Kast

Chapter 10: The Road Home
Telsin?
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Chapter 9: Ritual of Balance
Daevon

The primary goal of this précis is to accurately capture the Ritual of Balance used to ultimately banish Marrow from our plane of existence. We intend to explore not only the gross facts within that purview but also the greater significance of these events vis–à–vis those theories most well presented in [?],[?], and [?].

Our primary subjects of consideration are those considered in the previous monograph [L].

Pre-Dawn Pre-Ritual

Details suppressed due to the hour.

Minnow Out Evil

Pun based record destruction.

Marrow and Friends

Too many enemies to easily describe.

Possession

A russian nesting doll of pain, as la [Rr].

Denouement

Endings but French [PL].

Concluding Remarks

The conflict was so epic as to prevent simple description, hence the lack of description presented above following the tenets of [SB].

[SB] Stinson, B. Legen….
[LP] Le Peu, Pepe. Everything is Fancier when Frenchified.
[KR] Kukla, R., Kukl, R., Kuk, R. et al. It is What is on the Inside of the Inside That Counts.

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Interlude
Excerpts from the People v. Caleb Windseeker

“To understand why I did what I… what we all choose to do, you have to understand the whole story, the bigger picture and what we knew was at stake. The story makes the most sense out of order, when it makes sense at all, but you have to keep in mind: we always thought we were the heroes.

The day was ours to prepare how we liked for the coming Ritual that would cleanse the world of Marrow’s corruption. I chose to seek the wisdom of an old hero because the path I walked back then seemed so unclear to me. I told him of my troubled past, my family lost in the liberation day battle, growing up with my adopted sister, the abuses we both suffered at our… father’s hands…. How one day I confronted him and the storm of anger inside of me broke and he was struck down by powers I didn’t yet understand. I told him of my flight from my home, of struggling in vain to control the storm still raging inside of me. I told him of my wanderings in the wilderness and stumbling upon a forgotten shrine to the Deus of Winds and the monks there who sheltered me. They showed me how to channel my anger, how to think about the world, and gave me my purpose: Windseeker they called me. Roshi offered me words of comfort and guidance before he decided to visit a nearby river and spend his last day singing. He was a better man than we suspected.

Meanwhile my companion, Tuiz Burdenbearer, had a mysterious conversation with a shapeshifting thunder dragon in disguise. He told the dragon he left his home seeking vengeance, that he faces danger to protect his friends, and that he would risk everything to win his war against the Necromancer King’s fallen lieutenants. He suddenly woke from this dreamlike conversation when a thunderous crack echoed across the plateau.

Lucky, another companion of mine, awoke in far different circumstances! He once told me his harrowing tale of finding himself captured by savage gnolls, unsure if he was dreaming. He cleverly escaped his bonds and fled the warcamp, but was dragged back by their beast companions. He bravely offered his life to save another prisoners, but the grizzled Gnoll leader, dark of fur and wielding a stolen glaive, mocked his chivalry and executed the other prisoner without remorse.

Earlier that same day…. What’s that, councilor? Yes, I do realize I’m telling the story out of order, but I find it makes the most sense this way…. For the last time, no councilor! That’s not a plea of insanity. As I was saying, earlier that same morning, Telsin, began an intense game — well he described it as ‘tag’ — with a stranger shroud in shadow. The two darted away with quickness that only a lifetime of training could supply. The wild chase ended in part test part combat as Telsin faced an ancient apprentice of Roshi, and heir to his earthsong style, snatched out of time by the Necromancer King’s cruel magic. Their fierce battle creating the earthshattering crack heard by the others. After defeating her, she offered to join him as a student or teach him her secret technique. Telsin chose to take her as an apprentice and the two returned to Roshi’s hut.

Next we tell the tale of Kimya, whose curiosity nearly got the best of her, when she stalked a crystalline butterfly to a cavern linking this world to the place of Earth. Lucky, curious as well, followed and the two solved a strange puzzle of many hued crystals and were rewarded with a large diamond war hammer. Upon leaving the cave with their new treasure, they were ambushed by gnolls. Lucky turned to flee into the cave only to find it’s passage now sealed. Kimya risked her live (and very nearly lost it) escaping to warn the others of Lucky’s capture. Limping back to Roshi’s hut she encountered Tharn — her lifelong friend and companion — who had noticed Lucky’s disappearance and was tracking him to the cave she had only just fled.

Tharn displayed his mastery of nature skills to gather the rest of the party and deftly lead them through a difficult mountain pass to the gnoll camp where out companion faced almost certain death. Tharn chose to attack the gnolls quickly yet without mercy and to a beast ridded the world of those who threatened his friends and companions. A silver-furred gnoll leader who wielded chain whip escaped on batlike wings when the tide of battle turned and the dark-furred gnoll captain was slain in combat. I myself blacked out during the fight and my companions tell me I was lucky to survive. I guess we all were… At the time we were hardly troubled by the red fang sigil on the gnoll’s armor. Overcome with relief to find Lucky still alive I would guess.

Knowing our hardest trial awaited in the predawn hours we began our weary walk back to Roshi’s hut. Do you understand a little now? They were more than friends to me, we were more than family. Our bond, the risks we shared, what we would eventually …sacrifice… All of it has to mean something! It has to!"

Caleb’s testimony is drown out by the angry cracks of a gavel as the Judge silences him and quells the emotions running through the courthouse with a stern look.

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Chapter 8: Adventures in the Sky
Excerpt from Tharn's Journal

After defeating the manticores, we decided to rest a short while and take a closer look at the room. Three of the walls of the room were decorated with elaborate carvings. The far wall appeared to depict the founding of the monastery. The left wall showed the daily routine when the monastery was active, but this wall had been damaged by what were clearly marks for counting. We couldn’t tell what had been counted, but the marks could have been made by the monsters we had defeated. The right wall was a row of portraits carved in the stone. It’s possible that these were the former leaders of the monastery. Some of the portraits, mostly the more recent ones, had been (literally) defaced, probably by whatever had made the marks on the other wall.

Moving on, Telsin and I scouted ahead in an attempt to avoid being taken by surprise again. The hallway sloped downward, and seemed to have a very slight curve to it. After a short while, we reached a glimmering door and decided to go back for the rest of the group.

Once we were all ready to move again, we proceeded down the hallway and through door. The door opened onto a fairly wide walkway hanging in the air. Once we were through, Lucky closed the door behind us, and it just disappeared! With only one option we moved forward, and noticed that the walkway was disappearing behind us. At the end of the walkway, we reached a large stone platform hanging in the air, seemingly unsupported. The platform itself was set with intricate stonework depicting two intertwined dragons, one black and one white. On the platform were three statues; an onyx owl, golden eagle, and silver dragon. The far side of the platform had two doors, which were at the same time repelled us, and attracted us. It was like feeling fear and warmth from the same thing at the same time. In the center of the platform was a table of light food and drink.

Now that we were on stable ground, we were able to examine our surroundings. Caleb deduced that we were no longer in Kast, but had been teleported to the elemental plane of air. He recommended that we not jump off the platform, as the fall was not simply long, but actually unending. I don’t think any of us had really considered that option.

The layout of the platform made it fairly clear that we were supposed to pick one of the doors. While we were talking, we were surprised by an additional voice! It turned out that the statues were able to talk, and provided some insight into which door we should take. Unfortunately, they didn’t seem to agree on much. One would tell us both doors were safe, another would say he was lying. Regardless of how many absurd questions we asked, we never got any useful informaton. It. Was. Infuriating! But at least we had snacks.

Finally, we decided to check the doors. At least, the others did, while I hid behind a statue. I’ve found too many traps recently, and wanted to leave this place in one piece. The doors both opened safely, and both led to a stone passageway like the one we had followed to this place. After a few experiments with coins, we determined that both doors led to the same place… We had worried, and wasted all that time when the decision didn’t matter.

Moving forward, we again heard the sound of bells, telling us that we were truly back in the monastery. After a short while, we entered a room filled with a white mist tinted with hints of red, gold, and yellow, like the sky at dawn. To the right and left of us were two statues, and the far side of the room narrowed to a hallway whose floor was a fine grate. Trying to cross the grate caused Tuiz to burst into flame. Another puzzle.

With nothing else around, we tried moving the statues. The slid surprisingly easily, and beneath them were more grates like the passage ahead. With the statues moved, the flow of whatever was causing the fire was redirected, and we were able to continue through the passageway.

Our success was short-lived, as the following room was much the same, but with four statues. This time, there were no grates under the statues, so we were left somewhat perplexed. Again with nothing else to try, Tuiz and I went back to the previous room and moved the statues back to their original positions. With the grates again covered, we were unable to proceed to the second room, but Lucky was able to get out. Once past this puzzle, the hallway split, with closed doors down either path. Removing the statues again caused the left door to open.

Past the door, Lucky found a lever and two closed, but unlocked chests. Pulling the lever opened the right door, allowing the rest of us were able to move through, and opened the right door. With all of us in the room, we checked the chests. The first one contained gems and potions, but the second was a mimic! Lucky had tried to open the mimic, and his hands were stuck to it. During the fight, Tuiz managed to remove most of Lucky from the mimic, Caleb was grabbed by a pseudopod from the mimic, and with each attack, more of Telsyn’s limbs were stuck to the mimic. Finally, despite how bad the situation seemed, I managed to deal the final blow with a well-placed arrow.

Leaving this room, we continued through the other door, and found ourself in the ritual chamber! Two other hallways opened from it, much like the one we had entered through, and there was another door into a smaller room. In this room, we encountered the same adventurer from the courtyard. He looked as though he had had a rough time as well. He said that the weapon he was looking for was not here, but that he had found some useful treasure in the other room. Instead of fighting, he offered to take one piece of his choosing and leave the rest for us. Since we were in no condition for another fight, we accepted his proposal.

The treasure room had a pedestal in each corner, one of which was empty, leaving 3 items. One item was a small pearl, another a pair of gauntlets, and the third a broom. I chose to take the broom, as it was the most out-of-place of the three. In addition to these, there were also several papers, finely inlaid with gold and well illuminated. None of us were able to tell what they meant, but I gathered them to show to Daevon, who would appreciate them more than the rest of us.

With all that done, we left the monastery through a now empty pathway, and returned to Roshi’s hut.

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Chapter 7: a castle in the clouds
Lucky

So last time I was telling you about how I started off adventuring with my friends. We ended up with the skull of Marrow to destroy and in the process enlisted the help of the monk Roshi, may he rest in peace.

We’d collected three moxen for Roshi‘s ritual and needed just one more — one that was guarded by a beholder. Nasty, evil, eye-monsters that they are, we tried to rig up a trap to pierce its main eye as soon as we defrosted it. That didn’t work out, but were able to defeat the beholder without much trouble anyway. It must have still been slightly frozen or something because it just wasn’t that mean; it barely affected us with its magic before I shattered it (and part of the cave) and it got skewered by a falling crystal. That wasn’t the coolest part though; the credit for that goes to Telsin and his epic wall-jump-three-hit-combo. Interestingly, with the beholder defeated, the purple crystals began to lose their luster; strange magic.

After working our way out of the old monk cave system/vault with an assist from an earth elemental, we headed up to the cloudsong monastery. Most beautiful location I’ve ever seen. Perched on this precipice high in the clouds… We were fortunate it was somewhat clear as we hiked up in the morning. Truly breathtaking views.

Entering the main monastery courtyard, we found we weren’t the only visitors to the old monastery. Some treasure hunter was there already… Beezil? Braxtil? Bordal? I think, Braxtil (shakes head) It’s not important. Anyway, he was there with some gargoyles looking for some ancient weapon fragments. As we were looking for a ritual chamber, we decided to let him do his own thing while we did ours. Then a third party showed up. The big bird folks disagreed with Braxtil. They fought. The birds lost. While we saved one, Braxtil vanished deeper into the monastery.

The courtyard featured three prominent doors: the path of peace, the path of enlightenment, and the path of awareness. We chose to explore the path of peace first. Ironically, the first thing we found down that dark, carved-stone route was three angry manticores. Telsin attempted parley, but they were not to be bargained with. We were forced to kill the evil beasts.

Oh goodness! Look at the time. I’ll have to tell you about the trial of peace later. Remind me to also tell you about the stories Roshi relayed to us before we headed up to the monastery. You’ll recognize the story I tell about uncle Yoshi and the moon. Oh, and one final thing! Before we went up to the monastery we received mail! Such a wonderful use of runic magic!

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Chapter 6: Son of a Mucklord
Tuiz

… So we’re searching this room we worked so hard to get into, hoping to find more than just a quarter of what we were looking for, when Tharn notices there’s two Luckys. That made me worry — one was enough trouble. But before long we figure out it was just an illusion. The thing that was really there was some kind of butterfly dragon.

He was friendly though, and told us his name was Indigo Mario Nacimo, but we should call him Indy. Anyhow, he’s got a deal for us, says he knows where the missing treasure was taken, and he’ll help us get it back if we give him some kind of magic fruit that’s with it. That works for us.

So this dragon explains that the loot was taken by some puffed-up frog thing that Daevon calls a Bullywug but that calls itself Mucklord Grumuru II. It sounds like the sort of guy that needs to be taken down a notch or two. As we figured, we’d get to him through the tunnel.

Before we left I dug out the fourth chest from the rubble in the corner, but it was empty too. Figures.

So then we go through this little tunnel under the chest. I didn’t think caves were so bad up til then, but this was like crawling through a sewer pipe with jaggy edges that didn’t go straight. I was real glad when it opened out into a bigger cavern, with a river in it.

But then just as I was getting oriented, I notice some froggy eyes in the river, and I was like “Bullywugs!” and everyone whipped around to look just before they jumped out and started fighting us.

I won’t go into too much detail on the fighting ‘cause I know you don’t like hearing about it, but I’ll just let you know that I got two and a half of ‘em, Caleb got another after it surrendered but then tried to run, and one of their pet giant toads got away. It wasn’t any big deal.

Once we get cleaned up from that, Daevon got received a burst of magical insight from the solitaire he bore. I was naively skeptical of him initially, but soon acceded to his guidance. It said there was something in a cavern nearby so we checked it out.

Indy told us that this place was creepy, and he was so right. It was real pretty, with crystals all over the place lighting it up, but it gave me the willies. We started calling it “the cavern of the crystals and the madness.” In the back there was a column of ice, and inside that was some kind of giant freaky eye-beast with eye-tentacles. And also one of the gems we were looking for. We tried to melt it out without disturbing the freaky monster, but the ice was magical and we couldn’t do it.

We got out of there. After a pretty long walk through the caverns, through an abandoned mine, we came up on Lord Froggypants himself, along with his bodyguards. Again I’ll gloss over the fighting, but this one was harder. One of his toad pets was some kind of super toad that gave me a lot of trouble. I was real glad we had Caleb there, both to patch up my wounds and because he used his wind magic to awesomely lock Count Widemouth in place for a while. Eventually Lucky finished him off, and the whole place smelled like fried frogs. It made me miss your famous frog soup.

So we start going through the loot, and damn, that guy was loaded. He had a bunch of gems shaped to look like fruit, and at first I was like “aw man, that dragon’s gonna eat up these gemstones, I knew I shouldn’ta made no deal” but he wasn’t actually interested in them, there was actually a little potted fruit tree. He shared a bit with Lucky, and he said it did taste real good. But then Indy eats fruits and leaves. We did find one of the other gems we were looking for. I’ll try an’ get some of the cash we found back to you somehow, ‘cause my share is more than I need.

It was late and we were pretty beat up, so we decided to spend the night. Lucky us, no more bullywugs showed up, even though this was where their leader hung out. The next morning we walked back to where the river went through that abandoned mine, but it seemed real abandoned.

Daevon’s attunement to the oscillations of his bijoux lead us to an underground pond, where we thought we could see another of the gems we were looking for. We all had a bad feeling about it, but Tharn climbed down a rope towards it, and then bam! a tentacle of water reaches up and drags him under! At first we can’t even see what did it, but then Daevon jumps in and opens up a bottle of ink and we can see this blob thing for a bit.

Despite all my practice swimming I knew I wasn’t any good in scale mail, and my glaive wasn’t very good underwater, so honestly I wasn’t much good here though I tried. Lucky blasted it with some spells, and Telsin — remember that’s the elf karate guy — jumped in and eventually headbutted it into submission. No joke.

As soon as it’s beat, the water lifts us up out, and Telsin tells us a water spirit talked to him and that we passed the challenge of water. And also now he’s pretty sure he could melt that column of ice I mentioned in the cavern of the crystals and the madness.

So that’s what we’re going to do next. Which is why I’m writing you a letter now as we break to prepare, because I got a real bad feeling about this, and I hope this letter will get to you even if something happens to me.

Take care of yourselves. You know I love you. Also, please thank Daevon for taking dictation of this letter just like I said it, because it’s way faster than if I’d try to write it.

I miss you.
Your son,
Tuiz

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Chapter 5: Dead Fish + Clam = Nothing???
Daevon

The primary goal of this précis is to accurately capture the first stage of events leading up to the recovery of the moxen necessary for the ritual of cleansing. We intend to explore not only the gross facts within that purview but also the greater significance of these events vis–à–vis those theories most well presented in [HJ],[VL], and [AK].

Our primary subjects of consideration are those considered in the previous monograph [L].

A Task

The individuals of [L] awoke still in the presence of the esteemed monk Roshi, who continued to exhibit those twitches most adeptly predicated and described in [SA]. They were able to avoid the meal difficulties of prior days by following the dictates of [SA2], namely providing their own food and thereby preserving their own teeth. Roshi described the tasks necessary to destroy the being Marrow, however those tasks need not be listed here as they will be obvious to any familiar with the work of the rather eccentric member of the well-known scholary clan of Sfrondrati-Piccolomini: [SB].

An Ambush

Proceeding into the cave system the individuals of interest were attacked by blight vines. An attack most likely precipitated by the curiosity of one of their constituents, which is unsurprising as blight vines are a plant-like species and so partial to precipitation. However, the fault of the individual is ultimately due to the fault of the group, as was made clear in [MG]. The blight vines were vanquished, though not without difficulty. The author of this work felt it necessary to admonish the others by calling their minds to the ever insightful [SH].

Confusion

After the encounter with the blight vines the subjects of this piece encountered one of the classic problem of [LD]. As was discovered after the fact some members of the party were able to see a slide made of ice and others were unable to perceive that same qualia. It, the one who carried the skull of Marrow and follows many of the precepts of [QP] whose senses appeared to have been misled. Some more rash members of the party, namely one called out in the second section of this article, headed rashly down the slide while the group as a whole, to remain unitary, was forced to wait for the apparent mental confusion to be overcome, at which point they encountered a most strange phenomena.

Blocked

The room possessed four distinct blocks of ice that could only be slid along orthogonal axes. It also possessed four distinct elemental sigils. Depending on the theories expounded in [MT] this apparent puzzle was easily solved thereby turning the snow of the room into ice, revealing a pool full of what appeared to be keys but were in fact predator fish.

Adrift

Following the tenets of [KJ], all of the fish were summarily slaughtered through various magics and other fell powers and invocations. A key was found within a clam at the bottom of the pool, a key which would turn the water of the room back into ice. After much apparent confusion (including, but not limited to placing a dead fish into the clam in hopes of transubstantial key production) it was discovered that only the surface of the water turned to ice and that swimming below that ice a second key was found in the clam that opened the door to the treasure room. This result is, of course, entirely unsurprising to anyone familiar with the work of [CS].

Concluding Remarks

Following the prescient work of [RJ], not all of the necessary moxen were found in the treasure room. Only one was contained within the walls of that room, which drove the unitary group forward. The subsequent events precipitated (even at risk of further plant conflict) are to be addressed in [L2].

[AK] Arrow, K.J. Social Choice and Individual Values.
[HJ] Hadamard, Jacques. An essay on the psychology of invention in the mathematical field.
[CS] Claine, Stesdorff. The Truth is Out There…Probably…Sometimes…Good Luck…I Guess…
[KJ] Kovalic, John. Life of a Murder Hobo.
[L] Loreseeker, Daevon. Events Preceding ‘Dead Fish + Clam = Nothing???’
[L2] Loreseeker, Daevon. Forthcoming (forthcoming)
[LD] Luce, Duncan. Individual Choice Behavior. A Theoretical Analysis.
[MG] Mackey, George W. Unitary group representation in physics, probability and number theory.
[MT] Makkai, Tierney. Bijective Equivalance: The Foundations of Dance and Non-Numerosity
[QP] Quillen, Perseigi. Carry a Big Enough Stick and Walk as Loudly as You Like.
[RJ] Richards, J. It is Not Continually Possible to Procure What One Desires.
[SA] Sfrondrati-Piccolomini, Archibald. Sharing is Caring: Possession, Psychopathy and other Cosubstantial Phenomena.
[SA2] Sfrondrati-Piccolomini, Archibald. Let He Who is Without Food Eat the First Stone.
[SB] Sfrondrati-Piccolomini, Bob. Elementary Quests and Their Four Elements
[SH] Sfrondrati-Piccolomini, Heron. A Bad Plan is Better Than No Plan.
[VL] Volkmann, L. Fundamente der Graphentheorie.

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Chapter 4: Trials by Earth and Fire
Telsin

Scout’s Log, Entry 189

The journey from Respite to the Earthstone Monastery was reasonably safe. We were attacked by a clutch of cockatrices: the beasts weren’t particularly threatening, but their magical nature is a bit unnerving given the region’s history: I fear more dangerous magical beasts may lurk the forests. We also crossed a bridge that had fallen into significant disrepair, but it held even our iron-clad allies. I wouldn’t let my sister pass through this region without me by her side, but once again I cannot find evidence of the sort of rampant danger that Anfaug-sensei expected I’d encounter in the aftermath of the Necromancer King’s reign.

The Monastery itself is atop a high plateau. The cliff face looked inaccessible, but when I grasped a strange hand-like protrusion the rock changed, growing hand- and footholds to make it manageable. Two of my companions, Tuiz and Daevon, went up first, and found the cause behind this unusual behavior: an earth elemental awaited them at the plateau’s summit. Oddly, this creature that had just aided our ascent immediately attacked!

His stone body proved resilient, but with the thunderous magicks of Caleb and “Lucky” he was defeated. Or so I was told: I tried to climb to their aid, but, well… ahem… suffice to say Manka will have another verse of “The Ballad of Butterfeet” to write. But I digress.

After falling apart, the earth elemental surprised us again by reforming. And… congratulating us? It claimed that we’d passed the Trial of Earth, carried Tharn’s wolf to the top, and pointed us in the right direction.

Following the strange helpful/hostile creature’s directions, we soon came to a hut containing Master Roshi. He… is not well. His diet seems to consist entirely of rocks and sediment, later he casually destroyed a wall in his hut just for a demonstration, his entire demeanor… He does not have the disposition of a monk. When we mentioned the skull we sought to destroy, we learned what I suspect is the cause of his illness, when he transformed into a man named Menil Firecrown. Apparently the two had been fused together by one of the Necromancer King’s foul “experiments,” and the process clearly left the both of them broken. Menil explained that to destroy the skull we would need the blessings of the four elements, a particular magical reagent, and a sacred place. Then Menil, too, attacked, transforming into a sabertooth tiger.

“Lucky” bewitched the beast with a sleeping spell, and he reverted to Roshi. The master explained that by defeating Menil, a being aligned with the Deus of Fire, we had now earned our second elemental blessing. The reagent Menil had mentioned could be found in a nearby cave, and the Monastery itself would suffice as a sacred place in which to perform the ritual. But both locations are inhabited by monsters (including, Roshi suspects, manifestations of the remaining two elements).

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Chapter 3: Departure
Excerpt from Tharn's Journal

It seems that my friends managed to finish off the would-be thieves while I was unconscious. When I awoke, with the help of Caleb, we had some time to examine their hideout. In a back room was an altar with a dragon statue looming over it. Daevon informed us that it is, in fact, a likeness of the Dei of the negative energy plane. This was likely a meeting place for a cult to that Dei long ago, but the thieves seem to have no connection.

As we left the cave, it was impossible to miss the commotion in town. This was largely due to the heat and glow from the burning houses! Some wizard was attacking the town with the aid of golems. While tindertwig golems ignited the buildings, two suits of animated armor prevented anyone from interfering. My friends immediately set upon the golems while Lucky and I attempted to bring down the wizard from a distance. Once the nearest suit of armor had been destroyed, Telsyn attempted to engage the wizard more personally. Unfortunately, he seems unaccustomed to city structures, and had some difficulty in the approach.

When it was clear that he was beaten, the wizard hurried off, pursued by Telsyn. They were moving far to quickly for me to follow, so I turned my attention to the remaining golems. During this combat, Nathani was also doing her best to aid in the defense of the town, and with her help we were able to dispatch the remaining golems. With the golems out of the way, the townsfolk were able to mobilize to extinguish the fires, and fortunately there was minimal dawizard and no deaths. Telsyn returned from his pursuit without the wizard, and did not know where he had been headed. Close examination of the scraps of armor we had fought showed that they were the same armor we had seen in the building we had rested in a few days prior.

After a short but much needed sleep, we again broke our fast with Kara. She suggested that we travel to the Earthshroud Monastery in the foothills of the Veiled Mountains. The Earthshroud Monastery was destroyed, but Kara believes that a monk named Roshi still lives there. Years ago, Roshi opposed the Necromancer King and was defeated, leading to the destruction of the Monastery. With his knowledge of the Necromancer King, Roshi is the most likely to know how to destroy this skull.

Before heading out, we went to the market to procure supplies for our journey. While I’m sure I could find plenty of food while we travel, time is (as they say) of the essence, so this mediocre substitute will have to suffice.

As we left the town, we encountered Lord Atil and Lady Aritessa as they were returning. They thanked us for our help, but also for adding some adventure to Kara’s life. It seems they worry that she is a bit too focused on her studies. They also encouraged us to return when we can, but asked us kindly to not disclose the town’s location. We will honor their wish.

The first night of our travels, we had not yet left the forest, and we camped in a small clearing. During my watch, I witnessed an extraordinary occurrance. As the night grew dark, faerie dragons appeared and began to dance. Their movements and shimmering, flickering lights they created were captivating. Had danger presented itself, I’m not sure I could have responded.

The following day, we continued our journey until we came to a river. The river was shallow, but we were near a bridge. As we began to cross the bridge, a troll emerged behind us, demanding a toll. When trickery and negotiations failed, we were forced to fight our way out of the situation. During the fight, we “disarmed” the troll, and threw its arm into the river where it was immediately devoured by a swarm of fish. I hate to imagine what would have happened to us had we decided not to take the bridge.

When the troll was finally vanquished, we hauled its body to the river, where it too was devoured by the fish. With that obstacle overcome, we continue on our journey to find Roshi…

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Chapter 2: Demons part 2
Lucky

Okay. Kids. Hey! Pay attention. This is the story of how I met your mother.

It all started back at the summer home of Lady Oritessa in the city of Respite. Of course, you’ve heard of Lady Oritessa and Respite, but at the time they were a complete mystery to us.

We’d been sent into the Raug’Tawar woods on our first quest when we were drugged, captured, and brought to what was, at the time, the hidden city of Respite. We awoke in the aforementioned summer home, surprised at our lavish accommodations and apparent freedom.

Thereafter, we met our host, Lady Kara, and joined her for breakfast. She was a bit strange, in that way meeting your first Tiefling is, but I immediately liked her. She was accommodating and forthright and tolerant; my opinion of her grew further when I learned her family had done so much to let so many live freely as themselves in Respite.

So anyway, over breakfast she explained that she could see glimpses of the future and that she needed our help. She told us that if we helped her prevent the theft of Marrow’s skull, that she’d work with us to make sure it was destroyed safely. We agreed to help.

The plan involved a series of decoy skulls hidden in a variety of locations around the city: in the barracks of the town guard, at a local inn, in the shop of a young girl who owed us a favor after Daevon and Tuiz intervened on her behalf… We spread out to provide some cover for each of the decoys. As expected, the thief struck at the summer house and made off with the skull stationed there. Tharn raised the alarm, but despite our best efforts the rogue slipped away into the darkness.

Fortunately, we were able to track the thief to an underground lair. Trapped, four members of their crew decided to fight us. With Kara and Caleb joining our number we were seven and we quickly dispatched them. However two stronger members surprised us in the flank and struck both Tharn and Kara down. As usual, Caleb kept our allies breathing while we fended the foes. The fighting was quick and brutal and Tuiz nearly single-handedly felled one foe. Tis a bit of a shame they fell to thievery and gave their lives against our blades, bow, and magic. They didn’t even manage to steal the real skull (it was safely with Telsin and later Daevon).

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