Dark Siege

Devinson's Journal #4
Games 6&7

I have minutes to write as we recover from the bloodbath that just occurred. Thinking about what I wrote hours ago, I’m even more concerned about what is happening to me. Our plan worked pretty well, but what will be its consequences to me. We had Alvalore return to the keep with a story of how his band was attacked by manticores and Yotho magicked himself to look like one of the dead monks. They also took another monk’s body as evidence of the attack. Alvalore and Yotho got past the minotaur guard and let us in the back door. Alvarore then met with Qarbo in hopes of luring him into an ambush saying the Yotho as the monk had collapsed from injuries, but instead he sent a few monks. We dispatched them, but the battle carried into the next room. I had put on the mask and robes we took from Braxis, so when more monks came in I commanded them to come into the kitchen since they thought I was Qarbo – is this more lies or acceptable for a Paladin. One of the monks had a dog with him, but when we started fighting, the dog stood still and didn’t start attacking. After we finished off the monks, we were shocked when the dog transformed into a gnome! His name is Namfoodle, but he asked to be called Greenthumb. He is a druid who was in search of his friend Barleytooth, a rabbit. After we made introductions, we agreed to help him find Barleytooth and he to help out.

We spent some time debating what to do next, and here I made a difficult decision. There was a room with five monks all sleeping, which Alvalore confirmed by sliding in. Knowing that they would not surrender (or were highly unlikely to since not one had surrendered yet), I decided to enter and kill them in their sleep, may Aeylan forgive me. Dragoslav Drake actually pulled me aside and offered to do the deed himself, for which I am grateful, but a leader must be able to follow through with ugly decisions and not pass them on to others. Is this a continuance of the slippery slope I’m heading down. As we delve deeper and deeper into this cult of Ogremach and to find out if any paladins remain, I feel I’m falling further away from what I should be. Is this all worth it if we can find out the truth of what happened? Does the end justify the means, or is this a test by Aeylan that I’m failing. Maybe the problem is that I’m not the right person for the job. As a paladin I’m trained to lead men, to act with chivalry and honor, to defend castles and besiege them, to work as part of an army. As a member of the gauntlet we are taught to work as a team and depend on each other. Yet here I am alone in many ways, with no other members of the order, with a random band of other adventurers fighting a zealous cult that sacrifices people to a forgotten god, and fight with such fervor that they won’t surrender, even when offered quarter. So I make these decisions in a vacuum, knowing that my survival is important to solve this mystery and that I am responsible for the lives of those who fate has joined with me. As I walked down the hallway to do this heinous deed, I knew that by doing this my companions had a better chance of survival and that my mission had a better chance to succeed…but it was still wrong. Our new comrade Greenthumb seemed to sum up everything quite well as I heard him say as I walked into the room, “So we are just going to hang around and wait while he goes into that room to murder those guys?”

After murdering the monks (or was it before – the last five minutes has been a blur), we ran into some duerger who were coming up from the mines. I had one of them come with me (still dressed in Braxis robes thinking I was Qarbo) and we subdued him as the others went to their quarters. Not sure how we engaged Qarbo, but we ended up battling in the hall outside his room. It was Qarbo, his two bodyguards, the duergar, and the minotaur front entrance guard all in combat. It was actually one of our most organized and effective battles. Our new members showed their worth immediately with Alvalore being extremely adept at close quarters fighting, and Greenthumb casting two useful spells – the first clogged the hallway with vines preventing the enemy from gathering together and the second froze Qarbo so that I could finish him off. Yotho lobbed spells here and there effectively and Drake effectively supported the attack with well timed strikes at vulnerable enemies. Krug again magically appeared at the other end of the hallway, to personally engage the minotaur and showed another new magical skill as he made a number of images of himself, so they enemy didn’t know which the real one was. After defeating Qarbo, his Black Earth guards and the minotaur, I demanded the surrender of the duergar, who, thank Aeylan, acquiesced. We got some useful information from them and sent them on their way from the keep with no weapons.

I decided to put on the heavy armor of Qarbo’s guards, which might again help us manueveur through this difficult task. We’ve gone through the weapons and equipment of the dead, patched ourselves up, and now need to focus on the task ahead…defeating Helen Rae, the head of the monks and further exploring the keep, both up and down, in hopes of finding out how the paladins were defeated. May Aeylan guide my sword and my soul.

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Devinson's Journal #3
Game 6?

I sit here resting after we have planned an attack on the cult of Ogremach that has taken over the Everwatch Keep. Reflecting back on the events that happened in Red Larch, it is not surprising that I have not wanted to write them down. I don’t even think I want to write them now too, but my mind has been preoccupied with my failings in the town.

As someone devoted to Aeylan, I wonder how I have strayed so much from the truth. I know that I’ve lied in search of a greater truth and finding out what has happened to the Paladins is of utmost importance, so maybe small lies for a greater truth is a necessary evil. My first lies came as we walked into town. One of the town leaders asked if I was a Paladin, and I denied my calling, fearful that the town would be put on alert, especially if anything to do with the missing Paladins happened in town. Later, when my failings of the flesh took root and I found comfort with a young lady I had requested be sent to my quarters, I lied to Dragoslav in saying the the woman who ran the bar had sent her to me in hopes that I would want her, and instead questioned her about the town (which I did after I slept with her) and then sent her on her way, Aeylan forgive me.

As we finally got to the bottom of what was happening and how much of the town had succumbed to the promises of a false god, even the priest himself leaving his calling to worship a stone god. How does one let that happen. How did Braxis, leading a community of good people, fall to false gods and abandon or worse sacrifice his flock to such a god. If that could happen to him, could it happen to me. It won’t, as long as Aeylan protects me from such weakness.

There is more to focus on now than that. As we travelled toward Everwatch Keep, we came across another monk – how I detest those zealots worshipping Ogremach – in battle with a pair of manticore that had attacked their group. All had died except one. Once we rescued him and drove off the manticores, with support from Dragoslav and Yotho, and somehow Krug magically appearing high up on the ledge without climbing, I aggressively questioned the monk, whose name is Alvalore. Apparently he had been convinced by another monk that his own calling of monks was misguided and he joined with these monks. After spending time with them, he realized what the true outlook of the monk of Ogremach was and decided to leave. He was heading to Red Larch and was going to flee them there when his band was attacked. I believe him and he has decided to join us and return there and help us rid the keep of this evil that has plagued it. Alvalore has shared his extensive knowledge of the Keep with us and we have a plan that we will shortly be executing, Aeylan willing.

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Devinson's Journal #2

We arrived in Sera Tin-Opal and were met there by Aurora Inistra who discussed with us the missing Valiants of the Everwatch Keep and the oracle. It seems that Aurora is clearly an ally. She has concerns about the oracle and believes in what my uncle has to say. She says that she is helping us in an unofficial capacity, as many here also do not believe what the oracle has to say. Complacency runs rife through Bellenos, apparently. She has asked us to travel north and see what is going on with the Valiants who have not reported in by bird message in a number of weeks. Apparently, she (and my uncle) think the two may be connected. She also mentioned that there was unrest in Rooin due to attacks by Fyrnorian giants. This has put pressure and tension on the Glorisons of Rooin and because of this some trade caravans had been treated poorly there – some wagons and people have even gone missing. After talking, she sent us with one of her underlings to an inn where we rested from the journey east. He gathered supplies for us, and we spoke one last time with Aurora and departed for Rooin, a journey that was to take several weeks time. Hopefully when we return successfully from our mission, Aeylan willing, I can make arrangements for Aurora to give me an intimate tour of Sera Tin-Opal.

Travel through Phaedrii was pleasant and no trouble came our way. As we neared the border with Rooin, things changed. We met a caravan that was almost kept from leaving Rooin by the closing of the border. Dragoslav cleverly purchased some trinkets from the caravan master, which made him more forthcoming in his talk. We debated a number of ideas on how to get into Rooin, but the weather and mountainous conditions made it unlikely that we could get around the border pass without great difficulty and posing as tradesman seemed unlikely to work, so I decided that the truth (as Aeylan teaches) was the best way through.

When we arrived at the border crossing, it looked like they had crafted a small fort to guard the crossing and keep people out (and in?) Rooin. A number of caravans had made a makeshift camp outside the walls having been refused entrance. I approached the commander there, spoke of our mission, mentioned that the Warmaster (?) of Rooin would have liked to help with the investigation of the missing Valiants, but was unable to because of the incursions of the giants (we had heard this from ______). Through Aeylan’s guidance, I was successful and as we passed through the gates, we were warned to be wary on the road since they were not as safe as usual.

Our first stop was Warwatch, the capital city. Our friend Krug seemed (again) to draw some unkindly looks and I had to persuade the innkeeper of the one inn in Warwatch that he was not going to be made to sleep in the stables. I had a bit of entertainment as Dragoslav was caught checking out the innkeeper’s wife. It looked like it could’ve come to a nasty encounter, but Yotho swept in to rescue his master’s by purchasing an expensive bottle of wine. It diffused the tension, but I do find it interesting that Dragoslav and his man like to solve problems by spending money. However, money doesn’t buy loyalty, trust, and honor – hopefully they will learn this lesson. But I may have also learned a lesson – instead of intervening as I probably should have, my irritance at Dragoslav got the best of me and I made the choice to watch instead of act. What would’ve happened had the innkeeper turned violent? Was that momentary guilty pleasure worth the risk of bloodshed? I must do better. One other note about Yotho – he mentioned that in his youth he was poor and needed to steal bread. As much as I don’t understand the plight of the poor, this seems an excuse not worth much – how many of the poor live lives of honest work – not stealing from their brethren to survive? And how does someone with unscrupulous habits end up involved with a noble family of Mun-Palass? I’m interested in both his past and that of Dragoslav and his family…I’m sure our time together will allow me to learn about them.

We left Warwatch to head north to the town of Redlarch, a town we heard not so many good things about in our travels. If there is a center of the anger and inhospitality of Rooin, it seems like it could be here. As we travelled we soon found that the Glorison at the gate was correct about the danger of this road. As we ate dinner on a blustery night two days out of Warwatch, Dragoslav heard a scream through the wind. Moving quickly to find the source, we sighted a cave which clearly was a base for bandits plaguing the road and they had captured their most recent wagon and captives. Krug and I made our way straight toward the debris of a wagon in front of the cave entrance, while Dragoslav and Yotho worked around to a flanking position. We saw two goblins and though we killed one the other escaped past Yotho and Dragoslav. Still hearing cries, I made the call not to pursue the last goblin into the woods and instead help the captives.

We entered the cave which had both a path and a stream the led out of it. Sticking to the path we came across two chained “guard-wolves” which I’m sure alerted the rest of the goblins to our presence. Luckily they could not reach us because of their chains and we moved ahead quickly. As we examined the room from the entrance, I realized that we were dealing with more than bandits. The unholy, evil monster in charge of this operation was hanging its dead victims from chains above the wolves heads, where I assume they would use them as food. As much as I wanted to give the dead a rightful burial, it was more important to focus on the living, so we ventured further into the stream. Turning a corner, I was shot at by two goblins on a platform above the walkway and stream. It took us longer than it should have to deal with them (in fact one fled to alert others) but eventually Krug lifted Dragoslav up to the platform and he dispatched the goblin in one thrust.

Thinking that the passage at the top of the platform was going to connect up with the path we had been following, we split up with me accompanying Dragoslav on the upper level and Krug and Yotho moving around the lower level. Sure enough, I was correct and we found four armed goblins waiting for us. Two went for each group. Dragoslav and I both finished ours quickly, while Krug was even quicker using some sort of magic that he naturally invokes. Smashing the ground with his huge hammer, he created a thunderous explosion that killed both goblins and sent them flying, as well as leaving a ringing in my ears. If they hadn’t known we were in the cave (which they did) they definitely would know now!

We then entered the final chamber where the screaming had been coming from all along. In the chamber was a poor trading family who were caged by the mad creature running this bandit hellhole, a Kanondan Bloodslaker, a worshiper of Khloh K’tan, god of blood and torture, which makes everything we had seen make sense. He had a few goblins serving him and we went to battle. One thing I nearly forgot was the bear he had also caged. I was concerned that it was his “pet”, but turned out to be wild and not under his control. The battle was pitched with the Bloodslaker seemingly stronger than Krug and more skilled in combat than myself. However, teamwork won the day. As Krug and I battled the Bloodslaker, Dragoslav worked on the goblins and Yotho unleashed some powerful magic that caused lightning to continually blast into the Kanondan. Teamwork was paramount here as the rest of the three of us defended Yotho from attacks so he could maintain his concentration on the magic. Eventually this, Krug and my attacks, purfied with the blessings of Aeylan allowing me to smite the creature, and with the bear breaking loose and attacking that demon, allowed glory to come to Aeylan by putting that beast down where he can cause no more harm or chaos in this world. We, of course freed the captives and found enough supplies for them to make it back to where they came from, along with some goods to raise money with, some of which was theirs anyway. We found our first “treasure” which is why most people go on these adventures. This has no meaning to me except as a way to send a tithe in honor of Aeylan to my church and also to better equip ourselves for the fight ahead.

Unfortunately, my decision not to pursue the goblin came back to haunt us, as the goblin that escaped from in front of the cave took our ponies with most of our supplies. Now we must turn back to Redrorch or Warwatch to use our treasure that we found to resupply for the trip north. Hopefully this delay will not be a hinderance to our mission.

One thing that concerns me or that I question is whether this type of evil has always been here or if it is a manifestation of the predictions that we our looking into. Is this just a harbinger of things to come? If so, what horrors are we to face? I must pray to Aeylan to give us strength to bring light to the world.

I’ve come back to the journal a few hours since I last wrote. Another concern has crept into my mind. The lightning that Yotho used…was that similar to what the necromancer used on mea year ago? If so, is it just magic that can be used by anyone or only the evil? Did Yotho use it because he had to, or did he enjoy using it. Is that any different between the joy I feel as Aeylan’s blessing pours through me blessing my weapon to unleash holy damage on those opposing his will? I must be cautious around my companions…but how can we succeed if we don’t trust another. I wish I had my father or uncle nearby to hear their counsel, or some other Valiant…but I guess this is my path and the choices I need to make…may Aeylan let me see the light and the truth.

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Journal write up

Great job on the write up rich. Also love the character images. Todd, your turn on character page

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Devinson's Journal
Game #1

Strange few days. As I stood on the deck of the Cloudbreaker , the Ae-Ship taking me (and my crew?) to Sera Tin-Opal as my uncle bid, (I am to meet with a contact in hopes of learning more about the Prophecy spoken by a seer (most say mad woman) who spoke before the Aegis League and was condemned by most, except my uncle) I had an oddly vivid flashback to the day I met my crew those accompanying me on this task…

It was about a year ago, at the Feast of the Bloodkin War, our celebration of independence from the dandies of Mun-Palass, when I had just met my future wife’s – ugh so hard to imagine that day looming like a storm cloud over my future – bastard brother, Dragoslav and his man, Yortho. They had come to “accompany me” or babysit me until my nuptial day, and here I was hosting two Mun-Palassians while celebrating our freedom from them – not the evening I had in mind…

As we sipped beers, the door burst in and in fell a beautiful woman…I was shocked to see it was a face from my past. I had looked for her as clandestinely as I could for years ever since the day she nursed me back from that injury…anyway, it was Deidre, hurt badly. I quickly called forth a blessing from Aeylan and healed her and called out for help in seeing what caused this. Dragoslav and Yortho came reluctantly, but to my surprise the Goliath in the corner also shot up – must have been looking for some action. His white, scalish skin that I could see beneath his furs was disturbing, but more so was the magic he conjured in a way I had never seen to produce light to guide us.

The light only allowed us to see where we were going, the destination was clear…a giant purple font of energy was pouring down from on high from the boneyard…not a good sign. We moved to the boneyard and when we arrived, I saw a hideous sight…the dead rising from their graves. I knew that this was to be a test from Aeylan, blessed be the Truthbringer. I quickly blessed Dragoslav to keep him safe from those abominations. With the Barbarian Krug at my side and Dragoslav and Yortho taking up rearward positions – how noble – we engaged the undead. The light seemed to be emanating from the plateau atop of the boneyard, so as soon as I felt my companions could handle the skeletons, I continued to push forward while they finished off the previous group, as they came in waves. If it were not for Krug’s powerful swings with his maul, the skeletons could have been difficult to send back to rest.

I finally pushed through to the top of the plateau, with Yortho at my side when I sight that sickened me filled my vision: a foul blaspheming necromancer was summoning the dead along with four thralls of his (which I was to find out was incorrect). Four more skeleton’s rose to come to me when I was appalled to hear Dragoslav’s braying voice calling for aid – he had been somewhat injured by a skeleton. Instead of the tactical sound decision to stand ground and face our foes, Yortho ran back to aid his master, a move that could have doomed us. Luckily, I held our ground until Krug could arrive, followed by Drago and Yortho, and we continued our push.

When I finally broke free from the bony ones, I sprinted to plow through the blasphemer’s followers, only at the last second realizing they were more of the undead: zombies. As I fought them and my companions came forward, through Aeylan’s blessing and the inspiration I felt flow from him, I used my faith in His teachings to weather a number of spells hurled in my direction from the necromancer. Krug and I once again took the front lines, the other two stayed back in support. However, from some magic, the necromancer transported himself behind Yortho. There, I saw the value of our support personnel. As the necromancer engaged Yortho, Drago moved behind him in a flanking position – sound tactics. Unfortunately, his attack missed and the necromancer turned with some wicked lightning spell and lashed out at Drago with it. Yortho, enraged by the attack on his master picked, the necromancer up and hurled him into a gravestone, breaking the injurious spell. seeing my chance to end things I broke from the remaining zombies and forced the necromancer to submit, praised be Aeylan.

Of course, Aeylan rewards those who serve him faithfully, so when I returned the necromancer to the House of Arms and the Valiants there, they approved of my actions (helped by my comrades) and took me back into training for my final oath and my initiation as a full-fledged Valiant. This training took the better part of the year, which could not be broken for a marriage and luckily my uncle requires me to attend this urgent quest, again putting off that painful day. I found Krug, who had been passing time as a mercenary, to accompany me – he proved valuable in that battle a year ago, though his “magic” is disconcerting – he will have to beware in Phaedrii. Feldra’s family must have spies among the servants of my family or my uncle’s, since no sooner had I returned home, did Drago and Yortho show at my family’s doorstep again. However, this pressing matter could not be put off, so they’ve accompanied my on this task, also. The flashback has reminded me that we need to talk. They are clearly not battle hardened warriors, but as they showed, they do have skills that could be useful. However, if we do not learn to work together, and something else like that night happens again, we could all end up dead.

As it is time to sleep I will try to dream of Deidre and the times I was able to slip away from training to spend a delightful few hours or even an occasional night with her. I hope she received the message that Willam had delivered to her to tell her of my departure. Actually before I sleep I must check on him, Philip and Davis, I know they are nervous of this flying ship, but not as much so as Krug.

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