As we pushed beyond the Bulette room, we made our way deeper into this underground complex of caverns and found what we had been searching for, Marlos Urnroyle and not too soon. We entered another chamber with a large circular chasm, but somehow floating in the middle of it was an island of land. As we watched, it seemed as the island of rock would drift slightly around the chasm, at times coming close to the edge where we were and at others drifting beyond jumping distance. As we watched we saw an eerie glow emanating from the island and Marlos seemed to be conducting some sort of evil ritual with four monks who were chanting and possibly causing the glow to come from them. I guessed that they were summoning something. The ceiling was either supported or ornamented with columns that rose to the ceiling from the ground where we were. Nam, who had scouted the chamber out as a spider (he’s been a dog, a rat, a spider…what can’t he become?) started to climb the column and then later dropped down via web to the island. As he did that, we started leaping across the chasm onto the island, timing it as the island approached us. Alvalore quickly streaked across the island to begin pummeling the monks, who were so caught up in their unholy ceremony that they didn’t even defend themselves. How blind zealots are to the evil that they are involved in!
Apparently Marlos was not involved in the ceremony, or had done his part, as he engaged Alvalore and struck him with Ironfang, which turned out to be a nasty looking warpick. When he hit Alvalore, he somehow sent him flying toward the edge of the island, almost skittering over the edge and into the abyss below. Fortunately, he was able to contort his body enough to grab the edge and hang on. At that point I called down Aeylan’s blessing on my sword which burst out with holy light guiding my aim. Krug and I engaged Marlos, while Avalore recovered and continued his assault on the monks, joined by Nam who had descended from the ceiling. A few seconds later Drake joined us on our attack on Marlos. As we battled Marlos, I noticed that every time a monk would drop, Marlos would cry out in pain.and seem to weaken. Over and over again, I called down Aeylan’s blessing to smite Marlos, while Krug, after getting off a good blow to start the fight, switched to distracting Marlos, giving me better opportunities to strike at him while Drake slipped in and out of combat using his rapier. In short time, The monks were dispatched and I was able to Strike Marlos down, avenging the Valiants of Everwatch and reclaiming some the Valiant armor he was wearing. Once the threat of Marlos had ended and we were able to do a thorough exploration of the rest of the complex and from it and Marlos we discovered a number of magic items and some gold and other coins. Among these was a necklace of adaptation, boots of jumping, a cloak of prtoection, magical leather armor, a driftglobe (a magical item that produces light), a magical rapier, and of course the armor and Ironfang that Marlos was wielding.
When we emerged from Everwatch Keep, and started making our plans on returning, we were surprised that Krug decided not to return with us. He said that travelling up in the mountains reminded him how much he loved the area and that he was loathe to leave it. I was concerned about him, travelling on his own, but he assured me he could take care of himself. He is certainly built for the climate. He said that he didn’t know what he was going to do, but he figured he start by travelling north into the furthest reaches of Rooin and into the Barrier Mountains. Once there he wasn’t sure what he would do. He was pretty sure he wouldn’t return to his homeland of Hogh, since he had been banished because of the magic that manifested itself inside of him. He said he would probably head west into Fyrnoria and explore that land. I was very sad to hear the news since I had gotten very used to fighting at his side. He did, however, give me a magical whistle that when blown, would alert him and guide him to its location. He said that if I were ever needed, I should blow it once in the morning and again at night and it would magically guide me toward him. We said our farewells and watched him head off deeper into the mountains.
Another surprise – Alvalore and Nam have decided to travel home with us. Obviously Alvalore had been temporarily led astray by the cult of stone, while Nam…not really sure where Nam’s from or where his home is. Maybe that’s why he’s coming. Maybe the druid wants to check out city life for a while to see what it’s about….
For myself, I can’t wait to get back to Casteel. This mission was taxing to both my body and my soul. And ultimately, we’ve avenged the Valiants…but is this stone cult just the beginning…is this what the omens were about? Does finding out the truth about what happened make the happening less disastrous? How do Valiants, worthy worshippers of The Aesurrung, get defeated and lose this keep, apparently all dying? These questions are beyond me and hopefully can be answered by someone wiser than me. I also need to talk to some leaders of my faith and look for their guidance to help alleviate some guilt on my conscience…or find out that what I have done can not be alleviated. I want to talk to Valiants about the reality of missions like this. We are taught to lead men on the battlefield against enemies that fight the way we do. We are not taught how to maintain the faith and lead men in situations like what we faced. Are Valiants meant to do such things? Maybe that’s why the Valiants fell…maybe they weren’t willing to murder for their cause. Only Aeylan knows which way is right.
Finally I need to find a way to push off this wedding. I’ve been avoiding it for over a year now, and must continue to do so. Maybe another training with the Valiants or another mission that will send me away. One way or another,it must be avoided. And then there’s Deidre. It’s been far too long since I’ve laid with her or spent an evening in the inn with her. There were a few times over the last week or so that only my faith in Aeylan and my thoughts of time with her kept me going. That, I cannot live without any longer. I hope our return trip is quick and uneventful.
Well, Aeylan has a path chosen for people sometimes, and it seems it is so with me. After spending a short amount of time doing those things I had previously mentioned wanting to do, including spending several wonderful nights with Deidre, thanks to Willam, Phillip, and Davis for covering for me. But terrible news came today. Uncle Greyson told me that the wedding plans had been finalized and accelerated. As much as I tried to cast doubt on the Karzanov family from some of the things I had overheard from Drake and Yotho as we adventured, it was to no avail. I am to do my duty and wed Zora. I must make the most of my time leading up to the wedding…
It’s been an interesting few days. I sit here the night before the wedding, my head spinning. We are in Gloridan. You’d think that Gloradon would look down on me and give me the strength to rebel as he did against Mon-Palas, but no, I follow orders and obey my king and uncle. Though Glorison’s Creed is a beautiful place for a wedding, my bride-to-be leaves much to be desired. She seems to have been feasting herself since we last met a few months ago, and tonight I left her stained with chocolate and creme, having devoured most of the dessert plate. Her father, Zarko, tried to intimidate me into calling off the wedding, since I was late for the evening before reception. Sadly, I could not controlled myself as that is actually my greatest wish and prayer, and engaged the old man aggressively. Luckily (or not), Alvalore and Drake calmed him down and eventually I gathered my self control and did not push the situation further. I have a feeling I’m going to get a stern talking-to from my uncle tomorrow. Of course, the old man was maybe correct in his condemnation of me, not because I’m making his daughter sad…she has this ridiculous notion of love from an arranged marriage, but because I was late after spending my last pre-marital night with Deidre. Again, Willam covered for me as we used extended practicing for being late (though we did practice swordwork before meeting Deidre). Anyway, it was a good evening turned sour…and now I stare out at the three moons of Bellenos hoping for some salvation.
Of course other things happened over the past few days. Many guests came in from across the Aegis league for this wedding. The Karzanovs even brought some dark elves from Mysk to the wedding. My uncle was not happy about that, but had to bite his tongue. I’ve kept an eye on them with no apparent trouble coming from them. Other interesting guests included a delegation from our neighbors to the north, the Thanandrians. Their leader Tharick Leafspear, a most imposing specimen, led their contingent, but maybe more interesting was an advisor to their king, Kadesh, a Thanandrian less physically imposing, but covered with scarring of many symbols, both Incarnate and Drallkindon, which is quite disturbing. In fact, I think I saw the symbol of Ogremach on him somewhere. I had hoped to talk to him about the symbols sometime, especially since my comrades seem to have also found him interesting enough to hang out with, but it never happened. Maybe we can talk during the wedding reception. By the way, where is Yotho? – I never asked Drake.
Well, I guess that’s enough for tonight. I go into tomorrow with the hope the Aeylan will see fit to save his faithful servant from this regrettable event. Yet I cannot think that tomorrow will come without my saving. But, as a faithful servant of my god and my king, I will do my duty as has been given to me.