What gentle dream?

Cedric: Entry 9

I asked Lady Jaela about the ethics of putting the witch in power instead of the chief’s son. She said so long as it was for the good of the people, and as long as we avoided death where we could, there was nothing wrong with such. I was glad to hear it, as I think the witch would make a much more compassionate and effective leader than Fiq. I asked Deth to investigate the chief and his hut tomorrow, and to bring Gareth along, as he was strangely absent from where we were staying. Pneu was as well, and as it turns out she was helping him with… something. At the time I did not think to go find him, as it is Gareth and he is perfectly capable of taking care of himself, jungle or not. Likewise, Pneu is capricious and to find her missing is nothing unusual. In retrospect, I should have sought him out. I am fairly certain he was distressed.

Regardless, Taz and I took turns keeping watch over the meat that had been gathered. The chief at one point saw us and waved, taking a portion inside for himself. I… am reasonably certain my armor gave us away. (I may need to learn to be more judicious in my decisions to wear it, but I do not trust these people and I did not want to leave Taz and myself unprotected in the case of a fight or an attack by a stray beast.) Although our attempt at keeping watch over the meat was largely fruitless, Taz did tell me about the man from the leech pit. His name is “Ribbalt” and he is a cataclysm mage. Apparently this means his of an order of mages that specializes in drawing power from the world’s cataclysms, and that they believe such a cataclysm is going to occur very soon. I could not help but think that they may be speaking of the diadem, should we fail and its pieces fall into the wrong hands. Dol Arrah willing, this won’t happen. Taz also mentioned that he’s meant to marry a witch from the tribe.

In the morning, I decided to attempt to seek out Pneu and ask her to investigate things with the pit and the meat for me. After many failed attempts at looking for her (some of which required Deth bodily walking me over to where she’s standing—is my eyesight truly that poor?) I went out a few yards from the village and spoke with her. She told me I should simply ask the chief and if that fails, she will do it. She also said that if I needed to find her again, I needed only to walk back out into the forest and she would find me.

So, I set out to speak with the chief. Deth was already there outside the hut (Gareth still had not shown himself. I should have worried… Deth mentioned that he had been having trouble, and was working it out with Pneu—not se carnally, either, surprisingly enough. I still should have worried.) and said that his piece of the diadem had not reacted. Still, we decided we’d approach the chief together and question him about the disappearing meat and the pit itself. He claimed that “spirits” (messengers of their gods, the dragons) eat the meat so they don’t eat the people. Deth confirmed my suspicion that he was lying. He also claimed that they came when people weren’t looking, which explained why Taz and I didn’t see them, as it was rather obvious we were there. When I spoke of the pit, the chief offered to take us out to see it. I worried for a moment he might attempt to push us in it, but all he said is that he was digging to find “truth”, after receiving a vision of a silver dragon telling him to dig. He did not say he knew what this “truth” was, only that he’d know it when he saw it. Apparently this is part of an experiment of some kind… This would agree with the witch’s claims that the chief is smarter than he was before. Deth and I both agreed he seemed to be hiding things, and being dishonest. However, the chief did say Gareth and I would be free to help dig if we wished. I volunteered, wanting to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.

During our discussion with the chief, Deth mistakenly referenced me as a paladin of the Church of the Silver Flame. In retrospect I am glad Lady Jaela was not around to hear me correct him, as I was quite terse in my response. I… cannot imagine it is any good for her to hear her knight speak ill of her faith.

Regardless, Deth surprised me later by asking what my faith actually is. I told him about Dol Arrah and all she stands for; he seemed genuinely interested. I think we are making progress with our trust in one another, and may even become friends. He is straightforward in some ways that I can respect. When I asked about his religion in turn, he said he follows the way of “il-Lashtavar”, more a belief system than a deity. He didn’t wish to speak of more than that, but he was very polite in saying so. It apparently relates to his kin. I worry that he does not speak of them freely; family is not something one should need to hide.

We later went to go find Gareth and ask if he would dig with me. (Deth is… less than suited for manual labor, although he was later quite nice in bringing Gareth and I both water and meals.) He seemed fine, which surprised me mildly. I thought there was no reason to bring up any issues he may or may not have been having, and so we spent the rest of the day digging. The chief told us we would likely find “truth” tomorrow when we finished, and then went to the ocean to wash off. Deth and Taz joined us, and we found Pneu at the beach. I do not think I will ever be fully adjusted to the idea of bathing alongside women, but it was not horrible. It was mildly embarrassing when Lady Jaela showed up, however, if only because she seemed somewhat scandalized by our collective nudity.

Lady Jaela had apparently had spoken with the chief on her own time, and confirmed what Deth and I knew: he is lying a lot. She made an analogy about puzzle pieces: as if he’s handing us them in the wrong order, and occasionally upside down. She also has a bad feeling about what’s at the bottom of the pit. Gareth, Deth and I will be particularly cautious tomorrow while we dig.

Later we returned to the hut, except for Gareth and Pneu once more. I was exhausted and so I went to sleep, but was later awoken by Gareth dragging the largest boar I have ever seen in my life back to the camp. He was also bleeding quite badly, although he seemed strangely relieved. I healed him, although I finally worried about the fact that he had been feeling off. To get up and hunt in the middle of the night… That is not normal behavior, for humans at least. I made a note to speak to him about it later, as he fell asleep readily afterwards.

Unfortunately, Lady Jaela could not say the same. She said she’s having trouble “adjusting”, which is understandable although I fear this may not be everything. I wondered if she was having nightmares, but it’s neither that nor her dreams being bothered by Quori. She said being home in Thrane would help, but only marginally. I believe it may have something to do with her connection to the Silver Flame being severed, but… I fear there is precious little I can say to comfort her. Perhaps if she were a cleric of Dol Arrah, I might be of some use… I suppose the most I can do is continue to protect her, and make sure she knows I will listen, should she ever chose to speak. It bothers me greatly to see her upset like this; I want to make things better for her.

In the morning I set out to start digging; Gareth said he’d join me after his “date with Deth”. (His name truly is an unfortunate homonym.) Once he returned from speaking with Deth, I broached the topic of why Gareth had felt the need to go hunt a boar in the middle of the night. He said it was better for him to kill a boar than the people in the village, which is… less surprising than I would care it to be. I know very well what it’s like to want to tear a foe apart; to watch them suffer and bleed before finally snuffing out their life. Such desires are inherent in tieflings. Yet, when I pressed further he said I didn’t need to know. I insisted that even if I didn’t need to know, I could still understand: a demon’s blood flows through my veins. But—he only laughed in response, and waved me off. Such a reproof stung far more than I expected. It felt rather as if I had offered my hand, only to have it bitten.

I worry, too, if he is truly having trouble keeping control. I will have to continue inquiring after this… Fortunately I was given little time to sulk, as shortly after the chief told us we had dug enough and the “truth” would soon be found. Gareth, Deth and I pulled ourselves from the pit, armed, and stood back to see what would happen.

The chief began to speak in an odd language, brandishing his stone. The earth began to shake and then an enormous “crack” was heard from the bottom of the pit. It was at this point Deth asked if he could shoot the chief and I told him not to. A moment later his voice changed and monsters flew from this pit. It was at this point I told Deth that yes, he should shoot him. Please. The chief swatted the bullet away, and we decided that was the end of any more attempts. I wondered briefly if it wouldn’t be wise for Gareth to attempt to wrest the stone away from him, but given he did not seem to be controlling the creatures with it, I decided against it. This was a wise decision, as it later turned out.

The monsters were from the underworld, according to the chief, and had something to do with the prophecy. They were great, cloak-like things with the ability to screech in such a way that Gareth and I both keeled over vomiting. While I was vomiting I witnessed Lady Jaela attacked by three of the beasts as she tried to heal a man covered by them; they knocked her down and she began to bleed horribly. My heart stopped until I remembered that I could take the damage for her, but… I felt no such chance. I thought at first the amulet was not working, but then Taz was attacked and I was given the opportunity to take damage for her instead. If Lady Jaela had given her the amulet, I think she would have informed me. That means she must have stolen it.

I was livid.

That Taz would not only steal such an amulet from Lady Jaela, but that such actions nearly lead to her death is unacceptable! I later demanded it back and returned it to Lady Jaela, but I will have to keep a closer eye on Taz from now on. Now that I’ve calmed, it… saddens me, almost, that she’d do such a thing. It’s confusing as well. Why would she throw herself into the sea in an attempt to save me, only to put a child at such a risk for nothing but her own sake?

The remainder of the battle was taxing. Lady Jaela, Anna, and others nearly died a number of times, and I spent more time healing them than fighting. This mattered very little, of course, because eventually the accursed things were killed and we were able to confront the “chief”.

As it turns out, he was still uninterested in telling us what he wanted to accomplish. He claimed that we would not reach his understanding of the prophecy without having studied it for over a thousand years. I wondered perhaps what he meant by this, but it was soon obvious—he is a silver dragon, and a large one at that. (As it turns out, Gareth is terrified of dragons. He had no qualms about hiding behind me during our discussion with the beast.)

Fortunately for us, I feel, the black dragon from the Star Peaks arrived to chase the other off. At this point Gareth was scared beyond his wits and ran back to the boat. I followed only to make sure he would be all right, as Deth assured me he would relay to me what the dragon said. (Apparently, the “Chamber” is a fraction of dragons that has no reservations about interfering with the prophecy; most of them are young and impetuous. The silver one was a member of this faction.) Regardless, once Gareth and I reached the boat and I was assured he’d be fine, I returned to the village to be sure things had settled. Fiq was made chief given the death of his father, and Deth insisted we all leave as soon as possible. I thought this strange but turned to go regardless; when only a few yards from the village I heard and saw the flash of a spell. Our friend the witch was challenging Fiq for leadership; I ran back to make sure she would not lose. My aid was needed, as it turns out, as she was sorely wounded early on. After an initial attempt to join her in the fight by striking at Fiq (which proved fortunately fruitless, as otherwise she would have not held leadership by winning in such a way) I healed her. This proved enough to turn the tide of the battle, and eventually she won. This apparently was enough to keep the villagers from attacking us, as Fiq had apparently ordered them to do so. Ribbalt stayed behind in hopes of wooing her, and we finally returned to the boat with some sense of certainty.

I am slowly realizing that many of my comrades friends are less honest and straightforward than they seem. I… have lived a sheltered life, in retrospect. Nothing is as clear-cut as I would like it to be, and sadly people are rarely forthcoming about things that matter. I wish I knew how to make things better for them, in a number of ways. I think I will need to be more active in pursuing an understanding of their characters and, more importantly, problems. I hope I will not make things worse, some how. Perhaps their unwillingness to speak and be open is partially my own fault, as I do not make enough attempts to engage them.

I suppose the only thing to do for the moment is to continue forward… And have faith that things will improve.

On that note, the boat was fixed and we departed without further trouble. Whatever lingering irritation with Gareth I felt faded as we waited, keeping one another entertained as we’re wont to do. We both found that Pneu gives excellent massages… Taz spent much of her time avoiding me and teaching Lady Jaela to fight better with a dagger—an unfortunate necessity, but perhaps also her way of making up for her earlier behavior. I also spoke with the Captain; it turns out he plays Conqueror simply for the fun of it. He called the Blood Wars a “base conflict” and I agree; fortunately he did not find my curiosity rude. Regardless, for the moment I am simply glad to be moving forward with our quest once more. I already fear we may have neglected the madstone for far too long.

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Pneumonia: Boredom, a Boar, and a Dragon who insisted on Boring.

I keep learning more and more everyday. The others are never going to believe I met not one, but two dragons. It totally explains how the old man knew so much; he wasn’t an old man at all. I’m getting ahead of myself though. I went fishing and caught a sea snake, Ossu would have been proud, it was a perfect harvest. Later on Gareth and I caught boar, I think it helped him feel better, and thanks to his help it was the biggest boar I ever caught. I have enough jerky to last me forever. The village was a mostly dull place not like home, no tournaments, no challenges, nothing. It was no surprise when they almost got eaten by giant rugbats; they weren’t very good warriors. I made a new fish oil lotion and tried it out on Gareth and Cedric, not sure if I mixed it right, been awhile since Ossu showed me, but they seemed to like it. Right, back to the rugbats. They came out of a hole the old man had the men dig. The old man said they came from Khyber and from what I remember that is a very bad place. Doesn’t seem like a place I want to visit anytime soon. There was a bit of a tussle, but rugbats didn’t seem to pay me much mind so I didn’t bother them too much. I used it as an opportunity to try out my new goggles. They’re magic.

That dragon had an excellent sense for experimentation… I knew the old man would be good for a show… I think next time he should use razor wire fences to keep the villagers from escaping… The body count could have been so much higher… and it was too bad about the little girls… I was really anticipating the paladin’s reaction to their bloodied corpses… That would have been priceless…

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Taz: Someday We'll End Up in the Crappy Town Where I'm a Hero

That amulet.

Trapped on a gods-forsaken rock with a bunch of dragon (and Anna) worshiping idiots. I knew it would come in handy. And it did. But Cedric wasn’t happy. I’ll get back to that later. Things have been blurry lately. They’re all fun, of course they are. I’d be sad if I lost them. Very sad indeed. But I’d be more sad if I lost me.

Evening on the Island of Fire-Breathing Reptiles and Those Who Love Them, and Cedric had gone all investigative on us. It passed the time, I suppose. He was very interested in finding out more about that stone the chief has. Curiosity is waning again. Nothing to do but wait for it to return. We wandered around the village. Night. Cedric wanted to watch over the meat pile. I thought he would take this opportunity for interrogation, but he did not.

We were not quite as stealthy as we could have been; I blame Cedric’s armor. In any event, the chief passed by, waved right at us, and got some meat right from the pile. Dick. Went back to his hut as if nothing had happened. Some sort of spell tried to put me to sleep. Shook it off. Trying to knock me unconscious; who do you think you are? Easier to stay awake after that, but it was still boring.

Morning. Prepared one (1) comprehend languages extract and one (1) block seed potion. That particular problem will not occur again. Saw Pneu at the edges of the village. I had assumed she’d gone back to the ship to wait out the week. It would have been what I’d do if no one had seen me. Maybe her curiosity is strong this week. Mine is not, and although I know it would be advantageous—it’s too dull here. Quiet.

Deth requested tea as I was preparing my extracts. It is always nice to know one’s skills are appreciated.

Garreth seemed to be taking our exile on Dragon Rock as well as I’ve been, although he was more obvious about it. Been hiding in the woods a lot. I went to go speak with him. From what I could gather, he finds it physically difficult to go any significant length of time without killing people. Fascinating. Poor man. What would not be a handicap in a real city could hardly fail to be noticed here. It must be very difficult for him. He did say that he was willing to kill people FOR me. I’m sure that’s not a high bar to breach, since he enjoys it so much, but it’s still reassuring. Could he take V? Irrelevant. V is mine. No other can lay a hand on that smug self-assured psychotic arrogant brazen

Years have not cured you.

Regardless. It was sweet of him to say. One usefulness point to Garreth.

Dull. I hate this place. Ced and Deth went to talk to the chief. I didn’t bother following, since I knew that Cedric would tell me everything anyway. He’s very…honest. It’s charming, in a way. I just hope that it won’t end up getting us all killed. I could walk away. Not now. Not on this island. But when we get back to the continent, away from all this nonsense—it might be a good time to vanish. Will re-evaluate when time comes.

I went to talk to Rebalte instead…Anna’s new servant/pet/follower. I wanted to know what sort of things he made, perhaps exchange tips. His specialty is magic arms and armor, but he didn’t have any examples on him at the moment. A pity. I would have liked to examine his craftsmanship, although his creations are magical in nature, not alchemical. Perhaps a closer examination would have given me ideas on how to meld the two…ah well. Spoke with Anna as well, obtained more evidence that she’s more intelligent than she acts. Front. Obvious. Why didn’t I see it before? She had some interesting ideas regarding the carriage, mostly focusing around attaching a ballista. It might make it more difficult to rent out later, but that’s a problem for Later Taz. It was a nice distraction, anyway. 1 entertainment point to Anna.

We went swimming. Whoo.

Cedric reported. The chief said that he had a vision that told him to dig, which story even Cedric found rather suspect. Apparently we want the item he’s digging for before he gets it…whatever it is. Sure, why not. Find the item. Whatever. Chief said that if Cedric and Garreth helped dig again, we’d find it tomorrow. Why do I feel like this is a bad idea?

Jaela agreed. She said she wasn’t sure if she wanted to find what was in the hole. Said she had a bad feeling about it. She asked Deth if he was all right, said he’d been acting distant. What else is new? Deth is always distant. But not quite this distant. Something is off. The kid’s right. We may have hope for her survival instincts yet.

More plans. Bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored bored.

Sleep. I woke up to find Garreth and Pneu dragging a boar into the tent. Apparently they went hunting for it. Well, all right. I suppose we all have our ways of coping. Deth wasn’t sleeping. Keeps staring at his hands. Why?

*What’s your agenda? You protected us from Fahrez when it might have been more expedient to go along with his change in plans. Why? Is it simply personal enmity? You hate Fahrez that much? Or are you growing attached?

So very dangerous.*

Morning. Prepared one (1) comprehend languages extract and one (1) block seed potion. Best to have a stockpile. Jaela looks tired. Deth asked her if “they” had been bothering her—meaning, I assume, the other Quori. He and Garreth murmured back and forth for a bit. Deth’s dreams have been haunted by the other Quori…possibly Fahrez? It was difficult to hear them over everyone else. Troubling. Your secrets keep you safe. Other people’s secrets get you killed.

Anna and I went to check on the ship. The repairs seem to be proceeding well. Good. The captain was hard at work “fixing” everything, by which I mean he stared at it and things moved around. Neat trick. One usefulness point to the Captain. Talked to him. Confirmed that he’s a daemon. I asked him why he was doing all this, to which he replied, “Have to spend eternity somewhere.” How interesting. I would have liked to stay on with him past this journey—to be on this ship for awhile longer would be fun. And safer. No one can find this ship. No one. Not if he doesn’t want it to be found. Alas, it doesn’t seem like that will be possible.

1 usefulness point to Pneu for making boar jerky. It was quite tasty.

And then we were interrupted by an earthquake. I headed back to the village—if one can call it that—to see what they’d done. And there were giant thing with wings. Later identified as Cloakers. Psychotic denizens of the underworld that feast on the blood of other creatures. Their minds are considered to be beyond comprehension.

Jaela was using V’s the knife I gave her. I was so proud! :D 1 entertainment point to Jaela. Used 1 bomb. Going in like a hero. Blew shit up. Aw yeah. New bomb construction = success.

The fight was going pretty well until Jaela fell over. She didn’t aim for the eye like she should have. These damn things had a ton of them to aim at; she didn’t lack for targets. Soft. Honey, what did I tell you about bad ideas? She’s got some learning to do…no survival instincts whatsoever.

On the bright side, my new bow works very well.

AND THEN THERE WAS A CLOAKER ON ME AND EVERYTHING WAS AWFUL. FUCK.

Cedric came to help, even though he gave me a LOOK about the amulet thing. 1 usefulness point. The chief was just watching everything this whole time. That ass. I am no one’s tool. No one’s pawn to be cast aside. I left that behind when I left them.

Cedric took my damage for me, even though he’d realized that the amulet wasn’t on Jaela. One usefulness point. But he didn’t look so good afterwards. Kindly don’t die, Cedric. You can’t heal me if you die. Deth killed it for me. One usefulness point to Deth.

Used 1 bomb to kill one. Excellent choice of arsenal. Damn that chief. I AM NOT AN EXPERIMENT. I DO EXPERIMENTS. THEY ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS.

1 entertainment point to Anna for choking the thing with what I believe was caltrops. Well done you. 1 usefulness point for Pneu for general badassery.

Chief seemed totally fine with us killing his cloakers. Said that it was a part of something. (That sounds familiar.) He’s doing something about the prophecy too. He claimed that he had nothing to do with the storm. AND THEN HE TURNED INTO A DRAGON. THE FUCK. He’s a silver one.

Then who should show up but our old friend Blacky the dragon. (I really should inquire into his actual name one of these days.) Garreth was not happy about that. Blacky told the other dragon that we were under his protection. Our arrival on Fuck-All Island was in accordance with the prophecy. Anna finally got her dragon ride. Blacky didn’t know what the other dragon’s experiment was meant to do, or so he claimed.

The Chamber: renegade dragons that try to take a more active role in the prophecy. Blacky said that the silver dragon is part of that group.

Blacky doesn’t expect the mortal groups who are after the diadem shit to succeed. He’s more concerned with the otherworldy agencies that are after it. (By which I assume he meant Shale and Fahrez and their respective groups.)

After both the dragons flew off, I overheard the villagers talking. Fiq wanted to “kill the outsiders.” Comprehend languages was a good life choice. We started to hustle off, and then there was a fight between Hartha and Fiq. Went back to the boat. It would have been nice if I’d cared at that particular moment. (Seriously, it would have been nice.)

Four days.
Four days of waiting.
Four days of nothing.
Manufactured: Four (4) bombs. Four (4) block seed potions.
BORED BORED BORED.
One entertainment point to Garreth and Cedric for shirtless sunbathing. I gave Jaela some knife lessons. She is not very good. Oh sweetie. We have a long ways to go if you’re going to survive past fourteen. Granted, not everyone can start as early as I did, but it’s better to be late than never.

Someone with great magical ability would have had to interfere with the ship, quoth the Captain. Chessboard = scoreboard for cosmic battle. When I asked him why he was doing all this, he said that he did it for the sake of the game. OF COURSE. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW. He’s like me. I really wish I could stay with him.

Cedric didn’t like that I took the amulet. Just had to smile and wave him off with jokes. Because you wouldn’t understand, would you, you spoiled son of Montique or whatever. Some of us have to look to our own selves.

Everyone else sure as hell isn’t going to.

In summary.
Night 17: Boring.
Day 18: Boring.
Day 19: Boring. CLOAKERS. BORING.
Days 20-23: Boring. Finally getting off this rock.

Money obtained: None. :-(
Loot obtained: None. :-(

Ranking of companions:
Garreth: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Captain: Usefulness- 1 point.
Anna: Entertainment value- 2 points.
Jaela: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Deth: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Usefulness- 2 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 2 points. Entertainment value- 1 point.

Ranking totals to date:
Garreth: Usefulness- 19 points. Entertainment value- 8 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 11 points. Entertainment value- 13 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 12 points. Entertainment value- 10 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 5 points. Entertainment value- 3 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 12 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 14 points. Entertainment value- 6 points.

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deth'Ruki: Sleep Deprived

Daybreak and the sweat is gone,
Debts owed, an inbalance made,
(They keep increasing)

We ride out, contained once more,
Long and hard, the sun moves fast,
(The boat best be better)

An unexpected stop with unexpected resuts,
A formal request, a formal refusal,
(Why don’t we just kill them?)

A plan in the making, gunpowder and lies,
A father, a daughter, a great disguise,
(This is almost funny)

Taken to headquarters, what’s this?
Glowing green eyes, a smile that fits,
(Oh. Him. Thrilling.)

A quip, a remark,
Harsh words, and a strong tone,
(My, Cedric, you are earning points)

A change of plans, a small shock,
Not possible, choices be damned,
(Don’t touch them)

Both in one place,
Once, twice, thrice,
(This could pose a problem)

I hate the monster within, now out,
But this one, this one’s worse,
(Finally something we agree on)

He’s moving desperately now, why?
So much blood, my blood that isn’t mine,
(I said do not touch them)

The enemy falls, but one remains,
Odd that one, accusing him, accusing me,
(I don’t give a damn)

Swift actions in the morning,
Take off, take anchor,
(It’s a steal, why complain?)

It’s time again, I can feel it,
He grows restless, needs answers,
(ganitari-Ran, we must speak)

(Please excuse my absence)
(fahrezz’Ress, he-
)
( Mortal concerns )

(The Elven lands, I can still-)
(
They’re useful, I promise
)
( Kill her )

(I, but,)

A drop of water breaks the fog,
One after another, a steady torrent,
(Cedric. No.)

Ropes entangle, grace dives,
All that can be done, not enough,
(Gareth, get him back)

Thrown off balance,
Soaked, vertigo,
(It’s not suppose to-)

Stranded, marooned,
Dragons and cannibalistic natives,
(We’ve reached the pleasure portion of our cruise, I see)

A worshiped kitten, a skeptic witch,
A frightened son, and an impostor,
(And a stone, let us not forget that)
(This may just pay off yet
)

(Still…)

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Gareth: Dream monsters and crazy dragon people

I never want to see another small town ever again. If it has a population of under two hundred I am not stepping foot inside unless there is something really fuckin good in it for me. Especially with these people. Nothing good ever comes from it. They fuckin bicker and it drives me up a fuckin wall. If I wanted to listen to people do that I would move in with an old married couple. It’s times like these where I feel like Deth needs to get the fuck over himself. Taz is pretty fuckin full of herself too, but I don’t really give a shit. I think these people are getting to me. Fuck.

Anna’s been quiet, but she’s been pretty quiet since the time when we kidnapped Jaela. I don’t know what is wrong with her and I don’t think she’d tell me anyway so what the fuck ever. Let her wallow. I can’t handle these people right now. Ced is mopey too. I know it’s because of that chick he slept with. He’s one of those people that takes things like that to heart and it fuckin sucks for him I get that but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating to deal with. And then there is Nu who is pretty fuckin sick and I don’t know what the fuck I can do about it and why the hell did I manage to find myself in a group of people that are all high-maintenance? Holy fuck. I need a break.

You know how to you don’t get a break? By ridin in a fuckin carriage forever. I am so fuckin sick of this fuckin carriage I am going to lose my goddamn mind I need to blow of some steam before I start breaking things. Or people. Here. In this carriage. Ha. Haha. Okay. Woulda had the chance too. Stopped by a bunch of undead soldiers. Not my prime choice of victims but what the fuck ever. If I could break some bones that’d be great. But of course that didn’t happen. Gotta be nice. Gotta be inconspicuous. Gotta blend in. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.

Went in to some military outpost town what the fuck ever I don’t like being in places like these either. Too fuckin familiar. Only to be faced with some high-horsed paladin asshole that didn’t act like no paladin I’d ever met before. Ced couldn’t keep the anger in check and fuck all if he was gonna be the first one to break. Sat his ass down and told him to shut the fuck up. Thankfully he listened to me. Yes I want to blow off steam, no I don’t want to get fuckin murdered. The guard group. We coulda done that, but now that we’re here in this place? Bad fuckin idea unless you aren’t fond of livin anymore. I kinda like being alive. Let’s you do things other than rot in a hole.

Anyway, made pretend that Jaela was my daughter. Apparently it didn’t work, who gives a shit. The guy didn’t fuckin do anything about it so it really doesn’t matter. Deth didn’t like him either. Says he knew him. Grew up with him. Fuckin great. The last thing I need is more of those stupid dream fuckers right now. He was pissy, Ced was pissy, Taz wasn’t. Thank the fuckin gods she wasn’t or I might have lost my goddamn mind right fuckin there. Guy said he’d get us our papers. Brought us to a barracks. Locked us the fuck in. Promptly fell the fuck asleep. I dunno if it was me or him but when I woke up it was in one of those dream things again.

Only this time the big crab was on our side. Thanks Deth for leavin out that little fuckin piece of info. Cuz that wouldn’ta been helpful or any stupid shit like that. No. Why would anyone in this fuckin party ever want to be fuckin helpful when they’re fuckin talkin to you? Whatever. Didn’t even fuckin matter. Talked to Nu because there were two of her. Turns out the other one is her sister and she is why Nu is sick. And she’s really fuckin strong. Kill me in one blow strong. Not ready to get rid of her yet. We’ll see about later though. I left crazy dream fake paladin fucker to her and went for the weird lookin minions. Decided to try out this place and used two axes.

Anna did another carriage stunt. It was pretty fuckin awesome to watch. Definitely felt it to since it drove by right in front of my goddamn face. Coulda been mulch myself, but I don’t think Anna’s the type to not watch out for her comrades. After dealin with them I decided to go after the blond body. Deth said if we killed it dream fucker wouldn’t have a body to immediately return to that was near us so we could get away or some shit so I did. Sorry Ced. I had no fuckin clue when this damn dream thing was gonna end and i couldn’t sit around and wait for him to get to it.

When the fuck did this kind of thing become a fuckin chore? That’s not what this is supposed to be. I can’t fuckin stand this shit.

Won the fight. Woke up to Taz talkin to herself. She’s been actin kinda weird. Pretty sure bein pregnant doesn’t make you think there are people to talk to when there aren’t any there. She said it was nothing but I don’t fuckin believe her. Whatever. I’ll watch for now. She ain’t gonna tell me nothin if I don’t have some goddamn proof or somethin. Oh and guess what. Deth got fuckin sick. Really fuckin sick. Like he could die sick. Fuck this trip. Fuck these people. Fuck this place. Fuck everything.

Took my ass to the goddamn tavern because fuck this shit. Since nothin else was fuckin workin I was gonna get myself nice and fuckin drunk. Took forever and a handful of gold but I don’t give a shit. The barkeep looked pretty damn shocked that I could keep knockin them back. Some guy next to me made some sort of crack. Somethin about my wife leaving me or somethin like that. Heheheheheh. Right. Fuckin right. Don’t even really know what happened, just remember the feel of his bones crunchin under my fist, blood. Lots of blood. Faces bleed so much. Tried to fight back. Honest effort, never enough. Broke his bones, made him bleed, made him cry. Don’t know what happened. Next thing I remember Ced’s usin some magic or somethin to make me not feel sick anymore. Knuckles bleeding, lip split. Fixed those too. Crawled in bed with Deth.

Woke up the next day with some more goddamn sense and a really fuckin bad headache. Deth wasn’t any better and Ced looked really fuckin worried. Think he was tryin to not freak me out or anything but I could see it. I could fuckin see it. So I went out to find somethin to fix him. Deth I mean. Taz and Anna came with. We found it. Taz bought it. Ran it back. I can’t. Fuckin. Stand. These people. They’re no good for me. I can’t fuckin breathe sometimes around them. What the fuck am I supposed to do about that?

Deth got better. We went to leave. Nu was collapsed at the carriage and there was Sally. Said she was punishin Nu for misbehavin or somethin. Didn’t matter. I was there. Made sure Nu was okay. There it is again. I feel like I’m gonna fuckin puke. I can’t do this.

I need to blow off steam. Stuff I can remember the next day.

We left. Nu was okay. Deth was okay. Everyone was fuckin okay. Moved on to get a boat to get to some whatever place where the Madstone and elves were. I don’t give a fuck. Couldn’t find a boat until some shady guy said he’d take us if we fought a battle for him.

Thank.
The fuckin.
Gods.

I said yes. I don’t give a shit a battle sounds fuckin fantastic right now. Of course Taz was all ‘this sounds like a bad idea I don’t want to die for this’ blahblahblah. I was goin whether the rest of them were or not. Ced convinced Taz. We left for the boat later. There were some people already there. Happy as shit they were. Well the lady looked a little less excited but the guy more than made up for it. Honeymoon. Cute. They fought something with tentacles in the sea. Alrighty. Looked at the chessy thing they were talkin about with the Captain (who is a cool fuckin dude. I like this guy. Wish we could keep him).

The boat was actually nice. I thought I was gonna go fuckin nuts but Ced made it interestin for me. We played some stupid ass games and drank and talked and it was actually fuckin nice. Which was also really fuckin weird but whatever. The Captain even played with us for a quick second there. It was fuckin awesome. He was really accom-er what the fuck is the word…. whatever. Really nice about makin sure we were all settled and didn’t need anythin. It was pretty cool.

Taz also did her baby-be-gone thing. She bled a lot and looked like she was in a lot of pain. I could never be a woman. I don’t know how they do it. She wanted me to leave her alone so I let her. It’s weird. Most women I’ve met want to be fuckin coddled or somethin. Not these ones.

The fight was fuckin awesome too. He dropped us off at this cove and this monster with six motherfuckin heads comes out. Holy. Shit. Yes. It was one of the most beautiful fuckin things that I have ever seen in my life. No one knows what it was called but that didn’t matter. What better way to let loose than just charge the fucker? So I did. Cut it’s goddamn head off. And it grew two more. Definitely the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life. But I still wanted to kill it. If heads didn’t work then maybe- but then Cap’n said to aim for the heads so I kept doin it. And Taz wanted to try somethin so I cut off another one and she threw a bomb at it. Nothin grew back. Which was both awesome and kinda sad.

So we decided that we would just tag-team the rest of the heads since it got put the fuck to sleep. Not even gonna bother askin Nu how she did it she’ll just deny she did anything to it in the first place. She does that. Anyway. Anna ended up givin the killin blow but I didn’t even give a shit. I cut off three of those heads I was damn well gonna keep one. We looted the cave behind it and went back on the ship.

I figured out Nu can preserve the head once we get supplies. Jaela said she could make sure it keeps until then. This is fuckin beautiful. Went to put my shit away and take all my crap off to clean it. The boat started pitchin like nobodies business which was fuckin weird because pretty sure rain didn’t even touch this boat but there it was. We were in a big fuckin storm. No one answered me below deck so I went to go and make sure the people up top weren’t dyin or something. Just in time to hear Ced went over. In his fuckin armor. I told him. I fuckin told him that would come to bite him in the ass. There was that tightness again. So I went in.

He was just…sinkin. The only thing I could think about was not lettin him drown. How the fuck is it that he gets himself into these stupid situations where I’m pretty sure it’s gonna end with him dead if I don’t save his ass? I was so fuckin close. Almost reached him. And then I blacked out. When I woke up again we were on a beach and Nu was checkin on all of us. I looked up and Ced was fuckin alive. Almost had a goddamn heart attack. And then he kissed me. Which I was totally cool with because I think it’s funny but it was still really fuckin confusing.

Turns out everyone else was okay too. Jaela was passed out so I just…sat there until she woke up. Dunno why. Maybe it’s cuz whenever I’m in trouble she makes every fuckin effort to get to me to make sure I’m okay. It’s weird. She shouldn’t give a shit but she does. Anyway, went and got my shit out of the upside down boat. After some sort of ritual where he cut me and stuck the wound in the ocean (fuckin ow) he said where we were and it would take a week to fix the boat. Almost didn’t hear the first part because haha dragons.

Why
Life was goin so well and suddenly I have to be stranded in a place where i can get eaten by a fuckin dragon. Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck. Why. No. Get me off of this goddamn rock. I can’t handle this shit.

Anna ran off after hearin that the people worshipped others with dragon marks or something I wasn’t listening to. We tried to get her to stop but she wouldn’t so Deth shot her horse. He shot. Her horse. On an island where the people would skin us and eat us while we were still breathin. Loud. Bang. Guess who knew we were there now? No point in hidin. So I went with Anna. Caught up in time to see her tryin to communicate with people in a language I didn’t know. She was shirtless, Ced was bein modest. Went back to get Deth to translate.

Honestly stopped payin afuckinttention around here. We were trapped on an island with people that could very well decide to eat us. I welcomed the challenge really, but I just didn’t want to see any fuckin dragons. I’ve had enough of that for one lifetime. They were havin issues with their chief. I kinda listened to all the conversations people were havin about it. Talked to the son of the chief who was freaked out because he killed the guy but he didn’t stay dead. Didn’t see Nu at all during the day but how is that new.

I just want to see what’s in the fuckin hole and get the fuck out of here. If they want the stone they can get that too. I don’t give a shit. I don’t want to be here. Might go out and sleep in the damn forrest. Or find my way back to the beach and sleep around there. Too much human smell here.

Dunno how I’ll be able to stop myself.

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Pneu and Sally's sing along

I feel so unsure… as I cut your throat and leave you dead on the floor.
As your body dies, something in your eyes, calls to mind a fading breeze and all… its… sad… goodbyes…

I’m never gonna kill again, guilty blades have lost their rhythm.
As I squat and watch your end, standing in a pool …of their blood?
should have known that it had be this fun, your final glance as my blade was driven.
So I’m never gonna kill again!
I love the way I killed youooooh!

Mind and body’s end.
The silent whisper… of… a… good… rend.
Left my heart behind.
Blood is so sublime.
There’s no comfort in the truth.
Sometimes, it’s so unkind!

I’m never gonna kill again, guilty blades have lost their rhythm.
As I squat and watch your end, standing in a pool …Stop that.
should have known that it had be this fun, your final glance as my blade was driven.
So I’m never gonna kill again!
I just loved killing youooooh!

…You aren’t going to take this seriously are you?
I am being serious, I’m always serious.
You keep changing the lyrics, it isn’t what we practiced.
It’ll be more fun this way, trust me.

Tonight the thunder seems so loud.
As I peel your skin I feel so proud!
Maybe, I should run away.
I’ll cut you no matter what it is you have to say.
I found you in the stormy weather.
I love it when they think they’re clever.
Oh why, can’t I, just stay away… I pray

I’m never gonna kill again, guilty blades have lost their rhythm.
As I squat and watch your end, standing in a pool …why do I bother?
should have known that it had be this fun, your final glance as my blade was driven.
So I’m never gonna kill again!
I love how I killed youooooh!

Now that you’re gone!
Now that you’re gone.
Now that you’re gone!
It almost feels wrong.
What I did was wron… wait what?
Just kidding.

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Anna: Howdy ya'll!

Hey guys, thought ya’ll would like ta know about m’ new awesome friends, so ya will know what they are kinda like when I bring em by later!

First we have my bestest friend Deadruki. He is a really caring guy who is always looking out for the rest of us. He says things like “These things are mine!” when talking about us. He is like a older brother ah never had! We get along great, he even tried ta help the other day but accidentally shot Clover. She’ll be fine though, Clover is a champ. When the boat went all upsidedown she was all like “I got this”
Oh, he is also a giant crab, but ah think he is a little sensitive about that.

Tazzy an me do a lot of similar things. Makin’ alchemic dodads. He is really really good at it though! He is also really good with money. Two things ah should learn ta do better from ’im.

Gary is another guy in the group. He is big! Much like Clem! But Gary is much more talkative and only naked half as much.

Cedricks a guy. With a tail! Ah wanna tail! Picking up tools while working would be so much more easy like! He is not very good with words, though… An he walks funny. Ah feel good ‘round him though, ’e is a good guy. Even if ah am havin’ a bad day, when he is around ya just feel better, ya’know? Ah also feel better when he touches me.

Nuu is this fluffy girl. Ya know when ya look at a cloud and it looks like it is murdering the other clouds? She is kinda like that. She never seems ta be around that much, but at the same time she is always somewhere nearby.

Jayla is the newest friend! She is even younger than me! She would fit in nicely at th’ farm, have plenty of youngins ta play with. She is a little doll, and even has a doll! Mr Grumpy pants an him will get along nicely.

A few of them can eat their own body weight in food, so ya’ll should make sure ta have a good feast ready when we come by eventually.
Maybe we can even break out a few of them fancy bottles o wine!

Till next time Fellow Applefields, see ya’ll!

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Anna: Well ah'll be a chickens roost

Ah really should learn to manage m’ income a tad better. Hm, Gran’ma probably needs this gold more than ah do.

Well, as it turns out, th’ little town we went ta had some bad eggs in it. They were all like Rargzzzzz and Blurargbzzzzzzz. They did not like us very well, so we left. Was still lots o fun though, will definitively go back sometime.

Carriage modifications are comin’ along all nice like, should not be much longer now.

Some travel time came an’ went. Hit some guys with the Horse-Train-Plow and Dead’s a giant crab thing.

Now were on a boat!

Now the boats upsidedown!

More dragons!

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Pneumonia: A walk through the valley of the shadow of dragons

I’m on boat! At least I was until the boat tipped over. It was so much fun, but I didn’t get to meet any sailors because there wasn’t any. That’s okay though, maybe the next boat I ride on will have sailors. I want to try being a sailor; I bet it would be as much fun as being a conductor. While we were on the boat we stopped at a cave, there was a strange lizard with lots of heads, that everyone was fighting for some reason, so I made it go to sleep, I didn’t want to kill the lizard, but everyone said we had to. That was our payment for the boat ride. Gareth kept the head as a trophy, he has the peculiar hobby of collecting body parts. Sometimes he reminds me of her. After that there was a storm and the boat crashed; it was a fun ride. Everyone decided to go meet the locals so I followed them to the village and got to meet the nice chief man who lives there. I wonder why everyone is so concerned over a little old man; although the old man seemed pretty spry for a dead guy, he even noticed me hanging around, but I didn’t feel threatened by him. They meddle like Sarah does. One of these days they are going to go looking for honey in the wrong bee hive and get stung.

… four gold… I’m betting four gold the peasant girl gets eaten by the monster in the hole… and the paladin goes in after her… This is going to be great… I want to see the big guy fight the old man. I bet that old guy has something up his sleeve… or he is just a regular old man who got lucky… and the ordeal would end with him splattered on the ground… either way it would be funny… I’m a bit disappointed the horse didn’t go down… should have aimed for the rider… we need to get that kid a bigger gun…

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Cedric: Entry 8

Given that Deth, Pneu and Gareth all looked stable come morning, I opted to go to Vedykar’s market and purchase supplies. Anna accompanied me, and provided pleasant company. I asked how she was doing given her cousin’s recent death, and she seems to be dealing well. I’m glad for that, as it’s never easy to lose a family member—even if, as she said, mourning will not bring them back. With regards to what was purchased, I obtained a composite longbow and arrows in the hopes that I will be able to be more flexible in combat with a strength-based distance weapon.

Anna and I returned to the inn to find that a letter for me had arrived. I was quite surprised, given that I had sent my letter to Sophia only days before. Unfortunately, it was not my sister but my mother that had written to me. Normally I would welcome correspondence from nearly any member of my family, but this was an exception. I should have known from the start that it would be a less than pleasant experience, considering the messenger was given explicit instructions to have the person with the most commanding voice present read it out loud. Naturally this fell to Gareth, who had no qualms bellowing my mother’s scolding for the misinformation Fahrez had fed her (and apparently others) for everyone gathered in the dining hall to hear.

I feel there is no low to which this man will not stoop.

Personal humiliation aside, we quickly left for Rekkenmark and arrived without incident. On the way I wrote my response to my mother, hoping to clear up any misunderstandings. Her mention of Queen Aurala receiving letters from Krozen is… worrying. I hope such things will not prove troublesome in the future, but I have faith in our good queen.

As we traveled, I also took the opportunity to speak with Deth about Fahrez and the organization he (they?) work for. As to be expected his answers were less than forthcoming, although they were still useful. The knowledge that Fahrez gained entry into the Church of the Silver Flame by possessing someone and that he seeks the diadem is nothing new. What surprised me is that Deth claimed his reason for aiding him and the organization is that they are something akin to family for him. I… cannot fault a man entirely for feeling bound by kin, but I still worry. I assume he is still in some sort of contact with them, although he claims he is no longer privy to what their plans are. Yet all this said, Lady Jaela trusts him. She may be young, but I likewise trust her judgment. So long as Deth’s future actions do not endanger her, I see no reason not to continue our association.

Once in Rekkenmark, Taz went about finding us passage on a boat. Having never traveled on the ocean before and having some trepidations about it, I asked the others if they had done so before. Besides river travel, no one had. At the time I was also concerned about wearing my armor on the boat, a worry that later proved reasonable although I did not pay it heed.

Taz returned from her attempts at finding passage with no success. Any boats that would have gotten us to Arenal were either exorbitantly expensive, or would have taken months. It soon began raining, and we ducked inside to dry off. Shortly after, Gareth answered the door and a hooded man entered. He spoke only Abyssal, Infernal and Draconic, so for a time I translated. I identified him as a daemon, but not evil (nor, as I later found out, was his ship). He called himself only “the Captain”, and offered us voyage on his boat (The Crimson Ship) in exchange for fighting a single battle for him. He claimed the fight would be fair, that the foes we would face had consented to fight us as well, and that we would fight as a group. If we did this, he would get us to Arenal within a week, weather permitting.

I considered his offer reasonable—if unusual—and the others did as well, save for Taz. She was extremely concerned with the suspicious nature of the Captain and the possibility of dying, or worse. My assurances that he was not evil did little to change this outlook. The others were likewise having little luck convincing her, and so I reminded her that she would likely never have the chance to ride such a ship again, never mind the treasures such a vessel might hold.

It worked splendidly: she agreed on the spot.

She seemed somewhat exasperated by the fact that I was able to convince her as such, but no matter. What’s important is that we agreed and, after purchasing supplies we set out. Taz also gave Lady Jaela the dagger that she had first owned in order to protect herself, which I found endearing.

Once on the boat we met a lovely couple, Vandal and Trina. They had procured passage on the ship in order to travel to Sharn for their honeymoon, apparently leaving their daughters in the care of a friend. I could not help but smile at that; children are a blessing.

Vandal was most excitable, and happy to explain (albeit vaguely) what combat the two had undergone, as well as a good deal about himself and his wife. She is a mage apparently, and he a chosen soul of the god “Pelor”. A sun god, perhaps, from what I managed to glean. I had wished to converse with him more about his deity, but his way of speaking was hard to follow. He also mentioned the captain doing something with a chessboard after the battle, which we were able to see first-hand when we later returned from our own successful combat.

Reflecting now I wonder if the chessboard’s game (“Conqueror,” I believe it was called) wouldn’t have something to do with the Blood Wars—and yet if memory serves Daemons take no lasting side in such affairs, and the Captain is not someone that is evil. Still, I will ask him about such when I have the opportunity. My knowledge of such things is hardly complete, and it would do good to learn more beyond the stories I have been told.

Regardless, we found that beyond the captain, the newlyweds, and ourselves, there was no one to be found on the ship. After a bit of exploring I found a store of alcohol, which we were welcome to. I found Gareth and for a while, we sat drinking and talking. Taz sat with us as well, and asked after my family and its history, which I proudly told her. Gareth wished to know if I had someone waiting for me back home, and what I planned to do when we had finished our quest. I… must admit I had not thought of doing anything beyond what is expected of me: marrying into a political alliance if one can be found, and serving as the lord of House Montique once my mother fully retires or passes on. And yet, I have felt more freedom and joy traveling and fighting these past weeks than I ever have at home. Perhaps I will continue adventuring for a while longer after we have finished…

The topic turned to Gareth’s past, and he mentioned he has no plans for his life after our journey, and no home or family to return to. I know it is inevitable for one to lose their parents (although he did not say they were dead…), but to have no home at all—! I can hardly imagine living as such, and cannot help but feel pity for his situation. Even if he claims to enjoy wandering, I… Well, it’s no matter.

He eventually went to speak with Taz for a bit about something, and later we docked in Sharn. Vandal and Trena departed, and we all made sure to wish them well. Eventually we set sail again, and after some rooting around again I found an armory on board. I was all too grateful for this fact, as traveling by sea is incredibly boring. When one travels by carriage there are always new things to see, but the ocean is monotonous like nothing else. Gareth, Deth and I set out to entertain ourselves with the blades we found, running about the ship and playing tag with the broad sides of the swords for a number of hours. It was quite fun, and the Captain even participated at one point. I truly cherish these moments of camaraderie.

Finally it was time for us to fight. The ship came to a stop by a seaside cave, and we all disembarked. Inside the cave was an enormous creature with six heads; none of us knew what it was. Its heads grew back double each time one was cut off, and I suspect it would have been difficult to kill had Deth not shot it as he had, and Pneumonia put it to sleep with an enchanted arrow. Once asleep we cut off the heads and cauterized the wounds so that they could not grow back; Anna of all people was the one to land the killing blow. Aside from the wounds Lady Jaela suffered, the battle was most enjoyable.

Inside its cave we found a multitude of items, most on the remains of humanoids. We split the spoils accordingly. We then returned to the ship, where the Captain moved a chess piece on his board and said we had officially paid in full. After three days (filled with more desperate attempts to alleviate our boredom on all accounts) a storm broke out. This would not be an issue except that it rocked the boat so fiercely that I was pitched from the boat.

While wearing my armor.

In hindsight the idea of continuing to wear my armor on a boat after finishing our combat seems foolish, but I wanted to be prepared in case an unexpected battle arose. I remember very little other than struggling, sinking, praying, and the forms of Taz and then Gareth diving into the water in an attempt to rescue me. Taz was not an especially strong swimmer, while Gareth had nearly reached me when I blacked out.

I woke up on a beach hill with Pneu looming over me, checking to see if I was alive. Gareth was beside me and I was so relieved to find us both alive I couldn’t help but kiss him. (It’s been the appropriate response in the past.) Pneu told us that the others were alive, and we hastened to reunite with them. We found the others by the boat, which had been tipped over—although our belongings and even horses were found unharmed. The Captain informed us that the storm was the result of magic, and that it would take a week for the ship to be rebuilt. After performing some sort of magic involving Gareth’s blood, he informed us that the island we had landed on (Saren, near the nation of Argenessa) is inhabited by dragon-worshiping barbarians. They are known to kill (and often eat) outsiders that are not, or are not accompanied by, those with dragon blood or dragonmarks.

Fortunately for us Anna is such a person, although… I worry about her diplomatic prowess.

We were indecisive about whether to engage the natives or not, but ultimately Anna decided to take matters into her own hands by riding one of the horses into the jungle. Deth promptly shot the horse (fortunately not wounding it terribly), and I leaped onto the other horse in order to catch up with Anna. Leaving her to face the natives alone would be unthinkable, dragonmark or not.

I caught up to her shortly, finding her shirtless and attempting to communicate with the natives. Anna’s impropriety aside, the natives only seem to speak Draconic. Gareth arrived shortly, and then went back to get Deth translate. Despite the communication barrier, Anna’s dragonmark alone seemed enough to keep them from acting overtly hostile. Deth translated well (albeit not exactly as Anna wanted, which was honestly to our advantage) and eventually we were lead into the village. I believe I’ve developed a knee-jerk response of distaste and fear regarding small, isolated settlements. There was a man in a pit of leeches (lovely, more blood-sucking creatures) that Anna eventually was able to convince the natives to free; the cloaked woman that first met us claimed he was an outsider that had placed a curse on their chief.

Said chief spoke some Common, and dismissed the notion of having been cursed. Anna noted that she was hungry and he insisted we feast with them, while the cloaked woman insisted that we speak with her before the meal. Anna directed Taz to interrogate the man in the leech pit while we did so.

The woman spoke to us about how the chief’s behavior had drastically altered within the past few days. His personality has changed (he seems smarter, more driven); he insists that a pit be dug behind his hut; the hunts have been going strangely; and his son is suddenly terrified of him for an unknown reason. Furthermore their gods—dragons—have been “quiet” lately, which is to say they have not been eating people. Regarding the pit, the chief recently obtained a strange black stone, spoke odd words, told his people “here”, and they simply began to dig. The chief keeps the stone on his person or in his hut at all times. I wonder if it is perhaps a part of the diadem? It is worth pursuing further.

After speaking with the cloaked woman (she is something of a shaman or witch for the tribe) we went to feast. The food was nothing unusual, and Anna was surprisingly tactful about asking about the pit being dug. When Deth, Taz and I attempted to get her to ask him about the stone he laughed, as if he understood at least one of the languages we spoke to one another in for privacy’s sake (Elven or Dwarven, I believe). Regardless, we were able to get very little information from him.

When the feast was over Taz and Gareth went to speak with the chief’s son, while Deth and I remained behind to converse. He says the chief must be smarter than he’s letting on, and I agree. He was also surprisingly forthcoming in saying that items of the diadem react to one another by vibrating when they are nearby. (Apparently this is what alerted him to the fact that the Warforged carried a piece of the diadem with them in their encampment. I will need to ask him or Gareth to exploit this quality of the objects and speak with the chief while he is wearing the stone, or pay a visit to his hut.) Deth also had no qualms in sharing what languages he knows: Common, Draconic, Q’uor, Elven, and Riedran. He may also speak telepathically with one person per day, although both parties must actively send thoughts to one another. It sounds odd to say it, but think Deth is genuine in his attempts to help. It’s certainly a relief. While we were discussing what to do next Gareth and Taz returned.

According to them, the chieften’s son (Fiq) killed his father in combat and buried him in quicksand, only to return to the village and find him apparently alive, with a stone around his neck. Apparently the same stone the witch spoke of. After further discussion we went back to speak with the witch about the altered hunting habits of the tribe, among other things. In the process we learned that if the people of the village have noticed the chief’s changed behavior, they have not reacted to it. She apparently was unsurprised to hear that Fiq had attempted to kill his father (what a horrid society…) although she also said she dislikes Fiq quite a bit and avoids him when she can. He would not make a good leader by her accounts, and I agree. Any man that would commit patricide cannot lead compassionately.

(Regarding this, I believe she would make a respectable leader from what I have seen of her, although she is uncertain if she would be willing. She understands the workings of what passes for politics here well, and is certainly more level headed than the others here. From what she said she is able to cast spells for surviving and combat, and has shown a clear respect for the importance of family ties. There are no laws in their culture that state a woman cannot lead, as well. However, I am unsure how ethical it is to engineer what would essentially be a coup. While the chief is undoubtedly a type of undead or an imposter—someone we may rightfully punish either way—that still leaves his son to remove from the picture if the witch is to take over. Were I merely a noble’s son, political involvement would be all but expected of me: particularly because we would also benefit from it. However, I am a paladin even here and… I suppose I am unclear whether my code allows it. I will ask Lady Jaela her thoughts on the matter.)

As for the hunting, the chief has been bringing back more food than usual, which promptly vanishes come morning. None of the natives have been willing to watch overnight and see where the food goes due to superstition. The witch will show us where the food is placed, and I will suggest we take turns keeping watch over it.

To speak of the pit being dug, it is behind the chief’s house and surrounded by a fence. When people are doing nothing else they dig in it, and the chief does not take kindly to trespassers. We will have to find a way to investigate it anyways—perhaps if Pneu actually chooses to show herself and communicate with us, I will be able to ask her to do so. For the time being, we will do what we can to determine what the stone is, and if it is in fact related to the diadem in some way.

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