The Flower in the Sepulcher

naheedas jurnal 8

so owain is going to get all high and mightee about killing some folk. this isnt to much diferent from batel. me and gan layed down a litel presure so to speek. thats i how i got answers in the desert and thats how im going to answers in the swamp. havent we al had to cut of a finger or to. we got some of the answers we needed but by the time we got em. the nol camp was long gone. aparentlee they had a scout. fuk if i no. i was more concerned about not geting my ass eaten by a fuking demon.

this hole kaleena busines has left me with more questions than answers. so kaleena reveeled to me that she is a monk. well why didnt she come with us. shes strong. said something about being apart of some demon bloodline. her eyes glowed red and her claws grew long. i saw that once bak in the desert. a goblin. the guy was evil throo and throo. im not saying i dont trust kaleena but you cant really keep a lid on demon blood. its a part of you. just like i cannot play human when im part orc.

kaleena said that because we fetched her kid brother that she offers us her services. problem is she seems a bit like a stiff gal if you catch my drift. not wiling to bend rules or do wat needs to be done. im honored but realy i know this is a gift that is going to go unused. wat do we need another melee fighter for. me and lars are more than enof.

id like to stay a bit in treff for a wile. we were out in the swamp for to long. brother dick has a mision to help out the jakes people. even tho i think he is a bit much. ill deal. i wanna get my foot in the door to help out the people of the jakes. make myself non they have been put down for so long. by the elves. by the rich humans. even some by there own kin. they need a leader. and i think that its me.

Mina's Notebook p 80

Busy, busy day in town – very glad that Finn and I bought coffee, otherwise I have no idea how I would have gotten through the day. We arrived back in Treff about sunrise and immediately handed over our prisoner to Thessalus Watersmeet. He did something absolutely incredible with spellcraft, weaving together a spell of atonement and a spell of quest, making the effect of the first conditional of the completion of the second. Letours was offered a chance at redemption, which I suppose is as good as he could have hoped for. The pay was as good as promised too.

We got back to the Rose shortly after. Cyrus was already back from his wild goose chase with the Order, so I floated the strategy I’ve been thinking about since I talked to Alain, undermining the Runners’ soft power by doing work for their likely allies. He agrees that it’s a good plan, and also that Isabella really needs to work on more problem-solving strategies than “hit it with a halberd”. Aside from the whole long-term strategy for dealing with the Runners, the Guilds also pay well, and my hoard is looking a little small.

Galen and I went to speak with Herman Knacker. Clearly someone it wouldn’t hurt to have on our good side – incredibly wealthy but still invested in his craft, which I can respect. We identified his problem pretty much immediately – cattle getting infected by a yellow musk creeper – but further research reveals it to be more worrying than expected. Typically, musk creeper spores lure prey to them, then they eat the brains and control the body. These cattle were infected while going down the river, yards from shore. I was joking when I said we should write a paper about it but Galen seemed to take it seriously. I think the druids might be able to help – we should probably give them a hand and then talk with with Cade Greenturtle about his sense of what could be different about this plant.

I also did some errands around Figaro. Bianca from the Sole Exception was incredibly helpful, discussing the elemental foci with me. Apparently the water focus we retrieved was incomplete, not corrupted – this makes her think that the Mosquito Kingdom might have had another water focus to copy from. We also discussed the possibility of the foci not being “elemental” at all – the known foci are tied to the elemental planes, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be planar foci instead. In theory, there could be planar foci connected to any plane, perhaps even at the next set of sites – a Negative Plane focus at Death, a Far Realms focus at Madness? And perhaps there are foci for the other planes that are scattered around the swamp but aren’t connected to the prophecy gems – a true Water or Earth focus, a Shadow focus, an Astral focus? I don’t know what those would look like, but the possibility is intriguing. Of course, I was so caught up thinking about that, I forgot that she might have some good references on how the musk creeper might have changed. I’ll stop back again later, I suppose.

I might discuss also discuss those topics further with Elise Somerall when we escort her on her expedition. She’s ready to travel, research wise, but considering she didn’t think about bringing waterproof boots, she might need a little time to physically prepare. I’m thinking that initiating our plan to undermine the Runners and get paid at the same time might be more pressing, though.

Galen and I went to the Pelican Market – or really, the Pelican Market came to us. I met a rather pleasant halfling tailor who was able to bind more protection spells into my mother’s vest. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough, I feel naked without it. Galen also picked up some more items to improve his healing abilities. We also ran into Xante, Kaleena, and her younger brother Khad. He obviously did something terribly wrong – he was quite literally walking around with his tail between his legs. Apparently Kaleena is intending to do more ranging. I wonder what her particular set of skills is, aside from keeping the Quiver in line. Maybe I’ll ask her in more detail later.

Also, there’s something rather unnerving happening today – a man and a woman, apparently siblings, have been following us around all day. According to Leslie they’d been hanging around the Rose while we were out, too. They’re not doing an excellent job at keeping hidden, so I think they’re intending to be noticed, but they scoot away pretty quickly if they notice us noticing them… we’ve overheard them commenting on us, mentioning a grandfather, saying that the time isn’t right yet. Disturbing.

Mina's Notebook pp. 78-79

On one hand, I’m really glad to know that there’s a Republic bar in Figaro, just a stone’s throw from the Rose. On the other hand, my headache is really, really unhappy about that. The Founding Day celebration was a ton of fun, even if I think I was a little bit embarrassingly drunk.

While Finn and I were recovering, Galen went to talk to Thessalus Watersmeet. Apparently he had a referral to make as far as traveling companions for our job with the Trinitarian Church, because Galen came back with Naheeda Sand of the Traveler’s Collective. I’d heard of her by reputation, of course. Mostly from Krog mooning over her, but one positive comment about her hunting prowess from Owain. She seems entirely too coarse to put up with Krog’s airs, not to mention too practical.

Her first impression of us was probably that Cyrus is polite and respectful and that I’m utterly insane. She did walk in right when we were working on teaching our new friend how not to use a broom… that little automaton we found is a surprisingly adaptable worker, if occasionally unaware of his own strength. We’ve dubbed him Cogsworth.

After some strategy discussion, Finn came up with the brilliant idea to bait the bandits into ambushing us. Since we needed to disguise ourselves as pilgrims, we went to look for Bex el’Enen. She’s brilliant at what she does. (Much to my embarrassment.)

Hunting the bandits went well, all things considered. Note, my definition of “well” includes “took four flaming arrows to the stomach” and “currently ignoring the depressed cleric in the back of the boat”. At least I’ve gotten good enough at guiding Ned to drive while I’m writing.

Finn and Bex’s ambush plan went off without a hitch. Finn picked out two scrags, an ogre commander, and a line of bugbears about 100 feet away. Galen teleported with Naheeda to take on the ogre before he could damage our boat, Bex destroyed one of the scrags in an underwater melee, I took out the other with lightning, and Finn picked off enough bugbears to break their morale. Then, our quarry appeared, dealing a great deal of damage to Galen before retreating. I dispelled his air walk spell, which didn’t stop him completely, but was deeply satisfying.

We ended up springing an ambush of our own, which, aside from the flaming arrows to the stomach, was incredibly successful. Bex negated three powerful allies – a hill giant and two trolls – by suggesting that the hill giant attack the trolls. It would have been more humorous if we didn’t have to deal with an angry cleric and an erinyes devil. The cleric got a confusion spell off against Naheeda, despite my best attempt to counter, but he quickly became a non-issue when Bex wrestled him to the ground and swiped his holy symbol. The erinyes was more of an issue – she used her flight capabilities to keep out of range of anything except for Finn’s arrows, which didn’t seem to graze her, my lightning, which did some damage despite her general resistance to the arcane, and the single flask of holy water that Galen lobbed at her. I had to draw her fire to keep her from killing Galen or Finn, and well, that hurt. A lot. Yet another edition of “I miss Cyrus” theater.

I’m glad our mission specifically called to leave the cleric alive. He’s clearly done evil things, terrible things, but I can’t honestly say that his reasons aren’t sympathetic. Losing everything, having it offered back, then losing it all again, even more than before? It doesn’t excuse his actions, but it certainly explains them. Hopefully Thessalus will be able to help him.

To Do List:

1. Talk to the Sole Exception about elemental foci.
2. Discuss options with Isabella.
3. Float the idea of doing some work for the Merchants’ Guilds. (Make them think twice about sending their militias after us)
4. Check on the beer.
5. See if one of the more cerebral members of the TC will talk with me about the foci. Naheeda didn’t much seem to care.
6. Find someone who can improve enchantments, my vest could use an upgrade.

naheedas jurnal 7

i dunno shit bout these elmental fosi. focuses. watever. im going to let gan and abad deal with that. what matters is we got the job done and nobody died. gan almost had us convised for a secund to let him stay. crazy bastard. and i thot he was cravin. didnt realise hes obsessed with the profecee. i couldnt let him go out lik that. thats no way for a man to die. killing himself with a firebal. he wanted to see her. hoo she is we dont have a gods damned cloo. she had a armee with a fucking dragon. he didnt have a chanse. also cant have him teling the queen wat we no. i got a feeling that it is more than they would want us to no. that damned box started al of this. were is it leading us.

evrytime we go anywere we pik up strays. this time it was a metal man. aint anything ive seen before. is there somebodee in there. is he really just al medal. he says he is 400 yearsold. says hes a nite. asks us to call him sir fetlz. sir of wat. fucking nobles. i left tref to get away from them and they just keep finding me. he beter have some info about the profecee or im chucking him in the water to see if he flots.

owain is leading us to the nol hideout. im saving this pup no mater wat. im cleaning my sword and ready for a fite.

Volume 2, Pages 16-17

I saw her!

I attempted to remain behind at the site of the elemental focus. I had rigged it to devastate the temple with a quick arcane gesture and had prepared myself to silently invoke flight and invisibility upon myself in order to escape once I had gathered more information on the Mistress. Before Naheeda forced my withdrawal I saw her though. Even now the image is foggy so I must commit this to paper. And should it vanish from here then my worst suspicions will be confirmed. But that later.

She was shrouded as if in mists. A woman. The dragon addressed her as “Your Majesty,” but neither Abad nor myself are familiar with any Queens of the Mosquito Kingdom. Her hair was black. Maybe? She was tall. I think. Definitely humanoid. Already the image fades from memory. I chase it back through my mind, but it recedes ever faster and the pain it brings on indicates that it may be leading me into a trap. It may drive me to madness to pursue the memory to far.

Ser Fels claims to have more knowledge of her and her operation than I would have gotten had I stayed. I suspect he is wrong, lying merely in an attempt to turn me away from the prophecy. But to alter destiny one must take drastic out of character actions! Don’t they see! While Naheeda carried me from the outcropping I set the focus off and it sounded as though it devastated the tunnel, much of the army certainly died in its collapse.

The army was to march to meet with another army from the air focus, I hope that The Compass Rose Free Company was successful there.

We rushed to the site Owain scouted out to prevent the Gnoll’s sacrifice. Had he not found a shortcut I’m certain we wouldn’t have made it in time to save the pup. They brought forth a Bulezau, but we arrived just in time to prevent the sacrifice. In the rush we were not very well prepared for the fight, but prevailed all the same. A messy fight, but successful enough. We were joined by a rogue-ish adventurer that some of the collective already knew. Lucky there. The skeleton chased down the summoners and the rest of the collective took down the Bulezau with little difficulty. The barbarian had a close call, but I was prepared with the necessary life force to revive her. We seem to be developing some group cohesion. An awareness of each others abilities and timing.

I understand her desire not to abandon me in the temple. But what might I have been able to do. What if she isn’t a Queen, but merely a member of one of the Kingdom’s factions? There is so much we don’t know. We did acquire that library however, I’m sure that will provide hours of research opportunities. Some of the books are even annotated, which will be quite the boon.

Now I need to speak with the dead Gnoll summoner…

New Friends and New Journeys
In which Galen reflects new friends and wild magics

We arrived home from our harrowing journey to find that our door had been broken in. We followed the trail of blood to an unconscious inquisitor of St. Cuthbert. Hot on her heels were the infamous White Rabbit Runners of my homeland. I let Mina and Finn expel them from our property; to them, the only thing worse than an apostate inquisitor is an apostate inquisitor being given sanctuary by a Trinitarian. When she regained consciousness, Isabella Warden, that is her name, told us of grim news from the homeland. The Cult of Zarus has seized control of the church and all those who did not conform to their extremist ways were culled. Such a radical change to an extremist stance in the most rigid church of the most rigid god… Dark times lie ahead for the Empire of the Horse, and likely for those who stand in their way.

Thessalus Watersmeet, the head of the local Trinitarian Temple in Port Willow, is seeking help. Letours, a former shepherd of the faith, has had a great tragedy befall him. His family was killed while performing the work of the church and Letours has been blinded by his grief. He has renounced all ties with the church and has started attacking pilgrims on their journey. If at all possible Brother Watersmeet wants us to bring Letours back alive, and I will do all that this servant of The Three can to see that he sees the error of his ways and comes back home. We have some more pressing business to attend to as there is no one in immediate danger, but I hope to look into this matter in the coming days.

We encountered a wild magic zone today. It was an experience that I will remember forever, but also one that I don’t wish to have again for the rest of my twilight years. This zone of wild magic was caused by rifts in the material plane. I was fortunate that I wasn’t injured in our time there, I did not want to test the seals that bind me to this plane. Fortunately, we dispatched the outsiders and the planar rift has been closed. Our good deed of the day has been done. Now, the lumberers can start harvesting these titan trees for siege engines for the city.

Volume 2, Page 15

Day three in this temple. Ridiculous. I’m nearly drained of healing spells once again, and after so long needing not prepare them unduly each day. I was forced to raise the skeleton of a fallen fire giant. Quarak didn’t much like that, but he’ll accept it at least until we finish with this temple. The others, well, they’ve not said much on the subject, but I can feel their resentment and hatred of the beast and me by extension. Abad at least is comfortable with the tactics of the Mosquito Kingdom, but Naheeda was the one who most surprised me. Her concern lay only with taking a trophy for the kill. I’d have thought her survival instinct was better than that. She’d be welcome to continue rushing into rooms full of the undead and elementals, and the traps were we to allow her to begin cutting at the corpse. I don’t see what the conflict is, if she wants an ear, as she seemed to be intimating the flesh of the creatures is still laying on the floor, she could cut it off just fine! I’ve been too close to death for my taste, the skeleton will accompany me until it falls or Treff is in sight once again, I’ll not sacrifice the protection something so large and untiring offers. Let them scoff and cast distrustful eyes. My giant will absorb blows that would fell Naheeda or Lars to say nothing of the others! Petty superstitions! This beast will be as effective as so many healing spells I’ve expended time and again on my companions.

Mina's Notebook, pp. 75-77

One of these days, I’ll be able to come home from a ranging, change my clothes, have a cup of tea, and sleep in my nice, soft bed before I have to deal with any new crises. I’m sure it’ll happen eventually. Today was not that day.

The trip back from the Air site was miserable. It stormed the whole way and we could barely keep the charts dry, much less ourselves. The river was running high and fast, so progress was irritatingly slow. Wasn’t easy to get fires going or cook food either. Also, we had to tie up at a public dock and walk back to the Rose. As if that wasn’t miserable enough, our door was kicked open and there was a trail of blood leading into our dining room. The mostly-dead woman in plate armor on our dining room table was a bit of an unpleasant surprise as well.

I had the distinct pleasure of figuring out why she broke into our guildhall – she’s on the run from the Inquisition of the Church of St. Cuthbert. Why they’re after one of their own, I couldn’t say, but whatever their reasons may be, I don’t feel too inclined to help them. See: Galen. There were three of them, working with a rather unpleasant man who could smell blood on the air through the rain and the swamp. Strangely enough, the inquisitors didn’t seem too inclined to ask me many questions, but that man wasn’t easily convinced. Dangerous. I described the device on his shield to Cyrus, who immediately recognized it as the sign of the White Rabbit Runners. I recall Owain’s tangled with them, and that they’re slavers. My snap decision to mislead them was obviously a good one.

From inspecting her gear and rifling through her pack, we’ve figured out a bit more. Her name is Isabella Warden, and she’s a member of the Purifying Sword branch of the Church, a group dedicated to destroying undead and evil outsiders. Cyrus is also fairly sure that she’s an orphan, between the name and the sign of the Charities in her journal, and that she’s been on the run for a while, after leaving with little notice. She doesn’t have a copper to her name, and the only food in her pack is a waterlogged heel of bread.

As for me, I’m supposed to be sleeping right now. Not sure when that’s going to happen, to be honest. Galen’s room went silent before I got up to write this, Finn’s deep in a trance, Clyde’s chasing something in his sleep, and I’m pretty sure I hear Cyrus snoring across the hall. I am going to be so useless in the morning – I’m usually dead asleep hours before he’s off watch. I guess I’ll extinguish this light spell and go stare at the ceiling over my bed some more.

Gods above and below, Drylands. You are incredibly lucky that I don’t know where you usually sleep when we’re in Treff, because if I did, it would be very hard for me to resist the temptation to smother you. It’s not like I didn’t expect to meet the other Lords in Exile eventually, but that dinner was just one long string of minor unpleasantness after the next.

Let’s start with curtsying. And hand-kissing. I guess it’s useful in that you instantly know who’s never gotten laid without paying for the privilege. Oh, and also apparently casting spells at the table is impolite where you come from so I didn’t even get to prestidigitate Bantam slobber off me. Ugh, I still feel dirty just thinking about those two.

And the sheer volume of cutlery. How many different kinds of fork do you people need to eat a relatively uncomplicated dinner? I could understand if crab was on the menu and you needed a fish fork to get the particularly tasty bits out of the shell, but roast beef has no such logistical barriers. It’s a piece of cow. You stab it with the fork, cut it with the knife, use the fork to transfer a smaller bit of cow to your mouth, repeat. Apparently I used the salad fork. I don’t seem to remember a salad even being served, so why was there even a salad fork on the table?

Also I have no idea what to think of your father. At first I assumed asking about my family was just the usual small talk, but five questions in I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being interrogated. Made me long for the tender comfort of delivering a field report to the Grand Bailiff.

At least you cut that conversation off with an appropriate degree of embarrassment. And said I look nice in the dress I paid fifteen fucking gold for. Fifteen gold. For the record, a (far from complete) list of things I would rather have spent fifteen gold on:

  • two vials of ink.
  • a bullseye lantern for the boat, and enough oil to fuel it for a month.
  • a cage to throw Clyde in if he shreds this dress too.
  • a sack of twenty-nine hammers, purely so I could compare them favorably to your intelligence.

… I feel better now. On a brighter note, my hunch that I wanted to get to know the Limbers was one hundred percent correct. They’re pretty great, and I’m looking forward to taking on that job they offered us. Particularly if it gives me an excuse to go see their workshop up close.

Most of our conclusions about Isabella were confirmed after she woke up (didn’t ask about the orphan thing, seemed a bit irrelevant, not to mention more impolite than casting at the dinner table). Her story is deeply disturbing – while we were in the southern swamp, there was a bloody schism in the Church of St. Cuthbert. The Purifying Sword and the Charities asserted that the cult of Zarus was still active in the Church and needed to be removed and were denounced as heretical, followed closely by an absolute massacre. I can’t claim any real knowledge of the situation, but my gut feeling is that if you feel the need to kill off two factions of your church for even suggesting there’s something wrong, there’s something very wrong.

She’s interested in joining the free company for a time, repaying her debt to us and continuing her work against the undead and outsiders that plague the swamp. I’m hopeful that she’ll make a good addition to the company – I’ve been wanting to take on another warrior since Cyrus’ last mission with the Lords in Exile. If she doesn’t, I’ll figure out a way to get her on an eastward boat – they take a pretty dim view of slavers and religious purges back home, it would probably be the safest place for her to take refuge. Treff isn’t in the Empire’s jurisdiction, but I’m not going to risk the company if she can’t contribute.

We’ve got a few job options lined up, including work for the Trinitarian Church and the Circle of Equals. Those are going to wait, though – the way I see it, that dreadnaught we saw in the sky over the White Forest might just be heading this way, and I want to give the Limbers as much time as possible to get the city some new trebuchets. Considering they won’t even be able to start logging the liveoak for the arms until we clear out the site, helping them is priority number one. We’re taking Isabella along with us. She isn’t comfortable going out in the city with the Inquisition and the Runners after her, so she hasn’t been outside of the Rose in days. Aside from getting her out for some fresh air, I want to see what she can do in combat.

The Limbers had an interesting problem on their hands indeed – their liveoak grove was in the middle of a wild magic zone. My instruction on those at the Academy was “dangerous, avoid”… to be honest, most of the stuff we’ve been dealing with as a free company was on the “dangerous, avoid” list. The raw power running in the place makes magic behave… strangely. I could feel the power fluctuating wildly when I cast, and there were a host of strange effects. I swapped Isabella into a combat and it took no time at all – a trick that us naturals have a very hard time getting a handle on. One of my lightning bolts went off with a dragon roar – an effect I wish I could reproduce! Of course, the church bells ringing when I cast invisibility on Finn were less desirable. It’s not unlikely that there are more of these zones in the swamp – they’re generated by damaged arcane foci, and I’m sure the Mosquito Kingdom didn’t stop with one. Fortunately the focus was easily shut down with a simple dispel magic and some level of resignation with regards to absorbing some arcane backlash. I’ll make sure to pass that information on to the Traveler’s Collective and the Four Corners.

The wild magic zone led to some very strange creatures indeed – spellwarped ettins, vaporighus half-summoned from Gehenna such that they couldn’t be merely dismissed, and a truly terrifying gray render, warped by the Far Realms to a twisted mockery of Material geometry. The entire time, my magic was sparking and hissing and not nearly as effective as it should have been. On top of dealing with the wild magic, everything we fought seemed to just shrug off my spells – well, except for my lightning breath. I didn’t feel the wild magic straining against it at all. I’d assumed it was just another trick I’d figured out, another way to manipulate the arcane power of lightning. Galen, Finn, Cyrus, and Isabella don’t seem to think it’s anything worth commenting on – I guess they think it’s a spell. I’m not so sure anymore, but I’ll keep that to myself for the moment.

Isabella proved very useful – fearless, powerful, and ferocious. The moments Cyrus has where he just snaps and drops his defenses so he can slam something into the ground? That’s very moment of every fight for Isabella. She doesn’t have his finesse and elegance, but he doesn’t have her ability to make every blow devastating. I do agree with her self-assessment of being most effective against undead and outsiders, so I think it’d be best to take her for missions dealing primarily with those creatures. Not as if there’s a deficit of those in the swamp.

I remember a dream again – well, snippets of a dream. I don’t remember any images, but I remember a voice, a deep female voice speaking Draconic. She didn’t speak the clean, precise dialect I learned in school, but it wasn’t lizardfolk Draconic either. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I woke up with ideas swimming in my head. Maybe she inspired me.

I need to go talk to Alain. Isabella is technically a fugitive, and even if the people after her have no jurisdiction here, that doesn’t mean they won’t cause trouble for us. I’m hoping the Moss-Covered Sword can help with that – if anyone does have jurisdiction here, they do, and having some kind of lawful authority approving her residency at the Rose will probably put Isabella’s mind at ease. For that matter, her particular talents would be incredibly useful to the Order’s mission. I also pulled out that old leather case from the bottom of my haversack and wrote up a letter of introduction for Isabella, dated two weeks ago and “signed” by Jens Master, Harbormaster at Stone Table. The Runner I shove the letter at won’t know that I’ve been forging his signature since I was in primary school, and with any luck it’ll confuse them long enough for me to get an actual authority figure between us.

I’m also going to ask Alain if he could find out about my mother’s family for me. Everyone else seems so bloody interested. I suppose I could ask Marin to look too, but she’s in the intelligence corps now. Even if the letter got to her, she might not be inclined to help a friend she hasn’t seen in years with a personal question. If her visions are anything like Alain’s, I’m sure she has heavier thoughts to contend with. A storm in the swamp, blood in the cathedral. I’m glad I’ve never had that particular talent. I don’t need to see all the worries of the world.

Volume 2, Pages 13-14

We’ve taken up refuge barricaded in what appears to have been a mosquito kingdom treasury within the temple. We faced down a couple of flame salamanders with little difficulty, but the undead mage with them caused no end of troubles for us. He wielded arcane magics that neither Abad nor myself are yet capable of from a tactically superior position on the ceiling. With Owain exploring the Gnoll’s summoning site we were left with dreadfully little in the way of ranged capabilities against the heavily protected mage. He resisted several of my castings and ultimately required that I expend high potency healing effects to put him down; effects I had hoped to save for my wounded compatriots. They’re bravery in the face of danger was commendable, sadly our creativity did not match it. While Abad was able to climb the wall to face off with the mage and my spectral hand allowed me to engage in magical attacks against him Quarak, Naheeda and Lars were reduced to highly inefficient modes of attack, throwing acid, attempting to lasso the mage to the ground and at one point I’m fairly certain Lars through himself against the wall in an attempt to dislodge the caster. The sort of tactic I would expect from the barbarian, but from him, I’m worried his alley brawls may be having an adverse effect on him…

Following the combat we retreated to this room to prepare to delve deeper into the temple. I’ve prepared a large amount of healing magic, including a restoration to remove the effects of the skeleton mage’s enervation on Abad. I expect most of them will be expended prior to seeing combat however. We will be pressed in the coming day, and while the others are sure we shall prevail, I, as always, have my concerns. Things do look up however, we did recover the mage’s spellbook, which I look forward to reviewing once we have returned to safety, and Abad discovered a valuable folio entitled “Treatise on the Divisions of Knowledge and Magical Study in Our Empire” with important information regarding the Elementarii, Numentarii and Evocatii, three factions of the mosquito empire.

As we progress through the temple, I have yet to make it known to the members of the collective that I too can raise up servants of the undead. Yes, I’ve made it clear that my studies are of life and death, but I’ve yet to make use of that one resource which they are so very adept at producing, the corpses of our enemies. Should a worthy specimen present itself in the coming day, and should we find ourselves again in a difficult position I may be forced to allow what happens to happen and call upon mastery over the dead and hope that they judge me not to harshly.

The Parable of Fe'el the Oracle

We had a long and harrowing journey to the ruins of what appeared to be a conduit for the element of air. Luckily we were well equipped, observant, and a little lucky and made it through no worse for wear. As we journey back I am reminded of the parable of Fe’el the Oracle.

Fe’el the Oracle, was traveling with her disciples, journeying to spread the word of The Traveling Siblings to a village on the other side of a dense wood. As they journeyed through the forest a disciple fell into a concealed pit intended to trap game. Fe’el reached into her pack and removed a rope with which to pull the disciple out. The disciples exclaimed:

“We are fortunate indeed that The Three have blessed you with future sight Fe’el. You must have seen this in your visions and that is why you are so well prepared.”

Fe’el responds:
“You are mistaken. I carry this rope to be well prepared for any situation. I had no vision of this pit.”

Fe’el and her disciples journey on and arrive at the village. They are welcomed and even more disciples join Fe’el. So many that on their return journey they ran out of food. The disciples started to despair but Fe’el instructed them to go to the same pit that they had fallen victim to before, and there they would find food. Sure enough a deer was trapped in the pit. Again the disciples praised Fe’el’s vision that had surely led her to know that the deer was caught in the very same trap
“You are mistaken again” she replied. “I just recalled the traps we encountered.”
They made camp and prepared a venison dinner. The disciples quickly ate their meals, but Fe’el ate slowly and deliberately. After all the disciples had finished their meals Fe’el had barely begun. Suddenly a hungry bear wandered into the camp and there was panic. Fe’el threw her remaining dinner to the bear, and escaped while it was distracted. This time the disciples were convinced that she had forseen the bear and that was why she had saved her meal.
“You are once again mistaken my friends,I merely bit my tongue and was eating slowly so as to not do it again.”

In the end Fe’el was always prepared but not because of her heavenly visions. It was because she was prepared, observant, and sometimes lucky.

And with that, I should get back to my maps. It would be unbecoming of a shepherd to lead those who follow him astray.


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