A Light in the Dark

A bad idea #3

Combat.

We need to discuss capabilities and work out battle plans. I have discovered a couple of weaknesses of my own that I must amend.

The cohesion of this group nigh approaches that of companions. It intrigues me to note that there was little to no dissension in the dissemination of forcibly acquired resources.

I have 1 kill to my name, but must share the glory with Stolid, as they successfully held our foe that I might kill them.

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Let Their Blood Flow!
Our first strike is true though muddled.

They are twelve. They are Kabal from Toza’s domain.

Do I know them? No.

Are they tainted? Are they free willed? Do I care? No.

They need to die. We need to take their goods, food, equipment.

Do they have anything from my father? From my brother? A hint of them.

These are the first I will plot the demise of.

Twelve. Three wizards. Four priests. The rest warriors or scouts. We will have to work together.

Kill the wizards and priests first, I tell my fellows.

I fly back to verbally report back and hatch a plan. Shadow, Jern and I talk, seems Fyraiia hasn’t forgiven me and Phearon is silently judging. He probably hasn’t forgiven me for telling him that I will travel without him after hitting Ironhold. I don’t dwell. We decide to use the landscape to our advantage and hide amongst the hills while they walk through the middle. I will be in the air watching before launching my attack. Gronx is charged with rousing Daniel as I want fireball to start up.

Shadow actually casts Mage Armour on me as I cast Shield upon myself. I in turn cast Bladethirst upon Jern, Shadow, myself. Daniel spreads Bull’s Strength amongst us who engage in melee, and Shadow cast Blur upon everyone except myself. I want the buggers to try and hit me.

We get into place, and it seems to be going as planned until a scout spots someone…. and our advantage is lost. Damn. I mistakenly tell Daniel to wait, while Shadow pops up and throws a knife. I finally allow Daniel to release Fireball when he tells me he is casting it. Wow! Already? Seems mother will be ashamed of me for neglecting my magic development.

I rise up then dive in targeting a priest with my scimitar. It’s been so long since I last fought in my true form, I feel exillerated! The wind screams around me, Warmonger, watch this! I almost shout but I mustn’t lose my advantage. I cut clean through the priest’s neck and his head flies off as the body stands in shock before dropping. There’s curses but no one really seems to take a look at me as the fighters run to kill our magic users. Damnit!

I inhale the scent of blood and look for a target, while cloaking a priest in the remnants of Daniel’s fire. Feels great to be in a fight. A priest, I think, tries to fight me, I’m about to release my fury when a wizard casts Shriveling upon me. A higher spell than what we have on our side! I can’t shake off the disease like spell, so I instead fly at him, after spiralling away from chains erupting out of the earth, then flipping between a pair of warriors to finally unfurl my wings and in two thrusts I’m fighting him. He clearly was prepared as my scimitar finds little purchase in his flesh. I’m committed.

I can hear Jern’s and Daniel’s pain, Shadow’s frustration, Mr Biggles’ alarm. Our plan failed. I need to kill this wizard quickly and move on! But the wizard is tougher than expected. He’s wise enough to cast quickly and defensively, denying me an easy strike. I hit him again, then there’s someone on my back harrying me. I’ll kill that priest after I kill the wizard. I perform a quick flurry upon the wizard, punching him in the face was satisfying. There’s triumph from Daniel, then excitement as he drops a fireball upon me. Good kitty!

The priest behind me drops, blood tentacles rip themselves out of corpses! Damnit! No! This is bad, very bad! I push to find an advantage and apply my scimitar to his gut with a hard kick high. He drops. I take his head to make sure he won’t cast again. The tentacles drop, thank Pyrico. I think I would have lost most of my friends if I hadn’t killed him as swiftly as I did.

I survey the fighting. Gronx is by Daniel. Good. He needs a meat shield, as he calls them. Shadow and Jern are working together. Biggles is too short to see in a quick glance. There’s two wizards, one hurt, one not hurt. I go for the unscathed one, and impale him upon my blade. He’s hard to get off, but someone manages to get the last guy.

Awesome!

They are all dead and Jern is stripping them down. I note that they are all human, mostly men. I don’t know these people. That’s a relief of sorts. I grew up in Strom, where these people may have hailed from. I look the Phaeron, his expression is dark and moody. Fyraiia on the other hand has a tired expression, sweat upon her brow. She’s been busy doing something… countering spells? Stopping teleportation out? Or in? I’m certain she’ll tell us. Eventually.

I go through, checking for tracking, traps. I read through the spell matrixes quickly, knowing what I’m looking for. I’m trusting Biggles is as well, I did show him once. I don’t have time to thoroughly go through the wands or scrolls. Biggles gets the divine scrolls. I am going to ask him later if he went through them.

Gear wise, all I take for myself is a ring of protection. It’s clean. There’s bracers, won’t go with my attire. There’s cloaks, I a!ready have two. But I think they set one aside for me. Here’s hoping someone at Ironhold can enhance and mix enchantments. Shadow suggests it as I’m thinking it. Interesting. I think I’m starting to like her.

Gronx and Sslith’lac pile the bodies for me. I set them aflame, quietly praying to Pyrico. “Cleanse those tainted, Lord of Flames, so that they may be reborn clean and whole. For those who joined without taint, allow Shaylona or Serania, or another to have them to punish them for their poor choice of treachery. Warmonger, look here at our fallen enemies. We are on a war path.”

No bodies this time are desecrated. I was annoyed, flustered in battle, but the fight was clean. Though I do hope the untainted spend time being tortured and traded in Hell and the Abyss. I turn from the pyre and make ready to travel as I see Biggles preparing to heal us who are hurt. My injury is closing, the sores not seeping, but the blackness to my flesh isn’t lightening.

I sit down in his pulse zone and clean my weapon and clothing, watching the taint. It is slowly receding and lightening up. Good! Shadow mentions playing with my tattoo and having it pulse multiple targets instead of just me. Interesting. But what about pain?

I do not want to die again. I don’t think they realise I died. At least I think I did…

I suggest Shadow and Biggles looking at all the layers and together we figure out just what it does. Phaeron had mentioned a sadistic person at Ironhold may be able to undo the tattoo…. I inform the pair of what my scabbard tattoo is set up to do.

Then we’re off. No point staying here. Someone will find the bodies.

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 20
In which we learn the sound of Ameira's alarm

Woke up suddenly in the night to the sound of the alarm going off, and the sound of excruciated screaming.

The elven spellblood is looking panicked, standing overtop of Ameira, who is writhing on the ground in agony. Lock down the spellblood, who says she tried to dispel magic, and maybe wasn’t expecting a negative reaction.

Biggles shuts down the noise, and I grab hold of the sorcerer. She’s not going anywhere.

Found out that she was trying to remove Ameira’s slave tattoo, at her own request. Now she’s broken and the elf doesn’t know if that’s cause the spell worked or cause it didn’t work and this is the intended reaction.

We determine physical healing doesn’t work. Consider other arcane possibilities without finding any answers. Offer up the alternative of divine intervention, in case this is indicative of soul damage.

Figure Pyrrico owes Ameira a favor for returning him to the world, but as none of the rest of us have any real connection to Pyrrico, and I don’t know how to pray to him, our most likely option for assistance is gonna have to be through Nameless. It’s not a Great option, but you go to war with the army you have.

Biggles puts out an APB for his god. HIs god responds by tossing a couple of people into the trees above us. Couple of humans that call themselves Makkos and Fynn. Gaudy flame-motifed robes, but Makkos has the symbol of Pyrrico.

Talk to them. They’re both drunk as shortbeards. Try my damndest to get information about a prayer to the fire god out of Makkos. We need to burn something, and we need to focus on the fire, and we need to ?, and then profit.

All that, and Finn’s a caster. The two didn’t really have much to offer. Decided to pull out the books of rituals, and try to put together the same circle we used when we were awakening Pyrrico. Hopefully the ritual itself doesn’t define the intent behind it. I certainly don’t know enough about them to draw any conclusion there. Set Ameira in the center of a pyre made from wood and herbs that we believed to be holy to the firegod, drew the circles, started drumming, and we set to work. Shadow took point on the ritual itself, calling to Pyrrico, offering up some of her hair, and leading the dancing. Had the followers apply fire. Hours and hours later, Ameira was no longer screaming, and appeared to have fallen asleep.

Stayed up throughout the night outside the tent that Phaeron took her into, as if my being on watch would somehow be of assistance to her slumber.

Sun got up, and so did Ameira. Either the ritual worked, or her affliction was temporary. She seems to be herself, give or take what sounds like a hell of a headache. Once she had some tea and the chance to get her head together, we explained the situation. Her tattoo is still there.

It’s agreed that the Bastard probably knows where we are due to the obvious alarm system that got triggered.

We opt to take the fuck off. Give thanks to and part ways with the followers of Pyrrico.

Days go by without little of interest. Ameira enchanted up some temporary flaming butterfly tattoos that apparently allow those they sit on to talk at a distance. Got out of the forest.. Again? Either way, into the plains.

WIth Ameira scouting the air, and Shadow scouting the ground, we eventually come across a group of Kabal casters and warriors. Still not too used to communicating via art, but for as weird an enchantment as it is, it works.

Got details on the numbers, and the look of the guy who’s likely in charge. We’re going to take advantage of the fog to get ahead of their troupe and set up an ambush.

The Cabal group wandered almost in between us, but must have spotted someone as they stopped and demanded we show ourselves. The column is engulfed in flames from multiple directions. The big asshole fighter boss apparently saw me, came over and tried to bisect me. It didn’t work completely. Managed to take him down with Shadow’s help, as well as another couple of the bastards. It was a quick, but messy fight.

Gathered the bodies together and began stripping them down.

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Pain. Nothing but Pain
Is Pyrico Angry? Or Am I Now Out of Favour?

We are almost out of the Phelmyr. Almost to the plains that lead to the magic maelstrom that hides the resistance cell at a place known as Ironhold. What type of place is it?

Underground. Is it like the abandoned and wasted elven city? Is it a dwarven citadel? Or something far more cruder and cut rudely into Merlay’s flesh by human hands? Or worse, Orc claws?

Eventually these musings will be answered.

I had awaken from revery about thirty minutes ago and began these musings while waiting for Fyraiia to look up from her spellbook. Wizards truly do not pay attention to what’s around them. I already noted that aside from the Orc’s stick in the ground, there’s no watch posted. Sloppy relying upon just that. These people clearly do not realise that the magics can be defeated by one skilled at doing so. Eventually maybe I will be able to, but it’s not a goal. Not yet.

She’s still in her book…. how droll.

I consider how to suggest watches be divided. Daniel will need his full rest if he casts spells, and truly I don’t trust him nor Jeff to do a watch. Fyraiia too shouldn’t be doing watches as the case in point clearly tells me. Shadow could take the first four hours and I take the last four hours, we both seem to share some of the same skills of stealth and alertness, though her wilderness skills are admittedly better than mine.

The Orc will continue to be lazy and rely solely upon his stick. So he won’t do any watches, unless perhaps Shadow or Biggles convince. Thinking of the halfling, he shouldn’t do watches either as he’s a spell slinger too. Jern is always willing to do a watch. So is Jorrum. Dusk and dawn are key attack points, a dwarf awake at both points would be good.

Movement? I turn my head to see Osozo depart. All his gear packed and he slips into the forest. What is he up to? I send Asra to follow and report, to come back before dawn.

Now where was I? Oh! Best watch schedule. So dwarf book ends, elven stealthiness at the beginning, my sneakiness at the end. Psyren, Gronx, and Sslith’lac should take up watches…. except Psyren is a user of the invisible arts, so she’ll need to rest fully to recharge. So then, that means Jorrum should be first and Gronx or Sslith’lac second with Shadow being the second person on watch. Then myself with the other warrior then Jern. Stealth plus brawn pairings should work well.

I must mention this.

Oh! She’s looking up! Yay!

‘Does the offer still stand, Fyraiia?’ She looks up, slightly puzzled. I move my hair and show her that tattooed brand.
‘Yes, yes it does,’ she replied. She touched it gently, which caused me shutter and force my hands to remain still.
‘Must you touch it?’ I really don’t like being poked and prodded.
‘Yes. Now stay still. Actually, lay down,’ she suggests. I do so, and try to remain still while she examines it.
‘Is it magical?’
‘Yes.’ Great….. lets see the bastard probably has it tracking my location, or pinging off when he focuses on it. So he doesn’t have my locket nor my father’s ring to find me. If that’s the case, a forest of antiscrying won’t help me. I need nondetection, misdirection, or both to screw with him. What else would he put in it? Well, nothing pain inducing since nothing caused me pain when I refused to toe the line and be a good slave. Perhaps something to dampen my natural abilities? Naw, he didn’t know what I am. A linkage to the thing on the Shadow Plane that hunted me? That I sensed as soon as it arrived AND I could feel it getting closer….

Fyraiia distracts me from my thoughts. She says she’s doing to try something. I ask if she’s going to erase it. No, dispel magic. Ok, I begin to say. I almost suggest Greater Dispelling, but I don’t get the chance.

The camp site is gone. The noise of the night is gone.

Blinding, searing, pure white agony light steals my sight. I’m blind but not.

The searing shredding pain tears up and down my neck, down my spine, ricocheting in my skull, freeze burning every nerve in my body… it’s far too much for me to push aside or through. I can’t contain it. I can’t fight it. My head! My head is going to explode or freeze or both. There’s no sound. I’m nowhere. Floating in hot burning freezing pain. I can’t escape it. There’s no salvation no stopping nor end. It goes on forever!

Then nothing.

Void.

I have my mind. No body.

- Have I died? -

Nothing then Void then Black.

- A pit? -

I have my body. I’m solid and drifting in the Void. I’m gently falling without sound. There was no sound.

- Am I dead? -

There’s something but nothing under my back. It’s solid and plyable. I can’t move…. I think I’m breathing. I move my hands to touch what is at my side. Feels like grass but it isn’t grass. I extend my fingers. There’s comfort.

Embers slowly, softly, begin to form and glow around me. I turn my head to watch the inner light dance. I have a head I can move! I move a hand and extend a finger to touch the flame, then suddenly flames begin springing up everywhere near me. I move slowly to sit up embers begin to glow further out now, a dance of flames move outwards.

Beautiful. - I must have died…- “Where am I?” I have a voice, it’s a whisper.

I look around, taking it in. Darkness above me, fire and embers around me. Where am I indeed. I know not this place. I slowly move to crouch and catch a glimpse of my red hand and black talon. How did I miss that when I touched the flame? I’m in my natural form. I died. Sadness swirls in my calm, followed by determination. I will get back to the Prime! But first I must figure out where here is.

“What do you seek?”

A voice that I do not know booms from around me. Cool. Detached. Commanding.

What do I seek? Nothing. I didn’t come here of my own will. What do I seek? My brothers, my sister’s soul, my parents, my friends and tribe. An end to tyrannical rule and the fear of being hunted.

“Freedom,” I reply to the unknown voice. Control over where I end up would also be nice but freedom is more important.

“You are already free from he who wrongly laid claim upon you,” the distinctively male voice replies.

I shake my head. “He still hunts for me,” I murmur. “I mean freedom from the Kabal. A world of people free to worship as they wish, to live as they want without being forced to follow the one god and words of the high king. To form their own kingdoms and begin their lives anew. No more slaves, be their bonds be visible or not.”

Yes, a lofty end goal, but it’s realistic… possible.

“Who are you?” I ask, curious. The glow from the fire is growing but the blackness is still ever present. I stand to look better, stretch my wings out before wrapping them around me and allowing the membrane to drape like a cloak from my shoulder. I look into the darkness but its unfathomable depths reveal nothing to me.

“Have I changed so much you do not recognise me?” I think I detect some mirth. I cant my head trying to place the voice, I have a vague sense of familiarity, but I can’t place it.

The fire dances around me playfully. Then there’s a break in the darkness. A pair of wings unfold and spread out, glowing far brighter than the flames around me. The avian head comes up crowned with feathers of flame. Pyrico! His tail is long, almost to the length that Mother had seen years ago.

I drop to my knees and place my hands upon them with my head bowed, but my back straight. “Forgive me for not recognising your voice, Lord of Flames and Renewal, please.” His voice has changed. From the time in the egg, to before that when I was a child nattering away to him. Did I bring him back a little wrong? Or is he still settling in? I must have died to be in his realm.

“You embrace the flames as much as they embrace you,” he observes, floating beyond my reach.

“I’m able to do so as I possess the blade you gifted Mother, and then gifted myself for the duty to guard you. My own ability isn’t yet strong enough.” It’s true, I rely upon the blade to keep me safe, hoping that my natural resistance will grow. I watch the flames and caress a couple with my fingers.

I have already been told to trust the fire. To embrace the fire. Fire and Shadow I am.

“Your friends care a great deal about you.” A statement. I look up at him. What have Jern, Gronx, Psyren, and Sslith’lac done? Was Phaeron part of it? “They seem to be under the impression that I owe you for bringing me back.”

I’m shocked by my friends’ presumption on this matter. “How? You being brought back was important. You are renewal and rebirth. You are hope. To say such… it’s like saying the sky owes us the rain that falls than being glad that it falls in season…” I shake my head. Why would they say or think such? “I am glad you are back. I am happy that you can renew hope.” What else can I say? Have they angered him? Or I?

“Your friends acted to help you.” A wing moves and a group of flames band together and then a pillar of fire shoots off then calms to a simmer, “Observe,” he motions that wing. “The one who calls herself Shadow seems to know you.”

I get up and walk carefully upon the embers to not squish any flames to look into the mirror of fire. Within, I see Jern drawing sigils, taking up his wooden drum. Shadow is speaking words unheard. Then she’s dancing. Phaeron carries my body to what looks like a pyre and places it there. My body, I am in a great deal of pain. I look to Pyrico as he flashes bright then dulls. A well muscled, young elven man is walking towards me. He gestures back to the mirror. Another flash occurs… fireball lands directly on my body! If not for the scimitar in my leg, I would have died again.

“That which you seek is already upon you,” he whispers. I look from the ritual hastily put together to the elf with fire in his eyes. What am I seeking? Before I can give voice he touched my leg where the tattoo is. Searing pain washes over the tattoo and blinding white pain returns to my eyes. I drop with a gasp. And jolt awake in Phaeron’s arms, startling him. My head hurts so much. My body is weak. Phaeron embraces me.

Did I anger Pyrico? Have my friends offended him?

“You’re awake,” I nod.

“My tattoo is enchanted,” I drop a hand to check upon the scimitar. It’s still there. I sigh. That’s a good thing.

“They are,” he goes on to tell me about how the scimitar scabbard tattoo is a back up to the tattoo on my neck. It is a locator, more like she’s over in that direction type. Great.

“I won’t be able to stay in Ironhold,” I tell him. “It will be a matter of time before the Kabal learn that those who hunt me will lead them to me and those I’m with. I already was part of a cell that was destroyed, I’m not going to be the cause of another one.” He protests and I continue, “Lheare has uses for you. You are her shield and sword to guard the people who can’t fight in your cells. You can’t be with me and help her. Our paths may cross….” I fall silent. He’s too angry and raw to listen. I turn my back and elect to fall into revery. That fight against a house champion that I won. It was a bloody affair, I was very broken, but I had the strength to kill him.

At breakfast, Shadow told me I’m stupid. I didn’t respond. The child was able to do a ritual…. she’s not a child in the Gods’ eyes. I notice her hair is a lot shorter and as a thanks, I give her the ring of lore. It was going to be helpful later for me, but she’s seeking her people. I rant at Fyraiia for causing me pain and missing the layer that listed it as an ability of the tattoo. Oh! And fun stuff! The one on my leg will destroy Pyrico’s Talon if I manage to get rid of it. Gah! I instead choose to be quiet as we travel. Fyraiia doesn’t want anything to do with me, so be it. She’ll be one less person to stop me from leaving.

We travel a few more days then hit the plains. I use my fire butterfly tattoo from Psyren to connect people together so I, Shadow and Phaeron can scout while the others travel together. Jern, Jorrum, and Fyraiia are now synched up. It’s on the second day that I find a group needing their lives taken.

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A Bad Idea #2

I will remember that party for a while. I wonder whether I should enumerate the details of my youth for my elder self.

The secondary goal of my original band of companions has been accomplished. The celebration that ensued was most entertaining. I indulged in flirting and frivolity deliberately. The irony amused me, and appeared to be unnoticed by my compatriots.

There ensued much discussion as to the path we should take to accomplish what is now a subgroup’s primary goal.

Travel has been undertaken, and I continue to practice my woodcraft. There are many interesting herbs in these woods, mostly of a medicinal nature.

Rock continues stolid. Chimera lives up to their name. We are all psychologically traumatised, but that one has been severely damaged. I would not commit such an analysis to parchment, but in this case it is so very obvious that I do not believe that our enemies do not already know it. They are now making an effort to be more amiable. I will have to watch them carefully. Both because this may be a ploy, and because they are a weak point in our group. Beautiful slept through the entire incident!

Plains travel undertaken, therefore Plainscraft practiced. More plants identified and collected. It occurs to me to use all possible categories of herb.

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History Will Repeat if it's Not Taken to Heart
They refused my mother, and now they refuse me

It is good to have the memories of my family and Sslith’lac quiet. I know it’s only temporary, thank you Ylena.

I awaken to breakfast in bed. Phearon is trying to woo me, how sweet. We head out, looking to spar, but ran into Jern. An idea has been kicking around: the abandoned city. It’s elven, it’s beautiful and I’m certain a mage with the right skills would be able to learn a forgotten history. I want to make it an outpost. I have an eye on a building to make mine… I will need a safe place to perform higher level rituals. One that is synched to my lineage, since Mother’s is out of my reach I must make my own.

I ask Jern if he thinks Dwarves would use it, fix it and perhaps live there for a spell. Phaeron agrees that there’s merit. Jern made a comment that I took wrong; I thought he was insulting the Elven craftsmanship. I reminded him that I’m half elven.

So we went to talk to the lady elder, and she wouldn’t even consider it. No outsiders near their village. The forest is theirs.

I pointed out several facts:

  • Pyrico hatched down there. His followers are very likely to be enroute to pay homage to the God of Fire.
  • Both Nameless and Warmonger have been amongst them. For my people, that would be a clear sign that stuff will need to change. Apparently not to these people.
  • The Kabal know of the elven island. They clearly won their first fight, and the elves are not yet ready to fight. Having reinforcements close by is a good thing.
  • The Kabal have already wiped out most of the free people in the time of their slumber. Pretty much, the Kabal have won, and we’re refusing to go down quietly.
  • The city is not directly under the island. So those that end up in residence would not be trespassing onto the island.
  • After they refused my mother’s gentle suggestion to ally, they lost their God AND had to flee into stasis.

Pretty much, she and perhaps the council are going to doom their people.. I wasted time and energy. And I’m angry. Great, I really know how to wreck things further. But Jern is right. Perhaps we should just take the town they forgot about, seal the tunnels that lead to the island and to the Abyss with the elves.

Though I will say, yes! I did garner eyes to the forest. Pyrico is FIRE not air. Fire is VISIBLE. It is a force. And I ensured that it was covered by my signature. Which as the Efreet pointed out that’s not a good thing. But I choose to bite my tongue.

Phaeron gets us out of there. No doubt he’s hoping Lheare will be able to win them over. I mutter under my breath a desire to see things burn, but I refrained from it. Good thing Daniel was sleeping or whatever he does before the noon. I quietly pack up my things and ensure everyone is ready to head out. I want to get to killing Kabal and strengthening us. We perhaps should run sparring drills… We need to learn how to compliment our strengths.

We are seen off the island by a quiet yet polite elf. The ship is a ship… Too close to the water, but I keep to myself. I could have flown over, but the elf wouldn’t like that. And I am certainly not wanting to be in my natural form around them.

Travel through the forest was easy. Too easy. Pyrico had indeed vanquished all the traps and beasties unnatural. And game is plentiful. We get something daily, the remains salted to use as rations when we hit the plains. It’s rather nice.

Each night I teach Stromic to those interested. Then help Jern as he needs to learn my Mother’s tongue. Then I sit and learn from Sslith’lac. I need to mellow my anger. He’s a monk and begins teaching me centering techniques.

Looks like we will be on the plains tomorrow. Tomorrow will be the start of our battle to get to the Maelstrom and this place called Ironhold.

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 19
In which we learn Elves are racist

Ran into Ameira and Phaeron in the wee hours. She asked me about the city, specifically if I thought Dwarves would be able to fix it up. Explained that with the construction methods used, and the current state of it, it’d probably be easier to take it apart and rebuild than to try and fortify what ‘s down there. Not an elf thing, just that if I was able to see room for improvement as someone with no architectural experience, maybe there’s something to that.

It sounds as if they want to set up down there, a base of operations. There are worse places for it, and it’s in a fairly defensible location. As far as we know, it belonged to the surface elves or their kin, so a discussion with the elders is in order before we start making any kind of concrete plans.

Naturally, discussion didn’t go so well. Elves were too stuck up their own asses to look at things from an external point of view.

Guess we’ll just have to undermine them, and take the city for our own regardless.

Gathered everyone up, said our goodbyes, and got ferried back across the lake. Plan from here on is to head towards the Resistance camp, which is underneath this magical maelstrom thing I keep hearing about.

5 days 1 week of largely uneventful travel finally saw us exit the forest. At least it’s assumed. Everything is still foggy as shit, but we seem to be walking on grass now rather than tree roots. That’s a step in the right direction.

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We Party and We Work and Party Again and Repeat
It's Raining Elves! NAMELESS!!!!

It was nice, really nice, to awaken next to the man I love. It’s not a revery. It’s reality.

Phaeron brought me breakfast. We talked quietly.

There will be no way we can keep this between the two of us, especially with many of our traveling companions plotting to bring us together. And a matronly goddess granting me peace and calm, even if it’s only temporary.

Everyone heads out to work with the elves reclaiming their homes. I stayed in and studied the scrolls in my keeping. One has a new signature, no idea who the writer is yet. Another was written by my father. If Toza has my father I’m in more danger than I thought…. he almost killed my mother when she was pregnant with my brother and I. He had been claimed by Kayshna. Mother had pleaded with the gods to bring him back… is he gone again?

Or, he’s dead and this is booty the wizard took. Not likely. Father was just as much a survivor as mother.

I study the other scrolls learning what I can. The priest scroll gave me a headache again. Grrr!

I drink some nectar and then head out to find the halfling. He did cast sanctuary… he’s a priest. Finding him proved an interesting challenge. But find him I did. I told him about the scroll and how to study for the caster’s signature. As well as tracking. Seems scrolls are not tracked. This is good news. He gets the scroll, I get a name, Biggles. I give him a name, he doesn’t seem to fancy the name I picked for myself, so I tell him to just call me Ameira. He goes back to observing elves and I translate the interesting bits of conversation. Then I head off to look for Sslith’lac.

We help the elves while he explains how his monestary worked. The meditation while in motion. He still believes that I’m honourable. How? I do not know. It is a calming time. I think he wants me to return to how I was. An impossible task.

Then we are to get cleaned up and ready for a party.

The group talks before dispersing to join the revelry. We discuss how long we are staying for. I want to leave in 3 days as the planars are on the move and I don’t want to bring trouble to the elves. They actually agree. We need to pick where to face not only them, but the Kabal that will follow. The Planars can track me, possibly by the tattoo. I wish Fyraiia would tell me if it’s magical or not.

Then we debate about whether or not to avoid or engage the Kabal patrols between us and this place called Ironhold. Lovely name. I’m reminded that not all the members are willing members. Yes, the taint. I remind Osozo that my mother was obsessed with figuring out how to break the hold. But for now, they are our enemies and will seek to kill and capture us. I’m more of a lets kill them and limit their army size now type of gal…. that and the loot, supplies and battle.

We don’t come to a set plan. But it’s off to party.

Shadow follows an interesting battle dancing tradition. It’s different from mine, but there are some similarities. Then the girl issues a challenge. Mayhap we can find a common ground? I accept it, in a flourish of course. We fight in dance form, our respective blades in hand. She has nifty techniques, still raw, yet fully formed, but great potential. I wish Mariah is still alive and free, she could teach this one much.

We come to an end, and I move to dance with the flames, while she drinks 4 or 5 glasses of elven wine. Childish youth. Perhaps even innocent? Tonight I intend to remain sober. I head to the pyre and dance after ensuring Shadow will drink nectar and eat foods. Then everyone disappears!

I growl, weapon out. I move quickly to find Shadow. She’s beyond drunk. Then I look for Fyraiia, after leaving Asra with Shadow. She too is drunk. I bring the mage to the young one. I can hear Jern. Then I hear the laughter of the mad god.

Nameless!

He plays a game, but I do not relent. I tell him, yes, tell a god, bring back the elves. Healthy, alive, uninjured, and with memories intact. He drops them from the sky. I tell him to bring them down gently. Amazingly he slows down the fall of the screaming elves. And he doesn’t try to undo what Ylena did. Though he did grunt and moan about me ruining his fun.

It takes a bit before the elves resume their party. But I’m not feeling like dancing.

So then it’s off to bed with me, though Phaeron intercepts me and we head to his cabin.

I know Phaeron wants children. I do too, but not now. Now is too risky, too dangerous. Doesn’t he see the dangers? Apparently not, for he reminds me that I’m safe. I’m not.

If the Planars get me, the bastard will use me as he did before, if I’m lucky. Without a child to be used against me to keep me in line, I will be free to plot escape, revenge, and resistance. With a child… he may kill it, sell it or hold it hostage.

If the Kabal get me… experiments are certain to follow. Or tainting…. or banishment. The Kabal were after my brother and me when we were infants. Then again after the period of repeat ended. Now they have my brothers and sister. Almost the complete set… maybe my father. Also my mother? Dear gods….. that’s a terrifying thought. Mother was on her way to becoming a full fledged Magus. And father.. he’s very powerful in his own right.

Phaeron doesn’t seem to want to talk, and that stings.

I slinked back to my cabin, let him sleep in his bed.

Up early, studying the wands. Then practicing my dance. Once the sun gets up, I’m looking to break my fast then I help the elves alongside Sslith’lac. I find Psyren behind me and taking my wrist. It is time. She is going to tattoo me, her own design and pick of location on my flesh, and of course her choice of ability. It gives me time to think. I need to figure out how to discuss stuff with Phaeron. But that’s not going to be easy. We don’t discuss the sky raining elves.

And it’s again a night of dancing, drinking, and fun. Except again I intend to stay sober. We are to leave tomorrow.

To Ironhold. Convince Lheare to allow me to assault mines and slave farms. Figure out where Lheare spied the relic linked to Oceania. Figure out the holy sites for Oceania and Merlay. Yes. I will be busy. Now, who aside from Jern will travel with me?

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 18
In which Elves learn how to fly.

At some point in the evening I saw Ameira and Phaeron take off together. They seem to be reconciling, and it’s been made pretty clear that she doesn’t need me trying to keep him away from her.

More imbibing and festivity, and I set off for my bed.

Woke up in the middle of the night, straddled by Psyren. She refuted the idea that she perhaps missed her bed.

I wasn’t able to convince her I was too drunk.
Morning came quicker than anticipated, Broke fast and went out to assist the elves in getting back to their lives as well as I could.

As the day went on, we got the group together to discuss our next steps. It’s agreed that we need to make our way towards the Resistance’s camp, The method of doing so, however, was up for debate. Specifically, whether or not we should employ subterfuge or slaughter when crossing paths with any of our caballic aggressors. Sounds like we’ll be aiming towards the latter, to my chagrin.

We carry on into the night, within which imbibing continues. And drumming. I’m finding new beats for a number of traditional dwarven songs.

Hours pass, and suddenly all the Elves of the town disappear. This comes as somewhat of a surprise. I start looking around for my friends and finally run into them. The elves are all there and slowly descending to the ground.

Look for answers. Not going to find any, because it was Nameless’ doing. Shadow appears beside me, welllllll liquidated. Talking about saving the elven race, riding a dinosaur, other drunken misadventures. Puts her arm around me and proceeds to immediately pass out into my own. I suspect this was her first time imbibing. Carry her off to an empty bed in one of the cabins, and leave her preparations for the morning.

The rest of the night passed rather uneventfully, as did the following day. Helped out some more around the village, and then continued studying the runes and rituals that I need to learn for the next set of rituals.

Final night of festivities. Good times.

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Jern Staalbred: Journal - Pt. 17
In which Elves are gonna Elf.

Get back down and into the city. Do a quick check around, make sure everyone’s doing alright. Throgg called down from one of the ledges, wanting to know the way up. Pointed him to the surface. Probably getting claustrophobic or something. Orcs.

As everyone is basically awake at this point. We opt to get going up to the surface. We gather and get going. Advice presented as to avoid anything that could be misinterpreted as aggressive, as these elves are not fond of outsiders.

These elves, in a village, on an island, in a lake, in the middle of a forest, don’t like outsiders. And I thought I’d heard everything.

We breach the surface, and eventually meet up with a set of elven scouts. Ameira takes the lead, as she begins talking to them in whatever version of the elven tongue this is.

They want us disarmed. Ameira asked to speak to a specific elder. I want to know when we’re getting them back. They don’t provide a guarantee that we will, which I disagree with through her.

Fortunately, Princess Floofy Pants no more wants to be taken than I want to be without protection. I explain the situation, and she opts to turn into a teddy bear. It’s not quite the kind of toy my daughter was fond of, but I can work with it.

We find Throgg and Phaeron in a cage. Their freedom is negotiated, and shortly after we’re called into the Elder’s quarters, Throgg and Ameira at each other’s throats the entire way.

Blah blah Elfy blah blah Pyrico blah Warmonger blah blah blah. Whole lotta words I don’t know.

Drama involving Throgg and his mumblings. Seems to be getting calmed down. Ameira has apparently been charged with teaching Throgg the language. We’re gonna need to get a second translator in there to ensure she doesn’t just teach him how to get himself in trouble.

We’re sent out towards a set of cabins. Get cleaned up down at the lake. Shine and polish my equipment. Get my beard and hair all braided up.

Warmonger shows up behind Throgg as Ameira and I were headed towards the party. Couldn’t keep the grin off my face in expectation of bloodslaughter. Unfortunately he was just there to chat, and find out what the deal with the ugly human worshipper of his was. He wants Throgg to make friends with Ameira.

I start to wander off, when Psyren catches me. She needs my help apparently. Wants to see Ameira and Phaeron relaxing, and intends to deal with the latter. Not sure I’ll be able to convince her to set the weight off her shoulders for a night, but I may as well try. Grab a bottle and go after her.

Throgg catches up as I’m on my way. Apparently Warmonger had similar goals, as he’s been asked to extend a fig leaf to her with more wine. Warmonger’s trying to make peace. Gods are confusing.

The two of us find her up in a tree, and somehow manage to get her down for a chat. Throgg seems to have calmed down from wanting her dead for the moment, is now supposed to challenge her to a test of skill instead?

I suggest a drinking contest, as we have the wine there. Everyone else starts showing up.

Ameira makes it clear she has no interest in such a contest, and goes off to dance around a nearby firepit. I join after her with Throgg following along shortly.

Dancing, drinking, drumming, dining.

Throgg and Warmonger talk some about needing to find a goddess named Doll or Oceana. Both maybe. Not the goddess of water, in case her name didn’t make that obvious.

Got sniffed by Warmonger. Says I’ve been making waves. Making waves by helping raise Pyrico. Apparently I caused Oceana to disappear by arriving here? And also She’s the one who brought me? I’m not taking any blame on this, as I never asked to come here. Any problems I’m causing are the responsibility of whoever decided I wasn’t allowed to live out my own life.

We also discuss how there was war building before I left, and how shit south shortly after my departure. Power hungry mages and kingslayers. Figures, only humans could fuck up the world this badly in a mere 30 years.

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