I’d predicted. I took the opportunity to try out my explosive bolts. Not bad results at all. I think they could still use a bit of tinkering, but all in all, pretty good showing for a first run. Used 1 bomb.

We finally defeated the monsters. Apparently, they were after Dawn, not Eve. We found a bunch of defaced holy symbols in the corner; they seem to hate holy things and want to destroy them, and the kid IS the daughter of a holy man, after all. So once again, we got to be big damn heroes. :D Even if I did have to get up too early.

Day 34: Most entertaining and involved some ruffians.
Day 35: Quiet during the day, party at night!
Early morning 36: Began with a bang. :D

Money obtained: 50 gold.
Loot obtained: 1 shark tooth necklace. 1 hat with feather. 1 weird hell-knife.

Ranking of companions:
Pneu: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Jaela: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Gareth: Usefulness- 1 point.
Cedric: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Eve: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Zhe: Usefulness- 1 point.
Fahrezz: Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Pneu: Usefulness- 20 points. Entertainment value- 26 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 20 points. Entertainment value- 9 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 9 points. Entertainment value- 7 points.
Gareth: Usefulness- 25 points. Entertainment value- 12 points.
Fahrezz: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 17 points. Entertainment value- 16 points
Anna: Usefulness- 18 points. Entertainment value- 15 points.
Eve: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Zhe: Usefulness- 1 point.

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Pneumonia: Yo momma

Hello, mother. This is your daughter Nu. I was sending you a letter because I’m in town. How I got here was a bit of a long story. More recently, I was on a boat. There was a sharkman whose name I don’t recall but he made for a nice snack; a little fishy though. He was talking about how he was going to eat us and it really made me hungry. There was a lot of fish to go around so I shared some with my companions. It was a genuine cruise, there were even stowaways. I didn’t talk to them, but I saw them down there so that counts. I going to add it to my journal. After we arrived in the city we all had a good time. There are a lot of good times. Drinking and games and more drinking and gambling, just like home, except less violence. At some point after my first nap, one of the stowaways went into Cedric’s room. You don’t know Cedric, but he has a lot of lady friends. He is also very loud. Shortly after that, Taz, came down from her room. You don’t know Taz either, but she is an alchemist like you, not bad for an Elf, I think you’d like her. Maybe if she isn’t busy I’ll bring her to the shop. I plan to stop by at some point. If you have the time could you make me a joining dress. I am engaged to a human. I can get the silver lining to you soon. Right, after Taz came down we went looking for one of the other stowaways. We tracked her to an open warehouse and broke down the door; I’ve grown accustomed to their tactless entry habits. Once inside we quickly discovered the girl and her captors. The cloaked captors used a style not unlike some of the Ventus arts, but they were much more aggressive and resilient. It was a flawless victory.

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Pneu's Letter home

Dear Matriarch,

I have arrived in Stormreach. Ooaal aawaahoo meeseses. The breeze is light this time of year, but the wind still surrounds me. I have traveled far since I left the village. I have met many people on my journey and learned much for you to know. I will not bore you with the details though, but there are a few thing you should be aware of. The dark sky can be heard, but not seen, so often times it may help to shed light onto the shadows; so long as acid rain doesn’t put it out, and lately the clouds look like dragons. I may suggest asking brother Jay to take up religion.Try sending him on a journey of enlightenment with some silver, but tell him to watch out for fires. It can be dry this time of year. I think the southern air will be good for him though.
Now that the war is over I figured the world would be a more peaceful place. It seems that no matter how far I travel there is hostility. I think some flowers would really put me at ease. I could pick some up for you as well if you’d like. I heard there is a place with lovely flowers, like something out of a dream. I have never gotten the chance myself, but I bet Rachel could find some for my return. I met a man that reminds of her. He asked for my hand in marriage. I thought about for a time and decided to accept. I think I know just the person to perform the ceremony.
A man in a hat approached me, he offered to take me across the sea on a cloud. I told him I had no money and he offered me the chance to work my way. The cloud was taken by a storm and landed on a sandy beach. It was here that I met a strange monkey, with the face of a lizard. He spoke as a lizard, but acted like a monkey. He had grand ideas, this monkey, and he wasn’t afraid to be boastful. His hard work paid off in the end and he seemed satisfied with the result, even though the clouds rained on him.
Listen, while they are out tell them to keep an eye drifting, for men who swim with octopi on their head. I’ve encountered a few on the waves of life and everytime I meet them they always have the rudest things to say. They seem to like big eyes, although I’m not certain how that helps. I would say that an elf in a tower is much as dust in the wind. Though I couldn’t make out a purpose for it.
Backtracking a little, it has gotten buggy recently. I hear that moisture attracts mosquitoes, but I’m certain it is simply blood. This isn’t something to worry about come winter breeze I’m sure those pests will be gone. More importantly, I don’t know when I’ll be able to send another letter, but I’ll probably be passing through Stormreach before I leave. Tell the elders hello and tell Rachel to stop being sad I’ll be back eventually.

Fluffy clouds and soft breezes,
Pneumonia

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