Undertakings of a Hazardous Nature

March 4 -Vi

The trip to Delornen took a full day. I didn’t mind so much, being as, again, I was really quite taken with Mal, but…well, more on him later. Fortunately, once we got to the capital city it was easy enough to make the founder see the light. Unfortunately, as soon as this had been accomplished her guards attacked us. Her poor halfling majordomo was killed defending her, which was very sweet and tragic, and after we killed them (Gesh, by the way, does not appear to trust me at all, which is just not fair, it’s not as though I’ve ever stolen anything from him, and I was only looking at the trophies and things that had fallen when the glass case was shattered) we discovered that they were apparently worshipers of Vecna, considering how they had defaced the symbols of Erathis on their livery. Charming. We also learned that Jafar was making his way to the closest temple, in Relkingham, in order to bring about an edict that would make the whole “human sacrifice” business inescapable law, so we high-tailed it out of the palace. We ran into some guards, convinced them that we were on their side, and tried to get them to bring us some horses; however, they were extremely unhelpful and rather obnoxious, so we fought our way through the city and got our own damn horses. Do all adventurers have to do everything themselves?

The ride to Relkingham was tense, but uninterrupted. The horses were apparently not warhorses, but I don’t think any of us had any idea what to do with a warhorse anyway, so we left them at the gates of the city and fought our way to the Temple of Erathis on foot. It was in chaos, with blood and human body parts everywhere, and infested with the undead and the disgusting, plus Jafar at the altar, which was covered in some weird column of black light, doing who knows what, but it didn’t look good…so I chugged a potion for luck and flung my brand-new enchanted shuriken at him, and he stumbled backwards, away from the altar. Then he looked at me, raised his arms, and all of a sudden I was on the altar. I’d never hurt so much in my life. I managed to stand up, having no idea what was going on behind me (I later learned that the others were being set upon by endurance-sapping undead critters), and for a little while I actually thought I was going to win…but then he reached out and grabbed my ankle.

The next thing I knew I was standing next to Gesh, about to stab him in the back while he was busy fending off an undead thing. I managed to stop myself, barely, and that helped me break free of whatever enchantment I was under (apparently it happened to Graav too, but as he was also immobilized, we never noticed because we were never in range, so, you know, that’s handy). I have no idea what sort of havoc I caused while I was under Jafar’s control, and the others won’t tell me. I’m not sure if I appreciate that or not.

Eventually the party mopped up all of the guards and sentries and turned our combined efforts on Jafar. They all put up quite a fight, and by the end we were bone-weary and barely standing. That’s when Mal asked how everyone was faring. I wiped the blood from my eyes so I could look around for loot, and told him, truthfully, that I felt very near death and really ought to sit down for a minute to tend to the various places that were bleeding. That’s when I felt the blade in my side. When I looked at him he was just smiling that damn charming smile like always. There was a v. large amount of blood pouring from my side to join the blood I had already shed, and it hurt quite a bit, but I was just thunderstruck; I didn’t really realize what had just happened until his sword sank into my cheek. The next thing I knew I was floating in a field of stars, and Sehanine was bending over me. She swept a hand over the side of my face and winked, then put her other hand on my forehead and gave me a great shove, and I woke up in the Temple, in screaming agony.

As soon as Alek patched me up enough that I could stand on my own, I sent a message to the keep for backup; I don’t know who to trust anymore, but I definitely do not trust any of these new people. I hope they send Halgrim. In the meantime, I told everyone to keep this under wraps; we’ll just let the world think Mal died in the fight against Jafar, and that we’re none the wiser about whatever plot is afoot to kill us. If I know shady types the way I think I do, that should make it easier to find whoever set said plot in motion.

At any rate, the people and traders that will pass through Relkingham are safe, at least from this particular threat. Hopefully this will mean a large monetary reward in addition to that which was promised by the Lord Warden. I steeled myself for a look in the mirror after I cleaned up at the inn (the nicest the Lord Warden’s money can buy), and, well, the wound on my cheek is not so bad, at least not as far as I can guess through the bandage. It’s very long, though, and the healer said it will scar. Not sure how I feel about facial scars. Kelson was always careful not to leave marks on the money maker.

I suppose I’ve been lucky, all things considered. Let’s hope that holds out for a while longer.

March 2 - Vi

Apparently some crazy priest named Jafar has decided that the way to end the drought in Delornen is to demand human sacrifices to Erathis (which…what?) before people can pass into the southern lands, so we’re going south. By “we” I mean me, leading a pack of the new recruits: Gesh, Aleck, and Graav, plus a fellow named Mal that the Lord Warden insisted we take with us. After the lights went back to full strength (which is a really neat trick), I heartily agreed to this last, because Mal is gorgeous, charming, interested in what I have to say, and gorgeous. Tomorrow we’ll all get on our way to the city of Wyllea, to convince the founder that insisting on human sacrifice is a terrible idea. Shouldn’t be so difficult; I admit to being unfamiliar with the tenants of Erathis, but who ever decided that the god of civilization would require human sacrifice before she would allow trade to take place? Honestly? I think these people are smoking something.

The Lord Warden is boring, balding, easily manipulated. V. disappointing. At least he’s paying our expenses on the road.

March 1 - Vi

My goodness, shrines are very expensive. I had to abandon my plan to build a giant platinum holy symbol on the top of the tower, but I have been systematically snitching small shiny things, and I visited Fallcrest and got a pretty altar cloth from Ressilmae and found a table in the keep, and set those up there. Sehanine will understand. I can’t follow her teachings to seek my destiny if I’ve gone broke setting up shrines.

Lucy claimed the captain’s office and Halgrim got the big room that William was using for his weird necromancy for his bachelor pad, so I got him to knock out the wall between two of the dormitories to make a sizeable bachelorette pad of my own, which I have dubbed Violettopia (not that I’ve met ANYone to bring back to said bachelorette pad, but it is nicely decorated. I have two mirrors! Two! And a rug! And my room smells wonderful from the enormous amount of flowers I get to Adren bring from his hunting expeditions, AND I have my very own bed, not just a bedroll). I also planted daisies at the keep entrance. Altogether, Dawnstrider Keep is turning into quite the tourist destination. People are appearing out of the woodwork to join our little party. I’m not sure how I feel about them. The construct housing the ghost is weird enough, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the Dragonborn. They’re all sleeping in the library.

Halgrim went back to his people to deliver the bandit leader, and since I’m dying to see more of the world, I went with him. Forget what you’ve heard about dwarves; if you want to get drunk, go party with a clan of barbarians. I have no idea what it was they were passing around in those enormous mugs, but it’s been a little over two weeks since we got back and I think I’m still hungover.

In other news…we got a summons from the Lord Warden. Yes, that Lord Warden. Not as though there are any others. Tomorrow we leave to answer it. I thought seriously about staying behind, but…I admit to being curious. I saw him in the streets of Fallcrest a few times, but I’ve never actually met him.

March 1st
Growth and New Opportunities

We’ve finally finished renovations on what is now known as Dawnstrider Keep. This place will serve as an excellent base of operations where potential clients can come meet with us and where we can live between jobs.

Our fame and notoriety has brought new recruits as well. Ghesh is a paladin of Bahamut who stayed on after a local Bahamut Temple came to remove the statue that was in the basement. Alek is an artificer from the Academy in Hammerfast who is on his Journeyman quest. With Aratir’s help, Alek created a special construct to house the friendly ghost in the keep we previously encountered, who we’ve learned is named Graav. Graav still wants to exact vengeance on Bahamut’s enemies, and I don’t mind having an extra sword-arm (especially one I don’t need to feed!)

We’ve received a summons from Lord Warden Markelhay to help him out with some problem. I’ll be leaving as well as Halgrim, Vi, Ghesh and Graav in the morning.

September 1 - Vi

William is actually not that bad, for a necromancer. I mean…is it really so bad to try and bring the person you love most in the world back to life? Plus, he’s easy on the eyes. I managed to talk him down, reminding him that Felicia, as a paladin, might not want to come back to life after all this time, and telling him Enzo is dead by the hand of the guy that William hired to steal the sword from him, and oh by the way, there’s smoke rising from the general direction of Thorton’s Mill and Maria is probably in danger, so we should go figure out what’s going on. Now we’re making haste back to town, with a sorcerer ally and a whole lot of new and interesting experiences for our troubles. He’s done some sort of spell or something so that we can move faster, but I’m starting to get nervous. Halgrim’s giving me a ride on his shoulders, so I’ve got a great view of the fires as we approach town, and things do not look good. Oops, we’re nearly there; we’ve started to run into refugees. Guess I ought to get down and get ready to save people!

Later that night When we rounded the corner into the square, I thought my heart was going to drop into my feet. I was hoping he would assume I died, or would figure out I had survived and decide I wasn’t worth the trouble to find, but once again I underestimated my stupid, sadistic brother, and there he was, setting the town on fire in some dumb quest to find me and get back what he figured I owed him for the raid going bad (and probably beat the shit out of me for good measure). I’m not ashamed to say that when I first saw him I turned and ran. I have a number of scars to give testament to the tender manner in which my mother’s son raised me after she died. You’d run too.

But then I remembered (well, was reminded) that I had a number of allies with me, including a huge guy and an archer…so we turned around and fought them. Halgrim is so awesome. He killed Kelson twice! William freaked out when Maria said he would have to stand trial, and he brought all the dead bandits back as some sort of zombies. V. disappointing, as I really thought we were getting to be friends. Anyway, once they rebuild the tavern I am going to steal Halgrim the biggest tankard of ale I can carry. Wonder if I can roll out a keg without anyone noticing?

After the fires were all out and the wounded were tended to I went into the Moonsong Temple and wept and prayed in gratitude and thankfulness and guilt for what must have been hours. I do feel awful about the whole town being set on fire by people who were looking for me, but on the other hand…it wasn’t my fault, and I’ll do what I can to help rebuild. In the meantime, I’m still in Thorton’s Mill, but with more gold in my pockets than I’ve ever seen before in my life. What’s more, I get to keep it. Granted I have to split it with the others, but the rest is mine, to do with as I see fit, and now that Kelson is dead, no one is going to take it from me. I have a handful of allies who don’t expect me to do anything disgusting for my fair share of the loot (I might even call them friends, in that case), and we have a keep that Aratir assures me will be rat-free soon enough (just in case, I’m going to look for a cat). Under the circumstances, I find it really difficult to be anything other than jubilant. First thing I am going to do with the keep is make the most glorious shrine to Sehanine the world has ever seen!

September 1st
Monumental Victory!

Today has been an eventful day that shall be remembered in the region for decades to come!

We found William and as I feared he was attempting to use necromancy to “resurrect” Felicia. Apparently he procured corpses from that black-hearted bastard Sandra Cot from Fallcrest. We were able to talk William down from his insanity for a while, his desire to assist Thorton’s Mill (we had noticed black smoke rising from it just prior to confronting William) overpowering any other emotions for the time being.

When we arrived in Thorton’s Mill, we found Kelson and his band of River Rats causing destruction and mayhem. Apparently Vi is his half-sister, and he didn’t take kindly to her joining up with me. Vi tried to run (I had though her braver than that! Pity.), which was wholly unnecessary as we dispatched him with a vengeance. I wonder if I can collect the bounty from my sister…. Regardless, once William learned that he would be tried for the death of Enzo and his crimes of necromancy, our temporary alliance shattered as he raised some of the dead River Rats again to fight for him. We ended up sending William to the Raven Queen as well that day, and are now considered heroes of Thorton’s Mill!

As a very nice bonus, we now have free reign of the Keep that William previously occupied…

August 31 - Vi

Hooray, I am no longer Aratir! I still can’t look him in the eye, though. Note to self: unknown potions should be left well alone in the future. We finally found the end of the damn keep, and stumbled upon the group of brigands Halgrim was looking for (though it took the rest of us to point this out to him). He is now wearing their unconscious leader tied across his chest like a sash. It would be hilarious if it weren’t also a little scary. Halgrim has an odd little code that he lives by, and keeps insisting that he can’t just kill the guy, he has to bring him to justice and THEN kill him. Since he’s enormous, I figure he can do what he wants.

I’ve managed to get myself on knock-out duty: every time the guy moves, I knock him over the head again. We’re going to have a rest before we try to get to William, which I support, as this gives me more opportunities to knock the bandit out. It’s loads of fun!

August 31st
Halgrim's Vengeance has been Meted

Near the end of the day, we discovered a group of brigands who were camping out near the back entrance to the keep. Upon sighting them, Halgrim went into a fury and we summarily decimated them. Apparently these outlaws were the people he was seeking. I’ll need to remember to make sure Halgrim stays happy in my employ; I don’t want to be on the business end of his axe.

August 30 - Vi

Being a boy is so strange. My center of gravity is all wrong, I don’t like the way clothes fit, and I know too many things about Aratir that really ought to be learned only after being treated to dinner and a play. I can’t look at him without blushing anymore. It’s so awkward.

Lucy and the others are really excited about turning this keep into Dawnstrider Headquarters once we’ve ousted William…I just hope they have some plan to get rid of the rats, ghosts, mold, rotting foodstuffs, and other ancient, unpleasant debris. Seriously, who’s been living here? I grew up in a street gang, surrounded by illiterate, high-functioning alcoholic sadists who could barely tie their own shoes, and they were STILL tidier than this.

August 30th
Undead Don't Smell Very Good

After camping out after clearing out the rat infestation, we explored deeper into the halls of the Keep. And to our pleasant surprise, we found varieties of undead instead of more rats. I fear this means that William has gone off the deep end and is attempting to use necromancy to bring Felicia back from the dead. In the course of our undead murder spree, we came upon a dragonborn ghost who still had full use of all his senses. Apparently this keep was formerly a dragonborn outpost during the great war between Arkhosia and Bael Turath. This greatly excites me, as I’ve had ample opportunity over the years to read about Turathian tactics and strategies during the war, but this keep’s library might afford me the opportunity to learn more about the Arkhosian side of the conflict.


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