Starless Night

A few weeks of distractions kept me from writing

Distractions have been plenty these last few weeks, Envoys from the kingdoms nearby have been to visit. The Fey, The Gripplis, The Serpenfolk, as well as the Undine. It was decided that Breygon would be the leader of Angel Wharf. We agreed unanimously to the Gripplis, the Undine, and the Fey. However, upon agreeing to the Serpenfolk, Gehrak abandoned us claiming he wanted no part in a kingdom that would accept the serpenfolk, and their evil ways. We can only assume he left for the dwarven ruins to the north.

Shortly after a Exalted seemingly lacking intelligence it seems joined us with fellow friends of his he helped escape his former master’s grounds, with people he liked. He came with us to the lighthouse. Upon visiting which we found ghouls, seemingly former hunters, trapped there by goblins. The team dispatched them easily, while I got distracted by locked doors, and traps. What can I say, I’m easily distracted. I did get a chance to hit Chakka upside the head, the bastard set off a trap that fired a javelin into me. We found some useful gear, took back to town.

Trig came for a visit. perfect timing too, we just got the forge back up an running. She made me a new chain shirt. It is magical, I feel more safe in it. Some time later a new group came to town, an Elf not secluded like Gilornor, by the name of Tatheria. She’s a hunter, her companion is a young Allosaurus.

She joined us on our next adventure, during which we were approached by goblins, they ran off, only to attack that night. Luckily I had set up an alarm trap as we slept. As we continue to explore we came across a pit that held magical items in it, it almost killed me as I volunteered to jump in for the magic items at the bottom.

Some time later on the same expedition, we came across the fire swamp as some call it, no doubt it’s caused by the peat decaying, and when the chlorine comes to the air it explodes. When it came to leaving I wanted to split with Haeri, but in the end due to insistence we stayed with the others… After fighting an Oni, it was determined we were wrong, and Haeri’s route would have been the way home.

We returned to Angel Wharf with a visitor by the name of Dozz. He had with him many things, a Cloak of Resistance for example. Which I happily now don. A few scrolls and a wand of Cure Light wounds with 15 charges left. After all is said and done we split the gold down to 174 pieces a person.

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The Oni Went Down to Angelwharf.
Largo's Entry

In our means of exploring the surrounding areas, we rendezvous with a newcomer along with her companion. Tatheria’s her name, so far the strangest thing about her was that she’s by herself. Even with their disappearance, elves don’t normally be by their lonesome. Either or, her presence was most welcoming in this hostile existence. Not to mention she reminded me a bit of Motley before her ears were cropped. Regardless, she said she knew a faster means of returning back to Angelwharf, albeit Haeri insistings on a different route home. The party was split on who to follow and myself not taking sides left it to chance and flipped a coin. The results landed towards her favor and everyone decided to take her lead.

At first, deciding to have her on point may have started second guessings on my part. The popping we heard from the steps we took in the marshes ignited and nearly scorched a good portion of the party. It was just the swamp and our complacency that ailed us during that portion, so I won’t hold it against her. But in the midst of smoke and ash was a silhouette of a humanoid lurking about. I thought I was going mad, but Chakka and Haeri started to attack the particular pocket immediately so I wasn’t the only one who saw it.

A few successful hits revealed what looked fiendish, I’m still unsure what I saw but Stehlen made mention to what it is labeled among us mortals, Oni. Everyone was ill at ease, the bulging eyes and angular teeth truly made it unwise to strike at it. But without a doubt we had to defend ourselves from this monstrosity. Chakka’s goes in his usual purging rambles and immediately charges, but the blaggard levitated out of harm’s way without means of wings. Tatheria, Haeri, and Lucien began their volleys while Stelhen with his wizardry summons his elemental to square off the mock devil in the sky. Myself, trying not be useless again threw tridents and missing horribly altogether.

Now I am getting annoyed at this point, with my last resort I threw my fishing net in hopes of bringing him down to ground. I was successful, but even with my rage he was still putting up resistance with only one arm. Upon closer look at his dried-blood skin, he was definitely shrugging off the damage dealt before. His cuts and piercings slowly weaving back into place, looking all the same with that stone face grin of his that seems to be stuck on eating shit forever more. The Oni drops his club and used his free hand to claw out of my net. Once he got out he immediately turns tail, taking a good hit from the summoned figure that belonged to Stelhen and also a perfect shot right to his arse from one of the archers. A bittersweet victory, we didn’t kill the demon but he left his greatclub during his haste.

We made it back to town with enough time to meet up with the merchants. As much I would like to haggle, I decided to head back home for time with my “family”. Still feels unfamiliar just saying the word, even with the years I’ve spent with these three. Hodgewick crafted me another figurine that resembled one of the reptiles native to the swamps, his attention to detail is without a doubt flawless. Motley’s surprisingly tried to make supper. Her attempt was noble but the execution was questioning. The dish looked like it was still alive, but to see her try a skill that wasn’t fighting was actually kind of… adorable. Fletcher was out playing which is something completely alien for me to hear. From what Hodgewick was relaying, the new wagon that Maggot brought with him also has a kid somewhere around his age. Again, he went vague about it and starts rambling off topic about another discussion on magic truffles and giant wild boars.

Either or, I wonder whether or not this acquaintance of Fletcher can help him come out of his shell. But worry a bit towards her reaction should she find out about his Kitsune heritage.

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Lighthouse Journal

Entry 1
I write this in hopes I can share it when we finally get out of here, or, if not, as a warning to those who may eventually find it.

We thought we were so clever, goblins are small and weak after all. They need, nay, crave a firm hand to guide them. Like the drow masters from whom we had escaped ourselves we could establish ourselves as the overlords of these craven creatures. Lars even spoke their grating language, so it would be a cinch to subjugate them, we thought.

We were wrong.

We came across one of their villages almost a month into our travels. We’d exhausted our own food supply a week before and had been subsisting on whatever we could find or bring down, and our hunger added impetus to our demands. Their chief, a gangly little wretch sitting atop a massive wolf, bade us welcome, and offered us food and shelter. There was something in the way that wolf looked at us that sent shivers down my spine, but we were so hungry we couldn’t say no.

The village produced such a feast! We gorged on the grilled meats and other dishes until we could barely stand, drank wines better than any we had tasted before, and laughed heartily at the antics of the goblin entertainers. We were treated like kings, even to being settled into sumptuous fur beds when we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.

Reality came crashing in on us in the morning. A dozen goblins brandishing spears burst in on us just as the sun was rising. We were herded out of the hut, Lars receiving a deep gouge from one of the spears as he tried protesting, and we stood before the chief once more. An evil grin nearly split the bastards face as he looked at us and asked, “Which one?” To our horror the wolf pointed its nose at Lars and said “That one,” in the goblin’s own tongue.

The goblins swarmed all over Lars, overpowering him and bearing him to the ground. Blood pooled on the ground and screams filled the air as we watched on, unable to move. Movement caught our attention as the massive beast moved close enough for us to feel his hot breath. He stared at us and spoke again. Even though he spoke in goblin, we understood the command well enough. Run.

We ran. Gods help us did we run. We saw our gear piled neatly by the village gate and we grabbed it, not even considering what it might mean. As we left the village an unearthly chorus of howls went up all around us. We ran through the day and night, terror burning stronger than the pains we were all feeling. Whenever we would stop and rest for a moment we would hear those awful howls closing in.

We reached this tower late in the afternoon. Barret had tripped and broken his leg around midday, but he still pressed on with us. The howls were getting closer so we decided that we would either make our stand here or dive into the sea. We collapsed the stone bridge and rigged up a quick trap on the door, barricading it just as a pack of massive wolves materialized from the edge of the trees. One of the monsters snarled at us, saying, in common “You ran well, now you die.”

Entry 2

I tended to Barret’s wound as well as I could while the wolves assaulted the door. The first to strike the door was rewarded with a deep cut across both forelegs and ran off into the marsh with a shrill yelp. Sam kept watch up in the tower, firing his crossbow at the beasts as they attacked the door. He hit a few of them, but he doesn’t think that any were serious. The wolves stopped attacking the door after a few forays and have encircled the tower. After a few shots they learned the range of the crossbow and carefully remain outside of that. We don’t have any food or water, so hopefully the wolves give up soon. At least we started with full bellies.

Entry 3

The wolves are tricky. Some would venture just into range and run off when we fired on them, like they were trying to get us to waste ammunition. We’ve gathered up some rocks to throw if they get close enough, and fashioned a crude sling, but we need to conserve the ammunition. We haven’t eaten since the feast 3 days ago, but some of the moss growing on the walls seems to act as a sponge, so when the fog rolls in it leaves us some water, but not much.

Entry 4

Barret’s wound is infected. If we don’t get some help he will lose a leg, or even die. The wolves are still out there, and they make sure we know it. One ventured in far enough to hit with a rock, but it ran off. Hopefully they think we are out of bolts and close in. We have a dozen more bolts for the crossbow.

Entry 5

So hungry. Barret is feverish now, and I recognized the signs of blood poisoning in his leg. I tourniqueted it, but it’s all but certain he will lose the leg. It’s been almost a week since we last ate. Sam tried some of the moss, but vomited almost immediately.

Entry 6

Barret died today. I’m surprised he lasted this long. Maybe we can use his body to lure the wolves in close enough to kill them, or to distract them while we run away. We are so weak though, I don’t think we would be able to lift him up the stairwell.

Entry 7
Oh gods what have we done. It was so simple, so logical. I could barely hold it down if I thought about it, but we both feel vitality returning to our frames.

Entry 8

The wolves are still there, lurking, even after nearly 20 days. We thought to escape on the far side of the building, but one of the creatures was lurking close, oh so close, and nearly got me. Sam hit it with a bolt and it retreated, but it was soon joined by its companions.

Entry 9

The howls are driving me mad! It’s been incessant, non-stop for the past day! Why won’t they leave! Sam covered me while I ventured out to reset our blade trap. There’s no way I would get very far.

Entry 10

We are out of food again. We tried rationing, but even that ran out. We tried a different tactic, letting them get close enough to make another attack on the door. It took a few days, these wolves are extraordinarily patient. The wolf who did so was smart, he used a stick to push the door open, avoiding the trap. We waited, ever so patiently as he searched the room, and then came up the stairs. Then we attacked. I bit him as he topped the stairs, perfectly timing my strikes, relishing the feel of my claws sinking into his unsuspecting flesh. The feeling of the blood over my parched tongue was exquisite, almost as sweet as the look of abject terror in the wolf’s eyes. Even as we tore the paralyzed corpse apart, feasting, gorging ourselves on the warm flesh and blood, but our hunger refused to abate for long. Dear gods, what have we become?

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Unplanned Parenthood and Fresh Loot.
Largo's Entry

These past days of fishing have definitely been a good change of pace. Days like these have certainly put my mind at ease and make me think about the chain of events that lead to Angelwharf- The enslavement, the escape, being on the lam, and meeting Old Jack about the Twilight Expanse. Certainly a chaotic chain, but the method behind the madness has lead to a certain kind of freedom.

Of course, this new life does have a few kinks. The need for more bodies aside resources are another criteria for stability. So while Stelhen stay put in the village; Gehrak, Lucien, Haeri, and Chakka gave word that they were fixing to explore. With that notion, I decided to take a break from fishing and provide both assistance and muscle.

The trek leads us to what looked like a lynching. Three bodies hang for what seemed like centuries. Haeri and Lucien takes point to investigate, turns out the skeletons have some good loot on their bones. Problem was the branches these sods were hanging from. Monkey trees as Haeri calls them, the sap reacted incredibly to both leather and skin, the smell was similar to a fresh kill and immediately we were attack by… Something.

The creature in question resembled an octopus with a frog’s head filled with razors for teeth. But on top of its dome was bubbling with children and pustules that looked horribly revolting. Haeri fires an arrow without hesitation and frog thing retaliated by throwing one of its children at him. The tadpole begins to burrow in his skin immediately we were hit with another wave of odor worse than the monkey sap. It was horrid, I spewed my guts out. I don’t know how we fought through the smell but we took it down despite the vomit on our persons. Best part is that we managed to save a pustule sample, dunno why we did. But I believe Stelhen would find use of it.

So rather than be concerned about Haeri’s unexpected surrogacy. We decided to continue towards the coastline. It was lowtide by the time we reached our destination which gave us time to explore a cave before the ocean came back to submerge. There were lights and ladders, surprisingly. But then the hosts showed up and gave us the jump. Of all creatures it had to be fucking Skum. The party put up a good fight, but the Skum as cowardly as they are, started to retreat.

We were able to kill two of three. The other fled through the chum water. The second look through of this place is that this cavern is used to hold slaves before taking the poor sods to Gods know where. This place needs to be destroyed, but admittedly there are materials that deemed for everyone and Angelwharf as well. Chakka now sports a Falchion and Haeri showed me a symbol of Erastil which was a fantastic spoil. Though Gehrak was crestfallen about the breastplate, we eased his depression with another piece of armor we found earlier during the ride to the settlement.

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The Following Days
Exploration Part 2

After waking in the morning we set back out, larger group this time. Only Stehlen stayed behind, further study of the meat hut, i assume.

Day 1 of further exploration
Found a weird set of trees and 3 skeletons sitting back to back in the middle, Haeri and I decided to investigate… Horrible decision, these were monkey trees, at the touch of skin and leather stink you up and attract predators according to Haeri. Sure enough it did. Some hideous creature called a bogwid, according to those that got close it was nasty smelling.

Day 2 Ran across, a dead creature riddled with cockroaches, also arrived at the shore. A cave was quickly spotted and we decided to go on in. Inside were Skum slavers, no doubt working for the Neoplhids. Largo went into a rage at the sight of them, must be some bad blood there. We took two of them out, one got away, however we stole the loot and stashed it as we didn’t have time before the tide came back in. We will return for it.

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To Feed the Hungry.
Largo's Entry

Day 27

The lack of Boggards have made the arrival to Angelwharf incredibly bittersweet. We breathe easy knowing those blaggards are gone for now, but what they’ve done to the village is unforgiving. A hundred inhabitants either dead or missing. It is definitely something that we were not expecting. Either or, the best the Caravan can do now is repair and remember. But we are not safe here, most likely it would probably best to make this place temporary before exploring more of the surrounding lands.

With everyone busy with repair and locating resources, I’ve taken the liberty of gathering food. Fishing seems rather aplenty and it has raised some spirits up. I also came across Big Mouth every so often- very particular this crocodile is. As he bumped my boat on occasions, most likely hoping to get more Boggards to snack on. Also need to remind myself to have Motley with me to communicate with the reptile. Old Jack was my initial choice, but he’s been more occupied with the bottle after the attack. We’re all beginning to grow concern for the old man, considering he’s the one who had escorted practically everyone here for a new chance at living.

I also had the fortunate task on teaching the kids how to fish. Noiseful bunch they were, but they picked up on the directions immediately. Of course being kids meant that their attention were more towards the nets than on the fish. I’ll let this one slide for now, considering they’re still kids at the end of the day. Fletcher was participating, too… Sort of. I was hoping he would partake in the camaraderie but he just sat on the side, avoiding attention from everyone. A part of me wants him to partake with his peers, but I fear that his upbringing may be holding him back. To think what those damned Worms did to him is unforgiving. I cannot take away that sort of pain, but I can still try my best to make sure that neither him nor Motley and Hodgewick be back in that sort of scenario.

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The Next Day

We brought the Caravan back to Angel Wharf, after much discussion we decided to get Angel Wharf back to working condition. We have dirt walls, torches line the town, and Stehlen even started working on the meat hut.

In the morning after setting up my traps for the day/night, Chakka, Haeri, Gehrak and I went exploring, less then two miles out we found a Shrine to Desna. We met a gnome named Trig, nice lady. I feel as if Haeri and Gehrak fell for her. At the Shrine there were maps, and I studied them and scrolls, noting several things and even making a copy. This took most of the day, as some of them were crude.

So while we studied these maps, Stehlen and Largo were hard at work. Largo taught kids to fish for the town, Sthelen stablized the meat hut for a little longer, to study the spell so he might repair it entirely, and later duplicate it.

I have decided to build a shrine to Calistria, after a brief though about Desna. I don’t know much about her, but I’m sure Gilornor can teach me, as he was once her cleric, although he has long since lost his abilities.

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Here we are, born to be kings.
Day 24

We ran into a group of people who were attacked, one of their wagons were destroyed. Against my recommendation we took in these foreigners and decided to split our food and other supplies to help them. We have our own people to think about and we barely have enough to go around. We will have to hunt more on the way and hope we don’t run into any snags. Does our gallant leader not think of the future? No, he only thinks of what is “good” rather than taking care of our own. I cannot fathom him being in charge of more people. Can you imagine if he were in charge of Angelwharf? He would send out supplies to all the neighboring villages leaving his citizens to starve out of some stupid notion of good.

Day 0

The days have worn on, I don’t even recall how long it had been since we took on the others. They have become a part of our group so I must bring them into the fold. I have been more cordial to them in the days that have past, though that does not put food into my stomach nor into Milly’s. We have finally arrived at Angelwharf, not a moment too soon. Our food supplies are almost non-existent and we have started to become agitated. It turns out that the village had gotten over ran. We start to fight the boggards, a head on attack I might add. Soon I must teach these people tactics. A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords at dawn. These frog men had a giant saltwater crocodile. We fed it a corpse that they were cooking and it seems to like cooked meat more than fresh meat. The boggards decided that we too much of a threat after feeding their monstrosity and left with no more blood shed. I sense a trap but do not voice my concerns. While exploring the ruins we came upon a what seemed to be a prayer to summon something, I am not sure all of the details, I did not get the chance to study it in too much depth right away. Our all wise and knowing leader decided that the best thing to do would be to erase it. I had to convince him that it was was probably in our best interest to study it. He felt otherwise. Others in our little group helped me convince him of the validity of my argument and he finally relented. I weep for the dwarven future if he is an exemplary example of his race.

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Attack on Angel Wharf

We assaulted the boggards that had assaulted Angel Wharf.
My initial attack on the drunkard bastards missed. I have been unfortunate with my shots today.

We managed to take out the two sentries before getting cocky. A large champion of the boggards I guess appeared and we managed to scare him off. Just then a giant crocodile, that would appear to be named Big Mouth, surfaced and chomp at Chakka. It took a bit of work but at the offering of a dead boggard he got free. To help get Chakka free, Haeri sung Chord of Shards, damaging Big Mouth. This naturally got his attention. Big mouth went after Haeri. Chakka did attack him again, and big mouth would knock him unconscious. It took another two dead boggards to get him to drop Chakka. And Largo and I he was nice towards. The boggards, especially their leader, and shaman were surprised that we somewhat tamed Big Mouth.

After a bit of coaxing we got the boggards to leave Angel Wharf and we searched the area. We found many a things, as the only short sword user I took a magic short sword we found, a onyx dagger that Stehlen took, and a magical chain shirt Haeri took. We also found several potions, some of which we have yet to identify. We also found a map showing two, maybe three, locations to settle in, aside from Angel Wharf.

We also found a Gripplis named Chirk imprisoned by the boggards. We talked with her quite a bit. We agreed to let her free for information that she happily provided us with. We talked with her about setting up an alliance to hunt down the evil boggards. The group agreed they need to be taken out for their actions against Angel Wharf.

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Hints of Why and the Not so Great Escape.
Largo's Entry

Day 23

The wagon burned. The panic was the usual sort of screams and chaos was frequent. Stelhen admittedly did a good job in quelling down the fire along with Chakka’s placement with the water. Admittedly, I am feeling a bit unhelpful for that matter- What with my idea of grabbing the barrel from the mess wagon. Either or, I still thanked Gehrak for his help and acquired his assistance again in placing the drum back inside the wagon.

From the looks of it that this no accident. Six members from the caravan are gone along with the resident alchemist, Ruben. Tracks in the dirt revealed lizard-folk. Hells knows what those bastards would do. From what was relaying, they’re very territorial, they eat anything the bleeds, and now they’ve taken Fletcher. Poor kid must be scared out of his wits. Even worse that I promised that he wouldn’t be eaten. With that, I went along with the search party to locate to the captured settlers while Motley and Hodge stay put to guard.

They didn’t went too far. But close enough from what we could see that they were all in cages. I am amazed that there were a few of them who looked more annoyed than scared. It is like they been through this sort of shenanigans before. Surprising me the most was Milly’s ability to calm down Fletcher. He normally doesn’t talk to others well, but there he was being cradled in her lap. Must remind myself to give gratitude to her as well.

Of course we were spotted in no time, Haeri being incredibly dodgy. Looked like both himself and his scaly foe were practically dancing. Gehrak went down like an offensive monument after a few hits. He was bleeding badly, but it took me a while to stablize him. Dunno how I did, though. Normally had been provided with healing potions after fighting in the pits.

Then something unusual happened. A grey dwarf appeared, looking incredibly nonchalant. I felt completely offended that he was purposely letting his guard down. Wanted to knock some sense into him, myself- but Gehrak was priority. Who knows what his mother would’ve done to me if I left him there to bleed. Chakka and Lucien seem alright to take him out so I remain put to make sure they weren’t anymore difficulties coming from Gehrak’s patchwork.

When the fight was over three people were out cold. Nothing too serious, just a bit of bruising, broken ribs, and hurt pride. Usual ailings, but what can you do about it? We broke the cages and got everyone out, but something there was a bit ill at ease. A document with detailed pictures of the six captives, written in Orc. It is apparent that we now have either slavers or bounty hunters on our tails now. But what throws me off is the fact that Fletcher is one of these bounties. He just a child- who in the hells would want his head? Either or, best for him is to change into a different form until we can find out why and who would be doing this sort of buggery.

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