Starless Night

A Glass House for the Drow Family.
Motley's Entry

Day (?):
I’m still not comfortable writing on paper. Holding the quill isn’t the same as to holding a sword, but I see everyone else scribbling in their books and it does look like fun, what with writing down what you see. Maybe I can try it out and see how it works. But what to write? Swimming with Big Mouth? Prying lampreys off the kids? I dunno, really? The only advice I got was from Hodgewick and from what he said: “Go mad!”. I’m still not sure what that means but I’ll try to follow the best I can. But comes worse with the block later on I might sneak a peek towards Largo’s book and see how he does it.

I lost count the days since the others group voyage out towards the sea. I’m sure they’re fine they’ve been through some harsher scraps before. I’m still holding hope but Fletcher’s been somewhat worried. I tell him not to worry so much and do the best I can to calm him down by massaging his tail when it starts splitting again. Hodgewick cooked dinner later on: Crocodile eggs benedict, I haven’t asked where he got them or how he is still alive. The gnome still surprises me even to this day.

The Day After:
There’s a glass lady wanting to start making glass for the city. Runa’s her name. Very fiery and full of something. She requires a mansion first to house both herself and her goods. She then mentions the need for apprentices, but her contract seems rather strict what with keeping secret of some high-quality glass recipe. It looks like a good apprenticeship for Fletcher but the contract reads a bit hairy. Probably going to wait for Largo to come back and talk about it later.

The Day After Tomorrow:
Angelwharf got word from a Drow house wishing to negotiate a trade. Knowing my time in captivity can say that Drow are incredibly durable. And a group of them asking for our ears is unusual but we’re obliging along with a small squad of militia to provide strength in numbers. But as we’re about to head out- Big Mouth emerges from the murky water and nudges his head against me. Looking back at it now the city has gotten too big for him to protect but I still welcomed his company even if the others are still not used to his presence.

We get there and their location was pretty to look at. It was very dark but the lights they had pulled the scene really well. Lots of pillows, too. Too many I would say but a sort of living that I would like to get used to if the chance. The Drow were incredibly polite, their meat not being fish is complete bliss and the dance, beautiful but showed us a brief history of their past displaying both somber but proud.

But the light talk ended quickly when the house matron mentioned slavery. Believing that our citizens are still slaves rather than free folk made my blood boil. To think that we were coaxed to camraderie just to be stabbed in the gut and forced to go against what we stand for? I think of those families back home wanting to start a new life. A life with no masters and no fear and these darklings want to take it away!? The biggest kick in the balls was their remark afterwards about ransacking our citizens should we deny their request.

I’m glad the others were there to negotiate. Haeri with his silver tongue gave us more time to keep our people safe from slavery. Grimm gave his thoughts on indentured servitude as a sentence for our felons back home. It may not be enough and as much as I hate to say it but to protect Angelwharf from these invaders we’re going to need to teach everyone to fight. I’m unsure if anyone else thought the same but I do know this how I’m feeling right now.

Speak Friendship and Enter.
Largo's Entry

I’ll be the first to admit that I never really given much of a second thought about our world. I guess I’ve always been cynical in a sense of trying my damnedest to survive the day. Especially so back during my time as a slave, fighting for my survival and ensuring that my family be able to sleep with food in their bellies. But with this trip to this island has made me think how the days were before our Moon collapsed. To wonder that while many were oblivious to the impeding doom, others were doing the best they can to stop or delay the inevitable. And our current place right now is where that sort of ponder is permissible to say the least.

This library we’ve located is an absolute marvel. Amazingly so is that it still stands even when everything else fell into decay and ruin. Our attempts to saunter in were rocky from its ageless defense system. But upon reading its warm welcome a third time we were able to walk in armless and unscathed. Upon walking throughout its corridors come to show that its maintenance have been tirelessly performed by golems. The echoes of their footsteps varied from the distance and size, magnifying the crisp clean architecture the Elves were known for. We continued towards the middle of the structure and that is where Dub first discovers the tree.

The Silver Tree within this lone island is especially peculiar for that matter. We’re still unsure about it is origin, but the bright side is that it deemed us friendly for now. And has provided us more leeway should we return its librarian back to his/her home. We receive the mental picture of the Bookeeper’s location, unfortunate though is that is all we got. The Tree despite its power is unable to pinpoint the exact coordinates nor provide landmarks to any specified area. Within our maps, the closest location of him may be the islands north to us. And between either the Island of Dead Men or the nesting area of the rumored brass dragon, Kelirth. The Dragon’s lair seemed a safer alternate.

A journey to the North

As the group settled on things going on in town we decided it was high time to head north, and deal with the growing threat of the undead dwarves of Orcus. Our first step? To meet with the Stryx.

It took some time but we did make it to their village. We met one named Kluh outside of it, who welcomed us. She warned me though that many Stryx would not trust me. Apparently, humans of my ethnicity once committed genocide on them. However, I think she has came to trust me.

To get aid for dealing with the dwarves, we promised to clean out a camp of Charua-ka. We of course had little problem doing this, other then a giant wall. Luckily before we left town Largo and I had the same idea, grappling hooks.

To get them up there quietly Kluh flew up and put them into place before flying the long way round to the other fort. From there Largo and Piper using potions of invisibility would sneak up to those on the walls and try to down them. As soon as the battle started I decided to drop down on the tents below, and attack from inside, as my bow didn’t seem to shoot straight. It was a long battle, with one of them getting away, but we took them out. We even destroyed the evil shrine at the center. We had the aid of the Stryx.

Before we set out for the fort we sold some goods, and got upgrades. I ditched the short-bow, in favor of a magic crossbow. While yes I now have to reload I feel I can get more done. Besides that I have upgraded my short-sword to do fire damage. I’m quite confident in it’s abilities now. As a back up I also bought a new, and fully charged, wand of cure light wounds, just to be safe.

On our way to the site to meet the Stryx army we ran into a complication. As we were setting up camp we were attacked. Luckily for us Largo, and I heard them coming. It was a long battle, I nearly falling, but we succeeded. It seemed however that Haeri was cursed. Sure enough in the morning we could not wake him. We had to return to the village. We figured while there we would sell more, and see what we could get. After borrowing 200 gold from Haeri, we were both successful in upgrading our armor to be resilient towards negative energy, we can see it being useful in the coming war.

A New Journey
Introduction of Imsh

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long since I left the dark realm. Though it took months of traveling to reach the realm of light, and another month to reach the town I’ve heard of. Angelwharf it is called. I learned after my arrival with my trusty mare, that this is the second life of Angelwharf, apparently boggards raided the village long before I showed up. It’s governed by a council, the heroes of the town, and founders of this new kingdom. Lucien, Haeri, Stehlen, Chakka, Largo, they were the original five I guess, not including the one who left, the dwarven clan known as Thunderhammer. Over time others joined them, I’ve heard of the Exalted named Maggot, an Elf named Tatheria who was companions with a dinosaur, there is even a goblin pyromancer named Grimm among the group. The latest they found on their travels a dwarf named Piper.

When I arrived in town the group was off exploring to the south, I settled in, but felt the need to do more. When rumors began spreading of undead to the north, I signed up, my greataxe at my side.

My greataxe, a good companion, if you can call it that. Has slain many a foe, along my travels. I remember when I first wielded her. A innate connection between me and this weapon of choice. I remember earning her enhancements from my master, both before and after my freedom. After a while I did seek out more adventures, but my time as a gladiator would not be forgotten. I was a master with this greataxe all through my trials… and I overcame them with no problem. The Champion of the arena I was, that titled earned me my freedom, and my pay since I began to work for my once former master.

I saved up and bought the mare Hellfire from him, she was a fine horse, and a gifted one at that. Granted no beast master could tame her, but she had no problems when I was the one doing the training. He gladly sold her to me when he saw that connection himself. With her and my greataxe at my side, I see few problems ahead for me. But time will tell.

As I stated I signed up to go to the north and investigate the dwarven undead rumors. With me was Piper, the dwarf magus. Lori, a halfling cleric, and Motley an Elven ranger. I did leave Hellfire back in town of course, the others don’t have horses of their own, and a pack mule would be demeaning to her abilities.

We can at least confirm the rumors are true. No doubt from the dwarven ruins, a spell awakens these ancient dead, and the breaking of that spell is our objective.

Bloody Chickens' Shack of Dwarf and Mildew.
Largo's Entry

I’ve lost count the number of days from the lake incident. At the time we paid little attention to the aftermath. The light did no damage save for the deafening sound it emitted from the portal’s destruction. Admittedly though, I can definitely feel a difference over the course of these passing days. It is hard to describe the sensation, the closest thing I can think of would be a burning in my stomach that surges throughout my extremities. It surprisingly feels good, especially so when the spread tingles through my fingers.

Tingling aside, Stelhen and Chakka gave us word they were heading back to Angelwharf. Tatheria tagged along with the brothers for strength in numbers. The rest of us went the other way to grab more land for the settlement. Occasional boggards were of minor obstacle save for the wildlife attempting to eat us alive. Other than that, the day was abnormally pleasant until we got surrounded by birds. Oversized chickens that peck and slash and I’m still unsure what they were called. Blood-something or whatever…

It is probably just me, I’m starting to notice the word blood as the first name on each creature we encounter. I understand the collapse means a fresh start on a bestiary, but that is not excusable for overusing the word ‘blood’ on each meat-eater you stumble upon! So far the only thing original happens to be the cursed Monkey Trees and their carcass-smelling sap!

Either or, we all pulverized the large poultry and our focus was on the massive derelict of a shack. Upon entering, the stagnant stink from the inside invaded our sinuses with a smell far worse that the fragging pustules from the croc-frog aberration from before. In our attempts to acclimate to the offending waft, we noticed a bounded, famished Dwarf sitting in mold and mildew. I rubbed the tears from my eyes to confirm the whether she be illusion or not.

Upon releasing a questioning captive. It turns out she be a bit more aloof than anyone else I’ve met so far. It is not a bad thing but I cannot see through her. The only person that came close to that sort of bizarre sense of socializing is Motley of all people. The thing with her though, while she’s amazing at stabbing; she’s practically retarded when it comes to actually talking. The worst she’ll do is stare down at something or someone will not blink for hours. Won’t say anything too, which has caused some violence even before the wagon ride.

Still, we’ve only met Piper and heard her out. She’s seems determined to find some honest work. Can’t say anything bad about that. So if anything, I say Trig may want a quick talk with her about employment. After all, two Dwarves in the forge may mean a complete arsenal for the settlement’s militia. But that is a big MAY should that ever happen. Because you know… War. It may not happen now but I definitely do feel that something is coming. So just to be safe, once we get back to Angelwharf I might stay a bit and build more solidarity between the factions.

In and out of the Cave, and return to exploring
Lucien's Entry.

After clearing the former shrine we found ourselves empowered by Iomedae. At least based on the symbols on the armor we found, we believe it to have once been her temple, and her last hope for her power’s resting place, the glow faded afterwords. We kept our promise and split the loot, made sure to give extra to the giant or troll Katah’la(Who developed hard feelings for Grimm).

After feeling powerful we returned to exploring to the south. We actually stumbled upon a giant’s hut guarded by some wet brambles and terror birds… the brambles weren’t much problem cut right through them… the birds… not much of a problem either, some arrows through the brambles and we took them down.

We went into the hut and there was a young dwarf shackled up inside… she didn’t look too well. I want to work on the manacles only to find they were bolted shut, not locked… not much I could do. Offered to use her war-hammer on them links… but she wanted to be a coward and said no. In turn we just went into her pack and pulling out her blacksmith tools broke the links that way. Turns out she’s a Magus, and a smith.

We returned to town dealing with Trig, and getting ready for the monthly council meeting. As such we found Lori, Haeri’s wife, and Motley, one of the Neothelid experiments that came with Largo, prepping to go out to the north. With them was newcomer Unglar, a beastly looking half-orc wielding a greataxe. With the meeting of the council they left for the north, towards those dwarven ruins Gehrak left us for.

Swimming in Blood, Bathing in Light.
Largo's Entry

I will admit that I let my guard down during the final skirmish in the lake. It was just right after I swung at one of the boggards is when I head a voice faintly in my head. It didn’t sound either provoking nor threatening. Instead, the whisper was asking me to leave with a sort of sincerity behind its tone. Would be rude to disobey so I followed suit of its advice and abandon the fight altogether, much to the chagrin of everybody.

Honestly, I didn’t even notice the sounds of protest the group was jeering towards me. It was until I reached the exit when the whisper was gone from my head and realization hits. Fuck me, I was tagged with a suggestion spell! Immediately, I turned back swam as fast as I could. I followed both the trail of dead Skum and the smell of their blood staining the water. But by the time I reached my colleagues the fight was finished with them still standing. Albeit a bit peeved at my display of turning tail, but were understandable about the situation.

We took advantage of this peace and scoured the area. Only thing of notice was the brain-dead Aboleth stuck in between the rocks. I was in shock, to see this bastards again was still too soon. Despite it being a vegetable I still feel a sense of dread just being near these creatures for my time as their slave still haunts me. Day after day being forced to hand mince the corpses of my people into chum, and for what? As a fucking snack for these behemoths. Fives years worth of blood stained my hands, but either out of a Godsend or bad luck, my captors then shoved me into the sickening grasp of the Neothelids and their weird science.

I shake my thoughts from the past as we put the Aboleth out of its misery. After the mercy kill, Haeri of all people located the largest horde of copper coins as of yet. We then split the money and gave a fair portion to the Sea Troll and bid her farewell. Along the with the investigation, we located a crown and a journal detailing a possible invasion of the Twilight Expanse involving the slime and some ancient magic. With the Skum dead, we wouldn’t have to worry about that anytime soon. But just to be sure, we explore more of the caves to locate and destroy the cause.

Upon discussion about the consumption of Aboleths and its possible aftereffects. We finally found the source of the glow that was illuminating the lake. A portal made by the slime from our now deceased fish overlord. Grimm was hesitant in sampling the secretion. Myself was still curious in eating aboleths, I tasted only a drop of it. Salty at first but I felt a burning in my stomach that felt worst with each passing second. I immediately clutched my stomach and bobbed about in the water while everyone else begin to wail on the gelatinous construction.

Out of everyone that were prodding the giant portal to the unknown. Chakka seems to be the only one that was making some process. Most likely due his falchion gaining power from being dowsed in Aboleth blood. Upon his strikes, the dome exploded and the only thing I remember after that was a blinding light, followed by a bang, and then it was all gone within seconds.

Justible Hate and a Brief Confession.
Largo's Entry

We made it to the lake. Near the shore was what remains of a temple, whatever that claimed it before was either taken down or swept away by erosion. Either or, its former holy grounds were being desecrated by unwelcomed squatters. Skum and Boggards without any doubt have infested the ruins. We moved stealthily, or tried to when Tatheria chose the worst possible time to be clumsy and blows our cover completely.

Immediately we engaged, with numbers on our side we were able to take down two without any sweat and fortunate enough to net the mage, putting him under our mercy. Of course, I wanted to break his arms to prevent him from casting and while Stelhen was all for it, Lucien, Gods bless him, reminded me about being humane towards our surrendered foe. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the value of life. But these Skum- They hold little to no respect to other life save for their masters. Absolute sadists and savages that only hold contempt towards both the Gillman and those unfortunate to fall under their captive.

As soon as he slurred my kind, I clocked him in the face without hesitation. We weren’t getting anywhere with bastard, be it threats and otherwise. So we gave his body to Grimm to prepare and feast on. Frightening, for a Goblin his appetite is endless as only the sod’s bones were left in the open during the morning.

We rested again, waiting for more of the scrubs to show. It didn’t take too long, six more swam out of the lake and begin pondering about for their slain sentries. Again, we tried the stealth approach and failed a second time to surprise them. More shouts and blood occurred, but we earned our victory twice, albeit one of blaggards fell back into the lake screaming.

So with that we’re preparing to explore the water’s depths. Everyone’s getting prepped with waterbreathing potions and piercing weapons. But in accordance with one of my companions, I am following his lead and leaving my journal topside as well. But not without a failsafe, though.

So, my good reader. Depending on the date written on this entry. I am either dead, still exploring, or trapped. Should mold be any indication on these pages, then the best guess that the former was my fate.

Give this dead man a last request and return my journal to a lass back in Angelwharf. I guarantee you cannot miss her. She’ll be a Freckle-faced redhead with misshapen ears and a thin scar going across her nose. More specifics will be that she’s housed with both a wiry Gnome and a nervous child.

Just please be sure to tell Motley that Largo had always fancied her from afar, but wished that I’d would’ve told her sooner about how I felt for her before my death.

The road to the lake
And then some

Again the distractions have been getting to me, maybe it’s my roguish nature showing. Now where have we been?
Some time down the road, we ran into lizard-folk, attacking a goblin and orc. Grimm and Calistria are their names. A mage of some sort, and his ally. They joined us on the road. I’m rather glad they did. we arrived at the lake and they had guards at the entrance to their cave system. We took them out with little problem. However in waiting for interrogation purposes they fortified went from 3 strong to 6 strong. We still prevailed, meaning we took 8 out before evening entering the water. Yes 1 returned to the water. We’re entering the cave now. My journal will stay ashore and I will update it when we leave.

A Week and a Battle

A week of down time and I found myself working on helping my ability to withstand a beating. We heard rumors though, attacks on caravans, and kidnappings. Knowing what I know about the goblin band nearby, we chose not to go after the camp. But to focus on the lake. The boggards and skum need to be taken out first.

On our way there, about were the caravan attacks have been happening, we found an alchemist traveling to town, being attacked, by goblins. Seems this is they place. They put it up a tough fight on their worgs, but he took most of them down. Only the witch got away. The same witch that attacked us near the fire swamp. They must belong to the band down south, either that or are outcasts out seeking revenge.

The alchemist was a kind man, gave us many potions, and we sent with him a letter that our alchemist set is to be given to him as well. For now we continue on to the lake.