Aram Zey

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6 posts. Alias of Torath.


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As found, written in Leilani's journal right after:
Journal from 30-Aug-2014 session: Crying Leaf (Part 2 of 2)

Hi Leilani!
I see you writing in this journal nearly every night. As you know I don't keep a journal, I do not typically want to add even MORE writing to my day. All of my efforts typically go into my scrolls, but I just had to pen this in while you slept so you can find it tomorrow.

No, no I'm not so rude as to read your personal journal! Well not much more than I can see here at the top of this page. I'm not like that at all, though if you leave this laying about I'd not be surprised to find that a certain elf reads it.

I just wanted to clear a few things up and not finding the time to speak with you alone of late (things have been very busy, and this travelling leaves little time for such) I thought I'd add a note.

Firstly, you gave me a mean look when I summoned a horse after you had bought yours. That wasn't nice at all. Just because I cannot afford such a fine animal to ride upon and am forced to use a poor magical substitute is no reason to look down on me. I can't help it if I'm poor having spent all of my gold on scrolls and ink and dresses.

Second, we are supposed to be courting... but I see you riding with Taleck and his hands are not in places I'd consider acceptable. I don't feel it appropriate that you do such things with another man. I'm patiently waiting your required many months. Unless you wish to change our arrangements?

And Lastly, thank you very much for being there for all of us. You are a wonderful person and the finest (and now that I read up a bit... much more powerful) healer I know.

Waiting patiently for your attentions,
Vorne...


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Vorne Gallowscast, human wizard
Time passed as the Goblin was renovated to become the Glorious Goblin. I enjoyed passing the time talking with my newfound friends, helping out a bit here or there, and otherwise living off of Saul’s gold. Certainly I was helping, and most certainly I would fight to guard the place for him… but I did feel a bit guilty as little or nothing was going on that seemed to warrant such a great number of guards. Soon though the place would re-open, with a new theme inspired by Leilani the angel, and surely my tasks would become harder. I chalked up this time against the inevitable difficulties the future would bring and that eased my guilt a reasonable amount.

One of the big advantages of working for Saul was that I did get free time. I used it to write scrolls (the work I really should have been doing) and to talk to Leilani. She was a darling woman and I was certain that my studies as a wizard would benefit from knowing more about the celestial plane and angels. At least that’s what I told myself and it didn’t hurt that I spoke celestial. During this time she and I exchanged quite a bit of information. I told her of my home, of wandering the countryside with a caravan and about my family and friends. She regaled me with tales of her “hounds” (A term I learned she used to refer to fighters who protected her – given that the fighters she trained with on the celestial plane were actually dogs of some nature or another certainly aided in my memory of that). In truth I’ve grown quite fond of her, though she is nothing at all like I originally thought an angel should be. This I’m sure is because she is only half angel, though really who could tell by looking at her?

Given our “free” time I suggested that we use the initial money granted by Saul to buy some gear for those of us who had little. Leilani needed some armor, at least leather, and some clothing suitable for life on this plane. Her silks were plain but lovely, and wholly not acceptable for day to day wear around Riddleport; even the shoes she wore were borrowed! There were many things to do that day, temples to see (Apparently, and much to my surprise, angels have to ask permission of priestesses of Calistria in order to do work for gambling halls!), things to buy, and other such sundry tasks that do not warrant too terribly much ink in my journal. I will note however that one thing did stand out as noteworthy.

One of the shops we stopped into sold dresses and one of the dresses we saw was a truly magnificent creation that looked most lovely when worn by Leilani. As soon as she saw it her eyes lit up, and after she tried it on I could tell that she had to have it. Alas, her funds were not sufficient to procure such finery and I saw her expression turn to one of true sorrow. Trust me, you never want to see a sad angel… her wings drooped so far I was afraid they would drag in the dirt! The shopkeepers (two rather wonderful people really) said that they would hold the dress for a day. In my heart I knew it was rather unlikely that Leilani was going to stumble into such a sum of money before tomorrow and that the dress was surely to be sold before she could earn that kind of gold.

It was at that moment that I made one of the largest (money wise at least) decisions of my life. I couldn’t stand to see her sad. I had a place to stay, food to eat, and a job of sorts working for Saul. I still had a good deal of my wizard schooling money provided by my parents. I chose to come back later the next day and purchase a 300 gold dress for an angel. I was certain that seeing a happy angel would be much better than seeing a sad one. And so I did just that… the shopkeepers were so very nice and carefully wrapped the dress for me. I wrote a simple note and made it a point to leave it for Leilani to wear that evening (opening night of the newly renovated Glorious Goblin). She did. She was lovely. To make a short story into an even shorter one… the evening went by without a hitch and she even thanked me before the night was over. I did spend a bit more time watching her than perhaps my employer would have thought proper but Saul didn’t mention it and seemed in a fine mood given his grand reopening went well.

Life was good, the job was easy and I did seem to be getting along quite well with an angel! However, I would soon discover that only two out of three of those things were true… but that tale will have to wait for another journal entry.


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Vorne Gallowscast, human wizard
It was evening, and the cheat the devil tournament was well underway. The number of patrons wasn’t nearly as high as I’d have expected given all of the preparations, the announcements in the street, and the size of the grand prize; a huge treasure by my accounting, stacked on a raised platform in the center of the main floor. I wandered about enjoying the sights and sounds; feeling quite safe as I had a few bodyguards nearby. As I may have mentioned, it was lucky that I’d hired them. I even spent a few of my hard earned (earned by my parents that is...) pieces of gold.

I found the devil and demon theme of the establishment to be entertaining. The costumes worn by many of the girls working the floor, serving drinks or spinning roulette wheels were nice. Not too revealing, yet enough, and some of them were fairly cute. The only thing really disturbing about the entire arrangement was a nasty little demon, or devil, or something (I’ve never been that good at planar studies… the time to memorize all of those names and creature aspects is beyond that which I can dedicate at any given instant) who was caged hanging above the main floor. He (I assume it was male, though honestly I didn’t look close enough to be sure) shouted insults and jeers to the crowd below and far as I could tell was not a prop, but rather a real caged creature. Given time I learned his name… Ol’ Scratch, or some such.

I was about to call it an evening when fate came knocking… an alchemist’s bomb of some sort was tossed towards the middle of the room. It exploded with a blinding flash (though I managed to avert my eyes at the last moment) that left many in the room standing about confused and blinded. I quickly took stock of the situation and realized that most of the establishment’s guards were no longer effective. This, I realized, was quite a serious matter as a number of the patrons, or perhaps people who had slid in unnoticed along with the bomb, were heading towards the grand prize money. They looked to be a tough lot and at least one seemed to be a mage. Combat is one thing, alchemist’s bombs another, but magic wielded by a skilled hand can be devastating. I realized then and there, I needed to help.
I chose my targets in an attempt to assist those already in combat. I was not a powerful mage, yet, but I knew a few force missiles would aid in dropping a foe. This tactic worked fairly well and my natural aptitude for evocation magic allowed me a great number of these spells. Bolt after bolt lashed out at our foes, each unerringly landing. Unfortunately the mage took notice of me… and started casting a spell. I recognized the motions, a spell that would very likely end my life, cast by a mage of much greater skill than I and my bodyguards were already engaged in battle… but again, fate intervened.

Before the mage could finish casting the very air above tore open and an angel, straight from heaven flew out. Well, ok… flew may be me taking a bit of a liberty with the situation. In truth she fell, uncontrolled atop the mage, disrupting the deadly spell and causing the two of them to tumble into a pile on the floor. I will also add, as this is my private journal, written by my hand, and unlikely to ever be read by another… the angel was dressed more scantily than the tavern girls and looked much more lovely; I’d go so far as to say heavenly beautiful… though I suppose that’s the way of angels, at least one would imagine?

Really, the rest of the combat went pretty fast. My bodyguards performed most admirably, crushing a number of the intruders. There were really only two noteworthy points in the remainder of the fight. First, one of the bandits cast a spell to turn all of the prize money into a tapestry. A fine spell and one that would surely have made the treasure more portable had there been anyone left to carry it. The second was that the angel spoke, in celestial! She was rather unhappy about the demon that hung overhead, and she was most perturbed by one of the bandits who grabbed at her wings and threatened her. She cast a spell and he let go and didn’t bother her again. She called out for help from hounds… but for the life of me I didn’t see any dogs at all. I tried to calm her, explained that the demon thing above was safely caged and that we had little time or need to deal with it. However, things were well in hand at that point and the fight wound down, our side victorious.

The owner of the gambling hall commended us for helping. He was quite vocal in his praise and insisted that we take the gear from the intruders to go with the gold that he handed each of us. My bodyguards were quick to point out that they had fought on my behalf and that I should pay each of them the bonus money I had promised should they do so. I agreed, they had fought well as my men and I was proud of them. Of course, once they realized that as my men… they would get no share of any loot; since they were hirelings and paid for a service, indeed, my service… they quickly changed their tunes. Not one to worry about such things I told them that would be fine. I would stop paying them and they could have a share of this loot and any future; but that we really should work together. They felt that was a fine bargain. I’m sure either of my parents would have driven a harder bargain but for me finding a few friends in a hostile town was well worth the gold coins I would have earned at their expense.

The rest of the evening went rather quickly. Saul (the gambling hall’s proprietor) offered us free rooms and a there was even a mention of future employment. All of us who fought were feeling quite good about the outcome; it seems that flirting with death and coming though it alive is a very heady feeling. To celebrate we went to a local tavern and spent some of our newfound gold on drinks. This served as an excellent time to get to know my fellow comrades in arms including the rather lovely angel.


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Vorne Gallowscast, human wizard
Time at the Golden Goblin passed swiftly. During the first couple of days I was there I slept well, enjoyed a veritable bounty of food (well, compared to traveler’s rations), and met a goodly number of interesting people. I shall attempt to describe them, as best I can, so that in the future I might look back at this journal should I somehow manage to forget a name…

The first fellow I met was undoubtedly a Shoanti barbarian, tall… even mountain sized in comparison to most men. His dark skin was covered with tattoos and he was bereft of hair, at least so much as I could see. He called himself Taleck and he spoke well of his family (perhaps even jealously of his elder brother). I liked him immediately and realized that, should he be willing, he would make an excellent bodyguard in such a dangerous city as Riddleport. Though I was no expert on combat I was fairly sure that he would be deadly with the huge hammer of a weapon he carried; something he called an earth breaker. After a brief conversation I offered to employee him as my bodyguard and he accepted. A gold a day with a bonus should he defend me in combat seemed quite a fair price to pay. The only catch, a minor one at best, was that he had a friend who also needed some work. With that he introduced me to Lian.

Lian was a rather odd half-elf. He barely spoke ten words in our whole conversation and he smiled shyly quite a bit. I asked Taleck and he vouched for his combat skills. I, as no good judge of such things, took his word. He was my bodyguard after all and should he feel Lian was a good addition and be willing to fight alongside of him, so be it. I offered Lian the same employment, as my second bodyguard. He first looked to Taleck, who gave him a nod, and then he accepted. These two were obviously good friends and also good people to know. Surely Lian was a bit shy, but compared to the next fellow I met he was easy to understand!

Standing across from the bar was another large fellow and to be completely honest, I cannot even tell what race he was as he wore a mask that covered his face. In fact, he seemed to be dressed to obscure most of his features rather well. He said his name was Sans-Quah. I found this an odd name, not easily pronounced for me, and he had an accent I couldn’t place. He spoke slowly and carefully, as if common was not his first language, or really even one he used often at all. Given that and his name I assumed he was from some distant land, or even some other plane of existence. I know that the odds are he was just a human from Riddleport who’d never been all that sharp in school, but I love to give people the benefit of the doubt; especially when it makes them more exotic. I would surely have a great time speaking with him over the course of the next few days… that is, if he didn’t leave. Realizing I might lose the chance to speak with him (about things that were likely just imagined) I decided right off to ask him to also be a bodyguard. I had the gold to spare and it wouldn’t do me any good to have gold should I be dead and it stolen. Moments later he too accepted the same deal; a gold piece a day with a bonus should he have to fight on my behalf. And thus, Sans-Quah became my third and last guard.

I met others throughout the course of the day, but as they were all already employed I didn’t feel the need to offer to hire them as guards.

Carmen was a nice looking woman who worked for the Golden Goblin running a few of the different games of chance. She seemed friendly enough but was all business and didn’t seem to want to spend too much time chatting. I suppose that is to be expected as she was helping prepare for the big gambling tournament scheduled for that eve. One thing I will say, I couldn’t tell for sure if the horns that peeked through her hair were hers or part of the costume...

Lastly I met Zokrim, a shadow man. He somehow ended up here from the Shadow plane and he mentioned that he was in Riddleport looking to investigate the blot. I told him that I was also and perhaps we could compare notes at some point. He nodded but didn’t seem all that interested so I didn’t press the matter. I found him somewhat disconcerting as he seemed to be constantly present at the Golden Goblin but I couldn’t for the life of me keep an eye on him most of the time.

As it turned out hiring body guards was a good thing as that very evening we ended up in a combat the likes of which I’d never before seen!


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Vorne Gallowscast, human wizard
I arrived at Riddleport to find that, unlike many towns I’d visited before, it was a pit. There seemed to be more beggars with hunger in their eyes, more shifty characters hanging out at the mouths of dark alleys, and in fact, more dark alleys! I swear it was hard to find a wide street to walk and feel safe. Though there were guards here or there none seemed interested in the goings on around them. This town was filled with villains, and in a rather strange juxtaposition apparently with mages?

My wanderings lead me first to a magic academy where I learned that they studied the large arch that spanned the harbor. It was called THE Cipher Gate; likely named for the runes that covered its surface and those who studied it were cipher mages. They were an academy strong in number and trying to figure out this gate… and they’d been at it some time with marginal success. It seemed that Riddleport was aptly named. First there was this blot thing I’d need to look into and then I’d work on that gate. Surely they could use my help. An outsider’s thoughts… an opinion of one distant from a problem could often spur one to look in a new direction with positive results. Alas, they would have to wait… first the blot, then the centuries old arch.

As evening drew near I felt a sudden need to find a place to stay. This wasn’t a town to wander at night, not as a fledgling wizard carrying a fortune in gold… A few inquiries later and I stumbled into the Golden Goblin. It was a fairly garishly decorated gambling establishment that was, as the hawkers proclaimed, due for a re-opening soon. After a brief conversation with Larur (he seemed to be in charge) I managed to procure a room, some food, and even a personal invitation to a gambling tournament that would take place quite soon. How could I refuse such hospitality! How could they refuse my gold? I settled in for a day or so and having taken care of my food and shelter turned my attention to The Blot.

The blot wasn’t much… (so little in fact that I down-graded it mentally from The Blot to “the blot”) a dark cloud that hung in the sky over the city. It looked like a whispy dark cloud; and that really summed it up. Yes, it was obviously un-natural… the circumstances around it smelled of magic, and there was certainly a mystery there; though not a really good one. I could immediately see why everyone turned to study it but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why they would continue. It took me only a few hours to determine that:

A.) The blot moved (sometimes against the wind)… and changed shape.
B.) It was boring… as it did NOTHING ELSE!

If all puzzles were to be as lackluster as this one I’d have to give up solving them and continue my travels! As luck would have it, the journey here was fairly long and my wanderlust was sated; at least for the time being. I might as well enjoy the Golden Goblin’s re-opening and spend a week or two seeing if anything changed. Perhaps the blot would do something under a full moon? Or when it rained! I could only begin to imagine the likes of the dark water that would fall from such a cloud and really I wasn’t one to give up quite so easily… well ok, I was; but I’d nothing really better to do here and this gambling tournament sounded great. Who wouldn’t want to try and “Cheat the Devil and take his gold”?


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Vorne Gallowscast, human wizard

Ah, this is the life…
My parents, both Caravan merchants (and wealthy), chose sometime ago that I was to become a wizard. I was fully capable of performing the mental gymnastics required to turn thought into magic and had passed all of the simple tests given to a prospective adept. Indeed, I’d even shown quite a bit of aptitude at destructive magic and only tested poorly in the rather whimsical spells dealing with illusion and the darker ones that revolve around the manipulation of dead things. Neither of those schools thrilled me and as such the news wasn’t much of a surprise to me or my first instructor.

Alas, as you might expect… training in the art of magic requires a stout dedication, many years of service, and most importantly; a place to call home that didn’t wander the lands on four wheels. My parents understood all of this and at the age of 14 they contracted with a master wizard to house, feed, and teach me the mystical arts. They also gave me a stipend to live upon, a stipend that was more gold than I’d ever seen in my entire life.

My first master and I found out fairly quickly that a serious wanderlust lives within my heart. After a few months of dedicated training I could sit still no more, apologized and went on my way. I moved on searching for something great to do or someone else to train under. And that was my life from the age of 14 until today some 4 years later… master after master, traveling from place to place all across Varisia. I found I could live on a pittance compared to the well hidden stash of gold I carried. My funds barely declined and I learned from many great wizards. Each taken in by my charm and then later bidding me a fond farewell as the wanderlust took hold and I moved on. All of them leaving me with the same advice, “Settle down and put your mind to magic or you’ll never amount to anything!” This was of course not news to me. I could tell that I had great potential but just had not found the right motivation yet.

My most recent master, and perhaps my last, suggested that I needed a challenge to force me to excel. Perhaps a puzzle to solve or some wrong to right. I wasn’t sure one way or another but when he offered a puzzle with a reward for its solution I could feel a stirring deep inside. Perhaps that is what I needed… He told me of a great dark blot, a mysterious cloud that formed and moved over Riddleport. A cloud that had caught the eyes of many and that still had no reason to exist. A puzzle in the sky for which a solution offered to the right person would be worth a good deal of prestige and a greater deal of money. My real story begins there, as I arrive in Riddleport; the first step on a journey that would take me from fledgling adept to a powerful respected wizard… or so I hoped.