We have accomplished a great deal this past few days, and I believe Azuth guides me toward my destiny. At Sir Edmund’s request, we returned to the ancient Keep where we first encountered Nathaniel and the Low Hand guild. Once there, we encountered a number of demons, and much to our chagrin, we discovered that the planar breech within the lowest level was still unsealed, and evidently still spewing forth denizens from the Abyss. After dispatching the demons within the keep, we returned to the city, where I continued my research into Emancier’s Lost Vault, using the Journal of Alaveknus and some ancient texts which I was able to locate in the nearby library. It appears that the bindings around the vault are weakening; if the Vault is not repaired, or its contents removed, the planar rift will continue to grow and expand. We have left the local temple and its adherents in charge of keeping watch on the Keep, and stemming the tide of demons; my allies and I will search for a way to repair the vault, or to open it. Azuth guides my path now, and I shall guide my allies as we begin our search.
October 25, 2012 21:38
October 23, 2012 17:14
(an excerpt from the journal of Gavenot Rizzlan)
Calling on Azuth one final time, Malark channeled the power into Breen, providing just enough vitality to return the man to his wits and feet once more. Out of exhaustion, disbelief, or grief, I cannot say, but not a word was shared between the three of us until we reached Pentworth. Though not unexpected, the minor disciples in this town were not in the higher graces of thier deities and we were forced to return to the city of three names to seek aid for our fallen; or at least proper services for a man of his ilk.
His stature is certainly one of high regard within the Grand Stage of Eternity; for even though we were light on coin (considerably), the Knowing took him in almost without question. The hours passed and the ceremony was mostly concealed from our view, but I believe everyone present felt the power as his soul was reunited with his newly mended form.
Esmund lives! And we are in the debt of the Knowing.
October 23, 2012 02:08
(an excerpt from the journal of Gavenot Rizzlan)
I continue to travel with the group I met in Selgaunt. Though I am not fond of the idea, I suppose we have fallen into the role of “adventurers.” Esmund seems to revel in this and has indeed continued to seek out opportunities to place us in harm’s way. While the rest of us were in the catacomb below Palegaunt, he was busy navigating the social circles above. Admittedly, I would feel truly at odds with myself in such situations.
Esmund’s exploits garnered the knowledge of a missing missionary of Oghma and we set out once more along the southern road towards Pentworth to find her. (It seems the fates have destined us to this area, in this frozen hell, for some time.) Our investigations revealed another missing soul, this one a local boy, and led us to a frozen lake, an ominous cave, and sets of disturbing tracks. I think we all quickly came to the conclusion that we would find neither of the lost ones alive. What we found instead was a creature I thought to be a mere myth… a 5-headed hydra! And on this day, in this cave, we would emerge neither victorious, nor whole. Both Breen and Esmund fell quickly to an onslaught of powerful, snapping maws… and Esmund would not survive.
October 01, 2012 05:18
(an excerpt from the journal of Gavenot Rizzlan)
We were ill-prepared and down one sword as we entered the catacomb and my reservations about treading where the dead also walk were quickly confirmed. As we swung open the double doors to the many pillared chamber, Malark and I both immediately identified our first truly undead adversary, a loathsome wight. A fell remnant of a man with the vile essence of unlife coursing through it, filling it with an insatiable desire to snuff the life out of any who still draw breath.
After my first two spell attempts failed against a large spider we encountered in the sewers that led to the catacomb, I felt the need to vindicate myself and prove the power of the new arcane spell I had recently learned to channel. My outstretched hand let forth a ray of flames that enveloped the abomination, searing its gray flesh and filling the chamber with an almost palpable odor. The once-man was caught off guard and, as if clinging to the last human instinct it once had, fled down a far passageway beyond the reach of our lantern’s light. Had we our wits about us, perhaps we too would have retreated after seeing this first glimpse of what we were to encounter in this evil realm. But buoyed by our quick success and bolstered by the number advantage we had on the wight, we decided to hold ground and wait for its return. A decision that nearly cost both Malark and Breen their lives.
The confidence we held in our numbers was short-lived as three preternaturally agile skeletons raised themselves and ascended upon Malark from the southern alcove which we had not yet assessed. Their swords, though rusted and aged, proved very effective still as they were plunged into the holy man. Though badly injured, Malark seemed certain that Azuth would heed his call and send the skeletal animates fleeing in fear of the holy power. I must admit that I too trusted the priest’s abilities and faith but the ancient power of Myrkul which propelled the animates proved too strong to overcome. When several of Breen’s arrows passed harmlessly through the ribcages our attackers and Malark’s second call to Azuth fell upon deaf ears as well, I was certain that we were the overmatched and would never again be bathed in the warming rays of Lathander’s rising sun.
Knowing that Malark’s demise would most certainly assure a similar fate for Breen and myself, I wove my magic that pulled the cleric out of the fray and willingly placed myself in harm’s way. The suddenness of the transposition seemed to confuse the skeletons and several skillful dodges on the part of Breen and I, coupled with the charges expended from my sparking wand felled our attackers and bought Malark the time needed to heal himself. Though immediately following, as if sensing the rejuvenated life essence in the chamber, the wight reappeared and charged toward Malark. Thankfully we were prepared and stopped the creature just before it was able to deliver its deadly blow on our priest.
After pausing to gather our thoughts (and some useful trinkets from the recent remains of a pair of halflings who did not fair as well as we) we pressed on. I can only assume that Breen presumed the passageway to be safe given the wight’s retreat down it just minutes before but the living, we found, were not as welcomed. The followers of Myrkul that designed this place were bent on insuring the safety and sanctity of the unholiness of the inner room. Breen’s fleet feet activated a hidden glyph on the floor of the corridor and also fortunately kept him from harm. Malark and I were not as fortunate and took the brunt of the minor magical explosion which shredded our outer layer of traveling garb and tore into our skin.
The innermost chamber was unoccupied, or so we thought, but its floor was covered in a viscous red fluid which dripped from the mouth of a magically enhanced elf skull. Given the other evils we had faced in this tomb, we were wise and careful to avoid touching the spillage. We were not as wise and careful with the dark corners of the room and I paid dearly for it. A shadowy form stepped from the wall and made clear its intention to rid Faerun of me. I was able to weaken it with my final flame spell but not enough to deter it from attempting to recruit me into its shadowy ranks. It lashed out at me with its incorporeal essence and I was immediately stricken by an unearthly weakness which rendered me nearly unable to stand. My hands, ice blue and shaking, could barely be steadied to release a charge from my wand. Twice more the shadow grabbed for my remaining strength and I could not begin to explain how it did not succeed. The details of how we managed to strike it down remain blurred in my mind.
Perhaps Malark’s call to Azuth protected us in some unseen way, but in my opinion, nay, with absolute clarity and truth I tell you that none of us should have left the tomb alive.
September 30, 2012 22:08
My adventures within the world continue, and I did not have to travel far from the inn in which we are staying to find them. Sir Esmund secured a commission for the exploration of some of the catacombs buried beneath this city, and Breen, Gavenot and I set out to explore them. Although Sir Esmund’s prowess and tales were certainly missed, the three of us acquited ourselves well, dispatching a variety of vermin and walking undead. My newfound arcane abilities proved useful, though I fear I may have strayed from the path set before me by Azuth. I called upon his might to aid in our battles with the undead, and twice I found my resolve and faith were not as strong as I had believed. Fortunately, we were able to overcome the evils we encountered, and were able to destroy a minor artifact of Myrkul, but now that we are back, I hope to spend some time in meditation and prayer. I have seen and experienced much over these past few days, but my faith in Azuth must remain central to all that I do.
September 30, 2012 00:27
Palegaunt (or whatever they’re calling it these days) is already proving a most interesting place. Ripe with opportunities for this fledgling band we formed. Last night we wandered into the city sewers on official business if you can believe it.
Our resident noble-of-sorts, Sir Esmund secured us a commission to explore a recently unearthed mausoleum. It seems construction on the sewers ended abruptly when they broke through the seal and some of the “residents” didn’t take kindly. Oddly, Esmund was unable to accompany us on this adventure… something about a corset.
Thus the remaining three took off boldly, myself clutching a new flaming long bow I’d secured with our previous spoils. Things started off well enough as we made quick work of a rather nasty spider who was preying on anything that tried to squeeze through the entrance.
That turned out to be the easier part of the journey, for once we entered the catacombs proper, the inhabitants were indeed none to pleased to see us. The ancient tomb almost became our final resting place when we happend upon a grisly ghast chewing on some unfortunate predecessor. Just as we thought we had IT under control, a troupe of skeletal soldiers out flanked us. My new weapon proved useless against these creatures and so Gavenot and I attempted to fend them off while Malark pleaded in vain to his deity for help.
Still we did prevail… thanks mostly to our recent upgrades in equipment.
The rest of the ancient burial site was thankfully quiet… until we happened upon some disgusting alter of evil. A cursed skull was spewing hate itself from it’s mouth. The stuff was pooling before our feet but we all knew better than to touch the stuff.
At first I thought the flickering of my flaming bow was playing tricks but the situation proved more dire when a shadow rose up from the ground and attacked! It’s blows weakened Gavenot to the point he couldn’t move and once again I feared we might be done.
But here I am, writing this in the comforts of a Pelagaunt Inn. Piles of treasure and wondrous magics at my feet. What else will this town hold in store for our plucky band?
September 16, 2012 18:50
(an excerpt from the journal of Gavenot Rizzlan)
The dark dreams returned last night, as I lay in the comfort of a warm bed in the small village of Pentworth. How do I know it was mother`s face amid the smoke and flame? Any actual memory I had of her has long been replaced. Still, I know it was her. I share in her pain, I feel each pang of fear. But where were these dreams the past few days? Why did I not have them beneath the keep?
Our small traveling party stopped at Wolden`s Wayfarer for the night to regroup and return the lockbox. Turns out Breen was not very transparent as to the level of his involvement with the other players of this exchange. I wasn`t sure it was a situation I needed to be any more deeply involved with, so I took leave of the others as they handle the details of the exchange.
I ventured out before bed last night to get a pulse on the village and see what details I could gather on the situation regarding the young girl stricken with the madness. Perhaps Iztrak was mistaken on the girl`s location, or perhaps the people I chatted with were not of the immediate area. Regarless, not a single word or tidbit was shared with me about the girl Iztrak said would be easily found here.
I wonder what is keeping the others? I have heard or seen no signs of any ill encounters, but surely they should have concluded by now.
September 11, 2012 23:54
(an excerpt from the journal of Gavenot Rizzlan)
I really loathe being underground. If I truly needed this confirmation it was provided in our second day below the abandoned keep. I awoke rested, but anxious and full of an undirected hatred. I cannot describe the relief that overtook me as I took my first full breath of cold air outside the keep. As we have now arrived at the Wayfarer in Pentworth, and I have my senses about me, I’ll provide a few additional details of my account of the last few days.
We managed to extract Esmund from the bottom of the pit successfully; albeit painfully in the case of Malark, who I’m convinced landed on the crown of his head as we attempted to lower him down. Both men were in quite ill-form when we pulled them from the pit, but alive nonetheless. Too many close calls for my liking, but perhaps that is the way of the adventuring life.
The Gond alter we found beyond the traps was as exquisite as it was dreadful. Perhaps I’m simply not sufficiently well-read, but how a constructed object itself can be imbued with sufficient weave energies to produce its own mechanations, is beyond me. Interesting little constructs though…in the apparent form of a common guard dog. Truly fascinating!
The learned cleric, Malark, continues to impress with both his abilities and his obviously strong faith in the powers of Azuth to lead, teach and protect him. I am not certain what the creatures were that we encountered beneath the destroyed alter, but seeing what they did to the priest, I care not to cross paths with them again. If they were minor demons as Malark suggests, it would certainly make sense. They truly seemed disturbed by his aura and seemingly attempted to single him out. Thankfully, once more, the sure shot of Breen and the strength of Esmund prevailed. Admittedly, my well-timed minor prismatic spell was executed to perfection and knocked two of the creatures unconscious, allowing Breen to finish them off from a distance. (Necessary, as they expelled a very noxious, acid spray upon their death.) I was, however, quite surprised that the spell had effect on them.
We were in no shape to explore the lair of the creatures, and I was somewhat thankful for that. I felt a tension within me, like a burning in my arms and hands, while down there. Though I remain quite curious as to the crackling energy in the wall that seemed to power the creatures. Was this really an energy source? Or was this some portal of sorts that needed to be kept concealed?
Aside from an impressive array of tomes and personal items found within the quarters of an unfortunate priest of Gond (who apparently died from starvation or lack of air due to a small cave-in), there was little else of note in the areas we explored.
My impression of the Low Hand was correct. They wanted no part of our small group. They even assisted us in crossing the pit as we exited. They made short work of cleaning up the large coin pile we left behind and were packing up, as if to abandon the keep once more, as we departed. Though I know they are the type of band I should despise, St. Cuthbert will need to find a more devout follower than I to seek them out and put an end to their misguided practices. I’m more convinced than ever that the church was not the place for me. How could I be a true believer and yet, without remorse, let them walk away?
September 10, 2012 18:02
I write again but scant days after my first missive. Of course since I have been deep in the dungeons of Faerun you will recieve these two letters at once, but know that for me a lifetime hath passed betwixt them.
From the bandits camp in that dank cave we were met by a strange old man, obliquely offering to help us on our way. The only payment he asked was to deliver a potion that he had made to a young damsel beset by madness. I’m sure you think now that this is no price at all, and were the request coming from one with an ounce of trustworthiness I would agree; but the very fact that this wizened traveler asked it of us casts his motives into doubt.
We agreed, though I gave not the word of house Dennel, and true enough the man Iztrak did lead us to the bandit’s main encampment. It was an ancient keep, the grounds long since overgrown and the battlements acrumble. Quietly we scaled the South scree where wall once stood and overcame the sentries, with a little help from the humble cantrips old Uinlen taught me. But then, a great beast of a man was roused! More Ogre or Giant than human, hauling a ballista as a mere mortal would a cranequin.
Our strength proved his better though, and the battle stood us in good stead when later we negotiated with the bandit guild’s leader. Apparently these low brigands had been hired by another and had so little honor that they betrayed him to us rather than fight those who bested their bestial champion.
Their employer turned out to be a couple: a Zhent and his mate, a savage Northern shamaness. Though they were accompanied by a dangerous assassin and their magics and arms were strong, the sorcery of Gavenot, the arrows of Breen and the faith of Malark bested them. Of course my blade was instrumental as well, though I found myself taking the Zhent’s hammer to battle after besting him as the blade Jagan had forged me has been losing its edge. We did then find the lockbox which we sought, but it seemed there was more to this place…
Deeper still our adventure turned to the classic, behind a secret door and guarded by a pit trap was an altar to some strange Dwarven god! The pit actually proved a bit of a problem, in fact I’m still nursing a nasty bruise, despite Malark’s stalwart devotions to Azuth. Besting the metal god’s mechanical servants we discovered a cache of mystical treasures, between they and the gear from the Zhent’s mistress I am finally seeing how this adventure might solve our family’s troubles.
The deep dungeon did not stop there though, beneath the altar were stairs that our bold cohort descended so deep I felt sure we would wind up in Menzoberranzan any second. Instead we found a small sealed room containing terrible corpulent Goblins. I can only assume that the temple above was built to seal in these blighted Goblins, and their ‘tribe’ must have long since turned to cannibalism! Those we faced were surely the fiercest left alive, grown fat on the flesh of their lessers. They almost proved too much for our cleric, as in his zeal to best them rushed forward ahead of our group. In the end we were victorious, though he barely escaped alive.
Now we have escaped the dank confines and put the fear of the sword into the bandits. I write this now in a decent inn, with a warm hearth and a pack full of strange and mystical objects which should fetch quite a price.
I do hope that all is still as well as can be in Cormyr. Should you chance to write, please send your post to Wolen’s Wayfare, I shall endeavor to bring my adventures back here at a reasonable interval.
Should Orrund inquire as to my fate, please show him both letters, as I read the earlier words of my own hand they sound positively dreary and I wouldn’t have our brother knowing only the ill portion of my tale.
September 09, 2012 22:52
My companions and I have just arrived at the small town of Pentworth, after a days journey from the keep and ruins we had been exploring. I have a moment now to record a bit of our most recent exploits, as Breen and Sir Esmund ask for directions through the town. After destroying the mysterious altar/construct of Gond, we discovered a staircase down, and we were also able to explore a pair of rooms that were previously impassable. The rooms turned out to be quite interesting, and were apparently part of a work station and study for a previous occupant of the keep. We recovered several arcane items, as well as a curious Gondorian box, which no doubt holds something of value. I hope to study it in time and perhaps determine a way to open it. We were able to recover a large spellbook as well from the study, which I hope to make use of as I continue to explore the many facets of Azuth’s power. I also have a large book filled with ancient text and writings, which I believe to be the notes of the wizard or sage who created the altar and the many strange devices that we discovered. I am hopeful that further study of the book will illuminate some of the mysteries we uncovered in the depths below the keep. We did discover a strange energy source at the bottom of the hidden staircase, though we were not able to determine its purpose. Perhaps the secret lies within the tome I have. Although it has been only a few days since I began my adventures, I feel that we have already seen and discovered a great deal. I am anxious to investigate the items we recovered from the keep, and to see what our time in Pentworth will bring.