Legend of the Silver Crescent

Curses You Ioun Curses

How can one bow down to your feet, for you are not a fair and just god. You are just as wicked at times as the Raven Queen! Years of faithful devotion got me what? This, nothing! The pain surges through my blood being pumped across every artery and vein in my body. The nightmares have become so intense I think they are reality. And all of this because of what? We will never understand the reason behind our punishments, nor how you smirked when you claimed them to not be a punishment but our duty to serve you better.

I long for her sweet embrace, to just hold her in my arms once again. To be able to feel her tears on my shoulder, the warmth of her cheek against mine. This is not the life we intended, I should be in a city somewhere making an honest living with a family beside me. Instead I am roaming the world both known and unknown at your whim doing your will.

These powers come with great constraint. I find it extremely difficult to control my emotions and desires. The stronger I get the worse they become. No matter how much ale, whores, food, fame, control I have over everything, it is not enough. At times I feel its necessary like this to separate myself from the others and sit here in my own misery like a young school boy who was denied candy. Crying endlessly over things I can not control.

The least you could do Ioun is give me a reason why I must suffer like this, why she must suffer like this, why you chose us, instead of others. I fear I am not strong enough to survive this ordeal, and what if the end is worse than the beginning. I’ve lost her once, I can not lose her again.

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An overdue Letter

Alern,

I apologize for the belated letter. Much has happened recently. To sum it all up, we found out Jolar was guilty of undermining Lord Stern’s rule, not to mention being a werewolf. The one we had found turned out to be his son, whom he had basically just sentenced to death. Ultimately, we proved what was going on to Lord Stern and it was resolved with Jolar’s incarcaration … did I mention I did not like the fellow much?

In the aftermath of that, Stern asked us to relay the events that had taken place to Jolar’s wife in the Feywood, one Lady Darkstrider, and bringing her back if possible. Again, long story short, we met her, explained all, and were promptly, and very politely I might add, held prisoner in the meeting hall we were at. I managed to find a way out through a long abandoned secret door and we climbed for what seemed like hours. Delana had it quite easy, as she had paid Eisenheim to create a porter to carry her and her wolf, the things that one will do for money. We finally got to the bottom and found ourselves in what appeared to be an abandoned cave route underneath The City. We managed to make our way through and get to what appeared to be a set of challenged … and here is the interesting part … for the Keepers of the Golden Star.

[Will be continued …]

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Delana’s story – 1st and 2nd of Novaire, 632 A.U.
Delana writes of the return journey to Coldwell

1st of Novaire, 632 A.U.

After the fight with the elves, my companions and I posted a watch and went back to sleep, awaking in the early morning. The two elves whose lives I was able to save woke a few hours after I alleviated their wounds. They would not speak to us at first, but though a combined effort they eventually assisted us in burying their companions. I spoke to them in elven several times, to which our new companion, Master Druger, seemed uneasy. Master Rukh spoke of his trust in me, which was enough to satisfy Master Druger’s suspicions for the moment. I offered the elves a ritual I could perform which would preserve the body of one of their companions until which time they could be brought back to life, if the elves had such ability back in their city. They did not accept my offer, so I prayed for the souls of their fallen compatriots. With their allies buried, the elves left in one direction and my companions and I in another. I wish we had not killed so many of their kin.

The trip back to Coldwell might have been uneventful if it were not for another bridge crossing. It seems every time we try to cross a river or bridge, we are met by trouble. It was no different this time, as two hobgoblins, who referred to each other as Megg and Pegg, were standing in the middle of the bridge and would not let us pass. Before we could attempt any sort of diplomacy or even intimidation, Master Gaervesk hurled a spell at the two blocking our path. Of course there were more than just those two, as they called for their friends hiding in the wood. Several hobgoblins and bugbears joined the battle, which raged on, all around and under the bridge. I need not go into details, but Master Rukh was downed in battle, and I rushed to save him. I was able to do so, and it was not long thereafter we were able to win the fight. A single bugbear attempted to get away, but was chased after and finally brought down. I tried to save as many of the foes’ lives as I could, but only succeeded in reviving the two bugbears. Master Eisenheim wasted no time stripping all weapons, armor and any other valuables from the fallen. After a brief rest, we continued on our way.

We arrived in Coldwell around midnight. We entered the east gate where a single guard was present. We tried speaking with him, and he seemed odd, but gave us no rise not to enter the city. Even though it was late at night, Coldwell was strangely empty, insofar as we saw no one on the city streets. We proceeded to The Silver Dragon, and Master Rizoff was sitting at the front desk. He quickly rose upon seeing us, as though he were surprised to see us at all. He told us we had been gone some two or three weeks, to which we were all stunned. It had felt to us we had been gone perhaps a few days, a week at most. He told us the date was Novaire 1st, and that since we had been gone, the city had come under some strange plague. It began with confusion, then progressed into anger. Some had even died. Master Rukh could not believe the city was not in lockdown, as we had passed through a gate without any trouble. We expressed concern about Lord Stern, and Master Rizoff told us that the Lord Stern had not been seen in some time. We were very worried, and after dropping off some things in my room, we all immediately left to Lord Stern’s keep.

At the keep’s entrance, some guards were posted. Among them was a face I had hoped not to see again. It was Guard Kirk, who upon seeing me said, “Hello beautiful.” He seemed drunk as he approached, reminding me of the favor I owed him. I did not know what to do or say, so I asked him how he would like the favor repaid. It was clear he wanted to take me back to his quarters for… something I was saving for someone special, and would certainly not give to him in any case. He approached closer, and I thought if I could keep him busy my friends could enter the keep, but Master Rukh, quite irritated, grabbed Guard Kirk by the head and slammed it into the large wooden door. Calling it the ‘orcish hangover cure’, he asked if Kirk would like another. Guard Kirk backed down and allowed us entry. I later thanked Master Rukh for handling the situation, but I pray he not be so physical. He replied he did not like women being taken advantage of, and would endeavor to be more diplomatic in the future.

Once inside the keep, we were met by one of the jailers I believe, then by someone of higher rank. We asked him about Lord Stern’s condition and what happened to Lord Jolar and Lord Lasit. He said Lord Jolar had been executed, but Lord Lasit was still locked up in the dungeon. We asked to see him, and handing us the keys, we went to and descended the stairs to the dungeon. Upon entering the prison, Lord Lasit was nowhere to be found. We searched the area, myself looking around Lord Lasit’s cell. I noticed something odd about the floor, and the closer I looked, the more odd it was. In one corner of the cell, there were scratches in an arc, too perfect to be made by chance. I looked at the walls meeting at this corner, and noticed a regular pattern in the stones. I called my companions to take note of this, and believing it was a door, we thought of a way to open it. Master Eisenheim had come up with a complicated plan of using smoke to detect handprints, but Master Rukh just grabbed the stones and pulled. The wall budged. He yanked again, and the door revealed itself and opened.

We peered into the darkness. Rufu immediately ran in, Master Rukh trying to grab her, but she wiggled free. I tried to call her back, but she would not listen. I wanted to go first into the tunnel, but Master Rukh demanded I stay behind him. I yielded, and into the dark we went. We did not get very far, a set of stairs ran up into a ceiling. I looked about, and found a handle lodged between two stones. Not thinking, I pulled the ring and the ceiling opened, revealing the night sky. Everyone looked at me, and I said I had found the opening mechanism, to which they requested I give them notice first. I apologized, I should not have pulled a strange handle without knowing what it did first. With the way made clear, we left the tunnel.

Upon seeing his surroundings, Master Al’Der’eth exclaimed he knew where he was. Apparently, where we were standing was not far from where Master Al’Der’eth had lost Lord Lasit the first time we, or rather he and Master Eisenheim, had released him from his shackles. With the night being so late, the majority voted to return to The Silver Dragon for sleep. We went back through the tunnel, closing the secret door behind us, and to the keep’s main hall. I noticed Master Eisenheim had ran off somewhere, and I told this to the rest of my companions. Master Rukh advised me not to care, but concerned, I stayed behind to wait for him. I sat and wrote of my adventures up until that point. Finishing the log, I got up and went to the keep’s infirmary, curious if the keep was housing any of those afflicted with the strange illness. There was a doctor present, and she told me all those showing signs of the sickness were sent away. I remarked I thought I had met a guard who showed general confusion, but his name I could not remember.

While conversing with the doctor, there was a sudden commotion of noise and shouting, and I quickly ran in the direction of the source. I was stopped at the top of a flight of stairs by two guards, demanding to know who I was and what I was doing in the Lord’s keep. I answered their questions, but they regarded me strangely, and asked that I come with them. I did so, and after handing me off to another guard, had a talk with what looked to be a senior guard. After much pointing and motioning, they eventually approached me, asked me some questions, and the next thing I know, two guards grab my arms. They lead me into a room, handling me roughly. I commented they need not be so physical, I would cooperate fully. The senior guard interrogated me, and I answered all his questions honestly. He did not seem to believe my story, and I replied that it was against the tenets of my faith to lie. Regardless, he said I would be staying the night, and I asked if I was being arrested. He said I was not, and I requested a meal, specifying I did not eat the meat of animals. He would have it done, leaving quickly and the audible sound of the door being locked behind him. A vegetable soup was brought, and I realized I did not order anything for Rufu, who was being very quiet through all this. I suppose she really wanted to go after Lord Lasit. I ate some of the soup, and left the rest for Rufu. She lapped up the broth, but left the rest, and I petted her head, apologizing for forgetting her.

Being confined to a single room, which was by no means a prison cell but rather a plush sitting room, I took off my boots, outer robe and dalmatica so they would not wrinkle, and curled up in the large stuffed chair. It was quite comfortable, and I slept well enough that I can not complain.

2nd of Novaire, 632 A.U.

I woke early and donned my robes before anyone saw me without them. Not that I was without any clothing under my robes, but being one of Pelor’s clerics, I always want to look suitable. After my morning prayers, a guard knocked on the door and entered to give me breakfast. It was a cheese omelet, which I cut in half and gave Rufu her portion. She chewed it up quickly, seeming to prefer it to the vegetable soup the night before. I wrote of the events of last night, and after a while, another knock came at the door, and an officer of some kind entered and apologized to me profusely, and wanting to be polite, I replied I was thankful for the hospitality I was shown. He led me to another room where my companions were gathered. They did not ask what had happened to me, and soon after we left the keep.

It seemed most of my companions wanted to go shopping. I had nothing to buy, and not knowing what to do with my free time, I went to Coldwell’s temple. It was surprisingly empty, but an acolyte took notice and approached me. I greeted her and asked about the illness spreading throughout the city. She had little more information for me than I had already known, but giving the symptoms some thought, I gave her a portion of the special herbal remedy Healer Sheldy had given me when Master Rukh and Master Gaervesk had taken ill from the werewolf bites they suffered. Master Al’Der’eth made his presence known to me quite suddenly; I did not know how long he had been there. He told me we needed to buy some healing potions at Master Rukh’s request. It was also at this time I had a very odd conversation, which I must detail here. It was Acolyte Janocin who approached and said;

“Oh, Miss Delena, your donation is greatly appreciated!,” she said with a smile.

“Donation? What donation?,” I asked, surprised.

“A dapper gentlemen walked in and made a gracious donation in your name… did you not make the donation?,” she asked quizzically.

“N-No, I suppose indirectly I have,” I replied quite confused. “If I may ask, how much was the donation for?,” I added after a moment.

“It was two hundred gold pieces,” Acolyte Janocin said as though it was quite ordinary.

“Two hundred gold pieces!,” I exclaimed, for it was a goodly sum of money.

“Yes, you are most generous,” she happily commented.

“Yes, I suppose I am!,” I answered.

Master Al’Der’eth was telling me it was time to get back to The Silver Dragon to meet with the rest of our companions. I excused myself and to the inn we went. On the way, I thought of who could have made the donation. It must have been Master Eisenheim, as he fit the description and it seemed like something he would do. Upon entering the inn, I approached Master Eisenheim and thanked him for making such a charitable donation to Pelor. He replied in modesty that he didn’t know what I was talking about. I thanked him all the same, as a letter was handed to me by Master Rizoff. It said that ‘he’ would came back to help us soon, and it was signed ‘L’. It was quite probably Lord Lasit, but my companions wanted to find him for themselves. We set out after packing our things, to the spot where Master Al’Der’eth had lost then ‘Klimb’ the first time. We suspected he was hiding in a lair of some sort, and we did find tracks to follow. Rufu seemed to know the way best, so I tied a loose collar around her neck, and Master Rukh held the end of the rope. The deeper we traveled into the wood, the most anxious Rufu seemed to get. I tried calming her, but she yanked so hard on the rope that it snapped, and off she ran.

We followed Rufu to the edge of a wide, fast-moving river. She was leaping up and down and barking. It was clear we had to cross this river. Master Druger had magical boots that allowed him to walk across the top of the water, so he was able to get to the opposite bank with little trouble. Master Eisenheim strode out onto a large tree that had fallen partially into the river, and from there he leapt off and teleported the rest of the way. Myself, I came up with my own clever plan. I tied a rope to one of my arrows, and shot it at a tree on the opposite bank. It seemed to stick in quite well, so I tied the other end around a tree, and pulled myself along the top of the rope. I made it to the other side with little effort, but there was Rufu to worry about. The problem was solved when Master Rukh tied a harness around her and pulled her with him as he made his way across. She gave a good wet shake of her fur when she set foot on the dry ground.

With everyone safely on the opposite bank, our journey continued. I am genuinely surprised we were not ambushed at the river like we were at so many others. Our trek lasted until nightfall when we came upon a small cave. Rufu bolted inside, and we followed her. The cave was empty, but littered with half-eaten animal carcasses, and in one corner was a crude bed and pillow. Rufu ran to it and wagged her tail. She nuzzled the pillow, trying to get at something underneath. Master Gaervesk lifted the pillow and picked up a piece of paper. He shrieked and dropped it nearly as soon as he first touched it. It was clear the magic in the slip of paper was very strong.

- paper used to teleport Lord Lasit somewhere
- slept the night, saw wolves, did not engage, returned to Coldwell next day

3rd of Novaire, 632 A.U.


- demanded to see Lord Stern, led to chamber filled with elves and guards
- Lord Jolar appeared, elves attacked, guards controlled
- Lord Lasit appears, attacks Jolar
- Jolar killed by beheading
- rescued Lord Sonnet and removed magical runes from keep
- rewarded by Lord Stern

[err, need a refresher for the rest]

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Al'Der'eth writes in his journal

Of course it had to be on my watch that we are ambushed, just give everyone another reason to think I am weak, or don’t pay attention, or just can’t do anything right. It’s hard to be someone who sticks to their beliefs no matter what. I respect Delana for that because like me she does what she feels is right and stays true to her god despite what the rest of us think. If only she could realize that not all strengths come behind a massive weapon, and that the mind is just as mighty!

This new guy to our party, Druger the Dwarf is quite a combatant, always in the fray of things hacking and slashing away, I think his high spirits are just what we needed to keep us all from falling apart. It is already morning? I will write more when we get back to Caldwell Keep.

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Al'Der'eth Prays to Ioun

Forgive me Great One when I have acted too rash or failed in vanquishing your enemies in your name. There is a oral pact, that I find it hard to adhere to within our group to not kill elves, yet these dark vile creatures have turned against each other, you, and themselves. I need strength to endure as I am constantly at moral battle with myself and sometimes my group.

A lot has been revealed to us by Lady Darkstrider, and I pray that she is telling the truth and not using me and your name as a way to accomplish her own petty desires. My work here has just started, and I do not know what exactly it is I need to do. I will continue to travel and fight my way circumnavigating the globe until every last dark filthy vermin who supports your enemies has been vanquished.

Ioun, may you watch over me, and lead me towards victory in your name by any means necessary. Give me the clear mind to speak and act as needed, and the reflexes to avoid falling in battle. I fear these are dark dark times ahead, I shall be the torch bearer of the light of hope.

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Delana’s story – Day ?
Delana writes to her father concerning her journey

Dear Father,

I am sorry I have not written you in some time, but it has been some two weeks since I arrived in Northbridge. I cannot detail the exact date at this time of my writing to you, for my companions and I have spent some unknown amount of time underground, and without seeing the rising and setting of the sun, I cannot know how much time has passed. We are in the wilderness at current, having just fought a battle against a band of elves of The Feywood forest. We did not want to fight them, but our journey has been complicated of late, so let me start somewhat earlier.

We were sent into The Feywood by Lord Corith Stern of Coldwell to escort a Lady Keyla Darkstrider back to his city. You see, Lord Stern’s most trusted advisor and his son were found to be cursed with a were-form, and were imprisoned for attacking and killing the Lord Stern’s men. The Lady Darkstrider was wife and mother to these cursed men. So into The Feywood we went, but upon arriving in the elven city, we were taken prisoner! Fortunately, we were able to find a secret passage that led down underground, and it was there we passed through what I can only call a series of challenges designed to test us as adventurers’. Upon completing five such challenges, we were met by the Lady Darkstrider, who led us out of the underground tunnels into a strange forest by a campfire. There, she told us a story of the gods of good and evil fighting each other. The gods of good triumphed, but the long expanse of time and the nature of the world has led the land back into darkness, and so we, my companions and I, must take on the quest to rid the land of this evil. For we are apparently the reincarnations of the warriors who fought for good so long ago, a tale hard to understand and even more difficult to believe.

Our party was joined by a dwarf by the name of Druger el Gundar, he seems like a good sort of man, although I have not known him long. Anyway, a night out alone in The Feywood led to us being surprise attacked. I was able to protect my companions, the elves were defeated, and I tried my best to save as many as I could, but out of ten, only two survived. As much as I have grown, can I not repel death from those who are only guilty of believing differently from us? The death of the elves has shaken my faith in my skills as a healer, for my companions are too quick to kill those who stand in our way. Who knows what sort of lives the slain elves would have led, they were not our enemies, merely followers of an evil leader. Father, so much has happened in the two weeks since I last wrote to you, I shall include my journal with this letter so you can read for yourself our struggles, and it is nearly our of empty pages besides. Of my companions, they are a varied lot. Here are my impressions of them thus far.

Rukh Redmane is the one with whom my relationship is most varied and strained. He sees me as weak, but he hopes I may find strength. While noble, his notion of strength lacks any consideration for strength in mercy. There is strength is be had in showing compassion, I know it, but whenever I show confliction or hesitation about the difficult choices I have had to make, he becomes irritated at best and angry at worst. For the right path is not always clear, and without time to consider the implications of my choice, I cannot decide so quickly. I know he is a good person at heart, but his sense of justice is dissimilar from my own, enough that there has been conflict between us in the past. I have only tried to do what my heart believes to be right, and perhaps not all my actions were the wisest, but my intentions were always pure. I have promised not to work against my companions, but I cannot compromise my beliefs either, they are the essence of my being.

I do not know what to think of Gaervesk Fatefrost, he appears tied up in the stars and fate, but has shown himself to be evenhanded, although somewhat distant. I don’t know if it’s a matter of pride, but he does not always accept the help of others, for there was a time he was ill with disease, but would not allow me to care for him. He recovered all the same, and I apologized for doubting his hardiness. I seem to apologize a lot to Master Gaervesk, for I say things without knowing his motives, as obscure as they are sometimes. I must learn to glean further insight before attempting to understand the actions people take. Master Gaervesk and Master Rukh look to respect each other, a rare trustworthy relationship in our group.

Which leads us to Eisenheim Homestead, the group’s outsider. Often at odds with the rest of the party, I feel sorry for him sometimes. It is as though he does things without thinking them through, like centering powerful magic on his friends if it means he can attack his foes as well. He insists on making profit, even with works of goodwill, such as performing a useful ritual he has at his disposal. I am not the only one with complaints of him, he has been accosted by Master Rukh and Master Gaervesk as well, and I don’t wish to interfere, but I dislike the bickering. Master Rukh does not seem to trust him, and I know I would have a higher opinion of him if he only consulted us before doing something that might affect us all. It’s not that Master Eisenheim is callous, I think he follows his instincts a little too closely.

I don’t understand Al’Der’eth the Pious at all. I don’t know what drives him like I do with the others, it’s as though he hardly has any mind of his own, he does whatever the moment tells him to do. I have thought to trust him with a matter of importance in the past, but he bungled it quite badly while still managing to do what I requested of him. He’s not a bad person, he just seems somewhat absentminded. I get along with Master Al’Der’eth fine and all, but awkward he remains nonetheless.

Finally Rufu, my most trusted companion. She’s a good wolf, following commands and throwing herself headlong into danger, she does her part, although she and Master Rukh don’t get along well. In fact, all my companions poke fun at her and I, even though I was able to do what none of them though possible; make a friend of a wild animal. I take care of Rufu, and she takes care of me, there is nothing more I could ask for. It’s not strange that what used to be a mere beast is now my closest friend, for animals are quick to befriend and can forgive nearly anything so long as you are willing to take the first step. I hope I can get Rufu and Master Rukh to become friends as well.

Thus Father, with inclusion of my daily journal, you are up to date on my journey. I promise to write you more often, and I wish to read your words once more, as I have not received a letter from you since I left Cedar Hollow. I remember what you said to me many years ago, is this what you meant? It’s all too much for me, I would not wish to follow this path if not for the belief that Pelor needs me to do this. I pray he keep all people safe from evil, but my companions and I are in need of a little more. Pray for me Father, I may need all the strength I can muster in the coming days.

Your loving daughter in faith,

Delana

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Eisenhiem's Magical Mystery Tour
MAGIC

Well my brother, my plan for resolving the werewolf issue worked perfectly. Each companion working as a gear in my well oiled machine. All were impressed by the judgement shown. I will not go into the details, because I’m sure the Bards will do that in due time.

We went to visit Lady Darkstrider, Mother and Husband to werebeasts. It turns out that these Elves here are not as hospitable to Eladrin. I am just as shocked as you. I mean, sure we put her husband and son in a bit of a predicament, but there are some lines you just don’t cross.

We found an ancient trap door in the floor of our makeshift prison. Foolish elves. No prison can hold the brilliance of Eisenhiem. The trapdoor led to a massive ladder, which we must have descended for hours. Luckily we are all strong people who can endure such travails. As we made it down to the bottom, we found a tunnel network. Judging from the worksmanship and the like, I thought it looked like some sort of tunnel used for escaping the town should disaster or a siege ever befall the city. We first found a safehouse built into the tunnels, which was guarded by undead elves, still loyal to their king in death. There were areas to rest and food to eat which had been magically preserved. I found a wine cellar with vintages 1000 years old! It was preserved by the magic, but whoever is buying it doesn’t need to know. This will fetch a pretty penny. I loaded them on to one of my floaty boxes which have proved to be very utilitarian.

We then left the temple and continued down the tunnel and found a series of doors which were magically attuned to whomever approaches them. The first was a challenge of battle. This was attuned to the first dragon encounter we experianced. There was a cryptic message on the wall as we approached which told us to fight or flight, which ever we felt was best. As we destroyed the dragon again, he grew. The new harder challenge started to change the party dynamic. Gaervesk tried his luck to damage the dragon in his new form to no avail, and then left quickly, doing what he thought was best. Rukh, Delana and Al’Derath continued to battle. I suspected the growth of the dragon was a bit fishy. I look for the telltale signs of illusion, and sure enough, The magic of the room had falsely inflated the size of the dragon. I decided Gaervesks cowardly motions should not be rewarded. He should have more confidence in the well thought out risk versus reward systems that I employ in combat situations. It has never led us astray yet!

I telegraphed my information secretly to my other companions. First Al’Derath, as that is the advantage to trusting and helping Eisenhiem. Then Rukh, as he needed to know next, and then Rukh took it upon himself to tell Delana. I knew that was going to happen.

Gaervesk came right back of course after the illusion was defeated. After we beat Smokesnare a second time, Gaervesk fed the rest of the party some bullshit about “trying to draw the dragon away” Which my companions happily gobbled up. You will have to be a lot more convincing for Eisenhiem to buy that. Since Gaervesk was instantly absolved of his cowardice, the next pariah for a near death instance was yours truly.

Rukh flew into a rage after we dispatched the dragon, and gave me a talking to. I nodded and smiled. Its no use using reason when the red haze comes up. No one died there is no blood on my hands and in fact, with out my training, we would have all died. His anger would have been better directed at Gaervesk, but he seems to have taken a shine to him.

My opinions of companions have developed as I learn more about them.

Al’Derath is great. I can count on him to help me out. He can take a joke, and is a bit of a practical joker himself. I consider him my best ally in the group. As a result he will be benefited.

Gaervesk has always been strange. I have known him for years, but I’ve never felt close to him. He frequently patronizes me, even though I am the elder. Rukh seems to have drifted away from Delana to Gaervesk lately. He will soon hit the wall that Gaervesk puts up when people get close.

Delana is a piece of work. She is doing a pretty good job training her pet, Rufu. She often pays me to use my rituals to help move her pet around. Past that, we talk little. Her convictions are strong, but she has no idea how to enact them. Her intentions are always good though, and I wish her no ill will, but sometimes we have to work against her. People like her make my job harder.

I was starting to warm to Rukh, but our recent altercation has cooled things off. He will eventually come around to my point of view. His view of law and goodness is perfect. The difference between he and I is that I understand that sometimes the light of day should not shine on certain doings if the intention is pure. He and I agree on how things should be, but he has an idealistic way of getting there.

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Rukh's Journal 6
Wherein Rukh rants.

I have been somewhat distracted and not much in the mood for writing, Master K’rrg. This morning I woke more vexed than ever, for I was unable to perform my morning ablutions. Perhaps writing and meditating on what has happened will make things clearer to me.

When last I paused to write, we’d just captured the wolf-thing. This may seem strange, Master, but, somehow, after seeing how enthusiastic the half-elf Jolar was to see justice meted out, and seeing that the creature and he had such similar eyes, I suddenly had misgivings about the guilt of the beast. We attempted to communicate with it, and, through growls, grunts, nods, and scraping letters in the dust, we were able to make some headway.

The creature called itself Klimb, and it admitted it was fearful of being here, as well as evincing anget at Lord Jolar. I don’t know why, but I felt it was being honest with us. It became my goal to make certain that justice was not done too hastily or improperly.

Here is where things became confusing. While Gaervesk and I returned to Lord Stern’s throne room, the others remained behind. We made quiet contact with Lord Stern and were able to be convincing enough to make him uncertain of Jolar. He agreed to speak with us privately, and I felt certain that, through diplomatic conversation, we would manage to solve this vexing riddle.

Alas…it was not to be. I don’t wish to cast aspersions on the character of my companions, but…well…I feel tested every day I am with them. Somehow, Eisenheim, Delana, and Al’Der’Ath engineered Klimb’s escape, leaving Eisenheim “disguised” as the wolf-beast in the chains he’d been left in and disguising Klimb as Eisenheim. No…I don’t understand how that was supposed to work either.

And indeed, it didn’t. We all heard the servant girl’s screams, and, when I came rushing to help, Delana essentially told me to lie to Lord Stern to cover for them. I felt slapped in the face by the whole situation. While my two companions ran off to aid Klimb’s escape, Eisenheim and, somehow, Gaervesk, ended up in battle with Lord Jolar, who went to check on the prisoner and wasn’t fooled in the least. When I arrived on the scene and found the situation…I must confess, Master…I was tempted to simply walk away from the whole mess.

I didn’t, of course, I moved in to aid them. Lord Stern finally appeared, and things entered something of a stalemate. Lord Stern seemed to believe us, but it was hard for him to take our word over his friend and advisor’s. In the end, he asked Jolar to stay in the cell overnight til things could be straightened out. Jolar showed his displeasure by turning into a wolfthing himself! Delana returned, and I am pleased to say that our valor proved better than the beast’s mettle. To add insult to injury, he was locked in the very chains he’d enchanted to prevent Klimb from transforming.

But what of Klimb? I hear you ask, Master. Delana had returned, so where were Eisenheim and Klimb? Were they safely back at the Silver Dragon, waiting for us? Oh, no. Delana somehow decided that during a prison break was the best time to scold a guard about beating a servant. And Al’Der’eth, alone, without the help of our woods-crafty elf somehow managed to lose the wolfbeast Klimb. Do I blame him for this? No. I blame Delana for extraordinary poor judgement. I do blame Al’Der’eth for a lack of common sense in coming to let us know. Instead, we had to rouse him from his room, which he was rapidly turning into a brothel. Apparently his piety does not include chastity as well.

Lord Stern was most concerned about the situation, and he told us that he would likely ask us to head into the Feywood to speak with Jolar’s wife, Lady Darkstrider. We agreed…I was feeling tired, for we’d not slept in many hours, and I was still ill from the disease. Rest was not quick in coming, however. When we returned to the Silver Dragon, we found notes from Klimb promising to explain everything if we would meet him that night.

We had a long walk out of town and spoke with Klimb. He revealed himself to be Lasset Darkstrider, son of Lord Jolar. Surprising and yet not so. He also admitted to having murdered the patrols at his father’s behest. Delana, who had been toting around a wild wolf she had captured in our first fight with Klimb, asked for Klimb’s aid in helping to tame the beast. My fear she was sympathetic to Klimb’s claim that his father influenced him to perform these murders was soon borne out.

Most of us seemed very clear that Klimb would need to answer for his crimes. Somehow, Delana felt it wasn’t our responsibility to bring him in, despite the fact that our commission from Lord Stern was to bring to justice whoever had committed the murders. When we demanded that Klimb surrender, he tried to flee. Not only did she not aid us in apprehending him, she actually healed his wounds, and her “pet” wolf actually tried to bite me. Delana is lucky I didn’t slay the beast and let her keep the pelt. She’s lucky, too, that we didn’t turn her into Lord Stern as an accomplice to Klimb’s crimes, since she tried to help him escape. In the end, Klimb was convinced to surrender before we beat him senseless a second time.

Before we headed off on Lord Stern’s new commission, to take word to Lady Keyla Darkstrider, I accepted a promise to repeat a phrase to her on Klimb…I suppose I should say Lasset’s….behalf. I assumed it to be some private phrase so that she would know we were actually in contact with him. Since Lord Stern wished Lady Darkstrider to return to Coldwell with us, I hoped this would help convince her. I’m also happy to say that I managed, with some help from Delana and some herbal remedy, to throw off the enraging illness I’d been under. I was glad this was not an issue on our next journey. It’s also worth mentioning that, after a profusion of ridiculous name suggestions, we settled on the Company of the Golden Star, a name that would show up again later…

I don’t wish to rant further about my companions, but perhaps I should at least say my piece here, so you will understand how they vex me.

Eisenheim should nto be part of a group like this. He should be the head of a group of people who all agree with him. It’s very clear to me that he will do as he will, whether the rest of us like it or not, and that makes him both dangerous and untrustworthy. He had almost earned my trust when…ah…but I will get to that.

Gaervesk, overall, is probably the one I get along with best. We seem to have similar mindsets in some ways. He seems overly concerned with the power of “Fate”, suggesting that we have little say in what happens. The stars will will it some way, and we must follow. I don’t and can’t believe that. No star determines what I will do.

Delana is a boon companion and healer, and she is as bravei n a fight as any. But she is still weak. While I applaud her belief that some of those we fight could perhaps be allies under different circumstances, or that a kind word might be able to put them on the right path, theo nes she seems to wish to try to experiment with and her sense of priorities seem unbelivably inappropriate. A werewolf who has confessed to multiple murders (don’t even get me started on how she indicated that he’d been influenced by an ill-intending father. As if his situation as a pampered noble’s son somehow excused his own moral weakness)? A hobgoblin who had both tried to kill us and who had a gomish child hung up on the wall to use as target practice? These are her charity cases? She needs to learn to choose when to fight this battle, and she needs some sense of propriety and timing. The middle of a jailbreak is not the time to scold a guard about beating a servant. And she should mind her own damned business about the servant in the first place. Will she wander from home to home, interfering in the lives of those who live there? Truly, she’s a mystery to me.

Al’Der’eth is both a fine caster of his prayers, and a boon companion. I find he’s a bit too easily influenced towards rash and ridiculous behavior by Eisenheim, and that concerns me, but overall, my complaints of him are few.

Where was I? Oh, yes.

We set out the next day for the Feywood. The journey was, overall, a pleasant one. During a river crossing, we had to drive off some big, hungry reptiles, but we dealt with them fairly handily. Delana’s pet wolf (she calls it Rufu) seems half-useful in a fight. If that beast ever tries to bite me again, however, it’s going to end up a throw-rug.

An encounter with bears ended peacefully, thankfully, when an elf named Porlath interrupted matters before they could turn truly violent. Porlath guided us into…I’m not sure what the city is called…the elven name is unpronounceable to me, and Eisenheim, who apparently grew up here, says that it translates into simply “The City”. Such arrogance.

Floating platforms lifted us vast heights into the trees, and, before we could really realize where we were heading, we were taken into a feast hall. I remarked that the hospitality of the elves was a bit lax, and did they really want us to appear before Lady Darkstrider in our sweat-mucked armor or traveling leathers? When it seemed they did, I at least discarded my armor.

Lady Darkstrider received us somewhat coolly. She listened as I gave her Lasset’s phrase, and she asked about what had happened. She seemed to grow colder and angrier, and, when we finished speaking, she seemed no friend to us who had defeated both her husband and son. She then indicated she had no intention of going anywhere just yet, and that we’d be staying put as well. She then teleported away. We almost made a decision to attack the guards, but we decided to assess things first.

After making sure no one could see into the chamber we were in, short of magic, we executed a thorough search of the room. A trap door was found and opened, revealing a long shaft down through the trunk of the tree, with a ladder on the side of it. After making all preparations, we made our way down it for several hours. Just as I think we were all thinking we couldn’t continue, we found the bottom. The ladder had led to an underground tunnel in the roots of the ancient, hollow tree. We decided that we owed it to Lord Stern to get this message back to him, in case Lady Darkstrider did something rash to aid her family.

We traveled on for some time when we began to find plaques that indicated we were being tested. Now here’s the eerie part…the tests were stated to be to see if we were worthy of taking up the mantle of the Golden Star! Very strange…

We have taken a test of battle, where we fought against the same dragon from our previous quest. It was revealed to be an illusion, and, worse, it was revealed that Eisenheim had already guessed and not shared his guess with others. If anyone had died, I would’ve considered Eisenheim just as responsible. Other odd tests have tested our wits through riddles, our ability to work together with a task where hwe needed to cross a raging river, and such.

I’m gestting very tired, Master, and we’re taking a night to rest and recover, so I’m to stop writing for now. I’m beginning to get used to operating on starting small amounts of sleep. I let you know more, soon.

- Rukh

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What Kind of Mess Did We Get Into?
You can't trust pointy ears

We embarked into the Feywood, or rather the Feywild would be a better description of things. After some time we came across a river and Eisenhiem’s magic along with Rukh’s strength, and the rest of ours’ intellect were able to cross safely. We met a strange fellow, a Ranger who kept bears which at first attacked us but then backed off upon his command.

Later on, we arrived at the Eleven city, and sought out Lady Darkstrider as instructed, BUT what kind of trap was this? Instead of welcomed, or even thanked for saving her son, we were imprisoned for revealing the truth about her husband so it seems! What else can a prisoner do but explore the surroundings of his cage, and we found an escape through the floor that looks like it has not been used in generations.

After some time of descending the ladder that was carved into the inside of the tree trunk, we arrived at a sewer system and fought many rats of all kinds of sizes and vileness. The underground system of tunnels because maze like with twists and turns and puzzles and riddles. Some kind of fashioned tomb/escape route laid ahead, where we had to destroy this unholy undead which thought Delana was their queen coming back to rescue them. We fought Smokesnear again, this time the dragon became larger than its original baby form and then upon defeating it, it was only a statue. What kind of evil is tricking us down here? We later fought ourselves in the dark, thankfully i did not kill Eisenhiem, that would of been a grave mistake. Surviving that trickery, we ended up in a large room with an altar in the middle and were ambushed by our doppelgangers, these evil twisted versions of ourselves! Of course we disposed of them in heroic fashion only to be caught by Lady Darkstrider once more!

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Delana's story - Day 13
Delana chronicles the further challenges they face

- entered next room, river crossing challenge
- next challenge, three riddles (answers: chainmail, smoke, ?)
- corridor of shadow selves, some fighting
- breakthrough with Master Rukh’s wall writing
- final chamber of ‘Keepers of the Golden Star’ doppelgangers
- decended into hall of destinies, saw depictions of own lives and others
- went through door, met with Keyla Darkstrider

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