Lugh MæGethlyn's page

35 posts. Alias of Moxie.


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Behold…the lambent glow!

Gracious Sarenrae the faithful await the prophecy foretold,
of brilliant rays of holy fire ascending on healing wings!
Glory of the Dawnflower shine upon us.
Your splendor flares to announce the dawn.
Your radiant mercy piercing the gloom of night.
Oh Everlight, radiant redeemer,
And merciful healing light,
Banish the veil of darkness and the blindness of our ignorance.
All adoration and devotion unto you.

We had agreed to some sort of vagueness in our assault on what appeared to be a bite moot in the hall we had just invaded the previous day. I found rest a difficult proposition knowing we had made an appearance once the day prior to the moot laying waste to constructs and other foul creatures, liberating “concubines,” and left Vex to guard….I don’t know what? Why was the control of the window shutter switch an important accomplishment again? Shouldn’t we let it happen? The visage of Felu still haunted me as well.

Everyone had flown off in all directions to rearm themselves for the coming fight. My question was…to what end? We have bested, with some effort, a single or sometimes a small number of vampires all of who were no equal to most of us. We now hoped to best a multitude of them? Something did not wax favorable in this endeavor. Even in the timely release of shudders, but we had seen to it that it wouldn’t be timely…and there were sure to be an unhealthy number of foes that were our equal or betters? We needed to refine our plan.

This was the divination gifted to me during my dawnwalk prayer. Upon my return a few of our party had already embarked on the assault to lay in wait and reconnoiter the comings and goings of the attendees. The rest left shortly after to arrive at the slaughter house before the noon hour. We madequick work of the entrance and asked the stone ladies to hold fast in any event. Scouts were sent out and no one noticed our arrival. We were in and much conversation and bustling could be heard. Oona and I entered into the serving room…galley…kitchen to find a scene of sanguine butchery. The wench was relieved of her consciousness, bound and gagged. Everyone approached and some entered the room with a veil obscuring them from the sight of the lifeless. I took a quick look around the corner to see a throng of undead guests and that was only a third of the room! I wanted to get the full view. I wanted to know the truth of our rivals strength. I took a deep breath and purposefully walked into the dark celebration to glimpse our quarry. Moving for a better vantage point I tossed an explosive into their midst, then another. Very shortly the shutters flew open smartly subjecting half…..ONLY HALF of the attendees in a state of smoldering stages of cooking. In the brief moment of clarity and keen observation I witnessed panic in much of the room, but in the eyes of the half unaffected by the opening of the shutters there was no panic. A number were at most confused but others seemed exalted pleased at our arrival to include Oona’s father. Even on our best day with all our faculties intact throughout a protracted battle we could not hope to best their BEST of the combined noble families of the collective which were here mustered in this chamber, totally unaffected by the rays of the noon day sun. The odds clearly 4 to 1 against us, I steeled myself for a profoundly wicked fight and took in a heavy breath in preparation to scream my last command to our band of hardened veterans when…. a brilliant burst of light bathed the entire room in a golden prismatic radiance.

Everything slowed so as to be nearly immobile. All were affected by the brazen bold light, squinting, covering or averting their eyes. All but me. There motionless above us in the center of the room was a winged beauty. She had silvery shining wings outstretched from a lithe body covered in fine crafted sparkling gold mesh chain, solid shoulder pauldrons, glowing metallic orange vambraces hung with dark chains steaming a shadowy vapor, a split white samite skirt and sandaled golden grieves. A soft womans voice echoed from a rugged closed visored helm capped with a fiercely burning halo speaking in the tongue of the host.

“Rush not head long to a hasty end, paradise awaits your arrival with infinite patience. Let the dark forces do their evil within their ranks, then cast your lot in the chance of battle. This is her wish for you…DO. NOT. WASTE IT!”

At which she began to speak words of creation, of making. They were painful and my eyes went dark. All had changed… I felt a comfort in my surroundings as I sat in conversation with my friends. A familiar conversation from the night previous. The one in which we laid the plans for the attack. As my vision slowly returned I changed my position on how we should conduct ourselves and began to attempt to convince my friends of the same.

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To make a very LONG story tolerable suffice it to say that Kaer Maga is a free city that is lawless in the strictest sense and is barley a tenable society at best. All crammed together in a warren of misshaped, haphazardly cobbled tenements. It is here we have found some answers. Some of great sorrow that promise a glimmer of redemption, others have revealed themselves as the solution towards our search and salvation.

The most disturbing was an encounter with a sanguisuge leech we were required to deal with for information and guidance. (Oh and note to self, pass the word on lurking hunters of the deep)The leech showed the way to the stone host, an army of lifeless stone men, from which our “blue goo” had been extracted in a kind of soul refining magic…not a fan. At length we gained access to another vault key and managed to pilfer the contents of the vampires safe houses, obtaining larger quantities of the blue elixir, wealth and other notable sundries. The leech also provided a lead to another quarry, the central hunt that has existed since we left Magnimar in our youth. It seems Oona’s father and the stitcher had deposed the leech from his residence and he offered up his vault key if we helped him reclaim his flat.

Did I mention a chance sighting of Felu? That was all at once a comfort and a fright!

It has been a while hasn’t it? I have now, a small companion. Well, actually a colleague. He is my creation and loyal cohort, though most often he is a resident of my satchel. He employs stealth to spy and deliver timely assistance in the dire moments from the shadows. He is “Linq” (Link), blood of my blood. A beak faced, winged blessing of Sarenrae. We are still in the stage of working out our methods but so far he has proved himself quite useful.

So, back to the matter at hand…. We took the bait and waltzed into the leech’s flat and were quickly set upon by have a dozen stitched, fleshed golems. A painful enterprise at best! The first wave was of little consequence to me, thanks to Linq. The second wave, another half dozen, all but sent me to my final repose! This led to the painful decision of imbibing a vile of the goo for the first time. Not my finest hour, but the need was great and the situation dire. In the scrum I did vaporize a vampire with an application of Sarenraes soulfire. And here we stand in the entry to the flat battered and at nearly half our offensive potential for the day spent. This could prove quite deadly!

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Post celebration from Master Hobart’s estate I spent most of the trip home in silence looking out over the city as we returned to the lower districts. With the moon reflecting from the sea I turned to Oona and spoke “You are not safe with Epher here.” In her usual, casual, dismissive tone she returned without meeting my gaze “No more or less than before, he will not hurt me while my father walks the night.” She was right….I hoped. Either way his presence caused some concern. With Macer’s sister still infatuated with him and under his spell I feared our intervention would escape her lips at their next meeting and reveal our location not only to Oona’s father but the Ustalav collective trying to ascertain said knowledge.

The following day we gathered to discuss what would be done considering Epher. Macer was quite displeased expressing his intent to eradicate the threat to his sister, a concept I felt personally myself. Having a number of siblings not to mention the responsibility of Oona I was relatively disinclined to invoke a merciful tack. Oona offered herself as bait in an attempt to ensnare our prey. This caused me extreme consternation but with no other suggestions we decided to frequent one of his haunts and lay in wait. We had spoken with an old acquaintance from our childhood. We called him Bags and had met him on the Lost Coast Road as a merchant caravan mercenary guard back during the fire at the halfway station. He offered his knowledge of Epher scant though it was….which was a good thing! When Oona gave us her sign she approached me requesting my grandfather’s blade. She gave herself enough of a cut to attract the attention of someone who takes interest in such things and headed out into the night to catch a vampire. I wiped my blade and gave her some room to work her magic. Have I mentioned she is a stunning beauty….it is true, but she has a ferocious sting! We were not disappointed. Though it took some time Epher was pounced upon by our fearless “dragon” Vex. His assault sent him vaulting through the crowd without normal motion straight to me. “This is your last hunt!” I said as I wailed at him with scimitar and mace. I believe he recognized the enchantment of the scimitar and deftly avoided it gladly taking the stout strike which was about to land. However he was quite perplexed when it landed without deleterious affect because the blow proved to be a very sound in its coming. I let it impact but pulled the strength of the blow so it simply made contact causing a brilliant steaming brand to emanate from his forehead. Hence he was savagely damaged by our group and flew into the sky. Nina blasted him as he ascended, Oona skewered him with a dart, and a loud crack came from Emma’s musket. As he flew away Nina sent Vex flying in pursuit, then me and others to follow. I called for Vex as I rose into the night sky, he responded and the chase was on. Huge had transformed into a bird and made entry to an old building in pursuit of Epher. I hoped sincerely we would not be required to do battle with Huge if Epher managed to dominate him. To my great joy Huge called out that Epher had been bested and was on his way to his repose.

NOT GOOD! The whispy remnants of Epher led us to Oona’s family home. We forced our way in and were unopposed by the staff other than by protestation. Oona dismissed them out of hand and we found Epher resting in his coffin. Straight away we made off with it and escaped without incident (like school kids who just played a prank) to the newly consecrated chapel in the burial chamber of the Dawnflowers shrine. Arcane manacles were placed on his hands and a second pair on his ankles. It was now that we laid plans for his destruction. I offered a boat, Huge offered a better boat, it was mentioned he should see his last sun rise, and other obnoxious suggestions were offered when the word friend was mentioned in jest. That is when Huge mentioned in all sincerity reminding us he was a friend to us at one time, albeit not such a good one. That weighed heavy on my heart. Redemption is the goal. The casket was placed in one of the cells. Macer and Oona were with me. I produced one of the vials of THE ELIXIR and poured it into Epher. His countenance changed from that of a vampire to a normal person, albeit a dead one. So I used a second vial as gasps echoed through the chamber. He lived though he didn’t know it…yet. He was dumbfounded as he attempted to dominate Oona to no avail. “Do you feel that movement in your chest yet?” I said. Oona added “You might wanna breath.”At this point the depth of his reality tried to set in his mind but his denial was strong….that is until Macer addresed him!

I fear the compact demon will lose its mind and create havoc on the Hobart home as he has not experienced in decades, a worry less bothersome at this point than the matter at hand right now.

Some effort was made at a plan and after a rest we ventured forth to eradicate the ghoul infestation better equipped. Twas a workout to be sure, but a righteous endeavor in the execution of the plan and the cleansing of estate. One by one the ghouls were lured to their fate, driven by the evil within them to consume and destroy life despite their obvious intellect….as ghouls go? Venturing into the suspected lair of the Lich, still within the time of his usual absence, we made entry to a jail of sorts occupied by ghouls locked in cells. Upon inspection these and the ones previously dispatched seemed to be a patchwork of creatures…almost golem like. Hmmm? The deceased owner protects his grounds with golems….the Golem Works is a lucrative industry in Magnimar…Hmmm? But they have an abyssal taint? A case of stairs led to a sublevel and all who entered before me were left speechless in the visual cacophony of slaughter as each descended in turn. I followed and also found myself assailed by the butchery this room hosted. I looked about the room for any sign of hope for the ones who had suffered so terribly in this room. There was none. I searched for a way to identify a single victim. That is when I noticed the subtle smell of dried blood and innards. Less rotten than dry, more of a meaty smell, but ever-present. I held the contents of my stomach. Years of cleaning fish had hardened my senses to this kind of scent; however the thought of people being cut apart and reassembled herein is what tried my physical will.

An anger primal in nature began to simmer. We searched the remains and while others were interested in a comet like tattoo on a skin obviously kept as a memento and a hand drawn image of the same on parchment, I happened upon a pair of celestial wings. WINGS!....HOW!?....the simmer turned to a boil as I wrapped them and placed them in a bag and others searched for clues or hidden passages. I wanted nothing else to do with this structure. This would be a fine place to inter all the previously slain ghouls and set the whole thing alight! Before I could verbalize my intent the sublevel was aflame upon our exit. After safely making our way off the estate I excused myself taking the wings to the small chapel in the burial chambers of the Dawnflowers shrine. There they were locked away to be tended, cleaned and set for return to their celestial home.

A message arrived announcing a celebration at the Hobart estate for our collected families. Ugh! Does he not remember how big my family is!?!? I passed the word and as one might expect my parents’ home became a whirlwind of excitement. All were dressed and inspected by the parents. Carriages arrived and whisked us to the Devlin manor where Master Hobart had laid a grand feast. I kept Oona on my arm hoping her family had not been invited or got wind of the soiree. As the evening progressed more than I noticed marks upon the neck of Macer’s sister….bite marks! She was coy and red faced in the beginning. A potion was introduced and she parted with the information exposing the plot of none other than Epher (SPIT!) to keep her as one of his own. THAT SIMPLY WILL NOT DO!

Silly me, as if any weapon would fare better than another against these meaty rotting beasts! I lasted some time on my own with a single opponent before the rest of the group lept into the "hole of certain death." It was quite apparent that these were NOT your garden variety ghouls in short order. Many nasty blows were inflicted and at some point I could here the approach of a hoard of them from further down the passage, both ways. They arrived shortly after the group had jumped into the "pit of despair." One of the beasts toward the back seemed to be the leader of these Ghouls, OH AND THEY SPEAK ABYSSAL, the ghouls....SPEAK! Did I mention not normal...anyway, the good Sergeant took some grievous blows and I repositioned to evaluate the situation. He was right. We called a general retreat. When everyone was accounted for topside I called for Nina to drop a fire-burst amongst us, us being me and the ghouls. I was thrashed on my way out and managed to walk away solely because of the enchantment placed on my armor that was recommended by Huge. WORTH EVERY COPPER! We ran, the run of fleeing we did when we were kids from the evil in the bridge, every man for himself. Whew! Safe we giggled off the event as we healed up and found our way back to a secure location. We would need to refit and pack for a new foe it seems! Upon our return I overheard talk from the tian gardener of scrying....AND WHAT THE DEUCES? Who lets a demonic familiar have run the grounds? Where did that come from, and why is it in our safe house?!?!?? Wait...nevermind....I can practice on it!!!

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AHHHH YES! Miss Emma, the mousy little waif that was always around the edges of our group at functions. A plain pretty sort, at least this is how she comports herself and a complete opposite of my charge in Oona. She was in and out, never lingering long and always in the shadow of Felu. I mentally wince at the thought of her in mortal combat for her disparity in size, but that has proven time and again to make me a fool. So this being my only real reservation, that and the fact she is accompanied by a swarthy seasoned field sergeant, I acquiesced to their participation in our endeavor. Saunders is his name and quite versed in tactical pursuits. I spoke at length with him in such matters and it appears we could benefit from his knowledge and skill.

Our new compatriots sat in on our discussion about the surveillance of the Kaijitsu manner. Plans were laid and we rested until the time came to attempt entry to the estate. We no sooner planted feet on the turf than our scouts set out on a route that was contrary to the plan. When in doubt follow the scout! On our way to what appeared to be the main house, we encountered a shapeless shadow spirit lingering, hiding in wait, at which I produced my mithril heavy mace and struck a wicked blow. That blow was my first against an undead foe since its purchase. The result was quite satisfying. The word “UNDEAD” was scratched into the ground near the shed. My initial thought was “Yaa just took care of it…thanks!” but it was quickly apparent the message referenced the nearby shed which was either filled with undead or a pile of corpses simply from the stench. We bypassed that for a were-creature standing watch on the hill. I will take this opportunity to express my appreciation for our resident druid Master Huge. He, leading the way, had transformed into a large wolf beast and trotted right up to the were-creature standing watch on the hill. That is an amazing skill to behold. That is when Miss Emma drew attention to herself which led to the attack of numerous wolf hounds. We attempted to exchange arrow volleys with the lycan when the group was engaged in a fierce close quarters struggle with half a dozen wolves, BIG ONES! I was pounced upon by an undead spirit, was struck feeling strength and virility drain from my body. I struck it with my sanctified mace and in its dual existence consumed the spook with a blow that ripped the extra-dimensional fabric of the entity to nothingness. Just as we finished the first group of gigantic wolf beasts a second wave came crashing upon us. During my tribulations with the wolves I noticed a time or two that the ground did not react as one normally feels through ones feet. That is when, as the second pack charged into us one of them passed by danger close, his weight and energy loosening the ground at my feet sending me to a subterranean tunnel complex crawling with ghouls. We had suspected such a system was likely. I called for my spear which I had dropped after the last undead pounced on me; I didn’t want to leave it behind. However in hindsight the mace will likely be the weapon of choice for the foreseeable future down here.

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There is evil that walks by night, in the long shadows and deeper places of the world. Sadly I have found that it walked at my side since my return home. Had I known of the dark pacts or deals dealt there may have been measures taken to prevent the tragic loss of friends near and dear to our hearts. Childhood friends, sweet hearts, lovers, they were long our faithful, loyal friends. To be truthful we knew the nature of their associations. We held those associations suspect but our comrades in high regard making their loss more difficult. As with Oona, I shouldered the obligation to provide for their spiritual protection, and failed them miserably. My heart is broken to find Felu had bargained her soul with a dark power and was lost to us completely to the depravity of the abyss. Sam in his grief has, with great haste and against counsel, taken his leave and departed for his Uncle. The shadow that has lurked about us since the day we entered the bridge as children has come to claim his first debt. It grows bolder and ever more menacing as we scratch into the worlds deviance hidden in plain sight. Thinking of the path Effer (SPIT!) chose, I cannot but help to think we may be on a path to a tragic end. Brother and sister at one anothers throats as the darkness takes us away one by one until they find the strength of will to confront those who remain faithful in the light once and for all. (mournful sigh!)

I can only speak to the initial meeting in the Kaijitsu mausoleum. It was no small feat to gain entry to the burial structure with guards and animals roaming the grounds of the estate, but I managed…just! I cautioned reconsidering our strategy as I had received a rather specific and poignant warning through a daydream vision in my Dawnwalk. Dismissed as usual, I suggested the group focus its abilities to hasten the demise of the enemy in any conflicts to minimize our contact as the nature of our encounters have been foretold and they are a grim fearsome foe. The mausoleum was filled with vampires nearly a dozen of the lesser. They were dispatched with moderate effort. The coffins in which they slumber were located and ALL were shattered scattering their dirt and setting the pile of kindling aflame. Oona has taken to trophy collecting removing the fangs and stringing them on her necklace. I would have only one for my holy symbol, but I must be patient for that and will undoubtedly be required to split the pair. I doubt Oona’s father will give them over easily! After the destruction of their coffins we returned to the main hall to find the remainder of the fanged dozen and their mistress. She was not of the same blood. She was an ancient blood though timeless in appearance her presence was that of a greater strain than we have previously encountered. All I recall of her was an attempt and maneuver on my part that was less effective than I am accustomed and then a wicked succession of blows accompanied with excruciating pain and a struggle to regain my breath….then all went black. One moment of contact, one brief exchange nearly sent me to the Dawnflower in great shame and humiliation. Not a good showing.

Afterwards we found Sam had been mentally controlled and instrumental in slaying his friend and confidant Felu whose entire person, body and soul had been whisked away at her demise due to a secret dark pact laid and signed some time ago. Again, not a good showing. These issues will be dealt with and in the future will be known to all so no one is left in the darkness…..forever! We collected Sam with some effort and escaped unmolested thanks to an ingenious plan devised by Huge and made our way to safe harbor within the Hobart estate. We have been informed that our band of “vampire slayers” are wanted fugitives in Ustalav, and we are currently hunted within its borders…good to know!

I took the afternoon to check on the progress of the DawnFlower temple, and to converse with my parents about being ever vigilant because of my recent endeavors; to warn them of those who may be seeking retribution for our accomplishments of late. On my return to the Hobart estate I made a few purchases to weight the odds a bit more in our favor. In the evening we had gathered to lay plans for our next move reclaiming the Kaijitsu estate when Master Hobarts Man Servant announced a waif and her man, Miss Emma Granger and Sergeant Saunders. She is somewhat familiar but I can’t place her….from our youth but who is she?

I have been overly contemplative for some long while. I have neglected my entries and correspondence as I have been trying to study more on the dark powers trying to discern how to motivate them to divulge information during an interrogation and I believe I had stumbled across some promising techniques. We Have left Ustalav a better place than we found it laying demons and vampires low, but I have no doubt the void will be filled over time.

We sailed home. I love the sea. It reminds me of time spent with my Papa and ruffian brothers and my father telling his adventure stories on our father-son fishing trips and his tutelage in the spear and shield. Walking home to the house from the cross pier into our house to meet with the rest of the family and eat Mama’s cooking. The city lights of Magnimar when you come in to port after dark, its all one great memory connected to the sea.

I have spent much time at the temple in Magnimar seeing to its progress and setting plans for the ceremony naming its priest. I saw to my personal needs and those of family. All seems to have gone well in our absence. We are now engaged officially as agents of the Kaijitsu family to clear the Maginmar estate of “squatters” who are laying plans to subjugate or assist in an effort. Either way we find ourselves at odds with a familiar undead, a more sinister undead, and a host of lycans, all of which are logistically and martially prepared for whatever deed they have set their minds to……and surprise, surprise….a stair way into the depths of the highcliff hidden in a mausoleum!

Everyone was patched and cleansed of their wounds then we started our way in. Soon we found a large occupied room. Assassins stood guard. The sneakers among us slithered to the edge of their sight and burst upon them in fierce displays of fury. Huge exhibited a power as yet unknown to us instantly moving from his position to combat. I was jealous as I moved in striking an assassin from range with a javelin, father would have been proud. The days spent spear fishing and harpooning were not wasted. I approached closer and struck with a second javelin. We engaged in melee and worked the assassin over with my fathers combat style. The situation became very tenuous as we were set upon by eight bone devils. It was apparent quickly that combat with theses feinds would be a long drawn out affair as bone shards splinter on my shield. Then they approached with a menacing aspect which seemed to strike fear in my group as they moved through using arcane methods. As they hopped about the room I realized I could gain no advantage in the chase so I called upon Noculous for the first time, he did naught disappoint me. I scorched a devil with a brilliant white hot beam of holy light. They either cowered in place or fled for their lives. Though Kelyn had managed to slay one, therest converged on Atz and I sending my small fishing buddy in flight. I called upon Noculous requesting he free Sam from his fears. Sam shamed them as his sizzled them with arcane lightning. The surrounded him a second time but made no attempt to over bear him now. I reclaimed Atz, Felu, and Nina from their states catatonic lock or panic. Then elbowed my way into the center of the conversation to stand beside Sam as he spoke to the in their diabolic tongue. The language is labor intensive and exhausting with violent emphasis on consonants but Sam has truly mastered it. I listened for the most part but when the occasion required I invoked my presence to ensure the parlay stayed on track, as there frightening affect did not sway me in all the times they had tried, something that did not go unnoticed I am certain. Sam convinced them not oppose our effort and that they might have chosen poorly in their associations. Now we must try to shut the portal though huge says there are significant obstacles in our way yet…

We arrived at Fort Donner apparently a bit sooner than I had expected, in fact I had an extremely difficult time orienting myself for a period of time. You see in some fashion Treyvor had skipped us back in time like one would a stone over calm waters and while intriguing I found myself mildly uncomforted, tired and predisposed to what I can only assume was my dedication to reopen the shrine in Magnimar but after an hours time I felt as normal as ever. Quite an interesting and novel trick, my interest is peaked!

The Fort seems to be back in the more than capable hands of the Captain for the time being, so we made our way to the crones hut where the time skip was confirmed by the decay of our prior adversaries. The way forward would be up into the mountains. It was here and now the gloom and weight of our quarry began to encumber my soul. I could feel the presence of an impurity wafting in the mountain air. A wickedness seems to be creeping into the area, and while no outward obvious signs have manifest the corruption creeping in the soil and on the wind is that which the Spawn first sends so his abyssal minions can find their way. The vastness and beauty here would be enjoyable but for the dread that is seeping into these mountains. At dusk I walked to watch thedays end and speak with the Dawnflower. I gave my thanks and praise. Reading the colorful evening sky I could divine gathering storm and darkness in our days to come. This was the culmination of the deep foreboding I experienced before our departure from Magnimar. We were close. I spoke of the feelings I had experienced on our journey so far and came away with a feeling of confidence. I returned to a good nights rest before my dawnwalk.

Another of travels passed without event at least for me. Others claimed to have heard calls in the night of multiple creatures trying to speak to one another over great distance. How we slept through that I cannot fathom but during the last watch and dawnwalk there were no voices calling form the early morning darkness. The following day lent more credence to my theory when we ran into an Otyugh in the open. They never ventured from their lair unless cast out by a more formidable beast, and they are not to be trifled with so we passed it by.

We set off the next and were beset by an actual storm which Huge had predicted. That made me laugh as I knew the “storm” had not yet arrived, but it was funny none the less. We had found a decent camp and set watches when all were called to arms from a deep slumber. A patrol of demonic cavalry had set upon us from the night sky the action was quick and fierce. Lucky the word was given in time as most of us were ill prepared for combat. I rose with spear and shield and a blanket about my waste for as long as it lasted. As I said the melee was short-lived so modesty though unnecessary was maintained for the most part. The unbelievable part of the ordeal was that a bearded devil had assisted us (so to speak) in this scrap and claimed himself absolved of his contractual obligation….which I understood from his infernal tongue. I addressed him in a strong fashion in his tongue, respectfully with a weapon salute in the manner in which I was instructed. “Very well, then be on your way with our gratitude.” Sam also spoke with him briefly before he vanished. Not long after the hostilities ended, everyone awake I quickly made my dawnwalk while the rest prepared themselves for the day. As I finished my walk I heard the voice again. It was told that this was the day of the severing and that the One known as Noculous would receive and stand in for the Dawnflower until my return. I left that reverie abreast of my fellows inspecting a cave mouth and a small dark presence about it which scurried into the cave. I felt as though another small skip of time was spent for a conversation much longer than I could remember, and felt though the separation imminent a comfort with it now. Although how my armor and gear were about me was a mystery?

We entered a well luminated oddly pillared hall. Immediately evident was an afflicted, corrupted magical beast commonly referred to as an Owlbear. He fed near a pile of boones and moved away as we approached. He backed to a corner where a number of the dark parasitic entities which had oppressed Master Hobart lingered about him. I know not whether it was the plan of his possessor or the beast but it seemed to lure us to a fire trap which engulfed both Huge and Oona. I was spared by the fact the two had blocked me from the onslaught. Huge however caught on fire proper and used it to instill fear in the creature if only for a moment. It was enough to gain advantage over the beast and fell it. That is when the dark parasites lunged to the beast to feed. We slew them as well but not before they consumed the life energy from the beast that remained. A matter of high science and alchemy I suspect but no matter an evil act on par with the consuming of soul energy and they were dispatched with prejudice. I felt a brief moment of sorrow for the great beast as it was a truly noble creature to behold. I gathered a claw as a remembrance intending to place it in honor, in my duty station wherever that may be. Others had fought floating flaming skulls which produced a fusillade of explosive fire which was evident during the combat with the owlbear but far enough away to be ineffective in our struggle with the beast. When the skull fighters returned to the group there was still smoldering about them so in jest I doused them…just a wee bit…only to be sure…one can never tell when a flame might erupt! Healing was lent and distributed about our group as we shared our separate experiences. Nearly setting off the sister to the fire trap I approached the exit which was masked by an arcane effect.

Kelyn lept in and quickly back, wide eyed warning of numerous warhulks. Huge dashed through the arcane wall, Oona and I followed. It was in that instant I felt the Dawnflowers presence leave me. I had not ever realized it before as it had grown in me, but now that it was gone…I FELT THAT! Then suddenly I felt flush with a benign power and approval to use it, strange but welcoming. I exited the misty portal with an arcane discharge of tiny lightning cascading around my body to find Huge on the ground. I leant him a healing hand as he laughed saying how he had forgotten the warhulks tactics. Our whole group advanced on them and struck them from the roles of life with a moderate effort, though I believe a pause for a serious bout of wound examination will be in order before we proceed.


"Prestidigtation ensues,..."?


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I want to here him sssay hisss name... Hey Oppie....SSSSAY YOUR NAME!!!!

or sssensssuouss,

or sssarssaparilla,


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Following the “ambush” we retired for the evening to the White Dragon Inn of Fort Donner. We set a plan for the reconnoiter of the dwarf witch shack from a rough sketched map the following day. I felt the Captain had redeemed himself or at the very least did not compromise our intent to confront the “Lieutenant” so I was comfortable with seeing to his wounds and rearming him. He may need to reassert himself as Captain of the Guard. After the arrangements were made I walked to the remains of the Desna Chapel, prayed for those lost in the fire, and for the renewed hope to come with the dawn. I realized they would need the same effort to rebuild here as I was attempting in Magnimar. I resolved to insure it was known so they could make the plans for replacements and facilities as appropriate.

Prior to my evenings repose I dwelt upon the scriptures and text concerning heresy, the occult and witchery. This was a difficult study as some witchcraft is benign, not unlike the old ways Birgun follows but the black practice is unlike the normal ways and is far more deceitful. The Doom Weaver we were to seek out could be a trial as yet experienced by our band. I only wished to be prepared. The next morning I strode into the dawn expressing my gratitude and praise. I returned to the Inn and after a quick meal we trotted off to the Witches shack.

Brevity was the course of action as I had entered the shack but briefly, spying the crone for a hand full of seconds as she led Birgun through a door way when he was suddenly stung by numerous hard hitting arrows. He turned from the doorway with a disgusted questioning look on his face. Oona and I charged to the opening and engaged two archers at the end of a hallway. Spells cascaded, reports from alchemical weapons assaulted the ears muffling the screams of an ogre that appear from a false wall further into the mountain to which the shack abutted. When all was finished some half score archers, the ogre warhulk, and the witch had been expunged from the living. No warning was offered, no chance to parlay, so no quarter was given or expected prior to the outbreak of hostilities. Searching the dwelling raised my ire exponentially! The remains of fellow travelers were found in the warhulks larder. One of whom was a Sarenite. I busied myself with their final rest with help from the others. After removing the prior victims for burial a sweep was made to collect the worth of this endeavor. To my surprise and sorrow a shield of Sarenrae was presented to me. It was a good and sturdy implement of battle. Sadly it had been unable to prevent its former wielder from mortal peril. I felt the need to search again. Through all the random belongings piled as if useless. I hoped to find his scriptures, to learn his identity, to read of his travels and gain the wisdom of his life. I had thought to deposit it with the new Magnimar Chapel but it seems the text was lost in its relative uselessness to a warhulk. We decided to stay in the shack for the night. There was much to consider, much to remember and more than enough to accomplish! I wrote the encounters in my text and looked at the figures and plans needed for supplies and construction materials and estimated the costs to renovate and open the old temple in Magnimar. I figured the cut I had earned on this foray into the world would go quite a long way to realizing my desire to return Sarenrae’s Light to Magnimar. I had visited all of her great temples and shrines in my early travels and instruction and can undoubtedly bring her house to life and order in no time given the availability, reliability and agree-ability of craftsmen and artisans to work at the site.

In the predawn dark I walked to the highest vantage to witness the arrival of the sun disc. As I asked for deliverance of the Sarenite and his companions, I presented the shield offering it up to Sarenrae to place in worthy hands as the disc approached the horizon. There, for the first time, I heard the voice of the divine. It was told the shield was now in my care. I was informed my friends and I were to seek out a portal and right a dreadful wrong, warning our calls for aid would require petitions to and be answered by an intermediary by the name of Noculous, as the realm disallowed others to answer the needs of their parishioners. Additionally the arcane practitioners would find their applications odd or manifesting wildly. As the reverie ended, the first rays of the sun disk burst over the horizon. Renewed in my faith I returned to the Inn and shared the news with the group. Though my companions were initially incredulous I was quite specific and confident until all were convinced of the truth. However it was decided that our supplies had run scarce since our departure from home and most were in agreement that we would return to our fated path after a visit to Magnimar to recuperate, reequip, and gain strength before embarking on a new quest. It was agreed we would call upon our spirit friend Treyvor to see us home.

We arrived at Magnimars east gate and went our separate ways with our share of fair earned treasure. My first order of business was to send my Mother an exquisite arrangement of her favorite flowers, treats for my siblings, and for my Pops a new masterfully crafted pipe with a pouch packed with his favorite smoking herb along with a note asking them to prepare a spot for me at dinner. Then I made a few quick stops along the way towards home. I dropped my spear with its original enchanter requesting it deliver wounds with flame as well, another of Sarenrae’s realms. While I was visiting I bartered my cloak for a ring of higher power and purchased an amulet crafted from the shell of a sea turtle shell mounted and inlaid with silver said to provide the protective qualities it had for its original bearer. The enchanter asked for a fortnight to service my weapon which seemed a reasonable request. I inquired where one might shop for books or items that provided insight or enlightenment and of course was guided to the temple district. There I found a multitude of simple bronze headbands decorated with an intricate pattern of fine green etchings and I walked away with one that had the strongest aura. That was a painful investment but it should prove to be the boon I could only hope to reach in a decade’s worth of studies and travels. Still walking with an egregious amount of wealth I made appointments with engineers, craftsmen and artisans. These I would schedule during what came to be an extended one month stay.

I walked home enjoying the sea breeze and the sound of the dock yards as I approached my neighborhood. I was spotted long before I made it to the house and mobbed by my siblings. Some carried my gear others climbed to my shoulders or clung to a leg. My older siblings waited by the house with my Poppa who was smoking his new pipe before dinner…YEESH! How Momma disapproved of that! I took their arms and was welcomed into the house with punches to the arm and raucous headlocks but all was in kindness and fun. My Poppa even complimented me on the pipe and thanked me as he placed his scarred hand on the back of my neck asking how things had went as we entered the house. This was abruptly interrupted as my Momma castigated my father for smoking his clove laden pipe before dinner. Sheepishly excusing himself he dashed for the door before my Momma came around the corner with a dish towel in her hands and a bit of flour on her nose and cheek. The woman she is lost her composer at first sight of me. She started, froze with a look of disbelief for a moment and dropped her dish towel before she finally blinked and relaxed with a laugh. With her hand over her heart she explained how much I resembled my Father in his formative years and how it had made her heart skip a beat. Poppas retort from the doorway reclaiming his status was answered by Momma with a threat of bodily harm if he brought the pipe into HER house before dinner again. A muffled response was heard and ignored from outside. I hadn’t thought to have my armor professionally serviced before coming home so battle damage and some stains were evident despite the best field care we could provide. I think for the first time since my parents retired from adventuring life she experienced the concern only a mother could for what her son and her “somerkids” might have endured. Some were hers and some weren’t but she loved them all. It took no time to inquire of their status, and she was visibly relieved to know they were all well. Once confirmed she gave me a mothers hug and kiss, fixed my hair and pushed me off towards a bath. She complained how my father would stink up his armor and everything else and expect to cuddle, and went further chiding me that any of HER sons would have the common decency to clean up for a woman before dinner or ANYTHING ELSE! There were indiscernible…ignored shouts from the doorway again.

After my bath I dressed in my blue tunic, patterned kilt and sandals for dinner. Sarenrae was praised and bread was passed before I noticed my father had cleaned up and even managed to comb his hair. Momma had put her hair up and put on one of the common gowns I had brought form Absolom, in fact all of my siblings and Oona had made the effort to spruce for this homecoming. Even my older brothers respected our Momma’s wishes in HER house. The meal was a common family staple, much provided by my Poppa and brothers, and loved by the whole family. The dinner and evening went by very happy and relaxed, especially when they broke out the wine. We sang, shared stories and poked at one another until sleep came for us. It was a nice, comfortable, enjoyable expression of love and peace. It was what was expected in my Momma’s house and everyone respected that for her…always! The next morning I rose to the smell of breakfast. My father and brothers had already left without me, a mild disappointment but that was quickly squashed with the biscuits, cheese, eggs and fruit Momma presented. We talked for a while. I told her my intentions for the old temple and she all but broke into tears. She was happy and expressed the desire to help. I asked if she knew how to make dawn bread from the sunflower seeds. I think that hurt her heart, but she recovered quickly as I asked her to help with the production of it at the temple so they could be distributed to the needy. Then she did cry and sat on my lap hugging me until she was through. She offered an emphatic “yes” and began to make her plans for the first batch. It would be made in HER home and would not have it any other way. I excused myself, explaining I had appointments for the temple I must keep and gathered my plans and other gear and started for the door. I told my older sisters to work with Momma and left them with ten gold pieces to provide whatever she might need to accomplish her goal.

I met with the builders, some outright refused the undertaking because of the location. Many however did not so with my vision in mind and a walk through the chapel I asked those willing to provide estimates for rebuilding the structure with white polished stone. I began the demolition work that would be need to provide space for the new construction and would clean up the grounds to make as presentable as possible for the time being. I made no bones of who I was and want my intentions were. I wasn’t there half the day before Momma arrived with the first loaves of dawn bread. She was dressed in a well-cared for older style Sarenite clergy woman’s attire and would NOT allow me to help her or the half dozen or so helpers she had in tow. When they had finished giving out the bread and ministering to the needs of those who approached. They returned and pitched in with the hard work. Much was accomplished. The next day more Sarenites arrived early, and more dawn bread was distributed. It was after the midday devotions during the meal an official clergyman of the Dawnflower approached the Chapel. He informed me that the contract was approved and confirmed by the Church and that crews would report as soon as all were assembled. The materials that could be gathered locally would arrive with the crews and Church Templars would guard the site until it was complete. Any materials not locally available would be requisitioned and delivered as soon as was possible. He also reported that lay-clergy both local and from afar would arrive to provide services as required. I asked of the finances as this was happening far quicker than I had planned. His brow furled into a frown of disbelief and said, “Inquisitor, this isn’t your burden alone! The dawn has broken in Magnimar and it is sanctioned by the Church; this is to be the Light in the Dark. The Church will build the House of the Dawnflower in Magnimar, you will see to the construction, appoint the clergy, and your authority and office will reside within Inquisitor.” I asked “Brother how did this come to pass?” His immediate response was “ An anecdote travelled to the desert and beyond of a Church beset by evil in Magnimar. Locals had more than once presented gifts beyond their means with the latter seeing to the liberation of the Holy ground. It was divined to be true. An Inquisitor was sent to investigate and her report confirmed the anecdote and the identity of the locals. Her recommendations were offered in prayer and the response was irrefutable! Her Empyreal Lordship, The Cleansing Light, and Warrior of Fire wills it! So IT WILL BE!”I was humbled to my knees. I looked at my Momma and said “This is the new light that is promised with the dawn Momma.” She shook her head affirmatively through a shower of tears as she leaned into a friend and fellow Sarenite for stability. I praised the Dawnflower thanking her for her gifts and deliverance. Then I thanked the clergyman for his message and offered him a meal. He would not take a meal explaining he was the sergeant of the Templar detachment sent to protect the construction and would take no refresh before his men arrived nor without them, it was their way. I sent Momma with the coin to purchase the food required to feed them all one of her home cooked meals. She took a head count once all had arrived and with a couple of the other women set off to cook a meal. I took the time to get to know these men. They were from the Dawnflower Cult in Qadira. All business! But after a while they would open up and talk a little bit more every day. At the end of a hard day’s work I made my way to check on Xandendi’s progress. Inquiring with those looking after the fallen cleric, I was curious how her atonement had progressed. All had gone better than expected and she was highly appreciative and ready to return to the service of Sarenrae. I told her to continue the good work and if she had completed the ritual before I returned she should work at the Chapel until I did. I promised her a gift and a surprise when I did return if she was released from her atonement and fully ready for a challenge.

The others took a trip to Sandpoint. I could not in good conscience leave the project unsupervised at this early stage. I wanted to be absolutely sure the engineers, craftsmen and artisans had the full unfettered, exact knowledge of my desires and expectations. However I did take the opportunity to write a detailed description of the destruction of the Fort Donner Temple of Desna to the Clergy in Sandpoint, they were very approachable and seemed to be very community oriented and had the financial support of the community to an amazing degree! The letter was sent with Macer to deliver. About a week and a half into the project it became clear my vision was set in the minds of my contractors and I agreed to leave them with a Church member as a foreman to look to the details in my absence. Huge had mentioned he was going to work on his martial prowess with his cousin and once or twice I witnessed the intensity of the training. On one occasion I asked him if he would instruct me also, but as it would be our schedules would not allow it. However he told me what needed to be done in order to achieve the goal. So I worked the docks loading and unloading boats after the dawnwalk until after the sunset. The longshoremen didn’t mind as I lent my back and arms for free. After finishing the dock work I would eat Momma’s meal and then take Poppa’s rowboat out to sea for an hour sometimes two without a break and return home. I repeated this process for ten consecutive days. My strength, endurance and definition increased dramatically in that short period of time.

Upon the groups return to Magnimar, Master Hobart hosted an elaborate party which included our entire combined families…minus Oona’s parents! The gala event was something to behold. That night I witnessed more happiness than I had ever thought possible and all amongst people I know and love. Our ladies are a sight to behold! They were gracious to my mother commenting on the fine dress my father had commissioned for her and when she told the story my father blushed at their reaction. That chipped the crust off of his gruff demeanor as far as they were concerned. And Pops was dashing in his formal family kilt and service awards. I was floored to see him dance…very well with Momma! In many respects the fun continued for many after the “party” had concluded officially. It was a good way to release the tension and frustrations of the hard life. Fortunately departure time was set for midday on the morrow and thankfully I didn’t see the party as a farewell until after my dawnwalk, which came to early! I had just welcomed the workers to the site and approved of progress before informing them of my departure for a while. On my way home a deep foreboding began to set in as if the last days merriment and this days beginning were a sign of hard times to come. I repeated the following until I arrived home to find my Momma singing and bouncing around her kitchen as I had never seen her before “Dawnflower Light the way.” I stood in the kitchen watching her dance about and sing until she turned and was startled to laughter.

With the Captain in irons we returned to the inn Captain cloaked and hooded. There we spoke of what he knew, remembered and informed him of the state of the community. He seemed out of sorts but honest. We took a meal and decided to assist in thwarting the suspected ambush on the road Macer had scheduled for early evening. All but Macer, Huge, and the Captain, unshackled, unarmed and without healing left early to attempt to sneak into position before the ambush was set. They were to arrive at the appointed time.

Vex and I took one side of the rode leaving the rest on the opposite side. We finally happened upon a scene of dwarves, humans with one dressed as an Officer of the Guard. they were removing barrels and crates from a wagon and stacking them in the roadway. two nasty boars were penned up in a wood pile on either side of the road. The wagon left and we waited for our friends to keep their date. Shortly after dark they arrived. Macer was quick to answer the Lieutenants questions, and the Lieutenant showed a true gift and art of deception. Knowing full well the plan for ambush I think our counter attack was a complete surprise with spell flash and weapon reports I raced to gain an equal measure along the road. I burst from the bush, greeted by an arrow. Vex was at my side blades in hand. the first human lay in pain as the Lieutenant changed into a vampire. Huge was right, he had noticed it even before he had changed, and call it out for all to hear!? He thrust his hand to my chest releasing a painful cold burst of foul energy. My armors enchantment soaked all by a pittance, but that small amount convinced me all the more how much I did not wish to experience it again.

Oonas father and Epher...mostly Epher was the face I saw upon him. More pain was to come but none in the manner of the first attack. Myself, Vex and Huge maneuvered for advantageous positions with the quick undead beast. Between us we cut, stabbed and cleaved it into mist form in decent order. Some gave chase as it drifted away while others finished the rest of his band. None seemed interested in surrender so we obliged them. The wisp- o-vampire was tracked to a river boat house floor. the bords were pulled away and an anointed wooden stake was hammered through its heart and the head removed. Returning to the road we gathered the bits of interest where I learned that the items in the barrels and crates were the property of the Guards and the Captain. Some how I feel this was just another disjointed happenstance having little to nothing to do with why we are here...and more such oddities still exist. This could take a while!

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We were happy to be free of the kobold caves, and to have rested in the peace, comfort and hospitality the swarthy logging camp provided. After my early dawnwalk we broke our fast and left the tree fellers on good terms making our way to Sandpoint when Kelyn halted our progress out of concern for Birgun. He was engaged in conversation with a rock…..odd you ask…..well mildly, but one must remember his affinity with nature, which suits him for two reasons. The first is since he is not of elf blood and has no reason to fear the wild, and the second is… while he is a brutish meaty ruffian, nature takes the edge from his demeanor leaving mostly the meaty part. His old ways have their place and are just as relevant today as those of Cayden Cailean. However it quickly became apparent the he was not conversing with nature, in fact he was speaking with a spirit! I could not recall so in keeping with the old ways I inquired whether he had slept beneath an OLD tree when Birgun announced the spirit would make himself visible if we desired. Taking a knee, placing my spear upon the ground, I reached for my anointed mace while concealing the transaction with my shield.

As the spirit manifested I could discern no ill intent from its form, nor deceit from its tongue or action. He seemed mostly…benign and wove an interesting tale concerning our band being a timeless troupe of eternal misfits always together as a group with different names, but always together, performing the righteous acts protecting those unable or unwilling to do so themselves. He went on to explain a peril of our age had emerged to the distant northern reaches in a wilderness settlement once ravaged by a dragon now set upon by an evil dwarven witch with a “prophecy” foretelling our arrival and destruction of the settlement in our attempt to cleanse the evil from it. Manifest with him was a great coach and horses both drawing the coach and for riding. Without reluctance or knowledge of our destination everyone piled into the coach save Macer…the ever stalwart cavalier. He chose horseback and off we went. Though much of the journey was spent in slumber I was graced with short periods of lucidity where I spoke to the spirit Treyvor Lee and listened to his tales of our past lives, watching the world pass by in rapidity and catching fleeting glances of country side between naps. At mid-morning, at what seemed like the following day, actually four days later, we arrived at Fort Donner. The name gave me pause for reasons unknown but it was no place of comfort to me at first sight. Then as we stood in the copse of trees overlooking the town I had a divine vision of our group backed by our respective deities standing in our shadows as if to show their support in this undertaking and my discomfort lifted. Treyvor’s liege was none I had heard of but bore no ill will and supported our endeavor. The local folk were wary of us upon arrival and on sight tucked themselves away as we passed by. We took up residence at the Inn and found everyone was already aware of the prophecy and saw their doom in our arrival.

After securing lodging we scattered about town to learn what we could of recent developments. I took it upon myself to patronize the local alehouse finding the barkeep and a halfing. I leaned the halfing was a new arrival with hopes of landing business prospects since the demise of the dragon. However a bad turn of luck had come with the recent evil “CURSE” . The barkeep was aware of the prophecy and confirmed the suspicion that the townsfolk were worried about our arrival. On my return to the Inn I was stopped by a curious uniformed creature. A member of the guard who seemed to be seeking out help for the community with all sincerity hailed and bad I listen to his tale of the Fort's plight. An odd otherworldly type but forthright in his concern so I gave him an ear. A private in the town guard he explained the presence of strange folk influencing people into making bad decisions. He explained the reduction of the town guards and his mistrust of their command and elders of the Fort community.

No sooner than he finished Birgun steamed past at a healthy gate calling for aid. Then close behind lumbered Macer in his heavy armor. I took my leave and quickly passed Macer into the herbalist shoppe where the sounds of combat were evident. I found my way to the melee through the building and an illusory wall, bursting into a scene dominated with demonic presence. Once again lead by a succubus, a disturbing recurring theme in our travels to date. Quickly and to my surprise more of our group was at hand grieving the demon horde with extreme prejudice…..with Macer encased in his armor followed by Atz and his adroit quick feet. The demons dealt heavy blows while the succubus attempted the now familiar tactic of mental control which it seems had worked on Vex. He was busy emptying the contents of his collected bags to include our fair gained loot. I was a target of the mind control but thankfully Sarenrae blocked it. There was absolute carnage when the battles concluded save for the Captain of the Guard. I preferred him clamped in irons until we were ready to have words with him. I think he like our clergy woman in Magnimar had succumbed to the demoness’ powers and wiles and once atoned would again fight for the righteous cause. Maybe even with a renewed vigor as men of a disgraced martial company usually do. The Gods know we could use that strong arm as evidenced by Huge’s state of disrepair! For that matter I had some sore, deep burning wounds leaking too. Looking no less battered I took a knee and peaked at them….I would live. Giving the sight the once over I felt quite satisfied I had comported myself with honor and glory with the spear and shield in the radiance of Sarenrae. This was the fury of the Sun, the truth of Light, and the point of my father’s spear. I made sure everyone was celebrated in their full measure in this days deed.

The King is dead!......Long live the King!

As the only resident male kobold in residence as far as we could tell Vex was to be crowned King of the kobs, but that had to wait when a rival approached from a darkened passage with an unnervingly large lizard on a leash! To our surprise and great relief the reptile spat a gout of acidic goop upon the tethered kobold handler who slumped into an acrid steamy meat pile. Huge and I approached and made a sign of appreciative acknowledgement as he let us pass deeper into the darkened passage. No sooner than passing him by did the passage split. The right offered (and that would be a loose definition, no pun intended!) a shebold of blue scales presenting in a femininish(?)fashion of availability. Needless to say we moved on quickly....TO THE LEFT! We were sure this was the former and now present Kings concubine and who are we to stand between the newly crowned King and his harem?

Huge and I entered the last chamber of the wing of the mine to find a savage sacrifice take place before our eyes as a pasty white old witchlet kobold ripped the heart from a half sidhe, one of the would be rescuers of the children, and perform some dark ritual consuming the heart in a flash of smoke and fire. Enraged, I threw my spear and cut the remainder down with Sarenrae’s edge. Huge and I collected the last of the hostages and the still warm corpse of the victim. I prayed for the sylvan breed whose soul would need to be escorted from this place to find its peace. The others gathered what was of interest for our trouble and to deny it for any who remained. This days work was wholesale carnage and a fight for our lives with a good number still visually impaired so we worked our way out of the mine to make for the logging camp quickly.

As we moved the smell of smoke crept upon us in the dark of night. Then came the sound of a whimpering child. Weary, we crept to her location and found her sobbing profusely in a scorched yellow dress. Not having reached majority it would seem we brought her to the groups healing savant Atz for care and returned to the road. No sooner than taking our leave then the child wildly attacked Atz. Suddenly it became apparent she was no mere “child” as she had sprouted a tail and some fur. Again we reduced her to a lifeless husk in short order. That was an unpleasant experience I do not wish to repeat but necessity trumped that need for compassion due to the voracity of her savagery. Again prayers were offered for the safe passage, and salvation of an innocent youngling and victim of the circumstance of lycanthropy. On we marched until arriving at the loggers camp. Here we made arrangements for the interment of the deceased sylvan breed and youngling.

After a fitful rest we mildly interrogated the surviving would be rescuer of the children to ascertain the size and make up of their party to which we were quickly advised and lead to the ambush spot where the rescue went awry. There we found two large Goblin types of either the hobgoblin or bugbear variety apparently squabbling over the remains of a now dead human who was identified as the last of the rescuing troupe and likely source of the moon madness. Actually three Ubber-gobs were cut down when all was said and done, and though all showed signs of being carriers of lycanthropy now, letting it ravage their community didn't sound that aweful, however the better reasoning behind our action was ending the line here and now. When all was accomplished we made our escape to Sandpoint for some much needed time to relax and recover. During the dawn ritual the first day in town it became clear the Dawnflower had bestowed the gift of healing upon me for those in need. She is benevolent in her gifts of warmth and grace, after all....


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Having been absent in the moment since reclaiming the shrine of the Dawnflower, with most of my waking hours spent in concern for its progress and future I periodically come and go to the groups needs with brief moments of lucidity. Since the shrine we had investigated the illness of the Mayor of Sandpoint’s noble relative in Magnimar to some success, escorted him to Sandpoint, and jumped headlong into a rescue of wayward children, all noble charges to be sure, but too much is upon the scale to keep it in order and my concern for the success of the shrine was ever present.

That is until we happened upon our first sighting of evidence the children were actually retrievable and alive. That is when I was again ripped back to the moment at hand and found myself in a subterranean kobold warren with uncountable numbers of the beasts skittering about in the dark just beyond the range of our light. Ever present was the clicking of clawed padded feet, subtle squeaks and tongue laden whispers, the dampness of the underworld mixed with the sickly sweet mephitis of death and waste. The strident progress was punctuated with brief violent bursts, futile in their attempt but no less intense or ferocious! We located a child in the far reaches of a tomb that was checked for crypt rot and found safe from the waste affliction. This lead us to a lower chamber in the mine proper where a mad dwarf was engaged attempting to finalize a soul binding ritual which we interrupted at the expense of blinding a fair portion of the group. Though still capable of maneuver and hearts willing to proceed in the fight the responsibility to protect and defend those blinded would fall to the next rank of combat effectives requiring a change of strategy going forward, albeit a minor one.

The carnage witnessed before and the serious nature of rituals lent to a sense of urgency which spurred us forward into the mine to find the absolute MOTHERLOAD and seat of the entire kobold kingdom of our worldly existence! This was to be a wild and wily fight. The darkness boiled with motion. The air was filled with the screeches and hissing of the entire known kobold nation! Preparations were made as volleys of javelins impacted the group. The melee ensued. I found myself utilizing the spear and shield as my father taught me to full affect. I had to date, not found the confidence to give myself over fully to it, but now it was evident that the style has true merit when you trust what you are taught and execute it without hesitation. The group waded through the kobold sea laying it waste. Even in the narrows of the warren…mine we advanced one after the next as the next in line slew the one before him…or her. At the felling of the last of the collected kobold nation, covered in their ichor, hearts pounding from blood lust, winded with sweat washing the ichor along the pulsing veins protruding from tight overused muscles, an arrogant kobold “monarch” arose from his insectoid throne welcoming us to sacrifice ourselves on his behalf for the favor of his liege…whatever that beast might be!?!? Indignant at our response he ordered his guards to take us. Huh! Well I guess if you’re coming our way I’ll just wait here and catch my breath as you run up my spear!!

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The battle space was filled quickly with larger than life allies. My only way out was through my enemies. I engaged them with spear and sword and found myself woefully outmatched. Thankfully the assassin was called off as I was commanded to kneel by the usurper. She approached and I thrust my spear while receiving a despicable necrotic drain that seemed to close the wound I had just inflicted then the haze of death began to enshroud my vision once again. I crumpled to the floor, and was soon fed a potion and felt life energy swiftly channeled back to me. Revitalized I glanced to my benefactors and there stood Sam and Atz. The combat behind me had come to a swift end and while casualties littered the hall to our rear the fight was no better off than when we had begun, much was still uncertain. Oona lay prostrate on the floor, Felu recovering from what looks to be grievous wounds and Nina and Kelyn repositioning for advantage, Macer in heated melee with the usurper, and Huge cleaving poignantly at the darkling. As I regained my footing the fight turned bad. Huge slammed the darkling to the floor with a great killing blow, the remains exploding taking Huge from the fight. Macer was made to kneel as I had and a second winged she-demon had joined the fray! Shots pierced eardrums in the confined space and arrows took flight from behind as if to silhouette my form. I engaged the assassin and the usurper faring much better now. The assassin finally slain, I found one of the unsuspecting combatants in melee with Kelyn and locked him motionless with my paralytic enchantment giving Kelyn the honors with great satisfaction. Turning on the usurper I shook off her commands time and again while the gang wailed upon her. She was desperately looking to escape calling to her newly arrived companion, and found herself alone in this fight. Dispatching her was gratifying but the recently arrived was still to be dealt with. All of us engaged and try though she might, once again the mind control failed. Prior to her ending she left the scene without ceremony.

The fight concluded, with a swift survey I noticed Kiara had arrived and placed a few well timed arrows to lend a hand. I gave her a nod and word of thanks as I stepped to the only one of our gang who still lay unresponsive. Kelyn and Huge were tending to her when I recalled the hammer and the She-demon that had just fled so I made a quick exit for the chapel. I arrived to find the chapel empty with no discernible sign of ill intent in the area. The hammer still leaning on the statue of the Dawnflower, I could hear the approach of Huge and his labored breathy supplications for the life of Oona. I too short of breath knelt and offered up the gains I had received to accomplish this day’s deed to regain our sister in battle.

The energy of the divine made its presence known as Huge and I prayed for the intersession of the divine on Oona’s behalf. I raised my hands and felt the heat of the desert sun burn my face and warm me to the marrow. I witnessed the ichor from battle lacing the arms I offered as payment, dry from the heat and be consumed by the now fluid looking metal, and steaming away from the wooden shaft of my father’s spear. She did not speak but impressed upon me to see the chapel properly cared for and openly operated and supported. Then I noticed the sparking and pinging of metal. As I was released from my vision I saw that Huge too was receiving a divine gift. His armors dent, creases, and punctures were closing or popping out and the bits of broken chain were sparking back together as he looked skyward speaking an admixture of his families native tongue and that of the divine. As he finished Oona lurched and chortled a cough, at which we both leapt to check her for signs of life. Huge felt her faint breath advising she required immediate attention or she would be irretrievable. I quickly produced two of the strong healing potions I had remaining and we fed them to her as she lay on the floor. It was then I noticed she still wore the holy symbol of Sarenrae mystically provided the night her father came to reclaim her and I had placed around her neck the last time we had visited the chapel so long ago.

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To be clear for the folks reading at home, this isn't just part of the story as written it actually happened at the table. What makes it truly humorous is that they don't sit remotely close to one another and spontaneously, independently, high-fived the air simultaneously in sych with sound effects. We all found it highly amusing!

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After the meeting with Master Dorn we all needed a few bells of rest. Finding the peace to attain a blissful state of sleep eluded me for quite some time however come mid morning I woke from a disturbing dream with a jolt. I took the opportunity to start the day by annoying my Momma as she baked bread for lunch. I made off with a trio of warm buns and a bowl of hearty seafood chowder…twice! Afterwards I made my supplications requesting divine strength to shine the light of truth on our cause and to overcome the threats at the center of our probe. I took the opportunity to clean up, make amends with my Mom and was off to collect my battle gear from the enchanter. Unfortunately I was informed my equipment would not be ready until early evening. So I kept the date with the gang where some ate, others imbibed, and Huge shared his findings concerning what he learned about Sorchen and the other names. They were akin to great Warlords or Arch-Wizards from ancient times, but not God's! I returned home and engaged in prayer until I was called for an early dinner. My mother and I ate alone, she inquired on our efforts the night before. I told her what was done and some of what was yet suspected. I told her we had decided to continue on with the search of the shrine to root out the masters who were pulling our victims strings. It would assist in her redemption if we could bring in the evidence of the ones controlling her actions. After dinner was cleaned up I excused myself to prepare for the next turn of events and set off with a blessing from my mother and a prolonged hug. She was more concerned this time because I did not fully come clean with her concerning our plan for the evening and she knew it. She understood this was getting to the heart of the matter, no pun intended, and the stakes were much higher this time. As in, some of us may not return. I collected my belongings from the enchanter as promised and rendezvoused with the gang.

On the walk to Underbridge we spoke of the last time we had visited the shrine as a group, the night we all left and went our separate ways. Prior to our arrival I offered a prayed to the Dawnflower on behalf of Xandendi, the one we had apprehended the night prior, asking for her redemption and the deliverance of the group from harm. As we approached the shrine the group split. Felu, Sam and Vex went for the front entrance and the rest went the way we knew as kids, through the over grown walled yard. As we were about to enter the sounds of battle roared in the quietude. Most ran towards the ruckus to find our companions in desperate melee with the gargoyle. While I do not claim the lion’s share of credit for its demise, I was gratified to have contributed by tempering my newly enchanted spear in the process. We entered the shrine to find it in disarray and disrepair. But the symbol still beautiful and vibrant shone with a light of warmth as we approached her. Then I spotted a hammer and it was painfully obvious what it was meant for…and yet I did not remove it. A decision I would come to regret! We had removed a key from Xandendi and learned there was more to the shrine than was obvious. A cursory search left us bewildered so we returned to the court yard. It too was unkempt, overgrown and neglected. That is when Huge found the graves of the bold brothers who had attempted the shrine had been disturbed. I thrust my spear deep into the recently tilled soil and was glad to find nothing lurking just beneath the surface. All three graves were in the same state and I began to feel my anger and anxiety swell inside me. To there great honor and my undying gratitude Huge and Atz set to the task of checking each grave for remains. None were found. Was there any limit not past, no boundary not crossed? My mind returned to the hammer for a fleeting moment, when an excited voice called that they had found another door with a key hole. The detritus gathered from many long years and overgrowth were cleared from the door. A call went out for the key, to which Vex proudly proclaimed, “I have it!” and without thinking, in a near state of rage having nothing to do with the key and everything to do with the task at hand I said “HAD!” The key was employed, the door was opened exposing a stairway into darkness. The smell of moldy damp, old, stale air was very pervasive as we descended the stairs. Light was produced but I would not be without a source myself this time. I activated a brightwand and walked two abreast with Huge at my side. As we spied the end of the stair at the end of our light Vex requested to scout in advance with a promise to return with the situation at hand. He and Huge exchanged pleasantries of sorts and Vex skittered into the dark. Moments later he called for help and the group rushed to render aid!

I would say I wasn’t surprised, but that would be a lie. You see, as I reached the chamber floor turning from the staircase I saw a dark shadowy figure, an undead to be sure but the variety escaped me as I approached. The form was not unlike dark creature we had fought on the road, in the wagon but somehow smaller in nature. To be sure they were no less deadly as time and again I could feel and even see them attempt to extract or devour from me some essence I am quite sure I did not want to do without. But for a word of warning from Huge the last attempt would likely have succeeded. The battle line was drawn, ours was advanced upon by three of the dark creatures, whose visage in life could almost be made out in their shadowy cloud-like forms. These were the spirits of the original clerics of the shrine animated in undead form. My performance was again unimpressive though I was able to score a few blows. Huge smashed two of them and Vex to his credit saved me from a fourth onslaught by my former fellow brethren. A kindness was imparted upon us as their chalky white bones were once again able to be collected so as to allow for a proper rest as soon as the opportunity presented itself. We advanced less cautiously than was prudent in hind sight, as Kelyn was battered by some sorcerous alarm trap as we approached a set of double doors. This section of the crypt was newly worked, expanded to accommodate the doors and whatever lay beyond them. Huge opened the doors and we all entered. The scene was dark figuratively speaking. Beyond a few rows of pews were a disgusting, nauseating display of impaled birds among which were numerous white doves, a symbol of Sarenrae. Upon an altar were candles and the hearts of the previously slain victims. In what is usually referred to as the transepts of a cathedral were two cells with iron bars. One ajar with scant bedding and belongings inside, the other locked and occupied. I stood before the bars and was immediately rushed by a man claiming to be a worshipper of Sarenrae. Having no reports of another clergyman missing, Xandendi in custody, and in full knowledge of demonic activity and intent within this room, I took a step back from the bars, produced a scroll with a divination allowing me to unmask dark spirits. It had barely begun to take affect when the man let out an unnatural scream, hissed and disappeared….which I recognized as transportation conjuration! Immediately the image of the hammer came back to haunt me and I found myself jerked into a lucid moment much as I had awoken earlier in the day. Running from this chamber I cursed myself and the demon in every tongue spoken in the Empire of Kelesh!

Rounding the corner I found myself momentarily at odds with my religion. For there before me was a beautiful winged women bearing a striking resemblance to the Dawnflower. The thought crossed my mind to genuflect as she rebuked me for my heresy. As I began to bow my head I heard Vex’s distant snorting grunt of a laugh, then I spied familiar faces on the flanks of the winged beauty, faces I did not like or trust, and I called the demons bluff. I advanced slowly and attempted a paralytic enchantment on the dark stalker, a hated enemy. Sadly he rebuffed. I suddenly found myself grow larger and employed my father’s combat style striking the assassin who had been hunting Kiara; the one we intimidated at the Inn in Sandpoint....Fal-kahn. Again even with the training and enlargement I struggled to make do in combat. To add to the miserable state of affairs the vile demonic flying whore flailed at me with a fireblade quite grievously! I have invoked Sarenrae, the Holy Sunlord Thalachos, Bryla, Charlabu and Mystmorning, there is but one more course of action to take and that is to invoke the scimitar in place of the shield!

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Plan A hurt....A LOT! But it worked, that is to say we have our suspect in custody! heres what transpired from my limited perspective. We were summoned to a meeting with Master Dorn, Macer's Father. We offered our assistance in apprehending the killer. This was what Master Dorn had hoped. Glad to have helped him accomplish our mutual goal. This can't but help our standing with the city guard. I volunteered to be the bait, and like only the best of friends would do, all committed to do whatever was required to assist. Macer's father suggested a narrow set of alley ways to use as an ambush spot. We picked our route and set to our preparations.

I dressed for the part while the others gathered the tools for the job. Early in the day we had cashed in and spoke with the trading company of our gathered information concerning the targeting of their cross land caravans. I took the time we were to spend in town to have some of my gear magically enhanced to maybe help center myself in future endeavors. I left my ringed mail armor, bronze shield and fathers spear with the enchanters. I asked that they incorporate a rose gold sunburst ring in the center of the leather hauberk to represent my affiliation with the Dawnflower. And yes it was my intent to do so! I would walk into the ambush without my mainstays of combat. I would place my trust in the faith that my Sarenrae would see me through without them. I did purchase some scrolls to assist in the interrogation of the suspect once we had accomplished our task. I also bought a few sunrods, thunderstones and elixirs that assisted in helping curb the affects of poisons....for future reference they taste awful! But not knowing for sure what to expect in the darkness waiting for rescue I decided to go with these to insure a more fair exchange should the killer take the!

I returned home and ate a meal with Oona and my family. This helped to relieve the stress and worry from my heart in the possibility of never seeing them again. I believe more than a few times I surprised my family in recalling special moments, funny, somber or otherwise throughout the evening. Our family has never really reflected to much on the past, but this was good. There were hugs and tears, thrown food and laughter. It was a trans-formative family bonding that was long overdue.

When the time came to leave it was late and all were asleep. Oona and I slipped out the door to find my father smoking his pipe on the stone stairs looking seaward. "Yer goin ta net da bugger airnt'cha?" I nodded lookin him in the eye. "Aire dey all goin along too?" Again I nodded. Thas good, dammit butchou all aire a deterrmined lot. Aye recoll wotchnya all stride back from the shadow of tha span as keds, yer a cocksure buntcha houligans...and thas whay we love ya...all! Ya kape wotch o're one n all! May da Gods tha matter kape an eye o'er ya and bring ya back to us with the flowers light. Oh an tell Birgun ta rip da airms off tha bugger, I need some new ooars!" Pop shook my hand and kissed Oona on the forehead. We left him on the stairs with the red glow of his pipe. That was the extra shot of confidence I needed. I could do anything my Poppa asked and he knew it.

We met up and rendezvoused with the city guard. I let the others set out to find their hides and waited until they had time to secure themselves along the route. Then I walked off into the dark foggy night, mumbling my Dawnwalk prayers in the early morning predawn hour. As I entered the area we had set for ambush I began to feel the short-hairs on my neck stand up, but kept my composure and continued my prayers. Suddenly I was rushed from the right by a slim framed dagger wielding assassin and a burning sensation in my side. I felt the blade withdraw but heard all. I produced a sunrod from my sleeve and snapped it to activate it, more attacks came from what appear to be a red haired female elfbreed, ain't that always the case. I had no doubt that she had every intent on carving me to bits and taking the bits she fancied! but again no matter what I did sound would not reverberate from my lips. Vex the dragon was first to arrive and he sliced at her with a pleasure and fury to which I had only seen him accomplish with goblins. To say the scaly little freak weaseled into and warmed my heart is an understatement! To be sure all were aware I produced a thunderstone from my other sleeve and winged it down the ally were I hoped the others would hear. Suddenly a wave of pain engulfed me and I knew that I was in trouble. This woman was going to channel me to the ground. I contemplated pulping her face with my fists but decided that like others we had faced, she would simply run off into the foggy night and we would never see her again. So I rushed in wrapping my arms around her. After another wave of pain I tried to lock her up but she resisted. Suddenly the ground shook and a large wing-ed creature landed giving the ground a good shake and me a wicked mauling. Another wave of pain was answered with a display of my strength and slam to the ground I had her pinned to the ground and my intent was to loosen a few teeth before I was again mauled by the beast from behind. Though I heard none of them approach I could tell the gang had arrived as I began to slump atop the assassin. The last thing I recall was a swift jerking of the she elf under me and we both went limp in the street.

I must say the Dawnflower knows how to show her mercy. My revival from states of near death has come at the hands of the true beauties of our group. The first time it was Oona, this time it was Nina. If a person is to come back from the brink they should be so lucky to have it be to such a face. Though at times I wonder if I am being prepared for when my return is not an option. I was force-fed potions, and once Sam relieved us of the unnatural quietude, Atz (pronounced Otz, or more phonetically AHTZ)cared for me with his talent of healing. I was told Oona had one punch knocked the she elf cold! Quite impressive, and to boot she had tied her up so well to have made my father, a sailor, beam with pride! Huge picked her up like a sack of potatoes and we raced off to my Pop's boat where Sam worked his charms and got her to talk without the need of my coercive magics. Nicely accomplished! This whole charming business and his affinity with it called into question the nature of his relationship with Felu, but only briefly as I was there to play the tough guy should it be required. Thankfully it was not. Sam had her singing her exploits like they were old friends, like one of us.

It became apparent that she was quite devoted to her cause but that was for all intents and purposes not by her will. I know she can be redeemed only that is beyond any of us and we must see that she is cared for by those who can see to it properly. It is our design to take her to Macer's father and remand her to the custody of the guard with then intent of informing the clergy of Sarenrae to see to her redemption. Now to sift through her story, clues and drawings to remove the stain from our Dawnflower's shrine.

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I would regail you with tales of glorious combat however I have not been blessed to date with the honor. We made haste from the prairie temple and laid low over night at the camp which used to be the midway Inn, a long and unending sleepless kind of night. I could not free my mind of the possibility that my Momma was at the heart of this new treachery. Not that she would have willfully involved herself and that was my greatest concern! I knew there was duplicitous and deceitful evil afoot and that kept me from a restful sleep. The next day we set out with some wagons heading to Magnimar and were making good time when we spied a wagon with wounded horses approaching. We had been informed early in the morning hours that a camp had been assaulted and this wagon surely looked as though they had been the victim of said attack. However since we had no knowledge of the outcome of it I felt it necessary to approach with caution. we hailed the wagon and I employed a spell allowing for the close inspection of details from range and found ill intent. I warned my group and Macer, Huge and I engaged. I launched my spear and thats about it...The next thing I remember was coming out of darkness all beat up. I WILL HAVE MY DAY IN THE LIGHT AGAINST THESE DARK FOES IF IT IS MY LAST!

I collected my spear and with my confidence shaken yet again we set off for home. I am worked upon by my liege, she humbles me and I do not question why, but it is vexing to the point of self doubt. Once within the gates of the city we paused but briefly to give a quick report with a promise to elaborate on the morrow. The group kindly acquiesced to my desire to go home. I found the house in a state of normal and spied my brother who should have been fishing on any normal day leaving the house. I asked Kelyn to trail him and see what he was up to. He returned with food and we all followed at a safe distance. I let him enter and after casting my net to locate evil doers walked up and opened the door. There my father and brothers met me with drawn bows. A tense moment to be sure but quickly-and safely relaxed! Most importantly....Momma was safe! I held back the tears as she walked into the room and waited for her to embrace me. I didn't want her to think I had any concern for her or the rest of our family. We were welcomed, ate and talked out of the young ones ears about what was happening. As a group it was decided to speak with Macer's father, and that turned out to be a wealth of information! We will help the City guard solve what appears to be a string of ritualistic murders, the victims of which have all been Sarenrae worshipers on their daily Dawn-walk prayers. This with former news of a traitor cleric turned to help transform the old temple into a sanctuary for a old god with the participation of demons is quite troublesome! I pray that I have learned the lessons She would have me learn so that I might save anyone else from falling under the traitors knife and the old temple from the ravagers in the dark.

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Troubling…..I have made a wreck of this investigation. I question my ability to root the evil from the darkness, but then my tutors said there was always a cost involved. This is a high learning curve and I only hope the price isn’t too high! Our hunt has been lucrative and there have been numerous materials and references to collect and decipher. The diversity of our groups knowledge, training and experience have been invaluable in putting the pieces we have found into perspective. I have come to learn that I have a great disdain for shadow walkers or dark stalkers, whatever their name, I despise them!

In a fight with goblins we noticed what appeared to be human commanders standing to the rear of their deployment. As we broke the goblin lines they ran for the hills…literally. Huge, Vex and I gave chase. Two stopped to engage us while the third continued on. As we approached it became apparent they were not human in the normal sense and then as we set upon them we were engulfed in darkness. That saved their hides. My combat was arduous and perilous. All to late I became aware of the use of poison on their blades as their blows sapped ever increasing amounts of my strength. I awoke to my friend and fishing buddy Atz tending the side of my head. The initial agony was as intense as any of the fishing accidents I had experienced with my father. He explained I had been seriously wounded and one of the darklings had tried to make off with my ear. Not that it was their intent but my companions had retrieved my lobe with the demise of the one who had lifted it. They are my chosen favorite foe to exterminate with prejudice at this time. After A rest and some time at the site of the Halfway Inn ruins a troop of guards and a train of supplies arrived to begin rebuilding. We made off to track down the bulk of the goblin tribe harassing the area.

The group has seemingly many capable trackers alloying me to focus on other nuances of the trail, deducing habits and traits of the terrain and the interaction with the tribe as they moved through it. We happened upon a cave entrance on a low hill and made quick work of the sentries. Doors were spiked closed so we wouldn’t be ravaged by hordes of creatures from multiple avenues of attack. It just seemed the smart thing to do. I took great satisfaction in this fight felling a number of the darklings in their attempt to flee or raise an alarm. Many strange and odd creatures lurked in the darkness in this complex. They could be heard skittering about in the dark behind doors or down passage ways and we quietly slipped through the dark. I do dislike the darkness. It is a void of negative lifelessness. That is an issue I will address as soon as the opportunity presents itself. For now I depend on Oona’s innate ability to guide me through it despite my discomfort in it. A number of the group split off to take some goblins in their sleep, a fine use of their skills. A second attempt with what turned out to be orcs was attempted but open melee ensued. Once the way was illuminated I made my way towards the chaos. My assistance was not required and the ranks of enemy combatants were reduced to zero before my worth could be realized. Still there was no response from the residents to our presence. We moved into a living space for what appeared to be more civilized folk though unoccupied. Oddly a darkling was found and he pledged his allegiance to Oona, who he addressed as “Queen”. That was interesting, and disconcerting to me, however Oona's spirit was lifted and I let her have him for whatever time he might prove useful. I was uncomfortable with him but she could handle him much better than I could at this point so I began to scour the rooms for clues as to the purpose and intent of this strange axis of creatures. Our search came upon rude designs and plans for a repurposing of the temple, all confirmed by Kelyn. There was correspondence with prominent names of Karzoug, Alaznist, and Sorchen. Another note was presented to me in a fashion of hesitance. I read it and found it disturbing indeed. Others were investigating a magical arcane anomaly in another room as I gathered all the paper evidence and made my way out to the rest of the group. I shared the information with Huge who had stood guard patiently all this while.He made no more sense of it than me, except for the disturbing note. It referred to a fallen Dawnflower who would assist in helping repurpose the shrine to Sarenrae in Underbridge. The fallen Dawnflower was female, and to his credit Huge broached the subject I had unknowingly blocked from my consciousness. He questioned if it was my Mother. Short of running off to Magnimar I put the evidence away with a firm but unswerving acknowledgment of his theory. I was swimming form point to point in my mind of what was afoot! Oona’s father, some b%*&@ trio... Lelryn and her siblings!?! I was boiling and ready to leave when Huge spoke up….“You know I could open the door, but someone’s boyfriend might not be happy I took his girl to the dance without him along.” He was addressing Felu, I put my spear and shield on my back and drew my scimitar and grandfathers dagger. Felu drew her blast wand saying, ““He would be devastated.” She is a keeper, a woman of great humor and caustic wit, but I was not up for humor in the moment and said “Open it.” I needed to release some rage! Huge released the latch and exclaimed “Oh no. They opened the door and attacked us.” Huge, Felu, Myself, Macer, and Vex stormed into the room with no idea what to expect other than numerous goblins. That is all I could see, that was all I was looking for. I swung wildly with both blades, and though I was required to whirl about their numbers I dove into them. Fortunately they came to meet us in groups and lines making their destruction that much quicker. Some foul beasts rose from a pool in the room and began to savage Huge. Others of the group came to his aid which aggravated him but it is probably for the best, they looked very deadly! Vex smiled at my inquiry to assist him so I scrambled to the opposite side of the room to run down the remaining goblins figuring the hand full that remained could be addressed by those likely on their way to assist in the outbreak in hostilities. Sadly I was unable to account for those attempting to escape as they ran off into the dark…DAMMIT! The fight at the pool was still on going as I returned. I noticed goblin bodies by a collection font. They had sacrificed their own to summon these creatures from the pool! I dropped my weapons, found a great hammer and began wailing away at the font. Still pounding away, Atz, Huge and Macer, all but pulled me away from it pointing out, I had done no appreciable damage. As the rage began to recede I realized the futility of my attempt, gathered my gear and waited only long enough for Vex to complete his collection of goblin ears. Then the remainder of the group came into the temple room claiming demons had come through the arcane doorway found in the rooms searched earlier and had fled for reinforcements and that we should flee. Fine by me, well not so much as flee, more like attack towards Magnimar…and with the quickness!

I cannot for the life of me understand why my Mother would have abandoned Sarenrae…she wouldn’t! She would fight. What would my Papa do? What of my siblings!?! HOLYLIGHT I MUST GET HOME NOW! Above all a discussion must take place before I/we return to solve this dilemma. With demons named and present nothing is outside the realm of possibilities, so if redemption is possible, absolution will be delivered. If not, no one….NO ONE….TOUCHES….MY MOTHER!!! If it is the Dawnflowers will I will end her….by my hand….myself!!!????

Having spent more time on the sea than on horseback the rescuing of horses was mildly uncomfortable but it wasn’t like they were concerned with me or my level discomfort. The greater part of the barn was saved providing limited shelter for the displaced. Luckily no one was grievously wounded to a degree that couldn’t be readily cared for. All able bodied survivors were armed and made ready to for a second attack but none came. We stole what rest we could and made a late start for Sandpoint with the Inn keeper,his folk and patrons, and our caravans, our and Bag’s. Strength in numbers and all!

With the late start we wouldn’t make it to our destination before sunset. So we camped overnight again. This was a less than comforting experience. I do not believe anyone rested as soundly knowing goblins freely roamed the area by night, so between a well-cooked road meal and before everyone retired I spoke to those who wished to listen reassuring them all would be well with the coming of the dawn and attempted to bolster their spirit with a homily and a reminder that Sarenrae saw fit to provide them with strength, noble character, and capable protectors until her return. All was quiet, and the following day we entered the quaint coastal town of Sandpoint over a wooden bridge. As the teamsters and riders saw to the beasts the rest of us wondered about until we were lured to an Inn a stone’s throw away by the aroma of a home cooked meal. The Rusty Dragon Inn was a welcome warm and inviting atmosphere and we quickly decided to acquire lodging and a hot plate of whatever smelled so good! After lunch I excused myself and made for the newly completed local cathedral. There I made written report of my findings and endeavors since returning to Magnimar and requested delivery to my elders. I visited the Pixie’s Kitten to ensure the ladies we had escorted had adjusted well to their new environment and bought time to speak with Amerillea. I laid out a proposition in which she could earn extra coin by keeping me abreast of local gossip and any other information of note. I issued the warning that her collection should be passive in nature unless lives were at stake and even then she should be patient and take great care in assuring her safety. The better the information the more coin was to be earned. After an agreeable price point and a show of well rendered service I took my leave and returned to the Inn.

I decided to make a point of cleaning up after our road battles and smokey overnight at the halfway point. I entered the bath and dropped my load of bags, shield and weapons near the wall in as neat a pile as possible. I drew my own water and disrobed trading my clothes for a towel to a smiling Inn woman requesting they be cleaned. I returned to my bath and was surprised to hear a small voice call from within the room! “They don’t take turns to bathe were you're from or what!?” I was without words as my towel in mid-flight soared towards my belongings. I turned to find the voice and spied a tiny ginger headed gnome sipping a drink in a steaming little tub. I had not noticed her and felt a bit awkward. All I could bring myself to say was “Excuse me maiden, I thought myself alone, though coming from a big family I don’t know that I’d of thought of it to be honest. I can wait till you’re done.” I walked for my towel. At which she protested. “NO-NO… by all means… don’t waste the warm water, my drink is almost dry anyway and I will be on my way in a moment. Whats your name?” The moment had been a bit awkward but that was soon lost in a conversation of my life story. Her eyes flashed with a fiery spirit as there focus changed. She was dangerous and in more ways than I cared to know I’m sure! She was also very funny and bold and easy on the eyes. She excused herself and whisked off as if she was late for a date. I washed up and met the rest of the crew for dinner. We were having a grand time reminiscing when in walked gentleman intent on finding the lady archer who had assisted with the combat at the Inn. He had inquired of her earlier in the day while we were on the street and we had discussed that very subject moments before he arrived. To those who had yet to meet him, it was a curiosity when they recognized him from descriptions walking in the door and pointed at him asking “IS THAT HIM?” Wishing to avoid suspicion or heightened awareness of our affiliation I rose quickly and made a spectacle of welcoming him and revisiting our earlier contact. He was unsure of our acquaintance at first but came around as I told him we had contact with the lady he searched for. I continued with small talk until he was agitated enough to interrupt at which point he asked which of our group knew of her whereabouts. Huge spoke to the hunter telling him in no uncertain terms to pack sand while I tensed to the ready and made it apparent. To her credit the little gnome I had met earlier was an entertainer at the establishment that goes by the name of Moxie, and in a timely fashion distracted the attention of the attendants away from our encounter. Following his weary exit I made sure to leave the winsome spritely Moxie a half crowns worth of silver for her effort. We sorted out the confrontation for those unaware and continued on as normal. We decided to go goblin hunting the following day and retired at the end of the entertainment.

We set out on the Lost Coast Road heading south. We were set upon once again by the little goblins and an orc. Huge and I kept him between us though he tried time and again to move away. I learned to adjust my style with these beasts a bit as I found it difficult to land successive blows. Felu shot him, I speared him and Huge completed the task with large gapping chops. The others were engaged with a half score of goblins and made quick work of them. Now we can attempt to follow a trail….maybe?

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"There would appear to be a lot of synchronicity within this group."????

That would be something you would know nothing of because you made not one bad choice, but many more, over these many long years. I know I am right, because my faith showed the way. You assume so much that isn't true from your hiding place in the dark. While we may have our own paths to follow, none have chosen a path into the dark as deeply as you. I would posit your mentor has been lax in your instruction old friend, as the crime committed WAS against the innocent who by no means called the flames of destruction upon themselves. And do not languish in the comfort of such self assured success any longer, any "sacrifice" will be voluntary and provide solace or benefit for our peers, not to satisfy any dark pact or deed, to that end Sarenrae will not yield! Epher someone far more wise and bold taught me you can count on a thief to steal from you; You can expect killer to kill; But a liar is the most wicked for there is no telling what they are capable of and that ....OLD where you reside. In the dark surrounded by lies. Darkness is simply the absence of light, there is no substance, a void of lifeless deceit. Your friends await your call when you come to appreciate the truth of life once again....The Dawn Brings New Light!


There was an attempt on someones life? This was subterfuge and a convincing one at that! In addition this was an offering of innocence with flame....a dark sacrifice! Goblins and Orcs are not so gifted with forethought to coordinate such a diabolical attack.

Sam....Whose ire have you raised?


While I am quite positive you were not referring to Huge or myself, I would gladly concur that the remainder or our gang could be considered handsome to interested parties. At least compared to others of our lot,I am what most would consider a scratch above average and that's IF I've bathed and borrowed a new tunic after a good nights sleep in a feather bed! I'm more of the rough and ready type. However I am quite amazed at the stunning nature and resounding beauty of our fairer lady members. That was not foreseen in our youth.

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We nursed our wounded which took a fair amount of time. As we set out along the Lost Coast Road our wagon team handler suggested we set a camp for the night as pushing into the halfway point would see us arrive well after dark. Relying on his experience and wisdom, the fact we had friends trying to catch us and that an ambush along the road would be to the Goblins advantage we made camp in the early evening and awaited Sam and Felu’s arrival. Huge and I checked the wounded to avoid complications and we all sat down for a bite to eat. Another Caravan made camp with us and come to find out they had heard of the exchange of words between our group and the toughs who tried to take our work. They were or had mutual friends and that was a brief moment of discomfort until we realized Bags was one of their number. All was good as we reminisced of old times. Bags made mention of Epher, at which point I queried him on his whereabouts and any history of his travels while we had been away. I was probably abit too strong in my questioning but Epher had made his decision and I wanted the information. All was quickly smoothed out from that point on. I prepared my spot by the wagon and bad Oona stay close. I performed my dusk devotions and drifted into a calm sleep.

I woke to the smell of food and Bags making his way to it. We would leave before his crew and head out for the payday at the half way point. Less than half a days ride we were on schedule to arrive before midday: that is until we were apprised of the fact we had been set upon by another goblin ambush however no attack was forthcoming and we passed without incident. Afterward the majority of our gang returned to the road, backtracking to provide support for Bags caravan. We arrived at the spot, met the caravan and no sign of the ambushers. As we travelled Bags mentioned the Inn sheltered a handful of working girls headed to Sandpoint. I aired my disgust for his not sharing said information the night before as it may have affected my decision for escort his wagons. At this point for a wholly unexplained reason, Oona gut punched me…she doesn’t hit like a girl…for the record. We reached our destination and headed to the Inn for relaxation. Within we found Sam and Felu with all the working girls at the same table. I started wondering how bad this was going to be for me. I didn’t wait long, Oona passed by with a dour sideways glance, a turn looking me in the eye, and gestured me to our seats with that uncomfortable smile that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. All was going as it should, Bags joined us and all was convivial until one of Bags guards expressed his displeasure with our group “Hows come you fella’s is hoggin up all the whores?” It became instantly and uncomfortably silent. A quick glance about the table saw some of the working girls uncomfortable, and the women folk of our group visibly outraged. This was going to end in blood and I had the feeling my assistance would not be required. I could see the muscles tense, knuckles whiten, and people preparing to stand as two of the buffoons approached Sam. Sam explained the error of guards ways suggesting apologies were in order. Macer stood and made a rather poignant offer to defend our ladies honor. Then It became obvious the rest of Bags guards were willing to join the fray. Suddenly one of the guards Sam was addressing grabbed at him, Felu launched from her chair and drew her pistol, Kelyn bound between their two groups sword in hand. Vex was no wear to be seen (discomforting!). Atz took a defensive posture too. All the while Oona, Huge and I kept our seats. Huge raised his voice to the two that approached Sam warning them not to spill his drink because he would hate to beat them all to death, which they took to heart. I sat back in my seat and gave their comrades a scowl and stern warning and the steam seemed to vent right out of them too. As the tension came to a crescendo it was burst by our words and Sam’s quick wit. Suddenly apologies were handed out all around and specifically to our girls. To which Oona rose from her seat leaning in over the table with that wicked smile and asked as if to confirm “So you don’t want to dance?” I lightly took her at the elbow and quietly asked her to take her seat. She is a stunning beauty who is very wickedly deceptive in her dispensation of justice. At times she must be softly tempered with patience and reason. Thankfully all was forgiven. I spent the remainder of the day getting my arse kicked in games of battle board with Huge and sparring against Macer with my spear and shield. After dinner and a few more drinks I spoke with one of the more attractive girls. Alas, I was too tired and filled with wine to leave any more of a good impression upon her. Her name is Amerillea….I think? I would like to know her on a more professional basis….err….I mean as an information source of course. Such resources are extremely under-utilized and underestimated. And who knows, a roll in clean sheets with a perfumed woman now and again is never a bad thing right? BUT HOLY LIGHTS…NOT A WORD TO OONA! Anyway I politely excused myself and retired for the night….well that was the plan.

I awoke to a coughing fit when I realized our room was filled with smoke. I opened the window and threw our bags to the ground below, dressed modestly, kicked at Oona, grabbed my blades and warned the others on our floor door by door of the fire. Bags and two of the girls would not wake so I rolled them from their window. Oona had followed and together we leapt from the second story of the Inn to relative safety. There we could see goblins dancing about in the dark chanting their disturbing fire dances. I spied Macer heading away, sword in hand, around a corner and we started out after him. Rounding the corner we saw the horse barns aflame with horses baying and screaming for freedom. I hurried to the barn releasing them as I entered. Some of them needed relief from the flames so I dowsed them with the gift of water, a divine favor that served us so well in the desert. I find myself in the raging inferno of the horse barn, good and sorely angry! The goblins recall has been sounded and they have skittered off laughing into the dark. I will have my satisfaction, there will be a payback.

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It was nice to see the Magnimar come into view and grow as we approached. Our boat anchored in the harbor late in the day and I convinced the Captain to let Oona and I accompany the shore party. We parted company ashore, they to the harbor master and Oona and I to my family home. Oona was dressed in traditional Osiriani attire with a veil to be safe and I was dressed for battle with religious symbols in sight. As we walked up the stairs of my home my younger brothers called out and Mamma and my sister Cara met us at the top. Mamma was wiping her hands and Cara stood in the door. I stood for a moment peerin at her through the eye slit in my helmet. “May I help you sir?” Mamma said. As I removed my helmet, I said “I missed you cookin Mamma.” Then the celebration started. My Poppa even hugged me! My older brothers were nicer and the younger siblings hugged and climbed me like a tree. The girls took Oona off to their room with giggles and an unendin stream of questions. I stayed with my parents and brothers and surrendered to the same fate. We ate and shared stories. I gave Mamma a pair of pearl earrings to go with the gown Poppa gave her made with pearls I had collected before I left that were set in rose gold by jewelers in Sothis. To my Pops I presented a sailors sun-stone from the Solku Quarry. Oona handed out the gifts to my siblings consisting of clothes and minor pieces of jewelry. I spoke at length with my parents tellin them of my travels, learning, and adventures. I expressed my thanks to them both and retired to my bed.

The next day saw a wonderful reunion with my former co-conspirators. In an instance of divine inspiration we had all returned home on the same day. That simply doesn’t happen by accident with a group this size without it! I felt at home and slightly awkward at the same time as we had all grown, and changed in our own ways. Huge was still…FRIGGIN HUGE, Sam was covered in body art, the ladies…well, enough said, and though many were slightly bigger versions of their younger selves, all had matured in the good graces of their patrons. We dashed from my home to the Captain’s Club and somehow got in. We laughed and shared our lives while separated and laid plans for the future. It was a fine homecomin!

The following day we met at the east gate and signed on for caravan duty with the Lost Coast Road Tradin Company. A peck of swarthy bruisers tried to muscle in on our work and Huge punked them with a well time P!$$-OFF and at that we began our first job. Not an hour out of the city we were ambushed by a tribe of goblins casting flights of arrows. I took one to the leg and charged into the fight. The little buggers are quick and I struggled to land solid blows. Then one broke and ran to its doom. I pinned it to the ground with a javelin and made sure the leader didn’t attempt escape. It appeared Sam had worked his charms on her and escorted her back to Magnimar after a brief conversation. Dragon collected the ears of the filthy creatures and we set off to complete our first job. This is easy duty! I mustn't let my guard down and keep vigilant as I am still weary of the chance meeting with Oona's father, and our betrayer.

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"We were safe, but I felt different, almost like I was electrically charged inside. Kind of like a lightning bug, but one who hasn’t released his luminescence ability, it’s there I can feel it. I just don’t know how to release it or what exactly it will do."


Thats what girls do to me, but...err...! All I can imagine is me sayin something like that to my Pops whose blank vacant stare is savagely interrupted by a swat to my face, followed by, "Ef ya donno know bay now booy, I canno halp ya!"

Atz needs to let it out quick, or else he'll pop lick a tick!

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“C’mon booy!” was the worst thing Poppa would say right before he let you have it. It was just the way he said it, like he was ashamed you were his child and didn’t want to know your name! It sounded like he was unhappy, disappointed, and angry and it was your fault! Pops was a strong man with a solid chest, back and arms, big arms and shoulders, and when he grabbed you with his hands his intent was instantly apparent. I had just come to the kitchen when he called me from the doorway. I had just washed and dressed, and hadn’t eaten yet, but that was probably best at this point. I walked by Mamma, she stopped me, fixed my bed head, gave me a kiss and sent me on my way. As I walked out the door I was gripped with fear, the kind of fear that said I wasn’t coming back, at least not the same as I left, if at all. Was that Mammas way of sayin goodbye?

Poppa would take us to the dock house to deliver his punishment. It was best to receive and not resist or act tough because his blows would increase with severity and my older brothers had been punched for such disobedient acts. I resigned myself to be satisfied with an open handed beating. He was ahead of me and carried his sea bag for a day of fishing. He stepped with purpose and called a second time “C’mon!!” I hurried to his side walking with my head up looking straight ahead. Not a word was said in the early morning misty fog. There was little movement in the streets this early and you could hear Poppas sandals on the street. As we neared the dock house, on my side of the street, I headed for the door. “Wha ere ya doin booy?” He had started down the pier and the sound of his steps changed to the wood of the pier as he started to disappear into the fog. Again I quickly ran to his side, confused. It was foggy maybe he was just gonna beat me on the pier or the boat. My brothers we sleeping at the pier. He kicked Hathred hard and yelled “GETTOP YA WARTHLASS GOATS!” and threw his sea bag at Dromicus pinning him to the pier column he was leaning against. I could lift his bag but carrying it very far is not something I would be able to do very easily it is very heavy. “You two cast us off-en go do you-er Mamma’s biddin, an so halp may ef shay says ya gave herr any guff Ayl gutchya both!” Poppa got in the boat and my brothers pushed me, gave me Poppas bag mumbling threats and insults as I boarded. I rowed my best with Poppa scared to death at what was to come! We rowed out of the fog into a star filled premornin sky. After a long bit of rowin Poppa hoisted the sail and sat patiently waitin for the sun and wind. I sat quietly at my oar.

“Ya know…ya’d be a great halp on th’boat. Ya wark harrd” I sneaked a sideways glance at Poppa. He still looked disturbed. I was still unsure of what was happenin. “You-er Mamma says you-er a bright booy. Ay know tha’s true. Ay know ya always do you-er best at whatever you-er asked, en tha’s good, makes you-er Poppa prroud. You-er a good lad Lugh.” It was if he was tryin to talk himself out of beatin me, and it made me feel worse! “You-er Ma is always right, All the Gods halp meh but shays always rright. So I’m ta teach ya ta fight proper en you’ll learn th’ways of her Dawnflower.” I turned to look at him less fearful with a question in my eyes as the breeze took the sail and the boat began to creak forward. “Alright Lugh les’bear south.” I boated my oar and manned the tiller sailing south for most of the day.

Pops had me steer the boat into an inlet with a water fall inland. We anchored Poppas boat and took the rowboat into a sand covered beach. He had it filled with two large bags, his sea bag, his shield and spear. “Make a fire en ayl do th’rest.” His voice and actions were more relaxed than I had seen him short of a night out with his old soldier buddies. He seemed to be happier now than I had ever seen him. I gathered enough to make a good fire and Pops made a sturdy lean-to. I started the fire with his tools and we sat and ate a bit before we spoke again. That is when he told me he would tell me a secret if I could keep it. With a mouth full of Mamma’s food I shook my wide eyed head yes. He threw a fist sized bag at me and told me to open it. I put my food on a blanket and opened the bag. “HOLY LIGHT POPS!” I looked at him after swallowing with a wide open mouth. The bag was filled with pearls. That was one of the few times I saw a true smile on his face. “Those ere the stars for you-er Mamma’s silk gown.” The promise he had always made to her. “Fish doon’t buy th’needs of nine children en her stars lad, en they woon’t getcha ta seminary either. Come mornin yull fetcher own!” he said with a grin. “What are you sayin Poppa?” I asked. “Daft you-er not Lugh, Mamma en I ere sendin ya ta the Dawnflower ta be a clergyman.” he said less enthusiastically. “What?...When?...Where?” I asked. “Shay said after next summer festival, its leagues south ta th’land of Osirion where you-er Mamma trained.” He explained. “MAMMA?” I asked. With a giggle and a scowl he said “Wull yaa booy, this phalanx sergeant would no-have taken up with a camp whorre.” Dumbfounded I asked “SERGEANT?” With that he began to tell of battles and a life of adventure he had with a group of folks after he left the army and one of them was Mamma! Wow! He went on to tell me how he felt about the idea of me being a clergyman of Sarenrae. It wasn’t his favorite idea, but he respected Mamma’s wishes, especially with her children. He told me he would teach me the old way of the spear and shield. The way not taught by many anymore, because it is a battle field style unfit for civilized people. I had until I was to leave to learn it and he said I would have to practice it daily while I was away in order to be good at it. He said we would practice and exercise here, and here only and that none of this was to be known by my brothers or sisters. We would spend two days of a three day fishing trip doing that and one full, hard day fishing every week until I was to leave.

The next morning Poppa swore me to absolute secrecy. The tide was out, we walked inland toward the falls, out of sight of the shore and off the main stream of the inlet we pulled oysters and collected pearls in a very strange, deep tidal pool packed with plants, oysters and colorful fish. Poppa said this was his secret passed to him by the old fisherman who taught him his ways. Poppa said he finally had enough to pay for Mammas fine gown and over time I would get enough to pay my way for seminary too. We got home very late that night but it was the best time I had ever had with Poppa. I finally felt like Poppa new, and appreciated who I was, and I was happy to be trusted with his greatest secret and stories. My life was about to change in the most exciting way! Before we reached the house he asked me “So ya wanna tell whatcha been doin in Underbridge Lugh?” I stopped and looked at him in the eye and said “No?” He smiled and said “Fairr enoof, jus doon’t disappoint Desma booy, ya woon’t liket!”

We had many long fishing trips, I learned how to wield a shield and spear. Pops said if I kept practicing I would be every bit as good as him with time. He was capable of amazin things with a shield and spear and he shared them all with me. I also collected many a pearl in Poppas secret tidal pool; we swapped many of them to be sure to get the right ones for Mamma’s gown. He would give it to her on the night before the Summer Festival. It wasn’t far off now.

Upon my return of what was to be my last outing with Poppa, I was excited to attend a party at Oona’s home. It would be an elaborate affair so I enlisted the help of my sisters. They dressed me in some of my older brothers tunic, kilt, and stockings, and Poppa made sure his families kilt badge and dirk were worn properly. “Tha woos you-er Grrand-dads booy, wearr em wuth prride!” I escaped from my Mamma who insisted on feedin me without eating and raced to Oona’s estate. I found my friends and made for the food. I was fillin my belly by the kitchen with Atz when Oona’s father made his rounds. Nothin about him is comfortin, and I’m not his daughter! I avoided him and that’s when I saw Huge headed out, and Felu and Sam were nowhere to be found. I thought it best none of go anywhere alone on this night as Oona’s father was givin us all “the eye.” As I caught up with Huge he informed me Oona wanted to leave, as in forever and she wanted him to get her bags from her room and meet her elsewhere. That made sense. So we walked up to her room. I opened one of two doors as quietly as possible, there in was a grown woman in all her naked glory facing away from me. I quickly closed the door and told Huge it wasn’t her room. We tried the second door and found it locked. I thought it best we ask Kelyn for his help and returned to the party and grabbed him by the arm and led him to the door. Kelyn found it unlocked? I entered slowly and there was Huge packing her bags. He said she hadn’t packed like someone leaving home forever, so we all pitched in trying to pack a girls bag. Kelyn led the way and we climbed down to the yard and made haste for the House of Ushers. We all met there, but Oona was deathly afraid that her father would spare no effort to track her down and that none of us would be safe with our families. So I suggested we make for the Old Light in Underbridge, no one would think to look for us there! Oona wasn’t convinced and she was right in more ways than one.

We were near the temple when we were jumped by two of the hooligans my parents always warned me about. I told them they would be better served to let us pass however they disagreed. They were quick and wiley. I was cut twice, once rather deep. I don’t think they knew we were running in fear already, and they were between us and safety. A few of us were wounded but we all made it to the temple. I don’t know that the others could have taken the punishment Huge and I did, but as we rested in the old temple our wounds healed. I then heard Oona speak of her father as a vampire! Unsure of what should be done I approached the Dawnflower and prayed for guidance. When I opened my eyes I found another holy symbol upon the alter. Just then the temple shook and the doors burst open. I grabbed the holy symbol and turned to Oona. In the door was her father his visage was unlike what we had witnessed at the party. He had changed to the very likeness of rage and spoke in a tongue unfamiliar to me. The others were frozen in place as I placed the symbol around Oona’s neck. Then it was evident we had been betrayed by one of our own. Oona was right her only hope was to escape and with the tide. As soon as the first light of dawn broke on the horizon many of us knew our time in Magnimar was limited and we decided to split up and head our separate ways. I took Oona to my house and told my parents what happened. Mamma packed us some food and I grabbed my gear. She hugged and kissed me and told me to remember what she told me. I walked to the road and looked back at Mamma one last time. My Pops and older brothers saw us to a boat heading south. My Brothers razzed me some until my Pops pushed them aside and put out his hand. We locked arms and he looked in my eyes and said “Gave ya wha Gorrum gave me booy, keep safe!” With that he walked away. Oona and I boarded our boat and I watched My Pops and brothers head for their boat. He never looked.


I look forward to our return. Oona and I have grown in our travels. I started my life in service to Sarenrae in Absalom at the Temple of the Shining Star learnin the use of the scimitar, healing, the Kelish and Osiriani languages. I set Oona up and worked for her room and board within the protection of the church. We would meet after my studies at the Mark, the world’s largest sundial and explored the safer parts of Absalom. We traveled as escorts with the Dawnflowers paladins to the Lambent Citadel in the city of Solku in Katapesh to deliver weapons and stayed on to help train civilian levees. While there we performed a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Sleeping Dove. From Solku we traveled north to Osirson. First we stopped off at the the Temple of the Twin Suns is located on the temple hill of the city of Ipeq. Dedicated to Sarenrae it is the most beautiful edifice in the city. Its jeweled towers shine with an inner light even after the sun sets. We travel by boat on the river sphinx to Sothis where I studied the texts and philosophy at the Temple of the Eternal Sun, the chief temple of Sarenrae in Sothis. From Sothis I joined another pilgrimage to the Everlight Oasis in Zelshabbar in the Kelesh Empire. It was on this pilgrimage I used Poppa’s training in earnest for the first time. My style of fighting garnered attention from the Dawnflower’s Inquisition, and upon our return I was sent to Merab, Thuvia to the Temple of the Redeeming Sun. Here I was instructed in the arts of the enemy and learned how to root them out. I returned to Absalom with a renewed appreciation of Oona’s concerns for her safety and will have to be vigilant for her sake.

We left Absalom travelling to Taldor to find Kelyn in Cassomir. Then up rivers north and east across to the Dwarven city of Highhelm in the Five King Moutains. From Highhelm to Kerse in Druma from there we sailed to Tamran in Nimrathas. More river rides and a mountain trek to Korvosa. We now find ourselves a few short days from Magnimar our home. I will be happy to get home, the years have made me strong and I have so much to share with my friends and family. Oona will need to be careful and I now have some idea how to address it.

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My friends and I grew in stature and character as the years past, some of us more than others. Between what my Mamma had taught me and what my dad was goin to teach me I had to learn to walk a thin line between bein a peace keeper and a bruiser. More than once we had run-ins with other groups of kids as we grew up. I found myself in the middle tryin to resolve disagreements and worse until I learned the same could be done from afar with a few well timed words followed by a warnin. That usually seemed to be enough to solve the issue however I noticed some of our band was always at the center of the controversy tryin to instigate or aggravate those tense moments. As time went on they broke away from us more, choosing to spend their time with some of the very kids we would butt heads with. In my opinion a poor choice but that is what life is about…choices. They tried hard to recruit our girls and to their credit, even though they were lured by the rough and tumbled boys, they chose to remain with us. After all we weren’t wimbly-wusses ourselves and some were blessed with as much money and looks if not more than the rough-housers could offer. I am happy they made that decision. They have all grown into attractive young ladies and deserve far better. Besides I know their parents would not approve. It has taken many years for some of the parents to accept all of us into their families, starting from scratch with those guys would not go well. My Pops was right about most of them but has come to accept those that remain, even Dragon, although he does take great delight in teasin him mercilessly.

As I said, Nina, Oona, and Felu had….”matured” and it did not go unnoticed. To most of us they were friends, sister-like, but others pursued them includin my brothers! They dealt with it in an appropriate fashion, most of the time, and I was big enough now to set my brothers straight. I had my heart stolen by a beautiful red head named Autumn, tall and lithe, whose father was a caravan merchant sending wares to all corners of the world. There was a brief courtship and many moon lit boat rides until her father sent her off to an arranged marriage in a distant land. It took a while to break her spell over me until I realized there were so many more to pursue!

My friends and I spent our time in youthful pursuits, for the most part, and a coin or two was earned or found in the process. Then came the talk of schoolin for the others, plans for their future were bein laid by their parents. Everyone knew I had chosen my path years ago. Some would stay in Magnimar, and about half of us would travel afar for our schoolin. It was during a celebration at one of their homes in Naos that we finally spoke of it aloud. We all resolved to return to Magnimar upon the completion of our trainin to reunite and reestablish our bonds. Later in that same month Poppa told me he needed more help on the boat and since I was old enough and big enough, I was expected to work with him from now on.

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We avoided a couple of watchers lurking about as we made our way to the clock tower. We slinked through the door and a torch was lit by Huge. A large open room held a wagon the middle of the room. Huge took the torch to it to check its contents. “WHOA check it out!” I peeked into the wagon to find a maggot infested goblin leg. Stinky and gross and crawlin with a pile of tiny worms in the skin and out. “COOOOL!” As the rest of the guys started checkin rooms Huge and I went to a corner and rummaged through a big pile of junky trash. We found a full potion bottle! That by itself was amazing by itself! Then Huge pulled a stitched up forearm from the pile as big around as a full grown river barrel tuna. It was the biggest arm I have ever seen, but it was not all stinky and rotten like the goblin leg. We gathered back at the wagon to show what we had found individually.

We turned to the wooden stairs that climbed into darkness With Macer in the lead, Huge with the torch and me with my fish hook spear and water barrel lid shield, we lead the way up the stairs. After passin a gap in the stairs Atz and I spotted movement aloft. As we reached the enormous bells Macer was popped in the cheek with a rock from above. Then a bell sounded from the back. The next thing I knew Macer and Huge were headin out hole in the busted up roof to a scuffle of some sort. I ran to help and saw two nasty big goblins thrashin at Macer and Huge. I pushed in behind and poked about at them with my spear. Then I got pelted in the eye with a rock too. It hurt and I felt myself begin to get angry like when my brother ganged up on me. THAT WAS IT! I jammed my fish hook spear in one of them and ripped it back out and planned to do it again until Sam spoke a strange string of words sending a zap of freezin cold into the one I poked and he slumped to the roof. Macer and huge had beat the other off the roof. We took a look at each other checkin out our wounds. I had a mouse under my left eye and Macer had a pair of lumps and scratches, and Dragon took a good knot on his head too. There on the roof Sam immediately swore us all to secrecy form tellin that he had let magic fly for the first time and we all made the special sign and spit, making it official. As we crawled about the roof we spied hundreds of scattered coins of all types, A FORTUNE! Then Kelyn found a battered locked box with a symbol of the Dawnflower on it. He tried the key he found in one of the rooms downstairs and it opened. And inside was a holy symbol. The guys said I could have it and gave me a share of the coins too! When we got back to the ground the clowns decided to set a trap in the door way to the bell tower using the giant stitched arm. At a glance I easily had at least a score and a half worth of gold crowns! It takes my pops a month to get that much after all the stuff he pays for! GEEBLES!!!

With the sun gettin low in the sky the guys let me make another stop at the Dawnflowers temple. We went in, I showed my respect and presented the box and holy symbol to the shiny symbol in the temple and I felt as if she meant it for me. I told her I would fix the box and give it to Mamma. That seemed like the kind and proper thing to do. Huge and I left some more coins and we all left to find our ways home. I walked with Sam and reassured him no one would ever rat him out. We all had too much at stake in doin what we had done this day and none of us could afford to squeal.

The next mornin I took the box to one of the boatwrights and asked him to take the rough off the best he could and I would pay him for it. After I showed him his askin price I left it with him and went back home. I helped Mamma make bread and while rollin the dough, I told Mamma I had dreams of the Dawnflower. I told her I had visited an old small temple with a bright shiny symbol in my dream and I felt so safe and welcome there. After a couple of days of running about with the buddies I felt kinda crumby for tellin Mamma a lie. So when I went home for dinner I asked her if we could walk down to the pier and watch the sun set. She was happy to let my sisters handle the mess after dinner and my Poppa and brothers were too tired to care. When we sat on the pier I told Mamma I had a truth to tell her and told her I was sorry for lyin to her first. With an inquisitive sideways glance she gave me her full attention. Askin for her patience I ran to Poppa’s boat and retrieved the finished box, put the necklace back inside and locked it up. I came back to her with the box in a bag. I told her me and some friends hand ventured into Underbridge to be brave and I knew that was dumb. I told her we went into the clock tower and at that she gasped. I told her after a scuffle with goblins we had found this and I gave her the bag. I told her about visitin the temple on our way to the clock tower, what I had done and how it made me feel as she opened the bag. When the box was uncovered she was speechless. I was ready to change my drawers. I gave her the key. “It’s safe to open it Mamma.” I said trying to smile. She opened the box as I told her about my visit to the temple on our return from the clock tower. She looked at me with watery eyes. I told her I had collected a bunch of money too and showed her how much I had left. She began to laugh a tremblin nervous laugh as tears rolled down her face. She took the money, put it in the box and locked it up all without sayin a word. OH HOW I COULD FEEL THE BEATING I WOULD GET WHEN WE GOT HOME! Then my kind beautiful Mamma turned to me and said as she wiped away the tears calmly. “Lugh…..My brave boy…..thank you for telling me. You are the joy of my life. You will be my hope, you will be my legacy to the Goddess, but you are too young yet. You must be VERY careful; you have a destiny to fulfill. Come let us walk home.” We stood and started to walk and I asked if Poppa was goin to beat me. She stopped, knelt and while looking me in the eyes said. “No, but in time you will be his pupil, he knows you are not like your brothers, there will be no beatings for you.” With that she gave me a long hug. We started walkin back to the house and I asked if she was going to keep the money and the holy symbol and she said she would keep it safe FOR ME until the time was more appropriate for me to have it. I thanked her and told her I had the box refinished as a present for her. She squeezed my hand and wiped a couple of tears away as we walked.

As time went on I would bring Mamma the coins I collected and she would always put them in the box. She spent time teachin me more and more of the Dawnflower, her ways, her interests, and her real name….Sarenrae. She also taught me customs of her people and words and phrases of languages from the south lands. During one of the mid-summer festival times Mamma and I went to the temple together. Mamma and I were the only ones there. She talked with Sarenrae for a long time telling her all about me. Mamma asked her to accept me as one of her own. She asked that I be watched and protected and promised I would faithfully serve her when I came of age. That made me happy and proud. Mamma and I returned home and the next mornin she woke me gave me the money collected over the years and placed the symbol around my neck. After a bite to eat she and I walked through the bizarre and with her help she made sure I was outfitted and ready for my training with Poppa. I guess over all the years I had shopped with Mamma, I never really paid much attention, but a lot of folks know Mamma's name and knows she is devoted to Sarenrae too. I love my Mamma.

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I hurried through the morning chores and saw Pops and my brothers off at the pier, castin off the lines, watchin them turn into the wind, waved to Poppa and ran off to meet my friends. I caught up with them just a before they made the span. We milled around asking each other what we wanted to do until someone came up with the bright idea to climb down into one of the pier columns to see if the rumors of a haunting were true! Just about the time we made our collective decision to go forward with this awful plan one of the guards started givin us “the business.” Lucky for us Macer’s dad is a guard too, and that made little work of us getting hassled any more.

After he went away the whole gang began our decent. It was mostly effortless, and for the number of us making our way down we finished really fast! However I stopped for a sec in the window because I would swear I saw light coming from inside the old temple of Mamma’s Goddess…NO REALLY! Everyone else was in too much of a hurry to look and too worried about getting ate by a ghost. The whole time Sam and the others were goin on about ghosts and squeezixes and spooks and goblins, “GEEBLES! Shuttup, we just got here!” We went from room to room, and found a bag with a rope and hook, fire startin stuff and torches and candles for light, and some BAD food that Dragon gobbled up-BLECH! Then we found some good food, fresh bread, cheese and dried fish. Sam and I had an early lunch leaving the fish for Dragon. Being the son of the fisherman, dried fish is a waste of a good fish! Then we went out into the stair way. Huge slurped a long hocker way down between the stairs farther than anyone else I’ve ever seen, and sucked it back up, THAT WAS AWESOME! Then we went to the next floor and started to check the rooms there. We found a bunch of locked doors and then we found one unlocked. Huge checked it and quickly slammed it shut. He said he saw a spider! “DID IT MOVE? WAS IT BIG?” When he said spider I thought it was, ya know, a spider. So when he slowly opened the door and poked about with his sword and torch, I pushed him in. HOLY LIGHT that thing was…HUGE! It was half our size or bigger but lucky for us it was already dead! We looked all over it! It had a burn mark in its head and all that was left was its dried hard husk of hard shell. What was left was empty, so we all called dibs on the pieces we wanted and headed out to another room. At the next door Huge said he heard a noise, but he was the only one. Kelyn started to unlock the latch and Huge stopped him, then a creepy voice began to speak in a strange language and spooky things began to happen! We heard doors slam above and below us, then we heard footsteps approaching from below and that was all it took for our motley crew to bolt for the way out-IN? Falling, jumping and climbing over each other, pushing and pie-facing our way up the stairs in a panicked fit of fear and laughter! Helping one another over obstacles and making for the climb out and up to the span I paused once again to see the light coming from the temple of the Dawnflower only this time Dragon was a witness. We all made it out, scared and breathless many of us looked over the edge more than once to be sure we weren’t followed! Then someone said they had seen a goblin comin out the same way we did. “NUH-UH! Well where is it, where’d it go?” We settled down and told our stories of courage and laughed at each others stumbles when Nina said she would buy us all treats! Off we raced to the bizarre for free treats!

While we were gobblin our goodies we found out that people would pay money for our spider bits and many of our band jumped at the money. THEY GOT 20 CROWN A PIECE FOR EACH BIT! I was not about to sell my piece! If my Pop ever got wind of me doin that OH what he’d do to me! I did go in and get the money for Kelyn but I made it clear it was for one of my buddies and made a scene of getting his money to him. I decided to take my tubular piece and cut a bracer or bracelets from them using some of the dressing tools at the pier when everyone was headin for home.

We decided to meet up after lunch at the clock tower in Underbridge of all places. I can feel the beatings Poppa will give me already! But I thought maybe we could sneak a peek at the temple to see if the light was really there! Most of us gathered by the cross pier and ran off to our doom, slowing a bit once we reached the bridge, Dragon helped me guide to guys towards the temple. The whole way I recited the spooky story Mamma had told me about the old temple. I stopped at the locked gate checked out the grounds for lurkers and snuck through the old iron fence gate. We ran around to the back and saw the three grave stones of the priests Mamma told me about. Kelyn found the back door unlocked and opened it up. We could see light coming from the chapel. We approached slowly and found a holy symbol shining so bright and pretty just like Mamma said it would be! It was AWESOME, Mamma was tellin the truth the whole time! “Hi my name is Lugh MæGethlyn, my Mamma, Desmalynda, told me all about you. You are the Dawnflower, the compassionate redeemer, the light in the dark, fountain of strength and glory; defender of life, Mamma told me ALL ABOUT YOU!” With that said I said I was ready to leave and everyone filed out. Once I was the last one out I grabbed a few coins from my pocket and placed them on the altar and made the sign of respect Mamma taught me, told the Dawnflower goodbye and chased after my friends. I was amazed at what I had just seen, Mamma told me how beautiful she was, but I didn’t realize….I think I am the only one who saw what I saw! How do I tell Mamma? Suddenly we met up with another of our clan and quickly headed for the clock tower all so she can see the inside for herself. Boy I hope this turns out OK!!!

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Ahoy there! My names Lugh…Lugh MæGethlyn (Loo Magethlin). I’m from Dockway straight up from the cross pier and below Naos. Pop moors up at the cross pier. Pops is a fisherman, he is the bravest man I know. He was a soldier a long time ago before my oldest jerk of a brother was born. I have seen his shield and spear stowed in a hold he does not use for fish. He is strong, and a hard worker. Lots of days his hands are cut up and bloody from cuttin fish and handlin the nets but he never complains. My Pops is the toughest man I know. Once, I saw him fight two guys with a harpoon without using the sharp end. He bashed and smashed them and almost poked one of them while they lay on the ground till he saw us boys watchin from the deck. I don’t think they knew who my Poppa was. He has a big scar on one leg, another on the other shoulder, and a hands worth of smaller hole shaped scars front and back. He says they’re from fish bites but I’m too old to believe that any more. He wears a bronze bracelet with the number 17 on it, and when soldiers see my Poppa they salute him and yell “HAROO 17th!” but he will not talk to me or my brothers about being a soldier. He only talks about those days with other old soldiers that know his name. His name is Tycho.

My Mama’s name is Desmalynda. She is kind and tough. A mother of nine children that still makes time for every one of us. Poppa calls her Desma, he loves her and always tells her he would gather the stars in the sky and have them sewn into a silken gown if she so desired. Mama is pretty, her skin is always light brown, not like Poppas. She is tall with dark eyes and long black hair. Mama says her Nana was an elf blood and the most beautiful of her sisters. She taught me to write words and count numbers, she is smarter than my Poppa but don’t tell him I said that! I like to learn new words from Mama and she enjoys teachin me. She tells me of all her boys I am the only one that wants to learn her ways. I guess since I am the middle brother they didn’t spend as much time with Mama as I did. My sisters are all older than me but younger than my big brothers. They help Mama with the house, meals, chores and raisin my younger brat brothers. Mama talks a lot about her God. She calls her the Dawnflower and tells excitin stories about her. Mama says she has told the Dawnflower about me and that we should go visit her together, but Poppa says no.

This was my first year to fish with my Poppa and big brothers. My brothers are mean and stupid and make me do all the stuff they don’t wanna do. Sometimes we do a lot of rowing when the wind is still. They complain too much and Poppa thumps them or pushes them into the sea when he has had enough, they aren’t very smart! I try so hard to help Poppa with the nets, or with a gaff, or harpoon, but mostly he tells me to stand away or to be a good lookout.

When I am not working with Pops I run around with a bunch of friends from my part of town. We are about the same age. Some of them don’t even work so they don’t come by very much cuz Poppa makes them work. My Poppa doesn’t care for some of them and doesn’t hide it. He won’t let some of them in our house but Mama always feeds them and lets them sleep on the floor if they need a safe place to stay no matter what Poppa says! We run all over, except Underbridge. Pops beat the pants off one of my brothers for hangin around with some older guys from Underbridge. He said they are no-good and trouble makers that will make you do bad things, or sell you to slavers, or eat you up! I worry about my friends because they wanna go hang out around Underbridge sometimes. We have already had to lie about going once. The girl in our group kept teasin some Underboys and we had to tussle with them to get away. One of our guys got a busted lip and I went home with him and told his Mama I did it and told her I was sorry. I don’t like doing that, but it’s better than our folks knowin we had a scrap with the Underboys! One of my buddies is a stunty, a tiny boy! He is a nice guy and a good friend, I watch out for him. Mama likes him too, she feeds him a lot! I think she’s hopin he’ll grow bigger like me!