>System Reboot Initializing.
Power core output: .000%
Core lock retrieval: [ERROR: CORE LOCK NOT FOUND]
Initialize full systems scan: Running…
Structural integrity: [ERROR: STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY COMPROMISED]
[WARNING] Structural pattern: Non-standard Platform [WARNING]
>proceeding with full systems scan…
Electrical systems: Non-Standard. Bio-Organic Composition. Sodium. Potassium. Calcium. Phosphorus. Magnesium. Iron. Dihydrogen monoxide. Conductivity limited. Effectiveness grade 35-Alpha.
Sensor array: 41.86%. Reviewing sensory input…
Error. Optical Sensory input damaged. Secondary sensory moderator program: Online.
Initializing structural digression: Deploy Repair Sequence. Commencing…
>Complete. Effective repairs assumed – Optical Sensor integrity at 33.3_%
Sensor array: 68.25%. Reviewing sensory input…
>Simultaneous Process Initiated.
Threshold reached. Initializing non-essential systems…running…
Complete. Systems online. Unlocking boot protocols…
Initializing main data-store: …running… [ERROR: MAIN DATA STORE COMPROMISED]
[WARNING] Main Data Store: Non-standard Pattern[WARNING]
[WARNING] Class: Bio-Organic – Capacity – Calculating… 2.5 petabytes. [WARNING]
Central Processing Unit analysis complete.
Primary function type: UNKNOWN, UNKNOWN. NON-STANDARD/BIO-ORGANIC CONSTRUCT-LIFEFORM: Class 3.
…Network Functions Stabilized.
Net output: 76.0002%
Net input: 03.0037%
Message logged: Request for initialization of data transfer link.
Confirmation received. Reviewing…approved. Transfer link accepted.
Downloading program package…complete. Integrating information.
Integration complete: Singular target incapacitation, singular target destruction.
Primary target: J’kad Methras
Secondary target: Saul Dosra.
Message logged: Physical threat minimal. Exposure threat high. Highest priority: Conceal presence. Probable result of weapons use: Exposure. Conclusion inadequate. Further evaluation needed.
[ERROR] PROCESS MEMORY INSUFFICIENT [ERROR]
[WARNING] Processing Unit: “Nanite Hive Delta” contains invalid memory to execute the task. [WARNING]
> Cancel, Annex, Delay ?
Retry on systems reboot.
[WARNING] Task delayed until memory available [WARNING]
Resuming message log…
>Log review: complete.
[WARNING] Insufficient Network reception to retrieve message data. [WARNING]
> Cancel, Annex, Delay ?
Retry in 4 cycles.
February 20, 4720 21:28
>System Reboot Initializing.
February 19, 4720 21:50
February 18, 4720 04:51
February 17, 4720 11:06
We rode for an age.
The Healer and the Sister went ahead.
The Men went to the Mad Alchemist.
People were dying. With a worg stalking us, I offered to help. We’re a team, and I can help more if Delrus would be a team player. But he has control issues, I suppose.
Sasha found us. We got married. Well, Delrus did.
Delrus blamed himself for the dying people at the Fort. I offered to help. He agreed. So now instead of watching, I’m driving.
And everyone lived.
February 15, 4720 17:48
One more step. Just one more step. Another step. One last step. I can see smoke. We’re near the crazy kook’s hut. Just a few more steps and we’ll get to the top of the hill. My legs hurt. My feet hurt. One more step. Again. Another. Almost to the top and then we’ll just lie down and roll all the way down the other side. Step. Step. Have to reach Bokken before the poison gets me. Told them the temple wouldn’t help. Nothing’s coming from Brevoy. Ow. Rock. Keep walking. Only hope is Bokken. Delay poison. So tired. Almost. There. Need more time. There! I can see the hut. Oh…
OH DEAR GODS! HELLS AND THE ABYSS, I’M ON FIRE! MY INSIDES ARE MELTING, LIQUEFYING FROM THE HEAT! SOMEONE, FOR THE LOVE OF THE GODS, STOP SCREAMING AND HELP ME!
I was screaming. It was me. The pain is unbearable, even with the medicine. Oh gods, this is incredible. And not in a good way. I can’t see straight. I can’t control my body. Oh hells, I’m going to pass out, again. “Bannon!” I hope he can hear me. I can barely hear myself. “Bannon! Wait a day for next medicine. Don’t waste…”
Laughing. I’m laughing and dancing. She looks so beautiful in that dress. I’ve never been happier. This is the party! This party goes so well. I remember it. I remember Sable talking to me about Theo. Why did it get dark? The base? Why is the party in the base? What party? We never have any parties here. Well, Theo does. “Sable, you have to listen to me. We do all the work for that money and then Theo goes and blows it all on those ‘friends’ of his.” The door opens. Theo is in a bed with a red-haired girl. I’m just a kid. I’ve never seen this before. She looks so strange sitting on top of him like that, but I can’t take my eyes off the bouncing. Theo yells and I…
I’m screaming again. Bokken is trying to smash my head open with a rock while he sets my body on fire. Bannon robs me. I’m dreaming. Bannon’s the only one I trust, besides that Lilu…
Lilu smiles at me. A white lily is in her hair. Her hair turned black. The smile is Malia’s. Malia’s lovely lips, ruby against her bronzed skin. Her eyes shine, the way they always do. We’re dancing again and her fingers twine in mine. We’re lying on the grass. A hill. With a tree on it. Its sunset. We only ate half that picnic. All that food’s going to go to waist. Malia leans over me and suddenly I don’t care. Blond hair falls across my face. Blond? How did I get to Oleg’s? I’m behind the stables and this isn’t Malia! This is… what’s her name? I can’t even remember all their names. Not since Malia… Delrus is screaming for help.
No, I’m screaming again. Was I awake before this? Was there a moment when I didn’t feel like I was already in the hells? I can’t… I can’t remember anymore. Gods, please let it end? Take me! Let me die! I don’t care anymore! Just end it! What good are you if you can’t kill a man when he begs for it?!? I’m so tired…
Everything’s on fire. The rooftops burn, but I’ve been in this position before. I’ve got my gold already. I still remember how to get in and out of Galt, even though its been years. I haven’t done this since I met Malia. Smoke like black clouds. Clouds hang over crowds. She’s speaking. No. No. I won’t watch this. I’ve seen this too many times. She brings them too much hope. Silver flashes. Its an eel. Oh gods. Not the pools. I won’t go into the water. Not like they did. Get away. I have to get away. Run. I have to get safe. What am I talking about? That’s why I’m here. This isn’t safe. This got me poisoned. Here got me killed. I’m going to die. I’m dreaming again. The poison is going to finish me. Bokken was no help. Listening to the others was no help. Cleansing the temple fixed nothing. Jhod couldn’t help. Lilu couldn’t help. There’s nothing in Restov that would help. We should have used our time better. My time. Oh gods. I’m about to die. Bannon is holding my hand. There’s a ring in it. The ring. Malia. I wish I could see you again when I die. I’m so sorry you won’t be there. Mother, will you be waiting for me? Is father still alive? Is Sable? I’d even take Theo. I don’t want to die. I’ve fought hard not to die. Gods, why? I don’t deserve this! I’ve helped people! Ok, I took a lot for myself, but I saved people! That should be worth something, right? You couldn’t save her though! You deserve to suffer like this forever!
Suffer? The pain… Its less. I’m sweating. I feel like stretched leather, like hells, but I can feel! Not just pain, but my body! HOLY HELLS, I’M ALIVE?!?
February 12, 4720 17:00
Liluye’s memory of the purification of the Shrine of the Elk came in fragments. She remembered seeing the bear for the first time:
Liluye remembered how nature obeyed her call.
The vines in the area erupted into action, slithering to life like black-thorned anacondas. The radius of the vines awakening was tremendous, ensconcing almost the entirety of the visible battle field. A maelstrom of ivy seized the blighted bear. The bear jerked to a halt. A moment later a crossbow bolt from Jac thudded into its flank.
Liluye had been shocked by the ferocity of nature’s aid in response to her plea. Never before had nature given itself so freely to the elf. In the past, the most Liluye had been capable of doing was make leaves twitch of their own accord… and that was when the new druid was concentrating so hard that sweat dripped down her brow.
Something had changed.
Liluye remembered her animal companion’s will.
Wander ignored her.
The stag tossed his antlers proudly and let out his war cry; a bugle that came from deep inside his chest. The megaloceros’ muscles rippled under moon-pale fur as he reared up and charged into the fray. The vines did not discriminate. Their thorns sliced crimson ribbons into the elk’s pallid fur. Wander ignored them and stomped gustily through the difficult terrain.
As he charged, a golden halo surrounded him.
Liluye remembered seeing evidence of her god in the battle:
Wander glowed with shimmering light and when his antlers struck the bear they sent out a shower of faint gold sparks. Similarly the blighted bear’s blood was black ichor. Shadows poured like vomit from its unhealthy maw. Wander’s white body was soaked with black and red blood, a flag of battle. The elk was badly wounded.
The bear’s neck was strangled by toxic vines. Bannon and Kelak were flanking it (Kelak was actually standing on its shoulders so he could more effectively chop at it). The eagle she had summoned screamed as it harried the bear’s back. The diseased bear slashed into Wander twice with its claws and then sunk its teeth into the elk’s shoulder. Wander’s furious bugle was cut short and the companion fell into unconsciousness, slumping in the bear’s jaws. Black toxic slime oozed out of the ursine monster’s mouth and onto the fading symbol of Erastil.
Purest gold light began to pour out of Wander’s wound. The light from Erastil was at war with the bear’s evil… but Wander was dying.
Liluye remembered how it felt to see the stag she’d raised from a fawn dance on death’s doorstep.
The druid reacted immediately. Instead of raising her hands in preparation to heal, the slender blonde skidded to a halt and hauled aloft her antler bow. If her friend the elk was to die, then this sick abomination would at least go before him.
The audial world, for Liluye, became muffled. Everything but the bear blurred in the elf’s keen vision. She could see thumping pulse in the animal’s straining neck, a tiny window revealed between the clutching vines she had summoned earlier. The elf whispered in Druidic: “Gadael iddo fod yn wir, Erastil.” In response, her arrow lit up like an ignited sunrod.
Liluye fired true.
The bear’s head separated from its shoulders as though a giant’s axe, not an arrow, had cut through it cleanly. Its body collapsed into the vines, dissolving away into the form of a decayed man which in turn transformed into ashes. The bear was felled.
Liluye remembered Jhod’s solemn suggestion that it was Erastil’s will that Liluye be the guardian of these woods. But more than anything else, Liluye remembered the incredible strength she felt inside of herself.
This power was… intoxicating.
February 10, 4720 04:11
9 Calistril, 4720
The script is slanted and hastily scrawled, quite unlike the exacting penmanship found throughout the rest of the journal.
I have been poisoned.
Victims report an incredible sense of fitness and wellbeing for several days, followed by an immediate and severe descent toward death – survival is unlikely without potent bolstering agents. Even then, it is up to the gods.
This be my end, not like this. I have come too far to be felled as collateral damage in a petty squabble between bandits.
We will make for Bokken.
February 07, 4720 12:18
Why would anyone have sex ever. It’s supposed to be joyous and wonderful, right? So where did that abomination come from? Ugh. If only I could have looked away. It was gross and icky and bodies are weird.
Let’s start at the beginning. The Knight was in a bad way when the magic wore off. I think I’m making some progress finally with the Numarian, and the sister seemed distant despite an apparently grave injury. I think I overestimated the value of gold with the Faeries as they gladly swiped 50 from the purse when offered. In exchange, they told us not to enter the grove I’m keyed to. Something about Grig sisters? 4 of them? Bad times. Anyways, the Numarian and I are apparently their friends. Hopefully that means they won’t mess with either of us in the future. The Smuggler was supposedly quite brave despite grievous injuries! My heart goes out to him because I know what it’s like to try too hard. Oh and I added a new quest companion to the party roster! He’s a kobold, I think, and really brave! He seems to have taken to the Numarian like a companion.
I returned to camp and tried to do the right thing with the dwarf’s horse, but everyone was asleep except the Half Orc. She seemed nice at first. But I was waylaid by some assassins! They didn’t seem like much, and there as only one, but he must have been a master at arms the way he swung that hammer! When I came to, the sister was bawling, the kobold was near slain, and this guy who sounds like he’s from the Acerage Deep was healing us. Also the shark pendant the sister made looks totally awesome now. It apparently saved me!
The party seems to need to rest, so I won’t push anything for now. But I really want to get to the bottom of this Daggermark conspiracy!
Session 4, Side Story
February 06, 4720 22:20
Somewhere, voices echo across the technicolor menagerie
“This is AMAZING. Why haven’t we done this before?!”
“I DON’T KNOW BUT THIS IS AMAZING HA HA WHOO”
“Does this last forever?”
“I HOPE NOT OH MAN ANIMALS ARE AMAZING”
“Why are the knight’s genitals a horse?”
“Why is Jac bleeding?”
“AH DAMMIT IT’S wearing off.”
“He IS bleeding”
“Shit… why’s he alone?”
February 06, 4720 01:27
It was raining.
Lightly, at first – a fresh shower. But the sky would soon darken, and the heavens deliver a torrent upon the already soft earth of the rolling hills and forests.
The boy stood and turned his face towards the sky, fat drops of water smearing the ash and the animal-fat pigment caked there from days ago. He ran a hand through his hair – still choked with mud, filth, and twigs from the morning – making a half-hearted attempt at removing the larger clumps. These he tossed casually onto the ground – landing near the corpses of some small reptilian beast and some of the blue-skinned beasts like at the Bright Clearing. These were too old for food, and bore no valuables for taking, but Chief Bann’ohn had deemed them important, and so the boy waited.
The other hunter was crouched in the dirt, over a jumble of animal tracks, the steadily-increasing rain already beading off of the large, strangely-shaped helmet of leather to pool in the paw prints before him. With his leather drape trailing behind him on the grass, he looked well-at-ease, and as the boy suppressed a shiver in the early spring rain, he could not help but respect the hunter. Tracking beasts was a skill he had never learned from his father, although the old man had tried to instruct him in the rudiments of the craft.
Crouched beside the Hunter was the tribe’s Wise Woman, an Ahlf, Chief Bann’ohn had called her. The boy knew that this meant she was not like him, but different, and that she had long, blade-shaped ears, like a fox. It may also be that all Ahlf were women – of this the boy was not sure – it seemed to be a subject none wished to discuss. The Wise Woman was consulting with the other Hunter, Jak – no doubt advising him in his hunt. Perhaps the boy would speak with Jak later – although the Wise Woman was often helpful, and it was important to have one in a tribe, she was not always right, and a warrior should trust himself as well.
At last some decision was reached, and a direction chosen. After much travel, with the others on their horses (Still no accounting for why, though. At this rate, they will always be slow) the tribe broke into an open field, in the distance of which could be seen a great tree, mightier and taller than any the boy had lain eyes on.
Advancing into the clearing, the ground was littered with more corpses, both of reptile-beasts and blue-things-that-scream. They are small, and frail, like Kellid lamb-girls, but with scales, or blue, and hideous faces. All are dead of battle-wounds – a mighty battle for such little warriors.
The tribe finally crossed the battlefield, arriving at the tree, and after tying up their horses, found a muddy hole which Chief Bann’ohn said must be the lair of the blue-things-that-scream. Where he knew this, the boy did not know, but perhaps the cheif knows these things, which the boy had never seen before. The rest of the tribe seemed eager to agree, and so the boy pushed himself into the hole, ready to crush the tiny bodies of more blue beasts.
Before he could get down the narrow chute inside, however, a pair of thin hands grabbed the boy’s ankles, holding him fast, and muffled words echoed behind him. Tugging his head out of the dirty tunnel, the boy found the Wise Woman clasped on to his legs, as she counciled Chief Bann’ohn not to enter the lair of the blue-things-that-scream so hastily. She may have been wise, but this was not her time. Now was the time to destroy the enemies of the tribe, and get vengeance for the attack on the Hunter Jak. Now was the time to slay blue-things-that-scream, and take back the ring of the good wife of the warrior Oh’lehk, and make a good allegiance with their tribe (who had many strong warriors) by returning what was stolen. The Wise Woman was good, but did not know all. Now was the time for warriors.
The boy threw himself in to the tunnel, proud to take blood for the tribe. Strangely, the Wise Woman did not let go – she held tight to his ankles, arriving down in the same dirt-walled chamber as he. Perhaps Ahlf Wise Women are also warriors? This is not unheard of, but never end well. “A wolf should to strive to be a wolf. A wolf shaped like a cow hurts the heart.”
Chief Bann’ohn slid into the chamber as well, clad in clothing of bright iron. This was good in a fight against men, but the boy did not think it would be needed here. The blue-things-that-scream had small, stone blades which hardly broke a warrior’s flesh, and were of little worry. Advancing on into the tunnels, the boy’s confidence caught in his throat, however, as a cold chill ran down his spine – from around a bend ahead could be heard the unmistakable sound of ratcheting clockworks, cold steel spikes sliding across each other, and tensing machinery.
The boy froze in his tracks, and turned rapidly to look at Chief Bann’ohn, who showed no fear. Inspired by his leader’s confidence in the face of great danger, the boy leapt around the corner, saw-toothed club waving in defiance as he screamed;