Regnum The 5th Age

Abraham's Compendium, Part III

Given the current actions of the last few minutes, I shall divert from my regular scientific notations to allow a more creative form of expression:

What in the name of the Gods is Keth thinking?!  Has he lost his mind?!  Or sense?!  I swear, that orc can be the most thickheaded, obnoxious, stubborn, bullheaded piece of fanged flesh to ever crawl out of that armpit of a desert.

The one thing that Mama Kashinski made us both promise to do was a) Never blow up anything bigger than a city block, and b) never join the clergy.  It's dangerous, especially when you get gods and deities throwing around fate and destiny and things like that.  People tend to look at those things with a really stubborn belief that they're fixed, which can get really annoying really fast.  Not to mention, we just woke up a shrine to Bahamut within the (apparent) perimeter of a crazy deific monster from hell.  GODS ABOVE!  Is this what the Guardians were really after?  Did they think "hmm, there's something fishy in that hole in the ground, and we should send someone to investigate it.  Not someone important.  Pick a ragtag group of misfits that feels like they have something to prove to themselves and others.  Even better if they have emotional/mental problems from their past (bonus points if they're oprhans!) that they're trying to overcome.  It'll be like pouring sugar water onto an ant's nest."

Whatever their true reasoning is behind pointing us towards this pit, at least we've found some nice things.  And I'll be damned if I'll let anyone or anything take my brother away from me.  Although, given what we've learned, I'm curious as to what our reward will be.  If it's anything of great value, then my price may have just doubled.

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Mindertas' Case Study

Confirming Arcane Transference Via Hemetic Influence

A Case Study to test Lemmy Hornsilver's theory of Sorcerous Conception by Mindertas Ilphelstia.

Introduction

While out in the field, I've been given the chance to test Dr. Hornsilver's theory on a Lizardfolk who not only consented to the experiment, but is highly motivated for it to be performed on him. In the following paper I will detail Thorsk, along with his physiology, psychology, and progress throughout the experiment. Though this will be occurring in the field so I will be unable to control for certain variables due to risk of safety for the subject, however I will try to be as descriptive as I can to ensure proper analysis of the data.

Methodology

The subject: Thorsk, Lizardfolk from a tribe located in the Cloven Citadel of the Ashen plain, ancestry currently unknown, age 19, Black-green scales with a very healthy frilling and few scars. He stands 6'4" with an addtional 8" when his lead Dorsal frill is fully extended. Approximately 300 lbs with about 18% body fat according to Beaurmann's method. Approximately average flexibility and speed. Introductions were made when my group and I, hired by the guardians for a separate investigation, murdered most of his raiding party on their return. Thorsk showed great bravery in charging us after all of his companions had been felled before him. He was calmed with a charming smoke from a magical pipe. In the interest of gaining him as a source of further context for our mission. He expressed interest in learning magic like I was capable of, but showed little promise in the way of education. So when I expressed Hornsilver's hypothetical loophole for arcane ability, he showed interest. In exchange for performing this on him he would help us on our mission. He shows intellect by his willingess to lie and trade to accomplish his goals, but holds very little (if any) formal education. He's also very boastful and headstrong, suggesting supreme confidence in his skills and methods. 

The impetus: Calryx, a captured white dragon 28'1" from snout to tail, wingspan of 40'7", and weight of approximately  1.2 tons. Confident, and provocative, upon diplomatic attempt he showed no intention of integrating into Drakkos' draconic community. Upon death, his blood rates at 3.6mPa suggesting nutritional deficiencies. This is likely due to its enslavement by local Kobolds. 

The process began by getting the body associated with the spirit via opposition. Thorsk fought against Calryx (along with 6 others) without sustaining any mortal wounds, lasting approximately 1 minute with about 20 second intermission with Calryx directly. Following Calryx's death the body was quickly prepared for tthe experiment and scavenging. The chest was carved open with the ribs broken open along their apex to allow easy access to the heart and other organs. The Heart was extracted using a small ivory carving blade of Thorsk's posession. The veins and arteries were stretched and drained into the body cavity where I painted the arcane runes upon his chest and back, envy and union; upon his skull, Frost and authority. He recited the verses of summoning to the elemental planes via the weave during his consumption of the heart. The ritual lasted 9 minutes and 17 seconds from the initial carving of the chest to Thorsk's loss of consciousness.

Results

Following the ritual, Thorsk fell unconscious. His body temperature dropped nearly 25 degrees while his scales secreted a slimey substance that appeared to contain a proto-silk within mucus. Exposed to the cold air in Calryx's recent lair, it froze within minutes into a crystalline shell. It was very brittle, a single book not even 80 pages nearly shattered his left leg when it fell from a stack of books nearby. Following 10 hours and 40 minutes, Thorsk's chrysalis opened up to reveal white, ashen scales and a modified anatomy. His frills were replaced by Calcinated horns (numbering 23 in total along 3 parallel, but staggered lines along his back with an additional 8 on the tail). His skeletal structure changed very little, but the muscle mass had turned lithe. The chest, arms, and legs, shrunk in muscle mass, but the tail grew by nearly 33% (total change in body weight: -54kg). A follow-up psychological profile showed little inherent change, but a notable increase in authoritativeness, aggression, and expressiveness. He also shows near full spellcasting potential. 

[2-3 parchments worth of paper detailing the specific measurements of physical aspects of Thorsk and Calryx.]

Discussion

The body appears to have undergone a significant change from brute force to finesse. The muscle groups of most significant definition appear to be reflex (legs, arms, and back) and articulation (both in the change of facial features and the hand) groups. I'm unsure why they adapted this way, but the increased articulation does allow him to form proper somatics during spellcasting. The body temperature has indeed decreased with a slower heart rate appears to be adaptations inherent to the white dragon. Beyond simple arcane inheritency, the body seems to have also gained some anatomical properties. Given a proper study of a non-arcane to prove a proper null-hypothesis, I would guess that arcane properties influence anatomical development more than Chuar's et. al 13767 estimation. His spellcasting, while weak, does reflect that of recently awoken sorcorers. It is questionable, at this point, as to whether he will be able to further develop these spells without additional rituals to obtain arcane energy from an external source. It is entirely possible that due to my current inability to access Hornsilver's manuals that I performed an aspect of the experiment differently and cause differences in results. I'd suggest a full divinative analysis of the experiment by additional mages of the academy on possibly incorrectly measured variables and unaccounted bias.

Conclusion

The ritual was a success and confirms that one is able to inherit the arcane properties of another. While my estimations of arcane power show an effective retention rate of only 20%, if external arcane energy is required to advance the potential retention rate (accounting for the dragon's youth and nutritional deficiencies) could be as low as 1.4%. Follow-up experiments and meta-analysis could discover hidden factors of the retention rating amongst subjects.

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Keth's first journal entry
Of faith and coin

Considering recent events and challenges I’ve been forced to face, I believe that it is important that I begin chronicling my thoughts and adventures so that if we as a group are to fall then those who follow in our steps may gain some insight to the challenges ahead. My birth name is Ne’zall Ufthal, though the name I’ve been directed to go by is Keth. I was born to Gorkil Ufthal [M] and Snaga Nur [F], both were wanderers of the desert surrounding Berkay, and blades for hire. At some point I was left behind by them in the care of my uncle, my father's brother, one Kirv Ufthal. I have a single brother named Abraham Memphis, who in his own right is a wanderer and master craftsman. My companions in my travels consists of a foppish mage named Mindertas, a young Humble monk who introduced himself as Tsume, and a bizarre peculiar merchant/street mage who insists that we call him Stan.

I will at some point go into more details about my companions and my impressions of each of them, but I have undergone a recent event that I find I should record while it's still fresh in my mind.

As we continued exploring the ruins that we currently call “the cloven citadel”, my brother and I found a strange room dedicated to Bahamut. It was a bare white marble room with thin veins of platinum that ran through the stone work. In the center of the room there stood a large platinum statue of a dragonborn which held out a large dish. After a few experiments with some coins, we determined that the dish was a collection plate where followers of the Lord of the North would make offerings, the offering would then melt or age away and the energy taken from the object would clean the room. My brother believed that you could age a sand crystal and turn any crystal into a white crystal and attempted to very quickly put a crystal in and pull it back out. This left him with two badly burnt fingers, and apparently some creature mentally chastising him. When he revealed the later to me we chose to leave the room alone and I decided to offer up a prayer of respect to the platinum dragon so that whatever entity apparently guarded the statue would hopefully see that we meant no real ill will, my brother at the time had already left the room as he has little patience for anything concerning gods

Considering the circumstances I decided to pour forth my heart and thank whatever strange forces that guided us and watched over us thanks for my wonderful life and to have a wonderful day. I was surprised as when I opened my eyes and found that in the room with me now was an platinum grey orc who claimed to be bahamut and truly he must’ve been for as I was only in his presence I could sense the divinity which threatened to reduce my mortal frame to ashes.

I conversed with the god face to face and found him to be a patient and honest being at some point though he took control of the conversation and began to warn me of an organization which threatened to release the Dark mother from her home realm into our own. The lord of the north then asked if I was willing to act and prevent such a tragedy from occurring, seeing as I offered up at least a sliver of faith. I accepted the task, promising that I shall be the god’s shield for this realm and attempt to prevent innocents from being harmed even as I try to do so for my allies. In exchange I was granted a type of power from the god, as he said he would also grant me strength to protect my companions through the coming trials. I later came to and heard screaming and banging on the door behind me and found my brother in a state of panic. I assured him things were alright and after a long apology we went on our way.

I later found that my companions Stan and Tsume also had an interest in the god as Stan forced me out of the room, and from conversations I had with him I found that Stan then dumped a majority of his belongings into the collection tray and began to make a long series of promises to the god, apparently the statue came to life and roughly gripped him by the head and poured some divine power into him.

Tsume however attempted to barter for a different fate, though I’ve yet to learn of what his offering was or what the form or messenger Bahamut used.

The one thing that I’ve found interesting though between My tale and stans is that I offered up a heart, impure I’ll admit but still one that was willing to believe and was gifted with the presence of the god himself, while stan offered up marks and had to engage in making a covenant with the god to prove his faith. I think the lesson to take away from this interaction is that faith and honesty holds more weight than coin or treasure.

I could go on for a good deal about the subject of what faith is, and how it is more than saying I believe, but I find that it is time for us to retire, and today's struggles have been particularly trying on us as a whole.

-Ne’zall Ufthal

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Tsume's Misfortune
The Cursed Scrolls

6 Years Ago…

 

Tsume is walking down a hallway of the monastery – on his way to start his morning training exercises with his Sensei, Uirebel Lireth. As he passes a door, he can hear some people talking. He recognizes them as his uncle, Mizu no Tsume, and his uncle’s long-time friend Linghun Baise.

 

 

Mizu: “…. so you are saying we should investigate these ruins?

 

Linghun: “Yes. They may hold secrets to the history of the Shirn.”

 

Mizu: “Okay. Let me discuss this with the council. We can leave as soon as tomorrow morning.”

 

Linghun: “Very good, you will not regret this, old friend.”

 

 

Tsume quickly moves from the door, and continues down the hall.

He makes it outside to see his sensei already waiting for him.

 

 

Lireth: “You are late.”

 

Hi: “I am sorry sensei, I overheard my uncle talking about going on another adventure.”

 

Lireth: “There are no excuses. You must make up this tardy on your time—Since you decided to take up mine.”

 

Hi: “Understood sensei.”

 

 

Tsume begins his morning kata.

 

—10 months later—

 

Mizu and Linghun return with a scroll case filled with documents written in a foreign language. Excited to hear another great story from his uncle, Hi sat there in awe.

 

 

Mizu: “…. and that is when the Jeffery the merchant passed away. It was very sad that he could not join us, he had good potential to learn here. But uncle Linghun and I hurried back with the scrolls we found. We go separated for a few days, but we finally found each other a weeks travel from the monastery.”

 

Hi: “Wow that is so amazing. Was uncle Linghun ok?”

 

Mizu: “Of course he was. This is Linghun we are talking about! Although, I know something happened to him during that time. He has not been himself since then.”

 

Hi: “What do you mean?”

 

Mizu: “Don’t worry about it, I am sure it will pass. Now get to bed, I am sure Master Lireth has more work for you in the morning.”

 

 

One month later…. Linghun has been trying to convince the council of Grand Masters that the scroll case Mizu brought was cursed, and that it will bring bad karma to the monastery. This was just considered mere theory until some of the students were found dead from a mysterious sickness. Linghun also convinced the council that Mizu was the prime suspect of the deaths, because of the curse that he brought.

 

 

Hi: “What is wrong master?”

 

Lireth: “It is about your uncle Mizu.”

 

Hi: “What happened?”

 

Lireth: “He was found dead in his room. They said he took his own life from the guilt.”

 

Tsume’s stoic face cracks in to sadness as he hangs his head and quietly sits down.

 

Hi: “I do not know what to do.”

 

Lireth: “It is ok. I know this must be difficult.”

 

Hi: “My uncle was innocent, and he knew it. So why did this happen?”

 

Lireth: “The council believes that Linghun was correct about the curse. There is not much we can do about that.”

 

Hi: “I know, I just feel like I need to do something about this.”

 

 

The next day Tsume meets with Grand Master Akaru-sa

 

 

Hi: “Grand Master, I need to ask you of something.”

 

Akaru-sa: “Yes, child, what is it?”

 

Hi: “I think my uncle is innocent, and I wish to discover the truth. I need to find out how I can prove it.”

 

Akaru-sa: “I know how eager you must feel to do this, but your uncle brought shame to himself when your fellow students lives were taken. He should have paid more attention to the warning Linghun gave him about the scroll case. Also, it is too soon for you to start questing, young one. You still have much to learn.”

 

Hi: “I do not believe that the scrolls are cursed, and I wish to prove that too.”

 

Akaru-sa: “Pay attention to me, Hi. The council will not approve of you going”

 

Hi:Please understand Grand Master Akaru-sa. I can do this”

 

Akaru-sa: The answer is no.?

 

 

Feeling upset Tsume bowed to the Grand Master.

 

 

Hi: “Thank you for hearing me.”

 

 

Akaru-sa bows back

 

Tsume walks away.

 

 

 

The next day the announcement was made that Tsume was to be banished for dishonor. Not knowing how to read the scrolls, nor their purpose, the naive Karyu was sent to figure it out, and what it meant. He met with his master one last time before he left.

 

 

Lireth: “Here you go, Hi. I do believe you should have everything you need in here.”

 

Hi: “Thank you sensei I am sorry I got banished.”

 

Lireth: “Do not let that get you down, little one. You still have the chance to prove your uncle’s innocence. Just remember what I taught you, I know you can handle this.

 

Hi:Thank you sensei.”

 

 

Tsume picked up the belongings, and headed out for Sussfast.

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Dear Sariel (sixth letter, included Case Study)

Dear Sariel,

I've befriended the Lizardfolk from my previous letter. His name is Thorsk, more of him will be described in the attached parchments which will detail his Cast Study. Please ensure that their seal is held and delivered to Professor Nishibi at the college. Beyond that, things progress slowly. My agreement with Thorsk is at ends with the Kobold's agreement. Which is at odds with Abraham's wish to hold his word. Even when I've explained to him how helping Thorsk overthrow Bellec (newly learned leader of the Lizardfolk) and the Kobold's unwillingness to follow local law or morality. So I've offered him our family's sponsorship in his studies. Of course I had already been planning on offering him this as he holds great competence in his field already, but now I am able to get him out of an otherwise venal agreement. Though his hesitance at the danger of the Kobold's is respectable. So we agreed to kill Calryx to boost Thorsk's position to challenge Bellec.

Mindertas

 

Confirming Arcane Transference Via Hemetic Influence

A Case Study to test Lemmy Hornsilver's theory of Sorcerous Conception by Mindertas Ilphelstia.

Introduction

While out in the field, I've been given the chance to test Dr. Hornsilver's theory on a Lizardfolk who not only consented to the experiment, but is highly motivated for it to be performed on him. In the following paper I will detail Thorsk, along with his physiology, psychology, and progress throughout the experiment. Though this will be occurring in the field so I will be unable to control for certain variables due to risk of safety for the subject, however I will try to be as descriptive as I can to ensure proper analysis of the data.

Methodology

The subject: Thorsk, Lizardfolk from a tribe located in the Cloven Citadel of the Ashen plain, ancestry currently unknown, age 19, Black-green scales with a very healthy frilling and few scars. He stands 6'4" with an addtional 8" when his lead Dorsal frill is fully extended. Approximately 300 lbs with about 18% body fat according to Beaurmann's method. Approximately average flexibility and speed. Introductions were made when my group and I, hired by the guardians for a separate investigation, murdered most of his raiding party on their return. Thorsk showed great bravery in charging us after all of his companions had been felled before him. He was calmed with a charming smoke from a magical pipe. In the interest of gaining him as a source of further context for our mission. He expressed interest in learning magic like I was capable of, but showed little promise in the way of education. So when I expressed Hornsilver's hypothetical loophole for arcane ability, he showed interest. In exchange for performing this on him he would help us on our mission. He shows intellect by his willingess to lie and trade to accomplish his goals, but holds very little (if any) formal education. He's also very boastful and headstrong, suggesting supreme confidence in his skills and methods. 

The impetus: Calryx, a captured white dragon 28'1" from snout to tail, wingspan of 40'7", and weight of approximately  1.2 tons. Confident, and provocative, upon diplomatic attempt he showed no intention of integrating into Drakkos' draconic community. Upon death, his blood rates at 3.6mPa suggesting nutritional deficiencies. This is likely due to its enslavement by local Kobolds. 

Results

[2-3 parchments worth of paper detailing various measurements of physical aspects of Thorsk and Calryx. Conclusion and Discussion to follow.]

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Abraham's Compendium, Part II

Fravsin 30 15030 A.T.

As much as it pains me to do so, the items which are to be discussed would best be read in a manner with which I irregularly write.  Formal scholarly notes will follow at the end, as a summary or synopsis of what can be read here, and should anyone else be reading this journal, if it is too long and you don't want to read, I suggest you take this invitation now to drop by notes because these aren't yours!

It would seem our second day in this stone citadel are to be exciting and daring.  Keth thinks to age me, with his bravado and foolishness towards such.  The orc inclination for battle seems to thrive even among the most scholarly of them.  Nonetheless, his was a foolhardy gamble that luckily paid off (though will, no doubt, only serve to encourage him along other foolish endeavors).  Not that my own day was without risk, albeit a very, very carefully calculated risk. 

The gnome that we chanced upon had within his possession a wristband that, when attuned to the wearer, would act as a magical life preserver.  A very powerful treasure, once per day, when one was knocked beyond the brink of death, the power in this bracelet would bring it's wearer back, albeit to a very minor level of vitality.  Having encountered the being, Jot, and his challenge, I of course began planning for a method that might secure me the bracelet, if even temporarily, such that I could utilize it in freeing this imprisoned being. 

Of course, we were unable to determine the extent of Jot's true power.  I had estimated that he was some sort of simple fire elemental, able to burn, but not much more powerful than that.  How wrong I was!  It would seem that some 5,000 years ago or more, the dragon priests of this temple were somehow able to trap an efreeti djinn.  What manner of trickery and sorcery they used, I shall have to inquire of later.  Such magic is dangerous to leave lay for others to find, especially were they intent on capturing more of Jot's kin.

With the aid of the gnome's wristband (marked with the Three Brother's Trading Company, no less!) and a ring of magical leaping on loan from our resident spotter and scout, I cast a quick spell of protection about myself, hoping it would assault Jot's mental facilities with enough power to give me time to reach safety.  While I was successful in making the leap across the threshold and back, upon my return, though I was confident in my success, the spell that bound him caused Jot to bear down on me with all his might.  For a moment, there was nothing.  No pain, no feeling, just white heat, greater than I have ever felt.  Then I was back, laying on the warm flagstones of the Dragon Priest's tomb, bereft of all my clothing.  Thank goodness for having the forethought to have Mindertas to care for my belongings during this endeavor. 

Upon my awakening, and the assurance to my allies that there was no trick, Jot allowed me to make a single wish.  He allowed my allies and I time to discuss the course of action we should take.  However, with the opportunity to accomplish my own goals in leaps and bounds, I politely requested that I be left alone with Jot.  Once in solitude with the Djinn, I struck up conversation, and explained my situation.  He was surprisingly understanding, intimating that he had been present when the magics that bind my people were put into effect, and provided information on how those magics might be circumvented.  While he implied that his own power may be able to do such, I also came to the conclusion that magical means of exceeding limits are not always wise.  Instead, I requested his friendship, and was given it.  For a wish, a means to protect Keth.  In the end, all goals were met, and there were none that were left wanting, in my opinion.

Shortly after this, and a recovery and redressing aided by Jot and Mindertas, we set out once more, seeking the dragon Calrex, the druid Dimitri, and any else who might stand in our way.  Mindertas cotinued to communicate with our new lizardfolk companion, finding his company to be beneficial to our cause.  It would seem that by bathing this person in the blood of a dragon, he may turn into a magic wielder through an evolutionary process.  Fascinating.

We were lucky on more than one instance.  Stanford spotted a door that allowed us to bypass what I can only assume are more dangerous elements of this dungeon, and Keth found more lizardfolk.  It should be noted that that wasn't the lucky part, rather, quick thinking and smooth talking (I can only assume) on the part of our wizard and his minion allowed us to avoid confrontation. 

The lizardfolk we found directed us towards Calrex the dragon, citing him as a danger that none of them had been able to stand against.  Confident in our abilities, we found and challenged this beast.  I was quite shaken when the dragon speared Meepo, who I had become attached to, and the battle commenced.  Tsume, our shirn combat expert, sought peace, and admirably so, but the bloodlust in the dragon was not to be stilled.  Keth fought bravely, as did our other companions.  Stanford impressed me by putting his bravery (and stupidity) on par with Keth's when he leaped onto the dragon's back.  While I am confident that it is primarily due to my assistance, our roguish friend was able to find the proper moment and time to slay the beast. 

Myself, seeming to be the only one with experience in field dressing, quickly set about to harvest, to the best of my abilities, the resources left behind by Calrex.  Waste not, want not, as they say. 

It would seem that favor smiles on our plucky band of misfits.  So far, we have accomplished things that others only dream about.  Our confidence grows with our power, and I pray that the former does not outstrip the latter.

 

TL;DR

-Abraham befriends a genie

-Stanford kills a dragon

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In the moment
The Tiger Meditates

 

Feeling exhausted from being damaged and healed many times in a short moment, Tsume walks over to the nearby bench and sits down.  He pulls out his brush and his ink, and a sheet of parchment.

A Challenge of Swords

Two Rivals compete to win

And drinks they will share.

Tsume then puts his supplies away, and waits for it to dry.  He then rolls it up, walks over to Keth, bows, and offers the parchment

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Stanford's Log

Brief overview:our group of adventurers were formed by the Living weapons finding each party-member and transporting them to a hotel after which we were told that our mission was to figure out who was stealing silver-lotus tree saplings and stop them after which we spent a few days to prepare ie:getting a flying carpet and other necessary materials, after we found where the thieves were located we flew over and found a room with two passageways we followed the left path which led to the tomb of the dragon priest.

last session:on the last session of our adventure we began in the tomb of a dragon priest that was being guarded by a entity  from the plane of fire that was bound to a stone statue. there was a hidden path to the coffin as to not trigger its wrath. inside the tomb we found an ancient jade dagger with a illusionary enchantment on it along with 424 old marks ( monetary system) with an additional 2 marks that were of a an older origin, surrounding the tomb were several sconces enchanted with green ever-burning flames , these were promptly stuffed into the bag of holding before we left to stop the theft of silver-lotus trees (a valuable medicine) our wizard Mindertas told us that his familiar spotted a group of 20 lizard-people. on our way to the other passageway Mindertas used his magic to break a trap in front of the door to the right so that those who followed us would fall into a pit-trap. after we entered the hallway we saw a door to the left and a door forward, we chose the door on the left which had a fountain with an aquatic dragon at the top of it, after we opened the door Keth decided to grab some water witch then summoned 2 mephits which were quickly dispatched. we then moved into the room ahead of us and found a empty cage and a cowering  kobald named Meepo who we later found out had been a guard for the baby-dragon Talrex(Gunthags pet, king kobald) who was stolen by the lizard people when Meepo fell asleep while guarding Talrex. Keth said we would help retrieve Talrex after which meepo took us to meet with Gunthag where we made a deal stating we would get rid of something that they had taken that smelled like "someone who bathed in cologne" and get Talrex back, we found out that the cologne came from a gnome that was part of the three-brothers trading company. the king told us that the lizard people were coming (from where we entered) we stood by our door while Mindertas froze the floor in-front of us when the lizard-people broke in we suprised them with a volly of ranged attackes during the battle mindertas took out half of their forces by using shatter,webbs, and a critical shatter with the fire element after this he also ended the life of 2 other lizard-people the rest of which were dispached by the remainder of the party.

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Before the Guardians: Part III

Abraham sat in the hold of the airship, cramped among baggage and equipment.  It was cold down here, as the hold was rarely ever considered for insulation.  Many might not suspect it, but the sky could be a cold, cold place, and Abraham found himself wishing for the comfort of Berkay's dry winds. 

An observer might have wondered how the young man had ended up spending a trip he hadn't paid for to a destination he wasn't sure of in the ship's hold.  Luckily for Abraham, there hadn't been an observer, insofar as he'd been able to determine.  He'd purchased a ticket, chosen a ship to board at random, ducked aside at the last second to 'assist' in loading luggage on a third ship, and simply dove in along with the last suitcase.  If any of the crew noticed, no one had reacted.  The worst they could do was throw him off at the next stop, and that was fine with Abraham.  A little bit of adventure had never hurt anyone, except for that time Keth's tooth had been broken.

Abraham squirmed as he thought about what had happened, at least, what he could remember.  In his travels, the young man had become a bit acquainted with the less official side of the world, and there hadn't been any such indications from Tadje.  In fact, the Equitregan had seemed to be pursuing similar interests and ideas to that which Abraham himself was after.  Tadje had even freely offered some of the knowledge that Abraham had been looking for, and Abraham had learned it…until it was gone. 

Blasted circlet, he thought.

The darkness in the hold gave Abraham time to think.  Behind him lay a burning laboratory and a dead scholar.  But who lit the fire, and why?  Because of the information Tadje had shared?  Was such knowledge to be forbidden?

Abraham got a chill as he considered this.  Whoever had killed Tadje had made sure the circlet was missing.  Every other piece of equipment, even some of the builder's notes, were found in the rubble.  The circlet was all that was missing. 

Abraham pulled out one of the sand crystals given to him 2 years ago.  It's light had previously given him hope and comfort, but now it pulsed with a cold, hard light.  It was taunting him, flirting with him.  Abraham felt it held all of the answers he sought, yet none of them at the same time.

What makes you so dangerous? Abraham thought.  And what makes…home…so dangerous?

Abraham sighed audibly.  He could feel the magic of the airship pulsing around him, and normally such a thing would give him a headache.  Now, however, he was focused. 

If I am pursued for what I know, or may learn, he thought, a defense is in order.  Or rather, an offense, should the case arise.

Abraham had managed to slip a relatively undamaged sack from the ruins of Tadje's laboratory.  Further investigation had revealed Sand Crystal dust.  Abraham had been disappointed at first, then pleased.  He'd had some success creating minor combustion through agitating the residual energy of the dust.  An idea was beginning to form in his head.  If he wanted to be able to see his potential enemies coming from a distance, a method for killing them from a distance would be needed.

He also had to return to Berkay for Keth.  While his brother likely didn't need it, there was no telling what Abraham's pursuer(s) might do.  A twinge of guilt shot through Abraham as he considered that Keth could be harmed.  No matter how grumpy or violent his brother got, Abraham never saw Keth as a ferocious orc.  A fighter, sure, and able to hold his own in a street fight, of course, but whoever had killed Tadje had done so quickly, with purpose, and with enough strategy to make it look like an accident. 

Sighing, Abraham took out the letter he'd been prepared to send Keth.  With a flick of his finger, a spattering of dust, the parchment lit up in flame for a brief second before turning to ash.  Ignorance was bliss, Abraham had heard.  For now, ignorance would be Keth's shield.

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Dear Sariel (fifth letter)

Dear Sariel,

Things have continued quite well since the last letter. We explored the second wing of the Citadel finding the location of the kobolds. Despite the minor hinderance of a pair of mephits inhabiting a well (no doubt for the purpose of ending tired outsiders searching for respite). We entered into the kobold’s housing. Most importantly the (previous) location of Gurthardt’s pet who is apparently named Caurex. It’s quite the large dragon, by the size of the cage I estimate between 60 and 80 years of age, that was imprisoned in a cell not barely 600 square feet large.

Meepo was traumatized, but he was able to recover when we told him that we could recover the young dragon and thus took us to see Gurthardt. He told us a lot of important context between the inhabitants of the Citadel, all the while a show of force consisting of few more than a dozen spear-bearers. Apparently the lizardfolk and kobolds had an amicable arrangement before a the Daedal Druid deemed Dmitry dutifully dropped in deeming the deal dead. He claimed that the reason they stole (including the ones previously mentioned as things to feed Gurthardt’s pet) was because of Dmitry forced them to. Though I believe this was him just trying to skirt around punishment for their crime not attributable to Dmitry, they did agree to stop their thefts. Additionally they were forced to harvest both the white and red fruit from a tree the Druid manages. The lizardfolk have also been encroaching upon their territory since then too. Not to mention Dmitry is responsible for the death of our predecessors and the twig blights.

Thus we struck a deal; in exchange for our returning of Caurex, they would surrender their prisoner (one gnome by the name of Ingvolt Silvertoe), a crate of silver lotus to be burnt by both parties, and promise not to thieve any more. Though I believe the implicit agreement also be that we deal with both Dmitry and Lizardfolk to provide a(n un)reasonable level of safety for the kobolds in the Citadel. The crate was suggested by the engineer so we could honestly say we burnt the stolen goods.

I am suspect at their ability to integrate, but I believe I can levy our group's success for leniency and supervision. However when we told them of our reinforcing of the path behind us from the encroaching lizardfolk they got extremely fearful and near instantaneously fled. Left with Ingvolt and Meepo we acquainted ourselves with the newly repatriated. A member of the Three Brothers Trading Company, he was not pleased with his imprisonment and practically bathed in Sephiroth’s feather (you know the one Rolen likes to wear). Clearly a coping mechanism, he should cool down when he reenters society and has a nice bath. Though my companions were extremely displeased with his demeanor, they could stand some empathy for someone that has been stuck with kobolds for over a year.

With the deal struck, and Ingvolt caught up, we turned to face the lizardfolk. We set up at the end of the hallway following the trapped pits (which I had previously sabotaged to be unable to close). They mistakenly believed the kobolds had turned on them in an expected maneuver and constructed a makeshift bridge to begin beating the barricaded door down. What followed was something that followed directly out of Asvaldir’s own playbook. Bait the vanguard, arrest the body, destroy leadership, and eliminate survivors. While the Cat and the Orc competed for kills amongst the first through the door, and the merchant and I destroyed their bridge, trapped the majority of their force, and burnt them. The Engineer targeted their leader, and was able to finish him off (my magic was weld for widespread damage to reveal the leader). Though a survivor showed admirable bravery in attacking us alone I calmed him down with some potent smoke (I discovered the pipe i picked up at the festival is able to calm and charm others who breathe in it’s herb). I’ve given him some meat rations to calm him while I write you but I hope to learn more about him and hopefully recruit him for us, Gods know we could use the muscle.

 

Current actions/goals/thoughts

  • Befriend Lizardfolk; learning name, citadel circumstances, and possibly induct. 
  • Send for retrieval of free-trade goods (pigeon ring to Ferronaitius should be enough, but may take time so we should ensure their safety)
  • Confirm ramifications of kobold agreement.
  • Ensure no more attacks by lizardfolk.
  • Ensure no more attacks by Twig blights.
  • Return to Luvanda and settle the loss of her relatives (in person if at all possible).
  • Return of Ingvolt Silvertoe to civilization.

In less dire news, we've discovered quite a few artifacts down here. The dwarven sword from the pit apparently causes the wielder to attack themselves sometimes. A few hundred coins from the age of Kavas' interment. An 11 slotted coin of energy storage. And two coins adorned with The Lady Lavia Greenwater (and Arbrou Éterneta is embossed at the size I suspect to be around the time of founding). Some sort of designed attachment (which is quite gauche and I will likely not use it) to the Dragon Pipe that acts as a sort of wand for magic missiles. And some jade dagger that likes to disguise itself in an illusion desired by its wielder.

Until my next rest,

Mindertas

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