Aniks Alas'thil

Aniks Alas'thil (a.k.a. Niks)

One of the current main members of the Lost Ones also referred to as 'the party,' Aniks Alas'thil is a drow rogue and barbarian who has had an incredibly rough life. Despite having lived for 124 years, he's only truly been an adult for 14, and yet has gone through hell - his family betrayed him and sold him into slavery, he fled his home into a hurtful overworld, his wife and child fell sick and died, and the gods have even seen fit to mock his atheism by claiming him as the champion of one of their number. He is played by Albie, and his journal can be found here.  

For a Drow, I have lived a strange life. In the beginning, I was no better than any of them. I am still not. I would never say I’m better or worse than my kin. I’ve just chosen to walk a different path than most.

By No means does that make me innocent in my past actions. A small part of me knows that, if I were to return to the Underdark, my past would finally catch up. While I do not dislike my homeland, being there for a prolonged amount of time... I am concerned that I might slip back into the person I was.

My time on the surface has changed both my thoughts and my outlook on different races. I find Drow to be twisted individuals if raised in their culture, and I have tried for 50 long years to stay away from the Underdark, from my people. Coming to the surface I was given so much more than a chance. I was given another life.
— Aniks Alas'thil's journal foreword
 

Aniks's Adventures

  After a strange incident with a barrel of 'elven ale' that the party had purchased from a traveling duo of feminist elves that seemingly tore Aniks out of existence, the barkeep found work at various pubs and taverns across the northern reaches of Aletheia. It was during his employment at a drow bar on the outskirts of Ilendras, the former elven capital, that he rejoined the party to assist them in the dangerous Underdark city of Yuethin'tar. There, he helped rescue Liese Celadrion from the experiments an evil alchemist (and leader of the Mages Guild) had been performing on her, assisted in diplomacy with the matriarch of a noble House, and fought alongside the party to destroy the strange plant beast that had been threatening the Serendel Forest region.   As the beast received the killing blow from Kazric Szithna, the entire party, Aniks included, was thrust into the Boneyard (also known as the realm of the Dead) due to an all-consuming explosion caused by the strange blade Kazric used and the soul-eating artefact within the monstrous plant. This was, of course, the moment Aniks chose to reaffirm that he didn't believe in gods... to an angel, whilst the celestial form of the ancient god Groetus loomed above them. After an amusing conversation, the party spoke to Pharasma and were restored to life, but charged with an important mission to find each of the other four soul-consuming artefacts.   The group's next steps were to seek a home for themselves; a location that they might use as a base. Receiving a short list of potential places from Cyne Undria had them travelling again: first to a dilapidated druid's tower, and then to a necromancer's tower. This is where things became again interesting for Aniks. Whilst the party, predictably, cleared out most of the undead, they became stuck within the tower due to its enchantments and were only able to escape with the assistance of Celuriel Geltharieth, a strange vetala vampire they'd found within and left unharmed due to her surrender. Wanting to keep her safe and not turn her into the guards of Port Amarin, where she'd teleported them to, Aniks was given the burden of looking after her by the rest. Over time, they bonded and became.. some semblance of friends. Needless to say, however, the party chose neither tower as their base.  

Ball Arc

After a period of travelling, the party arrived in Undria for a ball they'd received invitations to during their time in Ilendras. Aniks was surprised to find a house befitting a drow (and taking into account their light sensitivities) awaiting him, and when he wasn't resting there, spent the time before the ball exploring Undria with Celuriel and other members of the party. It wasn't entirely peaceful: the party encountered a revolutionary plot to overthrow the government that had involved Pin Whisperbreath's cousin, spurred on by the drow and a mind-controlled Kazric. Aniks spent the majority of that particular fight struggling against black tentacles that had encircled him whilst the rest of the party dealt with the threats, rescued Kazric and Tarragon, and forced the revolutionaries to surrender and join them. However, in chasing after one of the more powerful drow combatants, they fell into a trap within a mirror.   The mirror forced each member of the party to go through their most horrific memories, with Aniks's being his family's betrayal, then a series of puzzles. To break free, they had to share a secret... and experienced a pleasant memory as they were thrown out. Aniks's happiest memory was that of his wife spending time with him in their kitchen, telling him something rather important - on reflection, this hurt more than his most horrible memory.   Then came the ball. Aniks reflects on this as a bit of a disaster for him. Trying to intervene in Celuriel's dance with another vampire led to his mind being dominated by a female vampire that led him aside and questioned him on the party before deciding she wanted to give Celuriel a 'gift' - and promptly bit him. Thankfully, Pin and Ashlyn's timely intervention drove her off and rescued Aniks in time for him to participate in rescuing Cyne from an assassin's attempt on his life. He later agreed with Kazric after the half-orc insisted Aniks should have instead attended the drunken party he'd thrown in their accommodation.  

Liberation of Ashlyn's Memories and of Fort Kildaine

  Their next missions were to claim Fort Kildaine, a bandit-infested fort, as their home and to investigate the possibility of restoring Ashlyn's memory at Celesthem Temple. The latter mission was first. Aniks very much disliked the Temple's structured, overly-clean nature, and worried over the dark entity that their entrance scan had detected in him. He spent a little time watching his friends participate in their religious rites, then spent around ten hours watching Ashlyn's memory be restored through a ritual until he had to intervene and fight with them against a strange series of monsters, finally freeing them from the ritual's grasp and unlocking Ashlyn's memories by slaying a child version of Ashlyn in front of the paladin's very eyes.   It was then time to liberate Fort Kildaine, a process that took a long while due to the party recruiting outside help and facing serious trouble from a vampire attack on the way, later leading to another party requesting their help with retrieving their lost comrade from the fort. Aniks was able to sneak inside and scout ahead with various members of the party, then helped fight in the assault - eventually proving his strength by assisting in the takedown of Ruben Goldblood.   The aftermath of Ruben's defeat was far more troublesome for Aniks than the taking of the Fort, however, as the party attempted to break through a demonic door. Aniks thought he could force it through, and in doing so accidentally connected with the demon itself - which proved horrifying, as it shattered the former protection he'd had from the strange entity lurking inside his mind and allowed his demon lord, Andirifkhu, to mark him as her Champion. The demons inside were no match for the party, but this was one mistake he couldn't undo.   He spent the next month doing research in Celesthem Temple to find information on Pharasma's artefacts, and training in Ironfalls (their town) to grow stronger for the inevitable battles ahead. It was at the end of the month that life took another turn for the worse for him, as Cyne's sister was kidnapped by the drow of House Umbra, meaning the party had to travel to the very city he'd spent the first half of his life in to rescue her.   And meaning he had to bargain with both a demon lord and his family for information to somehow rescue her, unaware of the plots his siblings might have.

Physical Description

General Physical Condition

While not particularly muscular, he's well built and flexible.

Body Features

Small lilac scars along his body, however, is Aniks were to remove his shirt. Two larger scars are present. One over his heart from his stupidity. The second is on his right shoulder that leads down his chest. On the inside of his left write a tattoo of a spiraling blueish white comet the Holy Symbol of his goddess. Both of his shoulders have similar bluish white comet tattoo. Hes also notiable colder than he should be/

Facial Features

Golden eyes among the drow are extremely rare. His face is angular but his cheekbones are not as pronounced a most drows are.

Identifying Characteristics

Golden Eyes, blueish-white tattoos, often dress like a bartender, a silver and gold scimitar.

Physical quirks

Cracking his knuckles with his thumb while speaking. When bartending often clean glasses once or twice more than they should be.

Special abilities

Arcane magic, Short-range teleportation, Natural drow spellcasting, Arcane Blade Manipulation. Power's of Deaths Champion.

Apparel & Accessories

Despite being a bartender, he hasn't dressed like that in a while. His more new apparel is casual clothing, boots, a dark winter leather jacket. Around his belt is a spellbook and a Gold and Silver Scimitar. Also, he has a black mask but doesn't wear it often. His clothes are mostly monochrome, he's stopped giving jackets to Celu as he doesn't get them back.

Specialized Equipment

Having lived as an Assassin, he is rather skilled with knives, stealth, hunting and a general lack of empathy. However being on the surface changed him, he's now in the process of learning how to control and understand this new Arcane Magic coursing through his veins.

Mental characteristics

Personal history

There was nothing special about Aniks Alas’thil when he was born, slightly high in status due to his Mother, but nothing special. He was taught to be an Assassin one with the shadows, quick with a knife, and silent and quiet when snuffing out a life. He was the eldest son but was not the Eldest Sibling that went to his only full-blooded sibling from his mother and personal guard or personal assassin of hers that she kept close at hand. Aniks never meet his father and heard rather little about him. It was assumed he was sent out on a mission and never came back or his mother killed him. 60 year he spent in the Underdark, it’s funny to think that in his society is was little more than a child. Yet children in House Alas’thil train young and have to learn the art of killing even quicker. They are taught to think like adults and act according to the scenarios around them. It doesn’t matter if somebody is trained to think like an adult, it’s that act of killing and not caught. That is what teaches you how to think correctly, life and experience is the most excellent teacher. This leaves the children of House Alas’thil with piles of bodies at their feet, if they get caught they die or get tossed into Slavery.   The latter happened to Aniks, after being tricked by his younger siblings into killing a rather large target which he was successful in the killing. They ratted him out, Aniks spent the next handful of years under House Umbra. He swore revenge on them and escaped. Knowing that staying in the City, he was raised in was damn suicide. Aniks fled to the surface with nothing more than a bag of food he had stolen and very few things to survive. It must have been more than a miracle that he survived. Eventually, after many moons and winters, he was a wanderer in what was known as the country of Aletheia, he had been told this in his education in the Underdark but care little for this. He never thought he would need it. To communicate he forced himself to learn a language like Common. To his people he was now considered an Adult, it was around this time he was captured but a group of an adventurer. Only one cared if Aniks lived or died to the cold. The party left without the kind human she was somewhat hurt by this, there were very many nights where the two of them sat in quite. Few words were exchanged, but after Aniks watched the human he couldn’t understand why she would care about someone she had captured? He could have easily escaped once he left them in the snow. It’s was more curiosity that kept Aniks around and watching this Human. He understood human we’re somewhat stubborn, in fact, he rather like that about them, human as a whole that is. Spending time on the surface with little to his name, he learned to watch people. He found Elves weren’t as evil as the drow said, Dwarfs we’re dwarfs, and Human’s he could never pin them down. Give them a good description.   This human, who fought with twin short swords, was named Claire Therwel. The duo traveled Alethia for a little while before Aniks revealed who he was and where he came from. Before Aniks shorted his names to Niks, so Claire had something to call him. The two surviving some near-death experiences, and a couple of years together. Aniks felt odd, he’d come across a new feeling, we, of course, know this as love. The urge to be with protecting and care for somebody else, to but their need before your own. He learned in a somewhat scary moment that he valued her life more than his when he took a rather massive scarring greatsword which almost killed him but definitely would have killed her. For a Drow, love is merely a tool and looked down upon as a sign of weakness. They could have been right, this love almost got him killed. He almost discarded this feeling, how could he love a human? He eventually decided that living on the surface wouldn’t be that terrible. That was of course after he woke up in the arms of Claire. A couple of months later Aniks had done a slightly human tradition, he bought a ring and asked her to marry him. It was one of the few time Claire or anybody had ever seen this Drow turn almost entirely purple. The two of them settled down, and before long had a child. A small Half-drow boy they named Alain Therwel. Aniks convinced Claire before Alain was born to use her last name. He still was slightly wary of his last name or using his name, in general, he’d didn’t want his old family to find his new one. Aniks felt happy, he’d almost forgotten about his rage towards his family. In fact, he’d honestly say that this time period in his life it had been the most relaxed he’d ever been, they even had another child on the way a couple years after their first. They would never see their second, there was a terrible winter. Claire and Alain got terribly sick. Aniks took care of them the best he could. He went to find clerics and medication. The clerics turned him down or never followed showed up. He, of course, knew this was because he was a drow, and despite the desperation of his voice they still couldn’t trust him. Because he was a drow. Any medication he was able to get his hands on helped numb their pain, but in the end, he spent the last couple days after new years taking care of them. Forcing a smile and making sure they were comfortable, praying that they would be all right. Hoping that their sickness would pass. Those prayers seemed to go unanswered. They pasted in what he hoped was peaceful in the night.   Aniks wrapped their bodies, cut down enough trees and lite the funeral pyres. Aniks spent one last light in their house, a house he called home! He never slept that night. He barely checked outside and never really looking at the pyres, only enough to check if they were gone yet. He still can’t remember that night all too well, nor would he want to. Aniks awoke from his numbness, took his late wife's blade, made the bed one final time and locked the door.   Aniks for a decade spent time being a bartender an empty job but it kept his mind off of his worries. He traveled from town to town, eventually running across a group of adventurers that were looking for a decent meal during their travels and tried to hire him. Reluctantly he joined them, he wasn’t too fond of the company in this town. He’d feed these adventurers and move on to the next city. Aniks refused to give them his name, the kept calling him “Drowbie or Barkeep.” Odd nicknames but Aniks could careless. The group traveled stopping a group of would-be Bandits, 15-year-olds at best who tried rob them. It was no contest. This group also came across another, two women with several different vats of alcohol. The strongest one, Elven Ale which was paradoxical in nature. Elves make wine and Dwarves make Ale this drink just didn’t make sense. Take a drink something happened to Aniks, he found it hard to remember. He remembers seeing that adventuring party in different Bars serving them but not much else. Till the city of Ilendras where he joined them as a permanent member of there traveling company. Not knowing of the doors he'd open, he now walks a path filled with Gods, Champions, and Adventures and has very little choice in the matter.

Education

Drow Nobility early in life, anything from the Surface that is new information about it. Recently a large amount of information has just been but inside his head, several languages included. While he was studying the Boneyard he learned a lot about Psychopomps, Souls, and other things regarding his Goddess.

Employment

Owner of a Bar, which is basically run by all of his drow friends when he's not there. As well as himself? People still think he's working at the bar when on the other side of the world.

Accomplishments & Achievements

Removal of his former champion mark, Spoken to Death on several occasions in person. Raising a family, moving on from his anger issues regarding his family.

Failures & Embarrassments

Not able to save his wife and child, His Former Champion Mark, Elven Ale. Having to explain to Celu how he got his new champion tattoo, having to speak with Pharasma after dying.

Mental Trauma

Death of his Wife and Children. Watching Celu being dragged to hell. Black Marble. The last person he judged.

Morality & Philosophy

In regards to mortals Good and Evil are relative, anybody can do acts of good and acts of evil. Aniks knows he's not a good person but he at least tries to not be Evil. In combat, he does generally have a lack of empathy for people especially when he's going for the kill. His early life kind of numbed the idea that killing is a terrible thing.

Taboos

Basically Lichs, and anything to do with his younger siblings. Still had zero tolerance for Half Drow racism.

Personality Characteristics

Motivation

At this point, he just wants to not have to worry about the end of the world, a lich, or being a champion. He just wants to live a peaceful life with Celuriel and possibly raise a family with her.

Savvies & Ineptitudes

Although Aniks is rather good at reading situations and figuring things out, Caution has both saved his ass and screwed him over on plenty of occasions. As for his ineptitude, he doesn't truly understand relationships since the Underdark as twist his mental image of that. Obvious things that one shouldn't do but this is exactly what he does. An example is touching a demonic door with his blood; it's clear that how the door establishes communication and he did it without much thought of consequences. Recently he's been less cautious and taken a lesson from Ashlyn his paladin friend as he needs to learn to act and think.

Likes & Dislikes

While it hasn't been said outright, Aniks very much loves Celuriel. He cares about most friends which mostly included Kraia, Licia, Ashlyn, Kazric, and Cyne. He still has admiration for his older sister Nivinle, and they have some strange semblance of trust? He very much enjoys being a bartender, just not when his companions are around.    Being betrayed is the number one reason to be put on his shit list. From what he's seen and heard from Celu, her sister Ludrissiel and everything she's done to Celuriel. Elven Ale. Choices made by Ratfolk, that lead to issues the party and Aniks had to deal with.

Virtues & Personality perks

Patience, Pragmatic, Stubborn, Caring to those he like, and an understanding that evil and good are slightly relative when it cames to normal people. Hence why he can work with his sibling.

Vices & Personality flaws

Quick to anger if you know how. Loyal to loved ones. Memory lose. Has a habit of keeping secrets.

Personality Quirks

Easy to get to blush but now when people tease him about Celu he's started to blush less often, often speaks in undercommon when talking to himself.

Hygiene

Not afraid of getting bloody and dirty, but like being fresh and clean. His keeps things clean but with the number of people around his bars, he is in a constant state of cleaning especially when his party is around. He honestly doesn't mind cleaning it helps him clear his mind.

Social

Contacts & Relations

Aniks limits in interaction with the world at large, for his time on the surface, was quiet and almost hermit-like. He's gotten rather good a avoid certainly question like his name and his past. So besides his Late-Wife, he talked to a small number of people before ending up with The Lost Ones. After this Anik's has formed many bonds with people, he never thought he'd ever meet or care to meet. Even meeting an Elf that he fell for.

Family Ties

After being betrayed by his younger siblings, he wanted little to do with his Drow family after coming to the surface. Though recently that has changed with events that lead him to work with his family and raising the standing in the Underdark. He cares very little for anybody in his family and in some twisted sense of keeping some familial bond he is willing to talk to his Elder Sister, the current Matron of his house. His younger sibling, though he wanted to kill them at one point, he's forgotten his rage and murderous intent, thinking those emotions are petty. He now wants little to do with them, is not beyond killing them if they cross him.   Being on the surface lead him to fall into genuine love with a Human. Love was such an alien concept to him he didn't understand why he wanted to protect and care for somebody. Eventually, the two of them settle down after some small adventures the two of them had and got married, had a child and even had a second on the way. One rather terrible winter caused his new family to be bedridden and eventually died. Though Aniks tried to find some medication or clerics to help them, he was very much turned down because of him being a drow, and whatever medication he did get didn't have much effect. Aniks doesn't like talking about his late wife or even his child, he never really recovered till he started traveling his adventuring party he was currently apart of, The Lost Ones. Which they barely know anything about this part of his life.   A new family, one he found in The Lost Ones. He is far more relaxed around his party but his attitude between the party member changes. For somebody like Ashlyn, he might butt heads with because of her headstrong attitude, but there are very few things Aniks could do to stop her besides talking to her. However, Aniks cares for the Paladin even willing to help her when she can't do something herself, like destroying a child version of herself to regain her memory. Kraia is more of a little sister or a good friend which he cares for, and often her antics bring a smile to his face despite not showing it. Lirian and Cid he's had very little interaction there is some level of respect for them, but he knows very little about there personality in general. Pin, on the other hand, is a very shifting relationship starting with distrust, respect and then friendship Aniks is very unsure how to feel about Pin.   Aniks's biological family tree can be seen below.  

Religious Views

A former follower of Andirifkhu, after being betrayed he gave up high beings, he says he doesn't believe in the gods but it's more correct to say he doesn't worship any deity. Though he has taken an interest in the Lady of Graves but would never speak about this to anybody. With the disappearance of Celu, Aniks stormed off and eventually found a quiet place and asked The Lady of Graves for a favor. Later having been chosen and Pharasma's Champion, he had accepted her as his goddess and has learned a great deal from his time in her domain.

Social Aptitude

Very formal when speaking to people he does not know, giving little information about himself even when the person wants to know more about Aniks. Sarcastic to people like Cyne and the people he serves in a bar.

Hobbies & Pets

Aniks has several pets, an old grumpy cat named Thrasymachus that sleeps and pushs over empty glasses while looking at Aniks. Celu's unnamed fluffy white cat that is never too far from her. A new Awoken firebreathing chicken name Promethea who he's built a chicken coop behind his bar. She lays spicy eggs and follows Aniks when he's home. He also has a dragon egg but has yet to hatch.   As for hobbies, writing had become a normal part of his life. As well as reading with Celu. He enjoys cooking but his party ask for the same three dishes so he has only really cooked for a couple of people. He runs

Speech

His Common has become almost fluent as his Undercommon, and on the surface uses Common and Elven far more than any other language. Often curse in Uncommon and Abyssal depends on the level of angry. He goes back to his first language of undercommon when speaking to himself. Aniks has learned somehow learned a bunch of new languages though he does know that he has learned them yet. (( Has good grammar but his player fucks up all the time))

Relationships

Aniks Alas'thil

Fiancé (Vital)

Towards Celuriel Geltharieth

4

Honest


Celuriel Geltharieth

Fiancée (Vital)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

5

Frank


History

After rescuing her from the necromancer's tower she'd lived in all her life, Aniks volunteered to let her sustain herself from his memories. She managed to retain her sanity through his act of kindness. However, he didn't leave it there. Aniks became the first person she truly cared for and considered a friend over the course of many adventures and months, and when she was stolen away by the devil Meretrixia, he went as far as contacting a goddess and diving into Tenaerul to save her. It is only through his care that she has now had true life restored to her and no longer has to live as a vampire. In addition, the two have recently gotten engaged.

Relationship Reasoning

Aniks cares for her and wants to see her live life, since she didn’t have much of one to begin with.   Celu hasn't felt like this towards anyone before and isn't sure what it all means, but wants to try this new thing called 'love' even if it gets her killed by her sister. Happiness is nice, and she's not going to give it up easily.

Legal Status

Engaged

Aniks Alas'thil

Ally (Vital)

Towards Emperor Aneirin 'Cyne' of Aletheia

4

Honest


Emperor Aneirin 'Cyne' of Aletheia

Ally (Vital)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

4

Honest


Aniks Alas'thil

Ally? (Important)

Towards Kazric Szithna

-3

Honest


Kazric Szithna

Bro (Important)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

3

Honest


Aniks Alas'thil

Partymate (Vital)

Towards Ashlyn Alarian

5

Honest


Ashlyn Alarian

Partymate (Vital)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

5

Honest


Aniks Alas'thil

Partymate (Vital)

Towards Cid La Flaga

3

Frank


Cid La Flaga

Partymate (Vital)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

3

Frank


Aniks Alas'thil

Partymate (Important)

Towards Lirien

0

Frank


Lirien

Partymate (Vital)

Towards Aniks Alas'thil

3

Honest


Aniks Alas'thil

spouse

Towards Claire Therwel


Claire Therwel

spouse

Towards Aniks Alas'thil


A dark elf bartender who is a self-trained arcanist, he also might be at every bar ever? We're still working out on how.

View Character Profile
Species
Drow
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Former Champion of Andirifkhu, Champion of Pharasma, Drow, Barkeep, Drowbie, Niks, Indigo, Sir Aniks Alas'thil, Lord Aniks Alas'thil
Year of Birth
5499 EA 127 Years old
Birthplace
Vaermyrhel
Parents
Current Residence
A small house in a mountain side in Ironfall
Biological Sex
Male
Sexuality
Straight
Gender Identity
Male
Eyes
Golden
Hair
Short wild silver hair
Height
6'
Weight
140lbs
Quotes & Catchphrases
"I don't believe in gods." "You're smart, figure it out."
Aligned Organization
The Lost Ones
Known Languages
Elven, Undercommon, Common, DSL, Abyssal, Draconic, Infernal, Celestial, Aklo, Sylvan, Aquan, Auran, Ignan, Terran, Gnome, Halfing, Giant, Orc, Dwarven, Aboleth, Necril.
Character Prototype
Ender: Albie former elf bartender but a very shifted personality.

Journal #62: Discussion and a price that will be payed.

We forgot to drink water.   I have not had a hangover that bad in a long time. Celuriel's was likely just as bad as mine. However, I was lucky as she hadn't stabbed me from the pain. We both were pretty miserable when we woke up the next day. Given how the night went, and the conversation after I had forgotten entirely to try and get her to drink water. Given the topic of discussion, it would be understandable to some extent. Still, my forgetfulness might lead to some dangerous problems for us in the future.   With the morning fast upon us, the two of us regretfully removed ourselves from the bed. Making sure both of us were dressed, I made sure to pick up our scattered clothes from the night before. Celuriel had 'borrowed' one of my shirts, which meant I likely was not getting that shirt back. We clung close to each other for most of the morning. Breakfast would have been a bit more complicated with her leaning on me. So I picked her up and placed a counter next to where I was cooking. Leaning her head against the wooden pillows known as cabinets. Not up to helping cook like she had yesterday.   Breakfast was average, Sigrun noting that I seemed oddly at home while doing this. Besides dealing with the pain, Cid bore some marks from last night. As did Sigrun, to be fair, they had been exceedingly loud. After our morning meal, Sigrun invited us to a hot spring down below her humble abode.   Minus the hangover, I would say that the hot spring themselves was quite enjoyable. Not in the humid and muggy kind of way, like a hot day after a thunderstorm had just rolled by. No, it was more like it coded you in a warm relaxing bath. A great stress reliever, really. Not that I had much stress left given the night before.   As we made our way down to the basement, I find it quite funny that the only person who cared about their appearance enough to cover up was Licia. She did the last one in the springs as she had called out to Sigrun. She was asking for a bikini, or something similar. The rest of us who chose to get inside the large pools had no problem being nude in front of each other. Granted, people like Talinde and Lukas, for obvious reasons, chose not to join us. The vampire running water would have been a dangerous combination for himself.   Of course, Celuriel was next to me. We were still miserable from headaches and lean on each other. We could barely do anything more than that conversation was quite tricky as well, I found. People around us speaking felt loud in my ears. When Licia finally decided to join us, her immediate response was the cast of daylight in my face. Normally that would just blind me. Given the state I was currently in, I could swear that it was physically hurting me. I slipped under the water, muttering to myself and towards Licia a slew of undercommon curses. She had told me when I surfaced that that spell was from Cyne.   That ass.   Celu, add to experience something new for the first time. Holding her breath. Last time when I had swum in the lake where The Beauty said we could sleep for the night. Celuriel and been a vampire, so she watched me from the bottom of the lake. As she did not need to breathe, as a normal person would, we have not been anywhere where a large abundance of water had been common since. She attempted to do the same, though, after a while, there was a panicked look, and I had to drag her back up. Being rather confused about why she couldn't continue to stay underwater—going so far to cast an air bubble spell. Just stay under there out of spite. I would not call it much of a threat, but I did say I would drag her out of there as she could not stay there all day. The look she gave me suggested that she do exactly that. Luckily she eventually rose again when she felt like commenting on something or when she just wanted to.   I wonder if that's just something she likes to do and does not know it yet. Sitting at the bottom of the water must be relaxing.   It was around this time we decided to fill in, Burdyr about many of the things we had experienced catching him up-to-date on who people like Riven Drast were. Licia's father, Teras, told us how he had met the Dwarven Prince, Sigrun, and how he knew about certain things like the shards. I would say I am rather curious about those witches; information before the World Rend would be valuable to know, especially if they have knowledge of the shards themselves. I still have many questions about what they are, why they were created, what purpose do they ultimately serve, and who this Xaahra is.   We even spoke in a roundabout way of our insurance policy on how to get rid of two of them. We're quickly running out of other options. When they pressed us for information, Licia simply stated that if that information were to become more widely known. We would be the most wanted people on this Istralar.   It was right around the time kraia, who had been a dolphin for quite a bit, had tried messing with me. So I pushed her away with my feet prompting Celuriel to tell me to stop messing with Kraia. I'm not sure why she would do this, is that would have been the first time she made a request of that nature. Maybe it was the hangover, or maybe she's starting to care about these people she's been around for so long.   It was around this time I had remembered Lucas's offer to make a hangover cure. The topic itself head straight to the conversation of Gods and who worshipped. More specifically, what did the vampire worship? I took upon myself to exit the Hot Spring. Lukas was reading; I wasn't too shocked to find out he was attempting to listen as well. Requesting two hangover cures, are also gotten somebody, Teras I think or was it Sigrun. Probably later. A bottle of ale well, the vampire worked on the Cure. Striking up casual conversation and then eventually hitting the question, I wanted to ask. Somebody named Theo, a friend of his and found two goddesses he had taken a liking too.   ~Seramaydiel, an empyreal lord who looks fondly after musicians and peacemakers.   ~Shelyn The Goddess of love.   The boy is a softy; they have nothing to worry about.   Once The Hangover cures were made, I thanked him and then returned to my spot with Celuriel. I was given a warning that it would taste bad. The warning I got did not do it justice for how disgusting that was, given my face as I down the concoction. Celuriel quickly did the same; she hid her face underwater immediately after. Though I clearly saw the glare, I got from underneath the water. I really need to learn to make those; it would be rather helpful if I am simple barkeep.   I gave the alcohol to whoever wanted it.   Then the topic turns to a much more personal discussion about Cid's most recent revelation. The two that I found out from the sapphire Shrine no less than two days ago. How he once considered betraying the party for a large sum of money. And how he's been giving out information about our whereabouts and other things to some mysterious contact. Anytime we ended up in an in. Apparently, he had been messaging this person. The first one was quite common and easy to understand. The Gunslinger was, of course, a mercenary first and a hero second. While I can understand it, I personally have issues with betrayal, and I am not willing to deal with it happening again. We took precautions after that.   It was the second part that he decided to reveal, his mentor had been captured by some mysterious force and had been sending him small bits like a fingertip. This is the course that only happened once. Cid seemed to be getting teary-eyed at the thought of his mentor being tortured by this person. not that I could tell really because he was also in a hot spring. According to him, he's been giving only the bare minimum of information. Which, in my opinion, is still too much. If we would have known about it sooner, perhaps we could have done something. But the fact that we have somebody giving information out is not something I am fond of. He kept trying to avoid certain topics surrounding back to other ones, eventually just breaking down and not talking. He did, however, mention who had been signing it. somebody who went by the moniker of the simple letter 'E.' I slipped under the water and screamed.   Elias.   That damn Alchemist has been getting information sent to him, and we do not even know how much Cid gave in detail. I could go on and on about how bad that particular little bit of information just screws everything. Personally, I have no attachments to the Gunslingers mentor, and if anything, he's a liability. I doubt Sid is willing to stop giving information. But at what point does he start to give out too much.   I just hope he wises up before it's too late. Or before we have to put a stop to it ourselves.   We eventually decided to get out of the hot springs. Getting dressed once again, it was about roughly time for lunch. Celuriel was quite eager to cut more potatoes, though I gave her other things to do. As the potatoes were not something, we used them while cooking lunch.   I will say as I got into cooking lunch for everybody. I messaged The Emperor as I surveyed Chicken and other dishes to people.   I scribbled in my journal to Cyne.   @cyne Your an ass.   His Secretary Veronkia replied as I realized my mistake.   @aniks Darling, your grammar is horrendous. @cyne not you Then I wrote the correct name. @Aneirin Your an ass @Aniks Good afternoon to you as well, Lord Alas'thil. Since you're there, would you care to deliver your opinion on Licia's decision? @Anerin No, she has been rather tight-lipped about it. @Aniks Then you should ask her. It wouldn't do for her to be hiding something she's so eager about. @Aneirin Aaah, we did notice she was rather happy. She always gets flustered when you're mentioned. Hardly can get a word out of her. @Aniks She's gone mute? A shame. Ask her if she's recovered from her trip yet if you want. @Aneirin Will do, I'll make sure her father is in the room when I do.   I had finished lunch with Celuriel's help, as Artemis came barging in, nearly wrecking the food as he attempted to cook. We quickly served the food after, but Kraia went in and started whispering things to Artemis, and I swear I heard my name mouth, and Licia's. Finally, getting a chance to sit down, I had to make a separate plate for Talinde as some of our conversations about him, in general, made him anti-social, locking himself in his room. Or the room he used. Burdyr eventually brought that plate up. As for lunch itself. Kraia poured some weird salad dressing on her salad and got 'crotch tentacles' as she called them. Blaming me for the new wiggly appendages, but nobody else had gotten them, so it had to be the dressing.   Oh, I gave Licia hell, as I assumed correctly from my conversation with the Emperor. When asked why I was doing this if I already knew what had happened.   I told her I wanted her to say it.   It would make it all the better.   When the rest of the group got involved in my teasing of the Aasimar. When we spoke about another dream date or something to that extent, Kraia jokingly told Licia, "Make sure you use protection!" "Aniks didn't," Celu chimed in.   I felt my drink rush up my nose as I started coughing and spitting out, attempting to say her name. Blushing quite purple in response to Celuriel's comment. I could swear as I looked at her, her face perfectly neutral in expression. She simply stated a fact.   "that's not the only thing that turns purple." She said smoothly as she took a drink, I could swear I saw a glint of mischief in her eyes.   I swear I could have felt myself burning up from how purple I got. The party gave some odd looks at me after the comment, as they implied the same thing I had from that comment. I could not fathom why she would be saying this, and I worried she would be going into detail if they asked any questions.   She pointed to my ears.   "see..." she said as if that was the most obvious answer in the world. To her, it might have been. A large amount of alcohol in our system last night which left both of us flushed faces. As I was not the only one who had ears that changed color last night.   Though I highly doubt her word choice, she meant my ears.   Eventually, from Kraia's constant scribbling her journal, she rushed upstairs from as she summoned Kazric from somewhere.   I was slightly concerned about the amount of noise I was hearing. When Artemis stormed around the hall, grabbing me in his jaw, rushing me upstairs, I was met with a terrible sight. I do not think I will be able to unsee. Kraia, with her special ring on, had a terrible effect on the tentacles. She had ten or so drow penis's and Krazric, who also had tentacles as well, for some reason pants unbuckled compared sizes. Kazric had asked or more like wanted me to compare sizes as well as technically we all had drow genitalia. Now I try to write without going into detail or explaining the more explicit moments with my traveling companions. Otherwise, I would have a tally somewhere in this journal of the amount of time somebody slept with somebody. I simply walked out of the room as I did not want to see more, which I avoided writing about other things I had seen. I am, of course, also avoiding writing about Celuriel, and I am the first item in bed. Being very coy about writing anything in regards to the act of as those are our moments together, and I am not sharing them. With a horrified look on my face, I went back downstairs. Sitting next, Celu. I must have had some look on my face as her first response to this was to grab a bottle of ale. Pouring me a drink, then herself. Huh, guess at some point we need to find a drink she likes.   That was basically the rest of our day, a lot more casual than the previous night, as I am pretty sure no one got up to anything. Oh yeah, we lost Nialnir; he just left saying our story was a bit boring. Yeah.   The next morning was meant to be a day of planning, Licia scrying changed that. It became a battle of time, as we had to race to a place where the Harp of Virtue. Plotting a course and having Talinde cross-reference the Shards location, calling Licia and me out for a reason I cannot go into at the moment. While watching the Scry spell, we picked the Sapphire Shrine as the closet point to avoid a magical storm. I using a spell could carry six people myself included, Talinde offered to place people in his staff, but he will not bring anybody out inside the storm. On my chariot, Myself, Celu, Licia, Teras, Kraia, and Cid, the rest were placed inside. I assume some demiplane.   The storm was much bigger than we thought as we arrived at the Sapphire Shrine. Forcing me to cast a spell, to temporarily have to use the Ancestral Regression spell in order to see becoming an elf in the process. Lightning is not my friend, and they are constantly blindness for a drow. Celuriel though I looked stupid, and not to look at her with that face. So I put on that black mask I received when returning to the material plane. The trip mostly went without much of a problem flying through the air, Kraia as our navigator. At the beginning of the trip, at least. Because, of course, nothing happens at the beginning. Casting spells to trigger Magical effects unknown to us. The storm itself seemed to want to draw on our powers, I thought it might be trying to fuel its strength given that we were Champions, but I am not sure. Cid was like a lightning rod, all the metal in his guns, and he was soon the first victim to the storm's influence channeling some of his war god's powers into the chariot making it warlike and spiked with metal and making us more of a target for the actual storm. Celuriel even became in a trance-like state; I was concerned for her safety as the necklace, the one she received from Tenaerul was glowing softly and warm to the touch. Was concerned the actual necklace was affecting her somehow. If the storm was messing with her, it was a bit too late before I noticed she was casting a spell. Well, I am not sure of the other effects I had quickly cast a dispel magic from the dagger. On the attempt to break her from this weird trance, but her spell went out first. She was creating a magical ward around The Chariot. Green and Fae-like warded shields around the chariot protecting us, thankfully as if to demonstrate this fact and bolt of lightning head attempted to strike The Chariot. Finding the warding instead in that split-second of her casting whatever spell she had cast.   Eventually, it became rather noticeable that we hadn't gone anywhere. Stuck suspended whether it is the storm itself holding it with gale-force winds or the magic of The Shard influencing the storm itself will never know. A storm like Elementals appeared attempting to destroy us, that however, wasn't the main issue as we dealt with them quickly. It was the aberrations of the tentacled monstrosity that appeared in the void like cracks and the living runes that came after. Well, we tried to limit the number of spells we did. We still tore through them, Celu had one of the operations wrap its tentacles around her. Which unsurprisingly got my attention, as her safety is incredibly important to me currently.   It was only as we tore through whatever Monsters the storm seemed to throw at us that we started moving again through the sky. Time had passed, but we're not sure how I assumed The Shard had something to do with it as we arrived at the Temple of Torag. Landing roughly a couple hundred feet from a battle that was taking place—knowing that we would have to deal with the storm while inside the temple, a choice was made. Licia Kraia and I channeled Champion powers and their respective domains for the situation to clear its entirety. It's not something I am willing to try again. Manipulating that much Divine energy coursing through us had its effects. The champion drag, as I will call it from now on, the aftereffect of using too much our Divine patron's power. Was rather rough on the body for Licia and I. as we had been using our powers a little bit more than the rest. I haven't observed any physical changes in Kraia yet, but it seems that the two of us have changed slightly. Well, physically, we remain much the same. However, there are aspects of us that have changed. As I've learned for some reason, I can touch incorporeal things, but that happened inside the temple watch is the next journal entry.   We accomplished our goal.   As we channeled the correct domains, attempting to sunder the clouds above. Yet the battle remained down below as the three of us had to catch her breath. The others inside the staff were quickly removed and told to get ready as we would soon be going to the temple.   As we steeled ourselves for the battle to come, I heard a sound one that I hadn't expected to hear at this specific location. Cracking. The soft, very clear sound of cracking. The dragon egg that I had been carrying was hatching.   Hopefully, it does not hatch too soon.

Journal #61: The Dreamcatcher

Journal Entry #61: The Dreamcatcher [Text Roleplay]   The Barkeep was surprisingly shocked he could keep his drink down tonight. The last time he actually drank, well elven ale was heavily involved. That being said the alcohol had hit him. It was clear as Aniks climbed the stairs carrying Celuriel swaying slightly. Or the slight lilac tent to his face. After climbing an eternally long spiraling staircase, which was only about three full rotations. Still felt like forever for Aniks. The drow’s eyebrows furrowed as being on the same floor made it very hard to ignore Sigrun and Cid. He eventually had to open a door to open on the other side of the house. Awkwardly while holding up Celuriel he opened the door to the room. Slightly slurring as he spoke, “Gods I sswear, they better not be at it all night. I don’t want to hear them alllllll night.” He extended the ‘all’ in a way only somebody drinking would do.   Celuriel hadn't felt the world move this much before, it was.. an experience. Very experienced at being inexperienced, she was, so she did as she always did in such environments and clung to Aniks. Literally, this time. Her rose-red cheeks had to look interesting against his flushed purple. She wished for a mirror. "they're go.. go-een... gonna be," she said, lips turned up into a barely-restrained laugh at the flash of insight. This was weird. "mayyy-be th'elf'll be loudrrrr. do.. do beards do... quiet things? muff-le." She was sounding out the words as she spoke, finding them all quite new again. "aniks. a-niks. an-iks? ani.... ksssss." She paused. "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa-nik-ssssssss."   The drow took a couple steps into the room. Then with his feet started removing his boots. There was a mirror near by, some dresser or desk. Aniks wasn't pay attention, as taking off boots and paying attention to Celuriel's laugh was a chore. It was adorable. "Nooo, They jusssst as loud as elves. Be... beards beards are just muffle theirrr vo-ices." The shoes came off, flinging them across the room with each leg. He shuffed over to the bed, he heard his name repeated by the elf in his arms. "Yes?" Unsure if she was asking a question or just saying his name.   Celu let her head rest against his chest, listening to the sound of his heartbeat as if entranced for a solid minute before realising she'd been responded to. Had to cling a little to not fall when he started kicking off shoes, but... that wasn't bad. "do you knoww... what your name iss... in elfvfish?"   Aniks attempted to put the elf on the bed. He expected some level of resistance on the matter. The drow's face was quite puzzled, if he had considered his name in elven. He clearly couldn't do it now, his head was too fuzzy. "Nooooo, I can't immmangine what it would be. Do u know?"   Celuriel was not letting go of Aniks. He could join her: he could not let go of her. That wasn't allowed. She smiled prettily at him, eyes half-lidded. "it's... areyou sssure you want tto know?"   Her grip, as he expected, was ironlike as he lowered her to the bed. He found himself next to her in bed shortly after. His eyes narrowed. Now seeing the room in full. He left the door open. He waved a hand. Letting the mage hand close the door and was he meant to lock it? Turning back to elf next to him, he poked her stomach "Yes. Wh-y why would'nt I waant to know?"   Celu made a noise of annoyance at the sound, hitting him back with one hand - about as much as she'd willingly remove from him, to be honest. "because you're weieiirird?"   "I I am not thaat bad." Aniks said cuddling up to elf. The drow took a deep breath in, moved slightly to get comfortably and relaxed. His eyes were closed for a moment as he spoke. "now im curiou-us what is mine... my name in Elfish"   Celu looked up, leaning, letting her face rest close to Aniks's, and smiled at him. "aniks." The dark elf sighed deeply. A smile clearly on his lips. Then very sarcastically said "aniks? Thaaats a very de-cent name in-in elfish"   "then I am.. happy that you took iiiiit," Celu murmured, letting her head drop back down onto his chest. "you're.. good t'me."   “I diid’t take it. I was givven it. By my Mother?” Aniks corrected. Though he wasn’t sure who gave him his name. His mother probably named him. The drow placed a hand on her back as a response to her resting on his chest. “Of’coursss you’or my dre-emcatcher.”   "gonna catchh.. more'n your dreams." She leant into his touch, not quite content to remain still. "ludri... drizi... loodri... lewdruseel's jealouss of my name b'cause it's pretty-er. do you liike... my name?"   "Celuu. Celuurieeel, celurieil. Youor name is reallly pretty, i luv it." He repeated the name, she could likely hear his smile as he spoke. His only other free hand brushed some of the hair from her face. Mostly so he could look at her eyes. "Did... did you enjoy toooonite? We needed to re-relax for once."   "we hadd fun," she replied softly, peaceful smile on her lips. She was willing to move one arm from him - with it, she ran a finger across his lips. "drinmking's fuuuunnny. this'isisz nicer than.. shrines. banshees are... louuud. aaniks is reaaally soft..."   "Noow look whoos bein weirid." Aniks said after her finger left his lips. The drow leaned in to kiss the top of the elf's head. Then reached for the loose hand trying to hold it with his.   Celu accepted the handhold, pulling their clasped hands closer. "miiine," she said, looking up through her lashes at her drow. "why're youuou kissinnng my.. my haiir?"   "youvvv cauught me" It was likely the alcohol in his system that made his turn a lighter shade of purple. She has always made it clear he was her's. That didn't cause him to blush before? Aniks would think on it more but he just enjoyed the warmth for once. " becausse, the ...its its hard to kissss youor face whin when youor lay-ing there"   Celu adopted a determined expression at that, and struggled to push herself upright and further up to be closer to Aniks's face. Sadly, she was very drunk, so the attempt was.. not very good. "aaanikss. kiss me. Proprererly."   Her determination was something to be admired or was it adorable? Probably both Aniks thought. Her attempts to get closer lead to both his hands being free. Which his partner found those two hands around her face. Pulling her into a proper kiss, as she put it.   Celuriel made a noise of complaint as Aniks let go of her, swiftly followed by one of surprise at the kiss; she was happy, though, and demonstrated that by a) not stabbing him and b) hugging him. She was so warm, given how everything recently had gotten cooler. Being this close to her, that kiss, it was difficult to keep certain thoughts from his head. He was forgetting something? That thought was quickly lost in others as he kissed her nose. “Sooo much msmischief tonite, youuu think we can make ssssome of our own my dre-emcatcher?”   Celu's look of surprise and surprisingly embarrassed blush slunk into an... almost predatory smile. Former vampires, hey. "m'gonna out-mis..miss-chuff all of them."   Cue fade to black. Wink wonk.   Time became nearly irrivently, it was clearly night. Moonlight flooded the room, creating a soft blue shade to the room. Time was the least of his worries under the warmth of blankets. An arm stretched under their pillows, which Celu rested her head on. The other was curled around one of her hands interlocking with her fingers. Holding him in place. The two pressed closely together cuddling. The Barkeep hadn’t opened his eyes for a while, it felt like a while at least. Falling asleep was nearly impossible tonight. He was sobering up though, Aniks had a nice buzz going. A part of him wondered if Celuriel had drank any water last night? Aniks hadn’t, but he has had much more alcohol than her. So the hangover wasn’t going to be terrible for him. For her, without water? “celu… i need to get up. you need water, helps with drinking.stops the hangovers.” Most of that was whispered into her neck. He didn’t move, he waited for her to let her go. Hopefully.   Celuriel's sleep was always deep and full of colours she barely recognised; myriad whispers of futures and pasts murmuring incomprehensibly into the depths of her dreaming. Thus: it was not an easy task to wake her. Unless your name was Aniks, whose whisper cut through the sleep and reminded her of.. all sorts of things, especially that night. She stirred lightly, murmuring a curse in some form of Necril before dragging her eyelids awake but a fraction. "..mmm? i'm sleeping..." If anything, she snuggled closer into him.   “i know, i know…” Aniks whispered an expected as much. The soft rise and fall as she breathed was all he needed to know to tell. Still, Aniks didn’t want to consider how stabby she would be with a blaring headache from the hangover. “i just need to get you some water. It will stop the hangover tomorrow. i’m only going down stairs to the kitchen. won’t be long.”   That got her attention with the smallest intake of breaths. "...oh. come back or i'm... knives," came her retort, slightly more awake and slightly distressed. She loosened her hold on him, but only slightly.   "promise" Aniks said leaning over gently kissing his elf on the cheek. "no longer than five minutes." "...don't make prom'ses of feeeey," she whispers back, smiling as she once again lets her eyes fall shut.   " only if that fey is you." Aniks whispered back, before removing himself from the bed. Quickly slipping into at least his underwear and pants which had been scattered along the ground. He silently moved to the door. He wasn't about to walk around this house nude. Slowly he opened and closed the door, disappearing from the room. Heading for the stairs.   The stairs were, amazingly, still stairs. Random sticky patches lined them; the walls bore scratches from pauldrons and weapons. The house seemed mostly quiet now - quiet, but not silent. Aniks would quite easily pick up the noise of clinking glass in the bar area downstairs.   Aniks was thankful only buzzed. If he wasn't, the stairs might have been more troublesome. He still remained quiet, more from how he naturally walked. A side effect of growing up in a family of assassins. The noise didn't bother him, he assumed that a couple of people were still up. Still he had to pass the bar area to get into the kitchen. So he did.   Downstairs was... dark. The sort of darkness that comes only at the dead of night. Thankfully, Aniks was a drow and thus had little issue with it-- meaning he could quite clearly see the vampire that froze when he realised he'd been spotted.   The vampire that was holding a small pile of blankets, a number of glasses, and, most strangely, a bucket. The vampire that was only a few steps away from the clearly unconscious forms of.. what appeared to be Teras Galewen and Sigrún?   "...vhy ze fuck are you avake?!" Lukas hissed, eyes wide.   Aniks paused for only a moment, his eyes narrowed "you assumed I fell asleep."   "Vell, you both vent silent?" he offered, stopping himself from shrugging instinctively. Balancing! "and you would know that how?" Aniks whispered. His tone told Lukas two things. First being the drow never fell asleep, his voice wasn't groggy. The second was he expected some answers. "when did they drop, I just heard their glasses a second ago?"   Lukas looked back at the two with a look of sheer exasperation. "Vell I have ears und zey vere betting on how long ze others vould make noise. Zey have been out for.. not long? Miiinutes?" The glasses clinked as he instinctively shrugged and nearly tripped from the movement. Both Teras and Sigrún looked to be breathing, but... Sigrún's neck had a number of deep purple marks, the kind left by a lover, and Teras's seemed to bear a number of old traces of bites and scars. Nothing recent. Lukas seemed to notice his observing of the sleeping adventurers, his brows dipping in a frown. "Mein gott, you are all so paranoid. Theo passes out on me all ze time, I am not letting ze glasses bring in ze outdoors." He gave in and put the glasses back down on a table, bucket also landing next to Sigrún with a gentle clunk. "Vhy are you down here, more of ze alcohol?"   As the Vampire explained everything became apparent. Aniks didn't even answer, he simply disappeared into the kitchen. Returning with two glass pinched between thumb and and forefinger with a large jug of iced water in his other hand. Though it was hard tell exactly what it was. "You try growing up as a drow assassin, doesn't take much to be paranoid. As for why i'm down here." he shook the jug lightly, the ice sloshing around in the water. "Water."   Lukas made a noise of annoyance at the mention of Aniks's family. "Assassins are so messy... Do you sink ze ozzers vould be suspicious if zey wokr up to pitchers like zat? ...Actually zat makes it a better idea." In the short time that it'd taken for Aniks to disappear into the kitchen and return, Lukas had carefully draped blankets over the other two.   "Oh ja, ze aasimar guy got into all ze veird alcohol too? If he is still naked und declaring veird sings about his sword in ze morning, I am blaming ze humans."   "only the bad ones are messy." Aniks said, he was almost concerned how quickly that came out. Guess that Alas'thil blood is hard to change, prideful in their craft. He almost sounded like Nivinle for a second. "don't worry about it, if they wake up with hangovers it's their fault." They didn't have to worried about getting stabbed.   "Vhat..." Lukas stared, shaking his head. "Vhy am I asking? I don't really vant to know. Anyvay: it is funnier if zey drink it zen realise it vas put zere by me." He grinned, fangs visible in the darkness: bright white stood out. "Do you and ze girl vant anysing? I found ze alchemy room, you know." "do what you want. we'll be fine just stay out of our room, we might stab you out of reflex. goodnight." Aniks said.   Leaving quickly as he was still under the five minute limit he gave himself. Walking down the hall, his foot kicked something in the dark. He blinked watching the object slide towards the stairs. Even with his darkvision he hadn't been paying that much attention. It's probably why he missed it the first time. A handful a steps later and he was leaning down, placing the two glasses on the ground, quickly exchanging it for the square... Aniks narrowed his eyes. It read 'Dong of Darkness'' HE KNEW HE FORGOT SOMETHING! His eyes widen and the realization. He could feel his face flush, yet his blood went ice cold. It was overall an odd feeling. Gods he didn't know how to feel, OH GODS HE HAD TO TELL CELURIEL. How would she even take it? would she need an explanation?! His ears raised at that thought. Gods he was so stupid how could he forget about protection?! His mind ran through what seemed like a million thoughts, before he picked up the two glasses again. The deep breath didn't help but it made him feel slightly better. The flushed drow silently walked back up the spiraling staircase, and back to the room. Eventually opening the door, and silently shutting it.   He silently placed the glasses on the bedside table, pouring each of them a glass of water. Careful not to let the ice make to much noise. The Jug was tenderly placed on that table and Aniks pick up a full glass. He sat on the side of the bed near her brushing some hair from her face "celuriel...i need you wake up." Get her drink the water. You can tell her after, You gotta tell her Aniks thought. He sighed, so many thought rushing through his head.   Celuriel stirred lightly at the touch; it would seem she hadn't been able to get back to the depths of her dreams yet. She glared at him, eyes lidded. "m trying to dream."   Dreams? She use to be worried about constant nightmares. The glare didn’t bother him that much, Celuriel was never happy about being woke up. Swirling the glass ice clinking in its cup “sorry but i need you lean up to drink this. trust me you don’t want a hangover.”   Celu glared at the glass, instead, seeing no understanding from Aniks. Never before had she shown such sullen ire to a glass. "what is it?"   "water" Aniks said, taking a drink from it.     "...that's boring." She struggled to sit up, succeeding after a minor bit of fighting with the blankets and pillows. "it's coold.."’   "yes it is but we're not drinking anymore tonight. i need you to at least finish one cup" Aniks whispered, much sweeter than he normally would when cutting somebody else of from alcohol. He handed the water over to her. He reached over to grab the last glass of water. His drink quickly brought down to half, sat between his legs. He used the accuse of drinking the water not to stare. As staring at her now brought with it a flood of thoughts. As well as mental images of what could be. GODS Why can't I deal with this in the morning, no it has to be now he told himself . He was clearly lost in though…   Celu drank the water a little too quickly, coughing when done, and put it on the bedside table a little too hard. "are you coming back to bed?" Not at all a pointed question. She could see he was worrying about something, but her head still felt fuzzy - her everything still felt strange. "i can't catch your nightmares if you stay away from me."   The coughing brought him out of his thoughts, all his attention on his partner. The worry not completely gone from his eyes but momentarily set aside. He took the empty glass and refilled it replace both his and hers back on the table. Incase he could convince her to drink another later. That’s a loaded question, his ears dropped slightly. One Aniks knew he’d have to answer. The fact that she wanted to talk about it brought a small comforting smile to his face as he crawled across the bed. He leaned against the backboard of the bed. “it’s no nightmare, but we need to talk about tonight.”   He looked almost shy? His face was very *lilac* as well and he spoke so softly only she could properly hear him.   Celuriel immediately nestled back against her drow, dragging the blanket with her. "was something bad...?" Perhaps being drunk made that sound more emotional than she ever usually would show, but she seemed worried.   Arms wrapped around her waist pulling her in closer, resting his head on her shoulder before he spoke. Cool air filled his lungs, for a long moment he held his breath. Air slowly released from his chest before he spoke. “It shouldn’t be,tonight was nearly perfect. I just was a *bit* lost in the moment, forgot a couple of important things” Which was an understatement given the night, still his voice as quiet and near her ear. “How much do you really know about we did?”   She shivered at the cool touches, the cold whisper; temperature was still so strange. She turned in his embrace just enough to see his face properly, and murmured an even-toned response. "...we had sex." Celu was either incredibly vague, or pretty blunt. Any in-between stage was rare. This... was definitely the latter. "did you hurt something?"   He didn’t look hurt and was nothing really wrong presay. His face was an odd mix as she looked, still a bit lilac around the cheeks. There was a moment of silence as he just watched her as she spoke clearly both concerned and happy. As she clearly didn’t know some things, otherwise she would have made mention of it. “Nothing hurts, no. You do know what could possibly happen as a result of having sex?”   She considered the possibilities, cheeks flushing at.. some of those images. The occasional hum of mechanical sound coming from Kraia's room didn't help that any, instead serving as a distraction. Her brows furrowed in thought - until her eyes widened. "you're thinking of pregnancy?" Immediately, without pause, she hit him - not gently, but not with any weaponry. Open-palmed against his chest. "Ludrissiel will kill me.."   It was slightly amusing watching her puzzle through ideas and watching her blush for once. The open-palm strike got a solid ‘oof’ to leave Aniks. Arguing against her thoughts on Ludrissiel would only lead him to sleeping in the bar. Aniks knew how adamant she was about it. Besides they probably needed to ‘talk’ about this not ‘argue’ about how Aniks *WOULDN’T* willingly let that happen without a fight. Pregnancy or not.   “yes I was...” The drow whispered while very carefully watching her expression about the topic. “...it’s a possibility. a very low one, being that we’re elves but still a chance.”   "we can't," Celu whispered back, cold fear evident in her voice. She couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so many different emotions in a night. "the shards exist. she would find out. we do not know what Champion powers could do... we are not ready," and she hid her face against him, dark hair shielding her expression. In a lower tone but no longer entirely a whisper, she asked: "if it happened. if it were true. is that what you want?"   " i know..." it was a simple enough statement. Two words that were clearly a mix of emotions, and figuring out which ones was hard even for him. The Drow turned his head slightly looking as his elf, hidden behind her nearly pitch black hair. Aniks wasn’t blind to the problems. Two of those technically had ends, the third? He wasn’t sure what would happen if two champions have children. Especially given their gods. Besides if she was, it would put her in danger more than Aniks would have liked. It's something that they wouldn't know for a little while. Pondering on these thoughts, there was a long pause as he considered this. His voice was still whispering as he spoke. “yes. it’s something that i have thought about and considered, especially after the world seems to keeps showing me hypothetical children. hard not to think about it when that happens. but your opinion matters just as much if not more.”   "hypothetical..?" Celuriel was ever confused by the things they encountered. When the alcohol was gone, and when her dreams were done for the night, she would have to ask Aniks how much of this was unusual for adventurers.   It still felt odd to have an opinion, and she lapsed into silent thought to also give it consideration. Had there been a clock to tick behind them, it may well have spelt out five agonising minutes before she sighed, uncertainty lacing every breath. "a child cannot live in a world where she does. it would be taken from us. but imagining a world where my sister is gone is hard." She was thankful to not have her expression visible, instead demonstrating her fear through nails slightly digging into her lover's skin. "...if it were true, I would not be the one to kill it." Ludrissiel would inevitably have that honour.   The silence was something Aniks could deal with, as for the nails. That he had to do something about. While he didn't stop her, the drow simply pulled her slowly into hug, kissing her shoulder lightly. Trying to comfort her, let her know she was safe, she was here. "Yes, one was an illusion to depict the future, the other was well I'm still not sure. She spoke, but I am pretty sure it was something else taking that form... you want to see them?"   "no. yes? ...if you think it's a good idea." Celu lent fully into the hug, gripping him just as tightly. She needed this touch right now; nothing they were talking about was anything she had thought about for longer than a heartbeat. "if it won't hurt you."   "it won't, it's a simple spell." Whether it was a good idea or not, he wasn't sure. Having no decent illusion spell in his collection to produce such an effect, Aniks drew from that small pool of mythical energy within himself. He knew the spell he’d use, Minor Illusion. He tried his best to keep from removing himself from her too much. With a mix of both quick arm motions and a handful of arcane words whispered in the air. Two images were rather clear in his head. On the edge of the bed the air shimmered with a mix of purple and grey before the lingering arcane energy disappeared. Replaced with two illusionary children that came into existent. A slightly taller young girl stood next to a younger boy, both with light smile across their faces. These hypothetical children clearly showed traits from their parents. The pale skin, white hair, golden eyes were some of the few more noticeable familiar traits. His arms once again wrapped around his lover leaning against her. Waiting to see what she would say.   Celuriel fell completely silent, staring over at the children. Pointed ears. Golden eyes. Alive, with a smile reminiscent of Aniks's own. She... didn't know what to say, instead turning away from the images to hide against him and remaining quiet for a moment as she processed what had just happened. Then snuck another look, and repeated that process.   Finally, she whispered - loud enough for him alone to hear - "what names would you give..?" Her reaction was… adorable? Aniks clearly couldn’t place it but it was his turn to be silent as he thought. A small smile came across his face, as she asked that question. Resting his head close to hers, Celuriel could hear the soft sounds of contemplations. He didn’t want those names to be Drow like, besides elven names often sounded more pleasant then a Drow's name. “Hmmm… Ilyana or Allisa. Perhaps Sindel? I was rather fond of that one. As for the boy, I just saw him in the shrine so… " The Drow paused as another minute when by, he hadn't had the time to consider names for a boy."Alder or Lanre? I was never great at naming on the spot. Also might be better for them to have a different surname then Alas'thil.”   "allisa would make the emperor sad," Celu commented after another few minutes of listening to the sounds of their own breathing, still barely audible. "it is close to the girl he lost. sindel is better. my mother told me we were named for nature. 'celu' is 'river'. I don't know hers... I don't know how to think of names. sicil... siciriel? knife-girl." She breathed out slowly, listening to the sound - reassuring herself, perhaps, that her breathing was still there. "...think of a better surname for them and you. then you can give it to me as well."   “I don’t think we can name her that...” Aniks said a smile clearly across his face. Knife-girl? It was so not what he expect he couldn’t help but have a quietly laugh as he spoke. This would explain why Celuriel only referred to her cat as ‘Her Cat’ or ‘Cat’. Probably should name them as well at some point. She was of course right about the name Allisa, he had almost forgotten how close it was to her name. Somepeople named their children after fallen friends, this didn’t seem like an instance where that could be the correct thing to do. At the latter comment Aniks unconsciously hugged her a bit tighter, nuzzling into her. “ Hmm... might be awhile before I find a good surname for us. I’ll definitely find one, before I get you a ring.”   Celu made a soft noise of pleased surprise at the increased amount of cuddling. He wasn't as warm as before, but that didn't matter. "you already gave me a ring," she reminded him, definitely hiding a small smirk, but didn't push the matter. "how do people make surnames? ours are long. the other elves have long names too. but the plant's is short, and the halfling's is made of Common."   The dark elf removed a single hand from a very warm hug. Gently lifting Celu’s hand as if the two were going would inspect the ring in question. “Not the Wedding Ring I thought you would like, but if that’s the one your happy with…” While clearly teasing, he did plan on finding her a ring. Probably after they dealt with the Harp though. As for the surnames question. That one took a minute, as he didn’t have a good answer.“Hmm some adventurers take accomplishment as last names like Dragonslayer or Lightbringer. Not the best last name, but those are my opinions. Many complex elven names explain or tell what their family means or stands for. More Common names are often like two simple things combined together and changed slightly like Kraia’s last name.”   It took a moment for Celu to catch onto what he was doing with her hand - the realisation, seconds later, pinkened her cheeks. "..." She... didn't know what to say. So she stayed quiet and waited, letting him muse on family names.   ..Family names. For them. She captured his hand in a gentle grip, lacing her fingers between his. "then we need to decide what sort of family we would be?" she asked quietly. Silently wanting to confirm that they would be a family. As the conversation and long pauses progressed, the illusionary children dissolved into the air. Leaving the edge of the bed empty. Aniks hadn’t realised the spell was about the dissipate, or that they had been talking for that long. It took his attention away from Celuriel for a moment. The empty space soon lost his attention, returning to person between his arms.   Their interlaced hands softly fell down, a similar grip returning from Aniks. His head now leaning against hers. His voice quiet as well "hmmm a caring one to start, but I already thought of you as family."

Journal #60: A bartender once again.

After all this shrine mess, the fey time displacing us, dealing with the dwarven prince’s scry blocking everything to do with Licia’s Father. The Lost Ones and our traveling company finally decided we need a break. Which encluded a ludicrous amount of alcohol, which Sigrún supplied as well as a place to relax.   The large house, one of many according to Sigrún, was clearly built with a more Viking aesthetic in mind. As it fits the own quite well with her runes blades and winged helmet. The longhouse was surprisingly wide and might have been two stories tall? A third if there was an attic. We spent very little time outside admiring the peaked roofs, despite it look quite nice. We skipped the living room heading straight to the bar, which was shocking large. Larger than my bar in Ironfall.   Before we really started to relax. Silver found themselves in a bin that held umbrellas, complaining as I unbuckled him from my side. My decision to place my scimitar into that bin was simple. I did not want him whispering in my mind every time something happened. As when The Lost One’s drink, there is always a bit of magic involved. When I told them I did not want to hear them, they simply called me a bitch.   In retrospect, given how that night went, really glad I did this.   It was definitely one of those nights.   Licia’s and her father had taken a table for themselves. Celuriel was never too far from me, and Sigrún, Burdyr, and Cid found themselves at the bar. Then to my amusement, partly due to Burdyr’s convincing Talinde joined the bar. Kraia kind of kept to her self, but I made sure she had some drinks if she asked. Lukas and Nailnir had placed themselves far from the rest of the group. Chatting to themselves for a large part of the night.   For once I was a bartender again, but I took it slow at first. As Sigrún and Burdyr were having a drinking contest. Starting slow was always a good option, only to increase to alcoholic percentage in the drinks later. So the first rounds I passed out, were not too strong. Just something to warm everybody up. Given that Teras and Yoshi had not had food in a while since Teras was kept in a dungeon for a while. Licia’s father would not being eat heavily tonight.   Asking if he wanted me to cook anything special he was not so sure if a drow could make elven dishes. Which wasn’t something I was overly familiar with but I could have attempted? Then again, after seen Sigrún’s pantry. I could not have pulled it off if I tried. Stew was tonight meal.   It felt surprisingly good, to just have to cook and serve drinks again. I almost forgot that I liked being a tavern owner. You tend to forget what a normal life is like when you deal with dragons, gods, and shards of the void. Yet that is the life we live. Sigrún gave me full permission to use her kitchen. Just like my shadow, Celuriel followed me simply saying something about wanting to watch.   “Well, then you can help me,” I said putting a handfull of potatoes next to me I had yet to cut. “here cut these.”   I heard one thud into a wooden cutting board next to me, the knife an inch deep within the wood. The sudden sound made me turn, her dagger, not a kitchen knife, was stuck in a starchy vegetable. “Well… that’s not one we can use.” I said clearly amused when she asked why. I explain several things to the inexperienced chef. One was she used that knife to stab people, two you do not stab you cut and third, she was not using the correct knife and how there were many kinds of knives for cooking. I pulled out a second knife from a drawer more accustomed to the choir of cutting study vegetables. Similar to the one I was using to cut the potatoes. Jokingly adding I would have to get her different knives for her birthday. She very much enjoyed that idea.     Well, I know what one of her presents is going to be, different kinds of knives from the kitchens to the elven ones.   After her first batch of cut potatoes for the stew were done, I had to show her how to properly slice them. Not because they were bad, because she might have cut off her finger with how she used the knife.   Every so often I would hear a call for drinks, and disappear from the kitchen to pass or refill. As well a making sure Celuriel was okay chopping the potato. Strangely enough, Talinde joined in on the drinking. I started him with light fruity drinks. With every idea to add more alcohol throughout the night which the fruitiness would cover the alcohol. Which for an elf, I am surprised at how well he handled himself. Then again his partner in crime for the night, Buydyr was just as hard and he’s a Dwarf. It might be a war priest thing.   Sidenote; it was around this time, I had the bright idea to get rid of the rest of the Elven Ale. A bottle left for Sigrún for helping I think or did I wrote something about letting us stay here. The other used for tonight. She made a comment as I told her that I would leave the bottle, my reply was she likely be stabbed and I would be locking my door tonight. She ended with the Cid that night. They were not quiet.   At this point, I started enjoying myself. Making sure both Celu and I were far away from Elven Ale. I still had a fair amount of drinks throughout the night, which I shared with Celuriel. I had not been that drunk for a long time. It was nice. Being able to relax and just not worry about things.   Till Talinde started using magic on the drinks. Those drinks had very odd and apparent effects on us. The safest among them was Burdyr had gotten a second set of arms. Others were more Suggestive, needless to say, I had to cover Celuriel with my cloak. As one of her drinks had replaced her clothing with a bikini. While I will admit finding the sight rather attractive, I thought it better to cover her. So I covered her in my cloak, which also gave me an excuse to hold her. I think I remember Celuriel using her champion powers to change some of the effects the drinks had on us while she was in my arms. She used it on me, which I am rather glad mine was not permanent. I do not need to write what it was, I remember.   Burdyr was the first to fall asleep or more accurately just drop. Departing from Celu for the first part that night, I got Burdyr blankets. The other war priest had taken it upon himself to take the Dwarf upstairs. I left him with the blanket and went back to Celu.   The two of us eventually found a room, which she demanded I carried her there.   As for the rest of our night, I was reminded in more than one way that Celuriel is a gorgeous woman that I love.

Journal #59: The oldest sister

Promethea had already nozzled herself into Aniks lap, clucking softy while asleep. Content with her meal at this odd family dinner. Eating with The Lost One's or Celuriel wasn't that odd. To some extent neither was Nivinle, though she kept writing down notes instead of talking. Assumingly still planning for whatever happened in that future. Those people weren't the weird ones, it was the new drow next to him. The smiling one. The one Nivinle said was her, their sister.   While she had been silent, for all of this fae time displacement only really sharing words with Nivinle. Aniks had caught her watching him once or twice. The two siblings were taller than this new sister; she was a shorter drow and looked nothing like their mother. It was their father she looked like. The white freckles, the lilac eyes back in the shrine he thought that drow on that screen looked familiar. Now with her in front of him, it was hard to deny the similarity between the two. She clearly wasn't that much older a decade, maybe two. To say he wasn't curious was be a lie.   What was her name, Daeris?   A good portion of the dinner was sat in silence, save for casual conversation. Again Aniks couldn't bring himself for much more than that. The future only one year without them was concerning. A fair amount of things left unattended. The Emperor in bed with that Princess after the Barkeep warned him, Canthe said he knew of Drast? The Shards moving around, both Riven and Elias. The giant scar now in that endless desert. Too many thoughts swirled around the drow's head. Gods Aniks would have to apologize to Ashlyn, she finally understood her distrust of Cyne. He couldn't just ignore it anymore just because they were friends. Then what about the Samsaran? Jinne knew they were from another time? The Divine casters working with the Dreamers. That temple, so many questions about those Dreamers. How far do those temples go back, why did she say they belong to the world. Gods, he needs a list of things he needed to research.   The Barkeep's eyes widen, his thoughts tossed aside from a cup being placed on his head. Tapping lightly. He had been so lost in thought, he had failed notice the freckled drow remove herself from her seat next to him. He turned his head to see Daeris pulling a cup off of his head. "Mind if I borrow you for a second."   She gestures just to a couple of trees fifteen or so feet away, still in clear view of everybody. If Nivinle had pulled him aside, he would be more inclined to believe she would be up to no good. Still, the sorceress in front of him followed Milani, that freedom goddess if Aniks could recall. Still, what good drow would ever willing to work with a matron? Were they working together? Unless something happened. Questions to ask. Aniks excused himself quickly, not ignoring the quick glances.   Aniks leaned against a tree, folding his arms. He was clearly unsure how to even look at her. He kept his face nearly neutral, with his brow slightly furrowing at the drow. She was fidgeting with a small platinum rose pendant. She had yet to replace it on her new cloak.   "Thanks..." the freckled drow said. Then she titled her head as Aniks raised. "For the cloak, I mean. It's really nice."   "Your welcome, Daeris?" She nodded as he clearly was asking if that was her name. "So, what did you need?"   It came out rather blunt, but Aniks siblings had been a mixed bag to being with so. The question had a reason for being that blunt. Younger siblings screwed Aniks over and left him in Castle Umbra. Nivinle and Aniks have a loose trust, and on some level, like each other. Then this drow worshiped a Good Goddess but stilled worked with Nivinle. Or at least looked like she was. That was something he would ask.   As her eyes widen, Aniks notice the slit-like pupils. "Oh, I wanted just wanted to talk to you!"   She paused, narrowing her eyes, folding her arms. Annoyed. Not at him, but more at the fact something like this happened twice within less than a decade.   "You're a lot harder to find that I would have liked, but that's not really your fault is it. I swear any time I go searching for people, they are always time-displaced or time locked."   "Does this happen often?" Aniks said a slight smirk as the drow started ranting.   "Gods, I hope not." she protested. "Twice is enough for one lifetime, but enough about that. To sum up, a stupidly long story, went to find out about my family, learned my father had two other kids. Ironfalls was a dead end for you, as your 'friend' said you weren't coming back." She gestured to the Celuriel. "Went to Nivinle next, then got dragged into helping her deal with Drast. I swear if he wasn't such a problem, one of us would have killed the other by now."   Aniks ran hands through his hair. Not exactly what he wanted to hear. "As much as I want to know…" The younger brother shook his head. "There is a lot to unpack in that, mostly that Drast is a large enough threat to get Nivinle involved. Something to note for the future I guess. That is currently besides the point, as you just wanted to talk?"   "Yeah! I always grew up alone, hardly had friends never knew my family." She listed those facts on her fingers. Her face was so expressive as she spoke. It was odd to see on a drow's face Aniks thought. "The friends part changed, of course. Thorid, Spiros, Rosa, Alistair, and Lyadri. Eventually, I wanted to know about my parents. Took about a year to find anything on them. This led to me finding out about you two..."   Daeris looked up. She thought she was talking too much, nervous and all that but Aniks's face. He visibly flinched as hear that name, as whatever that connection was they had. That mental link, neither one was happy about that.   "What?"   Having trouble finding another person's time lock. She knew Her. She was looking for the Commander. That was the last person Aniks thought he would hear in this conversation. "Commander Lyadri? From Galathin?"   Daeris paused for a moment. Tilting her head to the said. Clearly noticing the reaction of the name. Her mouth opened as if to speak, but closed it. Then looked back at the rest of the table. Furrowing eyebrow showed she obviously was 'looking' at them for the first time. Aniks turned to the rest of the table. Some of the group was different, of course. Ashlyn and Pin were gone.   "Yes… I was." She said paying closer attention to, he assumed the giant beaver. Her head slowly turning back "... you're that drow she was complaining about."   "Glad to know I made an impression," Aniks said sarcastically.   "Gods, that was a rant," Daeris said, rolling her eyes. "Even I couldn't get all the information out of her. She stubborn like that, but apparently you had done something to at least get remembered."   Aniks paused for a moment, it wasn't something he forgot. It was one of the few times he willingly channeled Pharasma's power of the Soul. That had changed recently but his first attempts with the magic had been larger than they probably should have been. Removing souls from Shardic influence, letting them free, and attempting to remove that 'things' control over the elf. Something like that wasn't easy to hide.   "So…" Aniks shifted his feet in the snow. He looked back at the table. Their sister was eating. "How do you get along with Nivinle?"   "Not well... still it's more of the lesser of two evils. And she's a champion of a demon lord, so that's saying something. I fight her on so much, especially when it comes to Drast, and it's so hard to read her. We agree to disagree on a lot. Your siblings on the other hand, the other ones Vasestra and Rizkry, rikzyr? Whatever his name was. Nearly killed him once, Nivinle didn't seem to mind. I would have gotten the other one but she stopped me. They deserved it, wouldn't stop trying to flirt with me."   "I like you already," Aniks said with a smirk.   Daeris return the same question "Do you like Nivinle? From what I have heard, you're odd."   Aniks was silent for a long moment. He was clearly staring at the table.   "We have a decent relationship, I think," Aniks said. "I spent about half my life with her. I respect her and I understand why she is the way she is. Still she is possibly one of the most dangerous people I will ever meet. So I am always wary of her. The younger ones there are terrible, and I am surprised they are even still alive."   She paused for a moment, either sibling clearly unsure of what to talk about.   "Hey, Daeris, you know you do not remember any of this right."   "I know…" she said a bit sad "Still, at least you'll be back in the world. Avoiding all of this. Hey, maybe I'll get to find you this time."   Aniks smirked, "Well then, at least tell me a little bit about your life."   So she did. In very Daeris fashion, she told Aniks of her times with her group of ragtag adventures about some mage that hired them, dealing with dragons, the long and difficult process of dealing with Lyadri in general. They spoke for a long time, Aniks commented every once in a while. About their gunslinger, or monk. Apparently, that group also had a strange large animal companion. Daeris seemed to brighten up at this. Aniks looked over to the dinner table, which seemed to be ending. He was enjoying this conversation, despite how odd all this was.   "I hate to interrupt, but I think we might be leaving soon."   "Oh… well OH! I could ask you to do something! Really quick? When you're back and have the time of course. Could you write me a letter? I should already be looking for my family, so your writing might help me find you quicker." She was almost like a child as she spoke.   "Where would I send it?" She considered this for a moment   "Yeah, I travel a lot. Hmmm Lyadri? She probably would contact me, or just teleport to me."   Great, I have to write to the Commander of all people. Aniks thought.   "I will send it there unless something happens to it." Aniks finally said this does mess with time a bit, but so does Cyne's Letter to himself. Fate would probably stop it if Aniks wasn't meant to take the information of the future to the past.   She smiled, she smiled so much for a drow.   Arms wrapped around Aniks. As she hugged him.   "I can't wait to meet you again!" Daeris said, hugging the awkward drow. It took a couple of seconds, but he returned to hug.  

Journal #58: The sign says it all

Journal Entry #58: The Sign says it all   Besides Celuriel's involvement with the fae, I rather hate how easily they just warp the world around us when they need help.   Regardless of my vexation towards the first world beings, one of them deemed it an important time to take us. Forward one year, stealing us from the sapphire shrine in the middle of our trail. Only five of us, Myself, Kraia, Licia, Cid, and Burdyr. Being woken up in a warm and colorful place. It looked similar to that twisted piece of land called Tenearul, without the corruption. The First World home of the fae and the Eldest. Possible more.   Luckily this, well, the best way to describe this fae who stole us from our time was Summer-like. Or perhaps Spring-like, somewhere in between. Whatever the theme might have been, it was clear from her explanation that we could be placed back in the proper time if we helped with her icy problem. Apparently, one the factions of The First World the Ice Queen, If that was what she was called. Had come to Istralar a century too early, freezing the world permanently. In order to defrost the world, we had to collect our friends and family, delivering them presents and bring joy back to the world. Or something to that effect.   The concepts the fae work with are so hard to grasp. As if they all play a child's game where the rules always make sense to other children, but you would be hard-pressed to find anybody to understood outside of those faes who play that game.   We agreed, not that we had much choice. Burdyr took it a little better that I personally thought. Give how often we get kidnapped into helping in something winter-themed event. Dealing with Santa Clause and Krampus and whatever this Christmas is? Adding some strange, powerful ice fae to the mix did not seem entirely out of the ordinary for this mix.   This Summer Fae handed us a bag that looked shockingly similar to one that turned me into a child. Explaining how presents would defrost our loved ones by bringing them joy. Each of us would bring two or three people back here.   Artemis was gifted with the magical flight. We had magical cloths applied to us. Three of us had a deep red coat with white fur as it's trim, with a long red hat with a fluffy white ball at its tip. Cid has dressed a deer costume? With a strange round red nose. I had an odd green and red striped shirt with another green shirt over that. The pointed curling shoes with bells were a bit much. We found ourselves Ironfalls frozen bodies everywhere. Seemingly going about there daily life before being frozen solid in less than an instant. It was silent, so silent that wind seems twice as loud in comparison. No chatter among the town folk that covered the town with a blanket of background noise. Just a lingering Icy silence.   Not the best introduction of Ironfalls for Burdyr.   The center of the town hardly a soul around, save for that flirty baker. The bar, my bar was still standing, but I went around back. Checking on Promethea, my awoken chicken. From the bag, we gave her rather good grain. Unfrosting her little body, Promethea was incredibly happy to see me. This made me miss the little girl; still, it would be too dangerous for her to stay with us for long. Inside, Kraia had triggered another Rune of Lust and ended up kissing an iced Alvir. With the added bonus of the ownership of the bar and the kiss from Kraia. We had another deforested person to add to our collection. I forgot he had a thing for small people, I wonder if Kraia will actually do anything with him once were back in Ironfalls for more than a week. While Cid took care of Saeryn with a fancy new bow, I checked upstairs. Apparently, both Saeryn and Alvir's last memories were of some forested person or creature. Clearly, the thing that froze them. Upstair was empty, no track of Celuriel. It was hardly lived in.   I would be lying if I had said my concern wasn't growing, as the bar and our home in Ironfalls was empty. Devoid of Celu.   Eventually getting to the inside of the keep itself, Kraia released her family from there respective cold prisons. Which, as a normal family would do, asked when she would be home and when she could watch her Neice and Nephew. While I am not sure about what gift was used on her whole family, Her parents got a bag of some planets, read into that as you will, probably some smokeable herb of some kind. I was never one to understand smoking. You could get easily inebriated from ale. This was besides points. As Ashlyn's family was next, we found them and, of course, in their room. Ashlyn and Mery, defending Midna from I assume some sort of icy threat. for Ashlyn it did not take much, I pulled the adamantine firing pan out. Given that that was her weapon of choice all those years ago, it made a rather good way of defrosting our Paladin friend. Midna got a full set of armor, two more resemble her adoptive mother. After explaining the situation which, prompted me to pull out a sign that simply said: 'Fae Bullshit' to explain the time huh and everything. Ashlyn using the bag, pulled out fine jewelry for Mery. Another collection of people for our merry band of misfits. Kazric was not hard to find. It seemed he had built himself a rather large and phallic like tower on one of the mountains in Ironfalls. We found him guarding his two children. Giving him good ale was sufficient enough, I believe Kraia pulled that ale out. The children, on the other hand, I took care of. I pulled out two different kinds of magical daggers, which for them we're basically really short swords. One was flaming, and I believe the other one was ice. I gave each of them the daggers as a present, and they defrost it almost on the spot. And they clung to my legs, which while cute. It hurt a bit.   They just remind me of Alain a bit.   It is around this time that we realized the sack could truly pull out anything we need. I pulled out a compass as I felt I needed to find Celuriel. The compass worked.   Outside the edge of Ironfall, a small home was built. The special compass leads straight there. I was happy we had found her. I knew she wouldn't be happy that we disappeared for any given amount of time. My head was plagued with thoughts of what she could have gone through, what she thought.   She was not alone.   Her sister had paid her a visit before the world had frozen over.   The Lich knife in hand raised above her head, with all the intent in the world to bring it down onto her sister's chest. Recreating an all-too-familiar scene from their past. Celuriel was sleeping quietly, frozen in bed. I panicked. Which also might have been brought on by the fact that her sister was merely a handful of steps away from us. I was too worried I would not be able to defrost her. I could not think of something, I knew she loved books, no title came to mind that would be sufficient enough. Give it a year, I was not sure how she felt about me.   When I voiced my concerns, Kraia slapped a bow on my head she had pulled from the bag. This had been my first idea, that may be just myself would be enough to defrost her. I was too worried she would replace her feelings for me with anger.   When I went next to the bed, the shell of ice metaled away. Her glance up to her sister And showed so little shocked that it told me she expected to see her. When she looked at me, on the other hand, two things happened.   "one year," she said quite angrily.   Then I found a knife stuck in my side.   Despite the pain of having one of her many knives removed quickly from my side. I explained everything how we were going to set it straight and what happened. Why we had not come back and just disappeared in the middle of the sapphire shrine. I know she probably wasn't happy, I'm really glad that worked. The simple fact that she defrosted, but despite me being gone for a year of her time, she still cared so much.   She also commented on my stupid outfit, which I agreed with her; it was stupid.   Next trip was to see the emperor himself, as we were pretty sure we can defrost, Licia handled this one. I cannot necessarily call what items should be pulled from the magical sack in order to defrost the emperor. The effect was all the same. Cyne to several different people in his room, the, strangely enough, he wasn't the only Frozen person In his bed. Siglinde was still on her side, peacefully sleeping, unaware that she was frozen.   We explained to Cyne our predicament and exactly what was going on. Then I had an idea I asked him if you wanted to write a note to his past self. Avoid any mistakes and such. I had multiple reasons for doing this. However, it could also help as much as it could hurt. He agreed and took up a solid page worth of encoded notes.   His note translated below took a while too. Though not the orginal copy, Licia took that to our Cyne. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Cyne (self?)--   It feels incredibly strange to write a letter to myself. Doubly so since you're in the past. Weird shit never ends. I'm guessing whoever gave this will explain where and how they found me, because that's more their story than mine. And I'm hoping the differences in our worlds aren't so great that you don't have any issue with deciphering this.   I could give you a full accounting of all the shit I've had to deal with in a year, but even with our lord giving me a little longer to write, I don't have THAT much time. Needless to say: there's a lot that could happen. Especially if, as in my world, that party of idiots get themselves killed. That sort of changed everything.   Some of the bigger things. Can't avoid marriage forever; need an heir. Mine's not born yet, but WIP with Veronika's sister (Siglinde). Made the best of it and took control of their country. Also Ordan and Terenholt, because they were useless alone, and Medimia because somebody needed to put their foot down. And a few others. For various reasons. Ruling gets more entertaining when you only need to worry about a handful of people. Would suggest you make a decision that doesn't lead you to having a controlling wife who has to hide certain aspects every time Ashlyn visits (though she likes the paperwork, which is one of many benefits).   Drast's people are everywhere - including in your ranks - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Use them. If it comes down to it, the Gothadruni nobility have the right connections to arrange a meeting. Listening to the occasional demand stops innocents from injury, and allows easier espionage. Work with Aetha re: shards. She's surprisingly brilliant. Other champions show up. Find them quickly, they're useful. Same to former party's allies. Alas'thil respects you. Galasthin would have been useful to take and use, but concessions had to be made. Might be why Alas'thil respects me, come to think of it.   Your parents will be used against you. Let them die. Ceridwen prepared ahead, Andron deserves his death. Ashlyn largely stays in her little town after. No need to fear her disapproval.   Whatever happens in your world, remember mine. Rule with steel and shadow, and our Empire will flourish. There's no need to spill an excess of blood if you speak velvet and send the right fools to their graves. My world is a kinder place to its inhabitants than it was a year past - and as I always expected, it would never have become so if I'd sought 'happiness'.   Best of luck. Shadows keep you.   By the grace of truth, High Emperor Aneirin of the Aletheian Empire and all its Lands, Champion of Hell, King of Gothadrun, King of Ordan, Emperor of Medimia, and far too many other titles for me to care about.   P.S. Don't trust wine; it might be cursed, blood, or both.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Somewhere along the way, Cid at the castle picked up some random person in a maid outfit. Not sure when but he had snuck out while we were in the castle.   I wonder if Licia trusts Cyne enough not to decode this. She probably won't. Her face would be priceless when she read about Cyne's heir. Turns out, Siglinde was pregnant at the time. Convincing the party, we should visit my older sister Nivinle, the more the marrier. I cannot say I was not curious about how she fared a year later. That and we needed more people as Burdyr had only Talinde. Besides, Nivinle was probably an easy person to defrost. She was the only sister I cared about…   But not even that is true anymore.   As we teleported into House Alas'thil's Study. It was changed more of a war room, glancing at the maps several houses I was unfamiliar and their territories House Alas'thil had gained a large amount of land and influence. Two drow were there both familiar, though I had never met one person. Nivinle arms crossed as another drow looked annoyed in the middle of speaking. At a general glance at the table and knowing my sister as I do. I used the magical sack to pull out a book of plans and contact.   Plans to control and manipulate the Aletheian Underdark.   It worked, her first response was how did you get this.   Waving that aside, I pointed to the other drow. One that looked quite similar to a picture I had just seen. The drow with the rose pendant. While she smiled on the screen picture back in the shrine, now she looked like she was in the middle of an argument. A worshipper of Milani and, according to Nivinle, our oldest sister. Older than both of us. The lilac eye and white freckles dusted across her face told me without much of a problem whose child she was. This drow did not have the golden eyes the Alas'thil bloodline was known for. This was a child from my father, one of the few people who could match blades with Vasynda (our mother) without the need for magic.   I knew that drow looked familiar. I just never assumed she would be related to my father. With quick exchanges, I pulled another item from the sack. A Milani style cloak, and with that, the drow free and quite confused, and it required another explanation with the sign.   Fae Bullshit   Daeris was named, and for the most part, she kept to herself only talking to Nivinle. Still talking about in more hushed whisper about their plans to deal with Drast as I later found out. Had he become such a dangerous force within a year that my sister had to get involved. I know Drast had dealings in the Underdark.   Burdyr's people were next, which was just Talinde. With a failed attempt to pick up Sigrun along the way, she was just frozen in mid-battle and continued said battle after we unfroze her. Leaving Burdyr with some large great sword. More on that later, but back to the other war priest. He was just outside the Sapphire Shrine. We gave another Fae Bullshit explanation and joined us. I hate this time manipulation. Makes things too complicated, besides we seem to deal with it far too often for my liking. Celuriel's is fine as it does not steal years from us.   Licia was the last one left, as she needs one more person. The easiest one for her was Canthe, the Cleric of Desna she hit it off with when we dealt with the Unbroken March. Finding her inside a strange temple. Again I cannot say or remember what others pulled out of the magical sack too, it was much easier to remember the things I had pulled, the frying pan, the knives, the plans, and cloak. I do not really count myself as I did not pull myself out of the bag.   Thus things got complicated.   Inside one of the dreamer's temple, Cante was speaking with Jinne of all people.   Plucking a silver orb from the bag, it did the trick.   She knew, knew that we were not from this timeline. That we had been displaced. How she knew I would never find out, but I am not sure why I cannot trust her anymore. Her mention of Drast and Cyne knowing more about that was concerning. Apparently, the world had become bad enough were other churches started to realize themselves with the dreamers for some reason.   Jinne is nice, but there is no reason she should know we had been time-displaced. It does not make sense.   I cannot trust her. I just cannot bring myself to believe that this Cult is doing something good. I am going to skip over all of that mess as she did not join us when we returned, back to an icier First World. Have we destroyed the minions of that Ice Queen, saved the world from being frozen and had dinner. Sharing all the nice things we are thankful for. I spoke with my new oldest sister. I do not have the time or the desire to go into detail, there are things we still have to do, and things about that fight I want to forget.   My hand is starting to hurt, I am getting tired of this.   I understand how Ashlyn felt now. If only a little. I cannot just ignore some of the things I learned from this future.   It seemed blick.   We were returned to face our nightmares, inside the Sapphire shrine apparently only having some strange dizzy spell. Celuriel had looked at me when I 'woke' up, concerned slightly.   Note to self: Attempt to contact Commander Lyadri An'thimael, should help Daeris find both Nivinle and me faster. I never thought I would have to write about that person again. How my sister made friends with that Elf, I'll never know.

Journal #57: The Trail of the Sapphire Shrine

There are no words, but I could express in this journal that would accurately describe how I felt about Cid. That is a topic that I will get into when the time is right, still something that needs to be talked about eventually and explained. Putting the mercenary aside for but a moment, we arrived on the snowy steps of the sapphire shrine.   Large translucent ice crystals around a Courtyard some even big enough to hold a person as we found out. The building itself is slightly hard to see in the weather. It had three clear nondescript doors. As we were looking at those doors, the people who have been sealed in an ice crystal prison began to speak. People would not be the correct word to us. It was clear that they were dragons taking human shape. And told us we must complete tasks in order to gain access to what we were seeking.   Access to the Onyx Shrine.   Our draconic friends, Vorthomin and Sigrun would not have to participate in the trials constructed by these Protectors of the sapphire shrine. The protectors and divided us into three groups a team that thought with logic. One who is best at surviving in combat. And the last was well I am not exactly sure what that classification was for the groups was as follows.   Logical team: Licia Nialnir and Myself Survival team: Kraia Burdyr and Nialnir The other team: Celuriel, Talinde, Lukas   Once in our respective doors as told by the dragons taking human shape. Another division was placed upon us. As well as another problem. Something was wrong with Nialnir as so the protectors of the shrine put his soul to sleep, placing another spirit inside the body to inhabit and help us. Overly thrilled that they are messing with Souls. Then again, I am not exactly sure what is going on within these shrines.   The other division that was placed upon us is between the logical and the survival teams. We must pick a partner to share a mental link with. They will be listed below.   Connections Cid and myself Licia and Kraia Burdyr and Nialnir   This created an issue as having a mental link between the two connected teams. My connection had an issue from what I learned. I got to hear some of the words being spoken from Cid and Cid alone. As the survival team was placed into a maze.   Our goal was simple to collect enough points to find the keys to unlock a door. The keys have been floating blue crystals likely sapphires as I never saw them to be able to tell what they were. The logical team was sent into a room separate from The Maze with their only connection inside the maze being that of the one they picked to have the mental link with. Our job as we were given a key Listens to how they would obtain points. Colors and shapes dictated point values and multipliers. Well, special shapes hearts, diamonds hourglasses those types of things had specific types of challenges I required to get those points. It had been a tedious process, but eventually, we have passed.   The goal finds three Sapphire Key and unlocks a door.   Test of Self: A sacrifice or a secret Test of Heart: Hypothetical questions Test of Reason: Riddle Twist of Fate: Swap Places   It had been the test of self that let me hear some of Cid's true thoughts about the party. More accurately, he had once considered selling us out for a large sum of money. I am not going to lie, I knew of his mercenary life before the party. He is still a mercenary now; however, my opinion of him has dropped significantly. I have dealt with one betrayal in my life that led me to great pain. A second one will not be tolerated.   I wish I could say that is where it would end for my issues with the mercenary. But that is not the case. It would seem he held another secret. One that is actually worse than the hypothetical selling out of the party for money. The gunslinger had been leaking information, Every single time we had stopped at a Tavern. Through the mental link, I was not able to tell how long he had been doing this. or for what reason. This was a betrayal. As this was willingly giving away information. There are things we know things we have that cannot be known to the public or even within our closest allies. If he is giving away information where we are other things, it's such a liability.   We need to speak with him. in a place where he cannot Escape or shoot us for that matter. I just don't know. The leaking of information would make sense for certain topics. The question is, where is this information going. Cid is the most obvious candidate because of his mercenary background, the most likely to actually give out information for some sort of reward.   I'm rambling, and I am thinking about this too much, we need to speak with the mercenary. Once the maze trial was complete, the six of us as well as the spirit calling itself Yoshi. A former participant of the trial quit failed and died within its walls. A new challenge was placed in front of us. A simple door that opened up to a pathway, a long one that was open to the void. Near the end was some strange steel like ship in the void at the end of that pathway? A door which was shut, our clear objective was to get to the other side. Of course, we were told this by the protectors of the shrine. Some of us were unsure of how to handle that.   As there was some discussion on this. My journal, the communications ones, and started signaling that I had received a message. Celu was asking a question.   @aniks the vampire and the elf will not stop arguing. they also will not accept that I am right. these puzzles are stupid. would I be in trouble for getting rid of one of them.   I scribbled a reply.   @celu If you have to, please choose the vampire. He'll probably come back if you don't kill him properly, but you'll get your point across.   @aniks you don't need to say 'probably.' He's a vampire. They come back. the elf also came back last time he died. do you think that happens every time?   To be honest, I'm more inclined to believe my partner over the war priest in the vampire who we know little about. I wrote another reply.   @celu This is true, but I think you would get him the first time. Not sure I do not think he would come back unless we bring him back, or his goddess steps in."   @aniks i'll tell you if either death becomes necessary.   It was right around then after my quick little chat with Celu the party actually started discussing the door.   Ironically I think our former Paladin changed my viewpoints on some things. As I was the first one to leaped into action for a change. If this void on the other side of the door was lacking, I simply cast a spell that produced an air bubble.   It was around the time it felt like the shrine was pulling something from our head. Getting a running start, I will leap into the void. Trying to run on the pathway but finding my movement already set. I was moving without my feet touching the ground. Not by any magical means such as flight or my wings in my angelic aspect form. My course was already set, and I kept moving towards the door, unable to stop. That was an unnerving experience.   The void itself provided another danger besides the lack of control of our general direction. While I have actually felt the void that strange burning cold sensation. This was intense pressure, this was different, but it was constraining us, strangling us, as we float there crying open the door.   Upon touching the door, it gave each of us once we arrived at a question relating to our party. The spirit was out of luck as they could use the memories of the body they inhabited. Not that they knew much about us. My first attempt was a failure. It was only on the second attempt that I made it inside. To be more simple. I believe it was something along the lines of who is the most liked in the group. Honestly, I cannot remember.   To be fair, the only notable thing about the room that I was in was that there were many chairs and some other strange metal things. It is all foreign in different ways. Inside this, I guess we could call it a void ship? I am not sure what to call it. This was just an illusion created for the participants in the sapphire shrines trials.   With a party trickling in from the other side of the door, nobody was in clear danger. We examine the room around us. There seem to be beds though they were cold to the touch and in some pod-like shape. Lots of flashing lights and sounds. Window screens that lit up displaying text but that seemed off, there are things missing logs telling us something was wrong if we went to sleep.   Eventually breaking into a different one of those window screens, it told us that three people were already here. Already sleeping. Which didn't bode well as it seems the prior participants in a similar trial didn't last long once they fell asleep.   You did not have to be a well-trained wizard to figure out who those three were. Needless to say, I was worried about this.   Blow this common area several different many trials granting us card Keys existed. Only three of them truly mattered for me personally, so those are the three I will choose to go over as they were a bit odd.   They are not in any particular order, mind you. Even though I write the first one, it does not mean it comes before the second or third. Some rooms only required one person while others required three.   I nearly had done the trial about self-sacrifice but thought better of it. I was not too Keen on having my partner yell at me again, even though all signs pointed to being Resurrected immediately after. The dwarf had been the one to pick up that specific trial no, he wasn't all too sure how to actually do the deed.   I handed him a knife.   "I do not want to get yelled at again by Celu. So here…" I mean it clean, swift motion with a single finger across my neck "one clean cut should do right across the neck."   It was a bit morbid, but I was rather blunt about it. Burdyr only questioned if I had actually killed myself before. I remained quiet for that. It should have been a clear enough answer for him.   Once the dwarf had performed his act of self-sacrifice, the Dwarven gods seem to favor him. Torag, who I am not overly familiar with their Pantheon but that name at least as familiar as a high-ranking member of the Dwarven Pantheon. And deemed this warpriest is champion.   So it was not two weeks, it was more like four days, and we did end up getting him killed. That's great, another champion I'm curious to see how many there will be by the end of this. Whenever the end of all of this will be anyways.   I had participated alone in a different truck. Trial questions. Actually felt bad for doing this one as there were no correct answers, and there were several of them. Each one displays an illusionary figure to give examples of the question. Two of them stood Out Among the other things. I before Licia had a chance to see her father, which I assume the only reason why they would know that we were searching for this human was that it had been pulling information out of our head. I felt slightly bad, but the moment passed.   By the introduction of a little boy. Silver white hair and golden eyes pale skin. A clear representation of the future, a future with Celuriel. The question had been something regarding my preference for the past versus the future. The life I could have versus the life I once had. I picked the life I could have, the one I was currently having.   It was a very short trial, but this was the second time I have seen a hypothetical child between my partner and me. It makes me hope for a future where I can see our children smile.   That, however, is a future that is not around the corner. It is a future, but I will have to work towards it.   The third one, a strategic trial, was like a mini-war game. The only notable thing was the image of a drow. A happy one. It was strange to say though I've never actually seen this drow before the trial before. She looked familiar. I mean, I know who she looks like. It's mostly the white freckles that remind me of my father, that among other things, was the most standout trade from my father. White freckles were rather rare among the drow. Not to mention both this drow had lilac eyes. Something both Nivinle and I never acquired. Though I am quite happy with my gold ones. Still, I can't shake the feeling this dark elf looks so like my father. I hardly have any memories of him, but I remember what he looks like.   Regardless of that. The colorful keys, reds, purples, and blues of different shades and tints were gathered. Using different color combinations to gain access to different chambers. Which was not an easy task as sleeping gas was used. The door I had picked had Celu in it.   It didn't look like she was having a pleasant sleep. I quickly picked her up channeling my gums power of repose he's her dreams hoping that whatever happened if you sleep would be guarded by this act. When I brought her back up to the common room, Licia broke the enchantment on her. Which apparently was a rather nasty dream, as she was holding me when she woke up.   Ok, it was clear that we needed sleep. However, sleeping pods, one of them now containing Zalni due to us messing with the systems and the dragons teleporting in somebody that we asked. We hadn't thought it would bring in the person. I'm just glad we didn't pick somebody like Cyne. That would have been rather complicated.   Well, I thought I was going to stay up, just to keep calm down Celu for a little bit. Licia made it rather clear; we all needed to sleep, not even bothering to set up a watch. This had proven to be a mistake.   She'd pulled us into a Dreamscape. Something I wasn't overly fond of. This was in order to catch Burdyr up-to-date with the newly-acquired champion status. Well, this was all in good. Several people weren't here. Anybody lacking a tattoo wasn't even with us. With the addition of the monkeys Azyel had somehow managed to bring into the Dreamscape, Nialnir's strange reasoning for killing two of them, it had been a rather, annoying waste of time. I'm not going to lie, given how there was such emphasis made on sleep. Even though we were told that things were fixed once all the correct key cards have been placed. It still felt stupid that we had all been asleep. Again this was our mistake. I am not overly thrilled to let it happen again.   The visit to Dreamscape tangent only got worse when the Monkeys led by Kraia herself in Monkey form to a rather dark door clearly reminiscent of our dear friend of the emperor. When he stepped through. That made things a bit awkward. I did not really look him in the eye. I do not think I can look at him for a while.   I'm sure that he noticed. He's always annoyingly good at things like that.   When our talks were over, and we all started to wake up, we had found ourselves in those pod rooms. Lukas and Zalni had dragged us in there. Before we really had a chance to understand what they were talking about. Nightmares that look like us but weren't us. Never a good sign really when it was coming out of a very odd vampire, to say the least.   We were given gifts by the shrine, the one that matters to me most was two rings that allowed Celu and I to have a link between us that allowed us to know our general direction and state of being. It was rather awkward to have to explain so close to the others what these Rings were called. True love rings, as well as the reason why they worked.   Then something else had happened.   That will be documented in the next journal entry as I'm not going to make this one longer than I have to. We had slipped into another dream sleep I'm not even sure. Apparently, one of the say had thought it best to snag us from our timeline and flung us a year for. Dealing with some crisis that came several centuries sooner than expected freezing the world. Not like that hasn't been expected, every once in a while, we do get placed in very strange circumstances.   You learn to roll with it. Most of the time, they happen to be very cold in nature. Last time we had to deal with the alternate pain from another timeline, which is attempting to steal divine power from a being known as Santa Claus. This time some fae creature simply known as the winter queen or ice queen. She Frozen the world, and we were tasked to unfreeze it using happiness.   We woke up in a daze, returning from our stolen year. This should not make sense, I am just going to chronicle that adventure with summer and winter fey in another journal entry following this one. Celuriel had no memory of her counterpart one year in the future. She looked a little concerned when we 'woke' back up.   What happened next was more concerning, as we had to deal with our nightmare. Our fears. I cannot say I was particularly happy with this shrine pulling on our collective thoughts to create these nightmares. Pulling Silver from my belt, any one of our fears could have been created from our thoughts. A part of me had hoped we would not have a nightmare version of a lich in the room. The fight was a blur, as soon somebody opened the door.   I was rather glad Celuriel had not joined this encounter. It was painful. Sliding from the chamber, I saw them. The nightmares. In total, there had been six. A bright shining angel clearly Ashlyn, but who feared Ashlyn? Celuriel might have, but no, I think she liked her in her own way. That left what, Licia, Kraia, Cid. I knew my fear, it looked me in the face. A psychopomp version of myself, lighter skin eyes completely endarkened. With pitch-black feathered wings. I would have said Cid, though A nightmare had been taken from Cid. Represented in the form of a cold, heartless machine. Talinde's was simple, a version of himself that leaned on his other champion powers. Stained with the powers of Marvaeth. A truly vampiric version of Lukas Scuttled around somewhere Quickly hiding in both an orb of darkness and invisibility. While one remained invisible to our eyes. Our attention was quickly drawn to the mechanical gunslinger. We knew the dangers of leaving that creature alive; it did not resemble Cid at this point. Dismantling this night terror given light and life within a couple of seconds. Not without getting a handful of shots off. The Nightmare version of Talinde destroyed Nis that soul, trapped inside that shrines body.   That was not where my attention was a draw. It was in the winged version of myself. This Psychopomp, this Aniks. A possible future if I rely too much on Pharasma powers. It would warp me into that thing. While I cannot excuse my actions for wanting to prove I could beat this version of myself. I could hurt him, but not best him. Trying to both stall or defeat this creature. Few attacks worked, and Silver had to be infused with spells in order to even touch that thing. No spell seemed to work, the Psychopomp even brushed away Silver with a small twist of their wrist blade in hand. Any time I had attacked winged self, another caster had cast spells, the first indication of the sixth nightmare.   It was around this time, the nightmare staff struck my side. A terrible pain spread from my side. Rushing back the nightmare elf, caught effortlessly catching it. My version went slightly red as I took my eyes off the Psychopomp. Watching the nightmare of talinde make a single motion, showing quite clearly his elven grace as the staff again left his hand. The world went black.   I had died. Again. I am not some Paladin, I have no shield or plate armor. I would say I am slightly jealous of Ashlyn's ability to fearlessly jump into combat. Being a hero, I could care less about the hero part. Apart from me wishes to be able to do the same again, to leap into combat as the former rogue I once was. Now, I am some strange Arcanist bound to a blade. Still, I am not even sure if Silver somehow connected to The Spirit Blade. Silver talks like the blade had some recent history, but Silver is arrogant. I am worried about asking, not for the conversation itself, because if that idea, they might have a connection. When I attempted to steal the Spirit Blade from Riven when I stuck my hand into the void sphere. He was angry that I was stealing this blade from him. It was the after effect that one action turned me into this arcanist. Or it was the root cause of it, the trigger perhaps. Once that fight was over, once Riven had stepped into the void. We had escaped from Castle umbra, hidden away in a Demiplane. Wondering the Dark Castle of our friend, I still felt a remnant of a hilt. Silver soon followed that feeling a couple of days later. It's unlikely they are connected, but if they were, maybe it would help track that shard specifically   For all of the steward's training, I am still not a warrior like that. I was raised as an assassin. Licia had brought me back. That makes it my fourth death in total. Which had only been a matter of seconds, but funny enough the thing about death people do not speak about it. Is how things seem to elongate like time. It could not have been more than ten or so seconds but felt like an eternity. The shining angel had been dealt with before I was quickly brought back. The Corrupted Talinde was in a furious battle with the dwarf. Trading blows, I quickly cast a spell at my nightmare, but they shook it off. Death being something not easily shaken off, I stumble for a moment before truly being able to regain my senses. I cannot remember why Burdyr had not finished Talinde's night. Seeing how dangerous the normal war priest could be slide over, driving the blade into his chest. Making sure he could not come back. Burdyr and I then took on my nightmare. I believe Kraia and Lukas were dealing with his nightmare. I hardly noticed Lukas joining in the fight.   The Psychopomp had finally started to subsume to its wounds when Burdyr set his sights on them. I had another go at the creature, not being able to finish it off. Burdyr had that honor. Another spell had gone off. No longer invisible, stood another form.   A pale, almost grey familiar figure stood angry. Not gold, dark red or black eyes but ones of blood red. It was hard to notice how dark around her eyes had been as her eyes nearly glowed. She had the same dark hair. A nightmare version of Celuriel. One who seemed to like being a vampire. I felt something when I looked at the nightmare, I expected Ludrissiel, not her. This was somewhat worse. I raised a hand and flung a spell at her.   Her body started crumbling into ash, ironic that the spell worked against her. It made it more painful. Any conversation with the nightmare version of my partner would have been more… something. I cannot place the emotion. That nightmare of the oracle was not done once she was hit with disintegrate.   From the crumbling body, a distorted spirit rose from the body. Her eyes glow even in the spectral form. An evil smile played at her lips as she gave a message. A single one.   "You can't hide her from Fate forever. It comes, fast or slow…"   She had been the last, thankfully.   Dying had been one thing; the words had been something else entirely. I found myself near Celu. Just holding her. I only now release one of the reasons she probably felt me die. Those rings, gifted from the shrine, left a mental connection in our head. I never noticed the connection coming back once I came back to life. It was just there.   That's when I noticed something for the first time. She's changed me, and I have not even noticed when it started to happen. Before, when something like happened, I would keep to myself. Bottling all up. Wanting to be alone, as I did that after the mirror in Undria. When had Celuriel become a person I go to for comfort? Not that I am complaining about it when she is around my nerves are at ease. Just her presence brings me comfort, it might have happened in The Boneyard. We had spent so much time together, I am rambling about her. Again not a bad thing.   One of the Shrine's Dragons had appeared in a humanoid form. I held back the urge to put Silver through their chest. Regardless of that, they would give us our reward passage into the Onyx shrine. As well as power. They warned us of what could have been or what will be. If one were to rely too heavily on the powers gifted by the gods. A welcomed warning, but It is rather intense.   We were also gifted one request, something that would help us on our journey. It seemed that we were not limited to anything in particular, as my request for something to help protect Celuriel when her sister comes. Granted me a small token, an orb-like Gem. Licia got the same but of another color to help get her father back. Others had items. Pocketing the gem, we wanted to sleep on normal beds. I personally requested a shower after that bloodbath. The protector of the shrine summoned beds in the common room and a very open shower.   It was a quick shower, Celuriel telling me to cover up once I was done. Sleep came even quicker than the shower, I did make a copy of Cyne's letter and decoded it.   To avoid any complications with dragons in the future. I will not go into detail about how we got into the Onyx Shrine. As some secrets, I will remember but not need to write them down. Safer that way in the future.   I was surprised at how easy entering the Lich's domain was. It almost would have been perfect, as we had been speaking about it our plans for a while. Apparently, the Magus had other ideas. For Nialnir had been annoyingly hasty as we finalized our plans, leaping through not invisible like the rest of us, basically screwing our planned stealth mission.   Moral of the story.   A bargain was stuck, deal fulfilled, a father obtained.   Overall it took less than twenty minutes, though I am not sure overall how long it took to come back to the Sapphire Shrine. Our next thought was trying to relax, and I really need some ale in my system. I said my goodbye to the Crystal Dragon, which oddly enough as we left for Sigrun's home. Vorthomin said I could call on him any time, maybe I will take him drinking. Or just see in a couple of months how he is doing.   P.S. Source

Journal #56: Gold is not what King’s Envy

After leaving the lost cause that was the Prince, our goal was now set on the Jade Shrine. Which we acquired one dwarf, which I was not terribly upset with. His opinion of the Prince really changed my mind on him.   That was not what we did this morning.   No, The Lost Ones are outside far from the walls from that Dwarven city. A soul gem of what I thought was a metallic golden dragon sword in hand ready to fulfill my promise to the Dragon, regardless of the color of their scales. Which the other tried to convince me otherwise, the Dragon might have been lying. Which I knew, but reasonable even if the Dragon was say for instance was a Red Dragon. Also, they would want to be free, which I could have argued to whatever Dragon to not look too much into this and leave. If they were evil, but we were all wrong.   As my blade stuck the Soul Gem, Vorthómin was freed after what could have been centuries. A hulking crystal dragon appeared as if he had always been there. Stealing down, placing his gaze on me.   For a little while, at least.   I could almost feel Licia's Gaze as the Dragon shimmered, what little light there was reflected like a prism on the small hill we found outside the city. As my thoughts on this being a Golden dragon just shattered in front of me. Regardless I welcomed him back to the land of the living.   Vorthómin had made it fairly clear he would accompany us to the Shrine. Regardless of the choice that I suggest of the crystal dragon enjoying his freedom, instead of heading straight back into danger.   Each of us then discussed which Shrine and how we are going to get there. Flying was the best option, but with the Arcane problem, I was not able to help. As Burdry was quite clear on not dealing with anything Arcane. Thank the gods for druidic magics, as Kraia turns herself and Cid into Dire Eagles? At least I thought they were Dire Eagles.   Strangely, I miss the train. As riding Dire Eagles was not the most comfortable and something I probably would not like to experience again. Especially as when we got closer to the Jade Shrine, Dragons become more abundant. You could almost hear their cries in the sky. Seeing was another problem as the area seemed to be caught in a snow storm. Eventually, it becomes difficult for Kraia and Cid to continue to Fly.   The last straw was the two white dragons, who saw us as an easy snack in the air. Noticeably as we despatched the dragons from the sky, the bodies falling into the stark white ground below. Vorthómin had stayed back, watching us. Watching how capable we were. Reading a Dragons feeling was hard enough, but as the storm picked up, it became damn near impossible too.   We land, Kraia carving the last Dragon she killed. Which with some luck, we found a cave that would fit our needs. Nothing special a giant carver ten or so feet from the entrance. Vorthómin had to help us enter as the wind became so loud some of us could not even move at times. We thought about closing the cave that went further into this lucky resting spot, I guess our thought process was we would deal with whatever came from that entrance.   We were forced to get comfortable. As the storm had no signs of letting up. Lukas had brought to our attention that the Demiplane inside the scepter was odd, and he received a note inside that plane. Which was concerning, but I got back to that later.   I have to say, approaching Vorthómin with the Dragon egg was nerve-racking for sure. What he told both eased my worries and brought up new ones. Raising the odd purple egg with pink speckles to the crystal dragon's eye Vorthómin as best as he could guess narrowed down the child's type.   That this egg was an Esoteric Dragon. As to which of the five he could not place. Occult, Nightmare, Etheric, Astral, or Dream. Time to do research into that.   As the storm remain constant. As some of the others began to speak on Ghoran Syrup, I decided not to participate in this conversation. I found myself watching Celu, who was gazing farther into the dark cave. Then an idea formed, a cold one. Stepping outside the cave, I made three snowballs. Finding myself near Celuriel again. Then as I handed her one, I explained that snowball could be thrown at people. I thought for a second she would toss it at me, but she took a couple of steps near Licia. She tossed with an accuracy I had only seen in her games of darts, nailing Licia in the jaw. Licia shot me a glare seeing that I was the root cause of her attack. I tossed a snowball up and down, thinking about if I should give her another. Celu turned probably to ask if she had done it correctly. My arm already flung the snowball, hitting her in the face.   Celuriel froze clearly not expecting that, narrowed her eyes at me. Then rushed over to the entrance to create her own collection of snowballs she would fling at me.   The battle was long, and both of us suffered, and it was evident by the end of this would likely not be the last fight in the frosty war. I fully expect a sneak attack from her at some point when we were not doing something heroic. It is a small moment.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Change to Third Person as Text Roleplay happened with Lukas ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Removing the snowman from his face, a small thing Celu made to distract Aniks so she could shove more snow in his face. It had become a bit too cold for any long term fight in the snow. The two went farther in the cave were the rest of the party was. Perhaps he had missed it in conversation as he was busy tossing snow at Celuriel. As he walked back in thought, but something bugged him.Eventually once Aniks remembered, the vampire was tapped on the back of his head. “You never told us what was on that note, did you?”   Lukas spun around from where he'd been blatantly trying to eavesdrop on what looked like a private conversation between the party's two warpriests, eyes wide with faint fear at being touched by someone in this group. He blinked a few times at the drow and his odd question, fear quickly transforming into his usual smile. "Ja, vell, none of you vere like, even a teensy-veensy bit interested, you know? Und it vas addressed to me, not any of you, so vhy ze heck vould I just like, say vat is on it? Aniks shrugged some snow fell off his shoulder as he did the motion. "I asked half my question, but then as the conversation turn to something more disgusting I left. My other question unasked." As it just as concerning on how he received a note, as to what that note said. "I simply asked because one curiosity, and two I would be concerned for our safety if context of the note was dangerous."   "Vhat vas-- oh, ze syrup? Vell, you know, it's really just natural. Vhy does zat need to be disgustink?" If his posture and expression were anything to go by, Lukas was being entirely serious (or as serious as he could be) and wasn't simply trying to distract Aniks from the topic of their talk. He shrugged. "Anyvay, I don't sink it's, like, dangerous. Maybe to, like, me since I'm not vhere I'm 'meant' to be but vhy should zat matter?"   He was silent just staring at the vampire. Not where we thought a part of the conversation would go but "While natural, it's really not something I would use on my food. Or even want to taste for that matter. Regardless of my personally preference on thing like that. As for why that matter, because sometimes when somebody is missing for long enough. People go looking for them."   Lukas considered both of these things, dismissing them with a headshake. "Vell, it isn't my fault zey can't scry into ozzer planes. Zey vere ze vuns to srow mein coffin into some kobold sing, anyvay! I vasn't even dressed!" His protest sounded entirely genuine, if somewhat childish in how he phrased it. He crossed his arms. "Honestly I don't even know vat zey vant for a response! 'Ja I'm in some cave in fuck knows vhere' vill probably make zem all more angry."   " The truth maybe? Minus the not being dress. That's a little weird." With a mocking raised eyebrow Aniks said "What is you family looking for you?"   "If I tell zem ze trüs, at leaast vun of you people vill get mad at me for saying it, zo. Ve are vampires, so zere's no trust from you, ja?" He ran a hand through his hair, not breaking eye contact with the drow. "Und ja, actually. Mein cousin is being all like 'vhy aren't you being uuseful' like zat's going to help like, literally anyzing. You know how it is vith family, right?"   Aniks shrugged Lukas wasn't wrong about that. Likely somebody would get upset, that was the problem with good people. They get upset often. However Aniks hardly knew this Vampire so even he was weary of him. "Trust takes time to build, especially when you have such interesting circumstances to how you were found." Another eyebrow raised his voice was flat and sarcastic "No as a male drow I have never once had a problem with family."   Lukas looked taken aback by the sudden sarcasm. "Ja, exactly. You know ze vomen have all ze power vhere I'm from too, right? Zey aren't gentle vis it eizer!" While he was complaining, it did still seem quite lighthearted. "Und I am not zat dumb. I don't expect aaany of you to trust me, but at ze same time I have no fücking idea vhere ze hell ve are und being lost in zis frozen hellscape seems like ein very bad idea!" Even if he was a vampire, and wouldn't freeze to death. "Zough in saying zat.. I could just write ein plea for help on ze note, since it's like magical or somezing."   "Please they're probably pleasant compared to drow matriarch or drow women in general." He smirked as he was still had not found a society more painful than that one ...yet. "Understandable, it hard to explain all this, where would you even start" Gesturing to the people around them. "Were they just asking you to come home or..." Aniks left it open for him to choose to answer.   Lukas shrugged, exaggerating it to emphasise the confusion. "Nein, it vas more a lot of "vhy aren't you at zis place" und "if you're a prisoner let zem see zis" or vhatever. Honestly I read it like once then vent back to vandering around ze weird place. Vhy does he even have zat staff? You can read ze note if you really vant to, you know. It's like, somevhere here." It took a little bit of rustling about in pockets that seemed a little too deep to be entirely nonmagical, but Lukas did eventually pull out a pristine envelope only marred by the precise letter-opener slit at the top. The wax seal still sat in its place on the outside: bright red, and stamped with an ornate crest. He glanced at the crest for a second - too familiar with it to care - and offered it to Aniks.   "Gods only know why he has that staff. Was the blood lake the only thing you explored?" His head turned to look at the elf and dwarf. They seem to be getting along. Aniks sat across from Lukas, the fire at his back. As he attempted to warm up a bit with the letter in hand. Eventually pulling the letter out reading it.   Lukas took Aniks's movement as the perfect cue to settle in a liiittle further away from the fire. Not the greatest fans of fire, vampires. "Oh nein, zere vere so many sings there! I started in zis like, little shrine area but like no vay vas I going to stay staring at ze veird crystal shit going on. Crystals aren't meant to like, move, you know? So zen I valked around for a vhile and found zis crazy forest place zat I walked srough and it just kept getting, like, bigger. Und zat vas vhere ze lake vas, plus some veird animals zat really didn't like me - probably because I'm dead, but vhatever. Zere vas even more past ze forest vhen I eventuaaally got ze fuck out: like, mountains vorth of stuff!"   The letter was on dense parchment; the heavier kind used by the rich, it would seem, rather than any scraps used by peasantry. The writer was clearly overly familiar with the sort of fancy script that high-class children were forced to spend months learning, for anyone less experienced with nobility might have struggled to read the blood-red ink.   Thankfully, Aniks didn't struggle that much.   Dearest young cousin Lukas,   I will depart from our usual etiquette this once due to your odd behaviour as of late. I thought you were well informed about the need for communication!   You had better have a fine explanation on why you cannot be scried on at the moment, let alone be contacted by other means. Where are you? Why aren't you at Moonsfall? Sir Blackmoore tells us Lord Drast's ally is moving forward with her plans while you hide away doing nothing of significance! Why are you not making something of yourself?   The lord's friend offered us this chance to reach out on behalf of your current employers. He said this paper works both ways - a trick of alchemy, less detectable than the usual magics. Use the back to explain yourself, please, or we shall be forced to recover you ourselves from whatever situation you've managed to mire yourself in. If this is some waste of time born of cowardice and idiocy, there will be consequences!   If this note is received by your captors instead: please use the back to arrange a suitable method for us to reclaim our wayward cousin. I shall be glad to discuss appropriate compensation. If he is deceased, then please at least return to us his ashes for the family's graveyard.   With much love, Lady Ottilie von Schultheiss   “Of fucking course they’re involved” Aniks mutter in undercommon as he finished the letter. Something to mention to the other later, when Lukas wasn’t around. More for his safety than anything else. Putting the letter back in the envelope. The dark elf handed the letter back. “Your family are at least concern about you. To some extent it seems. I did not expect that much inside that scepter's world, much less living creature or moving crystals.” The description made Aniks wonder if that world was something more that a Demiplane or something else entirely.   Lukas looked surprised at the sudden language switch, blinking back confusion and accepting his returned letter. "Ja vell zey could try showing some ozzer vay zat doesn't suggest I'm silly enough to get, like, killed. How vould zat even happen easily, ve're verdammte vampires." He leant back, resting against his hands. "Und me neizzer. I vas like "oh wunderbar he's put me in some prison place" und zen it vas an entire like, place? Gott, I should write ein response to zem at least. I vonder if mein pen has ink."   His eyes narrowed as he tured his head to the side. "Your young even by Vampire standards aren't you? That might explain their level of trust in you. Do you want to go to this..." he made a gesturing motion trying to recall the exact place in the letter. "Moonfalls. Sounds like they are not giving you much choice in the matter. Do you know the people in that letter or you just getting roped into some grand plan of somebody else's design."   He... absolutely didn't almost fall over at the audacious accusation levelled at him! No, that was simply Lukas's hand slipping. "I.. don't know vhat you mean, I... am not gut enough at ze lies to make zat believable, am I?" He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Ja, zey're pretty ageist. It's kind of rude, you know? Like, zey have all zis experience but zat does not mean zey can totally ignore mein vords like zey do. I know Cousin Ottelie, ja, but ze others? Eh, not very vell. Ze lord vas scary as scheisse ze only time I saw him und Blackmoore is vay older zan me und ein old 'family friend' so I know him only from ze fancy parties." He found it weird that Aniks was asking about his choice; it was pretty obvious by his visible confusion. He shrugged to cover it. "Like obviously it is some grand plan. Ze heads of ze various covens are alvays doing zis, it's not like ve don't get anysink out of it."   Aniks waved it off with a hand gesture “No, it was both that letter and a handful of moments while you were around. I probably could not pin your exact age, probably no more than 150 if I had to guess, but that is a *really* rough guess. It’s understandable to some extent that vampires would be ageist. As they technically could live for thousands of years. However a person word should always be considered. If your wrong they should at least explain as to why you are.” Aniks was slightly amused by the reaction from the vampire. As that was unexpected “Regardless of who they are, it’s important for you to understand their motives. If you do not agree with them, why work with them?”   Lukas blinked at the guess, mouth slipping into a smirk. "Vun hundred und fifty? Mein Gott do I act zat old already? Zat's like, more zan a century off. Ja, you see, becos I am vay younger zan zem - ze Contessa de Marchelle is like, at least a zousand years und she is not ze oldest - zey sink I need to just listen und do vat zey say. Like zat'll vork, right?" His smirk turned vaguely sad at Aniks's second question, being more plastered on than genuine. It didn't suit him. "Vell, if I do not vork vis zem, zey might actually just kill me? Or do ozzer terrifying sings. I had zis friend from House Rennell who vas turned like five decades before I vos even born und last year he refused to dance vis zis pretty voman from ze Güldenbergen family, und his sire vas so mad zat he is making poor Travis clean ze entire mansion und live in ze servant quarters as a servant for ze next decade. Und zat is a very light punishment!"   "Farther than I thought, I was thinking between eighties and hundreds. I cannot Image living that long, maybe it's just the type of mind set." Aniks said amused that he was that young. A thousand years is damn near impossible for a drow, most drow hardly live to be in their three hundreds. It was hard to image. "If they are that harsh..." Which Aniks didn't truthfully think that was all that harsh. There could be other benefits for a position like that, but that was just his upbringing taking. "How did you end up here and not in Moonfalls? Were you not worried about punishment?"   "Zat's because you're a drow und you elf people have veird views of time! Ze Falkenrath family is mostly, you know, human, so ve get turned on our 18th most of ze time, und so it has not been zat many years. It vas a whole process, like zere was a cool party and everysing. Und ze old fockers are even veirder zan any elf vis how zey treat time. It is like zey are always playing chess vis ze rest of us, really."   Lukas shrugged. It felt like he was doing that a lot lately. "Do you really sink I have an answer for zat? Because I don't! I vent to hibernate in my bed after a lot of really long lectures about a lot of really boring sings zat I didn't pay ZAT much attention to - vhich is probably part of a mistake but ve don't need to sleep so I'm not exaggerating vhen I say it took three days - und voke up to you people. I am guessing zat ze kobolds vere meant to like, deliver me to a place or somesing und somesing vent pretty wrong vhen you showed up?"   Lukas took that moment to consider something. "Und, vell, if zey punished me it vould probably not be death. Maybe horrific research experiment or torture or humiliation or somesing like zat, but I vould be alive. Your group really vants to kill me und zat is like, ninety-six percent of ze reason I am not trying to mist form into ze snow und olly ze fuck out. I kind of like zis life, ja?"   Aniks put both his hands on his face and pulled down sighing. "Ugh this is the problem with 'good' and 'evil' Some times people are so blinded by one they cannot see the world for what it really is. Shades of gray" It was a small gripe about the people he hung around. Aniks leaned back his hands propping him up. Aniks smirked "I would think Elves might have a closer opinion of time with vampires, as they tend to live much longer than my kin. They, those older vampires, Lukas play the game. It does not matter how old you are, how long you could live..." He gestured an excetera excetera excetera with his right hand " Anybody could play that game of chess, it just a matter of how one views the world. Easiest way not to be some piece attempt the game yourselves." Aniks paused for a moment unsure where to go from there "What do you want to do?" By the look on Lukas's face, it was pretty obvious that he hadn't expected that little tirade. He seemed quite taken aback. "Ja, you're definitely older..." he muttered, clearing his throat. "Ah, vell, I do not really care for ze games everyone else plays vith eachozzer. I mean, I sink I vould be happy just, you know, staying in ze background und fighting papers und letter-writing instead of vatching out for... traps, trigger-happy clerics, the sun, vampire hunters like ze famous Alucard, adventuring parties who like killing sings, armies..." He counted each option off on his fingers, stopping after a bit and just smiling at Aniks (and then immediately dropping the smile when he met the eyes of someone a few steps behind Aniks. I wonder who.) "But you get ze point! Zis is all too complicated, und silly, and honestly really dangerous. How ze Hell did your family agree to let you leave?"   Both Aniks eyebrows raised "I thought Alucard was a myth? Like an old wise tale. "Aniks shook his head as he hadn't expected Alucard to be a real person. "People have choices, if you do not want to play as some pawn piece. You should find a way off the board, and avoid death in the process." Before getting to his family his eyes narrowed at the drop in Lucas smile. Realizing he wasn't looking at him anymore. Aniks leaned back his head looking behind him. "What's up Dreamcatcher?" Lukas brushed his hair back again, unable to really sit still. "All zese heavy questions und also talk of Alucard? I sink he vas definitely around a vhile ago, but I sink he is long dead now. Zough apparently he has come back like, multiple times, so it is totally possible zat he is actually a person zat exists. Scary sought, ja?" He very clearly didn't want to address the heavier questions, instead looking behind Aniks at the woman he'd addressed to let her speak for once. Celuriel had the decency to look slightly guilty for being caught with a dagger in her hands, a pile of snow gathered at her feet at easy reaching distance. It wasn't like she'd ever learnt to pretend innocence. "...I'm not letting you talk to vampires unsupervised," she said flatly. Lukas shivered under her glare, and quickly picked up the talking before she could make some other sort of threat.   "I-if everybody plays ze game zen zere is no real vay of leaving ze board vizout dying, nein? I sink zat ship sailed like.. years ago, vhen I actually died und became like zis. Or maybe vhen I vas born first. Is zere even a vay to not be a pawn or a player und not be dead?" He could totally play off that stutter.   "Well if I cannot talk him alone, then you can sit next to me?" Aniks said, looking at her for moment. Then looked back at Lukas, waving off the last part. "You know what I mean. You might have died but your not dead. Your walking, talking and can make your own choices. It's just a matter of what choices you make. Sometime to leave the board you need play a bit before you can leave. It's hard to say really, I managed it for a little while, but everybody is different. What worked for me might not for you. It's complicated, but it is life. "   Celu considered his offer, sending Lukas another 'watch-it' glare when Aniks looked away from her. The vampire managed to not flinch this time at least. "...Fine." She sat next to Aniks, knife very much still held in one hand. (It is to be noted that the pile of snow was still easily within reach.)   For his part, Lukas managed to not look intimidated by the party's second most terrifying member joining them. Probably because she'd been lurking nearby the entire time. "All zis talk of choices und games is good but like, ze reality of all zis is zat if I actually tell ze family vhere I am, zey vill probably show up und zat will not go vell for anybody! Same for if I just like, write und say "hallo I am lost in ze snow". If I say I am not following zeir order und finding zat place, zey vill hunt me... und zat leads to same result. Und vhatever I do, it's risky because all of your friends hate even ze good vampires, so like..." Shrugging motion. Again. "Ja, 'complicated' is like, ze best description." He frowned at an errant thought, not really liking the idea of it. "I... could like, tell zem I am vorking vis some Aleseian people who I sink are vorking for ze lord because you vere zere vhen I voke up?"   Aniks smiled as she sat next time but it his face became more contemplative as Lukas went on. "While that last one could work, it would only delay your problem. As they could contact them this lord to check. Hmmm this isn't something that should be handled with a sloppy hand. You would have to lie, but a lie like this won't last forever. Your family could track you down regardless, and finding a way to hid you might work but that note is problematic. As it got to you in a different plane. You have some time before you need to response. Any longer and problems from that could arise."   Aniks ran his hand through his hair sighing. His smile dropped now lost in thought "Honestly if you where to explain my friends you intention, with that letter as context they would likely help you. In some manner anyways. I think this might be something that need to be tackled from multiple angles. There is not some easy answer, Hiding you in the specter will only last for so long. Which cannot be healthy for you. I might suggest in the morning showing everybody so at least your not 'hiding' anything. Ask them to help give you ideas and see if they come up with anything useful. Telling them now might only reignite the 'killing you' attitude. I hardly doubt they would after hearing everything."   Lukas, quite frankly, looked intimidated by Aniks's suggestion. That didn't mean he wasn't considering it. "Ja, I get vat you're saying, but it could also just mean zey kill me und send ze ashes back to mein family. Zen you don't have to deal vis any of zis." Lukas smiled wryly at the ground. "Vatever ze hell you're after seems like, really annoying if it has SO many dragons und terrifying ozzer sings. Vampires just make sings more veird, ja?"   Aniks with both his hands raised leaning forward"It's your choice, none of us can make it for you. While I cannot think of a solution yet, I'll keep thinking on it."His elbow rested on his knees now. Lazily just placed there. "Your right about the dangerous part, it's why I keep asking new people if they really want to stay." This time Aniks shrugged. Not completely sure where to go. While kill him would solve our problems, sort of, doesn't really solve his.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Change to First Person back to Aniks’s Journal ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   Poor thing does not even know how concerning that not was. He does not even know how dangerous the people he is getting involved with.   Eventually, the conversation dragged on to the point where I was getting tired, so I excused myself from Lukas’s conversation. We set up a watch list were Celuriel and I was the last ones on the list. As Celuriel was not a person who liked to be woken up. It took a couple minutes to set up a tent and sleeping bag.   Honestly, I cannot remember what woke Celuriel and me, I just heard a bunch of orcish or Giant or something. It woke up Celuriel, but I told her I would see what is going on. She promptly squinted at me and feel back into the sleeping bag and a bundle of blankets.   Apparently, it was ice giants, and Licia was right; we should have sealed the back part of the cave. They spoke about a pretty long-haired lady, which was Talinde. Wanting to give her him as a sacrifice or something. I was still waking up, so I did not hear everything. Honestly, I did not care as we just wanted to wait out the storm and talking to the giants devolved very quickly, as they died or were turned to stone.   We seal the cave with Walls of Stone and listened for a long while, probably longer than I should. Voices eventually came back and a female voice, who sounded very annoyed for being woken up. Forcing the Second voice to stay there, as he could not explain why there was not a tunnel there anymore.   There was silence for a long time. The Giant, on the other side, slowly started to hum a song, really severely.   I returned to sleep as we layered a couple more slabs of stones on that wall. After a quick discussion, during my shift awake, we would wake some people a bit early. In case they have something that can get rid of the stone. I soon found myself back in my tent with an elf who was silently sleeping. Unknowingly ignoring the outside skirmish. As soon as my head was on a pillow, and I had some semblance of warmth. I fell asleep.   Kraia nearly had a knife cut her face as she woke us for the last shift. Celuriel does not like being woken up.   For the most part, it was tranquil as we packed up our things. It was uneventful at the beginning. Only towards the end did things begin to happen. Eventually, as the others started to wake up and attempted to make our exit. A little halfling appeared on the other side, on our side of the wall.   She was plight, but we avoid the most essential details as to what and why we were here. Merely avoiding the storm in the closest cave, we could find, as for our reasoning on attacking her giants. Self Defence, which she understood after we mentioned the sacrifice they wanted to bring her. The storm did not die down unlucky, so as I began to question the halfling about all manner of things too distracting. Being civil and reopening the wall, we blocked off. As Licia and Kraia compounded their powers of Desna and Gozreh. A modified version of Control Weather that followed us. Simple enough, The Halfling in our conversation with her told us they were going to the Jade Shrine like us, but there was something wrong with the shrine. Too Active, she said or something.   Sidenote, Licia’s hair was now a dark blue. Probably from using champion powers.   We said our goodbyes and left before anything else could be said.   Eventually, we made our way to the Jade Shrine. However, dragons flew around the city or shrine. Landing outside the town, we decided to contact Sigrun. She was in the city after scrying on her, messaging her she quickly made her way to the outside of the shrine.   The Jade Shrine was on lockdown, according to Sigrun. No chance of getting in, which was partly our fault because of relieving the Necromancer hold on the Onyx Shrine. Which put most shrines on high alert. She could, however, bring us to any other shrine. After getting a recounting of all the shrines from Vorthómin.   So after picking which shrine we could attempt to get through, we found ourselves outside in the cold at the Sapphire Shrine.

Journal #55: Soul to Soul Talk [Text Roleplay]

Curiosity might have gotten the better of him, dragons in general were always something the barkeep had interest in. Now in the palm of his hand, a purple gem held the soul of one. Speaking to a trapped soul wasn’t something he had learned in the Boneyard, but maybe there was a way? Aniks gave it a little thought closed his eyes. Drawing both on his little spark of divine energy he had to cast a spell to also mingle it with a subdomain of Pharasma. Hoping to create some sort of Soul Telepathy, if that were even possible. Aniks sent some thoughts out to test the water “Hopefully this can allow us to talk.” The first thing Aniks felt was... cold. Icy cold, the kind he'd only experienced a few times before - the kind that heralded Death's grasp. Except instead of wrenching his soul to leave behind a corpse, this cold was different- it settled around him as a shroud, lending an odd feeling of weightlessness.   At the very edge of his consciousness, he caught a distant whisper on the wind: "Hath juddgement Finallye comme?"   Before he had a chance to speak, however, unseen fingers (claws?) caught his wrist in a sharpened grip of burning ice. They bid him answer a different question, one not spoken with words but thrust into his mind: Tis one thing to serve at Her side and another to draw forth a soul's will - are you ready for this step, Champion of Death?   If anybody had been near him, they saw Aniks visible taken aback. Eyes opening slightly shocked, he rolled up his sleeves to check his wrist as the lack of heat was disturbing him. That however wasn’t what had really caught is attention. The correct identification of who he was, had thrown him off. As the existence of Champions was myth, well there was that ancient magma dragon that knew they were Champions. Besides this dragon had felt Her presence, mistaking for their final judgement. “Champion? Well given what I did, denying that would be a rather large lie to get past anybody. That being said, knowing Champions are more than myth, must mean you are quite old. You misunderstand, I have no attention of passing judgement on you. Curiosity lead me to attempt a conversation.” An amused laugh in the back of Aniks's skull - the kind of chilling laughter that sets the hairs on one's neck on edge. It is telling of your mental state that you would confuse those who speak with you. The step has been taken. Converse freely with the bound.   The icy grasp on his wrist released him, leaving the lingering burn of cold to remind Aniks of its presence. The whisper, once quiet, now sounded far closer - far louder. A deep voice. Masculine. "Time cannot Stoppe for one soul alone. Only ye fools wouldst yet number the waves as they Come. What questions doth thine curiosity Seeke from the living past?"   His eyes narrowed to the small gem, two voices. No only one came from the gem. He looked at the spiraling comet on his arm mentality sighing. “Sorry this is the first time I tried something like this. I hadn’t expected a second voice to speak. So please forgive the confusion in the last statement. As for my curiosity, a name for a name would be nice so I have something to call you. Though Aniks likely knew the other none dragon voice/thoughts knew who he was.   "Mortals wish for the strangeste of Thinges. Ye may Calle me as Vorthómin, the Shield of Glóandi, the Terrorlight. It is the Name that shall mar the Tombes of mine enemies." comes the response, the voice low and crackling with badly-restrained power. The soul was vibrant.   "Well, you may call me Aniks" The silence from the other was not surprising. "I hardly think it's strange would you like me to call you dragon constantly. Well Vorthómin, I am unfamiliar with Iskaldhal is Glóandi a city you protected?"   A cool grumble echoed from the trapped soul. "Glóandi is that whyche setts Flame to the Darknesse. A questionne for a questionne. What form dost thou take, mortal by name of Aniks?"   "Before you judge my form" Aniks thought almost knowing this could only lead to problems if he lied. "I am a dark elf, but I do to perpetuate the stereotypes of my race." Aniks then waited to see if this dragon Vorthómin would react in a negative fashion.   "Thou muste hail from the Western Scourge. Yon Northern kin hath loste all Righte to claims of Darknesse. Doth thou seek redemption in our lands, Elf?"   "You are correct that I come from the west, my northern kin must be the Snow Elf, as for their claim to the darkness I am unfamiliar with that. As for redemption here, no I am not. If I might ask what form to do you take?"   "Thou maketh assumptions. Thy kin still show such Ignorance in youth. I bear the scales and fangs of a True Dragon, mortal, one far Elder than even the Longestte-Lived of thy kin. If tis not redemption thou seek, what dost thou intend? Mine wrath shalt fall upon thee if tis to spread the Darknesse within!"   "Currently we are looking for a companion's father. I have no attention of spreading Darkness." It was simple but he was telling the truth. "Vorthómin, I meant to ask what kind of scales you had, I knew you were a Dragon. I was missing a couple of details as to who your were."   "Thine kind wouldst greet me with Trickerie; tis only fair that thou shalt be exposed to the same. Mine hide is one of a Thousande Shades - a Glorie any Kinge would come to envy. In what depth doth this "father" lie? The Missing and the Dead are oft the same in the Northern Lands."   "I have no reason to lie, as why would I openly admit to being a dark elf. If I want lie I would have tried some race that is more trustworthy outright. Though it's a two way street as I cannot prove anything you say as well." Aniks paused for a moment, probably for the best he didn't explain everything as to this gold dragon. "As for my companions father, it seems we are going to some place call Akha Ekhursan."     "Trickerie and Lies aught not to be confused, Elf. Thou art headed to a Place most Foule. Art thou stumbling without Sighte into the Den of Evil?"   "Where I was born they were often one in the same. We are currently doing research into the place. Though I am unsure how helpful books can be from just from one trip to the library."   "If thou seek knowledge on Ancient Evils, thou must delve into Scrolls moste rare or seek the Wisdom of those few souls that hath survived its deepest depths."   "An interesting place to start, find a person who had once traveled there and survived." Aniks found himself quietly nodding agreeing. Then stopped as this probably looked weird just nodding at nothing. Scrolls might be a bit more tricky but not impossible. People we're a bit easier to find. He would have to talk to his friends to see where they were going next. "How long have you been trapped in this prison Vorthómin?"   "A fool's question. Tis yet evident to mine eyes that the Power upon thine soul is far from mastered. Thou wouldst heed mine caution now: thou art wielding Weaknesse in blinding fashion. The Darknesse wouldst fain ignore such a potent treat. Yet, tis an answer thou hast asked for. The Hands of Time art not apparent in the Space between Life and Death. Thou art linked to both: mine soul remains Entrapped betwixt."   He remained silent for a while, then decided to cross reference the dragon. "It's a learning process Vorthómin, I will take more care when choosing my words.That being said, am I correct to assume you have never entered Akha Ekhursan. As your first response was to find scrolls and people. But you have heard of it, as you called it a din of evil?"   "No beast nor man of sanity wouldst enter its fell halls. Prithee, even the Mistress of Undeath wouldst not wish to sully herself. The land is Tainted with Darknesse of an age long-past, stirred to unlife by Foule Necromancie and deeper whispers. Mine claws hath not grasped the spires that doth encircle it past its loss. Tis truly a Darknesse that even the greatest of Dragons meet forbidden artes within our once-held depths, far beyond Evil's usual reach. Tis a sign of the coming Toll, shouldst thou consult Prophecie."   "Ahhh was there once place or a person where people consult prophecy here, are they scrolls that have been written down?" Well that did match up some of Licia's scrying. We'd be dealing Undead no doubt about it, though the Mistress of Undeath not going to there? Was it the god or the other lich on this Icy continent. "Well a question for a question, I believe it's is your turn after that."   "Mortals gifted with Prophecie art rare. More so art those far greater than mortals that beare both Power and Prophecie; tis a Danger to beare doubled strengths. Tis a Weaknesse most Obviouse. Confining one such being to a Place wouldst require thine strength to transcend theirs at maxim. Tis possible. Thine research shalt find more purchase in the realm of Paper and Scroll, unless thou find incredible luck to uncover the Lost Realms wherein Seers might meet." There is a long pause. "Wherefore didst thou obtain a Blessing of Death?"   Aniks paused and pulled out the newer journal as well as a some to scratch down notes. 'Lost Realm where seers meet?' was written in lightly across the top of the page. As well as some other notes from before. He would probably write down anything else that seems interesting. "In all honestly, I could not give you a good answer as to why I have a 'Blessing of Death', as the one I had got was vague. You did not hear another voice when I contacted you did you?"   "Thou art alone, mortal, in this Realme of Nothinge."   Aniks sighed then in his voice, his eyes looking at the spiral tattoo. “Your just going to remain silent through this aren’t you” Then after a moment he shut his eyes again turning his thoughts back to the Dragon “As I thought, I believe I will be answering your question next.” "Thou hath motivations of Mysterie and power moste rare. What art thine goals in this fragile life? If thou wouldst care to speak them aloud."   “My goals?” There was a moment of pause “Long term? Live a life where I do not need to be a ‘hero’, where my partner and I can just explore Istralar. Short term well that is different, there are obstacles in the way, Artifact needing to destroyed, families to be dealt with, dealing with shadowy groups pulling with strings in the background. Temptical ‘hero’ work.”   "Thou wouldst find value in reflection. Only a Foole would grant Darknesse its demands through the Finality of Death. Shouldst mine Release lie within thy power, thou shouldst accomplish it with greate haste. Dost thy partner aid thee in thine travails, or dost he seeke employ of differing kind?"   "There is work to be done Vorthómin, and I know that. As for releasing you it might be within a day or two. Causing a commotion inside this city would be problematic, however you have my word that I'll try." Aniks rotated the stone in his hand thinking of a question to ask. "She does, and I am grateful that she's willing to help as much as she does. Why did you ask that?"   "For thee to travel without Companie wouldst be a minor Tragedie. Thy kin draw breath centuries past humanity's fall. That much of Time with thine owne thoughts defieth thee thine Sanitie. Absence from thine partner couldst lead thou to ruin shouldst thine Darke foes claim them. Tis a Storie retold thousandfold. Thou spoke of Familie. Dost thou possess it?"   Vorthómin had hit the nail on the head, the one thing he feared above almost anything else. Was Celuriel Sister taking her and not being able to do anything about it. So he remained quiet about it, though that lingering feeling didn’t go away. That feeling of not being prepared enough. “Siblings by blood, though only one I speak with. I have lost a family too, and found another. Since we getting personal, what caused you to be sealed away?”   A deep sigh echoes across the rift to Aniks. "Tis not Unexpected that thou wouldst ask of it. Thou seeketh one with Power necessarie to repeat the acte with thyself. My Heart hadst the Fyre of an Armie within his scales. He didst seek the fall of Darknesse. Twas not a Fight for but one Dragon - nay, an Armie wouldst hath hadst yet further struggle. But my Heart wouldst not be accused of inaction, and thus our kin rallied. If thy Enemie doth not bear a Scar of Searing Glass upon his truest face, then the Battle was our loss. Mine Heart hath yet to fall when mine Imprisoning Blow was dealt by the Wicked Darknesse. Yet he doeth naught for mine Safetie, and our bond lieth still. He hath not escaped Fate's grasp, her Plans too varying to Suggest. Dost thou hath Power and Strengthe enough to Protect thine partner?"   "Vorthómin, I expect you might have to answer some of the same questions from my companion when I release you. As for your question. One could only hope, as I will not know till the time comes will I?" It was a fact of life, he couldn't know if he was strong enough. Not till the moment came. He He very much doubted that a years worth of training in the Boneyard with a Herald and his 125 years of experience could match that of a Lich. A being who had been alive for a millennia. Not to mention that looming cataclysm in the future. How could anybody be ready for that. "I have darted around some questions, so you must excuse me for this next one, You may not answer it if you wish. However I have a feeling my companions likely will ask you when your free. When we had attempted to scry on the shaman's father, it showed us some of the insides Akha Ekhursan, though another member of our party had mentioned the Onyx Shrine. Is there anything you could tell me about it?"   "Shouldst thou be present upon mine Freedom, I shalt prevail upon thee to aid mine speech." The silence stretched out between Aniks's question and Vorthómin's eventual answer, the thrum of noise's absence loud in the drow's ears. "Thou sayeth its appellation with such assurance. There is much and more to speake of the Shrine of Onyx, of its Gatewayes and the Rituals once helde deep within its depths. Thou must know the stillness of all Shrines. The Darknesse betwixt Entrance and Skye wouldst wish vibrance upon it; wouldst hope to draw forth Remnants. It is Power moste Olde, and Power thou shalt not encounter if Luck strides next to thee. The Foulest Necromancie may twist Forme and Functionne, but it cannot Awaken the Darke Depths of a Shrine."   Something deep within the depth of the Shrine, power a Necromancer probably wants. Given that it’s dragons what could it be? “That is at least something good, they cannot access the shrine in full.” However knowing there luck, they might know what that power is by then end of all this. “I believe it is your question next?”   "Thou must hath a Plan if thou seeketh prisoners of the Darknesse. What doth thou believest to be the path to thy goal? Thou hath little knowledge of our lands, t'would seem, Elf of the Western Scourge. Thy answer shalt bear Greate Amusement."   “I honestly hope it is more of a stealth mission, get in get out. Without drawing attention to ourselves, unlikely but I can hope. Realistically a frontal assault would be suicidal, so finding an unguarded route might be in our best interests. We had done some research before coming here, but I think we might need to do more, as your land’s text might yield different results.”   "Tis a foolish thought for thee to wander into Darknesse unaided but by thy own magicks. Shouldst thou wish it, and shouldst thou hath no other Path open to thee, thou might findeth success not in Onyx but in another Shrine - for tis Knowledge moste ancient that their Paths entwine, ley-guided deep within Iskaldhal's Heart. I hath already told thou that thou must Research thy fates. Do not preclude that Necessitie. Yet I offer this Fate for thy considering."   “I will take your words to heart, a path like that would be helpful. Yet the more we know the better. We can never be too prepared. If I were to show you a dragon egg would you be able to identify it?”   "Dost thou carry a Precious Childe with thee? Few Dragons hath Abilitie to Identifie alle of our kin by egg alone, yet thou may perchance hath luck if the Childe bears traits of mine own kind or those Moste Common. Where didst thou locate the Hope of our kin?"   “Yes and I have had no such luck at figuring it out this mystery. I had found it deep within a demon’s ivory maze, hidden away. I do not think a purple egg with pinks spots is not among common eggs.” Given that the land he found it in was Tenaerul, it might have been normal once and twisted by the land around it. “What would you like to do when you are free?”   "Freedom... I hath the wish of soaring through verdant winds and azure skies once more. Tis confining to be entrapped within the Nothinge. Thou speaketh of a Wounde? How didst thou fare against the Unspoken's lasting Wrath? Such places art aberrant beyond thy wildest imaginings, sundered tears of the Loste in many Times past..."   “Wound? You have to forgive me unless you are speaking of my time within that maze, I am unsure what you are talking about. If the maze is what your talking about then none of us wish to see that place again.”   "Thou Called it as Tenaerul; a Worde moste apt for a Scar of the Wars. Thy maze of Ivorie doth soundeth like the work of Baphomet and His Unholy minions, but tis the Scar that granted the Foule Creatures passage. Thine Scar like as not still weepeth with the Anguishe of its many Dead, a boon to the Summoninge of those Seeking to bring yet further Darknesse."   “Huh, I guess I need to organize my thoughts better. As this Telepathic bond is not something I am used to. We dealt with Tenaerul as well as we could have. Spending as little time as possible within that twisted place. However we still needed to go to The Ivory Maze to escape, and once passing those trails we escaped. I found the egg there. Overall that is not a place I would like to visit for a second time in my life.” "Thou wouldst be Wise in that Decision. The Wounds still breathe the Whispers and Cries of those Loste to the Wars of eld; their Bloodie wills still bear Power moste Dangerous. Thine precious Childe may yet be of Goode; equally, its Darke beginning may Twiste the Childe within its shell. Thou must prayeth that it doth not carry the Taint of the Sundered. For a Dragon to be born with that Defying Will... tis a worrying concept. How hath thou treated the Childe? Doth it yet show signs of Freedom?   “It is not the circumstance of how or why we are born than defines us. It's the journey that defines a person. Though that thought had crossed my mind once or twice I can only hope that hasn’t happened. The child has been silent, no knock, pecking or rocking for well of a year. During that year, I had made a box filled with a soft quilt to carefully place it in. Watching over it every night when I returned home.”   "Tis not uncommon for a Childe to remain Silent until the Kiss of a greater Wyrm yet smiles upon them. Hast thou introduced it, perhaps, to true Fyre? Yet thou mistake my former words. The Darknesse within a Wound festers akin to that which fyrste corrupted thee. The Greate Destroyer is but one force of Corruption: the Sundering didst open the Pathway for Darknesse to blaze anew as the very skies themselves burnt with Power. Shouldst the Taint of a Forgotten have grasp on thy Charge, its Soul might be fouled and twisted into a Being of true Monstrosity..."   (Vorthómin sounded distressed at this prospect.)   “True Fire, dragons fire wait before all that. I might be able to check in the child’s soul had been warped. GIve me a moment I might be silent for a second” Realizing he had never looked at the Egg with Soul Vision. Within a couple of seconds Aniks held in his hands the child in question. Making sure the Soul Gem of Vorthómin and dragon egg made no physical connection. Unsure of how ‘healthy’ that could be. Again Aniks pulled on the Soul Domain glimpse this child's soul.   As Aniks again called on Pharasma's power, a bolt of icy energy shot up both of the drow's arms. It was a lingering cold that nestled into his skin; a stilling of the blood, and a reminder of the line he walked. Next time he looked at a mirror, he might find the cobalt swirls of Death's power engraved across his shoulders. Or perhaps he might not, if he wore a shirt. He would eventually spot them, regardless.   The chaotic-patterned egg was a simple and smooth thing in reality. Dragon eggs usually had no visible magical aura, and the mystery egg was no different. However, through soul vision, the fledgling soul could be glimpsed within. Like any innocent child's soul, it burnt bright with the untempered golden light of life. Unlike a human, whose soul might shine entirely singularly in colour until an older age, the draconic child's soul glimmered with flickers of other shades. Of the most visible were flashes of silver wing-like shapes that occasionally encircled the soul almost protectively, and small swirls of vibrant pink that danced within its core. It would seem a dragon's soul looked quite different to that of a human (or elf, drow, aasimar, etc)   The Egg replaced Aniks in bed, he swung his arms pacing trying to get some semblance of warmth back into his body. The soul gem still clutched in his left hand. He was muttering some curse in Undercommon as his hands took turns rubbing his forearms trying to create heat through friction. After he gave himself enough time to look at the dragon’s newborn soul. The drow quickly lessened how much he pulled on Pharasma’s power by canceling his glimpse into other souls. The icy feeling was new, and he wondered if it was some sort of backlash or reminder. If the cold didn’t go away soon he’d have to figure out how to warm up again, besides adding more layers of clothes. After giving Vorthómin the description of the child’s soul through the connection. Aniks continued “While I am not overly familiar with dragon souls, our concern can be lessened as it is not as bad as it could have been. Prehabs before they breaks into this world, we could possibly shrink the twisted land’s effect on the child.”   "Thou dost bring this elder soul much peace with thine words, mortal, but thou must needs be cautious in thy proceedings. To interfere with Life is to toy with the Divine."   “I am glad I can bring you some semblance of peace. As for your word warning, I will take caution but I’ll be fine for now.” Aniks retrieved the egg placing it back in its proper spot. The lingering chill still clinging to his body.   "Thou doth possess Honour despite thy fell beginnings. Thine Northern kin wouldst have learnt much from thy actions... Verily, I speak naught of Import. Thou hath not continued thy Questioning, mortal. I wouldst not taketh thine 'turn', as thy might speak."   “A Question?” He avoided the first part, as he disagreed. He’ll deal with the cold after he was done speaking with Vorthómin “Your far more familiar with this country than us, is there anything you can tell me about the artifact known as The Harp?”   "Thou must needs learn the Importance of Specifitie, mortal. This land holdeth many Countries and yet further Instruments of String. Song hath long been the vessel of Information betwixt mine kin, and thou shouldst hold nay Surprise at thine mortal fellows imitating their Elders. Tis no surprise that Harps number the Many Greats crafted by mortal and Elder hand alike, though thou might avail thyself of Native custom: twas not until Humans, Gnomes, and thy purer kin became truly settled that their delicate Instruments were summoned unto being. Wouldst thou grant more light upon what thy wish to Learn?"   The dark elf sat on the edge of the bed, “I believe it was a harp connected to virtues, I heard tales about heroes being changed by its music. Even being told we might have already been affected by something like that…” A single finger poked his back, then again as he was mentally speaking, and a final time before Aniks was brought back from the world of thought he had been so lost in. The hybrid spell broke down as Aniks’s mind had something new to focus on. He no longer drew on the soul domain, but still felt lasting effects. Aniks turned to face Celuriel, Vorthómin thoughts now gone from his mind. He’d get a chance to speak to him when Vorthómin is out. Besides Aniks pocketed the soul gem, not willing to try making contact again tonight.

Journal #54: Basics to Necromancy, why is this even a book.

Our trip to Gildomar was a two-day journey, we rode knowing that at least that we'd be going to the one sold clue to finding Teras Galewin, Licia's Father. Using a phantasmal steed, I had conjured the trip was far faster than the eight days.   However, that changed as we had to pass some guard towers. Nothing too out of the ordinary, save for the fact I had to dismiss the phantasmal steed before they could see the arcane horse. An annoyance sure, but things like that are required if we want to be quiet and not arrested. Arcane magic is strictly prohibited in the country of Gildomar. Not that that is much of a problem for somebody who lived without arcane magic most of their lives.   The dwarven guard meets us as we approached the gate and where confused. The two Aasimars, the 'purple' elf, the other two elves, the plant man and the Vampire. Which Lukas was promptly pulled into the Scepters demiplane. That's an adventuring group for you, then the guards started paying attention to me. Being reminded of that odd feeling, as they looked at me. Still never calling me drow or dark elf. They whispered, badly I might add, about him being the same as Duergar just for an elf. What happened to the drow here? A continental-wide genocide like in the Kingdom of Galasthin Elves?   Unsure what to do with our odd group, given that we need to go to the capital, the guards thought it best we were given a guide. From within the walls that barred our path, they called a dwarf by the name of Burdyr Donderiall. An older dwarf with a greying mohawk with the thick eyebrows. With a long braided bread that extended below his chest. This dwarf was well built, a war pick lay at his hip a shield at his back. He had a gruff attitude and had very quick opinions of us, unsurprisingly. With the addition of the dwarf, my phantasmal steed was no longer an option. We rented a cart to travel the remaining distance to the capitol. Which luckily for us only add some extra time for us as we were not that far   Burdyr was quickly confused by our party. The speaking star cat, the lack of breathing from Licia, my existence. I can see he has never really left his country. Yet, at least this would be helpful to have a guide for once instead of stumbling around in a new country for once. Turns out our trip into Gildomar was simple. As when we stopped at the first Inn, The Golden Chains, Burdyr had pointed it out. Nialnir had bought two casts of Ale, and I wondered if we traded one alcoholic for another. As Pin had chosen to stay in Ironfall, not returning with us. Asking some questions and getting a decently hot meal, the Prince was surprisingly easy to find. Locking himself away for an experience that further help his country. Getting to him was another question. As he would only expect apprentices in the Mechina, most do not survive the trails.   Soon The Lost Ones found themselves in front of the large building known as The Mechina, no research, no nothing. In a moment of clarity, I suggested doing some research, anything about what lays ahead. That was never going to happen, so we walked in. Attempting to do this as quickly as possible. No such luck on that part, two days we spent there. So much for being quick. Lucky for us, Arcane spell were in full use. As we were given full permission by the Prince. After Licia explained what we were doing here.   Ashlyn would have HATED this place. So many doors in this dwarven building. I doubt it would be standing if Ashlyn was here. The first of these odd puzzles where a room of eight doors locking a puzzle, which with secret chests. Most were a random gem, a magical rod, or other things, save for the one that attempted to steal my soul. That one had a Soul Gem, one that had already been used. I had a moment where I thought to simply pass the soul on to The Boneyard. Pocketing instead, I thought I would ask this Prince about it. Before doing something drastic with this Soul Gem.   Another large room, golems this time of sand and obsidian, stood guard. Two of each, and I drew Silver picking one the Obsidian Golem as my target. Spells were damn near impossible to land on the hulking figures. Having to think outside of the box to defeat that beast. While my friends started to take care of the rest, Talinde included now. A binding spell did the trick it for my opponent. Holding it in place, I shattered the Obsidian Golem. After the fight was over, I had to pick the shards of obsidian from my body, like thorns stuck in you after jumping into a rose bush. I was completely unaware that they explode when they are destroyed. Another chest is hidden inside this room, which contained dragons, blood, hides, and a few other things. The amount of dragon paraphernalia was concerning.   As we passed into the next room, which I could only assume to be some Alchemical Lab for the Prince with a liquid pool in the middle. Potion racks to our left as we entered, The Table to our right contained other alcoholic substances and dust. Directly in the center was in the pool, around the rim dwarven runes inscribed the following 'The depths show nothing but what is given, and do nothing but what is spoken.'   To the left of the pool was contraption which looked like some sort of potion mixer. To the back left was a table of metals, Nialnir took a piece of adamantine from the table. While I held on to Mythril for my own purposes. While the last table to the right was a table of reactions, reaction starters, like thunderstones or flints and steels.   The door which was on the other side had a riddle of sorts. Each in different languages. Undercommon: "My face may be stone, but my heart is [blank]. I do not drink, I do not breathe: my heart is all I seek."   Aquan: "Power distilled must be first considered. Waters turned to rush clear once life takes root." Terran: "That which is cold must first meet that which provokes." Ignan: "That which provokes must first meet molten power. Auran: "That which changes mind must first be tempered by that which is cold." Planar tongues? Undercommon does not make any sense as to why it would be here. While we explored, a halfling appeared out of thin air.   Kraia had returned, also being displaced in time like I was in her god's realm. She just rounded the corner as we walked into the Alchemical puzzle room. Burdyr was rather confused as Talinde was release in the golem fight. Now another person popped into existence. The poor dwarf could not understand how we kept producing people out of thin air. Which later, Lukas and Artemis appeared also appear from nothing, so I can understand why he was confused.   A potion puzzle was next, which was just mixing a potion with several ingredients in a specific order, with a secondary puzzle involving a shapeshifting pool that we asked to make the key to the door. It works. Simple is sometimes better. The door unlocked with the heart-shaped key, both vertical and narrow hallway of whirling pain. Buzzsaws of differing speed, height, directions jutting out of the wall. Nialnir and Kraia wild shaped into the tiny animal, easily passing by the dangerous hall.   As they rounded several corners, they tripped an alarm. Waking the dragon guard in the other room.   The buzzsaw filled hallway was stopped with combination metal rods and black tentacles. As well as some clever use of stone shape pressed into spinning blades to stop the buzzsaws that the first plan could not. We quickly made it past the hall into a smaller room, two large double doors lead into the room with the Dragon.   There was our first rest. Annoyingly using the arcane spell, rope trick, we pulled ourselves into a pocket dimension. This was an attempt to get our magic back as well as let the Dragon calm down.   The Dragon was an absolute abomination of a fight. We sent out the Vampire Lukas, as bait as vampires are rather hard to kill. Nialnir started with black tentacles, which the black Dragon laughed taking flight, sending their very own black tentacles. Yes, that spell is back, Burdyr and Nialnir had been held captive for a large amount of the fight. The others and I took care of the Dragon, in its acid-filled camber. Which while challenging, we have certainly dealt with worse. With the Dragon took care of, and us harvesting some of the Dragon. I took a chunk of dragon bone.   More doors, traps, and devil summoning circles lead to a small conversation with Cyne and our Second rest. Another Ropetrick, before we touched this teleportation key.   If this journal seems a bit scatterbrained or lacking in the information, it is because I am tired, and this dwarven Prince annoyed me. I would rather not think too much about people like him. His single-minded view and how easy it had been to manipulate the Prince. We did not, but a necromancer had.   This is so stupid.   And tiring.   One day there will not be some vague calamity around the corner, where I do not need to worry about some lich that could appear at any time. Where dealing with politics and having to gingerly walk around a topic about gods and race. One day, sorry, this is starting to get into the realm of tangents.   As The Lost Ones touched the teleportation key, we enter the core room of the Mechania. Eight rooms all empty. With one in the middle of that large room. It became clear as we looked through each room that we probably needed to get into the center room. In fact, the core of the Mechania seemed more to be living quarters then a lab. With all the creature comforts, somebody would need to live alone with little interaction with the outside world. We found notes from an arcane caster. While odd, the Prince did give us a pass while inside this build despite the rules of the nation being anti arcane. The arcane caster in question was proclaiming their thanks for the Prince for his understanding of his work. Then I went on about some work with Necromancy. Which lead to some suspicions about who this person was. Which was all but confirmed when we found a book under some carpet. Basics to Necromancy. We looked at each other. This was not a good sign.   Finding a key hidden within a study in his desk. As we unlocked the door, to be met with the Prince. How do I describe this nobleman, well definitely not noble for one? Skittish, afraid of his own shadow, closed-minded. Burdyr and I were the only people that could speak Dwarven, which Licia had caste tongues to speak with the dwarf. Despite him clearly knowing and reply to questions asked in common in dwarven. He forced the elves outside as he could not forgive them for what they did. Which apparently happened like a thousand years ago.   Being a dark elf, I partly got a pass. Sort of. Again It was like I was treated like a myth, not some bedtime story of creatures lurking in the dark.. I would have gone in aways, the Prince's words be damned. I pulled the soul gem out, asking a question about it. Which leads our assumptions about the Prince being manipulated by a lich to be true.   That's not our problem, well it is, but if this Prince is too stupid to see reason than could care less about what happens. As conversation devolved into another fight.   You know what I am just going to bullet point this as I am cold and tired and want to go to bed. Talking to the Soul Gem took more out of me than I thought.   The Prince and Finding Licia's Father   ~ The Lich and The Prince constructed an anti scrying disc that was bound to only Licia's Father, Break that we break the problem we had found him. ~The Fight wasn't that difficult. However, Talinde might need to be looked at. Something's off … ~We decided not to help the Prince deal with the Lich. ~The Onyx Shrine is under the control of the Lich, which is WHERE her father is. It's one thing after another. ~Sigrun after watching the Scrying spell needed to warn others about this new information. How this Necromancer has a hold over one of the Dragons Shrines. ~We decided to go to the Jade Shrine, then using that Shrine to sneak into Onyx Shrine as they all are connected. Hopefully, once we're inside, we can scry further as inside the Shrine there was some barrier stop Licia's spell from actually finding her father. Gods, I hope that idiot is worth all this trouble.

Journal #53: Stolen Book [Text Roleplay]

A hand opened and closed tightly, writing for prolonged periods of time always hurt Aniks. No matter how often he wrote. The ink was just about dry on the page as he finished another journal entry. He placed the also dry book, pen and ink on a bedside table. Then to the only other person in the room “As soon as we get a chance in Gildomar, I would like to go to a book shop. Rereading these journals and those texts in The Boneyard left me wanting to read literally anything else with a story.”   Celuriel had remained quiet during his journalling. Silence was a trait she had always possessed and made use of, and her time in another realm had not robbed her of it. Still, her hands held the stolen book with a surety of its existence that could have given way to uncertainty only recently. Four days to them. Many more for Aniks and herself. "we were in a library." He had breached the silence: she would respond. "you could have taken one too. he didn't care."   For a moment he was concerned this, but only for a moment. He only gave it that moment, because of the type of books he could have. "Honestly, I would be both interested and concerned for the types of books Cyne would have." Then with a small smile he said "I could have, but the less time around him the better. He wanted to be alone."   "this one is both myth and.." She had to pause to think of the word, golden eyes meeting Aniks's. "alchemy..? it has many plants." It was a thick tome, too. Well-read and well-cared for, bound in a rich black leather with golden decorative inlay. A number of bookmarks - clearly not placed there by Celu, who didn't see the point - still stuck out of the pages. She made a noise of dismissal. "he wanted to drink sweet-scented wine and forget. you could walk into the other rooms. he didn't care about Ashlyn... praying."   "Would herbology fit?" Aniks suggested. Alchemy from what he knew about it encompassed a bit more than just plants. But myths? What kind of book was this he wondered. The bookmarks would suggest somebody hade once used it often, those pages from the book at least. "I would guess that's just his version of coping. Your right, but he just did not want us in the same room. I would not like to have seen what happened if we stayed."   "herbology?" Celu considered this and his continued wonderings for a few moments. "...yes. they both are useful words. and he was too dark for anger. he would have moved," she suggested, though didn't seem entirely sure and quickly followed that up. "maybe onto the floor. his drink was strong."   "If both words would work than isn't that rather druidic, in a round about way. Is the book interesting?" Aniks said. Then he felt bad as he smiled "I have to admit, if it was not so sad. Cyne drunk on the ground would hilarious."   She shrugged at the first question. "ask q druid. it is a very strange book. it has a lot of myths, but then it thinks about their causes. there are a lot of plants mentioned. people have written in the margins." At his suggestion, Celu thought about this - and smirked. "you have a bar."   "So it's searching for the kernel of truth in old myths. That's odd" He said eyebrows raised. However Celu's suggestion to get Cyne drunk was amusing. He glanced down at the second journal, it looked dry. He lightly tapped the ink to test it, it was dry. The book then was softly closed. "While it might be possible, I don't think we'll be seeming him in my bar anytime soon. On the account of him being the emperor and all."   She shrugged lightly at his eyebrow raise. "I expected it to be odd. nothing about him is normal." Sliding a stray parchment fragment into her page and shutting it with a soft thump, she offered the heavy tome to Aniks. "do you want to read it?" She'd learnt how to share better over their time away. A certain consort had been helpful there. "...and you're wrong. he is an emperor, but he needs time away too. if he refuses, trick him."   Aniks stretched releasing a yawn in the process, setting down on the bed next to her. He consider what she said, with a single finger he pushed the book back. “Not while your reading it. Besides what's it called?” To be frank, not many people they knew could be considered ‘normal.’ Cyne was definitely odd and fit that description. A smile appeared across his face. “Trick Cyne into getting drunk. A mischievous suggestion Celu. How would you approach this?”   "...let's find out." The book's title wasn't engraved into the leather: it took opening it to find the name. Celu didn't mind. It gave her a way to avoid speaking it. Emblazoned on the title page and accompanied by a series of inked symbols was 'a Complete and Selfe-Updatyng Treatyse onn Magykal Propertyse of Mundane Mythe'. She considered his question with a thoughtful smirk. "he would need to arrive in your town... tell him that ashlyn needs to speak with him as soon as possible. involve his assistant if he refuses."   “That’s a title for sure…” His head tilted confused at first by the spelling, or the older spelling of these words. “Ashlyn’s birthday would be a good day to do it, them being family and all. Giving him a glass shouldn’t be a problem either, it’s getting him to continue to drink....” The dark elf pondered this, as if this could possibly work.   "it's old. this book is old. the early pages are not easy to read." She flipped to a random one, showing him reams of close-written text in a more archaic form of common - and a number of handwritten annotations beside the printed text, taking up the majority of the page's margins. It wasn't all in the same hand, either: different inks, different handwritings. "any of your birthdays would work. if you use strong alcohol or..." Was there a word for mixed-together drinks? She didn't remember. "mixtures, then he will drink more. and when he has started, distraction will make him drink more."   “This book has traded hands a few times, I wonder what would have driven people to make additional notes. Corrections comments for somebody else to read down the line?” He paused for a moment, at least he could read common from another era. It would probably give him a headache after a couple of hours. “Elven Ale would work just fine, but that basically drugging him at that point. As for cocktails and mixed-drinks, best to use heavier alcohol masked with other fruity drinks which would cover how much he’s really drinking.”   Celu stopped in her flicking-through of the book's pages to turn and glare at him. "you are the one who knows best what pain elven ale causes. don't use it on someone who can lock you away." Was she being selfish? Yes. "if it is that easy to hide alcohol's flavour, then encourage him to drink more than necessary by using competitions. the madman could help." She looked down at the book, scanning the page she'd landed on. "...the writing is both, and speculation. new and old blood discussing what the text assumes. look. this one has many theories on the sleep potions used in a sleeping princess myth."   "Your right, Azyel is a much better choice. So the better question, is are we going to accurally do this." Aniks, of course, still needed to get the Elf back for his magical prank. He'd like to burn down the fact bar across the street from his, but that would be arson. He'd settle for something else. "A deconstruction of a myth, I guess some people rather enjoy that sort of thing."   She considered it. "the distraction would make him less sad. but we can't for a while." Celu wasn't forgetting the shard's existence. "...the deconstructions also impart ideas. poison is too easily made, I think."   "Depends on the type of poison, while many are easily made or found. Venom from Serpents or natural chemicals that educe death very quickly. Cyanide being used a lot in food poisoning on the surface. The longer and more complex one like Drow Poison can have other effects. However since that book has both Alchemy and Herbology I would image that sleeping potion had...." He stopped, Aniks up bring was showing. Basic knowledge on poison came hand in hand with training with a shorts swords. He hadn't spoken about poisons in years. "likely been a mixture of both." He shook his head to clear his thoughts. "We'll be busy for a while, I think."   Celu leant against him, a small smile playing around her lips as he went on a tangent. His passion was nice. "there wasn't ever much detail about poison in the books I read. not beyond the basics. necromancers prefer other methods. would sleep potions work on us?" He'd managed to interest her, which was... probably a good thing?   He thought for a second, recalling decade old memories. If Celu had been a normal elf, her asking about poisons would be concerning. but she wasn't normal. Which was nice. "Depends. If the sleeping potion was naturally created, then it would possibly effect us. If the potion was magical in nature which cause an enchantment to be placed over the drinker. Well it would be wasted on us. While not a potion, basic drow poison when used correctly renders the victims unconscious for about an hour regardless of race."   She nodded slowly, taking this in. "we should find out, for the first one. it would be better to know ahead of time. there... I could see my sister using this type of thing. it would fit her." Being so close to Aniks made that topic easier to talk about: nonetheless, he doubtless felt the shiver. "does drow poison make you dream?" she wondered. The difference between unconsciousness and sleep - was there one?   Feeling the shiver, Aniks putting his head on her. A small way to attempt to comfort her. "Nivinle used it on me once" He said in a slight whisper. "I don't think I dreamt of anything. When I used it when I was younger, the unconscious never showed indication they were dreaming." He was quiet for a little bit, thinking about the first part of what Celuriel said. "Great both our families would use poisons, I am rather sure that naturally potions and poisons could effected us. However I'll double check for you."   Celu hoped he could feel her confusion. "she used it on you...?" she murmured in his interlude, falling quiet to listen to the rest of his words. "she would use anything that would help her. if these affect us, then she would use them. where will you find the poison? you aren't going down there for them." Down there meaning the Underdark, obviously.   "Only once, while we were training. She had stolen a poison dart and jabbed me." Aniks said. All in all it was probably one of the better ways to have the poison used on him. "Drow Poison can often be found on the surface in black markets and in the hands of slavers. The later being more likely. However the Underdark is by far the easiest place to find it."   "...if you go back, they might try and keep you there." She didn't sound impressed with the idea.   “I doubt it, Nivinle and I have an unspoken agreement not to get involved in each other's personal business. It’s Vasestra who might attempt something that stupid, and I don’t think Rikzyr would care.” It felt odd to say their names. Vasestra and Rikzyr still weren’t common in his mouth anymore. “Did you mean it, go back to The Boneyard? It was nice when it was just the two of us.”   She gave him a flat look that clearly stated her disapproval of his relatives, but moved on. "yes. we did not have to deal with as much stupidity. and nobody tried to pity me for not knowing things. would you really want to visit the first world?"   Given that his comment about going to the first world was made while he was half asleep. Aniks hadn't given it much thought, so now he did. "It would be interesting, but I think I personally might not know enough about Fae. I would likely leave that realm having something taken from me."   "...no you won't. you're mine and they're not allowed." Celu didn't seem to even give that sentence much thought.   “Your claim on me is rather ironclad. You haven’t claimed like Fae have you?” Aniks asked clearly unaware if she had, or even could yet.   Celu let him watch her consider this, before shaking her head. "...no, but that doesn't mean they can. I have a knife for that."   At this point, the mental image of Celuriel stabbing Fae amused the slightly tired Aniks. He could feel himself leaning on her a bit as he thought of this. Smiling slightly he spoke "As fun as that would be to watch, we'll have to think of something else."   She wasn't going to point out his sleepiness. He knew how to deal with it better than she did. Instead, Celu brought up a suggestion: "we could go to hell and barter the rat. and say hello to the dark one's new patron."   He shifted at the mention of hell, but when Aniks released his breath a short quiet laugh came out. “Not the vacation spot I would have chosen, especially just to screw over Whisperbreath. As for his patron, I’d rather not deal with more deities that we have too.”   "..he wouldn't be worse than the ones we have met," murmured Celu in response, a small smile dancing on her lips at his laugh. "trickery in language is better than what we felt happening in the dark lands." The necklace was cold. It was always cold, but it was especially bad when she thought about that place. "...we could go to an elemental plane."   The dark elf raised the ring with the blood red gem, both showing curiosity and concern. “To many questions about that place remained unanswered, which some of them I wish would stay that way.” Then before this could be a topic of conversation could spiral downwards. He dropped his hand and focused on the elemental planes. “We could buy an air ship and explore the plane of air. I heard they're massive floating cities and cloud dragons. Whatever a cloud dragon is.”   Celu frowned at the ring, wondering if it, too, came with unnatural ice at times. Or perhaps that was just her necklace. "which--" Cloud dragons? Cloud dragons were more interesting. "an air ship..? do cloud dragons exist?"   "Unless there is another way we can get around the plane of air. An Airship would be a normal way for somebody without natural flight to get around right?" Then paused thinking about the cloud dragons. He pulled a loose fist to his lips, something he often did when thinking or remembering. "I remember finding some information on them when looking for information on the Lunar dragon, but skipped over it because it wasn't what we were looking for."   "are there airships that have more things to do? the last one was boring." So boring that Aniks... she didn't want to talk about that right now. The beatings he'd taken in Pharasma's realm had been punishment enough. Not that she'd been allowed to watch. "we should look for more information on all of the dragons. they seem interesting."   The room was quiet for a moment as before he spoke. "Unlike the one we used before. This one would be meant for personal use. It would be tailored for person. So if you had one you could probably fill it with books or hang your knife collection on the wall in a display. Think like a portable house" Then as he thought about about dragon comment, he sheepishly smiled. "I still have no clue what that egg is... and I've kind of been hoping it was a from a dragon."   "a wall of knives?" She seemed to like this suggestion, if her smile was anything to go by. "we should do that. then we can throw out unwanted visitors. and it is safer from teleportation." Looking up from the corner of the room she'd found herself gazing at to give him a half-amused stare, Celu simply.. watched his idiot grin. "...how would we adventure with a dragon?"   "We already sleep with knifes under the pillows in Ironfalls, gods help me if I scare you anywhere near that wall" he said with a quiet laugh. Though Celu stabbing him with a knife was something that was possible. While he turned to look at her, he was taken aback by her smile. "Umm, well I would assume like we do with Artemis, but more scales."   "if the dragon is from the egg, it won't be big enough for that. not for a while." Celu paused, realising something that she's never really had to consider in the past. For varying reasons. "how long do elves survive? you've mentioned the rat dying soon before."   “No, probably not. I guess we would keep it like our cats. If it even is a dragon egg.” Aniks said clearly not taking into account dragon having to grow. Being around Artemis kind of skews the certain things. “Typically? 350 years, maybe a bit more.That being said that’s without the lifestyle of an adventurer. Whisperbreath, 20 years maybe less.” "...why do you ever listen to her if she's dead so quickly," Celu was quick to ask in response. "350 years sounds like many. maybe your possible dragon will be grown towards the end of those. would the marks change the adventuring risk?"   Aniks sighed “Sometimes people who live the shortest lives, often have the most to say.” There was a pause for only a moment. Then his voice became monotone “...still shouldn’t have listened to her of course.” Aniks paused attempting to do rough tired math in his head. Honestly he didn’t want to give that thought of how quickly the champions marks would change there life span, for better or worse much consideration. “If we were normal, we might see the dragon reach decent age of adult? Which is a nice thought. Given the tattoo, no clue. These marks, might extended our lifespan but we will likely be sent into extremely dangerous situations. So…” He trailed off.   "our patrons know fate. they will not risk us anywhere too dangerous until we have run out of use." She didn't exactly comment on her own patron often: that didn't mean she didn't think about the elusive Magdh. Still, Celu looked a little uncertain about their topic of choice. "...I am older than you. by a lot more than three hundred." She was always a quiet speaker; this was quieter still. Not that it mattered with how close they were. "the necklace and my sister... how we know lifespan with their involvement?"   “That’s something we might not know, just being a champion put us on this game of fate. We will just have to play our cards right. ” He said in a quiet voice, still thinking in the back of his head how this grand game would end. Then his eyes widen as he never told her this before. “Nine hundred years older, give or take a couple decades.” It was weird to consider that she was nearly a millennia older than him.

Journal #52: Longest Four Days of Our Lives

One long year and three months, that is how long Celuriel and I were in The Boneyard. Currently, this journal entry is being written from the icy continent of Iskaldhal four days after we dove into that pool that leads us to the banks of the river Styx. In some tavern, in the veiled kingdom Naarim. Four days, while I am happy, the time difference is negligible, there are some issues that the past day and a half caused. That is something I will mention near the end of this entry. Where to even begin.   While our morning started in The Boneyard getting ready for the rest of the day, it quickly changed to being in a tavern masked covering our face. I assume Pharasma had just placed us there, one second in the Boneyard. The next an inn with new masks. It was like we shifted realities like we blinked and were there. With the rest of them who were at the entrance not even noticing our odd return.   Sidenote, I found the choice in masks rather odd and interesting. Celuriel masks cover just around eyes, it was dark but fit her well. Though the mask covered little, her hair covers most of her face at any given time. The stand out feature was the crown of darker purple-black flowers if I had not been so concerned with how we got there. As for mine, it covered most of my face, but when I had the chance to look at it. It looked or at least felt familiar, it was dark in design. I just could not place where I had seen it before. Tangents aside, I cannot even call this trip to the losing time.   Renting a room, I was quickly brought up to speed.   ~ Kraia was training with her goddess. ~ Dragon pantheon is a thing, Kazric is the champion of the moon dragon. He landed on his new patron when he was taken from the void. ~They found a vampire. Named Lucas, a self-proclaimed 'nice' vampire. Which means he pays people for their blood. ~ They had a vision in the temple of the beginning, which was originally behind the door. ~In Nialnir vision Sonja spoke with Jinne (maybe, knowing our luck it is), while I am unsure of a solid connection it cannot be discounted. ~Found somebody in Cid's Vision, a woman that was single-handedly dealing with an adult dragon. ~Licia had told me to never let Syrin, and her be alone. ~ We were currently attempting to find Syrin, Licia's former lover and his traveling companions, which is why we ended up here. ~ The Harp is already affecting us, it wants the best story possible. As if we directly tried to destroy it, it would destroy us. By sending another group to stop us or get in our way. Hoping the two group's destroy themselves in the process. These shards need to be removed from existence.   Back into the life of an adventurer.   I can not say I am surprised by this, just tired of it. To show you how messy this is. Syrin and Sonja the two we wanted to find the most are floors above right now. There was much debate on what we would do with them. While killing them now would be helpful for the simple reason. One being we could get information from Sonja, and deal with Licia's former lover, and that creepy pale elf. Who had an affinity ice-based magic?   Doing this would have caused problems, though. The Shard would have found another group on a single entity to deal with us as soon approached it. So knowing the enemy would benefit us when it comes to our fight for the Shard. Killing them, or more specifically Sonja, would make it difficult for us. Being that her mysterious other group would have more of an eye on us. Though like us I hardly think that if we killed her, her 'friends' would not bring her back.   It's just a mess, but we will deal with it.   We realized this when walking through for Licia. We were looking for a magic shop to find martial components. A scrying spell that would get a better picture on Syrin. It had worked. Worked too well. As we watched them from the shadows, thankfully we choose to scry at the right time. They spoke of control collars and changing them into something less easy to stop on the neck. They left that house, only to find a portion of our traveling companion. Zalni, Lukas, and Talinde who had not followed us, had crossed paths. Being that they were loud and activity The Icy Elf and Syrin thought to would nice to help them, gesturing to the collar in one of their hands.   We quickly attempted to find them with some success. Syrin and the Elf had blocked off Lukas in some back alleyway with a wall of ice. Agreeing that it might be better to have Licia hide, she turned invisible. Thinking quickly, I dimensionally slide onto the roof looking down upon the scene. I spoke to them as if they were normal strangers. We spoke little asking the regular question adventurers do, what brought you to a place like this, where are you from. The best way to lie is, to tell the truth. In a roundabout way, I did. I spoke to Lukas and Talinde, asking if they were claimed down enough to return to the tavern. When they agreed they would be at each other's throats, I asked the icy elf if they could lower their spell. They did.   We went our separate ways.   Nothing bad had happened. As we quickly teleported back into our rooms, we continued watching the Scrying spell. As our luck would have it, they noticed Whisperbreath. A drow in this city wasn't uncommon, and the veiled contrary had slavery. We saw it in the market square, we chose to look away from that as doing something would be reckless. A drow near a Ratfolk that is not a combination you find quite often. As we continued to watch, those two strolled in the tavern we had been staying at. Followed by the rest of the party at some point, then Sonja. They spoke on a few things, but what mattered was they were living tomorrow. Having done something within the city.   It had almost worked.   Eventually, some of us grew bored of this, and since we had a funeral tomorrow, I went to bed.   First off, normally I would be okay with a vampire waking me. Usually, that was Celu, but given that now she was an elf again. It was not her. I had heard a noise and given who was in the tavern I reached for Silver and silent approach to door in our common room. Celu had woken up for a second mumbled something. Probably some Infernal curse, then quickly fell back into a mound of pillows and blankets. I slipped into the common to find Lukas attempting to sneak out had tripped Talinde's trap. As Talinde knew he would have tried to sneak out, he had laid a trap in advance. He waited for Lukas, springing out of his room. As if he had caught some villain about to slit all of our throats.   These guys, I swear.   Somehow after telling Lukas if he did not behave, Talinde was going to kill him and explain that if he had not done anything to warrant killing him than Talinde had no reason to bother him. I felt like a mother chastising children bickering over nothing. This only ended with Lukas dragging Talinde for a night on the town.     I watched them go and climbed back into bed. Hoping that would be the end of it.   When the door slammed open in the morning, I woke up mumbling something in Undercommon. Honestly, I could not tell you what it was because it was overshadowed as Talinde was yelling at Lukas   "You shouldn't be seen fraternizing with somebody dressing like that!" "You shouldn't be commenting on how a lady would choose to dress!" Lukas had replied. I pulled the cover over Celuriel and me. She had shift indicating she had been woken up by the two's midnight stroll. "can we go back to the boneyard." "No next time we try your patron's realms." "you want to go to the fey?" "No, but I'm not ready to get more bones broken from Skein." "You could have joined us in the garden." "Something tells me I wouldn't have been able to." As we spoke, it became clear that neither of us was going back to sleep. We would be leaving behind certain people, as they did not have anything to do this funeral. We dressed for the funeral, had gotten something to eat, and Licia had teleported us the gates of Alethia. As we did not want to get sent to jail when we meant to mourn the loss of our friend. In retrospect, I thought Celuriel and I had missed the funeral, while I was sad that I thought I could not make it. The Boneyard had plenty of things to keep my mind off of it.   Dressed in black, the town guard had let us in. As it was clear why we had shown up. With some hastily scribbled notes to Ashlyn, we found the room we were meant to be. A room for family and close friends had been put aside for the funeral. We said our greeting, Midna Ashlyn's Adopted child was as cheery as ever. It was clear a face she was putting on. She must have been watching Ashlyn as her expression and mood was about the same. Just more spacey, more than usual anyway. Mery could barely get a word in before having to leave, the High Priestess Aetha went to I assume, console her. As Alysia Undri was a close friend to Mery. I will speak very little of the proceedings as even I do like having to explain why I was a bit distracted. Her immediate family spoke to the crowd at large, I took special care to note Cyne was looking healthy. His speech as 'The Emperor' was unsurprisingly distance and cold. Makes sense as the leader of an empire should not be seen crying or weak. I felt bad for him while I cannot imagine what he is feeling. I think I might understand it more than my companions. As losing somebody you love, a sister, a wife, a child. Whatever the case is, losing family is always the hardest. Licia, Celuriel and I had checked on him for a brief moment, Drinking and dealing with the loss his way, we left. We ask Ashlyn if she could order the guard to not let anybody but Immediate family in to see him. Thankfully agreed to do this. Celuriel somehow had stolen another book. Again proud but for all the wrong reasons. Returning to our friends, I asked some questions to the guards outside of the room. Some of the nobility had come around looking for Cyne, and I was curious as to who they were. While poking at the nearly uneaten cake, Celuriel had hidden behind me. "There is an elf in the shadow," She said. Her golden eyes bore into some curtains and somebody in the shadows. Given her sister, I understood why she might be hiding. Approaching the curtains, I place the plate of cake on the table. Being that it could be anybody, I still was not ready for Kazric. That being said as soon as I saw him, he kind of stood out. He flung a piece of cake as I exposed his hiding spot. He missed, or I was quicker than he thought. Regardless of that, we spoke on little things, he avoided the questions about his patron, which Licia had to cause him to say his now-famous line of 'Moon Dragons.' Which is a clear sign we would not be getting any information out of him. It was a somber day all around. There was one last thing about this day. When we went back to the elf gate, as we had to take several teleports to get back to our rooms in that Tavern. As Licia had used her one Greater Teleport. In the process of doing this, we ran across one Mad Alchemist. It seems he is back in Ilendras. As we went through the Elf Gate. The same guard as before finally revealed as to who he truly was. Elias the Mad Alchemist.   Our return to the tavern was nearly uneventful, Lukas and Talinde were shirtless boxing for some reason. I swear we will find them one of this day naked in bed together. I chose to go to bed or just to count these events. We are far from the days of traveling across Alethia watching the forests, mountains, and stars go by.  

Journal #51: Desk Duty of the Spire [Text Roleplay on going]

~The Daemons in the trench coat~   While on desk duty one night you see a medium height elf with a trench coat come up to you and asks for directions to the Spire. With your passive perception you can see that their walk seems very strange, almost as if off balance.   Sitting behind the desk flipping the another page The Bones Land in a Spiral Aniks looked up at the approaching elf. "Your in the Spire," He said slowly as if this should be clear "are you okay?"   "Of course I am okay. Now which do you keep the souls that are awaiting their judgement. I just want to check up on them and make sure that they're okay and not lonely or hungry or anything"   An eyebrow raised on the drow, the page half turned as he now looked over the 'elf' "Hungry souls? What are you really here for? "   "What are you implying. I am a human of my word and my word is that I'm here to check on the poor defenseless souls who need someone to talk to. Now if you could please just point me in the direction of those souls I can be on my way"   Well you realize that the face is an elf mask   "Take of the mask" Aniks said closing the book, giving this his full attention.   "What mask are you talking about! This is genuine human skin! I want to speak to your manager since you're being so incredibly rude right now!"   Both elbows on the table his palm and fingertips now pressed against each other. The pressed hands pointing to the 'human' in front of him. "I want to express to you my 'manager' is busy currently. While the assistant manager might be free, she is less than friendly to people. So you'll have to come back another day." "Listen, we came a long way for this journey and we're not leaving until we ea... save those souls! You know what, we don't need you! I'll find it on my own"   Eat really? Terrible Freudian slip there Aniks thought. "Let's not..." Aniks said appearing in front of the 'human'.   “Hey hey hey buddy, getting a little close now” the human with the elf looking face said while backing up and tripping over his face.   Aniks paused watching the 'human' stumble. Then raising his left hand ready to cast a spell if he had moved quickly. "Eating a soul? Really. Who are you?"   Eating a soul? Don’t be silly! What I meant to say was... seating a soul! You know like giving them chairs to sit on! People do that right?   "Avoiding the question, who and what are you."   “I’m... James... McMann and I’m a human! I should be asking who and what you are!”   "The mask, remove it."   “Mask? Like I already told you it’s genuine human skin! I already told you that once! Does it look like we know what a mask is!”     "First that's a elf's face your wearing, not a humans. Second no it doesn't look like you do, however many there are know what a mask is. Third..." A crack of thunder echoed through the room as a bolt of lightning escaped Aniks outstretched hand nicking the mask's ear. His face now deadly serious." next time I won't miss."   "Okay okay you got us" It pulls off the elf mask to reveal an even worse made human mask. Seriously it looks like a patchwork quilt made of skin! "I'm not a human, I'm an elf. My name isn't James McMann it's Elfarion Mcelff. Now that our misunderstanding is cleared up if you could just show me the way to those souls I'll more than grateful"   Aniks walks over and rips of the human man. "Enough Lies."   So you rip off the mask and you see partially coalescent clouds of bloody mist in the form of a ghostly, cloaked figure, perpetually dripping and reabsorbing a crimson trail. "Okay, would you believe that my name is Tief McLingg? And I'm a Tieffling?"   See the creature in full, Aniks casted a potent magic disintegrate.   You disintegrate Tief McLingg, jerk, and you hear a worried yelp from underneath the trenchcoat   "Get out of the trench coat..." Aniks said in a flat tone.   “lright alright, but before you kill me, would you believe that my name is Not A. Daemon and that I was just the legs for this whole operation! You killed the brains! Just leg me okay? We only did this as a dare!”The thing does not crawl out under the trenchcoat   Aniks cast lightning bolt on the lump in the trench coat.   You killed Not A. Daemon and burned the trench coat. Congratulations you monster.   Grapping the trench coat and folding it neatly on the desk. Aniks paused grabbed the broom underneath the desk, and swept the ashes onto a dust pan and into the trashcan to the left of his desk.   =======================================================   ~The Entitled~   While on desk duty one night a shady looking tiefling walks up to your and rings your bell that every desk has, why is it there even though you always are? You’ll just never know   The bell ringed through the spire echoing. Why the tiefling rang the bell, Aniks didn't know why as he had been making eye contact with them. He hated the 'night' shift, but he placed down his mug. "Is there anything I can help you with?"   “Well first off it is incredibly rude that you’re not addressing me as ‘sir’. It seems not even Pharasma can find respectful help these days. You’re lucky my father’s not here to hear about this, he would be throwing a fit right! You’re lucky I’m here, the more level headed of the family. Did I make myself clear?”   For a moment, just a fraction of a instant, Aniks understood why Celu wanted to harm people she found annoying. However the dark elf but on his best 'Barkeep' smile. "Is there anything I can help out with, Sir"   “That’s much better. I’m glad to see the help can still be trained properly, even here. As I was going to say before you were ever so rude, I’m here looking for the lavatories. I’ve had a long trip so don’t take too long to think on that. I know how slow the help can be to respond sometimes”   Elsewhere, Celuriel looked up from her seat in one of the many libraries as if sensing a disturbance. She shrugged when nothing more revealed itself, and resumed reading a detailed account of a conflict nicknamed, according to the Elysium-origin book, "the Skeleton War".   Aniks picked up the mug again sipping it. They could sleep in tomorrow, but he still had to deal with the bullshit today he thought. "While that could be arranged. I must inform you, unless you here for another reason I am not allowed to let you farther into the spire."   “THIS IS PREPOSTEROUS! Who are you to deny me? You are simply the help and obviously not a very well trained one. Do you know who my father is? You would not like me to get him involved! He is very quick to anger and often does not leave the help unscarred. I would highly recommend that you reconsider what you just told me and learn your proper place! Perhaps my eloquent vocabulary was too much for your simple mind to understand and you just simply misunderstood what I am looking for. If I must, then I will lower my speech to your level and hopefully you will understand this time. I Have TO Go To ThE baTHRoOm. I will not lower my speech again so I hope you understood that time, your simple terms always leave a bad taste in my mouth and blood in my ears. Did I mention to you how bad it would be for me to get my father involved?”   Aniks leaned down placing his chin on interlocking fingers. He blinked slowly as the teifling went on and on about his father. "Perhaps if you would have taken time to look around this small room yourself. Before expecting help. You would have seen the two doors to the left of the entrance behind you. Now is there anything else you need to day, Sir" The Tieflings eye visibly twitch for a fraction of a second before the monologuing starts “The absolute disgrace! You dare pull such a stunt on me of all people? Why you are the rudest person of your standing that I have ever met! Luckily for you, since I am in such a hurry I shall keep my berating speech short. As it seems you lack even the tiniest sliver of respect, discipline, or obedience I have decided I shall tell my father about everything that has transpired here after all. You will be made an example of! My father is Valens Fausta of Traianus, Lucilius, and Fausta Law Firm one of the most influential and powerful law firms in Hell. We have an army of lawyers at our disposal which shall be used against you due to your own failure to fall into your proper place and treat me with the respect and obedience that I demanded from you. I honestly have no idea how Pharasma keeps someone like you around, my servants at home know that the moment I look at them they are to drop on their knees and thank me for how well treated they are. It would be very helpful for you to see how servants are meant to be treated since Pharasma obviously isn't going to discipline you herself. Did I make myself clear? I would hope so, I am in a hurry so I will not wait for you to respond since it will take you at least five minutes to even comprehend what I just said to you. Let us hope you never need a good lawyer as you will not get one from my father's firm. You can expect a letter from my father as well. I hope you learn from this encounter and treat the rest of the pristine guests here with the respect that you are expected to give!”   The Tiefling turns away and walks towards the bathrooms.   Aniks sipped the coffee, swirled it around for a second thinking it wasn't strong enough. Then looking at the restroom door shaking his head still a blank look on his face "Entitled people..." He sipped on the coffee.   =======================================================   ~Flowers mean what now?~   It is a few days later that the next interesting encounter occurs. An extremely large woman, her dark skin practically glowing in the stark lighting of Pharasma's 'reception', wanders into the room. Not a shred of clothing clings to her shapely form; instead, clusters of leaves and vines tangle their way around her lower body, both decorating it in blossoming flowers and frost-covered remnants of what was once there. She doesn't seem to notice the drow at first, taking the time to scan the area for someone not present, then turns to him with an alluring smile.   "Sweet little youngling. Looking for a lost lover? Oh, no, you've moved on from those, I can see it in your eyes. Such eyes they are! Become a knight, the princesses await one. Anyway, precious iris. Where does Elysium lie?" Aniks pulled out a tome, the records book he had to keep for people that would be passing through the courts. He thumbed through the book, probably three hundred pages in where the bookmark was. Several names had been written down, he turned the book around to face the woman. Pushing it in her direction along the table, with another hand a pin press lightly against the page. As normal, when he didn’t have to deal with daemons attempting to eat souls or the odd entitled tiefling. He greets them with a normal smile, instead of a fake one so often used while he stood behind his bar. He replied in Celestial.   “Thank you for the compliment, however a knight? Madam I am happily taken at the moment. So I do not see any princesses in my future. Before I can direct you to Elysium, for the record book, can you write your name, planar destination, reason for going to said plane.” The pen tapped the three areas of concern as he spoke them. Indicating where they should go in the records book The woman laughed, the flowers adorning her waist fluttering their petals with her. "Knight you may not be, but night's mare do you ride. The wandering stars cling close to you, you know, even with the fairies' kiss glittering on your cheek. The future dances for you, sir of night and not knight." She smiled warmly at him, peering down at the small book. "Your inks stain petals darker than dark, irisbloom, and I bow to none but the green. Write for me, my pretty flower. Let calm weathers seek you for a time. I am Ràitheann." The name rings no bells. "Elysium is my home and my place, and the verdant dance is over for a time. But through Death's castle is the prettiest path, for in Her garden there are the most darling flowers. I will return there, to my forests and lakes, and draw the chill behind me."   Aniks was visible confused, you could see the drow turn his head to the sound at her words. Like a puzzle he could figure out if given enough time. She spoke in riddles or like she was some poet. He stopped speaking Celestial as he lost focus whispering in Common instead. "nightmares? fairy kisses I don't get..." He had to consciously stop his hand from touching his cheek at the mention of fairies kiss. He turned the book instead taking the pen in hand. While not the best scribe, he took her words down but had to ask how to spell her name. He left the book open to dry the ink, now speaking in Celestial again "The Eight Courts are through left door. Follow the stairs two flights up and you will have found your destination through the Ivory doors. The Elysium door is the carved oak door, painted with majestic mountains, and a wild glade. There should be some Lilac near the door, some pervious visitors left them. Now is there anything else I might do for you Madam?"   Another peal of melodious laughter as the woman bobs a curtsey towards Aniks for his assistance. "Thank you, sweet little irisblossom. My tasks have reached their paths end, and gifted me with the future's scents - but not sense, no; sense is for the sensible like a princess of a tower, wouldn't you think? Shower her in blue-stroked bells and the pale lilies of death before winter's kiss scatters snowdrops, and oh - the snow's touch shall bring many to you. Ware the blue, little blossom, as I bid you a farewell." She blows him a kiss that - instead of leaving any visible mark - scatters yellow buttercup petals across the room in a miasmic swirl of yellow as she follows his instructions and leaves him to contemplate what the hell that was.   Aniks at first simply smiled and waved as she left the reception area, after he could no longer hear her steps. His face became that of utter confusion. “What… was that!?” Aniks had unknowingly went back to undercommon as he spoke quietly. While overall that was a pretty normal exchange, he could barely understand her. Was that just the way she spoke or did everything have some double meaning. He fanned the ink now finally dry. Closing the book he placed it back on the desk, where it rightfully belonged. He grabbed a broom to sweep up the flower petals he thought about what had happened. Which might have been a mistake. The dark elf was rightfully confused as ‘a Princess in a tower’ clearly meant Celu, but how would she know about that? Could she? Stranger things have happened. Shower her in flowers or where those flowers just code for something else? And something about Winter too, before winter? No, He was jumping to conclusions again. After he finished sweeping, he sat down attempting to decode what she had said.   =======================================================   ~Clockwork Construction~   One night of desk duty you are approached by a strange damaged humanoid clockwork construct that seems to be missing a lot gears and springs and is visible damaged. So damaged that you can notice its left arm doesn't even more and appears to be limp the entire time. Its voice very weak and raspy as it slowly speaks to you. "I have travelled so far, suffered many... cruelties, and I fear that the only questions in my life may never go.... answered. If I ask you the...m will you tell me truthfully...?"   Aniks paused for the briefest of seconds. Unsure, as Aniks got to his feet. His voice, while concerned, might have been out of habit. Like he was taking care of some drunk patron who had mistakenly attempted to out drink a dwarf "Before that do you need help!?"   "Help? It has been so long since I was offered... help. It feels almost foreign. No, no. I am fine. I have been this way all the way since.... since.... since I was created I suppose? It's all so fuzzy now. All I have ever known is a lifetime of being used and recycled for scrap. It's a wonder I still have some parts left.... I suppose you could... help... me in one way. All my life.... I have never known who created me. Nor for what purpose. It has all been a mystery to me. If you could... help me then I will finally have peace. Will you figure out who created me and for what purpose?"   Aniks looked at the construct, golden eyes conflicted. "I would like to tell you I could help you on this quest" He lied. "I am bound by other duties and cannot leave this plane till they are done. Your creator might be here, they could already be judged or even on another plane entirely. I am sorry, there is not a lot I can do for you."   "So the...re's nothing y...ou can do? S...urely you h...ave records or something.... anything.... Coul...d you atleast tell me what the meani...ng of life is then? Since the....re's nothing el....se you can do....?" Oil slowly leaks from its eyes as it talks   The Drow paused for a moment " You asked a question without answer, however I'll try my best..." Looks like he'll have to give them some answer. Might as well make it a good one right. "The meaning of life is what you make of it. Your failures, success, the journey, the lost. Everything you are is what your life is. Is made up of these moment. If you want I can take you to another plane or heal you? A stepping stone along the way."   "Life is wha....tever I wan...t it to be? Life is wh....at I make of it.... My entire li....fe has been about find....ing out what the meani...ng of life was..... why I was so brok....en and tor...n apart.... I see no....w that life w...as always abo....ut my journey.... Thank you frie....nd for finally giving answer....ing my question.... No, no, here wil....l do just fin...e. I'm ju...st go....ing to sl....eep no....w. Go....od n...ight fri...end." The construct collapses into a pile of springs and gears and oil slowly begins to leak out the bottom of the pile.   A slight smirk appeared across the Drow's face, one that might have been sad for only a moment. A moment later Aniks used some simple spells to clean up the oil. The parts, now being placed inside a bag of holding. He was silent as he collected the fallen construct. "Let's hope you can sleep easy then."   While it took a while, Aniks had bought an armor stand from somewhere in Spiral's Edge. On nights they had to stay at Pharasma's Palace, he spent a little bit each time attempting slowly to rebuild what remained of the construct. While he knew this wouldn't bring this odd clockwork creature back to 'life'. It was like a puzzle, and hey at least somebody would remember him.   =======================================================   ~The Great Serpent of Ronka~   It is at the height of noon - as evidenced by the chiming of a clock somewhere in the Spire's many rooms - that the next visitor enters the reception.   Although, at first, it really doesn't seem like there's anything there. It's not until he hears it that he realises something... else... is present. It's almost a... hissing noise...?   Before Aniks thought to speak, his eyes fell on spot under the desk. Silver was kept there, They had asked to be kept close by as 'there was no one to talk to' as Silver put it. He silently pulled on the domain of soul from Pharasma's powers. If the being was invisible he would just look for their soul instead. Finally he spoke "Hello?"   Finally. Finally, the time had come. The Champion had reached out to power and sought out the flame that burnt within the visitor. The hissing increased in volume and tempo, and finally - Aniks saw... the small wriggling snake that had climbed up onto his desk, its yellow-brown soul burning brightly within its undulating form. "Sᴄʀᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇ!" it answered.   Thus Aniks had a new desk pet, even if he wasn't assigned Desk duty. He had gotten a tank, and mice and rats to feed it every day.   =======================================================   ~The White Dread and the Knife~   As you put the serpent in the tank, the doors slowly open and in walks a deathly pale figure, white as snow, a beak orange as a carrot. As it walks up to the desk you hear the maddening sound of the being that defies gods and mortals alike. As it opens its horrifying maw it lets out the roar of a thousand burning souls, "HONK"   "NO! I thought shooed you away yesterday!"   As you put the serpent in the tank, the doors slowly open and in walks a deathly pale figure, white as snow, a beak orange as a carrot. As it walks up to the desk you hear the maddening sound of the being that defies gods and mortals alike. As it opens its horrifying maw it lets out the roar of a thousand burning souls, "HONK"   The Barkeep, as he did yesterday, reached down to grab the broom. He rounded the desk broom held a if it were a spear. Aimed in the direction of the goose "Leave!" Aniks paused fainting shot at the pale beast.   "HOOONK" replies the being that has seen the rise and fall of civilization, the being that has seen the rending of so many souls and mortals alike, it does not seem please with you mortal. Tremble before it's mighty roar!!!   His eyes narrowed "fucker that's my knife you stole from me!" Which he had stolen from Azyel but that was besides the point. The broom hit the side of the goose, then smacked the knife attempting to dislodge the knife.   The Barkeep, as he did yesterday, reached down to grab the broom. He rounded the desk broom held a if it were a spear. Aimed in the direction of the goose "Leave!" Aniks paused fainting shot at the pale beast.   The goose had never been challenged by a mere mortal before, especially not one that knew the weakness of all goose kind. This mortal was a true challenge, one the goose knew would take all its strength to defeat. With the fury of a thousand burning suns, the goose issued it's challenge to the careless and dangerous mortal "HONK". The goose knowing that it needed to use its full power just this one time, drew out the one weapon it had always hidden. Hidden within its quartz colored feathers, the goose pulled out the knife that had defeated so many. The god defier would not be defeated so easily!   His eyes narrowed "fucker that's my knife you stole from me!" Which he had stolen from Azyel but that was besides the point. The broom hit the side of the goose, then smacked the knife attempting to dislodge the knife.   The goose had suffered a mighty blow but the goose would not be defeated so easily. As wicker (straw? Whatever old brooms are made of) and steel clashed the goose, as David and Goliath fought, as a mere mortal fought the greatest of all warriors, the goose’s rage boiled and bottled up until the goose could take it no longer and let out another piercing shriek that has deafened daemons and demons “HOOOONK”. And with that, the goose was disarmed as the blade clattered to the ground. His defiance and arrogance had finally sealed his fate   "We do this every week!" Aniks said picking up the damned goose! He had to cover his neck, incase the goose attacked. The Drow took the goose out of the spire. He placed the goose on the ground, dimensional sliding back to the door. Closing it for now. He would check in ten or so minutes before reopening the doors. He reclaimed the twice stolen dagger and went back to his seat.   As the dagger was slid into its sheath, it... wiggled. Wiggled and resisted, and shot into the air to hover menacingly in front of the drow - the symbol of Nethys glowing faintly in the air behind it. It was alive! ...Or, at least, animated.   Aniks eyes narrowed at the floating dagger "What? Are you going fly back to Azyel?"   The dagger flew in a loop, then swung down towards the desk.. where it promptly began attempting to carve what looked like letters into the ebon surface.   Aniks looked down at the desk "Even in another plane he's screwing with me. What is today?"   The dagger paused in its carving and adjusted the word it inscribed into the desk to read: TUESDAY.   "That was rhetorical, finish your message before I have clean up this mess to"

Journal #50: Death's Champion

Planar travel always brings with it odd complications. For example, time is far more flexible in differing planes. The rules are ever-shifting compared to our normal sense of time that the Material Plane has. Sleeping was the only way I could think to track the ‘days’ here in Purgatory, as the sky remains in a constant state of falling twilight. If that is a rather good measurement of tracking time than Celuriel and I have been here for a little over a year. Which means hopefully The Lost Ones had dealt with the Harp.   This is going to be a confusing journal entry as I do not think I should explain this training chronologically. So segmenting my experience might be the quickest way to cover my training as Death’s Champion. Which includes the dreadful time I had to spend with the Steward of Skein. A large amount of my early time in the Boneyard was devoted to training with her. Later learning of the nature of souls at the banks of the River Styx and the River of Souls, I will admit that was the more interesting. A lot less painful as well. As it was not only the ‘soul’ the Psychopomp told me about, but the different types of Psychopomp within Pharasama’s Realm. Her courts had also been explained to me. As for my personal training with Pharasma, well it had started on my birthday when I had turned 125. I still do not understand why she would even want me to pass judgment on souls. It worries me as to why she even lets me. Skipping over the basics of midwifery, which yes I had to cover even being a midwife. Pharasma was the Goddess of Birth after all. She had also taken to give me secretary duty, as the Spire was large and complex in its design. My general thoughts on the Spiral's Edge the one city inside the Boneyard, as well as a few other things I would like to note about our time here.   For the love of gods starting on this year-long excursion to the Boneyard is going to be annoying. I guess the painful one is a place to start, the less I have to think about the Hearld the better. Physical training was taken care of by Pharasma’s Herald. The Steward of Skein was for lack of a better term an asshole. Very few things she and I agreed on, I could probably count the times we had agreed on something on my right hand. Strange, how during my training I had the oddest sense of nostalgia from home. Especially with her very aggressive form of teaching. Odd that I had drawn a comparison between Pharasma’s Herald and most Drow Matriarchs. Exclude the evil nature and maybe the pointed ears and they were shockingly similar. At least in my opinion. Never saw her face under that steel helmet so I could not tell you if she had pointed ears. Not to say I was not curious mind you if you were stuck with this Psychopomp that long, you would be curious as well. Especially when the only emotions she displayed came from glowing red eyes.   This woman clad in plate, which has been adorned with skulls on her shoulder, gauntlets, chest piece, basically everything with a joint. A bit overkill if I were, to be honest, scary at first but after seeing her for Several weeks she lost the initial scariness. She had white wings similar to most angels, those too were covered in metal armor. This is not even the worst part, it was her blade. That is where the true fear came back. While nothing especially worrying or special about it, it was used with extreme precision. Apparently, in her free time, she hunts undead for ‘fun'. If she is even capable of having fun. I would be an idiot to not say her title of Herald is was not unearned. Perhaps only two or three people in my life were that were almost or as skilled with a blade. Though one might have been through the hazy memory I could only recall hazily from my childhood. The moral of the story is I hate her, we never got along, but I can respect her.   I still am unsure of how she views me on the other hand. Given that neither of us could have a normal conversation without some dig at the other’s expenses. I often wondered what thoughts were hidden behind that steel helmet of her.   Silver was of little use to me during our sparring. Ironically this helped the Herald’s training as they spoke through our telepathic bond allowed Silver to distract me. Given Silver’s personality, I became very adept at ignoring they flirtatious comments directed at the Psychopomp and her sword. She had forced me to train with every common weapon she could get her hands on. Of course, the dark elf knew and was comfortable with dagger, shortswords, and rapiers. Several comments were made about that little fact, which I ignored, some of them came from Silver. I think they were jealous I was much more willing to swing a shortsword than them. The other weapons she had tested me on that took a miserable time to gain any level of proficiency with. As she told me, I wouldn’t always have Silver nearby. That she wouldn’t train somebody who wasn’t willing to wield any weapon given any circumstances.   The sparring itself was clearly in the favor of Herald. I do wonder if I was not an Arcanist would I have had a chance against her? She noted my fighting style with a scimitar was a method common among Sarenrae worshippers and clerics. Which I made a note never to tell Ashlyn our paladin of Sarenrae that. How I had even picked that up, I will never know. Another side effect of my incident when Riven reforged that blade. The Psychopomp did not hold back, I have several new scars from our fights ones. Small ones at first but soon they became either bigger, or more abundant. At a certain point she had gotten so bored with our training, she tossed her blade aside and decided she would use her fist. Which lead to beat downs and bluish-black bruises on my ribs. She held no mercy in her heart.   Eventually, she had picked her blade back up, the dull iron blade. As she deeming me expectable now, while I had been able to fight back with Silver. More than once I had to enchant Silver to be able to keep up. While I have never stuck a vital wound or even more than something Licia could cure with her spells. I had been able to harm the Herald. Or block her blade when it came arching through the air at my neck. It felt good that I was able to clash with the Herald. Though I had never won one of the fights, if I had wounded the Herald I took some level of pride that I had gotten better. One thing I had learned about the Boneyard is wounds do not heal naturally. Something the Steward failed to mention, sure she got some twisted kick out of watching me the first couple of days as I came looking progressively more beaten up. Scars and cuts she had put on me. It did not take long before a psychopomp had told me about the Boneyard’s odd trait. Which for a short while the psychopomps had healed me after our match. Which only allowed the Steward to be more aggressive as she trained as she knew I would be healed by the end of it. Ice ran through my veins as the positive energy washed over me. The healing magic the Psychopomp guard was cold. It felt like a cold brand had been pressed over sword wounds to closes them. To seal them shut. The worst part is it lingered with me, like taking an ice bath and drying yourself off. The cold still clung to you. Even once it is over with I could feel it, the icy feeling outlining where the cuts had been. The chattering teeth became background noise for me. Some Psychopomp had tried to heal me immediately after the Herald and I was done and for a week or so this had been the case.   Dimensional Slide was the one ability I used often during our sparring. She broke my left arm during one of her correct predictions on where I would be. Slamming the broadside of her blade into the area as I reappeared. It might have been worse if I had not quickly blocked with Silver. Still, the force had broken my left arm. The lesson there is, I should use it often, but not often enough to become predictable. Another lesson was the more hurt area was, the colder that feeling was when it was healed. I had let them use magic to reset the bone healing it a bit but nothing more, that chill had lasted hours. Subjecting myself to any more than that, and I might as well have been an ice statue.   I had originally thought the chilling feeling was a side effect of the Boneyard's present on the positive energy. Given who rules here that might have been a reasonable thought. Well, that was because it was a Psychopomp who had channeled that healing energy into me. Not the plane warping the positive energy. I found that out by stepping into the Garden Anima where I learned that. Celuriel and I went back to our room in the spire. I was shivering as we made our way to the room. Being as stubborn as I was, I finally conceded to let her heal the rest of the bruises and cuts as blood had now started staining my shirt. Expecting another bath of chilled positive energy, it was much better. Unlike the psychopomps, it had been far more comfortable and warm. I pulled her into a hug after, knowing I was rather thankful she was with me here. As a year without her, I would have been miserable here.   After that, I started to ask Celuriel if she could heal me instead of the psychopomp here and around the spire. Funny how when she was a vampire she was near me because I was warm and kept me safe from dreams and nightmares. Now I am going to her because she was warm and I calmed her during her nightmares. That and Celuriel was more comfortable to be around than the general conductors of souls that had healed me before.   Back to the pain in my ass known as The Steward.   For a week or two, I had placed down the blade. I was forced into to telekinetically hold different 300 lb objects, iron, oak, bone, ice while doing different tasks. I was still confused about how she got the bone, but thought on it for more than a moment and decided not to ask. We started with balancing 50 feet in the air on a thin board. Another time either on the ground or on the board in the air, she would yell which way her blade would be arching to my face and I would have to dodge. While I would have to keep the 300 lb block from dropping. I am rather proud to say I only fell off only once dropping the telekinesis for a feather fall. The Steward also would not tell me where some of the strikes were coming. Later she had me block her attacks while telekinetically holding up a shield. Which was easier to move around than 300 lbs blocks but as soon as she started throwing spells at me. Well, Chain Lightning nearly killed me on several occasions. Lucky she never went as far as killing me. I do not think I could explain that one to Celu, she already wasn’t allowed to watch. Angelic Aspect was a spell I had gained some level of comfort during my sparring session. Which aerial courses were made and I was drilled over and over again. Falling about a hundred feet if not more, as dealing with the fall was just as important as dealing with the control of the flight. This lead to probably my worst injures from The Herald. After she deemed my flight and aerial acrobatics passable (barely as she says), it came to aerial combat. I will not even try to hide it, I was horrible at it. I mostly cast spells at her. Silver remained mostly just a sword at my side at first. Adding the sword was horrible as my wings got in the way trying to swing at her. Having extra appendages, wings on your back is such an odd feeling.   Regardless of my piss-poor attempts to fly and fight. During one of our midair fights The Steward of Skein had disarmed me. I was paying attention to where Silver fell, I had forgotten I could have summoned him back to my hand without much thought. I was focused on not being skewered by her blade and lost my one way of defending against that. The Psychopomp had grabbed my arms and start flipping in midair dragging my body along. Spinning around she flung me down to the ground, which I caught myself nine or so feet off the ground. Two large steel boots dug into my chest and ribs. Connecting me with the ground leaving me with the sound of a sickening crack in my ears. Two broken ribs as I later found out. I snarled some Abyssal Curses at her as she got off my chest silence and watching. The training ended early that day, I stumbled through the spire in pain ignoring anyone who tried to heal me. I found the Garden Anima as I usually did, my teeth now gritting as adrenaline had started to wear off. I attempted to look as if nothing had happened, the Gardener had pointed me in the direction of the Spire’s library.   It is not even that surprising Pharasma’s tower has a library, it had appeared endless. I roamed the towering shelves looking for some sign of her. Head-turning from side to side, see the only psychopomp holding books organizing shelves. It had been about twenty rows in where I had found her pile of collected books. Silently reading as a Psychopomp stormed away down the isles, probably having attempted to get those books back from her.   Dropping any false face I had shows I was in pain. I slide down next to her on the floor back against the bookshelf, piles of books around her. I had to explain what happened as I came back early to find Celu in the library, clutching my side. As I recounted to Celu what lead to this, and cursing in a reaction as she poked broken areas. She had healed me in the library instead of our rooms. I had remained there instead of returning to the Herald’s training room. The Steward had not said anything the next day.   In all the time I spent with the Steward I had managed to royally piss her off only once. At least I assume she had gotten pissed at me. Who could tell behind knows behind that helmet, those glowing red eyes? While I take pride in it, it was mostly accidental. Remember the curiosity of not knowing? Well, I almost found out what was under that helmet of hers. As our blades clashed with one another locking at the hilt, I used telekinesis aiming for her helmet as a distraction. To my surprise, it had worked but my hand covered her face. Then as I realized that The Herald’s helmet was telekinetically launched into the air, before I could even lower my hand. The Herald had moved it ungodly speeds to fling me across the floor with her fist. Cold steel gauntleted fists Swifty punch my jaw expertly knocked me unconscious. I can not say it hurt, as it was quick and painless. Well till I woke up. For reference, this was the only time she knocked me out, despite both of us knowing she could at any time.   It was a painful way to wake up, touching my jaw first before anything else. I was not even aware were I was We were in our room in Pharasma’s spire, and we choose to spend the night there instead of a room we had rented, but I’ll get into that in a second. It was probably one of the most restful sleep I had gotten in Pharasma’s Spire. Which is saying something because Celuriel and I found our room within the dark spire rather hard to get any amount of restful sleep in. My hand had rushed to my jaw as I tried to say something but found it too painful to speak that much. Thankfully, Celuriel had a place down her book and explained what happened as the Herald had brought my unconscious body to the garden.   Our guest room within the spire was not anything special. A room to sleep, a room to bathe and what I assume was a living room? It’s really hard to tell with the dark gothic style of the Boneyard in general. There was a table in that middle room as well as a couch, nearly empty shelves on a couple of the walls. There was still an every presence chill that seemed to linger around the building and our rooms. I cannot even call this place a building, spire or tower just makes far more sense. The gray-colored walls and dark sheets left a gloomy feeling in the air.   Both Celuriel and I had trouble trying to sleep. Restless and often we would find ourselves awake for some reason or another. I had probably seen her yawn more in the Boneyard than on the Material Plane. There had been enough nights where we sat there reading, or if she had a nightmare. If it had been a particularly bad night without rest I would pull on Pharasma’s Repose domain to at least ease her sleep. Thankfully Pharasma never commented on it, as this use of her power had to be known by her. She was likely aware of every time I used it, that and she was likely to be in the same spire. Our time in this room only lasted about a month as neither one of us wanted to say here for long. Strangely enough, we were not the ones who came up with the idea to fix this little problem of ours. When the two of us would wake up in that first month, I would go and train with The Herald. While Celu spent time in the Garden with Pharasma’s Consort, Mrtyu. I went on a bit of a rant as Celu told me who and what he was. I could not believe Pharasma, of all people, wooed him. The idea of that stoic and all-knowing Goddess being curious about a warrior dying with love on their lips was… I could not believe it. Regardless of having that scary image of a Death Goddess flirting with somebody aside.The idea that fixed our restless sleep came from Mrtyu in a roundabout way. As Celuriel had found out there was a single city within this realm. Spiral’s Edge, while spirits who are going to be brought back and psychopomps were among its denizens. Living people, often worshippers of Pharasma, duskwalkers, and the other outsiders were spread throughout the city. And where there is a city, there is a place to stay. So once the idea was brought up, it did not much for either of us to agree on it. We would find another place to stay while we were on this plane. While the Boneyard was a near endless graveyard of crypts and tombstones. Our late ‘night’ travel to Spiral’s Edge was lucky eventless. As my last encounter with traversing on this plane was annoying. As a rogue Psychopomp had attacked us, scythe in hand. At least I assume it was rogue. Hearing a howling wolf was still a bit odd given besides Groetus the skull-faced moon, or the occasional Psychopomp in the sky. I had yet to see animals at all or even people. Just tombs and the dark spire looming behind us as we walked. Spiral’s Edge a city of second chances or at least that is what it is called. Curving streets spiraled around the low buildings. Few buildings went past a second story unless they were a temple or some sort of estate. Keeping to the theme of the boneyards the building was grays blacks and a general dark theme. It fit with the gothic theme of the city’s architecture very much fit the plane well. Iron fencing with there spear-like tips that scrapped the unchanging sky. Those fences guarded most estates and people littered the streets pay no attention to us. I made sure my wrist was covered at least to avoid any problems in case somebody knew my spiral tattoo was more than an appreciation of the Goddess of Death.   The two of us strolled around the confusing spiraling city getting lost. Eventually, find our way to a nice tavern by the name of Hades Castle. One of the few builds with more than a second story. Its walls had been painted a dark gray, it’s shingled roof was a maroon color. Lamps hung outside emitting a dull orange glow on the cobblestone streets beneath our feet. It hummed with the familiar sound of life taverns often have. Compared to the echoing sounds of our steps that faded into a loud silence within Pharasma’s spire. Just having the background noise was infinitely better on my nerves.   We rented a permanent room, and after some discussion with the Elf manning the tavern. Convincing him that we’d be able to stay for a long while. Which proved to be true. Producing the coin upfront helped convince the Tavern’s owner. We were allowed some modifications to the room as long as we had paid in advance and made sure our payments were made on time. In truth, while we wondered about this new city, we had asked around for a place that commonly held people for a while. This is one of the few places known to constantly have people renting a room for more than a couple of months. Which would explain why it had more than a second story. Three stories to be exact. We had managed to get a room on the third floor. As that was where the more permanent residents were, according to the elven tavern owner. Key in hand, we went to our new home, the fourth room on the left. We silently opened the door since it was already late. It cracked open to an empty room. Everything had a slightly lived-in look, which was probably the tiny layer of dust that covered the furniture. Easy to clean with a couple of simple spells. There was a middle room, furnished with a couch a table across from it, to the right of the door was a bar which had stools stood on top with a kitchen behind it. The cabinets above also had room for I assume book on cooking. Which to our luck there was a market for about four or five blocks over so that was nice. While Tavern food is nice, eventually Even in the dead of night it was a softer quiet hum to the tavern that kept us asleep compared to the loud haunting silence in the dark spire of the Goddess of Death. In the morning we get dressed eat then teleport back to our guest room in the spire. Going about our day a normal.   Our room over time slowly acquired small things that made it more comfortable to be in. It gained a sort of personality all its own, both similar and different than our house in Ironfalls. Books slowly appearing both which I was never too sure if stolen them, but I had tried to curb that habit as long as I near her. But her sleight of hand was getting better. As well as odd things Celuriel and I picked up when we choose to go out and explore Spiral’s Edges. Some odd knives as we had become accustomed to sleeping with sharp daggers under our pillows, and within arms reach. Gods forbid if somebody tried to break into our room, they would be in for a rude awakening. A half-built construct stood on an armor stand. It was only half-built as when it had fallen apart in front of me. While at the reception desk of the Eight Courts, a clockwork creature had stumbled in the front door. Destroyed and already looking like it was missing half of its body. Asking for answers I could not give. His journey had been long and they suffered a lot in the quest for their creator to find it’s 'propose'. I gave them an answer as their mechanical life came to an end.   I had to collect the pieces and decided to rebuild the construct. Using an armor stand as a base, some nights spent a little time piecing the clockwork construct. Since I have never touched a construct before, it took a while. It was like a puzzle just larger and more complex. Even though I know I probably could not bring it back to ‘life’ at least somebody would remember them. Celuriel’s only comment about my construction project was “you really like fixing broken things don’t you” My little interaction with reception duty will be logged after this entry as they varied. Anything from two demons in a trenchcoat, to a snake, an Angel who might have called me attractive. Flower language was so hard to figure out, buttercups and iris. I had to find a book on flowers to figure out what she said or possibly meant. Celuriel visited once, but only to ask what to read, as she had finished the books in the library she wanted to read.   While I would not call it an odd addition to our room, Celuriel expressed interest in dartboard she had found in the market (which had been replaced once because of extended use). Which hung in our room on the opposite side of our bed. But not for darts. She had bought smaller throwing knives six in total. The two of us would just silently throw knives at the board before bed. Despite my former life as an assassin, Celurial was surprisal had a damn good throw. Her grouping while all over the place at the beginning quickly grew smaller to about the size of her fist.   Like a normal dartboard, it had painted scores as well as those two rings. Prompted us to by another six, tying a black ribbon to on a set, and white ribbons to the other. Each of us took turns throwing one knife till we ran out. Then count up the points we had earned. If we felt especially lazy that day, I would simply mage hand them back to the bed. In the year that we have been here, neither one of us had gotten a perfect game. Which to us would be a score of sixty. While overall I had a more consistent score overall, Celu had the highest current score of fifty-nine. Which I was personally responsible for, I write this smiling but she was upset with me as she knew she could have gotten that perfect score. I had purposely throw my last knife to block hers grinning as I did it. I knew what I was doing. It made it nearly impossible for her to get her perfect score. A spell like true strike would have made the throw children play. Celuriel shot me looked as she aimed her last knife, taking extra care to aim for the sliver of space between the knives. She missed and the sound of a knife sticking into the board soon was followed a sound of annoyance coming from her. She simply poked me with an annoyed look across her face. I was as she said, ‘erased’ from time. Only for half a minute as punishment.   That has been some small part of life for the past year, Spiral’s Edge no longer had a confusing pathway to us. If we wanted to find the largest bookshop of books not from this plane. It was two blocks pass the market from the road where the quilt stand was. Which I had bought something from once and had to quickly stuff it in my bag of holding. The Pillars was the name of the store, which fit the build nicely as it had pillars of the book reaching to the ceiling. Stacked horizontally, apparently, every book in that pillar had a second in the store hence why they could afford to use it as a decoration piece. I was shocked at the variety of books in the store but found little time for reading outside of the text other teachers had me read on the soul. I did find some books of note that I found interesting, for one reason or another. I had to make sure Celuriel did not steal from the store.   All roads lead eventually lead back to the center fountain in the middle of the city. A mockup of Pharasma’s tower was in the mild, It was made of dark stone or at least that's what I could tell. As the curtain of water that shot out from the peak and down into the pool below made it hard to see any finer details of the fountain. It was probably thirty feet in diameter? Hard to tell, what was not hard to tell was the large number of coins that glitter from the lamps hung around the city center. Copper, Silver, Gold, and Platinum, the menting might be different and from different periods but the idea was still the same. Two children had ran passed us as we were coming back from a clothing shop, Celu had refused to give me back my jacket. She had staked her claim on the white leather jacket after I gave it to her when she had gotten cold while in the spire. The Children laughed speaking about something, their words lost in the city center, each clutching what I had assumed to be copper coins.   Four copper coins glimmer form the lantern light as they fell into the fountain with a plop, they were silent for a moment making their wish. They looked at each other, wish making concluded with broad grins. They laughed and disappeared to I assume create mischief or find their parents. Explaining to Celu why they would get rid of money for a false wish to Celu. As she had asked why they would do that. I could not come up with a decent answer for her to explain the waste of money. In all honesty, I still do not understand why children seem to love tossing coins into fountains. After their wish was not granted the first time it does make sense they would keep doing it. Alain would ask for a copper any time he saw well or fountain. I guess even if he had not gotten a wish, the fact he was happy about it was endearing. Maybe that was the point. Wishful thinking? That might be a bit hard to explain to Celuriel so I passed when the thought came to me. It had been like a small glimpse into a life we would have once this was all over.   Often on nights where I was not completely exhausted from sparring with The Steward or a night we just run around the city I had to look over scrolls and dusty tomes. The Psychopomp that had been assigned to teach me on the banks of the River Styx had found and given me Pharasma’s holy book to start with. The Bones Land in a Spiral. This might have been the first time I ever had to read a holy text, it was a vague prophecy from long ago, useful information about helping with safe childbirth, how to properly bury bodies and other general things. While not a dry read completely, I found that mildly interesting so finished the book was not a chore.   Flipping through the pages, unraveling scrolls, and going through history books. While not often, as she was preoccupied with books she wanted to read. Celu had helped me study on more than one occasion, but more often just kept me company on rather long nights, or to convince me to sleep as it was clean I was getting annoyed at the readings.   Now is probably a good time to speak of my other teacher along the banks of the River Styx and the River of Souls. A couple of months into our time here Celuriel and I found ourselves in the Garden. The Steward was absent but in her place was a different psychopomp. Class of Psychopomp he fell into was a Memitim Psychopomp. A protected of souls and oddly could easily be mistaken for an angel as that would have been a good description of him. Pale white wings, dark clothes with the spiraling pattern across the sleeves. He had the build of a typical angel, icy white blue eye, his hair was long and greyish white. But not as if he was old, well he was probably ten times my age. Again Celu had stepped behind me as this one again brandished a Scythe. This was Samael.   “I was informed I will be instruction the young champion on the manner of the soul.” He spoke as if he were of nobility, now looking at the two elves that had entered the garden. I remained silent. My eyes locked on the psychopomp.   “I am Samael, while our lessons are not bound by location. I fear what could happen if I leave the River Styx for too long, or on a regular schedule to someplace with Our Ladies palace.” Celu’s grip tightens on my upper arm, as the Adamantine scythe effortlessly cut through the air. It shone with a bluish light from unknowable runes across its blade as it arched silently down. It carved away a piece of the air revealing the black sands shores of the River Styx. The whole, in reality, as defined by a bluish-white light around the image. The Psychopomp looked at me expectedly.   Telling Celuriel I would see her later and be soon on the banks of the River Styx. Boot sinking slightly into the shifting black sands beneath me. Samael follows soon behind me. As I looked back into the rip in space, the view of Mrtyu and Celuirel disappeared as if the rift closed. “You’re awfully silent, given what I have heard from The Steward of Skein. I thought you would be ‘louder’ like your companions.” Samael had said, his scythe now more like walking staff as he stood me. He was a head taller than me. I deeply sighed at that muttering quietly “That because we drive each other up the fucking wall.” “Well as I said previously,” Samael had started walking along towards banks “our Lady had deemed it the correct time for you to learn about souls and their creation.”   And thus began the long process of learning of the soul. Often along the bank of the river Styx, rarely anywhere else. Regardless, I will attempt to summarize my lesson a best as possible.   The Soul is the life energy of a living creature. Each soul comes from the positive energy plane, with notable exceptions to this natural path. Souls, however, do not just pop into existence, primordial deities siphon off energy from positive energy plane to craft those souls. Which said Souls eventually find themselves a vessel while traveling the River of Souls. Then once that mortal vessel reaches the end of its life, the soul returned to the river to the Outer Sphere. Few gods have any power of this type of creation, I guess those who have the ability to manipulate souls.   There are exceptions as Samael had pointed out, Fey brings the most common exceptions. As a soul passes through the first world the remnant of the leftover energy from the soul produces fey. Samsarans of course also are an exception as their souls often reincarnate before their task is done, then they go to be judged after. Souls that are bound to be resurrected, often linger but find themselves in Spiral’s Edge if they were not quickly brought back. Lichs, enough said. Hell, when they have their hands on their souls, breaking the souls down so that they could use as some sort of currency in the form of Soul Fragments. Which devils, demons, and night hags, also use souls in a similar fashion.   Then, of course, there are souls that can be trap via spells   The exception being what they are, all other souls eventually find themselves in one place. The River of Souls on their way to Pharasma’s Spire to receive their final judgment. It was not a river, it more of a path the souls took to find their way to the Boneyard. You could see it anywhere in the boneyard as long as you could see the sky. The stream of souls that arched its way to the dark tower. Every guarded by fateful psychopomps. While from a distance it looked like a pale white aurora, if you flew up to the River of Souls it was colorful. With the different colors of people’s souls. Some in the orb shape of souls, or in the form of their previous life.   Overall these lessons were the most civil, and in all, I enjoyed them though they were sprinkled throughout my many other tasks. Much more enjoyable than the Heralds, and desk duty had been. Well, it was hard to say. Anything could pass through those doors.   Samael had also given those books I had taken long night pouring over. One of the older tomes being the classification of Psychopomp. I’ll just generally list the classes of the servants of Pharasma.     Ahmuuth psychopomps: Owl masked humanoid that mortal could often call upon to help them kill the undead, or usher them to the afterlife. Peacefully, if that can be arranged.   Aldea psychopomps: A swarm of Pharasma’s sacred bird the whippoorwills that are covered is a pale blue mist. They are in charge of reducing souls that are endangered, often from Necromancer attempting to manipulate souls and things of that nature. As well as False Prophets, but Samael hardly went into anything with Old Ones.   Catrina's psychopomps: Skeletons dressed festively which often have flowers in their design. One of the more color psychopomps, they are really in charge of lessening the general terror and the shock of finding out they had died. While not meant to comfort, they are meant to calm the souls down during this transitional period in their new unlife.   Ember Weaver's psychopomps: Often shawled and glowing these are the psychopomps that bring souls to the River of Souls, often information brokers with other psychopomps (Amuuth, esoboks, nosois, and catrinas) who look for lost souls.   Esobok psychopomps: Pharasma guard ‘dog’ so to speak. Smarter than an average animal, they are absolutely loyal to the lady of graves and are uncorrectable. This is honestly impressive but is often found as hunters of the undead.   Kere psychopomps: guards of graveyards that prevent the spread of taint in sacred places from undead and necromancers.   Memitim psychopomps: Angel-like psychopomps that guard the river of Souls and the Boneyard. Protectors of fallen souls, This was likely the psychopomp that attacked us years ago. Also, Samael was apart of this classification of psychopomps.   Morrigna psychopomps: The most human-looking psychopomps, their general job is to stop interference in the natural process of life and more specifically death. They are more often seen with packs of Esoboks while They hunt undead.   Nosoi psychopomps: Tiny four-winged auburn bird with black-tipped wings. They are also known as scribes psychopomps or death’s messengers. They record every death for mortals and keep the judgment that Pharasma gave them.   Olethros psychopomps: Spiral masks and white silken gowns these women carry bronze mirrors with them. Birth. Death and the fate of things in the balance between them are what that concerns them.   Shoki psychopomps: They collect linger souls that have not made their way to the river of souls.   Vanth psychopomps: A skeleton humanoid bird creature with blade wings, often called reapers or angels of death. Watcher of the River of souls, they are also scythed wielding reapers with the scary ability to sever the silver cords of astral travelers. The scythes have runes that match some of the oldest writing in the boneyards many tombs. Rarely this psychopomp dress for war but have ancient brass armors.   Viduus psychopomps: the librarians that wonder the Pharasma’s Spire. They focus on studying and writing down the lives of extraordinary mortals and things that are meant to be kept secret.   Yamarji psychopomps: One of the upper echelons of psychopomps. Final Judges, the grand magistrates and the important one “dragons who eat souls” as they are a cross between a crow and black dragons. They are the law lord of the Boneyards.   Psychopomps Ushers: Unique psychopomps that have transcended their form class. Potentially independent with the power of a demigod. Funny enough I did find out The Herald is not an Usher.   A few times we spoke and had lessons outside the River Styx. It had been far more civil than I thought it would have been. When I received new readings I would have to study, that lesson would take place on a balcony on the spire looking at the River of Souls. Other angel-like psychopomps floated near to stream of souls heading to the tip of the spire. I could not fly for prolonged periods of time being that I lack wings. Then the next time we would speak Samael would ask me questions in regards to the books. Which meant I had to spend several nights reading dry texts.   It had been on one of those long nights of reading the books Samael gave me that I learned that I could look at souls while they still were in a mortal vessel. To explain souls are orb-like but can take the form of a person if that chooses.   I had turned to Celu one night, having just gone through a rather long chapter on the ‘Color of Souls’ and got curious. Was it even possible for me to even see Souls? Closing my eyes drawing on Pharasma’s power. Blinking as the world had lost color, the walls of our rented room were now monochrome. I had thought the lights had gone out, as this was similar to my Darkvision until I had looked at Celu reading.   “I just figured out how to look at souls, everything’s grey save for yours” I had told her.   Her attention now taken away from her book “what is mine like? nothing let me see my own before.” “Well, it about this big” I placed my fingertips together as if I were holding a ball maybe six or seven inches across. “It’s a colored orb in the middle of your chest. The center was a deep crimson color but near the edge softened mixing with a scarlet color.”   I was surprised it had been that simple and I had not thought to do something like this before. Then again I had been hesitant to use her powers, the consistent thing I had done with my champion powers was help sooth celu’s nightmares. Besides that, the passing of the trapped souls and whatever I had done in that mindscape had really been the only thing I had channeled her power for.   See that is the odd thing about souls as I found out. Souls are colors that have meaning to them. Unless the soul takes the form of their previous mortal vessel, but more phantasmal in nature. While in the spectral depiction of their former life, the soul does not reflect that color. Instead, they have an aura around them, reflecting the color of their souls. If the Soul had fallen in combat, the injury that had caused the death would also be emanating a sort a glowing aura as well.   Given the state of my soul, I did not look. While curiosity did want me to. A broken soul is a complex thing to explain.   Given that I had taken several nights to write then, three at this point. While I had robbed her of her perfect score, she got a sixty last night. She made sure I documented it here.   I guess I should speak about our birthdays, as I had forgotten about mine as it has never really been a holiday I celebrated often. Pharasma seems that mine would be a good time to start my judgment of souls. I had completely forgotten about my birthday, as when the Goddess of Death calls for you. It is in your best interest to answer her. I had to judge souls with her, this like the other training did not happen every day. As my time between, judging, training, studying, and desk duty was relational. I would never know what the next day would bring until we walked into the Garden that morning.   I will give a vague overview of what happened as somebody's judgment is not to be written down in a journal like mine. Pharasma judged the souls alongside me, correcting me as I misstepped. I questioned their live, religion, choices while taking a bit on this, this action took less than an instant for Pharasma. As expected.   At first, the souls were random, farmers, soldiers, merchants. Anything and everything was told to judge as I stood near the Death God. Then it became more difficult, which leads me to believe Pharasma had been cherry-picking the soul after a while. Soon the souls which more complicated matter had appeared in front of me. They were meant to be emotional, Pharasma had been trying to get me to feel something. She wanted it to obscure my judgment. It had worked once in a while, but I learned to look at things objectively. Or try to at least tried to, a couple got me. Pharasma quickly corrected me. Her attempt included Young lovers killed by their partner, younger children lost to illness or childbirth. The illness hit harder. Then as the souls seemed to have similarities to my story, my life. A young man raised as a hitman realized this life was not for him but was killed by his family. Another tragic loss from illness, but instead of moving on. They turned on the world but was killed while being caught by some adventuring group.   There was only one soul that I judged that I knew personally, they were the last soul I had to judge according to Pharasma. The Goddess of Death had my attention before I had to judge this soul. Across the echoing throne room, my name had been spoken making me turn. I was stunned, as I not expecting them. I had a hard time falling asleep that night, new information had been swirling around in my head. Annoyingly unable to shove them far into the back of his mind. However, judgment waits for no one.   While neither one of us had really known when her birthday was, I chose to celebrate her birthday as the day we took her from her tower. As I felt that was a day, as good as any to pick. Which I pinned down to twenty-eighth of Arodus. Over the past couple of months here in the Boneyard. I had slowly started to acquire a couple of items from around Spire’s Edge that I thought she would like. Hiding them away in a bag of holding, or having bought a couple of books where one had not stood out more than any other.   I could not give her the entire day, as my morning activity was to watch the front desk. As soon as we made it back to our room in the Tavern, eventually cooking dinner and making a cake. Which honestly I had such a hard time frosting the damn thing. From my bag of holding I had pulled a folded dark quilt wrapped around something square. Her present. Her present was rather simple, it was a thick leather-bound book with gold leaf lettering. Myths and Legends of the World: Aletheian Edition a book series of a team of writers collecting the early myths and legends of countries. However, they were more stories to tell than historical events. Something a bard might tell in a song or story, I had picked it up when I was flipping through this thick book and saw Eurydice and Orpheus myth. Being that these were the names we took in Tenaerul. I had wrapped the book in a dark green quilt with slightly brighter green three-pointed knots and around the border was a similar knot design.   At first, she was slightly confused at the cake, until I explained why. She told me that I am not missing mine this year, apparently, I was not allowed to be selfish about this. Unless Pharasma pulls me away again on my birthday I had thought. The two of us spent time in our bed reading from her new book. We had started with that myth of Eurydice and Orpheus, as neither one of us knew the myth. Curiosity had been the reason to start there. Given the fact that the two of us had our names replaced with theirs during our time in Tenaerul. Soon it became too dark for her to read, so instead of lighting the table lamp, I read. Which being a drow, her vision was not as sharp as mine in the dark. She listened sipping on a mug of hot chocolate, as she used her new quilt to keep warm. Now the funny thing about that book, Myths and Legends of the World one night that we read that book. Now though it focused on our empire, it had spoken about early Istralar. While we had read this book together it was on the second or third time we had sat down to read it, that something had caught my attention. More specifically it spoke about the world's first anti-paladin, the twisted fusion of elven paladin and some long-forgotten god. Now, this was common knowledge, or at least as common with somebody who had an education, looked a little into the history of the gods or the world. That was not what had caught my attention. The Antipaladin was the one who started the Worldrend. A combination of god-given power and arcane power, their attempts might have been successful. The force of the fusion of Divine and Arcane magic backlash had ripped opened a hole in the material plane. Exposing him to the Source and Void. Which was the inciting incident. That both created the fusion and drove them to insanity. I paused for a moment, looking at the page. I paused my eyebrowed furrow as I reread it over Celu shoulder.   Setting down my drink, I got up to go over to our bookshelf. Where was it, My finger ran across the spines of several books. The Bones Land in a Spiral, no that one, Boneyard Ecology, nowhere was that book. My fingers eventually fell upon a book simply called Divine Politics. An encyclopedia of most common gods and how they connect to one another and their relationships with one another. Samael had given this book to me rather early, I had nearly forgotten as I had read it months ago at this point. Pulling the book from the shelf I sat back with Celu. Thumbing through the page till I found a similar passage on the Antipaladin and the Worldend. It was about a page and a half. My finger glided down the page as I skimmed looked for something.   “...and through the blending of Arcane and Divine magic, the insidious fusion of the Antipaladin was born. The cause of the Worldrend. An unseen side effect from combining magics as well as exposing the former elven paladin and forgotten god to the Source.”   It failed to mention the void. It just mentioned the Source.   I flipped the book around my finger on the inconsistency. Celu had already turned two pages past the second on the Worldrend and The Fusion. Showing her the issue, she turned back to the page. While we talked about it for a little while, both of us returned to reading her book. However I had looked into a bit, there was not a definitive answer to what they had been exposed to. It had been either The Source or the Source and the Void, no book had a solid answer. Though given what we have dealt with I would not doubt for a second that the Void had been involved. As it could easily explain the insanity. While I am not sure it could explain the fusion but the Unbroken March had a similar combination in that spider-like creature.   But another thought had occurred, The Shards of the Void were forged from the Void. Talinde had been able to track these Void created objects, using that scepter however some of them had Talinde had not been able to say definitely that it was a Shard of the Void.   So what if had been Shard of the Source?   The Source was the pool of true magic, at least that is what those Runed Blessed Dreamers seemed to think.   Could it be possible to forge a weapon from the Source? To have a weapon that could deal with the Shards of the Void.   This is rather hypothetical of course, I cannot even prove this on inconsistent books and loose connection I’ve drawn. Given how dangerous the Void Shards are, I cannot imagine a Weapon made from the Source would have a better outcome.   Still, I think if worse comes to worst, at least finding out if this is possible might be beneficial. Especially as we eventually run thin of options for disposing of the Shards of the Void.   The ritual under Castle Umbra might be helpful if the ruins and symbols had been left unaltered (which would be a miracle and damn near impossible). Maybe I would find a way to alter it, change it to pull from the Source to forge something, instead of the Void. Perhaps we could if they had any notes left over from the Bloodwalker Riven. Perhaps find out who constructed the ritual, better understand what took place, and what it took to bring forth such a powerful force as the Void. Besides the sacrifices of the plane touched beings. Still, at a certain point, the Lost Ones are going to run into that problem, we cannot keep smashing two Shards of the Void together to destroy them. We have to find a consistent way to destroy them. I just wonder what the cost might be if this would be possible.   Just the thoughts of a tired dark elf.

Journal #49: The Dark Spire [Text Roleplay]

One of the first things that struck Celuriel - after they'd clambered out of the river and thoroughly examined the beach - was how cold the Boneyard was. She could see black sand - could feel it shifting under her feet like a living thing - and dark skies that stretched on endlessly above the shadowy waters of the Styx, but neither really struck her quite as much as the cold that seemed to claw at her veins in an altogether too familiar gesture. A shiver ran through her as she stepped closer to Aniks - who, here, felt like a beacon of warmth. "your lady lives in winter," she commented, peering around at the expanse of greyish-dark. Jutting tombstones teased the edge of the horizon, like great teeth poised to consume those who drew near. He would be safe among them - he was Her champion - but their sight sent a thrill of uncertainty down her spine. In the distance, Pharasma's Spire stood watch. They had to go there; she knew that much. Whether it would be as easy to exit as it had been to enter, she was unsure. This was no longer ground she knew well, and the symbol on her wrist tingled unpleasantly. "are we going to your appointment?"   Cold, it was the first thing he noticed climbing out of the river Styx. Aniks hated the cold, or atleast being cold. It brought up rough memories from his early life on the surfaces. While a part of his mind would have found the surroundings interesting, especially the black sand. The stream of thoughts were broken and crumbled into the back of his mind by the smaller elf brushing up against him. With his thought a bit more clear he realised just how cold he was. Which probably meant Celuriel was as cold. Aniks paused pulling her in close as a minute of silence. "I can fix wet clothes, the cold well..." His golden eyes fixed on the looming dark tower which stood out grey amd black landscape. Three times he'd been in that tower, and a fourth time would happen before the end of the night. "Do we have a choice?" Aniks said with a half smile, trying to put Celuriel at ease. She stared at him blankly at the question, her brows furrowing into the makings of a frown. "not really." Without waiting for him to start trying to make them more comfortable with magic, she pulled away from him, taking the first steps towards the gravestones before spinning around and giving him an expectant look. She had been patient for centuries. This was not a time for more patience.   It seemed that the plane's denizens agreed. She barely flinched at the sound of wings behind her, but didn't dare look. She knew the precarious nature of her standing here well enough to avoid the confrontation, instead falling into a tense silence, her golden eyes fixed on Aniks's. If he didn't know her so well, she might have been able to hide the glint of nervousness lurking within her heart.   The new figure was skeletal - perhaps unsurprisingly - and as black as the sands beneath their feet. A skeletal bird's mask decorated where a face might have sat, had it been mortal, and ragged black wings of raven's feathers wrapped around it as a cloak. A scythe - glimmering the distinctive blue-green of adamantine in the faint light, and bearing a number of symbols unrecognisable by mortal eyes - rested loosely at its side, clutched in one bony hand. It didn't comment on the former vampire before it, instead focusing on the Champion. When it spoke, its voice was hollow - echoing across the river and cutting sharply into space. "Tʜᴇ Lᴀᴅʏ ʜᴀs ᴄᴀʟʟᴇᴅ Yᴏᴜ. Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ Cᴏᴍᴇ."   At the appearance of this being clad in black feathers, Aniks face lost what gentle features he had. His golden eye narrowed almost erasing all trance of barkeep from his appearance. From his glare right down to his posture, it showed that he was a dark elf. With silent footsteps he walked next to Celuriel. Golden eyes only flicking back to her once notice the look she gave him. Aniks would have been a fool if he had forgotten his first experience in The Boneyard. Something he wasn't willing to relive again. Now being keenly aware of where Silver was strapped to his belt, the blade felt have against his side. Being that Celuriel knew Aniks as well, what he said was as much for her as it was for him. His lips barely moved as he whispered to Celu in elven "We'll be fine"   Then he spoke to what was he hoped was a psychopomp sent by the Pharasma. "Are you an escort for us? Or are you just a messenger to guide us on the correct path to Pharasma." Aniks made sure to stress the 'us' part while speaking to the Scythe wielder reaper. He had wanted to talk to Pharasma, as some of what the fallen gods said disturbed him. Some questions he knew he had would not get a clear answer from her, but still his question would be told to the Mother of souls herself. The most pressing being why bring Aniks here now, they were going after shards? So what was this all about? Celu's expression didn't flicker as the creature behind her moved, its tattered wings disturbing the cool air. It stepped - or perhaps floated - forward, tilting the bony mask in a manner reminiscent of morbid curiosity. "Mᴏʀᴛᴀʟ ǫᴜᴇsᴛɪᴏɴs ᴡɪᴛʜ ᴘᴏɪɴᴛʟᴇss ᴀɴsᴡᴇʀs. Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ᴄᴏᴍᴇ. Tʜᴇ Lᴀᴅʏ ʜᴏʟᴅs ᴛʜᴇ ᴄᴀʀᴅs." The scythe's metal shone silver in the Boneyard's odd light as the psychopomp raised it, and Celuriel couldn't entirely hide her flinch as the blade carved down through the heavy air. Its path left a spiralling trail of deep-blue magic in its path, the edges flaring white.   The colours hung in the sky for a long moment, iridescent and shifting. The psychopomp observed it with the detached calmness that belonged to his kin, and touched them. The change was instant: from its bony fingers erupted a stream of darkness, eroding the blue into a spectrum of colours and shapes. Eroding it into an image - still or otherwise, it wasn't clear - of an ebony hallway carved of dark marble and lit with faint flickering light. The psychopomp stared expectantly at Aniks.   "Yᴏᴜ ᴡɪʟʟ ᴀɴsᴡᴇʀ ᴛᴏ ʜᴇʀ."   Aniks couldn't help but have a slight look of annoyance. "Sorry my mortality creates pointless questions" his voice was laced in sarcasms. The golden eyed drow gave Celuriel the same look she had given him early, and expectant look. Making it very clear, as Celu said before jumping into the murky water with him, not alone.   Celu nodded almost imperceptibly to him, slowly - and with no small amount of caution - stepping back to his side. She seemed reluctant to look at the psychopomp, her gaze instead fixed on Aniks.   The psychopomp waited.   The pair passed through the scythe made portal, stepping on the black marble floor. Needless to say his breath is held as they past by the psychopomp.   Thankfully, it did not follow. Small comforts. The new hallway was - to Celuriel - somehow icier than the exposed sandy banks of the Styx, evoking an involuntary gasp at the chill clawing at her skin. Strangely, Aniks did not feel the same level of coldness - to him, the new surroundings were a welcome break from the familiar chills of outside.   There were two directions to this hallway. To their left, a gridded portcullis of blackened steel stood its ground. The winch with which they could raise it sat unguarded on the wall beside it, the dim light of the moon outlining it in white. Untouched. Celu stared at it in contemplation. To the right, a set of smooth black doors decorated with a familiar blue-white spiral hung ever-so-slightly open.   Without so much as a word, Aniks casted Prestidigitation on Celu then on himself. The ebony elf then took a look at both paths, he felt like the portcullis was likely and exit. He half expected if that was true, he would be meet with more Psychopomps. That would give the same Go-See-Phrasama response. So he apporched the spiral door. Originally he hadn't noticed it being slightly open, but Aniks being Aniks after a second carefully openes the door.   Unlike the last time he'd been given the opportunity to wander the Spire, this doorway didn't lead Aniks (and his shivering partner) to the Eight Doorways. Thankfully. Instead, he found himself standing at the edge of a small courtyard garden filled with strange fruits, flowers, and animals that seemed to fit perfectly into the odd realm. A familiar smooth staircase wound its way around the edge of the courtyard, its lowest step resting next to a small pond. Celu found herself seizing Aniks's hand as her eyes landed on the only other humanoid inhabitant of this ethereal garden.   He was male, and he was human - in appearance, at least. His eyes were dark and sunken, and roses decorated his blackened hair. Whilst a rusted sword hung at his waist and a stain of bloody red dripped from his stomach, he paid no attention to either, instead focusing largely on his apparent task of picking fruits from the garden's trees. Once his basket was full, he turned to greet them with a gentle smile. "You'd be Her champion and... my apologies for the assumption, but would this soul be your consort? Welcome to a fragment of the Garden Anima, though I sense your stay is brief. Has She called you both?"   "She has" Aniks said before moving into the garden. " Excuse my ignorance thought I have plenty of questions, the most pressing I am unaware of how to reach her."   "This isn't your first visit?" asked the stranger with an amused smile. "No, no, I know it's not. Your group are noisy, and I know the Herald is looking forward to your return. Our Lady can be found up the stairs - though the chill surrounding your consort suggests that she might find it more comfortable to await your return here." He surveyed the two with an oddly penetrating look, his gaze lingering on the slight tint of blue that Celuriel had been trying to conceal with her dark hair. "I can't tell you if that's caused by her fey nature, the lingering claws of undeath, or simply the Lady wishing to speak with you alone first, but I can share that it'll only worsen if you reach the Spire's summit together."   "It's not..."Aniks mood slightly soured. The Herald looking forward to his arrival was concerning, mainly because of there first talk went terrible. Aniks still didn't regret what he had said to the Herald of Pharasma he felt like it was justifiable. With a clearly false smile "That's wonderful, I can only imagen what Pharasma's Herald wants" Then Aniks turned Celu he squeezed her hand slightly tighter "As much as I want you to be there with me..."   The man grinned light-heartedly at his response, very obviously recognising the disdain, but fell silent to allow the young couple their moment. After all, there were many flowers blooming in the garden and he was the one who could tend to them.   Celu glared up at Aniks. "you're not leaving me here for long." It wasn't a question - she didn't care if he had to defy a goddess, she wasn't letting him out of her sight for that long. Not after what he'd done last time.   "I won't..." Aniks said pulling her into a hug, this was clearly for him. It was probably a bit longer than it should have been. He was worried, Pharasma as of late was starting to unnerve him. At first she was just another god, but now he wasn't so sure. Aniks pulled away leaving her with a white leather jacket around her shoulders he had bought for the snowy countries. However he didn't feel cold. "Please stay warm" then went to the stairs, to find the Mother of Souls. He calmed himself trying to clear his thoughts and mostly his worries about what was going to happen when he saw Pharasma again.   "if you stay safe," Celu whispered in return, reluctantly letting Aniks leave and slipping on his jacket. A comforting hand landed on her shoulder as she watched him ascend the staircase.   "He'll be safe with my Lady. Now, yours is a life ended and renewed. Whilst they have their chat, why don't we talk for a while?" suggested the stranger, gently guiding Celuriel to a park bench as Aniks disappeared from ear- and eye-shot.   Meanwhile, the Champion in question found himself climbing a near-endless staircase. Occasionally, other figures - strange psychopomps with forms ranging from stunningly beautiful to aberrant and grotesque - would pass him, never saying a word. Unlike his first visit, nobody stopped his ascent. Eventually, after what felt like hours of climbing, he reached a set of white marble gates that seemed to glimmer in the starlight pouring in from pale arches around the tower he now found himself in. A familiar angel-like figure stood waiting, shooting him a wordless look of annoyance before pushing the gates open and striding in, clearly expecting him to follow.   Even to Aniks, the architecture was gorgeous, and this was the same Dark Elf who has only really consider the two women in his life to be gorgeous. It was more that the barkeep was trying to pay attention to things like that. It was an attempt to chill his nerves. He thought slightly on the psychopomps, if being Pharasma's Champion turn him into one. He would very much was to keep his body looking normal-ish. Especially after seeing some of the odder looking... he stop that line of thoughts, it wasn't going to help him now. His mind was silent till he was the Steward of Skien. Aniks returned the look of annoyances with his own. He thought he would have added a sarcastic bow, one that meant for nobles I am displeased that we have to speak again "A better welcoming than last time I suppose, I swear she would not be happy with me, unless I took out all the Undead in existence." he whispered to no-one impractical. Following in the same determined pace as when he departed from Celu.   "Even then," came the sharply hissed reply from the woman ahead of him, carrying back to his ears as he stepped onto the familiar dark marble floor of Pharasma's throne room. The foreboding presence of his Lady was immediately apparent, pressing at the corners of his vision with all the strength of true divine power. Ahead of him, the Steward stepped forward and sunk to her knees, her steely wings folding in deference. "Your Champion, my Lady."   She didn't need to say a word. Aniks felt the compulsion to step forward, to kneel before the woman he could now find the ability to look at. If the psychopomps he'd seen before had been beautiful, they paled in comparison to Pharasma. White hair and expressionless pale eyes paired themselves with silver skin and sleek robes trimmed in red, and as her gaze fell upon him, he could feel the full weight of the burden she'd laid upon them three years prior. Could feel the full weight of all that he held around his soul, for good and bad. She seemed to be waiting for him to speak; to kneel.   A small smile came from the drow, he had gotten her. It was surprisingly easier than he thought. The smile was short lived as he enter the final room. He took a second he they entered the throne, something was off. Everything looked normal so what was it. He stood next to the Armored Psychopomp and kneeled. As much as he hated that, Pharasma of all the beings in the world, desevered respect. Plus agrueing over whether he should kneel or not was not something he wanted to deal with. Then Aniks released what was off, he has seen Pharasma. He could look at her, the compusion to not look at her was gone. He still remained looking down at the black marble floor. Last time he stood not to far from this spot when he was in this throne room."Was there something you wished to bring to my attention?"   The temperature in the room palpably dropped. The Lady of Graves needed to say nothing to indicate her disapproval at his demeanour. "Steward, leave us." The words had barely left her mouth before the steel-clad angel had vanished - teleporting to some other part of Pharasma's domain, most likely. The room hung silent in anticipation of the Lady's speech and instead echoed with the click of heels against marble; a sound that stopped much closer to where Aniks knelt.   "Not many would dare bring a guest to the realm of death. Yet my champion thought it his right. Not many would actively seek return here, either, in the face of their procrastination." They both knew she didn't refer to anything recent. "Three years have passed whilst you dwelt in a shard's embrace. Three years of increasing danger. Though you grow stronger, you yet fail to impress." She let the words stand in the air, her disappointment illustrated in the pressure exerted through her sheer power.   "I would not have selected you had I not seen more worth in you. You shall learn, and when your learning is complete - and only then - you shall return to the Material Plane."   With that Aniks was back to normal. Well as normal as one could be infront of the Goddess of Death. In truth Aniks had thought this might be a reason for her calling, infact he was slightly hoping for something like that. It just happened a lot sooner than he had thought it would. However this learning was not what removed his nerves for this meeting. It was the comment about bringing guest, that had snapped him back to into a more familiar version of himself.   "-as long these people in the other room are Champion's I will do my hardest to keep them out of harms way." He repeated from their first conversation privately, where Pharasma spoke through Celuriel (He never did get a proper explaination as to how she did that.) Then for the first time Aniks choose to look at Pharasma. His golden eye beamed with determination. "My stance has not change champion or not. I brought her because I do not want Celuriel to be in the Material Plane to have her kidnapped by her sister while I am here studing here in The Boneyard. While she is here, she more safe from her sister. As safe as she can be that is, I would not have to worry about her as much. I never thought it was right or wrong, I just wish for her to be safe." Aniks dropped his head back to the black marble floor. It was cool to the touch, however that might be just Pharasma's presence dropping the temperature. Aniks paused before speaking again. "This training, will it be similar to that a Psychopomps as well as more than general knowledge on how to be your champion?"   "It was not unexpected that you would bring your consort. You would be wise to assume other beings will not tolerate unexpected appearances so well." Pharasma's eyes shone white in the pale light of her throne room, emotionless and cold as Aniks made his plea. She was not one so easily impressed, nor one who would bother wasting time on pointless words. "Mrtyu, or another of the ushers, shall ensure her safety when you are otherwise occupied."   As Aniks knelt, he felt the whisper of wind against his skin as the Lady of Graves returned to her throne. "To train you as a psychopomp would be to relieve you of your status. Your soul is not yet ready for judgement. You will be trained as a Champion. My herald will assist in martial matters. The psychopomps will guide you through understanding the River. When you are ready, you shall learn judgement." She didn't need to explain how he'd learn that. It wasn't something you could write down. "I grant you this opportunity to ask questions of your goddess. When they are done, and whether answered or not, you will find guidance past the doors."   " Thank you" Aniks said he meant it as well. Then the idea of Her Herald teaching anything martial made Aniks loose the slight smile he had. Of Course thats why Steward of Skein was looking forward his return. He could almost feel the pain in his near future. He tossed that painful thought aways. Question Pharasma? He had already gotten the information about being trained. His soul, how to fix it was something he would like to know. If she knew about the fall? So many things." As much as I would wish to ask you plenty of questions , I will limit myself to three. Is there a way to fix my soul here in Boneyard?"   It was a long moment before Pharasma spoke, and her words were chosen with deliberate care when she finally did. "You will better understand the answer to that when you have come to know the River, and the way a soul is formed. Souls are capable of much change in their existence. To damage a soul, in mortal terms, would most often refer to the influence of negative energy - such as that used in undeath. This can be undone." Aniks felt a sudden chill as her gaze turned piercing - even without meeting the gaze, it felt like somebody was staring through him at all he hid, at all he held dear. The cold was icy, and yet unfamiliar.   "You, however, were led to a place where causality and reality fell thin. Your soul remains confused by the journey, recognising that it should both be present in this realm and that of mortals. It leaves whispering imprints upon the fabric of fate where you might walk. It is a complex form of damage. The Boneyard has methods of repairing it. They will not be used until your mortal path ends."   " Something to deal with at a later date then..." Aniks said more to himself then to the Goddess of Death.There was a slight pause before the second question"Cayden and Iomedae said something after their fall, you might have already know that this was going to happen? Is this true?"   This answer came noticeably quicker. There was no doubt that she hadn't guessed this question would come. "The pathways of fate are not unknown to my sight. Mortal decisions shape them, ever-changing. I knew of the chance. There were far worse outcomes avoided." After a brief pause to allow him to think on the ramifications of that, she continued. "Some pathways now lead you to question my decision of not sending out a warning. Fate wanders where it will. Interference is unnecessary and unwanted."   Remaining silent he thought on that. It was about the answer he thought he would receive. " I would be lying if that was not my first thought. However I choose not to think to long on that, you have reasons for what you do. Though you might have seen this question coming, why choose me? You have been interested in me for a while, from what I know of you your very... distant when it come to mortal affairs"   "That is not an answer you will be able to understand. You are mortal. Though you possess strong intellect, you know little. To explain the myriad of reasons to a mortal would take longer than they have - and they would, in the end, still fail to comprehend." She didn't say it unkindly. Nor did the question surprise her, from the continued evenness of her tone of voice. "But let it not be said that there was no attempt made. You walk through dangerous times. War lingers on all horizons. Entities beyond your ken seek to intervene, seeking perversion of what should be amongst countless other goals. I selected what would best serve my interests, regardless of your own comprehension. Do not waste too much time thinking of 'why'. You are Death's champion. Time is not yours to waste."   The dark elf was unsure how to feel about this. It was, again, the answer he knew he would get. The grand game of gods was often played with that. However it was not useless questions. Aniks thought it would be possible he could ask other questions before this training was over. Just not now. "Then I will keep this in mind on the trails ahead. Thank you for answering my questions, though I might have others they can wait for another time. If you have nothing else you wish to tell me, I have used my three question so I will now leave you to your work." Aniks stood and gave the Goddess of Death a bow, a respectful one. He stood there to see if he would be dismissed behind those doors. Where Pharasma said there would be guidance.   "...You shall not delay. May your training be well, Champion." A slight gesture towards the doors had them flung open to reveal the waiting form of her Steward, one hand already resting on the blade at her hip.   The door was shut and no click was heard. Yet Aniks knew that trying open the door was a useless effort. The steward was near. His hip felt a bit heavy as Silver sat in silence as he caught sight of the sword. Had she had it before? No he would have noticed. Though it was just as likely she went to pick the blade up. Aniks that might have been the case, this kind of training wasn't the pratice you'd get in the inner planes. "We are not even going to be close to acquaintances, by the end of this. However we could be civil about this..." he made a gesture with one hand to the room around them. "Well as civil as one could be when you know your lose terribly."   Any emotion behind the steward's gaze was impossible to discern, made that way likely intentionally by her shadowed helmet. "Your shortcomings are already well-known." It wasn't a kind response; more one that held an edge - and it was swiftly followed by a sharp blow via her wing, intended to knock Aniks to the floor (DC25 reflex save). "Your constitution is frail. Your strength is lacking. You hold emotions that swell to irrationality. I am led to believe that your power lies in magic and skill. You will prove so before we talk."   Behind her, a stairway swung into motion, its guardrails connecting to the dark floor on which they stood with a hollow ringing sound. Not waiting to see whether Aniks had taken her blow well, the Steward strode down them, fully expecting him to follow.   Aniks might have thought how the Steward wing's were way harder than he thought it would be. However as he was now staring at a marble floor. His thoughts leaned more on 'no I was right, we're going to hate each other.' He brought himself up from the cool black marble floor. He remained silent as talking was clearly the wrong thing to do. So he followed, keeping the personal thoughts to himself. As if he said anything , it would be labeled as an excuse and so far this was nothing.

Journal #48: Not Alone

After my failed attempt to get the umbrite, which included a walk to check on my half-siblings, of course, I did not say anything to them, simply watched them. I know that I should probably feel something when I looked at them but in all honesty. I think I just stopped. Stopped caring about them.   Putting my mess of a family aside for a while, today was the day we would embark to the continent of Iskaldhal. A land that is blanketed in snow, so much snow, in fact, it reflected the light perfectly. Which made the ground shine like, well I wouldn't know. Being a drow, I was blind for most of our travels through the snowfields.   That morning had gone by without much of a problem, being told by Mery our paladin Ashlyn would not be traveling with us. Our three-year disappearance had left the sorceress missing her would-be fiancee, so she would not be joining us this time around. Neither would Saeyrn, the elven ranger from the Elven Kingdom of Galathin, she would be staying in Ironfalls.   With all that sorted out, The Lost Ones headed to Ilendras, a place we were quite familiar with as we had once saved it from a different shard of the void. We planned on using the Elf Gate found in that city to the one in Iskaldhal, Which I think connected to the Tower of Sathelis? It's been a while, I haven't seen the spelling nor have I had a reason to remember that place, being that Celuriel and I were in The Boneyard. Currently anyways. I'm getting off-topic.   Teleporting over to the gate we had shown up quite early, as traveling across the world brought with it some time zone issues. The Elf Gate was set up quite yet. The two guards that were stationed at the gate were normal. However, as we talked to them, one thing became apparent. A different group of adventurers had shown up and used. The group of adventurers should have been on the boat. Now instead of having fifteen days ahead of them. It was us that was several days behind. A race to the shard. I wonder if they had destroyed the shard and have moved on. Is it been a couple of months since then? I would be concerned if they hadn't been dealing with the harp by now.   Then as the Elf Gate activated, we crossed the portal into a new land. While I could go into a description of the Tower of Sathelis, however, we were told we could not stay there very long as they do not take kindly to guests. So we left without much of a word, but something was off about all of this exchange. The snow elves were just odd. Maybe it was just how they looked at me. It was not the typical look an elf gives a drow. It was different.   As we left the tower, we followed the stone path until it trailed off into cobblestone, then dirt. The cold air almost burned my lungs, as the scent of what I could assume was pine trees filled my nose. While this was nice, I noticed very quickly my hands would cover my face blowing hot air to warm it up. Soon the mountains opened up into the somewhat frozen lake. Along the pathway, as our ragtag group found a… Well, I cannot remember him that well an Aasimar? Or just a human. I cannot remember.   Regardless, this man holding a black cane. He was a regal man, trimmed beard with dark hair. This was Nialnir Mippin. This introduction was meet with goblin corpses lay at his feet. Being that our party was somewhat nice, we decided to give this man, a chronicler of events according to him, a lift to the next town over.   Upon our travels, my scimitar, a sentient blade named Silver, decided or noticed something about the man's cane. It is constantly trying to get me to be more social and make friends. Personally, I believe my weapon just wanted to make a pass at his cane. If that's even possible, I think I am going to keep Silver away from anything that can think and is vague weapon shape. Needless to say, I hardly spoke to the man.   It became increasingly difficult to see, to the point where I had a new form of blindness, snow blindness. Celu had to lead me around for a bit while we were in town. Gain without much of a problem; we got caught up in stupid events as we had somehow decided to deal with a local kobold problem in their mines. As the kobolds had been kidnapping people and miners, when we could be doing anything else. Anyways, we spent the night at some tavernas we have done so many times before. Nothing special really, I woke up early in the morning too by some snow goggles. Again I was not called a drow or even a dark elf by the general store employee. Concerning but I'll figure out something, it's still weird.   It makes me uneasy.   Being that we are the 'heroes,' we attempted to deal with those kobolds. The mines were not too difficult to get to, and it was a clean sweep. The Kobolds were nothing is not annoying; we took care of them with ease. They kept screaming about bring down the moon, or their goddess maybe both. Unlocked the makeshift cages and dealing with these off traps was honestly the more dangerous part of this mining adventure.   Once things die down having dealt with the remaining kobolds, exploring revealed a path leading to a door. While I cannot recall was written across two stone doors in draconic close to a dark pool water and the figure with an even darker cloak. A description of this person will have to remain a cloaked figure, as that was all I could see. Speaking to them revealed little, but as the others tried to ask what was behind the door, it eventually turned its attention to myself.   "Don't you have an appointment to get too?" they said. Which then I felt a compulsion to leap into the cold dark water.   Now, before I continue, I have some concerns as to who this person was, they knew I would be leaving. While I haven't found any clues as to who this was. As far as I know, they are not some Psychopomp of Pharasma and seems to be an entity whole their own. It's worrying nevertheless that somebody on the mortal plane knew that. It's scary even to contemplate what that would be.   Then as if on cue, Pharasma spoke telling me I shouldn't resist. Before people could attempt to stop me from leaping into the water, I in a few words explained I would be taking a trip like Licia. As they noticed I was eyeing the water, they understood thankfully. I turned to Celu quickly explaining telling her I needed to go to The Boneyard.   She replied, "not alone."   Then the two of us plunged into the depths of that dark pool.

Journal #47: Matron Nivinle Alas'thil [Text Roleplay]

After the shopping trip to gather the colder weather clothing, Aniks had decided to put one of his plans in motion. While the materials of the blade did not have to start in his home, he had other uses for umbrite besides wanting to fashion a blade out shadow metal. Before starting he made sure people knew where he was going and that he be back, teleport was a useful spell afterall. Aniks wrote “@Nivinle I feel like it is at least important to inform you that I will once again be departing this country again tomorrow. I am teleporting into Vaermyrhel in an hour so I can purchase umbrite for personal use. I would also be lying if I was not curious to see what progress our home has made in those three years.”   Her response came surprisingly quickly for one who hadn't had much need for the book over the past three years. "@Aniks Arrive in my study. It is better for us to speak about this in person."   With the hour past of packing for Celuriel and himself for the winter countries. Aniks casts the spell of teleportation, when the dark elf appeared in what Aniks thought was the study she spoke about. A place both drow study in their early life. He did have a pang of nostalgia while appearing in the room, not much of one.   Nivinle Alas'thil, apparently now matron of their house, fixed her cool stare on him from her seat behind the desk. These three years hadn't changed her much. Her clothes were noticeably finer, but still as practical as ever, and Andirifkhu's tattoo remained on display behind a protective sleeve of translucent fabric. "Umbrite is a dangerous material. You've done your research, I hope."   "Right down to business then, I would expect nothing less" Her bother said with a raised eyebrow. He remained where he was in the study glancing at all the changes over the years as he spoke. None of the books looked familiar, the furniture had been replaced . The only thing that seemed to be the same was some of the ornamental weapons displaced on the shelves and long the walls. "Umbrite a rare metal and is something both you and I are familiar with. The Benefits with the metal work well with people who tend to hide shadows, and forging the metal is complex and..." He paused both thinking and looking at a particular familiar weapon, He thought it was his mother' blade. "if I recall correctly Duergar are the most common race to know how to deal with this metal."   His staring didn't go unnoticed. Nivinle raised a hand and called the weapon to her without a word, catching it with a casual sureness to her grip. "You recognise this still? It serves me well. As a memento. A reminder. A warning," she said calmly, driving the sword's point into the wooden surface. "Regardless, you are correct in the basics. The method of forging the dark metal originated from the deep dwarves. They aren't skilled enough to keep to secrecy. You've seen the Emperor's blade. Our kind forged that." She leant back in the chair, leaving the blade alone, crossing her arms. Andirifkhu's mark almost seemed to glow in the dim light. "Unworked umbrite ore is near impossible to find when intentionally looking. Even then, it appears only in the deepest echelons of the Underdark. Always shrouded in complete darkness. The miners suffer for finding it. Luck leaves them. Death comes sooner. Insanity is welcomed. If they had been more intelligent, our siblings would have introduced you to a vein." Instead - and it went unsaid - they sent him to House Umbra. "How much of this information is new?"   "I remember that blade almost decapitating the both of us when Mother thought is best to personally test our skills in combat and teamwork. She was never one to hold back, even when we were in our early fifties." Aniks finally walked forward near the desk. Their mother had once pressed that blade against his neck, while Nivinle had been pinned by her magic in their first attempt at working together. It wasn't a pleasant experience for either if he recalled "As for new information, I had not known that Drow were the ones who forged that blade. When I asked him about it, he said it was a gift from the Drow. As for the more unpleasant aspects, only rumors and hearsay. I had thought the metal's difficulty to find created those rumors, being that people often died while searching." He paused rolling his head back and forth as if tossing a thought inside in his head. "I'd rather deal with the vein of the dark metal, House Umbra was an experience."   "No, she wasn't. Even in her death throes, her bladework was inspiring." A smirk played at Nivinle's lips as she glanced at the sword once again before returning her attention to Aniks. "Good. An emperor recognising gifts from our people is useful. Anyway. The deaths surrounding it are partly from the difficulty. The rest are from its luck-destroying properties. Fades when worked, most of the time, and rarely affects the wielder. But unworked sounds like what you want." There was a slight questioning tone in her voice. She very clearly expected an answer from Aniks."And Umbra kept you alive. Umbrite would have killed you, though Vasestra hoped the former would as well. You'd prefer the grave over what you've been through?" It was a very blunt question, and one devoid of emotion.   "In a manner of speaking, yes unrefined would work, but I lack knowledge on the forging of the metal. Umbrite is useful unrefined for certain people, but I wish to be in a more workable form. The dark metal would also help cover my missteps in stealth." Aniks said. He took note of the smirk, as it showed him that even in this oddly formal meeting, if you call this a meeting. She wasn't being as stoic as the last time, prehab's the past 3 years have been good for House Alas'thil. "At the time Yes, I personally found Eilistra's use of a toxic potions to bind me to her more than unpleasant. All because she loved that I was 'beautifully broken' in her eyes."   "Then you have a design in mind for it," Nivinle said with a raised eyebrow, paying close attention to Aniks's exact phrasing. "Unless you plan on learning how to work it from an ingot form. An experience that takes time. Time you should put towards preventing missteps in stealth. You're an Alas'thil." The words were sharp and condescending, but her tone remained as serious as ever - quite unlike their mother, who would have been forcing him to train under threat of whipping at this point for admitting his failures. House Alas'thil was proud, especially on matters of stealth and assassination. "...I meant now, not then. This Eilistra. Did you deal with her when you left?"   "I might be Alas'thil, but this arcane ability has forced me to change how I do things. A minor annoyance really. As for time spent, I need to learn to use them effectively so I am not helpless while in combat. That also includes my ability to use the magic outside a fight. Hence why I'm interested in learning how to forge Umbrite, I have never been one to start with the basic level of anything. With as much as my group travels I'll have plenty of time to learn both. " Aniks said coolly. It was true that House Alas'thil never started Aniks or Nivinle with the basics of anything. They were nobility and was expected to be better than the common Drow of the house. It was a harsh way to learn growing up, but so is the life of one of Drow nobility. The ebony elf had a grimly joking tone as he said "Death does not like it when I die, besides dying currently would be a problem for me." Then returning to a more normal tone he continued "I had told you this before while I was stuck in that child-like form, I had slipped a knife through her heart."   "Helpless?" It wasn't scorn in her voice. More.. interest. Intrigue. "Smithing umbrite cannot be done while moving, but other training can. Get yourself to the standards our House holds. You won't have forgotten them. When you have, we can arrange something with the forge." There wasn't any way Nivinle could let the books holding secret techniques go wandering across Iskaldhal. She'd have to acquire them first regardless, but that would be too reckless even for a matron to excuse. The elder elf shrugged off the reminder of memories lost. It had been three years. This happened. "Good, on both counts. You dying would be problematic. And in speaking of vengeance: will you visit our siblings today?"   "How else would I describe learning to be an Arcanist without formal or even informal training. As an assassin, I had more than 60 years of formally brutal training compared to 3 months of being an Arcanist. That training I still have not forgotten, it's just a little bit difficult to perform certain feats, that were once easier for me. The form is this there, but now I can use magic to counterbalance the skill I had lost. If I need to disappear, I know I can do just that." He said, then took her words into account and with a raise of his eyebrows. “If you wish to test me, I am a rather patient dark elf. Or is this to see how capable of an Arcanist I could be for House Alas’thil? We have never really been known as the house with an overabundance of arcane power within our walls. Unless that has changed as well.” He paused for a moment curious about why she would mention them. Then with a smirk similar to hers "You mentioned placing them less comfortable position, I would be lying if I was not curious."   "Both suggestions are accurate to an extent," Nivinle allowed, holding up a hand to ensure he didn't speak until she was done. "Arcane power is not our House's strength, but those who wield it do so well. Our mother has proven that. So have I. I do not wish for my wandering sibling to fumble his spells in battle and scar our reputation. When you wielded blades alone, I didn't need to care." Indirectly telling him that yes, he was still one of the better fighters in their House and she'd never had to worry about him because of that. "With this new power and lack of practice, even Vasestra might defeat you with her magic. So train. When you're done being helpless, I'll allow you to prove that skill in a test, as you guessed." She paused, a glitter of amusement in her eyes. "Perhaps even against those two. It might be encouraging. As for their circumstances. Rikzir has largely been involved with the defence of our builders. He is to assist in the creation of a number of traps and systems that require fine handwork and personnel testing. He is also responsible for maintaining sanitary standards, as this is on our grounds." She didn't bother mentioning their younger sibling's lack of magical power. The lack of healing spells or prestidigitation was his issue. "Vasestra is aiding House Arkenviir in penance for upsetting their work in the Umbra ruins. I believe your elf ruined her plans from escaping those duties." House Arkenviir was known for magical research and forbidden knowledge: whatever Vasestra was doing probably involved a lot of heavy lifting and being subject to magical experimentation. Nivinle didn't expand with detail.   The drow absentmindedly shrugged his shoulders "I had expected as much, obtaining Umbrite and working it was not something I thought I could do in less than a day. As well, I knew it was not something that coin alone could by. As for your test, you likely right. Alone Vasestra could have a chance to defeat me, as much as that annoys me to say. I refuse to stay like this for long.” A smirk played across his face for only a moment as he said: “If I were to be tested against our sibling, I’ll refrain from turning them to ash.” Aniks paused for only a moment at the later part of Nivinle statement two things had become clear to him. He pressed his hands together bring them to his face. Deeping breathing in then out loudly clearly showing displease with at something Nivinle had said. He closed his eye for only a second as he breathed out. Aniks made sure his quick smile was hidden by his hands. He was still so happy Celuriel had removed his brother’s more intimate body parts “I would prefer not to a uncle out of incest.” Clearly not hiding the disgust in his voice “Why could she have not just taken a male from a different house to get pregnant from. At least that would strengthen some tie to a different house. Do the house a favor, and not remind them to regenerate is a spell.” Just knowing Vasestra and Rikzir had tried was enough to make him disgusted. He set that disturbing revelation aside returning to a more formal tone “Speaking of Umbra, I do have some news for you about the Bloodwalker and the Human from three years ago. Nothing major mind you, just that Riven is far south in the Empire and heading south still and that Human, well she’s heading to another continent.”   "They're well aware that 'regenerate' exists," Nivinle commented with a raised eyebrow. "It would seem that even such a spell cannot completely combat damage. In any case, her success would not be one for long. House Alas'thil does not need the reputation they would bring through those acts." The topic ended there, as far as she was concerned. Aniks's news, however, was concerning. "I have heard whispers of the 'lord of blood' returning for the past year or so. If this human not only survived but is only now leaving as he heads south, I would assume that he trusts her enough to handle a task elsewhere. Does it interfere with your plans?"   "That we could both agree on." Bring that disturbing chapter to a close. Aniks had to keep the pride he felt in check for a moment when he found out what Celu had done, was more permanent than he thought was. "Not currently no" He paused for a moment considering what she said "Riven is going to be a problem but not now. He's been heading south for a while it seems, about two weeks ago I found this out. So they might not have chosen to leave at the same time. The human is taking a boat with another group of adventurers. I am working under the assumption that those two are a part of a small group, working to a comment goal. And in working to achieve that goal, they do not need to be near each other. I am still working on piecing all this together, I have little information to work on."   Nivinle listened to Aniks's explanation with an expression of intrigue. Finally, she gestured to the chair opposite the desk. "Sit. If this goal is what lead to the events of your previous visit, then I have reason to care. Tell me what you know about these adventurers, and about this goal that Drast and the girl seem to be working on."   Aniks sat across from his sister. Being that Silver was close at hand, he placed the blade in across his legs. Entering the Underdark without a weapon was asinine, he placed his interlocking fingers on top of the pommel. Then leaned forward giving this his full attention. “No, we were here to retrieve something Riven had stolen. The only house that might listen and provide information was our since I had at the time had bared Andirifkhu’s Mark. Not because of their goal, it matters for you however because he was establishing a sphere of influence in the Underdark. If I recall he was the one who was leading Drow in a revolution. Something that will become important in a second” Then shook his head “I cannot tell you what their goal is if I knew half of the problem would be solved. I can tell you of at least three but I do not have a name for one of them, though it is likely there is five of them. Since the throne room, we found Riven in under house Umbra had Five thrones. I hardly think a Matron of any house would allow more than her throne in her house. Riven was establishing a foothold in the Underdark. Revolution, Working with house Umbra, the growing influence he had. That is the important part to consider. Now while he performing that ritual, he let slip it was my fault that he came across this information. In truth, it was my fault, but that information let me know somebody within the walls of the Celestem Temple had told him about what I had researched. While I and The Emperor had requested that research to be gathered, it did not contain a ritual.” He held up three fingers.   "This person working with Riven was first, high enough rank to acquire information that should be kept absolutely secret. Second, the person is likely skilled enough with rituals to either understand how to perform a ritual they found while collecting our research or created the ritual from scratch. Which the latter suggest a higher comprehension of magical ability. Third, most likely excluded information from that research we had asked for.” He pulled down each finger as he made a point “This person has to have a high enough rank in this temple to have access to dangerous information, meaning they would have a considerable amount of power and information at hand at any given moment. That temple contains some dangerous knowledge. I do not have this person’s name. Now to the human. Sonja and her new group is concerning. I do not doubt for a second that one of my group's previous lover which had tried and failed to kill her, is traveling with Sonja by sheer coincidence. That, however, is currently besides the point” Aniks waved a hand while saying that as if the information was not important “Sonja had been apart of a different group, which that was starting to gain a bit of recognition in the empire. As they were invited to the Ball in Undria, similar to my group. When they helped us reclaim the fort, then ventured into the Underdark to save their friend who had been kidnapped while we attacked the fort. That does not matter. That human had survived the encounter and returned without a problem from the Underdark. As we meet her fifteen days ago. I caught her in a bit of a lie, she claimed Riven kept her as a pet while in the Underdark. Yet if I recall you claimed she skipped around house Umbra without a care in the world and like she owned the place. Something she would either do if she had Riven’s protection, or if she was working with Riven. The fact she made it out alive, implies the second. Since a pet would probably not have made her way out of the Underdark.   She also knows exactly what artifact we were after, which she would only know if she was speaking terms with Riven and person at the temple. As for the other two missing members, I have either meet them and do not have enough evidence to connect them to the prior three, or they have yet to show their hand.” He paused taking a break but clearly wasn’t done yet. “ But Riven had made me realize something, it doesn’t make sense. Why try and start a revolution within drow society, it’s a losing battle. So why, unless there is an ulterior motive to his actions. Influence over the realm or political power in certain vital circles, like the one in the Temple and Sonja who had likely failed in her attempt. Logic would likely dictate the others have or are attempting the same. If they had that, accomplishing want they truly wanted would be easy. Trusted Temple member, well-known adventurers, a revolutionary with connection, they could accomplish many things given the power they could amass. Easily too depending on what they are asking for. So it makes sense that this group wants something, what that something is I am unsure. That is what I am concerned about, they are slowly setting themselves in an important position, which makes them harder to get hands on.   Nivinle stayed quiet through his explanation, listening with curiosity lingering in her eyes. At some stage of his speech, she'd withdrawn a piece of paper to take notes - not in Undercommon, but in a twisting code that made no sense to Aniks's eyes. "You're not mentioning what these artifacts are." It was a question of sorts, with the finality of a statement. "That much would be useful. Anyway. Useful and intelligent of them to place themselves in high seats. Protection and lack of suspicion in most cases. Your group has a lot of trust. Another adventuring group, as the girl did, would get similar. The Temple has implicit trust aboveground, and House Umbra were strongest of us. Most importantly, they all have power." She let a shimmering purple light hang above her hand in indication of what she meant. "Which indicates they will not be found in merchants guilds. Looking into recent ascents would give leads. List any you know of." A piece of paper was placed before Aniks, a red quill at its side. It already dripped with blood-red ink. Nivinle shrugged, and began touching on a different topic. "Drast's motives aren't as simple as you think. Initially, he had three noble Houses on his side. V'drath, Visthala, Szithna. Something changed after his visit to Arkenviir. Something that spurred V'drath and Umbra into conflict, and Umbra to ally with him instead. Civil war would have been easy to spur had he stayed on V'drath's side. But he switched. And claiming civil war or revolution does not explain the vampires." She gave Aniks a long, evaluating look. "You said he heads south?"   Though his mind quicker raced through limited options, really limited, as he took the paper. One stood out but it was a loose thread at best, but he was at the fort. That would explain the comment he made about three parties being involved. The Bandits, Us and that group, and the mad scientist was the former master of the mages guild? No he was Aniks thought, those memories were still jumbled in head. "I was not fully aware of the civil war, only hearing mention of it in passing. At the surface it does not make sense, a lack of information is clearly the problem for that. As for vampires I could not tell you a connection between the war and the vampires. I believe I was once told they hold some power in the empire, being that their long lived creatures I would not be surprised. He could have gone to them for any number of reason, power,information, favor, vampirism. And yes, he was near the southern border of the Empire." Aniks wrote the Alchemist's name down, just his first followed by his former position. "The only one that fits the bill that I am aware of was a former master of the Mages Guild in Ilendras. Yet the connection is not a firm one, it's just as likely for Alchemist to apart of that group, or just as likely for him to be attempting pay back for my groups involvement in his removal from the Mages Guild. With the Alchemist that would cover what direct information on Arcane and Divine matters. Riven would be a connection to the Underdark and darker dealings. Sonja would be the trusted adventurer able to move from place to place without any problem. Other options could be nobility, military, religions, and possibly those remain two could even be outside this country." Then a pause as he leaned back letting his hands off of Silver. His face now taking on a more serious tone as he looked at his sister. "How much do you know about recent news, as in important world altering new?"   She looked almost amused at his comments regarding the vampiric involvement, though that dissipated as he continued to speak. "I will address three points before answering your question. The first being that the vampiric nobility underlying this land is tied heavily to the Empire's nobility, though not in any direct way. Vampires can't breed. However, south leads to another country. Gothadrun. If Drast has allies among the vampires of Gothadrun, his plans will advance quickly. They parade openly in the higher courts. It is part of why few challenge them." At the side of her paper, she drew a deliberate line through a rune she'd placed. "The second being that I have heard of this alchemist. He had many dealings in Yue'thintar. Finding him isn't impossible." A second line. "Finally: you have missed the most obvious candidate from your list." She didn't ask before summoning it to her and writing a name in looping script. Emperor Aneirin of Aletheia The paper was flung back by magic, settling down in front of Aniks in the barest wisp of wind. Nivinle didn't expand on her addition, instead following what she'd said and answering his question. "Nocticula has risen. Iomedae and Cayden have fallen. Norgorber too, to our lady's pleasure. These are what you refer to?"   Taking a second to look, the name made since but Aniks couldn't bring himself to write it. Cyne He'll circle back around to it. Something else took his attention away. Nocticula Risen? No that wasn't our doing, a side effect? Maybe. His face remained the same as he silently pondered this but spoke moments later "A single artifact did that, their fall was due to one mistake. I am being vague on purpose as these artifacts are something Pharasma herself had personally tasked us with getting rid of." He had hoped his mentioned of the Goddess of Death interest in removing them would stress how dangerous they were. "I am warning you now, as your brother and a champion. These artifacts should never have existed. Messing with them would be suicidal."   Interestingly, there wasn't a trace of greed or lust for power on the older drow's face. Instead - caution ruled. She raised an eyebrow. "Accidental godslaying artifacts. You insult me by thinking that I'm foolish enough to toy with artifacts that dangerous, brother. If this human girl seeks one, what calamity might Drast intend.." She looked sharply at him all of a sudden, eyes narrow. "How many of these exist? If one could slay a god, and Drast is splitting up his little group..." She'd allow him to make the connection there.   He shook his head "Insult? No it's because of the power of this artifact I am vague and given warnings. I warn you because Riven is likely in possession of one of them, a blade that reapers the soul from a body if I were to hazard a guess. Unless he's within the city I would advise staying far from him." Just talking about that blade reminded him of his personal attempt to claim it. And the side effects that came after, Again he thought that he might want to question Silver later. But placed those thoughts aside for a later date. "Pharasma said we needed to destroy six of them, two have been destroyed and I do not doubt that this group would want the others. We leave for a third tomorrow, which should leave us a 15 day head start on Sonja. Best to cut their attempt to claim them, instead of wrestling one from them."   "Noted. Disposables, then, if he does become a thorn in my side." She didn't need to explain that Aniks was dealing with Aniks-problems himself unless he asked specifically otherwise. He understood that already. House Alas'thil was clear on that. "Don't presume your plan will succeed. What are your plans for if she retrieves it first, or clashes with your group?" Honestly? Nivinle was testing his thinking processes at this point.   It was an unspoken agreement to not meddle in the others affairs. "We had picked an artifact with the best chance of success, while achieving other goals in the process that could possibly help aid us in this. If it comes down to it, my group is not afraid of fighting. I have only known the Paladin to shying away from one fight and rightly so in that instance. If they take that artifact then we'll track them down within reason. If it's temporarily lost to us, then we might find another to track down. Though..." his shoulders dropped and a long deep sigh escaped him "my group is ungodly stubborn and on more than one occasion slow when getting things done."   "Why does your group being slow affect you? You're capable alone. Especially once you have regained acceptable training," she rebuked. She didn't look particularly impressed. "Make them follow you instead of the other way around. They'll keep pace. Regardless, I also notice another failing. Are you aware of any of her powers? Or her allies? Those should be considered."   "There are benefits to traveling with a group. Especially after I found no information on dark elves in Iskaldhal. I might be able to sneak around unseen but if Drow were few in number I'll stand out like the moon at night. I know very well how surface folk treat our kind." Aniks paused thinking "She carried no weapon of notice, but I doubt she's not carrying something small at least. I had never seen her with a spell book or cleric symbol...." he paused again something twitched in the back of his head. Not a complete thought trying to come forth, but Aniks clearly had forgotten something. What was it? " She's possibly a Sorcerer or another kind of caster of some kind, she travels with a wizard skilled enough to teleport, I could get the information about that former lover of one my companies easily. If they follow, than leading them into a location were we hold all the cards and have more advantages would be easier."   Both his hands pressed against his face then dragged them down " I've warned them, I can only do some much before I choose to have them deal with the folly of their actions. I've done well in hiding, my names, titles, and blood on the surface. If it wasn't for a magic mirror they would never no my name. Given time I can expand my spell book to make that easier to deal that, few of them are too stubborn to listen my words so magic will have to work. As for hiding bodies, Ash is easy to hide , tricking them into drink a poison, a bit harder. Not impossible but tricky." Then musingly Aniks waived his right hand in the air, a slight laugh left him "If we do have to kill them, we could just leave that Half-Elf, Elf? The one that tried to kill one of my companions, alive. He did almost kill everybody in his former group. Would be a good scapegoat to leave that one alive. Being that he has done that once before."

Journal #46: Emperor Aneirin of Aletheia

Pharasma’s domain, The Boneyard, a place where it takes weeks to find a blank journal. I had to use the last fifty pages to jot down all the notes I had decided to study life here in The Boneyard. It was not enough, but finding a blank journal was an excellent way to keep track of things here.   Before I begin recounting my training here, I should finish up what I was doing in the material plane. Flipping through the last couple of pages of my other journal, it seemed that I wrote about our return to Ironfalls, Azyel’s rune of unnatural lust, and seemed to stop there. So our trip to see the recently crowned emperor was not explained or my journey to my eldest sister to acquire umbrite.   It’s been what five months since a small group of us decided to travel to the city of Aletheia. Celu and I went of course, as did Kraia and Licia. As Licia was planes walking when we visited last, so I was responsible for the teleport. While I aimed for the courtyard, where we watched Cyne be dragged around meeting a potential wife. Overall that was amusing, so when we ended up in an unfamiliar jail cell. I was more than a bit surprised, and then we were met with a familiar face on the other jail cell. Sonja, the human adventurer who helped take our keep. Which was a bit of a problem, but that will become apparent later. I was less surprised that Pennyswaggle was there.   We talked for a moment, trying to convent the guard on duty to let us go. Pennyswaggle annoyed him into letting us go, a useful guy on occasion. Sonja asked if we could meet up for drinks, being nice we did not think anything of it and agreed. Leaving the jail, we walked to the palace inside without much of a problem.   Speaking to the new emperor was an ordeal, however. His personal assistant, a Gothadrun woman, named Veronika. She was sitting in what I assumed to be an entrance room, a study? Alysia Undria, his younger sister, had warned us about her. How annoying she could be. Ashlyn could have cleared this up in second being that she was a princess and all. However, Veronika was demanding out names and not allowing us to go and find Cyne, save for Sir Pennyswaggle, who she knew and let him pass. Kraia and Licia I told her I was nobility from House Alas’thil, that I had been knighted, as well as my full name. Leaving out my other more impressive title, she, of‌ ‌course, did not believe us. She also kept calling child, on account of her being a halfling. Amazingly enough, she claimed she did not have any knowledge of my house.   As if we were running out of options, who else rounded the corner but The High Priestess of the Celesthem, Aetha. She somehow was able to convince her with a couple of words to let us in. The Palace looked great, but still stupidly bright. We wondered the place until we found a room door that was darker than the rest. In case he was sleeping, we opened the door quietly to find a room that was just painted in darkness. In reality, it was just a rather dark room with grey paints and dark silken blankets. A quick glance at the bed showed the Emperor fast asleep. Alysia explained that with the Iomedae recent fall, her former champions sacrifice to bring up the shield that bound that twisted Tenaerul. Cyne took up that mantle being that we were out of the country when Ashlyn was meant to take that mantle, which caused some unintentional backlash. However, it seemed that they found a cure for that, but it’s if he wants to use it. That could explain why The High Priestess was there, to ease the pain of that burden he placed upon himself.   Now seeing that he was asleep, I wasn’t going to wake him. Instead, I took a second look into the room, which my eyes found a rather extensive and diverse bookshelf. I was even surprised to find volumes one through three of The History of the Aletheian Empire. I had only seen the second volume, while I thought about casually pick one up to read. Celuriel questioned how the history of a whole nation could be written in a book; the others had woken up Cyne.   To save a rather lengthy conversation, we spoke on things that must remain quiet. Licia had been talking with Cyne since he knew of some rather stupid things I had done. Azyel went to war with Cyne, which makes him a war hero. That is concerning, for no other reason other than it’s Azyel. Regardless of how or why that happened, we moved on from that topic. As is showed how much had changed since the three levels we’ve been gone. Apparently, people have been attempting to break in to meet Aletheia’s most eligible bachelor, which I made mention to.   “I could pass that on to you as well” Cyne replied showing, while sick, he still had enough of his sass to talk back.   “Like to see you try,” I replied.’   “You unmarried of a noble house, Knight of Alethia, shouldn’t be to hard,” He said matter of factly. Listing how easy it could be.   “Good luck. We’ll be out of the country.” I told him which was in the truth. Cyne could have this done, but the only reason why I poked him about that was that we would have been out of the country before anything happened. Besides, I think he needed the sass to get him going.   Celu was not happy with that exchange, and in all honestly, if Cyne had done it. I would have been slightly pissed.   That was beside the point.   Eventually, we came to the topic of Veronika, annoying, and according to the Emperor, a rather good sparring partner. Before leaving a rather ‘fun’ idea came to mind. I quickly told Cyne of her attitude to small people and how she probably needs to be a bit more educated. Which I hoped I helped with. We left Cyne’s room and walking pass Veronika desk, and we walked passed without saying a word.   I popped my head in as we walked out telling her.   “You should probably pay attention to who you let into the Emperor’s room. House Alas’thil is known for there assassin.”   With a look of horror, she ran to Cyne’s room. Cyne eventually messaged me that her reaction was priceless, then to my concern, blood appeared on the page. I hope he’s going to be okay. It’s rather hard to check in on people when you are in a whole other plane of existence.   On the way to meet with Sonja at some bar, Celu had gotten a hold of something. Well, three somethings. Held in her arms were Cyne’s copies of The History of the Aletheian Empire. I was proud of her for all the wrong reasons.   Should probably make sure she does not steal from shops.   Now when we meet with Sonja in some random bar, this created a problem for us. At first the small group, which was here for restocking there material. It was something along those lines, that was not the important part. That important part came up in her casual conversation, which was the most…   Vexing, It was rather vexing to use a word that fits. As in that current moment, we could do nothing about it. Sonja had spoken about Riven Draft. In such a casual way which indicated familiarity with him. While she was annoyed with how she was treated in the Underdark, annoyed being the right word as her tone, and being held in the Underdark against your own will is not something you would be ‘annoyed’ at. While her friend was getting fleshed warped in another drow household, she was prancing around Castle Umbra. She had unknowingly confirmed my thoughts on a few things. As the information my older sister told me, contradicted this. Though the two of us went into this in more personal detailed which will recount later. Though I highly doubt this was mere coincidence, A name Licia had not heard in a long time had left Sonja’s lips as we talked. Syrin her former lover and fiance. Things could probably have been worse, by the end of it in all honesty it probably will be.   Regardless as we choose to leave, Sonja made it abundantly clear that she knew where we were going by saying before we teleported away. “We will see you at the Harp” The next shard we had decided to destroy. We teleported away with the clock ticking, a race to the shard in another country.   Luckily, we thought we had some time before they would even arrive at the Continent of Iskaldhal. Roughly a month according to information in Sonja had said, her traveling company would be taking a boat across the sea to Iskaldhal. The Lost One decided to use fifteen days and use the Elf Gate in Ilendras to the Tower of Sathelis.   We broke up different sections of information we need to find out about Iskaldhal. Celuriel and I took up the research on where we could arrive since we cannot stay in Sathelis, how to avoid dragons in the country, as this continent is riddled with them. Finally, how to avoid any of the Harps powers, and any myths surrounding the shard in general. Hopping around to a handful of libraries in Aletheia to gather this information. I say we did a rather good job in the time we had, as did the others. There a couple of nights spent just pouring over the books he had borrowed and the quick notes we had taken.   Towards the end of the fifteen days, I had caught Celuriel around a pile of dusty books. In the middle of the night, asking what she was still doing up. The elf simply replied “...I’m trying to help.”   I sighed, approaching the table where she sat, plucked to top of book from the pile and sat down beside her. Staying up with her till it became too hard for either of us to focus on what we read.   Luckily for us, we wrapped up most of the information that night and copied it over for the rest of The Lost One. So sleeping in was an option for once, that was nice. The last two days we spent shopping for any and all necessary items required for the icy continent of Iskaldhal. I am not one for shopping normally, but that was nice to just relax for once. The last day I decided to start one of the few plans I have had which required me to return to Vaermyrhel to House Alas’thil.

Journal #45: 3 Years well spent.

It’s pleasant to be back in Ironfalls after I time dealing with the Unbroken March. It's grown a lot from what we’ve seen. Our personal houses in the mountain behind our keep had been finished. About a couple of days after returning and getting informed of this in Celu and I had moved into ours. It was surprisingly pleasant to have a place where people would not walk into bright in early looking for food. While I built another shelf for Celu’s ever-growing collection of books. I could have sworn I saw one of her rare smiles as she looked at her books. She’s currently in bed reading through a book she recently stole from the Emperor. Volume one of The History of the Aletheian Empire. Now, I’m writing down this journal entry of the past four days I am sitting in our windowsill overlooking the nightlife of Ironfalls. The dark outline of buildings and the twinkling lights from the town below from our mountain home. Despite knowing Kazric was probably walking around invisible, causing all kinds of interesting events to happen, it still seemed peaceful.     Once again, our lives, as usual, have become far more complicated. I will not even attempt to explain or hid some of the events that took place. It's too dangerous for common knowledge that must be kept to a few people as possible. That knowledge must be kept to The Lost One and them alone. However, I am not just going to skip to that part of the tale. We first must meet talk about the purple theatre and the show that was put on.     We briefly went over what we'd do with the book once we had it. We planned to take the Unbroken March to the boneyard and ask Pharasma if they were ways to destroy them. If not, then ask for her to hold on to the Shard until we could find a way to destroy it. All in all, we had thought it was the correct course of action. Before we left, I reminded our companions that we would need to get Jinne’s Silver Orb back. UNsure as to why, but I hardly think The Commander would be willing to speak to a dark elf if it was not significant. As we escaped the timeless room, our crew was found our selves spread throughout a purple theatre. Large currents of purples and tan walls with a handful of balconies. I found myself near Celu and Cid. Accompanied by several floating books, oh what do you call them. I have never seen a theatre production. Floating Theatre Program, that what they were called. Construct ushers attempt to usher us into the darken leather chairs. We denied them and replied with blades and bullets.   With our companies and us taking out their ushers and book, a voice boomed over the room. Telling us that the first act, 'The Dancer.' We turned, expecting to see the curtain rise to reveal the next entertainment to keep us busy. Instead, four long spider legs slide from under the violet cloth as four sets of glowing eyes one set being blue another purple, green and white. A large unknowable shadow of a spider held those bright eyes. The color combination of our lost friend that had been ripped from the timeless room. Our onslaught began as The Lost One started to target the legs, bullets, blade, and magic found their place in those legs. Each was had special resistances similar to the four people that were kidnapped.   One of the legs, I cannot remember which color had swiped Celu, with her Icy Scythe in hand she tore through the leg that held her. She couldn't escape. Celu had called out for me and in fearing she could be pulled under alone with that spider. I leaped from the top of a chair, closing the distance in the air with a dimensional slide. Cutting through the air, I appeared in the air in front of Celu. It was a risk in doing this because I had almost missed.Wrapping my arms around her, she gripped me, and I cased the other teleport like a spell. Dimensional Door, the two of disappeared from the grip of the spider now hiding behind some of the farther back chairs.   Needless to say, I was somewhat scared I couldn't pull that off. I had never used dimensional slide in a vertical manner which teleporting into that spider's range was risky, but it paid off. At least now I know that I can teleport mid-air, which could be useful to know. Celu took the needed time to heal, as I flung spell over the cover the theatre chairs provide. Meanwhile, Cid was laughing like a mad man as a rain of fire and metal bombarded of creepy legs. In the background, I could hear our companions, but I had yet to see them. This room was rather large and in saying that, It was still impossible not to notice the utter destruction Artemis was creating. I swear the beaver is the most dangerous part of The Lost Ones.   With each of the legs' destroyed' the glowing eyes faded and they were slowly pulled back into the main body of this beast. Yet the shadow twisted and compacted into itself till all that was left was a large sphere. As the curtain finally rose, we caught a glimpse of the fleshly greyish purple sphere with another darker purple curtain behind that sphere. Ten eyestalks unwrapped themselves from its spherical body. A fanged smile appeared as it's a single silver orb of an eye opened, cutting off our magic.   Cutting off our magic was one thing, but those eye attached to that creature had spells. Dangerous ones, I was glad that thing had his anti-magic eye. Cid was not as lucky, the war god's champion had been caught in the monster's onslaught. A sickly green ray and hit the mad gunner. Crumbling him to dust.   I cannot recall what happened. Next, I teleported need the ashen pill that had been my comrade and threw up a wall of invisible force rushing over Cid Celu close behind. It wouldn't stop the Anti-magic eyes, but the creature couldn't stop them fire his own magic rays into them. The wall would stop the ray, We called out saying that Cid had been turned to ash.   Seconds later the Elven Cleric of Desna Canthe teleport next to us, with Zalni Pin's master the one who supplied the teleport. Cid was brought back within a second, still. Cid had dead, if Canthe hadn't been there, we might have to need a vase to clean the ashes. I am not sure Licia would be able to bring back some from a Distenagrate spell.   With another round of ray volleys, the five of us protected, Canthe Cid Celu Zalini and I were safe from that creature destructive ray abilities. That wall was useful but The others had far more luck, Pin was successful in casing the chains of light spell. Then our friends unleashed on the creature. They had been doing alright before however chains of light as never failed us yet. This time was no exception, however, one day it will, and I dread to think of the creature that we face where that spell doesn't kill. Ashlyn or Artemis one of those two had gotten the final blow. I hope this creature was fictitious since this whole theatre had created by the Shard. It wouldn't be hard to figure this might be some creature from a fantasy book on unknowable horrors or pulled from some bestiary of some kind. The violet curtain closes on the first and leading into intermission. Intermission was combat filled. Strange ice cream women and a large bucket of popcorn that were extremely flammable Zalni and I had a swarm of popcorn around us, A icy scythe had flung itself across the right side of the theatre to destroy a large chunk of the popcorn. Celu had skillful throw her scythe, it was something she made look both beautiful and terrifying. The Gnome and I had blown up several different large popped kernels of corn and buckets will with the oiled snack. All around it was a good time.   The second act started soon after intermission, that second act required 'volunteers.' Canthe and Aster were voluntold to participate, they were teleported to the balcony unconscious. The purple curtain raised to show us the four kidnaped people. The Commander, Jinne, Saeryn, and Eirian all with the same voidling like eyes as those who were affected by The Spirit Blade. Honestly, I wasn't sure if that was a creation from the Shard or actually the people. Whatever the case was, we couldn't harm them. Ashlyn went to face Jinne with less than stellar results. I believe was the first time She had every fallen in battle, not dead mind you, but still, our Paladin can take a hit. Jinne I thought had been a caster, but I was wrong. At least I thought. The Commander teleported into the balcony above, summoning an angel.   While Zalni and Celu took care of the summoned creature. I decided to deal with the voluntold, finding my way to the balcony with Artemis, Kraia, and Licia. We removed Aster form the button while on the other side, Whisperbreath took her sweet ass time trying to remove canthe. Using the ghost touched dagger, I lifted the sleeping curse from Aster who woke up in a groggy state. Kraia took the unbridled wraith of physic caster falling unconscious to the mental attack. With Licia close in hand, I chose to return to the Angel which Zalni had wrapped in chains of light. As I teleported next to the angel, I plunged Silver through the chest of the winged creature. Whisperbreath and all of her infinite wisdom thought now would be the best to remove Canthe. And they accuse me of overthinking situations. Lifting the final curtain-raising showing the Silver Orb.   As Celu and I ducked behind the chair before the silver orb was revealed, unsure as to what the last raising curtain would bring. The two of us were only a handful of the row before the stage. Our attention was quickly broken as our ears twitch reacting to a sound behind us, we turned quick our eyes now trained on the Elf in the balcony. The Elf hissed the incantations I fully expected to be hit by that spell. The Commanders reputation of the Elf who lead an army to purge the drow from the Galasthin Underdark. I had every reason to believe I would have been stuck with her spell. As the Arcane words finish leaving her lips. The Commander flung several crystals she had pulled from a bag. I branched myself but nothing.   Turning to Celuriel, her honey gold eye’s flared with the yellow of flame before becoming completely dull. Quickly racking my brain to try and think of what she had hit by. Feeblemind, she couldn’t speak when I asked her what was wrong. I turned to look at the fully raised curtain, showing the Silver Orb. Wrapped in a force cage, guarded by blades and concealed in global of darkness.   I bit my lip trying figure out what to do, I tossed a force sphere to protect her. Deciding dealing with the orb was the quickest way to keep her safe. As the force sphere went up, I hugged celu and teleported onto the stage. I made sure to keep her in my sights while I was on stage, if anything went wrong, I would have been there in seconds. I was lucky enough that The Commander did not attempt to follow up with any other spell.   The silver orb was under a well-constructed trap, but each of us took down one of the barriers. In the process, The Commander had targeted Whisperbreath teleporting near her then disintegrated Whisperbreath while taking down those barriers. She was brought back rather quickly but still, I hope this puts a bit fear in her. We had thought that once we grab the orb and it would be over. Yet it took a bit more, we had to use the sphere as a focus to deliver spells to the Shard's possessed. I flung spells at The Commander and the flirtatious idiot Eirian. Providing a more than satisfying fireball to his face. The Commander, after waking from the possession, took the orb and dealt with Eirian and Kraia woke up Saeryn.   Using the orb had a problem. The orb, when casting a spell, had made my veins flow silver, I can not imagine prolong use of this sphere being good.   Once that was done, the Shard was revealed to us. I had picked it up just a book now, and the real one according to Jinne. The Galasthin Elves with Saeryn and Zalni plane shift away tell us to meet with them once our job was done. As we agreed to that, they disappeared, and we teleported to the boneyard.   A mistake.   Now I have to say do to oaths and secrets that are best left unspoken. This journal will not hold them, nor will I will leave it out for the public. Perhaps once this is over, I will write all of this down in a book, my whole life story.   Nevertheless, I will continue to tell you the story of how gods fell because of our actions. Upon arriving at the boneyard, the Shard fell out of my hands and began to use its fate-altering magic to warp reality. Before it had completely disappeared into the floor in front of Pharsama's Spire, we were whisked away by the Herald of Pharasma to a plane adjacent demiplane.   The Steward of The Skein a woman as armored as Ashlyn with skulls decorating her shoulder and breastplate. Not real ones mind you, though I am not sure if that is entirely out of her wheelhouse. Her ivory white wings had some protection metal shielding across the top of her wings, her almost white armor was disturbing when you looked at her helmet. Her helmet shielded her face from view, it was as if her face was hidden in shadows, save for her angry glowing red eye. Glowing red eyes that burned with anger.   Demanding an explanation for what we had done and why would bring that Thing to Pharasma realm. The Shard lay on the ground in the blank room, motionless across the floor. It's terrible work stopped by the Herald. The Steward had blamed us, which in a way was our fault. Yet how were we meant to know that in bringing The Unbroken March to the boneyard it would change fate? We had little knowledge on this, The Shard had a radius but never did we think it could affect the gods. We had thought Pharasma would at least have some level of control to stop this Shard in case something terrible had happened. Not accepting our questions or our answers as to why we did this. The Herald of Pharasma had told us Iomedae has fallen and we would be going to Heaven to see what we had done.   Though I would have loved to have detailed our treck through the upper planes of heaven, it was not the first thing on my mind. That and heaven is a bright place, annoyingly bright at that. I was squinting a good majority of the time through the first ring of heaven. Are they called rings? I’m am being told by Celuriel that they are Levels of Heaven, well that’s an odd name for that. Setting the bizarre naming conventions of the upper plane aside, we passed through the Threshold of Heaven, another odd name for the first level of this place. Everything in this first level was quite silent, eerily so in fact. However, where we wanted to reach was the Proelera were heaven armies and the realm of Iomedae.   Iomedae’s castle was destroyed, her Herald and angels were silently weeping for the lost. Then as we looked to the side alone, grieving was a woman with short black hair, clad in silver and gold armor.   Iomedae sat alone, looking at the crumbled remains of her home.   The Lost Ones approached the lonely women part of the group hadn’t come to the realization that this was the fallen inheritor. A loud silence fell over the party as we attempt to find words, but few left our mouths. In those few words, we tried to explain our actions, but she was indifferent, what happened happened. Yet two things came from that conversation. Pharasma most likely knew this would happen. That and Iomedae was not the only god who had fallen due to the shards fate-altering abilities. The ascended gods from the test of the Starstone. Cayden Cailean and Norgorber had fallen as well.   Cayden had chosen a couple of moments later after speaking to Iomedae to show his face. Decanter in hand, As much as I personally find the god interesting I have heard too many drunken stories in the bars I have worked at in the past. Cayden being the ever helpful god explained a bit more than I am willing to share in this book. The Assassin god being the quiet creepy god he is, just stood behind me the whole time. It was unnerving to know he just appeared behind me.   Now I need to stress this they have NOT completely fallen back to being mortals. No, they have been gods far too long to have their power completely removed. As we spoke of the ramifications of our actions and what to do about them. We left feeling a bit better than the Herald of Pharasma made us felt. I swear that Herald has a flair for the dramatic, she is not wrong to have scared us, but just the context of a god had fallen look at the mess you made. She could have given us more context, not scare us back to Pharasma’s Realm. Now I am not saying we had not got off scot-free, just it was a lot better then we had thought. Not good but better than the darker thoughts we might have had.   Before leaving the upper planes, I toss Cayden one of the three bottles of Elven Ale I still had. Hey, he might not be my god, but I can admit enjoying the stupid smile off my patrons when they tell Cayden’s stories. It’s gotten me through some rather annoying long shifts. Cayden had a standing offer to go and get a drink with him, which sounds nice but well we will see about that. We have a bit to do before I can personally think about drinking with the God of Alcohol.   One good thing came out of giving him that drink, I found a new bottle in my bag, Cayden’s gift for giving him that Ale. As much as I am curious about what kind of drink this is, I feel like it might be better if I save it for a special occasion.   That and make sure Whisperbreath doesn’t try and steal it from me.   We returned to the mortal plane, in the Kingdom of Galasthin Elf.The experience of leaving the plane of heaven left me blind and being flung through the air with several others. Our messaging books decided this was the moment to update us, with three years of messaging. However, not before our Oracles and Shaman had visions. Licia had healed my blindness, and in doing so, Celu soon after broke away from the vision she had.   She had seen her sister, though in the vision she was her sister. Her sister sat in the large throne but was not alone. A nobleman was seated across from her, they both sat within a luxurious room, but they apparently were not the most finely dressed. Another had entered the room dressed in scarlet and silver and brunette hair and according to the Celu was clearly the better dressed. Her vision ended there.   Each had visions of a different kind, most had little meaning save for Ashlyn who was the death of the Emperor, Well the former Emperor, since Cyne had both been crowned the new Emperor and took the place of Ashlyn in the ritual. We would probably need to return soon. We need to get caught up with three years of Aletheian problems and speak to Cyne.   My messages were from what I can only assume Nivinle, essential updates about two or three, he did inform me that our half-siblings were no longer in a comfortable position. Which did bring me some sense of happiness? I honestly just don’t care about those two anymore. The odd message I received was a drawing of an eye, a stylized version of one but still, it was drawn across the page. Why must things be cryptic can we just have somebody explain their intentions for once.   Short tangents aside, we quickly reclaimed our companion for a wizard tower, said our goodbyes to the Galasthin elves and Jinne reminded me to do my homework regarding the Mother of souls.   Now, for the next bit, I would like to remind readers that early in my adventure before my friends learned of who I was. Licia had chosen to cast a spell on me. A spell that I personal in this group have almost never had any luck with, save for one instant. Licia had thought it would be amusing to cast Unnatural Lust on me. It worked, and I never truly forgotten it.   Since now you have been reminded, Licia’s vision had been of her mother pulling a note and Wayfinder from a hidden box she had never seen before. Her mother is in the very same city we were in, Licia went to see her mother, and we joined her. Now, as family goes, she had the most NORMAL. Alenia Galewen was incredibly sweet to the point where Celu tried to decide if she wanted a normal life if she used Alenia as an Example, so we agreed on a middle ground of the strange and some level of normality. Licia introduced us and explained why she was there. Her mother asked if she was dating since her previous partner wasn’t with this group.   I took this time to tell her mother no she was not, though she had cast a rather interesting spell on me. Licia became rather shy at the mention of this one previous incident between us. Her mother grilled her till Licia finally caved and said the spells name quietly and very quickly, I had trouble keep my smile in check. Her mother disapproving of the use of the spell drew a frowning face on her daughter's forehead. After this, Ms. Galewen got past the introductions, she handed over the Wayfinder and a letter from her father. We departed soon after, with Licia supplies the teleport back to our home Ironfall.   Ashlyn soon departs becoming a blur of pink and gold as she raced to her family. The tree and the Elf soon disappeared to find what I amuse is a bed. Kraia left to find her family, Zalni and Whisperbreath truly started their training. I went with Celu to my bar.   Being that I was wearing nothing more the burnt rags due to my clumsiness in The Endless Archives. I wanted to shower, or just change into something that wasn’t half destroyed. As the two of us entered the bar, a drow bartender stood behind where I would generally be, it was Alvir. Apparently, he had started working as my replacement while we were gone. His double take was well earned, as I entered. Before stopping and giving a better explanation for our return. I rushed upstairs to my room, grabbed some regular clothes because I’ll be damned if I run the bar tonight. Coming down with comfortable clothes before speaking with Alvir and Pennyswaggle, who just appeared in the bar as he does, I thought for some reason that would be best to check the stock in the basement.   The basement was as I thought, similar but some of the things had been rearranged. Understandable given that 3 years had passed, Celuriel had wandered down into the basement with me. It seemed like in my absence, somebody had replenished my stocks. I would not put pass Alvir to have sent orders to neighboring cities for restocking, as I noted for some of the barrels and bottles were from other portions of Aletheia as I walked down a couple of rows this basement held.   What happened as I approached a suspiciously upside down and empty barrel was a rune, which I had not seen, had been placed just within arms reach of the barrel. So if I wanted to check, I would have had to step on it. When the rune went off, I was once again caught in the thrall of That stupid vexing enchantment. Now embarrassingly enough I was not upset at what happened, far from that. Having to quickly put down Celu once the rune faded, I could not help feel a bit of heat in my cheeks. My face must have been a shade of lilac, even in the dark. The Elf quickly disappeared up two flights of stairs to our room. In retrospect, even under the enchantment of Unnatural Lust, it was a bit much to have picked her up.   Better her than Licia, Lirian or Eirian.   I get hit by that spell more than I would like…   After a moment trying to organize my thoughts, since my mind had a hard time trying to not think of what just happened. I walked back up to get caught up with Pennyswaggle and Alvir. I was met with the scene of my bartender horrified and the rest of my patrons two steps from knocking boots with the closest person to them. Some of the people did not seem to mind once the spell was over, others shot glares at each other their eyes tell the others to never speak of this again. Alvir had made a quick note to who had done this. I know the perfect person to talk to for revenge. Pennyswaggle had mention something to me, and though we passed the information up rather quickly, I didn’t forget it. I had brought it to the attention of Cyne the next day when we meet him. Altogether it was a rather pleasant night. Where for once, I felt like a typical patron in a bar.   Once I had enough food and used up all of the Pennyswaggle tolerance I had built up, I retired for the night, where Celuriel was curled around a pillow. It was rather cute to have found her nuzzled into pillows. Since I had spent an hour or so talking in the bar below, so I assumed she was asleep. The two of us slept back to back.   I thought things would be a bit more awkward in the morning, but when she woke me up demanding for delicious breakfast as compensation for yesterday. I couldn’t help but smile a bit.

Journal #44: The Samsaran and Her Dreamers [Text Roleplay]

After while of being in that timeless room, letting the events of the shards trails shimmer down. Aniks will start shuffling around in his bag till he pulls a single white business card out. Which glowed softly with that strange white light. He will approach the Samaran, Jinne “Excuse me, if you do not mind I was hoping if you could answer a question or two? Does this look familiar to you?”   Jinne stared at the card for a long moment, pale eyes wide with surprise. "You have a card from the Way? Are you... also a dreamer?"   The Drow had a slight confused look "Dreamers, Is that what they are called? No I am not. I found some of travelers who were preaching the way and they gave me this ."   She nodded in understanding, smiling at him. "They-- we?-- are dreamers because the Way is easiest to see in the dreams. These cards, I see those wanting to be like priests share with those who seem lost in some, ah, way. It is a way of helping, yes?"   Aniks nods slightly "The priests only explained basics of your beliefs and outside of them, I haven't really seen anybody speak about this or really caring around silver orbs. It is what made me remember I had this card. Sorry to say it but I have not dreamed of anything in months."   Jinne shrugged, toying with the torc-style necklace she wore as she spoke. "Maybe you have not needed the help, or maybe it is waiting. If you want, touch it to my orb before you rest. It will give you a certainly interesting dream, that way; I do not know if I said, but the orb is... special when it touches magical things."   The Dark Elf pauses to consider, but with a quick glance at the book and the odd scenario “I had a pretty good dream catcher,” He said slightly more coyly then continued with “as for you offer. Perhaps another time maybe, when we are not in such an Interesting situation. I have to ask, I once met a Priestess with a handful of silver orbs, she claimed they were a magical focus of sorts. That Orb has to be special if it can interact with that book over there.”   "You say ask, then you use no question." Jinne smiled as if pleased at herself for noticing. "Yes, orb is very special. It is... representing magic of the planet, if that can make sense to you. Like a map. Was the priestess a dreamer?"   "My apologies, my mind is running a bit thin," he said with a slight smile. "I meant to ask if these spheres were magical focuses. Sorry, you might need to explain the whole planet thing, I relatively new to magic and unfamiliar with some of the core concepts. As for the priestess, I have had very few conversations with her, so I do not know her on a personal level."   The samasaran's smile didn't falter as she glanced at the orb, still held firmly by Lyadrí. "Is not a problem. They can be foci, because they are born from magic itself. Do you know about ley-lines?"   "Ley-lines, the invisible lines of magic that run across Istralar? With my general knowledge this ‘Way’ I find it hard to see connections. Those orbs are by products of magic, I highly doubt they just pop into existence.” Then looks at the high-elf “There is no adverse side to holding that sphere to something that magical for a prolonged period of time? Too many questions but that's because of a lack of understanding from my part.”   "The smaller ones that do not do as much, they are made from special mithral alloy that is more susceptible to ley magic. If exposed in special way, the ley magic traces out a map on their surface. It is a ley network of its own that can charge from others, yes? Like making a new candle from old ones. If it is charged properly, it can work to increase spell power." Jinne seemed pleased to be able to explain this to him. "Mine is special, because it is not a unique network; it is reflection of the planet we stand on. There are not many ways to make this; it is only for those able to walk through the way. Mine, it was made by the me who lived many years ago. For ad-verse effects... it should not have--"   It was here that Lyadrí butted into the conversation, shooting Jinne an irritated look. "Do not mistake this for safe. Ley magic is incredibly dangerous for most of the population. I would imagine most would suffer serious side-effects from magical saturation were we not in a time locked dimension, similar to the effects of standing in areas of high magical concentration. Over prolonged periods of time, that would lead to spontaneous and volatile combustion. If misused - for instance, for channelling evocation magics through - this orb has potential to cause an ecological disaster similar to that which affects the Sunari." Jinne looked surprised at this revelation, but not upset.   Taking mental notes, learning anything about magic could possibly help him in the future. An orb like that could be useful to have, but dismissed the thought quickly when the High Elf chimed in. Still useful to know however. The drow’s eyebrow raised quickly but he shook his head “I was caught off by that last comment. I had forgot your a Samsaran, a race I am not overly familiar with or their special gifts. The only other thing I could think that might take a bit to explain for is the search for the true magic, the way? I might be remembering the goals of the religion? Religion, wrongly but was this organization's whole goal to find that magic? I found the explanation of the goal I was given very confusing.” Then glancing back to the sphere and the book his eyes narrowing, he spoke more to himself than the others the room “Hopefully we can avoid dangerous side effects from this interaction…”   The samsaran seemed overly excited to have found someone interested in listening to her; the elf, on the other hand, promptly rolled her eyes and went back to ignoring them. "Religion is a good description for the ones who live their entire lives trying to find what we refer to as 'the way', yes, because it is something they believe in - and is something we consider to be above the gods because of how it works. Magic, as we know it, comes into the world through ley lines and through divine gifts, yes? But these gods are not on the same Plane as us, so they could not receive magic the same way. And ley lines do not seem to extend to space. So there is a way they can send their power, yes? And, if you look further beyond mortality's curtain - how did they receive this power? We assume there is something that began the universe, that caused Asmodeus and Ihys to come into being. This 'something', we think, would be the Source of all magic. Now, think more on it - if we could find a shortcut, or a way around the usual paths, could we not access that true magic? There is more talk to be had on the differences between divine, arcane and new psychic magics, but... this is shortest description I can think of." She paused to let him consider what she'd said before addressing his final murmur. "I do not think anything should go wrong as long as you succeed in finding way through these trapped souls. Have you looked yet at the book again?"   “No, I have not. I will look over the book in a second.” Aniks glanced over to the book. What came next Aniks tried to reply in a way a friend would if they were having a conversation at a bar or on a walk. He was not trying to discount the idea of what she said, but explain what he saw as the outcome to this true magic. “Though what your saying in theory makes since, a shortcut of that nature would be extremely dangerous. Though mind you I completely understand the desire for such a shortcut. It might be slightly hypocritical for me to say. Knowing my track record of what I have said to divine figures and what’s on my wrist, but magic like that might be better left out of the hands of mortals? Now hear me out, my reason for saying something like that is simple. If it is a special magic that only deities can tap into from another plane, like you say it is, I cannot image the effects on the body if a mortal could use it. If such a magic exists then what are the odds a normal person to weild it would be extremely low. If by some miracle some person among all the races a person could wield it, they would be a singularity. They would stand above everybody else, no other person who would be able to conjure a spell would even compare. I do not think I need to explain why a single or even a handful people even able to wield such a power would be dangerous to the world at large even if they have good attention. I simply see the outcome of such a power being, less than pleasant.”   Jinne smiled almost impishly at his suggestion of danger. "If the magic wielded by deities was so dangerous, then... how do you handle it? You are not a god. There is also the magic they gift us. It cannot be entirely diluted by our own strength; the really powerful clerics seem almost like demigods themselves, yes? And, for a third point... they were scared when arcane magic came to be, because it was not magic from them. They will be scared again when psychic magic comes to light. It is not that we cannot wield the power they do. The current evidence says we can, but limited by our bodies. It is that they are scared of what might happen. If one person were to try to stand up as stronger than rest, though, is that not similar to a god ascending...?" She shrugged. "It is something we shall play with as time moves forward. Perhaps there will be reason to stop, but none of the paths I have Seen show that we need to yet."   Upon glancing at the book, Aniks would be able to notice that its shimmering pale-blue exterior no longer seems to glow as brightly. Upon closer inspection, some of the pages seem to have begun to blacken.   Aniks raised an eyebrow when glancing back at the Samsaran not expecting to turn into a debate, in a manner of speaking. With a slight laugh at the mere concept he said "I would hope I am not a god. As for clerics they draw strength from their gods , not this true magic, and if they do use that 'magic' the god would be a filter of sorts. As for Demigods, I am not so sure about that, from what I understand of them it would be easier to tell the difference between a highly skilled cleric and compared to a demigod. Then the matter of Arcane and Psychic magic, is not fear of the unknown something that any being can experience god or not? Also that is what I was trying to get across about my comments about mortals. I am not saying that we cannot wield such a magic, but a normal person is more what I was referring to. Their bodies, the body of normal everyday people could not possible hold a power that god's draw from. If a person, a singularity, like that exists without the assistance of a god's help in controlling that power. Well they would not need to ascend would they or even be forced to, they are still mortal wielding the power of gods, they would not be bound by the same laws as gods." As he paused a thought occurred to him "You said that sphere was made by you, but a past you? Was yours the first to be made, or did your past self learn about it from somebody else?"   Jinne looked to be enjoying herself until the question about past lives. That made her happy sparkle dim slightly. "The gods should know the difference between magics and where they originate; it is the loss of control that made them more angry about arcane magic coming to be. But regarding normal people for a moment, as you say. Normal people with that much power are those who ascend already. They are the mortals installed in the outer sphere, like... ah, Iomedae, Cayden and Irori. Three different ways of finding that singularity to then be ascended, but it is not unusual in their terms to be given more power than anything else. And if they were to be powerful and try to avoid the rule of the gods, then that is why the other gods remain powerful, yes? They would control the person, at worst making repetition of, you know, the Destroyer. When the gods united to stop one of their number from destroying everything - it would not be so different to have them unite to stop one member from breaking the order. I would expect Heaven and Axis to deal with that, ah, daily?" She looked at the sphere, mulling over his final questions - clearly, that one wasn't such an easy thing to answer. "It is... hard to look into the past and see the order of things. I can see its creation in glimpses, only ever glimpses. I know there are others, but which life did I see them in? Were they before, or were they much later? It cannot be said with ease. Past my immediate previous self, things become very hard-to-see."   " I am sorry if that question brought unwanted feelings, like I said I am not overly familiar with Samsarans. I was unaware there is a limit to what you able to recall. " Then Aniks went to the first set of statements. He fold his arms making a face as if he was thinking "I guess that would be the case. The Gods would just force that one being to follow the rules or be sealed. If you use the ascended gods as example of people finding ways to tap into this true magic. However being how I was raised I am unfamiliar with those stories, save for Cayden. Every bartender knows that story, probably heard similar bets made" The last part came out slightly exasperated as if he was remember every time Cayden was mentioned while working. "However I highly doubt every normal person could be as successful as those three. As for arcane magic, it looks like history is slowly starting to repeat itself with that third new magic."   "I am not hurt by your question, do not worry. It is just confusing to look back through so much. Maybe you will see that one day, as you are the chosen of Pharasma?" Jinne suggested, waving off the apology gently. "For the other gods who ascended... ah, Cayden was one of a few who used the Test of the Starstone. Iomedae and Norgorber were two others. Irori ascended by finding perfection of the self, and Urgathoa is said to have stolen the secret to undeath from Pharasma and originated it across the planes. There are others. More among the demigods - Kurgess is son of Desna and Cayden, Nivi was turned by gambling and influences of the Underdark, and Kostchtchie... made a very bad deal with the Witches. You may find their stories to be interesting." She looked towards the floating sphere that the party had identified as leading to Canthe and Eirian. "...Talk to the cleric about the gods when you succeed, maybe? It would be good for you to know more of what you deal with." Meeting his gaze again, she seemed to think about his last sentence for a second before answering. "...It may be that it falls to us to prevent history from happening the same way. The psychics play with minds and spirits. If the gods damage those realms as they damaged the physical world..." She trailed off, shaking her head in dismay.   “I might be her champion, but I hardly understand what you mean by maybe I’ll see one day.” Aniks extended his arms yawning slightly. His eyebrow was raised about that comment. “I should really take you advice about learning the stories of gods. Besides Pharasma, I care very little for divine figures of any kinda. However I should start holding my tongue more often now. Prehabs once this is over I’ll have to pick up books that briefly go over gods and their stories. I have a lot of things I probably have to research sooner rather than later.” He deeply sighed, then stopped being reminded of Cyne and how he complained about the mass of paperwork. Aniks would try and enjoy this, it would be interesting. “Is that not why Champions are chosen, to do their gods will on the material plane. To help in times of great need? Or at least that is what they say. Only time will tell it seems.”   "The gods are ones you should learn of, yes!" Jinne encouraged, amused at the drow's apathy towards the outer sphere. "And... yes, you are chosen for the will of the gods. But, ah, you need to think of what that means. You follow their will, and if they want what you do not? ...I do not know what would happen to you, but it maybe would not be good. Your role, I hope, is to tell them the truth of things. Prevent the coming trouble through information and speeches, so they do not think the psychics are daemons trying to usurp the natural order? Your war is... two-sided."   The drow subconsciencly started rubbing his wrist, not because of the Lady of the Graves, But " " and the scars of the Demon Lords lasting marks. when she left. "I do not follow anybodies will but my own, despite being claimed by Pharasma. It’s an odd relationship, I also own her a favor or two.” Then looking away from the Samsaran. A phantom pain shot through his arm causing him to notice and stop. He had seen it with Kazric and he imagined that the transfer of the mark to his sister was a similar level of pain. “I can image the side effects of disobeying. As for the champions, I highly doubt that explain the truth is all that there is to this. Psychics like the first Arcane casters were just herald for what came next? Am I wrong?”   "...Would you answer if I asked how you owe the Lady of Prophecy a favour?" Jinne wondered aloud, missing any of Aniks's pained expressions. "I am not sure it would be rel-evant to this talk, but.. she is, of course, the most important goddess to many of my kind." She tapped her fingers lightly against her own bare wrist as she wondered aloud, before snapping back to the actual conversation. "The first arcane casters were what alerted the gods to their existence. They could not hide it forever. And then the war started. Maybe there is a way other than convincing that you can take, as part of or separately. But it maybe will not be written in history, this time."   "As I said before, it's an odd relationship. Normally I do not like revealing I'm a champion, I hate being noisly like my traveling companions. It draws unwanted attention. After what I did to the crystals I find it hard to hide that information at all from you or the Commander. Before I was championed by Phrasama, I was another's chosen. When this happened she thought it was important enough to speak with me in person. Though it was in a rather round about way of doing do so. It was mostly to warn me to not give in to the temptations of that demon, as well as a few other things." The he paused his ears slightly lowered as he spoke next. "I might of in a moment of desperation, pray or pleaded with her for protection. Not for me, both for another that was placed in a dangerous situation. She helped despite who I had asked the help for. She strangely helpful to somebody she herself said was 'one without faith.' Again another thing I am learning about Samsarans, did she have a hand in creating your kind." The drow paused thinking about that whole relationship, he of course left a lot out but still. He could not help but think how odd this Goddess's treatment him was. Especially the last time. He shook his head out of reflex tossing the idea for now out of his head for now. "I hardly think the gods are not aware of this new magic, I doubt it will be much longer before things get Interesting. In the grand scheme at least, I would find it hard to believe that another war of that magnitude could happen again tomorrow or in a month. I would in this grand game of gods , we are barely past opening moves. That's just an opinion of what I have seen."   "It is not strange for the goddess of Death to ignore your faith. If you think, many of the gods need to influence the mortal world to share power and influence from far away. But she is powerful, and she is inevitable. She does not need your faith," Jinne explained, looking intrigued about his situation. "I do not hear about her helping many, though. For that, you are special... though I think you maybe know this." She grinned, then returned to being serious. "The Lady created samsarans to perform duties that we do not understand, and to be living representation of the eternal cycle of rebirth and reincarnation - and to prove beyond doubt what happens to the ones who fall to either end of the moral scale. To be good leads to goodness in the next life and a final rest that is wonderful... to be evil damns you. It is the lesson in our biology." She paused, considering his speech. "Some will know, but many will not. The other outsiders, they are nearly certain to be unaware, or it would be known throughout time already. I do not think it will be much longer. Strangeness has become common... ah, we should hope that it has not begun when we leave.."   “Does it get boring?” Aniks said with odd look in my eyes. “Reincarnation I mean. We must be children compared amount of years you’ve experienced. Though maybe the fact that you get to experience life through different eyes each time leaves it a bit different. Sorry, it’s just rather... hard to wrap my head around that idea. A life that stretches on. If it’s a bit personal feel free not to answer.” That odd look quickly disappeared, resuming a more normal look for the drow. “I have to disagree with you there, I am not that special. No more than the others standing around us. Fate, now fate is tricky isn’t it? I guess we really won’t know about our purpose or why we were chosen till it’s closer to the end will we?” Aniks kinda weighted the next question in his head, but thought it better left for another time. Jinne seemed nice and questions about her past and her race, she was very serious about them. “You can change the topic of conversation if you would like, It seems like we might start spiraling into conversations better to another time when we have more information, or in a safer spot.”   Jinne had very clearly not anticipated that question. "Boring..?" she murmured, accent thick as usual. "It is... how things are. I have wondered if life is boring for your kin-- ah, maybe not the fallen el-- drow specifically, but... non-samsarans. You see, the many selves reflected in my soul are selves I can see glimpses of. I can travel the world and find markings that a being I once was left. It is... heavy, to find the marks of so many years past. And the memories, they give so much knowledge that otherwise would have disappeared. If I was just immortal, life would maybe become tiring after years of endless life. But that would be my fault for not enriching it, yes?" She stretched her arms wide in an open shrug. "And you say 'no more than others' whilst standing in a room containing subjects of prophecy, powerful heroes, Champions of gods and chosen of other beings. This, I think, means you are special too. What fate has in store, I would maybe think you can find out. You were talking about visiting the Bone-yard? If she is pleased, you could ask the Lady." She watched for his reaction, but continued with barely a pause. "Ah. I am not sure we have said anything too secret yet for us to need to veil it, but I understand. It will be safer when the book's reign ends and we step into... however many days have passed?"   The dark elf laughed a little at the role reversal "Feel free to ask and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability, however I do feel I may not be able to provide an accurate answer to a normal life. I've had very little time with what you would call a "normal" life." Although he didn't pause when she brought up idea of speaking to the lady of graves. The dark elf did way the idea off with a hand motion. " Well would that not just be the easy route to ask the Goddess of Fate herself. However I do not like the idea of being bound to one fate. Though the idea had crossed my mind to ask her I feel like it would be unwise to do so currently."   Jinne tilted her head sideways, observing him with curiosity. "You have not had a normal life? This cannot just be the Champions, no? Were you caught in the Purge, or other challenges?" Hey, he'd said she could ask. "I know you face differences because you are drow, but I have not met many of your kind through my travels. So, it is mainly hearsay. I have known outsider-touched twins, though. They faced... similar, I think." She looked uncomfortable for a moment, entirely of her own doing. "And you were given a way to talk to the Lady for a reason. Why do you not think-- oh, do you think that could be affecting it?"   Raising both arms in a shrugging motion “When I say ‘normal life’ I mean one who lives most of their life mostly on the surface. So I think this would fall under other challenges, I was not apart of this purge. Those other challenges just come from being raised in the Underdark. I can hardly call my kin ‘normal’ when ninety percent of the population are evil and raised in a society that favors betrayal, slaves, and the worship of demons. Of course that is normal from them.” The dark elf moves his head side to side thinking about it the come. “Though I am not entirely sure as what you mean by that, I find myself simply hesitating when it comes speaking or dealing with her. She is more than a bit intimidating, and I am very concerned at her ‘kindness’ honestly I even unsure if it’s kindness. It does not help that I know very little about her.”   "I did not realise the drow were so... cruel. How is there society when they are demon-worshipping... betrayalists? Traitors?" Jinne asked, shooting a sidelong glance in Lyadrí's direction. The elf, at this point, had moved slightly further away to pointedly not enter that specific conversation. Jinne frowned, focusing instead on Aniks's other answers. "That? By that, I mean the book. The March; the third; the sliver of legend. But if it is not that influencing you, then is just your own thoughts as you say." She considered this. "Kindness may be her reaching her goals. Or it may not be. She is a goddess; we cannot tell too much of them. Still, I am... learned in religion. What knowledge of her could help?"   “I have yet to meet a drow that I personally can call “good”. Dark elf society at a base level is a matriarchy. To say women rule with an iron fist would be an understatement, to disobey them is ground for death. In order to advance your standing as a House, or personal standing, one would often have to kill. Families draw blood more often that I could care to count. Which leads to betrayal and a lack of trust between drow. For demon worshipping, though I can only imagine demons lords find it easy to control, manipulate, and suppress the abyss stained elfs. Those who worship those demon lords can subjugate others below them. They are not people I would find myself seeking to speak with for extended periods of time.” Aniks paused making more mental notes. “Third? That is the first I have heard it been numbered. If the topic is still Fate that we are talking about, this is how I view this. If I were to ask The goddess of Fate on my future, I might create tunnel vision focusing far to much on her words. Locking me into that one fate, not to mention in legends of prophecy few every escape their fate. Which is not something I think anybody would be a fan of. As for her and religion, I know her general distaste for the undead. She judges everyone and will judge everyone before having them pass on. My knowledge is basic ranging from her spheres of influences to her general likes and dislikes. At this point any information to understand this goddess would be helpful.” "I had thought most of the rumours to be only that. I did not expect the dark elves to have such... stain. Taint." Jinne murmured, obviously shocked. "It is good that you found a new family, then? We are alike in that. My adult found family were better than the ones I was made to grow with." Instead of lingering, she quickly went back to the more important topic - Pharasma. "I... in honesty, I do not know why it is the third. The number, it came to me mid-sentence. But regarding fate. I think you would never find the Lady one to give you answers that would make you fixate upon them. To force you into a fate like you say, it is not what she does. She would give words, but to shape or hint instead... I think." Jinne wasn't about to give a certain answer on the goddess's behalf. "What you are not considering is the cycle. Life unto death. You say she is a judge, but that is only the end. Remember that she is also Mother of Souls; she is the beginning as she is the end. You must also consider how things have... changed. Prophecy is not Fate, and Prophecy has grown less strong as the threads of time travel forward. This... has already changed her followers. For you as a Champion.. I am not sure how that will affect you. Ah, but the other champions are of different deities, yes? She is neutral with most at official level, but... she has friendships. I know she was seen in the realm of Desna once. You could use this, one day." “Even rumors have grains of truth in them. Dark elves are not even complex, nine times outta ten you know what your going to get while dealing with them. As for family, I could call some of them that.” Aniks was slightly confused about her shock. Do people not know how evil drow can be? Were some people raised to believe that drow’s acts were nothing more than rumors. “If it was not for my family, I would not be thinking so hard on this. As much as I like to ask the Mother of Souls for hints at my future. Would you also not worry about the hints she gives, if they possibly tell of a future that was less than desirable? To be fair I will not know till I try, but I would rather to try in more favorable times. Her areas of concern are something I should probably be more familiar with, there is much to learn. I have to say, I am rather unsure how she falls into the beginning of one’s journey of the soul or as a living being? The remarks on prophecy were just an example of people in legends. Being a champion would and probably will change people destiny. As for the Lady of Grave’s friends, that interesting. With her line of work, I am surprised she even gets time to relax with a friend.”   Jinne was amused at Aniks's confusion, much as Lyadrí seemed amused at his words. "...You are surprised at my surprise? I grew up on a very small island. The only drow were in stories - the kind it is not good to believe." She offered him a smile. "I am glad you have a found family instead. It is better that way. As for what the Lady might say? Prophecy and fate already guide my life, so my words will be, ah, biased. But if you received hints that you did not like, then you would be able to anticipate the darker changes and find way to improve the outcome. Divining tells us these things." She paused at one of Aniks's statements. "You do not know how she represents the beginning? Two of her divine areas are birth and rebirth. She knows when some-one is born, she can see their fate, and she guides their soul and rebirth. The samsarans, we are physical representations of her status as a shepherd of life and death. The roles are equal in importance." She seemed almost shocked that Aniks had missed such an important detail. "With her friendships... I think that is why she has the psychopomps. Even the divine must have time to attend other business, yes?"   “I was, I have never been on a island. So the thought had never crossed my mind. What were drow then, some tales to keep children from sneaking out or else they would be kidnapped?” Aniks shifted his weight. “Another way of looking at it. It could be used to avoid those darker time. I slightly hate that you have convinced me to ask pharasma in the near future about these topics. Being born in the underdark, I was not taught about the surface gods. Only on Demon Lords I had some semblance of knowledge, but my family was not one who power was based in clerics. I really only learned about surface gods 2 decades ago, and cared very little for the religions. So no, I only knew Pharasma as the Goddess of Death. Birth and rebirth, that is new information. I had no clue how far her realm of influence extended.” He paused considering how much Pharasma knew about somebody's fate once they were born, he looked at the spiral tattoo on his wrist for a moment. How much did she know? “ Yes, Psychopomps...those beings that guide the souls to the afterlife. First time I meet one they tried to kill us. I have to say the thought of Pharasma taking a break to relax with Desna or another gods asuming.”     "...You have not been to an island?" Jinne seemed confused at that concept. "But... everything is an island, if you think on big enough scales..?" She shook her head, moving onto his other questions. "Drow were the villains, the ones we were told stories of to make sure we would never disobey. We did not want to be taken like that, yes. You assume mostly right." She smiled impishly at hearing that she'd managed to influence him a little. "It is good for you to ask things! Through knowledge, we can make better decisions. And it is odd that you were never taught more, but... is better to not have false propaganda in your mind to get rid of now that you are free of them. If they had taught you that she was evil, you would have more trouble... why did a psychopomp try to kill you? You were raising the dead?"   “By that same logic, you could easily say that nothing is an island and the oceans are nothing but large bodies of water. I have seen the Ocean but I have not traveled to an island.” With a smirk at her words about the drow he said “Even when you should be completely safe from Dark Elves, they are still used as a cautionary tales. They are a good example to use to scare children into minding their parents words.” The impish smile did not help him feel better about asking Pharasma anything. “ I would not say it was that odd, my ‘house’ was not one who was powerful because they had clerics. We had some but few, so religious studies were not the forefront for young drow to learn about. I do not think it would have been much of a problem, I had somebody teach me a fair bit about the surface. As for that Psychopomp, it happened probably right after I meet them…” Gesturing to the party, doing whatever they do. “I cannot remember the reason behind why he attempted to kill us, it happened so quickly after entering the boneyard. I believe he said that living things should not be here, or something along those lines.”   Nodding at Aniks's words about the islands, an idea struck Jinne. "Are the drow also the monsters used to scare.. the other drow?" she wondered aloud. "It is good that you had some-one to teach you of the world. Religious knowledge, spirituality... it has been part of my life for so long that I do not know what I would even be like if I had not been raised with it. One of my previous selves, she was a cleric - so it has even been present in my dreams and memories. Knowing only of demons, it is not a kind way to live." She frowned, thinking on the psychopomp issue for a moment. "You were not invited? Then I am not surprised. It maybe thought you were ready to practice the darkest sorts of necromancy. You know, the types that involve souls."   "No, not in such general way. Even at a young age Dark Elves are conditioned to the monstrous acts they come in later in life. Demons, Devils, and everything in between is more of the stuff of the stuff that feels dreams of children. I can't imagine that it was a very pleasant life your former self had. What an interesting story must be able to tell if you could remember. As for religion I understand the necessity for it I've never found it important." Then pausing realizing something. "Again it happened a while ago, so I cannot say for sure. Now as for the practice of necromancy, that would have been impossible. I've only been able to cast spells for 2 months."   "You have only cast spells for two months?!" Jinne had planned on addressing his first sentences, but that-- that changed things. "That cannot be right. I did not imagine a goddess would choose such.. inexperienced champions? You are not all new to this life?"   “An unattended side effect of dealing with these artifacts...” His voice showing a clear vexation for the incident. Though his tone changed after that “I will admit though I have lost most of my skill with blades. It has been a rather pleasant experience trying to come to terms with these abilities.” The dark elf cocked his head to the side and looked at the Samsaran “No, I would hardly call us inexperienced. We have all dealt with some troubling problems in the past, it’s just a recent change that I was able to cast this arcane spells.”   Jinne frowned, slowly understanding what he meant. "So, you were adventuring and then changed? This was... before or after the mark chose you? I did not think the Lady of Graves would bestow arcane magic, but the elves - and drow by extension - are innately magical. So, it could be more that?" The way she was looking at him - it was more as if he were a puzzle, now, rather than just someone to talk to. "Such changes are very rare, no?"   “Correct. I was championed by another at the time, while the change happened but within the week I had removed that mark. Very painfully I might add. The Lady of Graves had nothing to do with the arcane transformation and neither did the other one. As I said it was a side effect of deal with artifacts, well that is my working theory at the moment.” The drow paused. Thinking about the transformation, trying to ignore the odd look the Samsaran was giving him. “In a world full of magic? I could hardly say, I am still finding out I *now* have more languages stuck in this head of mine. As for the rarity of these events, I can image there have been changes as drastic in the past similar to mine. If they have been recorded or not is beyond me, and I would have to find that information myself.”   "The marks are removeable?" Jinne seemed somewhat horrified by this concept. "I do not want to imagine that pain. Were the artifacts like this one? They do not seem like the type to give without also giving something bad too, no?" She looked contemplative as she considered this new issue. "More languages. Are you certain a druid did not-- no, you are not an animal... These things, they do not happen spontaneously that I know of. It is usually fated in some way, perhaps in prophecy, and triggered by beings interested in causing the occurrences. An aboleth taking a slave would maybe raise their intellect and teach their tongue, but I do not think it is their power to give arcane magic. These artifacts, do you know what they were linked to? In creation?"   “Apparently they are, but on a hunch I took a gamble.” A gamble which he was still unsure of the outcome for now. “Similar in catagoritory prehabs, as for the negatives for a transformation like this. Besides the exchange between my former skills, and the arcane ones. Well if you consider having flirtish blade summoned as a outcome of this, share your thoughts on occasion as a negative then no. The negatives have been few.” Aniks could swear he could see the gears turning in this blue girls head. Before saying anything he recalled some of the new languages. “I would hate finding some ancient scroll somewhere that says I was prophesied to have this change. As for beings, Pharasma herself has said we have attracted the attentions of being across the cosmos.” Then a pause. A longer pause came from Aniks “I do know where these artifacts are connected to, however I hope you can understand giving out information like that is dangerous. The less people know about these the better.”   "Your point is very strong. Information is dangerous, especially when books are stealing the text written in our world..." She shot the March a wary glance. "Do not think I am trying to convince you to share - your secrets are to be kept by you - but do you not think that this information on Champions is also very dangerous? If many find that you were able to lose a Mark, it is possible for you to become targets for the power-hungry. Especially if it has a relation to magical power. That is one benefit of divine over arcane: it is rarely useful to try and steal divine power from another mortal, for it is not our power to give out. But the arcane, it comes from you." Jinne blinked. "Ah. You very much do not like fate, do you? Prophecy is not bad."   “I am glad you understand that, as for the champions. Champions are still but myths to people, given time the people will find out they exist again whether we like it or not. People will seek us out for good or bad reasons. Thus some of the knowledge of Divine Champions will return, these artifacts however should be destroyed from history. As for the marks I hardly doubt anybody without power equal to or greater than to the divine figure that placed them could remove it, a mortal such as myself could never remove a divine tattoo. Though in the future I will attempt to do better in keeping that secret a bit more quiet.” A deep sigh came from the drow at the last part. “It is not that I hate fate or prophecy, it that I have a problem with not have a free will of my own. Choice, having my choice is important, I do not like having outside forces decide what is best for me.”   "It is not the divines you need to be very concerned with. Imagine a dedicated cleric of Fumeiyoshi learning that his god had chosen another. To prove his dedication, he finds and slays this Champion and uses the magic of the grave to raise the former as his... puppet, then declares to the god that he has become superior. For the darker gods, they might agree and approve of this." She watched him carefully, brushing her fringe out of her face. "Nobody with sanity will wish Pharasma's anger. The others, they are more at risk. Information is power, and you are controlling it at the moment... so you must be very careful." Changing tack - and tone - completely, she suddenly smiled. "Prophecy and fate do not take free will. It is form of divination. The forces you talk of, they look at how your actions will occur and make prophecies on their best guesses. It is why they are usually general - because many times, the path walked is not obvious. There is one of me, but it is so vague that I cannot find much aid from it - only bear expectation, from the interpretations of others. It is no more a chain than anything else in this life."   "I do not need to imagine something like that, since I've already seen something similar happened like that. I would think The gods have different selection processes for their champions." He thought about it for a moment. "I do have to thank you the information you gave me, and for the words of warning." Aniks was once again slightly thankful for the topic to change. " Perhaps I do miss understand, it is one of those topics that I must be ill informed about. If you have what about yourself do you think that is why you keep showing up in these archives, or do you think that is some other reason entirely?"

Journal #43: Family Matters

After a long and subsequently a terrible couple of days of emotions of both guilt and hope and everything in between, we finally reach our destination of Liangxin. A far eastern city which was impossibly large and seems to be strictly controlled by some sort of military force. Entering from the airship docks we were prompted with a series of questions and strangely vaccinations. Perhaps there is a sickness in the city? Who really can tell anymore. The person who had to deal with me had made a passing comment about my kind, which told me a significant amount dark elves had recently shown up within this city. However ‘recently’ could be any amount of time, I would guess within the last couple of year. Long enough to notice an influx of drow within the walls of Laingxin. This city was the last known location of this traveling group of elves adventurers.   Before our investigation into where these lost elves were, Celuriel left the group as she said she would. I would be lying if I was not worried but nevertheless, the party teased me for getting in a fight. I have some reasons to be worried, but I had already given her my book to contact us if something comes up, or if she needs to find us.   A second later we decided that it would be for the best for us to at least have a clear point, a base of operation, to work out a form while gathering information about this traveling group. This was a local inn and or tavern, I am rather sure it was an inn. The thought there was if we went to a well-established inn and asked around it was more likely for them to have information on the elves, or if they have even passed by. We paid for a couple of night in advance, asking for around. One of the Elves was at least familiar with, something about having been here or searching for a library. Of course, our first thought was visit the biggest library the city had to offer. Well, not the biggest as we later found out.   Finding the library was easier than I originally thought, finding the elf was the more difficult part. Asking the librarian behind the desk near the front door if they had seen any of the elves, the picture we showed them helped. The Librarian said the ones she had seen that day were the elves known as Canthe Pa’lustris and Aster Lau’turea. The six of us broke up into different floor looking for them. Some going from the fifth floor down some going in reverse from the ground floor up. Among the searching, we found them hidden in a room filled with books a large square table in the middle. Canthe was a high priestess of Desna and a reasonable elf the more silent of the two was the Half-Elf Aster. Only speaking when he found something of note to comment on. While waiting for the other to gather on the location, though everybody filed in with Licia and I struck up a conversation with Canthe. I made a bet of 5 gold pieces, on who had the stranger adventuring story that bet one that is still unsolved. Through some mental connection, the elf shared the information we vaguely told them trying to gather their group as well. The Commander had an issue that we would deal with later. The sibling to Cante, Eirian Pa’lustris who within a couple of seconds managed to annoy me more than most people I have ever interacted with. He had found Celu and brought her along, she was clearly not pleased ducking into a corner away from everybody.   Though I will never say it to their face, I was and now am incredibly grateful for this stupid series of events. Bring Celu kept her within the time dilation that we had to deal with. Another portion of time has been stolen from us, but at least she was not alone.   The traveling group from Kingdom of Elves were confused as to why they had a search party sent after them. According to them, they had sent messages back. However, Liangxin and the country that this city claimed to be a part of had all information warped and changed, especially when it came to any propaganda. Which lead to my telling them, it never made it out of the country. Explaining the quick thought, if what they said was true, then their letters home would most likely have been altered or never made it out of country. The thought leads to me thinking of a connection between this strange magic and The Unbroken March. The closest artifact in the description that could have the potential to do something like they described. I was correct, but I would not know that till later.   Though we found our elves, we had not found all of them. Thus a rescue mission was made for The Commander of the Galasthin forces, an elf which I had been warned about. According to Eirian, who had placed her in this difficult spot early in that day, to begin with, had said The Commander was underneath the city in a large archive. With some information gathering, we learned that this larger library had entrances all over Liangxin. With two fail attempts to find those entrances, one at the Cafe where Eirian pushed The Commander in, the first was in the library we found Canthe and Aster in. Our third and final attempt before we succussed was under one of the four large bridges, diving deep into the water underneath. Entering a labyrinth of water-themed puzzles, traps, and blue tinted walls. Testing both our minds and skills. With less than stellar results with some of the puzzle based for the mind, taking for too long and some being so simple it took less than a second to finish. When we found our way into the next set of the puzzles, the next room, the elven party lost contact with their leader.   It took far longer than we probably should have taken to get into the Endless Archives. The round balcony of Archives had shelves upon shelves of books of any and all kinda. I could spend a long time there, but the less time near a shard the better. While some of the party decided to stay and read, I decided to explore rather than read. Licia follow which I was thankful for. I have to admit, I have not been thinking before acting some of my actions have been rash. It was more of an attempt to keep my mind and body busy so I would not focus on other things. As all of us fully explored the archives, a few of us found constructs that disappeared as soon as we spotted them.   Licia and I after descended down several floors of this library found Commander Lyadri An’thimael, with a very warm reception I might add. By warm I meant once I made my presence known asking if she was the commander, I was greeted with a toasty fireball to the face. A reasonable response for an elf whose mere name is synonymous with an event that took place in the Kingdom of Galasthin Elves simply known as “The Purge.”   I do not think it would be that hard to draw the lines knowing that I am a dark elf.   The Commander was also behind a wall of fire, protecting her and another from outside forces that had been attacking her for the past week. During this time of speaking with the elven military leader, the party finally started to make there way down to rejoin with the two of us. With a detailed explanation of the current situation and the past days worth of information since we took a rest within a large room in the water labyrinth before finding the archives. The Commander informed us that one, it was stupid for all of us to come down here, two that she had been fighting down here for about a week.   According to Eirian at most, The Commander should have been down here for at most a day in half with the number of rests we had taken. Not a week…   Which without hesitation I turned on the spot to find Celu, not everybody had followed us down. Just The Lost Ones.   Remember how I said I had been acting rash. While the ladder we had been using to climb down the archives had been closing behind us. I ran to those ladders pulling down the cord to have the ladder extend down for us to climb up. A rather large great ax implanted itself in my right shoulder. It was very unpleasant and bloody. After that, I took caution while going up the ladders. The only other trap of note was the flamethrower.   Finally reaching the floor, rather bloody and slightly burnt time had passed, my sense of worry melted away as she was okay. Normally she would have completely ignored me and staying far away from me, she had been ignoring me since my attempt at an apology on the airship. The first interaction since then was a slap to the face, but she did cast a healing spell on me remaining silent but near me. They had seen some danger and were more than willing to travel as a group down back to the others. Though under less normal circumstances, we finally gathered all the Galasthin Elves.   The Lost Ones now content on dealing with the Shards pressed on, with Lyadri and Jinne, the Samsaran that Lyadri had been fighting alongside in her week-long imprisonment in The Endless Archives. Going to the next floor I borrowed one of our magical communication journal to message Celu, I wrote to her to please be careful and that I would try and make it back as soon as possible. Time dilation is a tricky subject, I honestly had no clue when I wrote that how long before she would read it. We battled our way through corrupted constructs down one more floor and enter a very interesting room.   A dark room with two rings of crystals around a floating light blue book. This dark room had glyphs dimly glowing blue on the ground. The outermost layer of crystals was white and was large, perhaps a bit larger than a dwarf. The next layer of inner crystals was more concern, for me especially. The darker black crystals were that similar to the void, a clear sign that this book was a shard. Or as Jinne explained a false appearance of one, a copy, an illusion. How it was able to do this, I am not sure. Needless to say, nobody wanted to touch the crystals. While we had found the Unbroken March, the others had been pulled into their trials created by this Shard. I had a restless night of sleep, in that room when Licia told us about the other trials as she alone glimpsed some of the trials, one which caught my attention. One being Celu’s Sister, I might stop paying attention after that.   Something I believe should be said about Jinne, that something was in her short conversation explaining the reminded me of something, not to mention the Silver Orb on her staff. She was a follower of “The Way” those odd nomadic religious people searching for that one true magic. I had always wanted to ask more question, and I had gotten the chance after we broke the trials for Celu and Searyn’s. However, I feel like I should mention two key points one that she follows The Way of Runeblessed Dreams and their silver orb are connected to that religion as I thought. Second, she has been to this place before and knows about the artifact. Being that she was one of the Samsaran, a race created by Pharasma, bound to an almost endless cycle reincarnation. Jinne had kept returning to The Endless Archives, in several of her past lives. An interesting idea true reincarnation.   While coming up with a plan, Jinne determined that somebody using her orb could create passages where we could slip through to disrupt the trials that the others. However, somebody has to hold open the portals from the outside, which The Commander volunteered for. The Samsaran then explained that to save them, they could not fail nor could they pass their trails. If they failed, well she gestured to the crystals, people who failed force to protect the book. Their souls bound to those crystals or something similar. Knowing that we would have to get rid of at least the first set of crystals for the Elven Commander to use the orb. I had to use the power of the Mother of Souls, something I have been rather reluctant to use powers from her champion mark she gave me.   At first, channeling the power, I focused on passing on the souls bound in the crystal, which I hoped I would not have to physical touch the large crystals. This had an odd and every more concerning the outcome of my mind being more quiet than normal. The power having no outlet only affecting myself but my soul never left, so the question is what did it affect? Knowing my broken self, there are more things I have to questions. The second attempt got rid of the crystals force me to physically touch them, which had the attended effect. Allowing for the Commander to open the portal using the Silver Orb.   Without much thought, we as a group thought to rescue our Elves first. Leaping through the orb like portal to them we found ourselves outside a stone tower, entering this trial from a large tombstone. A tombstone labeled as Ulsaron Geltharieth, Celu’s father. The forest around us was familiar in an unpleasant way especially for me. Since I had seen this moment once before, as a vampire Celu once shown me this one moment, that moment of her turning into a vampire the moment of her death, that is what the shard based our surrounding on. The tower that Celuriel once called home.   At the far side of the tower Celu was up against a tombstone, and in front of her was a figure clad in dark armor standing near a grave. Which I knew what lay within it Without a seconds thought, I used my arcane powers to teleport in front of Celu, even without much thought I was not going to let her die, or even have to go through this again. Not alone anyway. The others could and probably would have to deal with Saeryn and her problem. She was in the middle of hunting down another elf in front of the ominous tower with a horde of undead around her. Honestly, in that one moment the fact Saeryn was there was lost on me. Silver was already in my hand, I knew I was recently told to try and not to go leaping in front of a sword for her. However, I cannot stand by and watch if somebody I deeply care about is suffering. My original plan was to teleport her away, but with her being both confused and may be concerned as to why I was there, we didn’t.   Her sister, the would-be lich, in this false creation of Lurissiel Geltharieth was still an Elf. Took a long a calculated time before speak. Few things I learned in this interaction, she was not an Arcane lich like I had thought. Since the blonde elf was clad in armor, she had to be a Divine Lich most likely a cleric from some dark god. She was curious to why a dark elf had anything to do with her sister. Though I could not recall really any of the conversation since none of really helps when finding a way to defeat her. She, of course, knew I was going to interfere, so I place a protective sphere around Celu. The would-be lich began to cast a spell to summon some a creature, thought either Whisperbreath or Ashlyn broke her concentration. That interruption did not please the elf, which leads to a series of spells cast at the rat. Which by the end of those spells she just sat there looking smug. Never a good sign. I am not going to lie, Ludrissiel was scary. The hand that gripped Silver was trembling, in fear in knowing how powerful she is, or in angry knowing Celu’s Killer was in front of me. A mix of both, Celu was adamant that any attempt to fight back against Ludrissiel would be useless; it would lead to everybody’s death. I tried to explain that she couldn’t kill her sister nor could she die, she had to walk away. She did not listen; she thought it would be better if the two of us would have just waited there while they died.   This was not something I would stand for. I do not want her to give up even in the face of her sister…   Teleporting out of the sphere knowing this might end as expected, I knew there was a large number of evil creatures around, so I cast the spell Angelic Aspect. It would allow for some extra protection. My attempt to slice the elder sister failed, slipping right through the projection. I should have known better, but very soon after the invisible would-be lich cast a spell on me, the spell was delivered through a touch. She was toying with us, an even scarier though. To avoid her Scythe, I used my feathery wings to fly up, flinging a fireball down. Celu would be okay she was in the sphere, but her sister she had to be close by. Celu now seeing that she could attack her sister, wanted to join in ask if she could be released. Though Ashlyn protested the idea, I dispelled the resilient sphere. This proved to be a smart idea. Celu with her recent change of life, had her abilities change have some grasp over time. I would trust Celu is time manipulation far more than Whisperbreath. That is neither here nor there. Wanting to clear some of the confusion, she displaced her sister in time! Asking for a better explanation as to what exactly was going on. I tried to stress that no matter what she could not kill her sister.   From my best interpretation of what happened as to why she now wanted to defeat her sister was to prove that she was not useless. She told me that all of us were so strong, but it was the way she said it that showed more of how she viewed herself compared to the people around her. We were strong, and she wasn’t, and by defeating her sister, she could close that gap, oh Celuriel. I explained that she didn’t have to get stronger, not alone anyway, she had us, she had me. She didn’t have to beat her sister today, that today she just had to walk away. After telling me she did not know how to leave, I took her hand and lead her to the portal leaving that horrible place behind.   Now at this point, the others had dealt with Saeryn’s problem, who was more than upset, having to deal with… whatever she had dealt with. Thank god for that time locked zone, before resting I thought it would be best to at least speak with Jinne. Which was a conversation on magic, religion, fate and she regrettably convinced me to at least want to ask to speak with Pharasma.   Our second attempt into the twins orb portal, we were warned of Eirain psychic abilities and how that will possibly affect the trails. The Commander was right about that warning. Entering into a broken octagonal stone room a stone altar with glowing green lines going down the altar, along the floors and into the walls. Canthe was on the other side of the altar, The Commander laying on that stone slab unconscious ‘illusion.’ The last figure was a hulking beast of a man that was known as The Tulaant Steppe. We’ll get back to this man, we had a terrible maze to deal with.   The effect Eirian psychic abilities on the octagonal room, one of the eights walls had been completely destroyed leaving a large empty void. The party, of course, decided it was better to explore the void, and not deal with Canthe currently, something I thought was rather stupid. The void of clouds and stars contained a icy maze.   Entering created unending amounts of annoyance for me, which only made me want to punch the elf’s smug face more. Carefully going through the maze, we were bombarded with magical enchantments that affected us both emotional and binding certain actions of ours. As leaping over some of the damaged portions of the maze, causing spells to attempts to change us. It was more than annoying while trying to kill an Imp which was a simply psychic creation of Eirian, and tracking down the psychic elf. Celu only was able to speak when asked a question, Ashlyn started stripping, Kraia and Pin wanted to kiss Ashlyn. Though Kraia might not have been affected by that same enchantment. We straight up lost Cid somewhere along the ways. My personal enchantment leads to general hate to everything around me, and gods forsaken compulsion to cuddle and kiss that fucking elf. As Eirian was the first I saw when placed under that enchantment. Another reason to hate them, though as Celu saw this the spells, all of them faded. Great timing. She understood when I told her it was the magical enchantment, but her holy ice scythe was something I feared she might use on Eirian. Punching him would be more satisfying. I told her that, this she didn’t believe.   Quickly chasing after Celu and I learned of Eirian trail, he wanted to end their mothers suffering. Breaking her soul which had been contained in a gem. However, Eirian viewed us as nothing more than an illusion which they became slightly hostile. I waved it off we could solve the problem without them. Quickly shouting this the others they had seen such a gem, another chance where I had to use Pharasma power. Passing Licia returning to the group who attempted to convince Eirian herself, I reached the gem attempting to do the same to the Soul gem, and I did to the Crystal. If it were not for the mothers of souls power the act would have gone horribly wrong. Celu noticing attempt failing, she bolstered my second attempt at pleading with the soul of the twin's mother to pass on. An new enchantment placed on her making her grief, I reach back with my other hand to make sure she wasn’t alone. Ashlyn too helped as well as Licia who had given up on convincing Eirian. It worked, but with a very dangerous lesson instilled in me, I need to learn how to master these powers.   As the gem disappeared so did the walls of the maze. Eirian thoughts cleared and soon listened to reason. They did not take much convincing once we mentioned their sister and that she needed their help. Now currently I’m still going to punch the twin just not yet. Now to the entity known as The Tulaant Steppe.   Eirian gave us a quick summary, Canthe had constructed a deal in order to save the commander who had been placed in a catatonic state of sorts. The deal with this entity what's to give it a physical form. So easy we discussed quick plans in order to stop that event from happening. We would stop her from making the deal. However many disagreed with this idea and decided to instead wave their scythe and sling their spells around which I inevitably agreed because once a paladin decides to do something, there is no stopping her.   That plan had failed instantly.   Most things in life as we've come across could be dealt with in a conventional manner. However, this entity that stood before us The Tulaant Steppe was different. It broke the rules. Now it was easy to say that the entity was just a mere illusion, but it wasn't. For you see when you conjure something, that's something can not normal think on it’s own. This Entity had a scary level of omniscience which it used to for snarky comments. I cannot say that this creature was god or even a demigod. It was something different clearly. I have never once heard of a divine figure to want a physical body, or being able to communicate through a mere illusion. No it seemed to become that illusion, as if the mere act of invoking a mere copy brought forth a personification of The Tulaant Steppe.   The Tulaant Steppe as soon as we woke it from its time lock slumber was completely aware of the events around it in what was going on with the shard. It was stalling for time so the lifeforce could be drained from The Commander, we attempted to attack it. Having very little progress there. Instead, it offered us a challenge though still tried to stall for time in the process. We were given 30 seconds to impress this personification, and seeing that the Elven twins had been part of the original deal, they were exempt from this.   Since almost none of our attacks seem to be landing save for Cid and Artemis the rest of us had to devise some sort of plan that would appease this entity. Kraia performed a series of acrobatic feats channeling the power of her god to augment her wild shape into something much more. The world's best trapeze artist might have been jealous. With Whisperbreath, her attempt had been to reconstruct the mental barrier around this room sealing it off from the void outside. She channeled the constructive powers of her God to perform the act mixing her knowledge in a well. Interesting but needless to say it had adverse effects on her. Channeling so much of the power, she was unused to tapping into harm her mentally. I had several failed attempts at flinging spells at the towering figure which led me to that idea. Celu simply used her power and divided Whisperbreath into three significant timelines, child form, the present and a rather older form. Ashlyn had not attempted did anything with her Champion Powers simply preferring the act of swinging a blade at the opponent in front of her. Licia channeling the power of her Goddess did something ridiculous. She made a star, or least that's what I think happened. In order to give us a bit more time or to disrupt his plan in general, I leaned down touching the green lines represented the Commander's life force and attempted to channel the power the death goddess to reverse the flow of life back into the image of the elf.   This was a mistake.   Temporarily, or so I hope, created some sort of mental connection with The Commander allowing me to understand the name of this being in front of us who is giving us this challenge. Then a very angry elf told me to get out. As a ramification my left eye began hurting but the full extent of what happened I would not find out till after the trial. This action caused me to learn the name of this being which brought a creepy smile to his face. How to say the smile was disturbing in nature it was the fact that he was smiling at all that was disturbing to me.   Lastly bringing up the rear the Paladin had channeled the power of Sarenrae bolstering her powers landing several blows it's on The Tulaant Steppe. Never once drawing blood. Bringing the trial itself to a close, we soon after that left the illusion coming back to the room what that false shard in it. The commander was not pleased demanding an explanation as to what I had done. Not thinking that what I have done would affect her physically, mentally or something else entirely, explaining that I thought it was just a mirror illusion copy of her. But with psychic magic and the personification, things did not go as planned and I'm not even sure how the connection was truly made myself since that should have just been an illusion a hollow imitation. The fact that I wasn't in initially scorched by another fireball she might have accepted what I said. Then she referenced the side effect that my little incident has caused. Somebody gave me a small pocket mirror since my left eye had been hurting I brought it up to examine if anything that happened to it. My eyes were naturally gold; however, the left one the one that had been in pain started showing there was no longer entirely gold. Small bits silver had replaced portions of the golden color.   Though was concerned were minimal currently I would probably will have to ask about this later, since we had bigger things to deal with. Plus gathering up the courage to speak with the elf might be a tad bit more problematic than I would have hoped for. She was not one who was known for her friendliness towards dark elves.   Again with another time where we rested before the final two trials. The last two actually quite simple. Forcing the Gnome to abandon his test as an Arcanist, which The Gnome adamantly believed he would not do. We picked them up and ran out of the room trying to find Aster the one who was connected with the Fey. For the first time it was rather simple we had slashed and flung spells across killing the fey that he thought he was going to destroy along with the building and himself. Coming back out of the room a series of traps have triggered, as well as some poison gas that had filled the general area. Finally entering back into the testing grounds after rescuing Aster have been barred by constructs. The Gnome foolish ran ahead got themselves into more trouble than it was worth, so we quickly dispatched the constructs. Dealing with them each one by one destroying them with our magic and blades.   If only things had been that easy for the other four.   Leaving presented an issue. As we'd entered back into the room something was wrong, the people who were there The Commander, Jinne, Saeyrn, Eirian, all of them had vanished. The book no longer floating on the ground it's pages, and the cover looked like it had it been blackened by fire. So that probably was not the case. The ground which had unreadable symbols and glyphs before, changed, now reading to everyone ‘Auto-saving.’ Not entirely a good sign. Before we decided to take another rest and deal with the consequences outside, a single female voice entered my mind with a command. Which told me about the amount of danger that we could possibly be in. Well, I did have a conversation with Jinne, The Commander has spoken only once, interrupting us and warned about the dangers of a specific object if misused. Once again The Commander had spoken in my head about that object. About that orb.   “Get her orb back.”   … I swear this connection better not persist longer than it needs to.

Journal #42: Dear Niks

Dear Niks, It's been a long time, hasn't it? I know you've been through a lot since we left you, and I'm sorry you had to go through so much alone. Guess there was always going to be something to stop us. If it hadn't been the illness, it'd have been something else – in the end, time itself would have taken me before you. I wish we could have had longer. Alain would have loved to grow up with you, and I never had the chance to introduce you to Emily. But that's neither here nor there, and don't you start moping over what we could have had. It's been long enough, and I'm glad to see you moving on. I'll be honest and say I didn't expect you to find an elf, but Celuriel... you and she work. We both know you'd have pushed away anyone who tried to pursue you more traditionally. I know things aren't going well for you right now – I saw what you did – and she's got the right idea in being angry at you for it. You'd have really gotten it if I'd had a chance to say something! But just the same, she can't be mad forever. Stop worrying that you've ruined it all and focus on showing her why she cares, you silly tit. Maybe don't get yourself caught in front of a sword for her, though. You already have enough scars from that sort of heroic action. Good luck, love. I know you can do this. And – your other Lady is indicating that you should be very careful of the water. Seems there's something dangerous at the end. I think you'll be okay, if you use that brain of yours instead of letting others do your thinking for you. Love, Claire P.S. It didn't hurt in the end. You made sure of that. And yeah, that's my ring. You left it with that old body of mine. Figured you might have a better use for it now.

Journal #41: The Elder Sister [Text Roleplay]

Nivinle Alas’thil, the only blood relative Aniks felt some modicum of familial bond with. Even that might be pushing it since it was more accurate to say, she was the only family that had not betrayed him. Though that one fact did not speak volumes for his level of trust for her or her in general. However now, in this festive dream on snow and presents offered an odd opportunity. Their Host might not take to kindly to a fight since Aniks’ angry at the any and all Whisperbreaths had diminished almost magically. Which helped since Aniks was currently in a childlike body. No, this dream offered a conversation, which served main different purposes. Foremost among them was how the newly appoint Matron stance on her brother. After composing himself, which Ashlyn attempts to comfort the Drow only made the process take longer. He approached his sister, the ebony elf trying to appear as serious as possible in this childlike form. “This is not exactly where I thought we would see each other again Nivinle. Regardless we need to talk.”   The Matron of House Alas'thil cut a lonely figure against the starry night of their shared dream, long since having been left alone by her former conversational partner. She cocked an eyebrow in slight amusement at her brother's approaching form. "I did not imagine you the type to wear a younger form to a meeting with me, either, but strange occurrences are commonplace these days." She glanced around the snowy outdoor area, easily spotting those who watched the two drow, and indicated the side of the building. "Talk whilst we move out of sight, fellow Champion."   The childs eyes narrowed, despite the form he was currently in he still had all of his magical abilites. Which made the situation less worrying. So he followed "It's not what I would have chosen to speak with you no. How did you come upon that little bit of information, its been a week at most."   The look she gave him was cool and disappointed. "Your eyes have not grown so dim that you missed your elf speaking with me." It wasn't harsh; more of a rebuke than anything. Nivinle stopped just out of sight of the rest, leaning against the wall and affixing Aniks with a piercing look. "Vasestra would be upset, were she to find out. Which is why she will not. You had something to say?"   "I noticed, however I had considered it just as likely for your patron to have mention something. She was talkative in our short time together." Then with raised eye brow and a short sarcastic laugh. "Whether my actions Vasestra would be upset matter little to me. Though a handfull of topics have come to mind, thought to start I feel like I need to address that." Aniks gestured at Ninivle's left arm "What I need say depends on your knowledge of Champions and what that entails for your future."   "Our patron is very talkative, but you have not been a topic of relevance." A short pause, wherein she nearly smirked at Aniks's reaction to Vasestra's name. "You may not care for her emotions, but the child can be obsessive. I would rather you and yours not steal her attention away from her tasks. Regardless, you ask what I know of the marks and their bearers?" She thought for a moment, watching Aniks intently. "...As I have learnt, the champions are those chosen by their patrons as walking vessels of their power. Whilst their patrons may channel that power through them, each may also learn to wield fragments of it of their own accord should their patron be willing to allow them to do so. Our lady is most helpful in this regard." Nivinle rarely spoke so much at once; the longer sentence felt a little unusual coming from her. "Explain what you mean about the future."   Aniks now sitting on one of the magical presents that followed him, He listen carefully as to what his sister said. “As I told you three before, my time in the Underdark is over and unless it is absolutely important. You’ll be hard pressed to find me in Vaermyrhel. Her attention is best placed elsewhere.” The dark elf consider her knowledge on the subject, what she said was simple but she could be hiding information. He disregarded the thought and processed as he thought he should. “You understand the core concept of being one, but there is a bit more. Although you have never meet them, nor would you want to, the Aasimar with the star cloud following her was once a Half-Elf. When a champion’s vessel has become accustomed to the power or trains with the power, their body can and most likely will go through physical changes. These changes best molded the vessel to the will of the deity, you often take aspects of that deity. Furthermore champions are extremely rare in most case, often only appearing one or two throughout the centuries for key portions in history or major conflicts. However in mass, you can see where a problem is apparent...”   "You aren't the only drow able to step out of the Underdark," came her simple reply to Aniks's first statement. She didn't seem too bothered by what followed; whether it was due to Andirifkhu already telling her, a lack of caring, or concealment was hard to tell. "You're concerned for a proxy war, then. Deities using us to fight instead of doing it in the Outer Sphere. Why tell me information that could hurt your allies?"   "Proxy war? Despite the gods being enigmatic by their very nature, a simple war between deities could start from well placed whispers in dreams. So I see a war between Champions being very unproductive, since most of the claimed mortals we know of have been worshippers of good aligned gods. As it stands a calamity akin to the worldrend to be looming in the future.” Aniks paused thinking of how to phrase this. “As a champion of Andirifkhu by all means it unwise to give you information if my allies get hurt. In fact I am fully aware that by the end of this whole championship it’s far more likely to harm than help. By accepting that deal and your patron gifted you that mark. You’ll have a role to play, it is not a fate you can ignore for long. As for why I tell you this?” Aniks face had become blank as he replied “I’m clearly not the Drow you knew from our childhood, perhaps some lingering admiration from my childhood for my stoic sister?” He shrugged.   "Most of the claimed champions that you, associate of the light, know of. Many darker beings would remain hidden. Don't forget that," Nivinle warned before turning her attention to his other words. She seemed thoughtful. "A calamity. So you're preparing alliances. Your childhood wasn't a waste then. Are you aware--" She cut herself off, biting back whatever she was about to say with a vaguely chagrined expression. "...Information is pointless if we have no way of communication. Our House does not need another calamitous event. How shall I tell you of what I might learn?"   “I have not, though it’s hard to speak about. I know more than most here there are some things lurking in the dark yet to show their hand in this.” Noticing the studden cut off, Aniks wonder if Andirifku had stopped her from saying something like the ‘ ’ had stopped him from speaking about it. “I’m glad you caught on before I had to outright say it. Whether a person is considered good or evil matter little to me, whether we can work together is what's important. If the Champions were chosen to prevent another worldrend from happening, then petty infight between fellow champions would only hinder us. As for a line of communication, I can think of some ways to achieve, with some convincing on my part. Speaking of House Alas’thil, after the Bloodwalker incident did you attempt to take Castle Umbra in its weakened state? The question is out of curiosity more than anything.”   "I understand why a neutral goddess chose you. Your former patron wishes for more blood than you'd seek to spill." Nivinle mused, resting a hand on one of the knives at her hip. "If there is no direct route to you, leave a note at Vaermyrhel's entrance with our symbol. I'll find one." Her tone indicated that Aniks likely wouldn't enjoy whatever solution she found. "The castle was significantly damaged in the collapse. It remains in our possession. I am allowing Vasestra to live in its northern rooms with Rikzir, as guards of our newest facility. There would be no sign of your former presence there, correct?"   "Andirifkhu would have been rather self destructive if I had continued being her champion. Since I would have struggle against most of her wishes. Simply put I knew I wasn't right for the position. As for the amount of blood, though Trying to prevent all bloodshed would be asinine. However lessing amount might be doable. After this conversation is over I'll start making arrangements and see what I can manage." Aniks then paused trying to recall his extended stay within their walls. "As far as I am aware, if your referring to our most recent venture, then no I would think not. It was a rather quick journey for recover what we needed."   "Your past is more relevant than your recent visit. If there is any sign of what they did to you, it fits that the House may come across it and wreak vengeance on the responsible of House Umbra." She watched him carefully for a reaction. "It would not be remiss for those of our House involved to receive punishment for damaging the Matron's... associate." The word 'property' went unspoken, as did the hundreds of other words a drow woman could use to claim him, and her tone remained carefully dismissive.   A dark shadow crossed the child's face, but was short lasting and sighed. Releasing the reflexive response to having to recall it. “House Umbra kept me in the dungeon for roughly a decade. After the recent collapse of the castle I hardly believe you could find anything there. A lesser noble by the name of Eilistra, had discovered that I was a bit more than just a common enslaved drow and attempted to make me her personal servant. Similar to how our father was for mother. For her to figure out who I was, House Umbra must have keeped notes on they slaves. They are very meticulous about things of that nature so I would not put it past them to have notes on who and why they have collected certain people. If you could find her personal chambers if they still exist, there might be some of her writings there. However they are just as likely to have been moved her personal belongings to another location. I, in my attempt to escape, earned her trust after years being by her side and then slide a sword through her heart.” And paused for a minute considering the last statement with care. “As for punishment dealt? I have moved passed my petty grudges I once held. The choice is yours on how to deal with anybody that is deserving.”   Nivinle found challenge in maintaining her stoicism through Aniks's speech. A spark of slight pride flashed across her face as he detailed Eilistra's fate, and the small smirk she threw his way at his final sentence was almost disturbing. "What a waste of an assassin," she murmured. "Rikzir still has yet to prove he can think alone. Pity you left." She shrugged, the motion surprisingly unladylike. "I'll handle the remnants of history. Andirifkhu has already warned me about a machine near the explosion's epicentre. Your doing?" The switch to more modern topics was sudden, but Nivinle wasn't one for small talk. Or wasting precious time.   Aniks paused clenching and unclenching his fist "An assassin no more however, after the battle of The Bloodwalker I was changed. An unattained side effect which I am still unclear of the full effects of. However my thought process for killing remains the same. You know just as well as I our siblings are vastly different than the two of us. " The Ebony Elf was still for a moment lost in contemplation trying to recall. "No, the machine itself was not ours, but the explosion was our doing. I would be caution both of where that Machine was and if the Bloodwalker returns to the Underdark to reclaim anything from the remnants of House Umbra. I would suggest staying out of his way till a better understanding of his motives or new abilities. If he's acquired any..."   "You dropped the knives. You're still an assassin. That never leaves. But you're right on them. They're cowards." Nivinle wasn't going to let Aniks shirk that particular title anytime soon. "There's not been sign of him, but I'll quarantine anything left behind. Think one of his women was seen, actually... What do you mean, new abilities?"   "I don't think they would have jumped into Void in an attempt to stop the blood walker" Aniks said casually tossed into the conversation. Then narrowed his eyes as he continued with "As I said before , I know things lurk in the dark. Riven and his companies have made appearances but have yet to release their hand. Best to probably watch the girl, capturing would probably only alert they group that we're watching them. I would probably investigate but I'm busy with something else currently can’t be in the country. As for new abilities, his leap into the void and pledge to any unknown entity had me thinking."   "Jumped into Void?" Nivinle took a moment to process that. Then glared at him, the promise of scolding in her eyes. "The girl was human. She'd be lucky to have made it out alive. We'll look for her, anyway. Maybe her body can work as a lure. Explain what you're meaning about void. You both jumped in? And an entity is involved?" Her hand tightened on the dagger's handle.   An single eyebrow raised at the amount of questions. Some small glint of information lingered in his eyes as she mentioned the human, A suspicion. He quickly dismissed it but filed it away for later. “After receiving information on the bloodwalker and finally reaching him under the castle. He was in the middle of a ritual which seemed to be a doorway of sorts. I say it was the Void because of short time inside the sphere, there was nothing. Concerningly it felt familiar” His face goes blank as he said that as if the simple act of remembering that feeling stopped him from attempting. “Regardless I might be paraphrase his words before he was pulled in ‘A champion of dark twisted magic and those under the oppression of Truth, I accept your invitation.’ Either he has flare for the dramatic or something had spoke to him, since an invitation require a sender.”   "Doubt he's a champion like us if he mentioned magic," Nivinle muttered, tossing the words over in her mind. "But nobody's fool enough to jump into the void without protection unless they're insane. He never seemed insane from what the others said." She didn't seem concerned with the information she was granting him, perhaps secure in the knowledge that they had bigger things to worry about. "Only things hanging around in the void 'far as I know are Old God minions, aberrations and the odd dragon. They tend to leave something obvious to look for. Would guess it was a pit stop on his part, unless he's good at hiding insanity. Some are." She gave Aniks a sharp look. "Tell me you haven't been playing with the void on your own time."   “Whatever the case is, insane or not, champion or not, caution is the only thing I could advise. With any involvement with the bloodwalker.” Then Aniks was silent. He had not had any involvement with the void unless it was the shards and the sphere itself. The ‘ ’ was still a mystery to him. He had thought it was tied to the void. He gained no progress with that, in fact only more problems had occurred by looking into it. The last attempt sent almost all the spell casters in Ironfall into a slumber, even Cyne with all of those magical protections hadn’t escaped it. “Only the time I’m aware of was under that castle.”   "Good. I don't need blood on my hands tonight." Nivinle's position on void fuckery was very clear, apparently. "What are you playing at with this elf?"   “Your not one for small talk, why do you wish to know?” The statement was flat and blunt.   "She's an elf now. It was more acceptable when she wasn't. Plus that doesn't get undone easily. That with all the talk of Rovagug's breach riling up V'drath?" It wasn't an accusation, but her tone demanded an explanation.   "I had yet to mention that second part. Where did you come upon that information I wonder." The narrowing of his golden eyes, this conversation was easily going to be annoying. "Acceptable? She's an elf simply because she expressed interest in being one Nivinle."   "Your town disseminates news quickly," she replied with a shrug. "That you reacted shows it holds a grain of truth. Watch your reactions." She seemed amused at his narrowed eyes. "You can't reverse undeath through interest. She let slip that you were no champion when it happened." She was being very patient... in her eyes.   "Its not like I attend to lying currently, However telling you everything would be stupid. Hence why I'm more relaxed while talking. While I doubt you'll drop all secrecy, I do hope your drop the skirting around the questions you really want to know." He paused taking a breath before speaking. "A deal was made in our travels and a reward was her successful resurrection. No I was not a Champion when the deal was made, nor was I after the deal was completed."   "You know our ways preclude open honesty and straightforward speech. You aren't bound by that. I am." Nivinle shrugged dismissively, not lingering on it. "A deal with what entity?"   Aniks waved off the first statement. “The entity referred to itself as The Beauty, it appeared as the person we most desired.”   "A beautiful entity that you decided to trust? Where do the fey and god of destruction waltz into your tale?"   Aniks said a single word to begin "Tenaerul" he didn't stop there " That should answer the question for the Fey. As for trusting The Beauty, no I did not, but what choice did we have, under the dome twisted law reality works differently than our. Or so I assume."   Nivinle didn't seem impressed. "You're dodging the question. Stop it. And I wouldn't know. Not many have reasons, fool or not, to try and get in there. And most who try never leave."   "Fey are common in Tenaerul, it a strange mix of the Shadow plane and the First world. It's also a spot where the destruction god influence mixed with magic left over from the Worldrend or so that is how I understand it." Aniks thought back to the twisted landscape "Most don't leave because of the quests given within the Dome. Why they do this is beyond me. The Beauty charged me, with a quest to bring back a necklace that was once hers from the ivory maze. In return They would resurrected Celu. As for why we where there, A stupid contract was formed with a Devil who kidnapped one of our party, the Ratfolks fault. Tenaerul was option for finding what we needed and the Paladin forced her hand, since The Beast's cultist were known to be within the dome. When we left, its symbol appeared under the dome as if the spider was attempt to crawl under the dome. Though I am not sure what truly triggered that response. There I think that basically covers everything for Tenaerul."

Journal #40: The Lost's One's Save Christmas; what's Christmas again?

Dream or not, it’s difficult to be certain as to what happened.   Again I have found myself alone on the upper deck of the airship, with a letter and ring in hand, I feel different. I guess I needed somebody to snap me out of this melancholy mood. Never did I once believe that I would see this ring again, I thought I had left it behind with her. I still remember the hassle I had to go through to get the ring made, I think the most annoying part having to convince a wizard to enchant the diamond a teal green color, annoying but worth it in the end. A color she loved.   Without me knowing it, I really needed that letter. Still helping me even after I’m moving on and she’s long since dead. At least it provided much need closer, for all three of them.   Funny, I’m really not sure what I’m gonna do with this for now. I know the answer is rather obvious what you would do with a ring like this but not yet. What I mean to say is I am not sure where to place it; I do not wish to put it in a bag of holding, and I do not believe I should or could wear it. I might just keep it in on a necklace and keep it under my shirt. Placing it in a ring box and keeping it in my pocket would be the easiest, but then it would be liable for theft. I’ll have to think on it further. The ring and the letter are from my late wife, a gift from our latest misadventure. Which started is the most peculiar way.   In one of those inky black rooms where dreams seem empty and devoid of imagination. I wasn’t alone. An elven child who looked at me with bright golden eyes. Silver locks of straight hair covered one of those eyes, her pale skin only made what color she had more prominent. Unlike normal elves, her ears were not as long nor were they as pointed, as was her face which was round. Features if I recall are common in younger elves. Even at a glance, it was obvious at whose child this was. At first what I thought would have been a pleasant dream, turned sour.   The child spoke and any illusion of this being a real dream pasted. A witch of ‘unknown’ origins has started messing with time. Disrupting some event called Christmas, this witch has taken some of the key figures from this event. The Silver Haired child asked if I could help. Which was unfair to ask, especially from this girl. I agreed knowing that this could only lead to bad things. Ashlyn, Licia, Cid and I were the only ones to be awoken in a candy-coated nightmare. After a quick recap of Dream Children and The Witch, who we all believed to be Pin, we glanced at our surrounding. A thick forest surrounded us but was not the apparent problem that lay before us. A single brown house with pure white shingles, The glass was colorful and thin, but the room inside hidden from our view. The whole house looked warm and cozy a bit too perfect for a witch who stole Christmas to live in. It even seemed delicious, a fact Cid wanted to test. He addictively began chewing on anything he could touch. Even with a simple spell changing the taste of salt and metal. This newly added taste didn’t perturb him in the slightest, but we decided to press on into gingerbread house. Even if this Witch might be evil, you have to give them credit where credit is due, the construction of this place would kill a person's sweet tooth. Possibly all their teeth as well.   Ashlyn, like all times before spoke softly to the door to get it to open. By that I mean, she cut the door down with her adamantine scythe. The inside was just as sickly sweet as the inside, the soft round eyes of children were gazing. Those children offered us cookies and spoke about a mother. One they very much did not want to get on their bad side. Ignoring the children since I am sure Ashlyn would have dealt with that, the candy coating stopped at the stairs. A dungeon that to rival a drow torture chamber lay just beneath the ground floor. With a large hole that leads down, a place where the kids said there “Mother” had thrown other naughty children. Licia and I choose to go down and Cid attempt to force himself to stop eating.   What happened next was a strange combination of finding reindeer one with a nose so red you’d think it would be glowing. Turn out I could speak to those creatures, perhaps another side effect of this new arcane power. With riddling snowmen and other strange puzzles that had been placed, we started collecting present, A rather large turkey named Dreadwing, more captured kids, an icy moose thing and several other strange things. Oh, how could I forget the gingerbread dragon with all his gumdrop buttons. He held the remaining of our traveling companions, which was all women. I say this because Ashlyn who tried to be a diplomat so the dragon would not eat us, which negotiation broke down when the gingerbread dragon took interest ‘Special’ interest in Mery. After saying we’d free them, dragon and their broodling include when we took down the Witch who stole Christmas. Rounding off the strange cavern we found sleeping families. Ashlyn’s family, who were carefully placed in a slay, and mine Celu and Nivinle. We also meet with a white-haired boy named Jack Frost who was in the room with my familial connections. He was more of a prick than I originally thought. Thought that might have been a pang of jealous. Huh, jealousy that new, I’ve never really dealt that emotion before. I mean I know what jealousy is but never over another person. We gave him what was stolen from him, that Icy Moose and another thing which I forgot. Slugging the deer and the slay, with all over our sleeping friends my sister included, in over to the reef and ordainments over to the “old man’s” portal. Jack Frost mentioned that the Witch was.   The workshop was easily the stranger place this dreamscape gave us. Mostly the build which smelled of sugar cookies and pine. Not unpleasant to the nose but the first time you feel it enter your nose, it’s rather strong. The center of the workshop, if that was indeed what this place was meant to be since no tools or trinket that indicated a toy maker lived here. Besides the mounds of toys littered throughout the build. Trees sprinkled throughout, speaking of trees. Whisperbreath had disguised herself one while hiding in another room. I have to admit it fooled me, but once Licia revealed it was Whisperbreath I took full advantage. I swung at the false tree a handful of time make sure Silver really got to embed into the “trunk” I might have had some issues I had to work out. Perhaps it more I just do not like the old wizard all that much.   With all The Lost Ones discovered, the idea of Whisperbreath being the witch was all but gone. While they walked around in the other rooms, I explored separately till I was locked two doors into another place, magical locks that once I entered a room the door shut behind me. Was not my brightest decision but I have not been thinking that clearly lately. After breaking my lockpicks, which I almost never fail at before this arcane transformation. After a small time spent ponding what I could make a quick note to Ashlyn, a Scythe broke down my door. However, they found some sort of machine with guns attached to this two-wheeled machine.   The strange machine was far louder than anything Cid had up his sleeves it was quite concerning.   Once they started dealing with some moving statue that looked like the stone had been molded into an angel. I stupidly made the decision to look in rooms without anyone. Again. I should not leap into rooms without looking. First, I rounded the room to the far north of the building and ran into two figures. A mechanical rat and a large hairy man with goat legs. Before I realized who the rat was, and I did know with only a glance, Krampus grabbed me. Without a second's hesitation, I cast Dimension Door sending Krampus and I into the center room. While still being held I yelled to my companions that It was Whisperbreath!   Okay, this was where it complicated.   It was Whisperbreath but not our Whisperbreath. Her constant meddling in time had created this mechanical monstrosity, well that’s not entirely true. This Alternate Pin was from a time where Ashlyn had died and that Whisperbreath lost a moral compass to keep her on the straight and narrow. Not to mention had gained enough control over her ability to manipulate the ebb and flow of time. So much that this Pin went not back and forth and time, but across time. Into a timeline that was not her native one or at least that was how I understand it. While trying to explain that the Witch who stole Christmas, stole those children and everything else we saw, was a Whisperbreath. I was shoved into a Krampus’ magical sack. Now what I have failed to mention Pennyswaggle in a childlike form had started wandering around.   This is important.   This is what happens when I was shoved in this magical bag.   I turned into a child, while I kept my mind and skills; however, my body was in its 3rd decade? It was hard to tell. This was something I found out later, we quickly began to attempt to fight the mythical being but thought better of it. Pennyswaggle had that taken care of, he’s rather scary in combat even as a child. I am unsure if I have ever seen him in battle before. We had other things to worry about besides the goatman in the corner fighting children. As the mechanical ratfolk waltz in holding something similar to Cid’s firearms to the head of the ninja. One villain monologue later that a small verbal battle of morality between the two Whisperbreaths. Despite not genuinely believing our Pin at the words she spoke to her alternate version, I was like it far more than this metal rat. The Alter Pin tried to steal other domain from these Christmas Deities, are they deities? They probably are something akin to Eldest or Empyreal Lords. The idea of Whisperbreath attempting to ascend to godhood is abhorrent, whatever time she is from. Spells, blades, and bullets flew as we tried to kill the timeline intruder. This Pin played a very different game, and her spells were vastly different and dangerous. During our battle a chime, a tiny silver bell was rung by Krampus summoning help for since pennyswaggle was handling it far better than we could. Before the death of the Alternate Pin, she cast a single spell Ashlyn, and Cid seemed to be fine. However, the first and final person myself was not. The spell killed me, let me stress this, this one spell ripped my soul from my body. Lucky Licia brought me back. Still, my abilities have changed so vastly that I am still unsure what I should be doing, I could take one or two hits before gaining this sword, but I need a better defense against spells. Perhaps making a spell would be better, my natural spell resistance will not help me here. Krampus was killed by the time I was brought back, and another more jolly figure was present. At this time our slumbering companions started to stir, which more worrying I notice after a while the Celuriel and Ninivle were speaking to each other. I knew that she would not, could not be in danger since I tried to punch our Whisperbreath, but The Old Man cast some spell to quell my rage. Santa Claus, the white-bearded man, presented us with each a gift for our troubles. My present was a single spell scroll, A old ring, and a letter for my late wife. Needless to say, I was crying by the end of it. Ashlyn attempted to comfort me, which only made it worse. It was nice to know both of them died without any pain, that thought gave me comfort.   After calming down a bit, I chose to speak with my sister who had stopped speaking with Celuriel. It was a strange assortment of half-truths and questions that conversation.

Journal #38: Black Marble floors and apologizes

I returned to the boneyard in a very straightforward way. However, being pulled into Pharasma black marble throne room so she could question why I was there was well unexpected. The Lady of the Graves was not happy with our progress in destroying the shards and the revival of the Spiritblade. The Goddess mentioned how she left me unmarked for far too long. Even though speaking with Pharasma sent ice through my veins and I felt like everything I said was wrong, I was horribly mistaken. That feeling came when trying to explain what I had done to Celuriel, and it felt so much worse.   It’s completely understandable that she was extremely angry with me, but anytime she looks at me as few and far between that has been lately. It hurts and the guilt, it’s hard to describe. Since she has been angry with me, my pointed ears never have been this low for this long. Listen I messed up, I know that. I’m not some perfect person who knows ever correct action to take. I thought I had it planned out, which I had every intention of telling you. I was worried that if I died while we were fighting or something happen and the other couldn’t bring me back or contact me, you would think I chose to not come back. I had some many thoughts and concerns about this, I should have spoken to you about these concerns. Not going to you, of all people, first was a mistake I should have known better than to make. By sending you away, I become no better than another Drow by deceiving you. When I had taken notice of this, it made every feeling of guilt I had exponentially worse. With everything you have been through I should have known to be truthful to you, I’ve already told you that I will make every attempt to never hide something from you.   It’s challenging to try and make it up to you when I’m not even sure how to start. Humans give gifts and flowers to people they have wronged or made promises of anything they want. Pleading for forgiveness with ‘apologizes and I’m sorry’ is such a foreign concept to me. Those two things just end up getting Drow killed in the Underdark. Perhaps that is why I’m having such a terrible time dealing with this. On how to approach this, how to deal with all of this, the guilt and other feelings that come with all this. Often my people consider these feeling I have to be a sign of weakness. We do not attempt to say sorry, there is no forgiveness where I lived so give flowers and gifts just seems like a hollow attempt to dull a person’s angry at them to me. Through the gift might be tailored to the person to make them happy, With you it’s different. I am unsure how to approach you beside showing you that I am at least trying to be better. I am not even sure why I am writing this.   I have never been one who was good with their speech. My nobility was not one of the honeyed words and waving at massive of crowds, but instead blood-soaked trail. I think by writing out my thoughts I could further explain what going on in this head of mine. Instead of having my mouth butcher any attempt at a sincere apology. Though I highly doubt that you’ll read this anytime soon with your lack of interest in my general existence currently.   I hurt you, nothing I can currently do can fix that. I only truly understood how bad I hurt you when you said ‘did you not consider that other people might need you to stay alive.’ The one statement made me understand to the full folly of my actions. It is rather difficult to describe the feeling in my chest, it’s both hollow and painful knowing I hurt you. It's not a feeling I wish to experience again. I am rather sure I know the reason to that as well. When I said you were important to me while we sat on the side of the small lake in Tenaerul, I think I was lying, though unknowingly. For me to feel like this, at your anger at me for my selfish and stupid decision, for my guilt when you pass by. Why I am having such a mental struggle with all of this. I can only image, no not image, I know that feeling. Needless to say, you're more than important to me. Though telling you that, tell you that I have fallen in love with you, using those words now might just confuse everything.   Maybe those words would make everything worse.   I don’t know.   That's not something you should just spring on a person. Before even considering tell you that, things would have to a state of normality between us.A thought occurred to me, which assures me. If myself from my sixth or seventh decade alive meet the current me, if I were to tell them I would have fallen in love, let alone with an Elf. I am rather sure they would no believe me. Thought I do not think my past self would believe anything I said.   You have to understand I do not want you to leave. Far from it in fact but I believe there some cause to explain why I so quickly agree with your condition if you were to leave. Why I didn’t even disagree or argue against it. Although I did want to protest, I thought better of it, since it would go against something I told myself I wanted to help you with. I’ve always gone along with what you wanted to some extent because it seems like you didn’t have any desires when we first meet. Not that I could tell anyway, despite you always being so close and quite in those early times together. I had made a mental note that I would attempt to help you with anything you wanted or desired if it did not harm you, or other people. So when you told me what you were going to do, how could I tell you no?   This journal entry is just mess of thoughts and apologies.   Celuriel, I am sorry.   ((Depending on the Xmas session this journal will change. **Cough Cough The small dream girl with pale skin, gold eyes, and silver hair Cough Cough** You've know what you did Han.))

Journal #39: The Apology [Text Roleplay]

Aniks will attempt after a couple of days on the airship to find Celuriel where he can speak to her in private. He is determined to at least attempt to apologize to her to make amends.   “I know to say that your upset with me Celuriel is an understatement, to say the least. I hope you at least would listen to what I have to say before asking me to leave. A simple apology of ‘I am so sorry’ would be meaningless and hollow. I undermined your trust by sending you away while I attempted an idiotic plan my mind was hell-bent on completing. I had every intention of telling you after but there had been to many people around. Now I see not tell you to start with was clearly the incorrect path to take.” His ears have completely lowered at this point “For now, all I can do is attempt to at least start mending any hurt feelings I might have caused you with this deceit. How I do this is one, up to you on how I can make this up to you, and two being truthful and sharing information when you ask from this point on. Unless magic prevents me from doing so. Besides that, it is up to you how you take my words. I do not expect you to be any less angry with me.”   Celuriel gives him a searching look as he speaks. She doesn't look pleased with what he's saying, but the spark of angry fire he'd seen in the inn is no longer present. "if you don't expect less anger, why are you talking?   “I am going to try and make up for my mistakes from this point on to you. That is why I am talking, my words had to be said out loud so you know as well. ”   "Aniks," she calls as he leaves, without looking up from the pages. "what did you want to happen?"   A shadow of emotion flickers across her face. "not now. Before."   “Somethings you have to see with your own eyes to truly understand the severity of the problem. A flickering spirit is one problem I had to see. I *wanted* to know how bad this problem truly is...”   "...you're an idiot." It doesn't sound like an insult, instead being more of a statement of fact. "what did you plan for if you were trapped on that side?"   Aniks takes a moment to consider it "Yes I think I am..." Then shifts uncomfortably knowing that he had fully understood that could have been the case."I would be first to admit the plan had many flaws. I prayed to Pharasma shortly before for some semblance of protection. I expected this might be the outcome" He raised his left arm slightly "Being pulled into her throne room was unexpected..."   "should you not know better than to rely on a goddess?" She wonders, still refusing to look up from the page. "if she hadn't, you could have been pulled elsewhere. soul magic works best before she receives souls for judgment." She's forcing her tone to be casual, but the slight lecture is very much evident. "Hypocritical of me to rely on her huh." Aniks lowers his arm. "Blind stupid trust in a entity that's motives will always be a mystery, save for her reminder."   "yes," she agrees. "it was very stupid. and very selfish. I wonder if your lady would have minded the others ignoring their mission in order to drag you out of the Abyss."   Aniks touchs his wrist "I... I know it was" His eyebrows furrow at the later half of her comment though that look she couldn't see. "Pharasma would be displeased at that."   Aniks's mark drops a few degrees in temperature. Nothing overly noticeable, just enough to let him feel it. "you are usually.. better at thinking things through. why was this different? did you not consider that other people might need you to stay alive."   Celuriel's hands come to a standstill on the page. "there are ways to view a soul without resorting to death," she murmurs. "ones you wouldn't need me to tell you about, if you had done any searching." The silence hangs in the air for a long moment before she continues speaking, brushing the hair away from her face as she does. She's paler than normal, and she might be shaking, but there are no tears. "I don't know how you expect me to react. you know this is new for me, even with what's in my books helping. they say I should just... forgive this. but I cannot just accept your words as truth. you understand, don't you?" She doesn't wait for a response. "I am... glad our paths have crossed. but I refuse to let this life be broken like my past." Finally, she looks up at him. There's no happiness in the mockery of a smile she gives him and her words sound heavy, almost like a judge passing sentence, as she carefully speaks them. "if you decide to do something this stupid and selfish again, and if you try to hide it from me, you can continue your travels without me."   The rashness of his actions heighted heavily on his heart. Her words hurt and stung deeply. He sat in silence for only a handful moments before his ears returned to a semi normal state as he looked at her "I understand. What I did should not be forgiven by simple words." In her last words he sensed a level of conviction, which made him happy for this spark of determination. Sad at what it took to bring it out of her, and more than anything. Aniks did not want her to leave. He couldn't find the correct words to say for that last statement. So he didn't. She had made her claim rather clear, Aniks was going to make sure that line he would not cross. He had told her everything he wanted to get across. He did not want to lose another person he has become so close to.   For a brief second, an odd mixture of confusion and annoyance flickered across Celuriel's face. She hadn't expected him to be so accepting. "...I want to explore the city alone when we get there. at least for the beginning. but it's a big city.." She doesn't come out and say it, but it's evident that she's concerned about getting separated from them for longer than she wants to be.   Aniks pauses for a second thinking about what she said "Please be careful while you explore..." His main concern with her alone in a city they did not know was her sister, it had been on his mind ever since she had become an Elf once again, but it was not like he was going to stop her. She made a choice on something she wanted do, so Aniks was going to respect it. He rummaged through a his bag till he found one of those communication books. Approaching the Elf simply hands the book over "Here, if you get lost or need to find us be something happens..."   Celu glances at the book, clearly unsure of herself, and puts her own to the side to accept it. The cabin isn't particularly light, but that isn't an issue for Aniks, and he can clearly glimpse the title as she takes the journal. It's a human fantasy novel - 'Sleeping Beautie and other Novelles'. "thank you," she murmurs, not taking her cool gaze away from his. "and you can stop worrying. I can be 'careful'. my powers weren't only from undeath." There's a hint of hesitation, as if she's not sure whether she should continue speaking - almost as if she's not mentioning something   Although his worried probably would not diminish till he knew she was safe, but this time he knew he would have to deal with the feeling of anxiety while she was away. He mentally noted to him keep himself busy in the next city. He gave her single slow nod conveying that he understand that she could take care of herself. "If there not is anything else, I will excuse myself. Goodnight Celuriel."

Journal #37: Departure

Barkeeps 31th Entry: Departure   Being blind is more than an annoyance. It’s was a minor inconvenience but more than worth it if it meant Celu had a chance to live again. The two of us took the first watch so Celuriel could get the most sleep possible. Despite the trouble our group cause, she did not wake from her slumber. When the next hour signaled the next shift. An unseen fey force had enchanted us, forcing us to be in a strange dream-like state. More akin to Lucid dreaming, however, while the fey tried and distract us from there true objection. I was flinging fireballs and Magic missiles into the dark while blinded. Ashlyn told me where to sling the sphere of explosive magical energy.   There was a mixed result.   I might have charred a bit of Artemis.   Another strange, odd monster had to give me an image in my mind's eye. A twisted vision of cat’s eyes and a crooked evil smile. It was the only thing I could see, leaving my magical missiles as the best possible spell to deal with the smile. I was borderline useless in this fight, Lirien had also escaped during under cover of spells and combat. Any spell I could use would have been more helpful without the blindfold on.   While the others bickered about how to find lirien, I chose to sleep. Any entity wanting Lirien to ‘help’ them is will keep her alive. Safe, was a word I would not feel like using in Tenaerul. So my concern for her could be put aside for now. Besides I had a feeling we could find her or her trail. Tenaerul seems to work on the mechanics of if you wish to be here you will be. We merely needed to want to find her.   Waking up and deal with our Lirien problem, we learned and found out about some rather interesting issues in our near future. Lirien in her haste had left her traveling pack and other sleeping leaving a trail for Kraia to sniff out. Finding her would be far more accessible than the group initially thought while she remained in the domed Tenaerul. Pennyswaggle had returned to us…   Where do I even begin with this one? I should have guessed when he offered to make me his champion, How he was A FORMER champion of “The Traitor” an Eldest who we will get back to. How the Beauty herself said the rules of this and do not affect him like the others, us. So blind as to his nature that he was not even hiding it, we just never asked. If he was some sort of Divine being, which the idea of Pennyswaggle having divine anything is worrying. Concern for another day but that does raise a question for who he has been hanging around and who is friends are.   I am jumping ahead a bit.   The information about who has chosen to spend time with us is a bit concerning.   Before Pennyswagge had arrived, I was lead to the edge of the pond and the necklace that the Beauty requested, but declined. She told us to keep the relics we had found, but these are not museum pieces, nor are they to be sold. She said they are some sort of lifeblood of Tenaerul, a remnant of the worldrend. They are to wore. As soon as the blindfold as gone, I turned to look at Celuriel. She has the most gorgeous golden eyes.   As touching as this moment probably should have been. We had some rather pressing concerns. The arrival of pennyswaggle, the slew of question we asked The Beauty, and the problem of finding our Half-Drow. Some of the questions we asked varied from person to person, The Shard of the Void have been referred to as Fragments of Xaahra. Something to look into in the future. When asking who The Beauty was she told us that we could find that information in the east, by meeting her daughter? I cannot remember that this well. We had completed both her quest, Myself by reenacting this Orpheus person journey from hell to bring back there loved one, and the others quest for higher power.   Ashlyn & Pin: The earrings   Celu: The Necklace   Aniks: The Ring   Licia: The Tiara   Lirien: The Bracer   Going on the hunt for Lirien after departing from the shapeshifter in the pond. A place where the voice, no The Traitor, wanted us to come to. The Tower. A tower which doors lay open and the wolf form of Kraia lead us directly inside. It was empty of everything, the throne that one can only assume held The Traitor lay vacant.   Another problem that we will inevitably have to be dealt with. Why is it always something with us, we can not do a single thing without getting wrapped up in some stupid plot of another machination. The shards I can understand, but everything else. We pressed on which lead us to the edge of the dome, where we meet the train which had received a new decoration, sparkly and all. Apart of some deal, Whisperbreath struck with Fey, they are coming with us outside the dome. Deciding not to deal with it, have Whisperbreath take some responsibility for her actions. Leaving Tenaerul, there were even more problems to add to an ever growing list.   We learned about these problems by Whisperbreath reverse scrying in time, to perceive the events that transpired. An interesting way to use her champion powers which have returned after leaving Tenaerul. A smart move on her part however constant dabbling in time might have unseen consequences.   Upon her time scrying, we were informed of a dead guard, who had been stabbed in the back. The retelling of Lirien escaped with Pennyswaggles dagger, and what we can assume is the traitor was hard for Whisperbreath. After her explanation, the guard who informed us about this murder turned our attention to the other problem. The sealed dome tear had grown even more extensive, then the final thing was the most concerning, where the damage had grown, a symbol of a destructive god. The front half outside and then the back half still contained inside the twisted land of Tenaerul. I stressed the importance of not letting this out into the public only letting the most important people know, for the symbol of this one god could potentially cause mass panics. Much to my annoyance, Ashlyn would not keep her mouth shut, telling anybody who asked. Cyne said he was going towards the Temple, which I could only mean that he was going to tell the High Priestess. Whisperbreath quickly had the train return to Ironfalls, with the Fey on board while we teleported away. Quickly gathering any necessary supplies and alerting the proper people to the Lich and to start protection of the City. People said their goodbyes to their families At this moment I remember something important   I destroyed Whisperbreath’s, Elven Ale.   Finally.   That drug is almost gone from our lives.   Appearing quickly in Ilendras with a teleport spell, we had the people running the Elf Gate quickly leaping through. Through another Elf Gate in the Elven Kingdom we got close to finding the Elven group in the gnomish city, we put miles between the looming Lich Threat. It was a relief to know Celu would be safe for a time. Truth is I’m writing this while she is sleeping, we booked a room in this strange pirate place. She refused to take off the hat before going to sleep. The two of us spent most of the day looking up prices to ferry us to a rather big city in Xin-Jiyu.

Journal #34: Her thoughts on life. [Text Roleplay]

“Although it was not technically you that asked this, I feel that it is only natural that I ask. I overheard the others briefly mention your wrist after we left the Ivory Maze. Are you okay with this, with that mark around your wrist Celuriel?”   "...I don't know?" She sounds very uncertain. "it is almost like being traded from one to another."   "At least that mark will be a certain level of protection from this places negative effects. I am not sure we are completely out of the wood just yet." Aniks taps the egg with a slight rhythm as if he was pondering something.   Though he can't see it, Celu looks around at the woods, pointedly. "...I can be certain that we are not. why did you take the egg? were strange upgrades, notes from another era, and another stray not enough?"   "The question is what else does Tenaerul want besides these odd quests, as for the egg I'm not really sure I placed you in that chair in the treasure room it was the closest thing to us. I'm slightly interested in to see what it is going to be. It's a rather odd color of pink and purple." Aniks stopped tapping on the egg. "maybe the idiot rat can ask her friends about it. we can see how much debt she can place herself in." Celu boops his arm. "are you glad to be you again?"   Aniks inhales deeply at the thought of Pins accumulating fey debt, and now Ashlyn as well. Releasing the held breath which have contended his frustrations "Fey most likely will not say anything unless a bargain is struck." Aniks mutter a curse or two quitely so only she could hear about the group lack of listening skill "Wait, I am no longer a female? I guess I am so use to my body that I had not noticed the change."   Celu smirks at the cursing - then promptly frowns when she realises how odd that feels. "...maybe, but she's the type to make silly deals. and yes. see?" She grabs his hand, making it poke his own chest to point out the distinct lack of boobage.   " With all the drinks I would not be surprised at all" Aniks was then glad when Celu help confirm that he indeed was back in his original body. "Well as interesting as my chest was for you, I am rather glad that I was not stuck in that form." Then he paused "How... how are you feeling?"   She sighed, letting go of his hand. "...indescribable. I could see some of the colour in memories, but... there are so many feelings that were dull before. or not there at all. and breathing is annoying and noisy."   A tiny laugh came from the drow "Breathing is natural and eventually you forget your doing it, and even tone it out. I cannot even begin to think of all the feeling you must be experiencing currently. It must be overwhelming."   She made a face, content in the knowledge that he couldn't see it. "it's tiring. there's a lot more worry. and.. positive things, I suppose. oh, and my spells are different." A pause. "...more than just my spells, I think."   "I would hope that things are different for you now. You're not undead anymore so you can hurt quite easily." Aniks stop, unsure if he wanted to asked a certain question. Though it was a rather simple question, the answer might not be with Celu's new found emotions.   "I stabbed my finger to test what it felt like. even pain feels more real. and it didn't heal on its own, which was... weird." Another sigh as she glared at the dagger. "...and blood tastes very different."   "Metallic and salty, wait why would you taste it?" Aniks then decided to asked the question on his mind that he had been rolling around inside his head. "Are you okay, I mean you did take a rather painful hit from that Ivory Demon?"   She couldn't help the flinch. She probably could have stopped herself from stepping close to him and hugging tight, but... "it has been a long time since that has happened," she murmured, letting him feel her tension through the tight grasp. "and it was far less awful the time before. demonic taint is unpleasant. that empty void is worse. and I thought..." She trailed off, taking a breath. Whether it was a moment of forgetfulness or a hint of emotion wasn't clear. "...that I might be alone when I woke."   "Let's hope you never have to see something like that again" With the Elf's arms wrapped around him, he tried to make her at ease with "You do not have to be alone as long as I am here. I was not going to abandon you."   "it killed me in barely two swings, Aniks." Was that a hint of upset in her voice? Almost definitely. "my powers were necromantic. there was nothing I could have done if I'd woken up to find you dead other than to raise you as another abomination."   How was he meant to respond to that? Celu was clearly upset and he did not what to get her angry by telling her 'it would have been fine' or 'not to worry about it.' Aniks simply embraced her, or attempted to with her hiding behind him. Instead he rest his head on hers. "I know, when I saw you drop I felt rather anger." Anger wasn't technically right, it was probably a bit more alone the lines of hatred for that Ivory Demon. "I can only tell you that we have to look out for each other, otherwise we both might end up dead" He said that quietly.   "....technically only, I am dead if you look out for me right now," she said, bemused at his attempt at comfort. "I will need to be more careful when defending you now, won't I... that's annoying. my instincts are all wrong." She sounded slightly annoyed at that fact, though the annoyance seemed to have faded as she spoke up again, delicately moving away from emotional things for her own sake. "how did you end the battle?"   "Well as long as this blindfold is on we should be fine." Then Aniks begin retelling Celu how the battle went . He didn't go to much into detail on the succubus and the five cat boys. He hadn't paying it too much mind to begin with. "Then Artemis dealt the final blow to the Ivory Demon. After all was said and down I believe the Demon Lord of the Ivory Maze told us to collect our treasure since we provided a decent amount of entertainment for a moment. I picked you up and brought you to the treasure room grabbing the necklace and placed you in the chair. Minus the finding the egg I waited till you came back."   For a time, Celu simply listened to the story, raising both eyebrows at both the empowering and the.. succubus. When he finished, she frowned. "it feels concerning that a demon lord was talking and yet nothing worse happened," she observed. "and... thank you."   "We still haven't left this place, anything can happen. It's only a working assumption that it was the demon lord but it's the only logical creature I could think of." Aniks paused trying to remove the mental image of succubus and the cat boys from his mind, It seemed like a scene right of House Umbra and often hard to forget. This might show up in his dream he thought regrettably. Then a thought poked his at his mind. He's gonna dream again since her former vampire powers stopped him from having dream. He was never sure how that one worked but for months he's only had one dream. Wait former powers? With that thought in mind Aniks asked "Are you hungry or tired at all? It's a bit weird to ask you that since it's never really been in this context before."   "if it wasn't one, then it was still something more powerful than the rest there. it is still enough to be concerned with. let us hope we can leave soon." She had to think on his question, leaving Aniks in silence for a few moments before finally figuring out an answer. "Ashlyn took away the exhaustion. hunger, I am less sure about. my throat feels strange, but there is none of the weakness and need I felt when 'hungry' as a vetala."   "You could just need water if its your throat that feels strange, it could be dry dry. You haven't needed water in years." Aniks paused "If your stomach start rumbling please tell somebody, what Ashlyn did only cure physical exhaustion. Its only a matter of time before your hungry and need something to eat." Celu made a noise of annoyance at the concept of thirst. "maybe. the lakewater can fix that, then. how long do you think I can avoid having to do... that?" she asked, referring to eating in a tone of displeasure.   Hearing the displeasure at the idea of eating, "Eating is not that bad, it probably taste better than memories. As for how long, its possible you won't need to eat for anywhere from a couple of hours to half a day."   "memories were interesting. they let me see true colour. your food seems boring and the three things I have tasted have left me concerned for what it will be like." She frowned. "...that is too often."   "Three? What have you eaten?" Then with a smirk "well then we'll have to find you something that you like to eat."   "Those of course are not going to taste good, they are not meant for drinking and eating. Now thinking about it I do not think we should eat or drink anything in Tenaerul. If your throat and stomach start hurting I believe the others have supplies, Ashlyn always has honey and apples on her. Cyne maybe?" The blinded dark elf paused thinking of some of the food he's tried over the past hundred or so years. "I've always enjoyed fruit, like apples and oranges. However I find myself enjoying omelets during breakfast a bit more, when I'm not cooking pancakes and waffles for everybody."   "the paladin is unobservant. it wouldn't be hard to take food from her," Celu mused. "you're making me all three of those breakfast foods when you can see. there must be a reason behind their obsession."   "You could just ask, she's rather friendly as you've seen." Aniks smile at the simple idea of cooking for her "There obsession with pancakes is borderline addictive in nature. Perhaps I'll pick up a cook book so I'm not cooking the same thing over and over for you."   Celu affixed him with a pointed stare, not that he could see it. "Asking for things is what the weak do," she said, pitching her voice lower - imitating someone else. "Those who matter simply take what they want." She dropped the tone, continuing on as if that had been normal. "there are books for that? then I can learn, too."   His brow furrowed for only a second at the tone at her voice, placing a mental pin in his mind. "Celu..." He dragged out her name, but half way through he started to laugh. The last statement caught him off guard so much. He smiled as he said "Of course there are books for cooking! Although I want to know why you want learn this?"   Secure in the knowledge that he couldn't see, she let herself smile at the laughter. It hadn't been expected, but... it felt nice? "I am not a child who will always need to be waited on. and--" She hesitated, far less sure of her next words. "...it's faint. most of those memories are-- lost. but I think I was the one who did that before. my sister would not have. and my mother wouldn't have been able to."   "I am not saying your a child, it just caught me off guard that's all." Aniks said then thought better to joke at this moment "You've lived a long life, I'm honestly surprised if you could remember everything."   "a long and very boring life," Celu corrected. "your group's arrival was the most entertaining thing in centuries. the mind-numbing dullness likely didn't help with retaining living memory. nor did the occasional visit from-- her." It was odd being so open about Ludrissiel for once. It felt strange to do. "is cooking... entertaining?"   "Cooking, depending on the day really. If I am cooking for them on occasion is it entertaining since I have somebody to speak to. I find a bit a peace while cooking alone though it's often for myself. My favorite part is the smells, its great and brings me a bit of pleasure." Aniks deeply sighed now wanting to something to eat. He wasn't hungry but he could eat something.   "...you like the smell of smoke?" Celu asked in slight disbelief, loosening her hug to step back and examine him for any signs of head injury. "nothing any of you made smelled vaguely appealing before."   "Depends on what I am cooking with, Smoke smells differently depending on what you burn. Charcoal and oak wood smell different when burned, and mostly no I do not like the smell of fire." Aniks pondered what she was doing, the blindfold kept him from looking. However since they were so close to each other he could easily feel when she moved. Mentally sighing he understood that he's probably going to bed with this on. "Maybe now that your alive, the smell might catch your attention."   She made a face, unimpressed with that particular notion. "that sounds like it's going to cause headaches-- oh. I have to deal with mortal versions of those now, don't I."   Mortal vision, that was a odd way of thinking about it. Then again the colors she could see dulled from what she had told him Aniks had to remind himself. "Every once in a while yes it does. As for the the answer, it comes without saying that you have to deal with all the senses now"   She huffed in annoyance. "everything is overwhelming already. if anything else happens, I am going to be like you in the light."   Aniks grumbled something about Lightspells and bright aasimars. "Let's hope not, my sensitivity to harsh light changes are annoying. It's only been a couple of hours, it will take time to get use to this new life of yours."   "this brings up the only two benefits of being in this place for much longer. it is dark enough that you should be fine, and will at least let some of this... adjusting... happen without her interrupting." Celu stated, glancing around at the group. "but you will have more issues with light now that the former elf has returned. nobody is in that much starlight without being able to make it brighter."   "I absolutely forgot we have two aasimars." Aniks dreaded the thought of going blind, even if it was only temporary. Especially since almost everybody in this group has blinded him. "As for your her, leaving the country as soon possible should at least gives us some time. Though that might be wishfull thinking."   "you can teleport. that should help. even if she scries, she will want to be careful. maybe we will be lucky and she will wait until we return. she's patient." Celu took a deep breath, having forgotten to properly do so whilst speaking. "...this is still annoying."   "Even if it's annoying, it becomes second nature after while." Aniks could tell by the deep breath that she was speaking about the act of breathing. "That begs the question, return from what though. Return from Tenaerul or from the East? Patient is a deadly weapon when use properly, especially when the person is nearly immortal... "   "though I cannot pretend to know her plans, it... would be when she feels it would hurt most," Celu said with a wince. Why did that now hurt to say? "so it will likely be further away. oh. you should warn the town."   "I think that would be the best course of action, the others seem rather fond of Ironfalls." Aniks brows furrowed once again at the thought of the lich and her timing " It just means for a while, till we can deal with Her properly. We'll have to be on guard, I would rather not have you taken away again."

Journal #36: Life before The Lost Ones

Across a dimly lit bedroom, the soft pitter-patter of rainfall could be heard across their roof. In the dark, the ebony elf’s sleep had always been restless. Not since his time as a child, before he has a real sense of fear, has he had a restful night of sleep. This restlessness was instilled in him because of the years he spent in the Underdark. Sleep in the Underdark often lead to the dreams of assassination and being kidnapped and forced into servitude. Those years of worry clearly weighted heavily on the layers of dark elf ’s subconsciousness. Even on the surface now safe from the terrors of his kin, his guard will always be up. Since even people on the surface despised the drow as much as two rival drow houses hated each out while they struggled for power. This tension was noticeable to anyone who could see the drow sleep, even comfy sheet and bed would not ease this drow body into a more relaxed state. A fact that Claire took a clear note of the past couple of years living with her husband. Her husband, the thought alone was odd for her, married so young into her adventures and to a drow. Her eyes reminded closed, but she had been awake for half an hour at least.   Through her closed eyes a flash of light. Lightning crawled across the sky, it’s brief light illuminated the dark bedroom. The clap of thunder soon followed and shook the house. Out of reflex, the dark elf’s body lurched forward searching for a sign of danger. His veins felt like ice as his golden eyes scanned the room. His eyes lingered on his wife's twin short swords that were sheathed on the wall, then to daggers not far from them. Nothing was out of place the drow noted. His ears also perked up as to listen past the rain to see if he heard anything that was abnormal. The dark elf’s face smirked at his own stupidity, it was just a stormed he chastised himself. His body slowly went back to a position he felt he could get a comfortable amount of sleep in. Aniks attempted to relax, yet his body remained rigid across the bed. Even now under the covers, his bare chest felt cold. The bedroom only seemed to have a draft when there was a rather strong storm.   The wind howled as it blew quite violently against the couple’s windows. The ebony elf turned his head to look at his wife, how did he ever get this lucky he thought to himself. People within the Underdark do not care the same way humans do. His feelings for this human, ‘Love’ as it’s known in common, is always looked down upon by his kin. In fact, love of this nature is always hidden in fear that it would easily be taken advantage of. He let a small smile come to his rather tired face as he gazed at her. Despite all that she knew about him since she was the only human or person that he has spoken to openly about his past, she had accepted that. Her justification for that was simply ‘You cannot be like a typical drow, else I would already be dead’ she teased him about being a drow and all the ‘terrible’ things he could do. This would often lead to the drow blushing and finding something besides Claire to pay attention to.   See the drow initially didn’t think much of Claire. She was a simple adventurer with a group that had captured an evil drow on the surface. Aniks was that unlucky drow that had been in the wrong place at the right time on the surface during winter. Claire’s adventuring group wanted to leave the dark elf tied up to a tree, so he could freeze to death but the human protest. She protested so much that she created an ultimatum for them.   “We take the dark elf with us he’ll freeze in a couple of hours, or you leave without me!” Aniks always asked why she chose to spare some random drow she knew nothing about. It was the simple fact that Aniks never shown any violence toward the group. Leaving him to freeze Claire thought was worse than turning him in at the nearest town. Aniks always did admire that stubborn determination that humans seem to all poses, at least the humans that he knew.   Aniks was slightly jealous of the fact Claire could sleep so peacefully.   “Niks, it’s just a storm,” she said without opening her eyes. Aniks was slightly taken aback by her being awake but understood this wasn’t the first time he had woke her from her sleep.   “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” Aniks said in a whisper that the rain could easily have drowned out if they hadn’t been so close. There was silence between the two only to be broken by a clap thunder. Being a dark elf, sudden changes in light creates temporary blindness for Aniks. Another shot of ice ran through his veins, the total greyness of his sight always but him on edge. Their bed creaked as Claire moved closer to the blind drow, she could easily tell what was going on since he was blinking rapidly. Something brushed against his lips while unable to see. That graying blindness clearing from his eyes, he was meet with a pair of open, bright greenish blue eyes were about six inches from his face. There was a small laugh from the human. Claire often did small thing like that when she knew Aniks was temporarily blind. Aniks felt blood rush to his face and was glad the darkness hid that from Claire. She wasn’t gifted with the superior dark vision of the drow so she couldn’t get a truly clear depiction of Aniks blushing currently. Through his vision, her curly brown was all over the place and curled around her cheeks. Her eyes scanned as if she was trying to figure out what was wrong. She had a pretty good idea of what it was. Claire turned to face the window and had her back was facing him. She closed the remaining distance between the two of them.   “I could say the same to you, we only have so many nights left of peaceful rest,” she whispered, sounding like she was drifting off back into slumber. Then in more of a murmur, “I hope it’s…it’s a …. girl.”   Another brief moment of lightning and blindness followed up by a very close crack of loud thunder. His slender arms wrapped around his tired wife she slipped one of her hands into the drows, as she nuzzled herself as close to her dark elf as possible. After all, they were both rather cold in that drafty house of theirs. Each of them chose an appropriate position for them to sleep comfortably together. Through Claire's sleepy haze her voice attempted to mumble something. Aniks, of course, new a handful of languages, incoherent sleepy babbling was one he was not quite familiar with. Sorting through his knowledge of common, the closest language to nonsense tired mumbles, his interpretation of this babbling coming from his wife was a question. She had asked, “What do you hope they are?”   The couple had been married for less year and their time together as a whole was coming up on five years in total. The idea of a child was nothing more than a joke between the two, at least that was the case. Early on Claire would mention wanting a child with him, mainly to see his face grow warm and change color. This was almost always the easiest way to see a drastic change in his persona, this sudden change often showed that the surface had changed him for the better. No longer the stereotypical dark elf who’s every action was deliberately evil. Aniks only returned the teasing when under the influence of drinks or often when they’re alone. However, the two of them have had conversations seriously considering the possibility of having children.   Aniks had always voiced some concerns for any children he had with Claire, his ties to his house would still have some looming treat over them. Though Claire often disregarded this personal problem. Saying she’ll deal with her new extended relatives, often raising one of her twin swords making gestures of attacking dark elves she’s never meet. This put Aniks mind at eases, to his family he’s basically dead. As far as he was aware of the past fifty years, they have not searched for him. Which was suitable for this hypothetical family they spoke of. There was also the concern of how the child would be seen to the world at large. Though technically their children would be Half-Elves. It’s more accurate to use the term Half-Drow. Aniks only knew of a handful of Half Drow, and most were under the disturbing care of house umbra. They were oddities they are often never truly accepted by the surface and used for terrible means in the Underdark.   This changed recently at the news that Claire had been expecting. Both the soon to be parents were ecstatic. At least one list of male names have already been created, Claire had made at least double that in female names. Aniks stressed that he didn’t want their kid to have a name that would be used by a Drow. Both of them decided it would be for the best for their child to take her last name. The Drow in whisper careful not to wake his wife said: “ I would very much like a girl as well, though I would not mind a boy.”   The ebony elf’s eyes slowly closed as his mind drifted, it felt odd to him. Aniks body was no longer tense while trying to sleep. For the first time since he was a baby, he slept with a smile on his face. Within a minutes Aniks felt her breathing become slower. He still didn’t want to wake her, it’s not a pleasant experience when his wife did not get a restful night sleep. Especially as of late. In the back of his head, Aniks thought she was doing this as a way to get both of them some well-needed rest. Aniks pulled the cover up to their shoulders and placed his arm across Claire once again intangling his fingers with hers, in his thoughts he remarked how warm she was.   It was peaceful and perfect.

Journal #35: Fey Friends.

Fey are tricky, and my companions are rather stupid. Hells, the fey we encounter we’re just nice. I’m getting ahead of myself, I would rather not start this journal entry with a two paragraph long rant about the problems of deals and listening to people you can trust.   Once given the quest to traverse the Ivory Labyrinth of Baphomet to recover a single item, A ruby necklaces. This maze, how I at least interpreted is only a fraction of the true maze which lies on the Abyssal realm. Since while walking throughout the maze I could not believe that we had so easily entered the realm of demons. Tenaerul seems to have other planes leaking into this sealed dome. The labyrinth itself might have only been able to manifest a fraction of its full size. This is just a idea floating in my head, the laws of this corrupted land must be rather loose and flexible with all the dangerous beings waltzing around.   After my rather personal conversation with Celuriel, I chose to only relay the important information that could affect them. That being that if we followed this path to breathing life backing to the Vampire, we would have a Lich hunting us. Celuriel had been slightly hesitant to throw us into danger with her revival. Adamantly convinced that her older sister would effortlessly slaughter us. I have voiced my concerned to her, and to her, they will stay for now. Those thoughts are not meant for these pages, not yet anyway. The Lost Ones without a seconds hesitation agreed to help her. Then Ashlyn, the ever embodiment of sunshine and goodness she is. Gifted the vampire with a dagger, a wrist sheathe to keep it hidden. I believe there were a couple of other items, but I am not sure. She was rather quite if I recall, I think she was a bit taken aback at the willingness of people to help her with the issue of Ludrissiel.   It seems that within the domed walls of Tenaerul, if you are seeking a destination, then the path before you will lead you to that location. Like I said previously the rules of Tenaerul are very loose here. Reality clearly is not the same within the dome. Before we fell asleep we had a guest drop in from the sky, Cyne was now trapped within this cursed land with us. I believe a mix up was made when transporting something through our special books that allow for long distance communication. Taking Cyne with it and appearing next to casks of Ale. Which the party decided to drink, for an hour. It was rather vexing to watch. Through some complex series of events regarding the ale, unknown magics, and our party. Whisperbreath became a mother, claiming this black egg as her own.   I am concerned about this child's future.   Especially since Whisperbreath is the self-proclaimed mother.   Traveling to the Labyrinth was far quicker than I thought it would take. However, we were meet with a red-haired woman. Notably, she wore a three-pointed knot necklace, a simple design and a symbol for the Fey Eldest Magdh. She had a rather elegant green dress and seemed to be expecting us and seemly knew why we were here within a few questions. A never a good sign. With attention unknown, she gave us a way to get travel through the maze of the demon lord. A cyan string ball, magical in nature I have to question if a former myth from Aletheia’s past had something similar. Since my quest was currently the reason why we are seeking to explore this maze, I thought it was important to be the one to hold this magical cyan ball of string.   Entering into the maze simple and to simplify the description of its, everything is made of Ivory. Walls to the floor and the ceiling up above, in the white material. However on the wall of the first room after the door were shut behind us was an inscription.   A snake of a maze before you may lie. Truth in these words is that which will guide. To seek treasure within, a key must be found. Sapphire to four, but heed not their call. Emerald to eight, but ware of its theft. Ruby to twelve, but break not its chains. Witness the three and make them to one, and the final of four shall be found within ebony. The first floor of the maze was the most trying. Not because of some battle or some complex puzzle that our group was utterly lost. It’s the fact we stopped twice to rest, though one of those rest were unavoidable. We were given three gems that matched the ones in the riddle. Emerald was given to Ashlyn, Sapphire to Celuriel and Kraia held the ruby. Each took a color jewel because of the lines in which we thought it was most likely be safe. A Theft would not be able to steal something from out fearless paladin, Artemis and Kraia, in general, are monsters. Celuriel had taken the Sapphire because of her abilities. Enter the first room we had locked the sapphire into a door and saw a room where the floor was a pool. A dark shadow swam through it and a single lady.   A sirens song mere seconds long.   I will not lie at my faults, I found the song entrancing. I almost followed its command to go to the water, if Celuriel hadn’t slammed me into a wall. She had obviously had figured out what had happened. I followed any instructions she had given, and the sirens tempting words left my mind. The Aboleth in the room was a whole other problem because of the effect on the water which some of us had to get into. See when an Aboleth is in water, it infects it with its slime that its body naturally creates. A person and or creature that breaths with a set of lungs that touch this infected water grows gills and is forced to stay in the water. A handful of infected had to stay in the water once the duo of aquatic monsters had been slain. The monsters dissipated into the maze. Once that happened, the sapphire began to glow, and we then began to see how this would play out. The Sapphire also has tiny words inscribed on them “Y T I.” At first, it made no sense, but we poked them and decided to find more rooms before pondering on this more. We spent a whole night sleeping and talking waiting for the infection for certain people to wear off.   While walking around the maze, we found a hall with several doors, two which contended gem slots and one with a message carved into the door with three gem slots. This three slot door had “Ntbkeeqz gl i xiihpc” written across from it. Great, I had thought Ciphers, at least I had been practicing.   Find the door for the Emerald was next and a gross mossy monster which had large, for lack of a better term, tentacles which caused some problems but not as much as the siren or the aboleth. It was concerning as to what this thief was going to do, although this creature’s minions concerned me since they did not seem to be thieves of any kind. The encounter was done faster than I clear to recount, and Ashlyn avoided being swallowed whole by the malicious moss. The Jewel glowing it’s gem’s color and revealed those letters to us “C A R.”   The room across from was the ruby room, this was interesting since there was an untold story here at one point about a trumpet archon Oriatar. This archon was bound in changes and requested a dual, a singular one which Ashlyn has begrudging volunteered for. Keeping a fair fight with our feathery friend over in the ruby room, I have noticed that lirien was about the cast a spell. Currently, my level of trust in the half-drow is at an all-time low, though I have already voiced my concerns in the entry before this one. Casting one of the few nature spells that could blind her, Dazzling lights which interrupted her. We eventual caved in and began to empower Ashlyn with our spell and tricks. The fight was quickly over, but Ashlyn had been terribly damaged. Nothing she could not recover from, but we’ve barely ever seen her like this. This was probably due to her strange logic of pulling her punches at this angel when he clearly was not. I swear I will never truly understand this paladin. Waiting for the angel to be brought back from the dead. We rested in the room and learned the angel's name, Oriatar. Once again the Ruby started glowing we were given the last code “O V.”   Deciphering the code using the three gems, ‘Ntbkeeqz gl i xiihpc’ turned out the be ‘Pactience is a virtue.’   After our rest, we placed the gems indoor and waited for about 30 minutes before trying the door. It opened.   24-2-13-22 19-26-23 14-22-13-7-18-12-13-22-23 8-12-14-22-7-19-18-13-20 26-25-12-6-7 7-19-22 5-12-18-24-22 19-26-5-18-13-20 26 24-19-26-14-11-18-12-13 26-13-23 8-22-13-23-18-13-20 18-7 7-12 21-18-13-23 6-8 8-15-18-20-19-7-15-2 24-12-13-24-22-9-13-18-13-20 8-18-13-24-22 7-19-18-8 5-12-18-24-22 18-8 5-22-9-2 14-6-24-19 8-22-13-23-18-13-20 14-18-3 14-22-8-8-26-20-22-8   The second floor was more maze-like, and we were divided into two main groups. Male and Female, by magic barriers. Exploring to the end of the maze I found an adventurer who did not make it, or at least his journal and body.   To those who come next, This is where our journey ended. Rulark and Shadara couldn't stand against the plant monstrosity some rooms ago, and we didn't have the remedies to fix Akutol, not after that door's trap. Glessa and Beornil are going to try going forward. Beornil's in better shape than I am, and this place isn't going to let me through alone. If only we could go back. If only we'd listened to the whispered warnings. We thought we could handle it, and now I don't even have a name with which to sign this. [The earlier pages seem to contain notes on Tenaerul's wildlife, though large sections have been stained black. The later pages are covered by increasingly illegible scribbles.]   Eventually, we meet up with the lady of the party, which is almost all of them. Cid, Cyne and I are really outnumbered. Another boring ivory room but this time with a statue and with around half sphere implanted into the ground on the other side of that singular statue. The Statue ‘spoke’ about only two who could bear life could pass. There was a basin that we had to slit our hand and drip blood into the bowl connecting. Now that leads to some problems, Ashlyn and I paired off and were relocated to a specific spot in the ivory room. Cid and Kraia next, followed by Cyne and Lirien leaving one pair. Whisperbreath and Celuriel, gods help her. Although I do not clearly remember Whisperbreath was screwing around with the basin and other things despite being told how to do things. Wizards.   SURPRISINGLY our group's obsession with adult product shops saves us from screwing up the mechanics of this room. Whisperbreath had an amulet what changes one's gender. She almost removed that amulet to see what would happen but thought better of it. The change physically speak was not much at all. Same old Whisperbreath same old problems. Each of the pair to placed into a spot facing our partner we poured blood into, and the Statue was no longer there revealing a door. Going through the door.   Magically I was alone with Ashlyn in an ivory room, with a half sphere. With some small amount of convincing, we touched the orb and were teleported. We found what we believed to be a central nexus a small part of the maze. A large room with a smaller room with a teleporting half sphere in each individual room. Exploring each part of the maze became a bit of systematic approach to this maze. I was rather appreciative of Ashlyn helping with the approach to going through the Ivory Maze. Ashlyn marked each teleport half sphere with a number matching number as I rolled the Cyan string behind us. I believe there were about 5 or 6 different half spheres before running into Whisperbreath and Celuriel. I was rather happy to be reunited with her and even more happy to find she had some level of control when it came to not harming Whisperbreath. Celu whisper to me that the rat had taken food from fey here, taking that information in I felt it wasn’t the correct time chastise the rat. Also in this is when we have introduced the color sphere to the mix. Ashlyn and I volunteered to touch and had a crimson red bracelet on our wrist. The red spheres inner darkness seem desperate and become dull. Linking Ashlyn and me together, we disappeared shortly after into a teleporting half sphere after heard what we thought was large steps echoing through the maze. Lacking in numbers we ran. Quickly finding Cid and Kraia and other colorful spheres. We were meet with the large figure that had been slacking us throughout the maze. A minotaur, a rather easy fight on our part, was depicted with brutal effectiveness. The minotaur then becomes apart of maze phasing into the ground, which we concluded that the minotaur was probably bound to the labyrinth and unable to die. Traveling throughout the labyrinth we heard Cyne and Lirien, breaking through a wall that Whisperbreath had made early. Ashlyn and Cid destroyed the creature behind the wall. Following the half spheres, while running away from another minotaur, we reunited with the rest of the group and attempted to find the last colored sphere. Finding it, Cyne and Lirien become very difficult to deal with. Turns out while running from the minotaur, Cyne and Lirien had been replaced with the fey doppelganger. Not the fey that Whisperbreath dealt with since they made mention to this. They had knocked out the originals, so we did the same to them, but we took it a step further and killed them. Ashlyn decapitated the fey-Cyne, and I plunged my sword into fey-Liriens heart.   Stopping for a split second to rest, I had noticed my gender, as well as my race, has changed. A female elf, pale skin yet I found it strange that the color of my hair and eyes remained the same. This new form of mine appearing was rather attractive since our druid Kraia wanted to ‘talk’ after. Celuriel said, and I quote ‘I will cut you’ then brandished a dagger at Kraia.   I have never been so proud.   However, the Vampire decided to poke me in rather new places. This caused my rather pale face to flush red, the feeling just the same but the looks different. Asking if I prefer these, and why they were bigger than hers. Well, I would prefer my own body, but I had to deal with the new changes. I would rather not stay an elf, my pride would not allow it. She gave me a mirror so I could examine myself. Soon after I felt a tug on the string. Not one that was rough, but gentle. On a hunch, I followed the string all the way to the person that was moving the string to grab my attention. Rounding a corner to a rather familiar aasimar, or it would be more accurate to say a former Half Elf.   Licia Galewin had returned.   Now she’s all bright and less elf, A full aasimar with a cloud of night and stars around her. The former Half-Elf trained in her goddess domain and seems to be the first of us to show the side effects of becoming a champion. Yet Licia all the same. Licia had healed the missing two Lirien and Cyne. We dragged them back to the green orb room and when they awoke from being knocked out from the doppelganger. They soon were bound together by a green bracelet.   We then place the four color bracelets together, and a large spark of magic flew to a half sphere. Following these sparks, we ended up walking through the maze to find a chamber with four postulates that we stood on. We felt reinvigorated, and the last teleporting half sphere was open to us. Entering the last door the room held a large set of double doors to our left and a smaller door in front of us. Ashlyn opens the door.   A large red pentagram was drawn onto the floor portraying the labyrinths true master took up the large ivory room. Statues littered the room. Gargoyles both large and small, abound angel in chains and being held back by other statues, a twisted combination of a Demon and an Angel was to our right. Oh and statues of ladies. A strange sight indeed. Two large platforms which look to hold about four to five people comfortably. We divided up into groups, by colored bands since that seemed like the smart thing to do. Cyne Celu Kraia and I in one group, Ashlyn, Whisperbreath, Lirien, and Cid comprised the other with Licia kinda in the middle.   As we thought when the eight of us stepped onto the plates, the statues gargoyles sprung to animated life. The Ladies states crumbled to reveal themselves as Succubus. Artemis was quickly released and knowing Artemis and Kraia made short work of anything that touched them. Which included a single succubus and two statues. The duo is an absolute monster in they own regard. Ashyln, Whisperbreath, Licia, and Cid had placed them new the demonic angel. They had to deal with there own set of Gargoyles but to a lesser extent. Their true enemy was the winged one. The Succubi made their move. Never did I think I would be happy that I currently was a female. The Succubus tried to entrance the males of our party. It failed, but Pin quickly took off the amulet to avoid that in the future. While spells were being flung and whips shattering statues the bound angel was released and walked to the center of the pentagram. This was a mistake to let it glide peacefully to a crux of power for them. Destroy as many of the statues of we could before something truly terrible appeared. Five or six statues were left as well as a single succubus as the ivory room glowed red as the bound angel state disappeared.   In its place was an ivory demon. This demon seemed to be formed from the labyrinth itself. It’s body matched the color of the room around it. Covering its body with demonic red runes and symbols that emanated with a strange power. Without a mouth, it still creepily could display a mixture of emotions. Whether it was, it’s creepy glowing yellow eyes or the shifting ivory face. It was a towering figure, and that was not even including it’s curled horns.   Intimidating does not begin to describe this demon.   It began its assault on Licia who had attempted to heal the party only second before. They had quickly dealt with the statues but had not dealt with the demonic angel hybrid. The Ivory Demon must have thought it could hand it, and probably knew it would have a better chance somewhere else with Ashlyn around. Quickly getting bored with that group, having trouble hitting the paladin, it glowing demonic yellow eyes to us. Teleporting it changed its plan of attack to us. While it began attacking the group I had started dealing with the leftover statues. I had turned at the wrong second. The Ivory Demon had brought Celuriel down. Something akin to wraith simmered under my skin. The split second of angry had surpassed any level of hatred I had toward anything in my life. I released a disintegrate spell at the demon which it blocks with ease. I screamed with frustration turning to a statue that had made it the center of the pentagram and was powered up glowing red. I flung another spell of disintegrate turning the empowered statue into ash. Venting my anger, I remembered Celuriel was extremely hard to kill. It only slightly lessened the feeling enough to focus on a goal. I was not having any luck with The Ivory Demon, so I had to turn my attention to other matter. While the others dealt it, I cleaned up the Statues, yet was overcome with a tremendous urge to go pick up Celuriel.   Walking back to the group, the yellow-eyed demon was gone, but I had come to my senses. As if an alien will was removed from my thought which urged me to go to her side. I would not put it past the demon to have placed me under a Dominate person spell. No Celuriel was fine, she was safer there she was, than if I had picked her up and made the both of us a target. With the Statue still cleaned up, that left the Succubus who was pouting over on the other side of the room, bored since we barely would give her the time of day. Whisperbreath took pity on the poor demon, creating physical images of five men with cat ears. Leave it to the ratfolk to do something in a time of serious combat. Ignoring the cat boys and the succubus having a bit of ‘fun’ a new wall appeared as we ready out weapons as the Paladin tore through the wall with her adamantine scythe. Delivering the final blows to the Winged demon and the yellowed eyed one. It was done, Artemis and Kraia death the decisive blow to the ivory demon.   The Pentagram glowed red, and then tentacles appearing from the pentagram dragged the Succubus back, she was rather happy about that, and then a voice spoke. “Go take your treasures, you have provided a small amount of entertainment. I will deal with you at a later date.”   I went to go collect Celuriel and carried her on my back as we went to the treasure room. The Treasure room was filled with many things, basins with water and stone heart like stuck. A statue with a weeping demon who was missing a heart. These statues had the necklace we sought, as well as braces and a crown. I placed Celuriel in a chair grabbed the necklace from the Statue and found a pink and purple egg. I place the egg in my lap as I sat next to the chair. Watching my companions go around seeking their treasure as I waited for her to wake up. While I waited, they placed the black stone heart into the statue which released a man. A normal human man, from before worldrend. Draconic, although still a different version than we speak, was the only real means of communication with this man displaced in time. His wrists were clear of any Champion mark, so the question still remains why was he stuck here? He knew of Arcane Magic and was a caster of said magic. We clearly do not have enough information or was a way to communicate clearly to make a current guess as to his imprisonment here in a demon lords maze.   Now let’s speak quickly about fey since now we have two people who have consumed food from the fey. Whisperbreath might be in a bit of tight spot soon with having to pay the Fey back for the food. I fear for that child that she might be raising, it that egg is something other than a chicken or small animal. God help that child if it’s a Pseudodragon or something similar. It might just be another creature we well have to take care of, but if the fey gets a hold of it who knows what the outcome may be. A table with tea and pie was placed within the treasure room with a note meant for Whisperbreath. Of course, once the Ratfolk tried to eat it, we protested not to eat it. Licia seems to have some level of senses which good to know. The Paladin exclaimed that the food was not even evil so it must be good to eat. Meaning she ate the fey food. I cannot wait to see this backfire straight into their face. I might start having to warn them less about events to come and just start keeping secrets to myself. Have them learn the hard way.   Finally choosing to leave, I placed the necklace around her neck and was blinded. Celuriel said it was taken care of, I trust her explicitly when she said that. She screamed which caused me to worry but appears it was all going according to the plan. The Necklaces had place Celuriel into a golden cocoon of sorts which Ashlyn and carefully slung over her shoulder. Coming back to life this way might be harmful. The Magical Cyan string teleportation quickly out of the maze. Yet there was more than that. We were empowered, similar in scope to champion powers but different. These powers seemed to come from ourselves, and not some god that gifted them to us. Once making it outside we were meet with the red-haired women I cannot recall exactly what was said, but Celuriel has been broken out of the Cocoon and was alive but marked.   Celuriel had joined the ranks of the Champions of the Divine under the Eldest Magdh.   A green three-pointed knot was now tattooed on her wrist, at least that is what I have been told. Being blind had some problems, though this is only temporary at the moment, I am not gonna screw up this chance up for Celuriel.   Cyne summoned some winged chariot to ferry us to the pond, but choose to rest before handing the necklaces to The Beauty.

Journal #32: Back from hell [Text Roleplay]

So, when the others aren't paying attention, Celuriel (or Eurydice, I suppose) will pull Orpheus to the side to talk to him."...where are we? it's been too busy for me to ask."   "Tenaerul, I have to apologies for having the deal in here. I thought we would be leaving..." Aniks prestidigitation himself dry and offers to do the same with Celu. "...that would be welcome. tenaerul? oh. that explains him. and the whispers. are you okay?"   Aniks casts the spell on Celu "I haven't really spoken to any of them by choice or been giving a deal so I'll be fine. Him? It's not a voice is it?"   "the beauty. we probably don't see him the same way. there's a voice, too, which is also male. it seems boring." Aniks dressed in his cloths, "That male voice in the tower is annoyed that I haven't spoken to him. The Beauty is odd, and I am very much confused by what they have told me."   "...what was confusing?" "I'm not sure of their intentions, they wanted me to focus on finding you. Reminding me to not lose focus. The Beauty also took some of their Champions powers away. This being is doing something but I'm not sure what." That catches her attention. "It took their powers? What?" "Taken probably isnt the right word, suppressed is probably more accurate. It only makes this more complicated while traveling through here"   She thinks on that for a moment, her expression showing her confusion and slight worry. "it's stopping the powers of multiple deities. but it... asked you to find me. and now your quests, into the labyrinth... there is something it is keeping from us."   "Its playing games with us, that much is for sure. A being with that much power how often has ulterior motives." Places a hand on Celu's head and rustles her hair. "We'll be fine, no need to worry." She startles at the touch, quickly smothering alarm with annoyance and a pout. "pawns are more oft made into sacrifices than they are queens. I'm right to be concerned. you've seen what has happened to lirien. why are you messing up my hair"   " You're completely right to be concerned, we can only take only this one step at a time. I'm sorry I'll stop, I was trying to get your mind off of this. You've probably been through a lot recently and we kind of placed you in a another terrible place." She hesitates, then in a blur of movement, darts forwards to hug him. Perhaps too tightly. "the eighth layer of hell is not somewhere I want to return to. even with... what you did. that was you, wasn't it?" Slightly shocked by the sudden displayed affection, Aniks after a second wraps his arms around her. "I hope that you never have to return to. I was so worried and sorry I couldn't stop that. I am not really sure what happened to you while your there, but I know the Devil was not happy with me." "stop apologising for things that aren't your fault." She glares up at him for a moment. "something put a shield in place so that she couldn't continue her constant talking, and which stopped.. some of the other effects. she was likely annoyed that you foiled her plan of driving me insane with talk of what she'd do when you failed. it didn't stop the months of other attempts, though, but that force stopped the brunt of those too." "I know I should stop apologizing I'm just tired of losing..." At first Aniks face had a melancholy smile, which quickly changed. "Months, you've gone for two week at most! Are you okay, how long were you in hell?" She looked up sharply, not expecting his reaction. "...more than two weeks. I didn't keep track. they never said how long you had. your prayer helped extend the time between.. needing sustenance. which they made sure I received. so there was no chance to use that as a measure." A moment of silence. "...but I'm fine."   "If you say so Celuriel," with what the vampire said it eased Aniks. Letting his shoulders drop into a more relaxed state. "So I have to assume you know who I spoke to if you said prayer"   She gave him a long look. "the power was enough to arouse curiosity in.. some of caina's strongest. it was sudden, and seemed designed to protect. you are the only one who would care about protecting me, and I do not think you would have prayed to your former goddess." Carefully vague on the details, as usual.   With a slight chuckle "No, it wasn't the demonlord. I don't think I could ever ask for a favor from her nor would I want to. I asked Pharasma to watch over you, I wasn't even sure she would help you, or even how she would."   "...thank you. asking the demon lord would have made everything worse" She breaks eye contact, looking down to the floor as if reminded of something shameful. "is it true you considered seeking out my sister?"   "After you we're taken I was understandably livid, I told Whisperbreath she had to clean up her mess. I chose not to be around them for 'safety' reasons." Aniks paused to recall some of the events. "They came up with the idea of going after your sister. Figuring that was the only real option. That would meet or exceed That Devils ultimatum."   "she would have killed you all, used the weakest for the exchange herself and raised the rest as thralls." she murmured, tone flat. "as it was, they told her of the chance. she will not be happy that you found an alternate way... from what was said, she looked forward to having her sister back."   "Thats... concerning for the future." Aniks takes a brief moment to consider the likelihood of being hunted by a lich in the near future. "Listen Celu, I want to promise you that no matter what happens. I'm going to try and protect you.   She let go of him at that, taking a step back to glare. "I am not worth you risking your life. especially not up against her. you have a far greater purpose, and she can't do much worse to me than she already has. and I don't need protection. I both have my own power and... am expendable in the grand scheme."   Aniks slightly sighing, then thought to himself if she was scared of her sister... "Look I'm not going to take back what I said, I meant what I said. To me your wrong, somebody I care about is worth that risk. Your sister is dangerous beyond belief, I understand that concern. But your not expendable, not in the slightest."   Celu didn't drop the glare, seemingly taking this incredibly seriously. "You don't understand just how important you are. and just what she'd do if you tried to get in her way. you saw the nymph. I could show you so much worse that she has done and could do again. but more than that... you were a champion and will become far greater than you think. I am just.. a tagalong. if anything, I am the one protecting you. that makes me expendable, even if you think otherwise. don't try to protect me. you have more important people to care about."   Aniks breaks eye contact looking at the ground and speaking lowly. His voice is sounds odds and very unlike his normal voice "Really, you dont think I understand how terrifying it is to know your sister can break somebody's soul, just to further her own needs. Your sister scares me, but I do not think for a second that our paths won't cross again. Its just a matter of time really. As for my 'importance' yes I was a champion, and the longer I stay without the protection of a god, the more dangerous it will be. I'm not sure how much longer that will last, or even if im okay with that. I'm ... worried Celuriel. I'm worried that in the end of this grand game of gods, I won't be able to save them, or you. The odds all of us making it out is slim." Aniks is silent for a while collecting his thought. Looking back at Celuriel "You're more than just a tagalong to me, and I don't care what you say. You are just as important as the people over there, if not more. There is only one you in this world and she is somebody I don't want to lose. Okay. I don't think I can change your mind on this subject any time soon."   When their eyes met, after all that he'd said, it wasn't possible for Celu to completely hide her confusion. "...thank you." And it's a genuine expression of gratitude, even with her lack of understanding. "you know that I won't let you be hurt, also. I... do not want that to happen." She quickly changed the subject; she wasn't good at sharing feelings. "you mentioned the others. what has happened to lirien? her path is... different now. it's obscured. for most of you, I can tell what might happen... who might 'make it out' of this area. but she's... changed?"   "Thats not good." Unconsciously his hand twitched as is he were to reach for a dagger, some habits die hard. Aniks dragged out those three words. He had fear for the worst but he'd hope that it wouldn't come to that. Then again his definition of worse might be different than Tenaeruls. "There something here she has made a deal with. It's helped her survive in moments of danger. Her eyes have turned purple and now a glowing crimson red. It’s also a concern that she wants out of here. It probably was never a smart move to bring a non-champion in here."   "there's more than one entity, as we know. the beauty, the voice, and... whatever has hold of Lirien is different. I can't... see it?" She frowned. "...it's more powerful than the voice alone. and you are not a champion either. nor am I. yet all three of us are here."   "I wouldn't be surprized the longer we stay here the more entities begin to show up. I failed to mention that Lirien had something taken from her. Either hope or protection was taken from her by The Beauty." Then Aniks took a moment to think about the champions. "I have to assume the reason I haven't been affected is I haven't spoken to any entire unless it was in person. That and I haven't put myself in dangerous situations like the others. I think they need a deal and a line of communication to start affecting us"   "it took something from her, too?" It wasn't often that Celu looked concerned. Her eyes glazed over for a moment as she stared into the distance - whether she was Seeing or just thinking wasn't clear. After a moment, she continued - slipping into Infernal without realising it. "I know a lot about entities that make deals... we had many books on the other planes. this voice doesn't feel like it's bound by the same lawful nature as Hell. but it does not feel like a demon, either. I can't pick up what it " Still contemplative, she glanced back at Aniks. "It's not as dangerous for me to speak with... entities. undeath has benefits. maybe I should try asking it about her."   About half way through listening to Celu, Aniks realised that she was speaking Infernal. Understanding it clearly, which was odd. "The way she was speaking makes me think she had hope taken from her. Im really unsure what to do with these entities. I can’t tell you how to approach and it's your choice." Aniks pauses for a moment. "You once told me that no one should live as what you are, a vampire, do you want to be brought back."   The question caught her off guard, a flash of shock mixed with a spark of fear glimmering in her eyes for just a moment. Before answering, she looked around cautiously. The others were still potentially in earshot. She made sure her back was to them, and kept her voice low. "...I do not know," she admitted to him, staring at the ground between them so any turmoil would be less apparent. "I did not have a life like the rest of you. You know that. and if this 'Beauty' is able to resurrect me, I know my sister will come looking the moment she finds out. and she won't let me ruin her plans again - she made that clear last time." As she spoke, her hands moved - one to her heart, the other to her eyes. She didn't seem aware of the motion, her gaze still locked onto the glittering purples and blues of Tenaerul's soil. "But... the glimpses of true life I do get, from my visions and from you, and from exploring and being outside in this strange world? I... would like to experience more of that. even if it's brief, even knowing I won't keep my will, or my life, for long. it would be nice to know what freedom truly feels like."   "I believe that was few times if not the only, you actually told me what you wanted" Aniks smiled but it didnt last terribly long. "Hold on, what do you mean by 'I won't keep my will, or my life, for long.' Does that involve you sister?" Aniks stopped. Yes there are many questions you need to ask but asking all of is not for the best currently Aniks thought. "Truth is theres a lot questions I'd like to ask, but I feel like prying for more information would be unwise. Especially since this places you in difficult spot. On top of the fact that this is happening rather quickly. I have wanted to ask you that question for a while, but with the Ivory Maze and that Quest I thought I should ask you now. I'm happy you want to experience this, but a choice like that has to be yours. I do not want to make it for you, since being brought back would drastically change your life in particular."   "...I had a lot of time to think during my imprisonment. this is one of the things I considered, because I'd caught a glimpse of thought about it in your mind once. it did not take me long to make the decision, but I know it is.. mostly impossible. it would usually involve slaying my sister, at minimum." She finally looked up, offering him an empty smile. "and you rescued me from that... place. the least I can do in return is give you answers. I don't think the others are listening in, so we can be more open. the one who would want to hear... can't see my lips." There was a definite twist of dark humour in that smile. "to explain my statement... Drissi - Ludrissiel, my sister - treats me as if I belong to her. like I'm her pet, or toy. mother encouraged it when they realised I was weaker. when she killed me, it was both as part of her own rituals and to make sure I would always be under her control. it... went wrong. if I am 'resurrected', it will not only damage... something of hers that was mine, but it will let her know she has another chance. and she won't let that go." It was clear that she was struggling to find the right words to use; her expression had become a blank mask flecked with frustration, and her language had switched into Elvish as she spoke more about her past. "...I cannot explain that night properly. but I can show you if you are curious. a vetala can do more than take memory."   After listening to her his face felt slightly hotter as he found the lake rather interesting at that moment. He was never really sure which memories she'd seen or taken. Never before had she mentioned what memories they were and he thought that he would be fine with that. He never considered they be recent memories and ideas especially ones with her in it. "Showing me? If that is the easiest way to convey what you're trying to tell me."   Celu looked at him curiously for a second, filing his blush under 'things to look into later', before returning to her former blank expression. "...This may be intense for you," she murmured as she stepped closer. "but it is the easiest way to explain my... worries." With that ominous warning, she closed the remaining distance between them and captured his lips in the familiar memory-sharing kiss.   It was a dark night. Celuriel watched the stars through a window, her golden eyes staring back through the glass, unaware of the events to come. In her lap lay a book covered in runes and scrawl - most of the handwriting unfamiliar. For a brief moment, the scene seemed peaceful. Then walked in Ludrissiel. Tall, fair-haired and wearing blood-spattered robes of black. With a handmotion, Celu's book was on the floor.   "You're such a child, Celu. Those charts are outdated and pointless, and besides, you should be studying the work I gave you." This was said in a gentle - but clearly forbidding - tone; and 'Drissi' gave her sister little time to respond. "It doesn't matter, anyway. I'm going to give you a practical lesson. You've been studying the..?" Time skipped forward as the two chatter and leave the forest. Celuriel felt excited and nervous, with a strong undercurrent of fear. Drissi had never taken her out of the tower before. The ritual itself was gruesome; a number of travellers were slain in particularly vile ways, and Celu obediently assisted. The memory skipped over most, resuming towards the end.. to when Ludrissiel dropped an invisibilty spell and, at the same time, knocked her sister to the ground and bound her. Any excitement in Celu's emotions dissipated immediately, replaced by blind panic.   "Drissi, what---"   "Shut up. Do you see this?"   Through her confusion, Celu focused on what Drissi was indicating. Another body on the ground. Another version of her. Drissi smiled. "Yes, it's you. You see, I am going to be immortal by the end of tonight. Mother already is, in her own way. And I couldn't bear to leave my little sister to waste away. No, you're going to be my perfect assistant. But why are there two of you, you're thinking. I can hear it, you know. You're not even trying to hide the thoughts. Pathetic."   A flash of silver, and a stabbing pain sent stars across Celu's vision as her sister ever-so-casually thrust the blade through her chest. As her vision faded, she heard one last jeer: "Your original will serve me better without your spirit... you can make do with that."   The memory went dark, but only for an instant. The next, there was a tugging sensation. A twisted, bitter feeling welled up inside her, and she tried to resist the pull, but couldn't. it wouldn't leave. It wouldn't stop. She couldn't get away.   This made her... angry. Even in the blackness of death, she could feel anger. white-hot fury, in fact. And as the wave of negative energy dragged her back to a body that wasn't quite hers, she let the anger explode out with all the force her magic could muster. With enough force to take some semblance of control over the magic dragging her back, even.   There are no words that can truly describe a being waking up as undead. But as Celu opened her darkened eyes, the difference was immediately noticeable. The lights were dimmer, and her emotions.. harsher. Crueller. Whatever else could be described was drowned out by the furious yell of Ludrissiel, and Celu's eyes darted to her far faster than they could have before. A pulsing heart in one hand and the selfsame blade that had ended Celuriel in her other, Ludrissiel's bright eyes were wild with anger. "You dare? Do you realise what you've DONE?"   The blade speared towards her once again, and as Celuriel watched negative energy surround her sister (and what was once her own heart, held aloft in Drissi's skeletal grasp), her vision was again torn from her in a wave of pain.   Celu stopped the memory there, pulling the duo back to the present and breaking the embrace. "...do you understand what she was doing. why she would want to keep or destroy me? the memories I have after that are... mostly dark. but I know she took... more."   Aniks brow furrowed. His thoughts were scattered all over the place. Growing up in a household full of assassins didn't leave much time to study the arcane. Mostly the traps. This, this was a whole new branch of family rage he could barely fathom. "She needed something from you, your heart it seems. You coming back put a hindrance in her plan. She didn't want you to be like you are now. You have to forgive me, iIl have very limited knowledge on lichdom to begin with. I can only make guesses at this point. All I know for certain is you coming back gives her a second chance to finish what she started."   Celu seemed almost amused. And more than a little sad. "I forgot how... new to this you were. she didn't need anything from me; she wanted it. she wanted to use my body as a treasure chest; my heart as part of the treasure; my will bound within it so that she could control me with a thought. liches use phylacteries to store their souls; I think that... there's a connection there." She carefully avoids saying anything specific. It's not fun to think about. "but yes. she'd get her second chance. if this attempt succeeds and I become.. elven again, you will all be at risk of her appearing."   Aniks sits down not at a lost for words, those he had plenty of. More at how to approach this. He did mentally put pins in certain places to make sure he didn't forget them. So he didn't, he just spoke instead of thought. "Your sister is going to be more than nuisance in the future. Even more so if we success bring you back. Making you a trophy case marionetting you around to hold her treasures is unforgivable. Are you sure this is want you want? To be brought back, The others will eventually have to face things far worse than your sister. If we let a Lich stop us, them, then the gods backed the wrong people. They have to be stronger, I am not saying that after all of this..." Aniks gestures to Tenearul and the area around them. "we can easily face her. I'm saying at a certain point we won't be able to run from that battle, you can't be worried about us forever Celu. I'm glad you've shown me this, it but a good amount of fear in my bones. Ironically it's that fear that make me want to help you, in a way. " Then the corner of his lip twitched almost as if to smirk for but a moment. "In time we'll be ready, and till than we can try and run and hide for as long as we need to. Those people over there are the closest thing to a family I have, that I care about anyways. Families well a good ones at least, I learned are stubborn, caring and determined to a fault. They'll help in anyway possible even if it mean they get hurt in the end. This includes your problems they would probably be willing to help when the time comes. Aside from that, let putting being brought back to the side for but a moment since that would escalate a great many thing. I guess what I should be asking is can you be truly happy or able to be yourself if your sister's going to be looming in the shadows? Since you've answers a question or two of mine, I feel like it's only right for you to ask some of yours."   Celu listened in careful silence to Aniks's stream of consciousness, frowning slightly. "...you said that the others would have to face worse. you and they are a group. do not exclude yourself from that just because nobody has claimed your wrist." She fixed him with a firm glare to ensure he got the point, and sat cross-legged on the floor before continuing. "I cannot pretend to know exactly why fear motivates you to help. nor why you think the rest would care to help, other than the simple 'fun' of smiting the undead." She glanced meaningfully at Ashlyn, who seemed to be scribbling in her message book again. "but to answer your question... her existence doesn't change mine. I accepted my fate a long time ago. until then, I have some form of... freedom, I suppose. as for happiness..." A bitter smile played on her lips as she again met Aniks's gaze. "I showed you the difference in emotions. you can guess from there." She let the silence hang for a moment as she thought over what to ask Aniks, then as inspiration hit, asked before she could stop herself. "you have the opportunity to restore someone from death. why aren't you using that to save Claire?"   Aniks felt like a conversation regarding his late wife was going to happen eventually. He tired is best to instantly recall Celu previous portion of the conversion since the last question caught him like a stray arrow when Azyel was around. "You already know that I'm willing to help you in any way despite the danger. I understand already that I'm probably not going to be able to leave this group even if I tried. We get into more trouble and involve ourselves in more events than I care for. So I think there is a good chance for them to help you. As for the fear that mostly a produce of growing up under House Alas'thil. As a child in House Alas'thil fear kept most of us alive, who better to send on mission to kill than children. Children are often expendable especially the males in house Alas'thil, if they failed they we're often killed our taken into slavery. Easily way to create cold hearted remorseless killers. The cocky ones would always fuck up, it's how I got caught all those years ago, trusting my younger sibling. It's the ones that had fear that survived. Fear, controlled fear that is, kept your wits sharp, your senses keened listening for anything that could give you away, it kept you alive down there. A person without fear will die because they will never learn to when to run, hide or even wait. Fear helps people live to see another day." Aniks sat there for a moment biting the inside of his lip trying to figure out how to answer her last part. It's not like Aniks didn't try before, gods only knows he tried. "... I had a long time to think about that. Before I met you or the party. " He let out a breath unsure really how to approach this. He placed a hand on his pushed hair back which prompting fell back in place. "How do I put say this correctly, I don't think I have a good answer for that, nor is easy one to answer. Maybe a year ago I won't have hesitated at the opportunity to bring her back, Then there's Alain which complicated things farther. I guess I became deject from the world after their deaths. I wanted to bring them back but couldn't bring myself to do it. I think in retrospect, even though I hadn't thought it, I just wanted to disappear and not deal with anything, Not caring about anything. I can't say I lived a terrible life, in comparison after what you've shown me. Claire and I never spoke about what would happen if one of us died early. Even when she was on her death bed. She only mentioned once that it was family tradition to have funeral pyres, she reminded me of this in undercommon so Alain wouldn't know just in case the worst happened. She was an adventurer before I even meet her, I think she knew what having a funeral pyre meant. People don't normally bring back their families from the dead." Aniks laughed a bit "You know the Emperor asked me a question before, 'why do I care for the vampire' I told him that somebody once game gave me a second chance at life. I thought she should be giving the same choice, that person was Claire. Celu I don't think I could give you a solid answer as to why I am not bringing back Claire. I've really not sure I want to anymore, I'm not sure if that's selfish or not or even how to fell about this. Their are and we're my family and I don't think I could ever forget them. But I also think eventually bringing them back would only hurt in the long run. I probably would have outlived them both, only to watch them die again."   Aniks sits in silence.   Aniks uses his thumb to whip his eye. no reason whatsoever not because he's openly talked his dead child and wife for the first time in he spoke about the in about a decade.   Celu was very obviously having trouble finding the words to respond to that, but after a moment of thinking, she began by mimicking something she'd seen in her books; she got up, went to him, and pulled him into a hug. Admittedly, she was cold, and her grip was slightly too tight. And considering they were both on the ground, it wasn't the most comfortable or clean of hugs. But she was trying. "...she cared enough to give you that chance at a new life, and to have a family - a good one - with you. from what I've read and seen... that sort of person would not want you to go through that pain. not again. even if it made them happy." She frowned. "emotions are... hard to figure out from this side. I am sorry for bringing up something that hurt you. neither of us seem to have much luck with families."   Aniks was quite for a good long while. Without much thought his head on her shoulder, and completed the hug on his end. Then a small laugh came from the drow "Horrible luck, I am pretty sure I'm still going to have to kill my siblings in the end." He paused trying to get rid of this horrible feeling in his chest. It didn't really go away but at least he knew it would fade in a while. Celuriel was trying. "It's fine, I just don't speak about them openly. Thank you, Celuriel."   Celu instinctively leant into the hug as Aniks sat in silence, content to leave it be until he spoke. "I will be glad to help if your siblings cause trouble again. but they should have learnt for now from our previous run-in." Her smile was slightly disturbing at that idea, but softened into a.. very rarely-seen genuine smile as she continued. "..thank you for listening to me, too. it is... strangely nice to be able to share some of the secrets. though I am reminded of another question." Even if he wasn't looking at her, he could probably feel the amused grin. "if this is a family to you... who are the children?"   "It's not the younger one's I'm worried about, I do not regret my choice but I have a feeling that the Eldest will be their at the end of all of this." He paused for a second "Minus Ashlyn I've lived longer than most of them. Pin is a child, which might have some bias in that. Kraia is the teenager, Cid is a moody young adult."   "all champions have their roles to play, whether they were the initial choice or not. didn't you hand her that mantle..? and the Eldest have already shown their hand, to some extent," Celu murmured tonelessly, freezing still as she spoke before blinking out of the slight trance. "...if you're judging by age, then are you the parent with... Ashlyn?" She sounded very amused at this idea.   "Gods like that would ever work out. I wouldn't has I'm a ... oh god am I really a parent to this group, that's disturbing." Having a mental image placed in his head that he would rather not have. " As for my eldest sister, It's one of the reason why I'm more than okay with handing it over to her. We know where that champion mark is as long as she's alive. So there we're some benefits."   "if we are counting years alone, I think I am older than you. which would make this more disturbing. somehow, I do not think Ashlyn likes me very much." She's not even going to touch the subject of Aniks being her son in that scenario. That's just weird. "perhaps. how many champions do you know of now? there are hundreds of gods, but the number of champions still seems.. small. so far, at least."   "I think it's best to go by mental maturity not psychical age. Which might make Ashlyn a questionable parent, sometimes." Then Aniks racked through his brain to count the amount of Champions " My Sister, Annoy elf boy, Our group now, Licia who disappeared and we haven't heard anything from, Doesn't know how to talk to flirty women elf, Which makes eight? I cannot think of any we've heard of outside of that. Kazric which makes nine, and maybe that Riven guy so possible Ten?"   "if you use mental maturity, I'm not sure any of this group should be considered adults. " Impish smirk, which faded into a pondering look. "ten out of... many more. I know others will be met, but their faces are.. mostly concealed to me. the uncertainty of the labyrinth is changing things. if you were given the chance, do you think you would become one again?"   "Agreed." Aniks took a second and really thought about it "Becoming a champion meaning becoming a herald or avatar of a deity? Which means whatever deity If I were to become of the champion again could have some level of influence of me, and I fear that I won't be Aniks anymore. If I truly need to become one, which might be necessary in the future I will. I can think of only one that I would willingly become a champion of. However if somebody like me, godless can still contend with a champion by some miracle, I am willing to try. Even if it might be impossible."   Celu looked at him pensively. "you really care about free will, don't you? not just your own. that bravery... please be careful. some beings might take that as a challenge." Without warning, the look turned into a dark glare, a flash of anger in her red eyes - directed not at Aniks, but to something in the distance. "...this place is full of obnoxious whispers, isn't it? my name is not eurydice."   "Free will, True free will is something I know I've had problem with. It's why I value it so heavily." Aniks said being careful on what he said. "This place make it hard to remember things like my name. Oph..." Then through Gritted teeth said "Aniks. It sounds wrong to use my real name but I know the one I use here is not my own. It's best to not speak to those voices, it might land you in a spot of trouble. Hence our half drow over there."(edited)   "Aniks," she murmurs. "...I see what you mean. it feels wrong to say. this place twists names to fit quests. the first world has been known to do similar, but this is still the material plane." She closed her eyes for a moment, focusing on something - or somethings, perhaps. "...the one in the tower seems more desperate than damaging. the beauty is... I don't know. she feels like she belongs here. whatever has hold of lirien is different, as we've discussed. and the fourth is trying to toy with me. it's annoying." She sighed, and again turned the conversation darker. "the quest you're on... you're not allowed to look at me once that necklace is on, correct?" "For us yes, Lirian hasn't been given a name which is odd, but the others their names are gods. Wait a fourth voice? So another entity has shown it face. Yes I will not be able to look at you once that Necklace is on" "she has, though she isn't being forced to use it. the tower-voice called her the Harbinger. which seems appropriately ominous for this place. and.. the fourth seems darker than the others. it twists around the spirits and.... well. I imagine I hear it because I am not entirely alive." She shrugged. "we'll see. anyway... that seems to indicate that the necklace will also do something when it's placed. and that it will do something if we fail. did he... they say anything else about your quest..?" Referring to the Beauty was a constant game of remembering that not everyone saw it the same way.   "Well that's not ominous and cryptic and only that the others would be told their quest after mine is done from The Beauty." He stopped curious and asked a question "Who do you see for The Beauty?   "shouldn't you be used to cryptic by now?" And that was only half-teasing. "that's... worrying, then. we won't know what it does until it's too late to back out." At his question, she blinked. "..isn't it obvious? who else would I see but you?"   "It look like we have to place are the cards on the table if we're going to do this. I think Ashlyn had a smart yet stupid idea, temporarily blinding me wouldn't be terrible idea but I'll be hindrance on the battlefield." Aniks took his head off her shoulder to look at her "Yes, but I was glad to hear you say it."   "enough of this group has magic. another option would be invisibility, I think?" she mused, her brow furrowed, before noticing that Aniks had met her gaze. She offered him a small smile in return. "..who do you see?" "There's that, but I don't know if see you if your invisible counts or not." Huh Aniks noticed she has been actually been smiling a lot recently, and cracking some rather dark joke that he definitely got a smile out off. "Most of the time it's you but flicker to Claire every so often. It's really a strange sight." "Oh look Kraia's stripping again, definitely a teenage, impulsive and driven by her body"   "...you wouldn't be seeing me, though. that is the point of invisibility. we can try and ask, perhaps." She wasn't certain how easy it would be to ask that, actually. "...that sounds confusing. and... potentially hurtful--" Whatever else she was about to add was cut off by the sudden bathing halfling. "this is why she and the prince would be horrible for each other. they need adults."   "That's probably a question that should be asked, but this place is tricky and I wouldn't be surprised if invisibility wouldn't work."   Aniks thought for a second "Perhaps I feel the Prince probably doesn't need it as much but I honestly wonder sometime if he really would settle down with her. Kraia is rather, well Kraia" "Um Celu as much as I love being this close to you, this hugging is rather oddly spaced, awkward? You can just sit next to me."   ...as much as she didn't want to let go, she acknowledged the point that this was a little strange, and repositioned herself next to him. "if invisibility does not work, a blindfold may not either. this may make combat challenging. especially as we will have to leave the labyrinth first." She shrugged, watching Aniks with a gaze that knows too much. "The Prince will change more than she can handle. she will move on. this is better, right?"   " I think so, for the both of them. It's not like I'm going to tell either of them. As for the quest It's not going to be easy but I think we can do it." Aniks twitched his nose trying to figure what to bring up next. "If this all works out in the end and I do mean everything, what do you want to do?"   "they'll figure it out. if they do not, and it causes trouble, Ashlyn will likely step in." She stopped at his question, taking a second to think it over. "...I don't know. the future has never been something I've... really needed to make plans for. it was the tower, followed by more tower, until you arrived."   "Ashlyn stepping in might just make things worse" Aniks said with a smile. "You'd be surprised how having a idea, a goal, or something you want or to strive for in the future can give you determination to keep going till it's done." "yes, but then it becomes a three-way argument and eventually it will become the Prince and Sa-- Ashlyn arguing until Kraia invokes Artemis," she replied, amused. They were predictable. "I don't know what I'd do for a goal. right now, I'm... following you, and trusting what I See. after the world stops trying to go through an apocalypse? ...you'd better be there or I am going to be lost."   That was said entirely matter-of-factly, and she didn't seem concerned about how strange it made her sound.   "Artemis, the greatest of negotiator" Aniks took what she to heart. "I'll tell you this much, after all of this nonsense I'm going to find a place and just settle down. No Bars, no giant beavers to stomp around, no screaming 'evil' at everything little thing. Just some place nice and simple that you and I can not have to be dragged into ridiculous situations. Well the place itself might not be simple? I'd like to look nice on the side of mountain or near a ocean." Aniks seemed to trail off a bit talking how there's definitely going a huge library.   "the ocean? it would be nice to see that one day. the books depict it as endless. and a mountain would mean.. snowy weather? I was never allowed to play in the snow that landed around the tower." She sounded almost wistful. "...if you start a library, I am making sure it has fiction, too."   "I'm more familiar with snow than the Ocean, I have only seen it once or twice while wondering the surface when I was younger." He smiled at the fiction comment "I forget your love for fiction, I haven't found much time for it recently but I have read a fare few novels. Which was your favorite genre again I always catch you reading in our free time but I never can tell from the books?”   "a lot of them have been romance, actually. I'm not sure I'd say it's a favourite. but it's what's always available. I think... adventuring ones would be closer to a favourite. they let me read about things far away." She catches his smile, and levels a look of curiosity at him. "do you have a favourite type?"   "I guess I'd have to say Mysteries, whether they be non fiction or fiction. I love solving or trying to figure out Mysteries. Speaking about Adventuring books I think I'll probably fix that journal of mine and publish it. Minus some of the more events that should be keep secrets of course. I think when we survive it would be a hell of a story."   "you love mystery and you want to eventually retire..?" Again, she was amused with him. "you could get the others to add in stories and perspectives you missed, too. it would make an entertaining series." "Retired is a word I guess that would work." Aniks thought about that for a second "I guess that means it would be both Fiction and Nonfiction at that point. A dysfunctional cast of characters check, a odd drow and his elven vampire... I'm not sure what to call you?"   She gave him a look of blank confusion. "...my name is Celuriel. are you sure this place isn't playing with you?"   Aniks scratch his head for a moment "Not what I meant Celuriel, I mean your important to me and most definitely way past a friend. Friends don't normally go through all of this just make sure each other are okay. Hell I'm pretty sure the party thinks we're far more intimate then we really are. Ashlyn even called us lovers, so what are we?"   Celuriel let the silence hang, watching the shifting colours in the ground as she thought on that. "I... think that is up to us?" she said cautiously, looking back at Aniks. "The books don't really explain this very well. You're very important to me, too, but the stories use a lot of different words for two people who care. family, partners, boyfriends, lovers... friends with benefits...?" She didn't sound as sure on the last, but continued on regardless. "most have some association with romance. if you don't want that, I think.. 'close friends' fits best? otherwise..." She trailed off, and resumed watching the ground. She would not make that decision for him.   Aniks held her hand and he kissed her temple. "I'm not sure what word to use, but 'close friends' perhabs is one I wouldn't. I would like to think that we're a bit more than that."   For the second time in a day, she offered him a small - and entirely genuine - smile, interlacing her fingers with his. "...I would, too. Maybe we can be.. 'partners', then? it doesn't sound as strange as some of the other choices."   "Well looks like I now know what I'm fighting for, besides the end of the world. Some sort of semblance of a peaceful life with you." Aniks had given that idea thought before but never much thought. Celu didn't look like she'd considered the idea much at all. "...that would be the best outcome," she murmured. "though I still doubt your friends will let you ever be in peace for too long." A thought hit her. "oh. if this resurrection is successful... it has been a very long time since I was 'mortal'. you may need to remind me of some parts..?"   "No don't think they will" that statement came out more like sarcastic comment than anything else. "Like eating? Or just hygiene in general."   She gave him a look of slight exasperation. "yes. and the rest. I won't be able to just heal from eye removal, crystals sticking to my leg, or.. similar. that will take adjusting. and you have to sleep." She didn't sound happy about that.   "I'm going to find you knocked out reading a book, because you forgot to sleep" he found that thought amusing. "I'll remind you, wait are the Crystals still in there"   "there are magical items that stop sleep, aren't there? if I can find one of those, that problem will be solved." The idea of actually stopping to rest annoyed her. The potential dreams she might have? Those scared her, though she'd likely not admit that. "the crystals? oh. that. I don't think so? there hasn't been any impediment to my walking.."   "We should still make sure, eventually, I dont think think this is a smart place to check."   "there are spells to do that, right? the paladin can keep her scythe away from me."   "Checking for Crystals or foreign object inside the body perhaps." He smirked "Another reason why I don't think we can hide from them, Ashlyn can cut through almost anything."   "she cannot cut through dimensional barriers, she isn't Pennyswaggle. we could go to a demiplane. or find some sort of airship that she can't catch up with."   "I forgot Demiplanes are an option, I think that would be easier than to find a Airship that could out run her. That would be a nice why to travel to world." Aniks smiled at that idea.   "an airship would be interesting just from being in the sky. you'd be able to see so much..." a pause. "wait. Weren't you supposed to be seeking out the shard in the East?"   "Two days after you we're taken, we left to find out how to bring you back. We'll most likely have to return due to some government problems. Because of course 'we' can't go to another country, village, town, etcetera etcetera. Without sticking our nose in it and getting in trouble. "   "...it probably would have been better for you to resume the search than to return here." That was an argument she didn't think she'd win. "government problems? did you kill one of the elves? they weren't brought with you..."   Aniks shoot her a look that said he wasn't going to touch that first part. "Yes, we are in fact harboring a fugitive, which the elven people are not happy about. We have to find some exploration team in the east. Nothing major but it could have been far worse."   "you kept talinde and didn't bring him here?" There was an element of genuine surprise in her voice. "the exploration team... do you know anything about what they are searching for? you have a goal. they may not share it."   "He's here, it's just might not be the smart to bring a reality warping staff into this place. He's sort of in a pocket dimension within a gem of his own creation? I really glossed over the mechanic of him being inside the gem" He paused to think " I believe it was something that could have fallen in line with something we are searching for, or close in proximity"   "even having some sort of... pocket gem containing that sceptre could be dangerous here. who has it? we should keep lirien away from them." Celu glanced back over at the rest of the group, where a reluctant Lirien was being given rides by Artemis as Kraia, nude and bedicked, watched. She blinked, disregarded it as 'normal weird group behaviour', and looked back at Aniks. "it is extremely convenient that they happen to have an exploration team doing something related to your research." She didn't bother holding back the suspicion.   "We hope to only have to bring him out in a critical moment, beside that we are unsure on how this place will effect the gem, oh Ashlyn has it." He twitched his nose "Convenience, It's almost like we're being forced into this path. The Rod that could help us fine the artifacts, the exploration team. On top of the fact that we're not the only ones looking for those Artifacts now if I assume correctly. It's like solving a puzzle from the inside out. I feel like we're missing something."   "they are champions and this was a task given to you by the goddess of fate and prophecy. it isn't surprising that some things are simply happening to force this path. it is the others searching that should be worrying. riven and associates. they have to have a purpose, too." She shrugged. "the guidance I get does not show me everything. it is equally vague and hard to decipher as it is useful. and ashlyn was a good choice of guardian. she is near incorruptible."   "That makes since but their something else, it's almost to easy? You understand what I mean?" Aniks watched his companions " Do you think they will grow up? Then again we are adventurers"   Celu glanced back to the rest as Aniks did. "...it depends. they might lean further into ridiculousness as things get worse. or they might break and become mature through that. or they may grow up, as rare as that sounds. and it might seem easy, but..." She took a moment to collect her thoughts. "...there are only so many shards. you saw two destroyed, from what you have told me. one of those was then recreated, and we nearly died in the process of that. you nearly fell into the void." She didn't sound pleased about that. Quite the opposite. "and the one who managed it.. seemingly escaped. and was allied with others, who likely now know this is possible, and who may want to use the shards themselves. we also have no idea what the one in the east can do. I've heard you talk about how the gemstone tried to destroy the forest and underdark. the other shards will likely be equally powerful. the challenge may be in getting to them and destroying them."   Aniks shudder at the thought of that black orb "The Void, I'll try and not leap into portal to that place again." Then a worried look came to his face "I don't remember what made me jump, though I am pretty sure it why I have Silver now" He pointed to the Silver and Gold Scimitar that was carefully placed against a tree. Probably far enough away to not eavesdrop on to the conversation. He hoped. "At least we know there is a group, which one of them has to have a connection to the temple, otherwise Riven would never have found out about how to forge those shards."   "...If you ever try anything with similar portals, I will stop you." She glared. "even if it isn't you trying to make the move. the book became yours too, after that." She seemed like she was about to add something for a moment, but caught herself in time. "who did you tell there? not only did he know about the shards, but... that ritual was not standard. those chains were not standard. and there were spells involved that he did not seem able to cast."   "Your correct, my siblings were talking about a recent outsider, a human girl, that walked around House Umbra without much problem." Aniks racked his brain to think back on that week of information "Cyne was the only person I spoke to openly with the shards, I spoke with maybe less than six or seven people. Between those six or seven maybe speaking to two for trying to find the research. I am not sure if one of them had enough knowledge to create some of the spells we saw. But I wouldn't be surprised it was somebody of high standing, who I never spoke to, who would have been notified about what was being research."   "I mention the human girl because they said they walked alongside riven, she could have had something to do with those rituals. We never figured out who that was or if she could do anything."   "a human? maybe she was a toy. or maybe she's one of his allies." She shrugged, thinking. "who helped with ashlyn's ritual? maybe they would know others good with rituals there. this might be something to ask the rest about."   "I think this is something to at least bring up outside the country. Just in case. As for who helped Ashlyn? I can't recall currently it's written down somewhere. Hmm I think I recall it being modified from it's original purpose." Aniks couldn't say for sure he tried to stay away from the ritual because of complication.   "...why did they have a ritual for changing memories lying around?" she asked, voice flat. "most of the deities that invoke memory are not ones that place would approve of." She'd know.   "I can't say for certain, I made note on the fact that this temple contains rituals that probably shouldn't be in the hand of anyone..." he paused only to realize something " Ironically anybody who would want to be in this place, cultist and other people of that nature. Where those Rituals are keep I cannot say but I can't believe that keeping all that knowledge of dark rituals won't have repercussions. For that place it would make since, they also heal people. Like poison from animals you can create antidotes from it, I think the same would apply to rituals. Using those dark rituals to reverse some effect on those they heal. I think if we found those notes we could probably figure out what it it "   "if there are notes on the ritual used for her... there probably are some that relate to riven's, too. if we had time, it would be worth finding out." She breathed a sigh of annoyance. Limited time was annoying. "reverse-crafting a ritual is not something I've heard of for good purposes, but it makes sense. some of the darkest I've read were from those originally made to cure." If he was paying attention, Aniks would have felt her hand stiffen for a second as she mentioned that; a moment later, she looked over sharply as she realised something else. "oh. unless whatever the Beauty does changes more than just my status of life, I'm not going to be able to heal myself."   Aniks consider everything she said but thought mostly on the last part. "You told me I would have to remind you of certain necessity to a 'mortal' life. We'll figure this out too. You've grown accustomed to life as a vampire, I'll have to make sure you don't break a leg. Or prehab start buying healing potions. There is the option of healing from another person."   She made a mildly disgusted face at the last. "...that's annoying. there had better be a way to change it." As the extremely speedy beaver finally stopped running circles around the pond with a hapless Lirien attached, Celu was reminded of another question about... life stuff. "wait. is breathing manual?"   "Maybe but I cannot think of anything besides Magic?" He could help but smile although he was ever so slightly annoyed that he could feel himself breathing now from the question. "Yes and No, Breathing can be a manual act, but when your not actively thinking about it like with sleeping your body will naturally breath for you."   "Oh gods, you going through life with mortality is going to be, Interesting."   "oracle magic is mostly external forces with an innate ability to learn how to use them. there might be something. but it's something I will need to look up. at least I'd be able to help you, too," she mused, a touch of her more scholarly side showing. She'd had a lot of reading material. "I remember sleeping. it wasn't fun. the dreams are going to be... so much worse." If Aniks were being perceptive, he'd catch the fear in her eyes that she tried to hide under a layer of indignance at his final sentence. "I could always stay as an undead abomination if you think it will be that bad." The sarcasm was very obvious. And very bitter, actually.   Aniks offered a smile to the vampire. Not because of what she had said but what he noticed. "You know Celu, compared to when we first meet. You're far more expressive. I'm glad that you are, even if it's only around me."   Celu looked pensive as she considered that. "it's... practice, I think. the books help. talking to you helps. not being threatened with eyeball removal or disembowelling is also helpful." Despite the last being far more disturbing than the other two, her tone didn't change: it was entirely matter-of-fact. "the rest of the world hasn't proven that it won't use said threats. and.. it's easier not caring."

Journal #33: The 'safe' return of Eurydice

Our time in Tenaerul seems like it is going to be extended at the request of The Beauty, or appropriately we’re being kept here. I’m getting ahead of myself, this journal entry is going to be a bit shorter than the others, but there is something I do need to get across.   As I told you before my watch was rather uneventful, it was why I was able to write that last journal entry. Ashlyn took the next shift, after waking her I tried to get sleep, key word being tried. The Universe decided that we’d be ambushed on Ashlyn’s turn. Headless horsemen raced around the campsite attacking Lirian and Cid and some spectral floating skeleton. Which Ashlyn was dueling, reemphasizing how deadly she truly is, especially in this place, filled with evil outsiders. Her paladin skill have never been so useful before. Sleep came shortly after we dispatched the undead creatures, yet the longer we stay here, the more my concern grows for Lirien’s sanity. It is apparent that something is affecting her and she keeping a tight lip about it. I would be as well, but I haven’t spoken to the voices. So I cannot understand the full extent of how deep she’s gone down the metaphorical rabbit hole.   There is some cause for celebration, and I can’t say I am not overjoyed at the return of Celuriel from the Eighth Layer of Hell. While traversing Tenaerul, we found a lair of a singular giant spider which was mortal. After quickly trying to figure out if this Spider could have its soul taken, it became more difficult to keep it just on the edge of death. Lucky enough Create Soul Gem worked without much of problem. It’s disturbing to have used that spell, to steal somebody soul. I say it’s alarming because of how easy it was, there was just as easy as casting a simple arcane spell. Having it converted a soul of a dying creature, to hold a gem that you could easily pocket. Was it truly that easy to take a soul? Instantly after obtaining this stone,, we brought the Devil before us to conclude the deal and never speak with her again. The exchange was made, and Eurydice was returned to us. I’m thrilled she didn’t have to spend more time inside Hell. With the that, the Deal was concluded we never have to see her again unless we both agree to it.   Pin thought it was smart at the moment to ask if she could keep the magical watch that allowed for contact. Both Ashlyn and I firmly said no, Pin instantly reconsidered her previous statement and the Devil took the watch and disappeared.   With that accomplished, we have one more thing to deal with.   Lirien.   tb’j kprlz kpeg dwdmxutvx pef lnwmggpl ymv nyl z iq ffzv blne aym anyb kw prldv blvd xcigr ta swxu smiaiyq iel xuta smmar mwnipeqeo lrc. eyqgu ywn jitd bym uhpakqsa zn npc? jsg nwyyo aym anyb kw kb, l uzawvzv kpeg dpv pef mmvv frdbfeiq zv ymv? ccmyif fsm yiw nywkpie nweagvzcjvifd byix jttc ji scmv wrpp ev tingm kpmf miizmrc. ev albftu klrns ymv jcqjbw. jtbywyg xwim maqwiuegtwe wr v’x iwzevo byix jp krv’x uptg pie lvu q xutvb bs tpb zvjbcurbmby wlb ss smi qw tzqeo xb mm zutbdazjpr. hm dqkue prdi gz zvtc by bym trzxcm eao kimegfzva lrcm kw yaomiaxnyl npeg ta xwmar we emgs pvz. autky qw tzqeo xb mm lvvrwqrjpr lb smwg. t’u nwvetmu ifbfb ralyjv twritkkqsa ew vtmztvrbmar mmqp jsqcm lrcm rvh uze wiv fsm’j emywqeo xb rw. zn pvcqvv kbpa fnj gsm umic pvu, q gbftu air epza kbtvx lsjy qe wrr zn kpvrp ergw. bym smjbcm cmeitvx ei stvu i anj bf aeip pvz. xjz aym mf wmwb frsqel frnilai fsm’j osap lfer gsm iifotb ywpr lvu kea’e kfui olkb. blepm, z’tp ypimm xulb fvi szz cixrc q’ct lngm ywtr eprb mg owvar’g nwdm xb dwdmxutvx as qcijbmp.   The Beauty is somebody who I am going to place as a neutral entity for now. She told us this place we’re in is safe which I am inclined to believe her since I didn’t drown while taking a dip in the water. On top of the fact she only spoke to me about finding Eury and not be distracted. Clearly, The Beauty has their own goals but has just been telling us about ‘quests’ that we have while here. They have a name but not willing to share. My quest is half over, retrieving Eurydice was one bring her back to life by finding an amulet inside an ‘Irovy Maze’ then the other will have their quest. I have to hope we can get out of this in one piece, I’d rather not die in a place like this. It’s strange for once probably being the sanest of the group hopefully I can keep that sanity for as long as possible while here.     P.S. Apparently Eurydice sister has her heart according to The Beauty, which would enable us from being brought back to life. The Beauty can override this...

Journal #31: Why am I Orpheus?

Needless to say, I spent the day alone without the contact of everybody. They decided to go back into The Alethein Empire to capture Celuriel’s sister. Prolonging the quest The Lady of Graves sent us on. Granted capturing a Lich's soul which is not small feet and I can assume she has at least some information on us by now. I can only imagine taking away Celuriel from that Necromancer’s tower can just have put us on her scrying eye. Now that Celuriel is away from us I fear that Ludrissiel might know, which could only lead to a more complicated problem in the future. Hopefully, we can retrieve Celu before things get fair to out of hand. Traveling back through the Elven Gate, we brought back Talinde Ae’tharis, who Kraia has already tried to seduce. None of us really batted an eyelash at this. A different Elf that Cid was tapping in more ways than one, I regret writing that, but it’s very much true. I’ll never understand the elf’s fascination for trees.   With a rather shortstop back to Iron Falls, We go to the Temple to help look up any information on the Lich from the Keepers of Divinity. Which we found some document not many lead us to find a rough estimate that Celuriel is roughly 900. The Keepers of Divinity did not have any real information on the Geltharieth which is understandable given the circumstances that Celuriel grew up in, which is probably one of the few reasons that family survived for so long. Consulting the High Priestess of the Temple of Celesthem, she suggested going to Tenaerul. A place if I recall, and currently we’re currently in while I’m writing this, is a land full of corruption but more on that later. Tenaerul was a place that a Champion sacrificed themselves to create a barrier to seal the corruption of dark being, cultist and has I learned today. Outsiders. The deciding factor was Cyne using telling Ashlyn they’re Rovagug Cultists somewhere within this corrupted land. The High Priestess warned us, especially Lirian and Myself who were not Champions that the corrupting influences will have a more pronounced effect on us. Since we don’t have any protection from any deity. Though many of us can suffer the influences of this land. One of use, not sure exactly which one but they asked when we know when we’ve been influenced or change because of this land. I sarcastically said that you’ll know when I stab you.   Strange to know that Cyne talks about us to her, since the High Priestess remarked that she understands why Cyne and I get along the sense of Humor is similar.   After constructing a contract with the Devil, one that Whisperbreath was happy with, and making a remark about not messing with Celuriel shooting a rather icy glare. At least for now I know she is safe, which puts my mind at ease so I can deal with whats around us now.   Tenaerul is hard to describe as a place, distortion and discord run rampant through the trees, land, and sky. There is no sun within these walls and a heavy almost Eldritch fog. Rather annoying really. The trees are twisted, and the bark is cracked and dimly glowing with purplish light. Everything here seems to be tainted and twisted from extended time form here. So far we’ve been alright, physically speaking anyways.   Mentally, our time is slowing running out.   While we first enter the unhallowed ground of Tenaerul. Our transportation, Pins old magical train, stopped and standing outside was an ethereally beautiful Celuriel Geltharieth, and not. The image of Celuriel shifted to somebody I used to know, a woman by the name of Claire Therwel. The Creature formed shifted between the two, rarely did the entity shows a complete version of one or the other. The contorted image of the two of them placed overlapping each other as if the image itself couldn’t settle on one to pick. It hurts to say, but It pulled at my heartstrings making my chest feel slightly hollow. Silver could probably feel my plus in my hand. Whatever strange machinations this being has plans it probably could have killed us on the spot, but I have a feeling it’s planning something. It told us that entering Tenaerul without payment or giving something up was not allowed. It “Took” from us.  
  • From Ashlyn, it took the “Sun.”
  • From our Gunslinger “Strenght.”
  • Kraia, her “Growth” was “taken,” though I don’t think she’ll be growing much more.
  • Whisperbreath’s “Time” was removed.
    This is rather problematic for us, this being was able to dampen or “take” away their champion powers. The concept of Taking is scary. For something to be able to TAKE champion power is scary. From what I’ve learned from the research into Champions, for something to be able to effect their Champion powers have to be above a Demonlord level of power, or at least on par with divine powers. So many questions but I’m concerned about what that could lead to. Everybody else seems to be speaking with voices, there's at least two that I know of. One is the Being that pulled at my heartstrings the voice is the same, it keeps telling me to not be distracted, that I can’t forget about my quest for Eurydice. The Second voice is the fairly neutral voice, neither male or female, who wants to have a conversation with me and is just annoying me. Both of them called Orpheus. I am not sure who that is. Some of my traveling companions have struck deals, and I’m slightly concerned for Lirian since the female voice, the False Celuriel, took something from Lirian and me. Either one of us had “Protection” or “Hope” taken from us.   With the way Lirian has been speaking, I am worried that Lirian was hope. I know she’s made deals. How far is this rabbit hole going to go?   I need to sleep for tonight. I”m going to try and be the most sain one fore once which means I need to keep my wits about me. With my luck, I might just get out of here.   Pb qdph lv dqlnv dodv'wklo, ruskhxv lv d ohjhqg. l dp qrw ruskhxv, l nqrz l'p dqlnv. l fdqqrw irujhw wklv! vrphwklqj lv diihfwlqj pb shufhswlrq. zkb gr l zdqw wr fdoo pbvhoi ruskhxv? slq lv uhihuulqj wr khuvhoi dv euljk, vduhqudh lv qrw wkh ddvlpduv qdph exw l'p irujhwwlqj lw. d yrlfh lv fdoolqj fhoxulho, hxubglfh. pb qdph lv dqlnv, l nqrz vrphwklqj lv zurqj, pb txhvwlrq lv zkdw dqg pruh lpsruwdqwob zkb?

Journal #30: Mistakes we're made, Surprisingly it wasn't my fault this time.

It’s rather difficult to talk about my experiences within the Kingdom of the Galansthin Elves. It’s been somewhat vexing just being here. I’ve slept through most of it, but I’ve had trouble remembering some events while there. My mind has been racing while awake, but it hurts. As usual, my companions found themselves getting involved in politics and heroic acts. The typical heroes they are, always butting their heads in situations they probably shouldn’t. This had very little to do with us. Going to stop some Renegade Elf who stole some rather ancient artifact unrelated to the Artifacts we currently are searching for. Reality is a rather fickle thing when it comes to the Gods. The Elven Pantheon has a different set of gods than the ones we champion. A champion of this Elven Pantheon wanted to set his Goddess Seren free from a dark god Seren had captured and sealed inside herself. This is at least how the I believe the story goes. Like I said my recollection of these events should be put into question. It’s still slightly hazy, and my current mental state is somewhat red. I’ve been alone for a bit and unable to sleep. I must apologize for anybody trying to read this, the smearing of ink on the page is something I cannot help. Some of these words have been rewritten because due to the ink bleeding into the page and becoming illegible.   This Elf known asTalinde was eventually talked down from doing what he thought was right. The Elf had been time-displaced by using his artifact. Spending roughly about four months in this reality warped build, we also started to question how much of our time had been distorted. Which his personal Champion status was called into question just because he couldn’t really remember how long he had been one. Turns out it was a month. We eventually convinced Talinde to deal with his problem and Goddess a later date, going to his Elven House to suppress this Artifact that has bound itself to him.   This world just keeps getting stranger and stranger the longer we walk around in it.   Without getting into detail, Celu was dragged to Hell because of a deal that was incomplete. She was used as a bargaining chip so to speak. As far as I am aware I do not believe Devils can drag people into their domain without some connection to Hell. Which might cause far more problematic scenario in the future.   I’m tired of this, very tired. I need help. I can’t save the people care about. Especially if I cannot understand how to correctly use this arcane magic. I might have to ask a favor from somebody. I hope they listen.

Journal #29: Pray to Fate

“I have a request to ask of you, I am not one who is familiar with praying in general. To the one who watches Fate, Pharasma a deal was struck with one the of my companions. Normally this would not be a reason to pray for guidance. I made stupid deals and touched demonic doors without much thought to the repercussions. However in retaliation for my companion denying the deal had even been stuck, Celuriel Geltharieth was dragged into hell for compensation till my companion agrees with or makes a better one. I am not asking for you to snap your fingers and make everything better, this is somebody else problem. One Whisperbeath has to learn, and Celuriel had to pay for. Needless to say, we are on the right track to finding the Artifacts, but this might place a bit of a damper on your request. I ask that you watch over her for just a little while until I can get her back. She going to need help and I can’t be there for her. Her life far worse than mine and I wanted to help her, but I can’t do that now. I know you hate the undead, but you spoke through her once to give me a warning about my future course of actions. I told you while we spoke that as long as I’m alive, I would try and protect my new family which included her from anything, I’m not sure I can ever do that without help. Your the only Deity that I trust enough to even ask this favor. Can you make sure she’s at least not alone like she was in that tower. I’m tired of losing people I care about, I would be eternally grateful if you would honor this request My Lady of Graves.”

Journal #28: Teaching Celu Undercommon

Just to slightly tease Celu so I can see her make that face I will only write the thing in Undercommon. In truth, I do know she doesn’t like when I use it because she doesn’t understand what is being said. So below is a list of common phrases, she should be able to pick the language up quite quickly since undercommon has its roots in elven. It even uses some of the letters.     ((There is a list of letters written that correspond to Undercommon alphabet. Along with a list of key phrases that are written correctly and phonetic spelling of those words and sayings. Aniks has also given Celu the grammatical rules to undercommon but they're incredibly similar to Elven.))   My name is ….   The directions are North, South, East, West   Here are basic colors: Red Blue Yellow, Green, Orange, Violet, White, Black   Cat’s are my favorite pets   I am hungry   The rat is drinking again.   The paladin is too good, I have to walk away.   If the halfling gives you a magical ring don’t take it.   Trees often get struck by lightning.   Unnatural lust is a terrible spell.   Don’t mind the Fetchling in the cupboards.   If you see a colossal stack of books it probably a half-elf.   Sass and edge cannot be measured.   The half-orc likes all women and maybe a dwarf.   The android requires medication. It’s all he talks about.

Journal #27 The capital and asking for diplomatic immunity.

Discussing our next objective with the rest of the group, we set our minds to the Artifacts that Phrasma told us about. With that Bloodwalker knowing about these artifacts and how they are a danger to the world around them. We decided to wrap up any loose ends, within the country of Aletheia. Stop by the Kingdom of the Galasthin Elves the quickest way to the eastern continent of Xin-jiyo, to cure Mery’s Mother and leading us closer to where the two artifacts were last found or heard of. Using an Elven Gate, in Ildendras to transport to The kingdom of the Galasthin Elves, which might be a slight problem for Lirien and me.   Being dark elves make going into an elven country worrying. So we set off to the capital to get diplomatic immunity. Getting there was simple enough, though our tour guide known as Cyne was taken away. To look for potential women for him to marry, we all watched as he was taken away. Leaving us to unpack and get ready for to speak with the emperor the next day. A guard kindly took us to our rooms. A common room with several branching rooms that we could sleep in. Our room had a balcony overlooking a courtyard and Cyne sitting on throne having lady after lady approaches him and has short conversations to see how compatible are they with him. Or at least that’s what it seemed, I have never understood royal politic when it comes to marriage. We watched this with stupidly wide grins on our faces.   The guard that had escorted us gave us the option to join them. We jumped on that far too quickly. I went down but stayed away from all the other people. I did notice a lack of other tieflings in the group. Ashlyns had somebody toss out somebody for being rude and using language unbefitting of nobility. This was strange for me. I didn’t know what to do. I might have come from, but this was something on a whole different level. Everybody was so prim and proper, and there was notable lack of knives and blood. Eventually and I bailed on this little event and explored the city. I did take the time to start to try to teach her Undercommon. She doesn’t seem to like when I speak in Undercommon, which might be due to the face she doesn’t understand it. She makes faces when I use that language.   The next day was filled with a dragon egg. Ashlyn found a dragon egg inside her bag of holding before coming to the capital, and they got the most brilliant idea of accelerating time on the egg till it hatched. Pin has been messing around with her champion powers, one which includes time acceleration. Kraia and I keep getting weird vibes the dragon egg, like a strange sense of deja vu. This egg turned out to be a Lunar Dragon, Lirien and I seeing how things could only get worse. Went to go research more in the castle’s library. Which we found some information but not anything other than essential warnings and safety issues. I found a book, that was shocking had some resemblance to Ashlyn.   This dragon upon returning to the room has created a makeshift cave with pillows, blankets, curtains. Adorable. Somebody even thought it was a good idea to toss gold coins in front of the entrance which the lunar dragon quickly snatched them up. With much deliberation on what to do next, Ashlyn had some meetings and or dinner with one of Cyne’s potential wife. Most of us followed, I decided to go back since it was just Celu and the Lunar Dragon. I might have been a bit worried. This Lunar Dragon is energetic bouncing a red ball around, but Celu had claimed it down.   Ashlyn eventually gathers everybody, and we grabbed our fancy garb. Being escorted to the Emperor's chambers. Which he was alone in this throne room. Our step echoed which was unnerving. There were apparently two outcomes, one there are other people in here we just can’t see them, or two the Emperor is just such a badass that he could quickly take care of us. I would go with a little bit of column a bit of column b. This older man but still held an intimidating figure. His celestial features were in clear and prominent display. Colossal wings, the similar facial features to other Aasimar I have meet, armor well polished with gold and white trim, the precise way he held himself. I found a bit interesting in his royal regalia an Axe. Everything about this man read as Emperor of the Nation Asterion Aletheia. A close descent of Ashlyn of course of perhaps four or five generations I believe.   The Emperor greeted Ashlyn first. Formality aside of family meeting each Emperor Asterion told us if we would want this diplomatic immunity we would have to prove that we’re at least respectable. Fair enough really, why would the leader of giving diplomatic immunity if they wouldn’t repeat the country in a somewhat reasonable way. I’m not accounting for the idiotic things we have done, but we’ve done some good. Each of us had to prove in some way that we could show our loyalty. Each of us gave a speech on how we determined our worth. Mine roughed up to being, I am the only reason I would go to such a dangerous place for my race is to complete the task given to us by Pharasma. Passing through the Elven kingdom just so happens to be the quickest way to the most significant amount of suspected Artifacts. I told him how I gave up my championship which had different implications for different people, one would be I clearly not a power hungry drow. I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. He questioned that, asking if I would give up power to stay the same. Yes, since power can corrupt anybody, and to not be me is a scary thought. Power is ultimately useless is it changes you in a way that harms people around you.   Then came a rather odd question, one that ultimately took me off my guard. I knew each of us would get a personal question that Emperor Asterion had thought of. The emperor asked about Celuriel, I believe the question was why do I take care of her. At first, I thought it was why do I care for her. No this is a question that meant why am I helping her, my am I continuing to feed her? The straightforward answer is because I can. The more complicated I told the emperor that when I came to the surface, I was given a chance at another life by somebody I eventually came to love. The person gave a drow who was horrible the second chance at living. At a new life to be somebody else. I guess because in a weird way when I had met Celuriel I saw a bit of my own situation in this Vampire. I decided to give her that second chance at another life, or at least give her a choice on if she wants to live. Since I don’t think she really got a choice in anything in her life.   Of course, I have entered my personal thoughts while writing this, I clearly expanded my thoughts a bit. Each of us passed the emperor's verbal test. Then clapped to releasing the magic in the throne room. Sitting in the balcony was the royal aletheian family Cyne included. The interesting person in that group was the High Priestess, why was she here? Probably close connections to the family or maybe we’re a bunch of Champions of gods, and she’s the leading forwards most authority in the Divine matter. I could see why she should be here, but it’s still kinda weird.   After this whole affair, the emperor told us that we would be having dinner. Each of us had our seats has been planned. I was sat next to his Royal Highness, and pain in my ass, Cyne. More surprisingly the High Priestess was to my left. Which is the reason I called Cyne a royal pain in my ass. Cyne, the wonderful guy that he is, outed me for being "Atheist." Which lead to a whole mess of conversations throughout the night while eating. A lot of explaining my reason for not worshipping a Deity, and why I told an angel I don't believe in gods. You know the simple things.

Journal #26: All magic comes at a cost.

For now, I have to get this Arcane Magic under control. Discharging silver lightning around the keep and absorbing magic has been dangerous. Not only to myself but the people around us. Especially since my friends decided that when I fell unconsciousness to use this newfound ability to cast a spell on me to test its full extent. The Spellbook that I found in a Necromancer's Tower can only be read by the Dead or people who are undead. Otherwise, the pages are blank. I just was able to truly understand all the spells in this tome, till a Sword appeared. I have taken to calling it Silver for the time being, but I’ll think of something more elegant to name the blade. It will have to be a translation of Silver since They like Silver. Just in case the person reading this didn’t catch that, I might be died, or a part of me might be at least.

Journal #23: The Grand Game

Freedom. The question now is what does that cost. My soul is freed from the demons brand, and the only lasting effect is physical scars on my left forearm. I am working under the assumption that my eldest sister is the now current Champion of Andirifkhu. It works out better that way Since she is a now the matron of house Alas’thil. Which my companions and I might have accelerated that process as well as help House Alas’thil to become a significant political power in the Underdark in the next coming months, I never lied while bargaining with both my Family and the Demon Lord. I would have never been a proper vessel for Andirifku’s will. Somebody like my eldest sister would comfortably fit the model she wants. If the Demon Lord hand kept me, we would have been at odds till one of us relented. In the end This is what you call Multitasking. Welcome to the Great Game of gods dear sister, it’s almost preordained that we’ll be meeting again. Fate tricky in that way isn’t it. All roads in this Grand Game are going to lead to the same destination. It’s the route we travel that make us different; I’m starting to understand that now. I cannot change that fixpoint, the reason for the Champions being claimed, from happening in the future. I can, however, pick that road that I will walk with my companions and their god. Eventually, I might not be able to stop myself from becoming a champion of some deity; I can at least enjoy this Freedom from this destiny a bit longer. I can dream of a second longer than I can have a peaceful life and that the world is not in danger of a cataclysmic event.

Journal #24: Castle Umbra and their Bloodwalker.

Nivinle retrieves all information on house umbra and this tiefling that the paperwork seemed to refer as the bloodwalker. Apparently, there is some nondrow skipping around like she owns the place. Nivinle final words on the matter were I had better not fail our it would bring doom to us all. How dramatic has she gotten? With a smile, I replied, “Well if the world going to end anyways, Might as well have a bit a fun along the way!”   I brought the information out to the rest of the group. Explained what just happened and my slight gap in memory because of Demon Lord Possession. Ashlyn gave me the “Evil” magical scan. Minus the arm I was normal. I expressed I wouldn’t have done something this idiotic if it weren’t for Cyne. I had to tell them that we can only trust my family about much as any other drow. Which isn’t saying much. The information was necessary, but as much as I would like to tell you about these people, it's mostly a liability. If this journal got into the wrong hands, then it’s possible that it could cause a problem. I want to keep my knowledge on this group to myself till I know more. Since there is some connection between some people, we've met and this Bloodwalker.   Now I could give you a quick rundown of my past experience House Umbra which favors Seduction and their patron Demon Lord Nocticula. I said could more on the events that took place while I was trapped in their walls, but my mind is drawing a blank with what happened in that house. House Umbra during a drow civil war taking place for the past couple of months was the clear winner. Its castle was the focal point in this city of Vaermyrhel. Which come to find out the bloodwalker had something to do with it the unrest in the cavern far below. Becoming a significant political influence and source of power in the Underdark. There had been talks about these incidents affecting other regions such as the Dwarfs in the Dhun. I even believe Kazric had made some mentions to something in the Underdark like this. Besides the point, we had the route that would lead us to where the Bloodwalker would be.   Going in through the side of the building it was incredibly easy to make our ways down into House Umbra. Easy compared to what is to come. Along the way, we brought out Ashlyn Since if we got caught, it’s all or nothing after that. The traps consisted of illusion and some rather hard fleshy chairs draped in some white cloth. I don’t mean the chairs and sofas felt like flesh, Pin noticed there were made of flesh. House Umbra was very much known for there flesh warping. A common practice in the Underdark mine you but these people are masters of it. The first encounter with other drow ended with me in a corset.   Our disguised female Drows were Lirien, Celu, and Pin. Celu doesn’t speak undercommon, Pin is a baby by Dark Elf standards and as we have seen with Lirien. She is too nice. Leaving them to have the brilliant idea of sticking me into a corset, applying enough makeup to make anyone look like anything they wanted to. Kraia gratefully gave me her whip to complete the look. Entirely no clue where Celu got a corset, though I did know her makeup skills were beyond amazing. A small trap leaving the area that Pin hastily took care of. I took care of the Female drow with her two male escorts. That’s not the right words. Minions are probably better, or toys. The lady asked what I was doing down here, I told her that I was lost and apparently on the wrong floor. I played on the fact I heard the lady organizing an orgy later today. She gave me directions to which room it was in and how to get there. As she left clearing the room, I called to her winking and told her I would see her there. It was one of the few times I could say I made a drow blush.   Finally making it to the basement, we were greeted with five thrones, and one was seated with Kazric with a gauntlet, as a drow. The Bloodwalker had constructed a ritual consisting of the primary elemental outsiders. Attending to use himself also as a surface to bring a horrible artifact into this world. I gave everybody super quick rundown of how bad this would get if the giant black orb of void and ritual would finish. One villain monologues later, and godly powers were released. After supercharged the evil ceremony which luckily for us the Bloodwalker and the princess survived, killing the elemental outsiders. After breaking his defense, Ashlyn dealt with Kazric who told us to kill him. Pin and Cyne secured the princess, and I did the stupid thing and decided to attempt to grab the artifact. Sticking my hand into the void wasn’t the smartest thing I’ll admit, but I thought if maybe I could divide the artifact in half if I could assert my will for what the artifact could be I would ruin his plans. I knew it worked when this tiefling face was pissed. In this void, I felt a blade being former. Taking my stupidity one step farther I plunged my head in to see a rough outline of a knife. A couple more second? Kazric now armless stuck his one arm into the void.   The Bloodwalker then finally getting fed up with our collective shit exclaimed "You absolute fools. You, who stand to gain the most from my triumph, you of the oppressed and corrupted shadow-elves, you would dare challenge me for this blade?" I promptly told him that I was doing fun and mostly to piss him off. I say he enjoyed that little conversation we had "...I think not. As a champion of the darkest, most vile magic and of those twisted mortals suffering under the unrelenting oppression of Truth... I, Son of the Abyss, accept thy invitation.” The void sphere started drawing the three of us in with Artemis saving me. Yet right before I heard a familiar voice, but the sound itself had no discernable qualities to it. It told me to join it or be with it again something along those lines. Gods this beaver has saved us on many occasions. Kazric and the Drama King disappeared along with the sphere.   The earthquakes begin once those two left, and the four elemental outsiders were brought back. Unlike normal undead, they clearly retained their skills, and something was lacking. Something about these voidlings was off, some there expressions and ability to somewhat maintain their sentience of there former life. Just made this seem like a twisted version of any resurrection spell. This camber began to tear itself apart, releasing Underdark aberrations into our battle. We were only able to take out two of them. The others were crushed under the rubble. They just needed these two really, two spellcasters can be a dangerous combo. The Undine and Ifrit, who I now recall being friends with Kraia, covered the room with large magic spells. I was knocked unconscious by a combination of Ice magic or Fire. I can’t recall since the last thing I felt before waking up aging was cold and warmth.   So let’s talk about this Bloodwalkers plan. I don’t quite understand. He apparently has friends, Pin’s friends, the girl in the Underdark. Who we never honestly find out who they are. He was the one who I can assume he gave Kazric that soul-sucking blade from way back when. The big question is why? It’s unlike he knew what that blade was precisely at the time. Otherwise, I do not think he would let something like that. On top of that, he shares some connection with vampires and possibly started some or help this drow civil war. A revolutionary? Something apparently isn’t adding up, but the question is what. Minus some sort of influence over the realm or political power in certain vital circles I don’t understand why. Wait I need to speak with Pin about something. See if there are any connections or similarities between these two.   I’d say the Underdark excursion was far more informative that we had hoped.   Lucky the others and I woke up wholly safe and listening to Cyne and Ashlyn argue about absolutely nothing. I recall the event being over the amount darkness in the area that we slept in. For some reason, Artemis was laying across the both of them. Gods have mercy on the poor souls that are crushed by that beaver’s bottom. Others had fallen unconscious, but if it weren’t for the combined efforts of Cyne and Kraia, we would have been in a lot worse shape. Most likely under the broken ruin of castle Umbra. Grasping the situation and finally being able to relax, cutting myself out of the corset I finally had a chance to calm my nerves. Thought in the back of my mind I thought about the deal. For the most part, she had been quiet, which was lovely but highly suspicious. We technically succeeded but I would need to return back to the Underdark. That currently didn’t matter we save the princess of the realm which I had a pleasant conversion with Alysia. Telling her that I was jealous of her family. Hopefully, joking as she said she could introduce me to a cousin and I told her I had been seeing somebody.   Going to find said, somebody, since she had disappeared into the building near us. Exploring Celu, I felt something. My recklessness has caused some adverse effects on my body. That blade hadn’t entirely left me yet, in my finger I could barely see an outline. I could feel it along with some weird magic along with it.   The ‘night’ slowly crept upon us. Each of use that needed sleep took our chance and beds. It was the morning that was more important. Our oracles had visions. Celu, Pin, Ashlyn, and Alysia shared some connect vision of their pasts, present, and their futures. After a brief discussion, we or more like I in my head need to see Cyne in a corset. Since that prick pulled the corset extremely tight after Celu had finished with the disguise. Apparently, in that shared vision, they saw Cyne in the said corset. Appeared back in Ironfalls after our discussion and I stressed that I did need to return soon.   Which with help from Cyne, Pin, Pennyswaggle, and Celu shortly returned to the Underdark after some problems with Arcane Magic. My interaction with the Void sphere changed me and left me somewhat unstable. Now being able to cast magic and a bound silver and gold blade. That magic seems to be tricky in nature, the spellbook seems to imply I’m a wizard, but how I’m I able to cast spells without it? Since I was apparently able to in my bar. It was somewhat risky going back down there without a real grasp on why I started shooting silver lightning out of my body. Yet after knocking out a good chunk of the spellcaster in sleep like curse, even this demon lord might not want to be connected to me. Or at least that’s the impression it left. Since she wasn’t the one who did it according to her, which I usually wouldn’t believe her but sleep spells on only spellcaster is not her natural M.O. On top of that, after she did explain that it wasn’t her, she told me to finish the deal.   Which makes me wonder...   Coming back to the Underdark it was in ruins, and it wasn’t too hard to find my sister. Dealing with some male drow from another house, and leaving Pennyswaggle with them. Gods those poor bastard probably thought they could mug him. There mistake letting me pick. They sent for my siblings and the three of them without the other males that left with Pennyswaggle. Nivinle was dressed in spiked battle armor, there must have been some significant conflict after the earthquakes. I had to go with my eldest sister, and everybody else had to stay with my younger siblings while I dealt with my other sister. Which again after a small conversation and her telling me that I could come back was over and live as a drow. I let that demon lord control my body and finish that deal. My last sight before waking up was my sister cruelly smiling down at me. Oh, and of course searing pain, unlike anything I could describe. Waking up alone with Celu messing with my hair in Ironfalls having her explaining what happened after I disappeared with my sister.   P.S. I did tell Cyne that the information I had gathered on the artifacts was leaked somehow, so somebody at the temple was connected with the bloodwalker. Cyne told me he’d mention it to the High Priestess who could probably have a better time finding this leak.

Journal #23: Homecoming

Spending a month Ironfalls was actually quite relaxing. Regrettably, I did keep some information from my party, but that's just because of the problem that lies ahead of us. How does one actually break the news that by the end of this champion ordeal, that it's going to result in some cataclysm by merely being some vessel or herald of their God. They become more like their god, the idea of Ashlyn becoming some flaming angel with godlike powers is definitely a good thing. Right? I thought about breaking it to him quickly, but I couldn't think of anything like that. Both cyne and I explained information both for the artifacts and what it means to be a champion. The end of that night we received news that Cyne’s Sister had been kidnapped and was in the Underdark. After talking Cyne down from leaving right that second. We chose to go in the morning. I was returning home.   Cyne was able to take us to the Underdark with some ease. Needless to say that in returning to the Underdark we were met with a complication. Meeting one of Cyne’s informant, a rather interesting lady drow who gave a quick rundown of where people are and who might have his sister Alysia. House Umbral seemed to be our best option. In the middle of this small discussion we were interrupted causing us to hide by people outside, Cyne’s informant left with a more than thrilled Kazric. Shortly after screams could be heard from the courtyard, causing us to have to hide our evil hating paladin away so Ashlyn wouldn’t blow our cover. We donned our disguises and carefully left, leaving the house was a hard sight. The Snow Elf from the group in the adventuring party was in the process of being flesh warped. That was a hard walk.   With little luck and ‘saving’ a mute elf that ran away from house Umbra. We learned that the princess was indeed was in house Umbra. You’ll understand why I wrote ‘saving’ later. With what little she did say we do know we hard working with a tiefling that isn’t Cyne. Running out of options to find Alysia Cyne reminded me that my house lives here. See barely any options left in the Underdark without going in completely blind. I walked home to House Alas’thil.   It should be noted, I hate that I have to return here. I hate the notion of being here in general, the Underdark such a stupidly corrupted place where the social norm is right to be stabbed in the back. Needless to say, I walked in and walked to what I thought was the library. Avoiding traps from my house, nothing significant happened my comrades happen to find an old family painting. Glancing at it once, I continued down the hall because I saw a pair of golden eyes grinning at his future self. We eventually ran into a billiards room, where somebody finally stopped us. Pin disguised as a small drow child climbed on the table and started to play pool. She was confronted by another adult female drow. Knowing better Cyne and I, being males kept entirely. I’ve never really thought about killing a friend before, but I’m not going to lie and say the thought wasn’t there in this current moment. Lirien plucked Pin from the other females arms, and she began to question Lirien, which didn’t hold up. Lirien Apologizes to the female drow alerting her to our outsider presence. I stepped in baring my champion mark explaining what it meant, this dark elf said champions are nothing but fairy tales.   I wish. Disappearing into a wall, I told Lirien that “we need to work on your drow edicate.” I was notably pissed more at Pin than Lirien, Pin should have known better than to stand out that much. Lirien will probably always have a pass on most things since I have a notable soft spot for Half Drows. Their upbringing is complicated. Pin is an impulse driving wizard which makes life more interesting. Leaving this nicely furnished and one spellcasting ooze later we press on to find information on house Umbra.   Checking one of the doors I ran into a music room with a single female drow who already knew I was the one to claim to the champion of their patron. This red-eyed drow dressed in all white is my younger sister. Vastestra Alas’thil easily an adult by drow standards. It was strange that she hadn’t noticed who I was at the moment. Dear little sister wanted this to be a conversation between people of the house. Surprisingly I didn’t argue with that. Pin tried to walk in with me, but I probably closed the door.   The conversation was surprisingly different than what I had the image. I imaged less talking and more slitting her throat in revenge. All that rage just disappeared. In this moment where I could quickly have tried to exact some sort of attack. That I had thought about since Vastestra and Rikzyr (my younger brother) betrayed me and left me enslaved by house Umbra. 60 long years I had thought about it. I could have lived on the surface and never touched my family again, that would have been fine. Yet I was here sitting down across from her. I want to stress that at that moment, everything is so small. This revenge I wanted was so little, it’s not going to every matter. Playing into this revenge would perpetuate the cycle of evil within my people's culture. How could I ever care about something as petty killing my family because of what they did to me when Gods are leading us to some sort of cataclysm. Eventually, Vastestra noted some familiarity with my face. Leading to a minute or two of silence after I dropped my formality after she asked for my name. That minute started with my statement of “You’re smart, figure it out.”   After the realization of her older brother sitting from her, she questioned how I escaped from House Umbra. Lots of lucky and bodies. I’m not proud, but at least it was the drow.   This is the moment where I started to explain what I need, information of House Umbra and who this Tiefling. Under normal circumstance, I would have no leverage being that I am a male and my younger siblings metaphorically stabbed me in the back. These are not ‘normal’ circumstances, I made a very risky gamble. I had Vastestra call out other siblings make this a happy family reunion. She agreed, and 20 minutes later I learned a fact about my younger siblings; they're a couple. Mentally I vomited.   First I had to prove I wasn’t going to betray them, easy. I showed them this drow hunting party, a game some person in the capital was putting on to hunt drow. Despite my hatred to my own race, senseless slaughter is not something to have a competition about. This expressed I was at least was trying not to cause trouble by being in the Underdark and walking into this house. All I wanted was information. Secondly to ensure a level of cooperation between us I offered a deal that would benefit far more than just me. I provided my status as Andirifku’s Champion, which she had words about. I explained that I was champion I would be useless, fighting against Andirifku’s will. Somebody who’s still faithful to her would be a fair better as her Champion. Of course, it’s not my power to give, but perhaps she could gift it to somebody else. My younger siblings were fairly talkative leaving Nivinle silent. They thought I saw lying to them, which was smart of them to believe that. Till I gave myself over to that demon lord for a second.   It was like being plunged into an eternally dark ocean. The sensation of drowning but with slight impressions of the breath. Seconds could have been hours, I am not sure how much time was spent in that mindscape. I at least believed that the place I was in, some sort of mind prison where my subconscious is. Waking up was a treat. My younger siblings in bloody and bruised, Nivinle my eldest sister was notably unharmed. My bet might have worked under the conditions that we succeed in our quest.   P.S. I am rather sure my family has killed my aunt, the former Matron of House Alas’thil. Which makes my mother the current Matron, she’s sick in bed. I’m rather sure that Nivinle and the others have something to do with that.

Journal #22: Demon's Champion [Text Roleplay]

“Do any mortal have choices, Free Will, or are we just instruments for higher beings to use… if that is the case, I wanted nothing to do with them. I just wanted to live in a world where I am free from outside influences.   Though I am not a so dumb as to think people will not in need of deities. Being on the surface the people chose their gods to help them, each of them important for their own reason. The surface people when they are feeling down or when they need something, they pray to their gods for help. There is no sacrifice, no selling of your soul, just dedication and faith to a deity. This is different, these Gods, Deities and Demon Lords are picking us for a reason, if this helps us then so be it. I’ll accept being her champion for now, after this is said and done with. I just want to disappear and live the rest of my life.” "Mortals will always have free will. This is why demons and devils must use trickery and coercion to enslave or enthrall. You are a special case. One without faith is... interesting, and lacks some of the protection the faithful take for granted. The smallest mistakes hurt you far more... in any case. You choose to accept her, without fighting it, yet you do it for a good purpose. She wants to ruin you, Aniks. The bond shared between a Champion and their god is extremely close. If you wish to remain free when this is over, do not let her take advantage of that closeness, or even death will not spare you. You'll remain at her side forever."   " I have never been a good person in the regards to somebody like Ashlyn or Kraia. I have no problem with murder. Growing up in the Underdark helped destroy any mortality on this subject. This Demon Lord knows me, she is my house Patron Deity. It won't take much to manipulate me into a favorable situation that benefits her more than me. I am not afraid of the want could happen, I am more scared that I might fall back into a older habits that I have worked so hard to get rid of. I don't use knives anymore because it would be to easy to kill, I went to the surface to be away from Drow Society. I took precaution to keep myself for become more Drow. I think for the most part I'll be alright till we start dealing with my family, that's when I'll probably stumble and fall. Hell I even started showing emotions so I wouldn't be as cold and heartless and my sister"   "Just as Celuriel is as good as one can be from her environment, you are one of the most pure in regards to yours. Your morals are grey, but you choose to do what is right more often than not, even if that means causing others pain. If Andirifkhu is able to, she will encourage your fouler personality to rise up. You know her. She uses knives. She is an assassin. She carries those aspects that you try so hard to change. Do you plan on resisting, or will you allow her to mold you into her perfect Champion, corrupted into the base instincts of a drow - of a demon?"   "For now Salvation and Damnation are the same thing, as long these people in the other room are Champion's I will do my hardest to keep them out of harms way. This also includes the person you seem to be talking though, or am I getting this wrong? Celuriel has never referred to herself in the third person, Don't disappear either I would rather like to finish the conversation. You clearly are somebody, something watching us since you can gather that I choose to do what is right. Thought you could just be grabbing this from Celuriel's Memories. You talk as if you are concerned about me keeping my neutral godless status, so why are you so interested in me?"   "Call my interest peaked on this new development"   Celu smiled. It looked almost wrong to see her genuinely smiling, actually. "I did wonder if you'd notice. Good. Keep those instincts. These is much at risk that could so easily be missed. I don't have an interest in you remaining godless, but should you fall to Andirifkhu's manipulations, the road ahead will be far rougher. The cleric gave you Torag's warning, did she not? Neutrality, at these times, is vastly more important than you'd ever be expected to understand. As for whether I sought through her memories, no. You and your companions have attracted attention across the cosmos. Few keep watch, but many know of you. Did you not wonder why your companions were deemed champions? Even your less-present associates - the half-orc, the prince, the sorceress - are claimed. Now that you are, too, only Celuriel of your group has strong reason to remain blank."   "The Prince?" Aniks sighed "Should have figured that one out far sooner, I'll have words with him about that later. So you are speaking through her at the moment, mostly likely because of Celu's Oracle Abilities that you've tapped into somehow. Although this is all understandable and I agree with you for the most part, though two questions still are rumbling around in my head. Why warn me? Not another member of my party to watch out for me and my future acitons. You came to me and wanted to speak alone, if it's a trap you would have already had enough time to do anything you want. Or wait intill night while Celu and I are most likley alone together. Then the most pressing question who are you? If you do not give you me a name what can I call you at least. I do not expect a answer to this one, I have a hunch your not somebody who is mortal."   "You will find him at the Temple. It may be wise for you to seek him out sooner, rather than later. As for why you would receive a warning? You still have chances to change your fate. Andirifkhu is not a true goddess, and thus has... weaknesses. You, of all those standing in your group, have one of the most important paths ahead of you. If that does not reveal my identity, then continue on to Celesthem. Remain wary, but continue your research. I believe it's time to return Celuriel to you, now. The demonic taint in her mind has left, and so shall I." With that, Celu's eyes slipped shut, and the vetala fell forwards... which was actually fairly impressive, considering vampires weren't meant to be able to be unconscious. Aniks catches Celu and hold her for a while, in undercommon he whispered "what has my life become?" It took barely a minute for her to awaken, eyelids fluttering open in a moment of panic - revealing a flash of vibrant golden eyes, for just a moment, before she blinked, unintentionally restoring them to their usual dull crimson. "...I don't sense the demons any longer. where are we? what happened?"   Aniks face was torn between concern and happniess, only a slight smile appeared on his face. "If you want to know, I will tell you. If not just know you we're in good hand"   Aniks kisses her on the forehead just glad that she is back and isn't more dead than normal.   Her eyes went wide as he kissed her on the forehead, glancing down to check what was holding her up and only looking more confused. Yet she wasn't about to move, instead leaning slightly into his grasp. "...knowledge is preferable to the unknown. I... the door. they approached it, and we are now here."   "From what I can tell, you and Kazric were taken over by forces of the demonic kind, after we destroyed the rift it seemed somebody else possessed you. Wanting to speak with me in person and alone. At first I thought you were just worried about me, but the tone and the way the person spoke told me somebody else was in control."   "...oh. I should have been more careful... are they well? the half-orc is destructive. wait.." She looks down again, this time frowning at Aniks's sleeve. "you are hurt, but not. a... mark? you..." She cut off, her eyes glazing over for a second, before she met Aniks's eyes with a horrified expression. "pain, knives... the demon lord?"   "Kazric will be fine, for the most part. No I'm not hurt, this well, this just makes things more complicated. Look's like my trip to the temple needs to happen sooner rather than later."   "please be careful. that place... I can't see what is truly there. it is shrouded in illusions of the kind even wizards cannot see." "I'll be fine" He said trying to smile to make her feel better and less concerned about the trip. "Cyne will be there, if anything bad happen he'll have my back."   "...the mages together could not escape there. tell the others how long you will spend so they can help escape if necessary. he alone will not be enough to escape her if she doesn't want to let you go."   "She? I'll only be there for 5 day no more no less, I have to know more about what might happen to us. So we can be better prepared. With how events have been playing out recently the more... Do you want me to put you down?"   "I... don't know who she is. there is a woman. she is... dangerous? and... not really. this is... you should go sooner if you want to speak with the heir. he will be happy to see you."   "Yeah I'll go ask Pin for teleport to Cyne location" Aniks eventually puts down Celu to find Pin who is next to Kraia. "Whelp Pin can't teleport me to Cyne" Aniks ponders this for a second thinking of ways he could possibly explain to the front of the Temple that he's not going to research totally evil things with a brand new tattoo on his left arm.   After a moment of silence, you hear a familiar and less-terrifying female voice whisper, "...Where exactly do you need to go? Er, sorry, we were watching the fight earlier and I didn't turn off the scry."   “Leise correct? So many voice not enough time to keep track of them all. I would appreciate being teleporting directly to Cyne, The Prince, to avoid some complication with the temple.”   "Uh, it's Liese. You're going to the... temple?" She sounded almost nervous at the prospect. "I can get you there, but... well, I'm going to try and keep an eye on you, alright? I'm not letting what happened to Azyel happen to anyone else. One moment, I'm going to dispel the scry and check where he is." A minute later, a the small blonde half-elf appeared next to him in a flash of light, glancing around to take in her surroundings before offering him her hand. "He's in the temple's royal chambers right now. I let him know he'd be getting a visitor and, uh, he may have spat his drink all over himself at the interruption... but I'm sure it's fine. There didn't seem to be any wards up that could stop me. Are you ready to go?"   "5 days, 5 days is all I need, Let's go..."   Taking his hand, she nodded and teleported them. Unlike Pin's teleportation, this felt much smoother, with far less disorientation - it was more like stepping through a doorway in reality. Cyne, who was apparently halfway through buttoning a fresh shirt, blinked at their entrance as Liese waved at them both and immediately popped back to wherever she'd been originally. "...Aniks? I half-thought she'd bring Azyel here. What happened?"   Watching the half-elf blink out of reality once again Aniks turned to Cyne. “I’ll show you mine, if you show me your. I’ll explain how I know that since well… events might have just gotten far more complex.” Aniks pulls up his sleeve revealing the new dagger tattoo on his left arm. “All jokes aside, I originally had planned Whisperbreath to teleport me here so I could do some research about the Fate of the past Champions. Possibly some help or guidance with the task the Lady of the Graves assigned to us. Those are my own reasons for being here but this being on my arm makes entering this place FAR more problematic. This temple and their guards are not fan of Demon Woreshippers and being a champion of one. Well you can guess what would happen if I walked up to the temple trying to get in.” Aniks fixed his sleeve and looked at the prince for a reply   Whilst listening, Cyne examined Aniks's new mark. Andirifkhu, hey... ah, right. House Alas'thil. "I don't need to guess, I've seen demon worshippers try to get in before. They don't get to leave." he said curtly, slipping up his own sleeve and pausing before undoing his bracer. "I had similar reasons for coming here. The past champions are... interesting, and the High Priestess has granted me access to all research she discovered on them. It's not exactly a good sign that multiple have been chosen all at once. Now, whilst I don't mind showing you mine, since you apparently already know it exists, I'm going to need an oath of secrecy... and I would like that explanation about how you learnt."   “I’m not sure what tattoo your talking about” Aniks said knowing smirk “Of course I won’t tell a soul. As for how I know, Pharasma let that slip when her and I had a little talk. Like I said, more complex."   "...You talked to Phara-- never mind." He sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. When they reopened, they seemed to hold a golden glow. "Man, I hate having to do this. Aniks, I'm going to need an actual oath. Swear that you won't tell a soul unless I give you leave, or I'll bind you to the oath myself. Royal stuff means this is.. kind of important to keep quiet." "I swear on my soul that I won't tell a anyone unless you give my express permission to"   A flash of gold sparked between the two, before fading, Cyne's eyes losing the glow. "Thank you. Sorry, that needed to be done. Anyway..." For the second time in as many days, he removed the bracer, revealing a dark, crumbling tower shrouded in mist reaching all the way up his forearm. Ravens, feathers and silvery swirls made up the rest of his pattern, and he studied Aniks's reaction carefully, unsure about whether the other would even know it. "...it's not quite as traumatising as yours, but it's worrying nonetheless given some recent implications. Do you recognise the symbol?"   After looking at Cyne's tattoo for a minute or so, Aniks face frowned "To be frank with you, symbols of demon lords I'll know, the Gods depends on how obscure the deities is. That symbols is far beyond me.”   "Alright. I'm not surprised, you grew up in the Underdark away from anyone who would've taught you this, and I don't believe you've encountered many fey on your travels. This is the symbol of the Lost Prince, one of the fey Eldest. They're... essentially the fey equivalent to empyreal or demon lords, though their motives are less comprehensible." Hiding the haunted look in his eyes by turning away, he summoned over a pair of wineglasses, each already filled, and offered one to Aniks without meeting the other's eyes. "The fey are capricious creatures, and the Eldest are strange enough that, in this religion-dominated nation, I could face some.. rather serious issues if anyone finds out. At the very least, you can state unwillingness with yours. Aside from this, it seems that as the tattoos spread, they begin changing the person they're bestowed upon down to the fabric of their being. The Temple has records of ancient legends that speak of changes in height, species, powers, personality... some Champions have become little more than avatars of their gods, even." Notably, he'd avoided explaining what the Lost Prince represented.   Taking the glass he paused to listen to Cyne, Aniks could understood that he could easily accept being this Demon Lord Champions. It wouldn't even be that hard. Cyne is taking this differently than Aniks thought somebody of his nature would. If his has spread then does than mean he has accepted his fate as one? In a monotone voice "Great by this end of this Ashlyn is going to be a Flaming Angel of Justice..."   Placing how Cyne felt about this was difficult. "Well I have five days, 5 days before Whisperbreath comes to get me. Hopefully the two of us can get gett a better understanding of this" He gestured to his arm.   Downing his glass with ease and refilling it in one smooth handmotion, Cyne smirked, the grin not reaching his eyes. "I fear more what Pin and Azyel might become. Giving those two powers of creation is dangerous." Taking the second glass slower, he thought for a moment. "Are the champions all you wanted to research? I can move the scriptures on them here, but if there's anything else, let me know. Whilst I don't detect any demonic taint on you, I can't say how much more precise the clerics might be. It may be best for you to stay either near me or in these rooms. Not like they're small."   Aniks shuttered at the thought alone of Pin being around powers of Creation, Aniks thought it might be the best to leave that out of the notes. "Yes and No, my goal was more to see what happens to after the fact, What the likelihood we all wake away. That changed when the Cleric said the end of the world was coming, or rather something equal to the Magic War. Now any and all information is good since The Lady of the Graves thought it was a good idea to do my research. Whether she wants me to find some important note or fact I'm not sure".   "This tattoo is new, as of today. I had a momentary lapse in judgement and thought a good way to open a demonic door was with blood. I did not think that Andirifkhu could mark me by placing a dagger with my blood on the door. So I am not as far along as the others."   "The actions of gods are often inscrutable to us mere mortals. She might want you here to learn something, to find someone or even just to stay out of the way." He shrugged, waving a hand to summon a pile of notes onto a table nearby. "I had these with me here. They're on the events surrounding the Worldrend, including the aftermath. I can see if there's anything else later. And you really didn't think there'd be a consequence for offering a willing blood sacrifice to a demon?" He looked vaguely amused, his eyes resting on Aniks's mark. "Still, I wouldn't be surprised if she tried to catch up on lost time. Has she.. made contact?"   "You're still listening in the background Huh" Aniks said his head slightly leaning back   "If you look at the tattoo any harder it's going to start bleeding again, You want to see it again, touch it? If not I will probably have to cover it up because it does bleed at it's rather annoying." Aniks sticks out his arm once again.   In the back of his mind, Aniks heard a lilting laugh. "I'm always with you, my pet. Do introduce me to your friend."   As she talked, Cyne was looking curiously at Aniks. "It bleeds under observation but not when touched? You have a very strange patron. Though I can't say I know what happens when one examines a champion mark that isn't theirs. Let's find out?" Not waiting for Aniks to say anything further, he gently took Aniks's arm and muttered the familiar incantation for Detect Magic. What neither man was likely expecting was for a razor-sharp dagger of blood to spear Cyne's hand as he did so, though he looked remarkably calm about it until they both heard the woman speak.   "A perfect choice for you to learn with, my love. His blood runs with the--" Whatever she was going to say was cut off as an annoyed Cyne shadowstepped away, freeing his arm, his own mark beginning to glow a faint silver. He watched Aniks warily.   "...So, you're not letting anyone else poke that now. Sounds like yours is overactive."   Aniks rolled up his down his sleeves “Duly Noted… I honestly think she spoken to me more than the other’s respective deities and it’s only been a couple of hours. The other’s have not said that their respective gods talked to them so it is only an assumption at this point. Andirifkhu is a rather talkative Demon Lord, which is great since I have more things rumbling around my head.” Aniks places down the glass not really having drank any “On the more light hearted side of things, am I bunking here or am I going to figure out how to get a room.”   Copying Aniks, Cyne slipped the bracer back on and rearranged his shirt. "I can't speak for the others, but the Prince generally just listens. He's not very sociable." Finishing off his own glass and wrapping a shred of fabric over the wound Aniks's new friend had left, he gestured to a few of the other doors. "These are the royal rooms, so.. pretty much all of these rooms are free. The ones used by my family will have names and are locked, but there are always guest rooms here. They come in handy when, say, your mother is trying to convince you to marry someone and has dragged all of the available women along with us on a pilgrimage." He grimaced at the memory, putting down his glass. "Somehow I don't think you'd be able to get a room in the usual areas, not without going through their ridiculous checkin process or following their schedule, so just pick whichever."   “You live a understandable strange life Cyne, I’ll take of of the guest rooms” He stopped to think about it for a second before finding the first open guest room they had “One of these days here I will need to stop by Pharasma’s Temple but that doesn’t have to be soon.”   Following Aniks to check out which one he picked, he raised an eyebrow. "Because you spoke to her, right? Hoping her clerics will be able to give you more advice?"   "More hoping I'd find something that would give me a lead to those artifacts everybody seems to have forgotten about." "I think you mentioned those a long while ago. Recap me?"   Stopping to open a door "You know the plant creature and Kazric's Sword, Pharasma told us we had already seen a third but that comment was directed at us. I might not have been there when the group saw it." "Six in total and two are already gone"

Journal #21: Regrets.

I am a champion of a demon lord now. Regrettable it is my former patron Andirifku, looks like she did get her wish after all. It’s getting late I’ll write more in the morning after I do my research. It’s been an incredibly long day for me. I spent a week at the temple, I found the information I need to continue, but I fear writing it in here would lead to some somewhat complicated problems in the future. Cyne also found a bit of information on the champions.

Journal #20: Demons, Dungeons, and Dragons OH MY!

In an attempt to be far more prepared than usual we proceed to the Dhun with the second adventuring group. It's rather odd to interact with people that know my name that I do not speak with on a daily basis. They seem like a sensible lot though the name is somewhat odd since I never recalled giving it to them. Aways the Dhun was a rather strange place for me to be in at the moment. Due to some dramatic drow struggles and political discourse in the Underdark, I believe it more of a housing problem. The Dhun is above all that. So I should have just been walking around. Ashlyn covered our reinforcements, and I believe Pin gathered some maps of the layout. Not sure exactly where or who got the maps. Finding an Inn for the night to spend some time in the Dhun was easy, but along the way, some owners of a building tossed Azyel out. Picking up that Elf helped, the more, the merrier.   It turns out that a password is needed to enter the keep. Finding people to give it to use was easy, it leads me to a small village where we stole a book for a snot nose brat. If memory serves the password was beholders what that is I have no clue. Sneaking into the keep was child's play, Azyel broke the mission not even 15 minutes in. Gods only know how he escaped that temple, nor do I understand why he cannot focus for a dreaded second. Roughly about three days of spending time in the keep before Ashlyn and her forces arrived and processed the raid on the keep. It was easy.   Rubin, the self-proclaimed Bandit King, was the most challenging portion of the raid. The Bandit King was somewhat skilled in combat through his Ego is apparently what he has trained the most. For one, when the first time we saw the false royalty he was sitting on top of a horse, who was standing on a rather large throne. Secondly, as we found out later, he brainwashed a handful of the people within the keep thinking that what every this king does is always just. For a Human, he possessed some remarkable abilities. Such as being able to walk through the ground and being able to detect Cid, know it was Cid, even though he was currently some sort of tree person. This Bandit King would have killed me, he’s a bit too strong for somebody like myself to deal with alone or get close Dispatching him took slightly longer than I would have liked, but the deed was done.   Cid took personal care that he was indeed dead. The now dead false king was riddled with bullet holes. Cid took his anger issues to a whole brand new level, the group kinda left them alone. He also started walking around with a new crown. After Azyel tried to find me but as soon as he spoke, Ashlyn grabbed my collar and dragged me out into the fight with dragons. I was completely unaware of the dragons that have been outside the while we dethroned the king. Nothing particularly extraordinary happened well Ashlyn flew through the sky with her Scythe swinging and Dragons, so after getting bored with that, I just let myself down. The keep clean up was instead texting. We had to clear the basement which we had unexpected company before the raid.   I would like to go into more detail but upon further investigation into the matter may lead me to have to write things in more of a secretive manner.   Also, I should probably explain where the adventuring group went during this time. Slightly before our raid into the keep, we have met up with the group of adventurers that we knew from the ball. Which I believed I have mentioned. One of the members of their traveling band of misfits was kidnapped and received a letter saying that their comrade was there. I think it was the Snow Elf, who seemed nice but from what I recalled from the ball I never spoke to this group. Which when I heard my name made me slightly worried, given the current circumstance I didn’t press on the information. After gaining the passwords, we reconvened and snuck into a keep. I didn’t see them once we enter, in fact, the only time we saw them was when we found their companion. Which was under some strange circumstance that leads me to not honestly trust them anymore. In recovering their friend three of them fled into the Underdark, the other followed after the battle for the keep was over. Maybe I have that in reverse, was it they had already left, and we meet the half who told us that they were going.   Pins old friend showed remarkable interest in Androids.   ~SideNote: APPARENTLY I HAVE FADED FROM REALITY, AND NOBODY TOLD ME! So I might have some slight memory problems I’m not too sure. Need to look into this.

Journal #19: Celu is reading romantic books.

So a great time to find out Celuriel has visions when dragons attack us. Calming her down wasn’t the easy either. The Encounter killed Cid. He was brought back by Kraia as a Tree. Here’s hoping I don’t have to be brought back by her spell. I am sorry Kraia I am rather fond of the body I have at the moment. I felt slightly useless here, Ashlyn is now keeping to herself in her cart because her friend died. Traveling has just been somewhat dangerous lately.   Maybe we have become too noisy lately…   Arkenvale is the town we stopped in. Personally, all I remember was buying clothing and being scared of Celu. The girl is quiet when she wants to be. We spoke a bit about getting her something to read while I’m sleeping since she’s primarily read almost every book I have and own.   I could find these books, but at the moment I am back at the temple with Cyne, I have some things I need to research. Ironically also to pray about. God my life has become a cluster of horrible ideas. Demons, gods, and building a town to live in so many things to write about. Back to Celu and her books. I forget precisely I bought some nonfiction books to read Since most of my books are either about the history of countries or pure folklore about the creature. (I had even forgotten that I had a child's book, flipping through it I saw the story about a lost princess. Funny I remember once hearing that story for the first time from somebody I cared about deeply. I never thought I would find out that story was true.) Buying her some of these books lead to some interesting interactions. One those interactions after the comment of “Why does this book have so many positions for bodies? Are they rituals?” lead me to toss one of the books she ‘borrowed’ from Kraia room back into her room. Of course, Cyne had snarky comments about the book once he caught the book. Others lead to the question of mortality or issues like why a character watching over this character while the rest if there is nothing wrong with her. ((Why did she not kill the man who touched her when she did not want it?)) ((Edward watches over Bella when she rests. Why? She doesn't have anything wrong)) It also leads to me waking up on a few occasions to her attempting to cuddle with me while I sleep. It’s cute that she is trying, a better question is where did she learn this? The books or from some people she watched?

Journal #18: Priestess with the Silver Orbs

Nothing to consider out of the ordinary cute elven women. She told us we should probably go to some demon infested place, though that was she was talking to people who were champions not some adventurers. We’re not invincible. Her taste for decoration was odd even for a priestess, silver orbs hanging from the ceiling it was strange. She claimed it was some magical focus.

Journal #17: Warning Ashlyn did not help her.

To be somewhat frank about the ritual was boring, ten or so hours watching some ridiculous cleric prance around the group. I played babysitter for ten hours. I was sufficiently annoyed with this child, turns out this little shit Morty? Mordin? Morderd? Something like that, Is rather blunt when it comes to his ‘Dislike of the drow.’ Under normal circumstance, he’d be right, but well, I’ll get to that in a second. I had him take notes on the event for portions of the events so we would sit still and be quiet. Nothing too fancy happened with this ritual, standard practices from what I could tell. With Ashlyn standing on a stone pedestal and other nonsense. Ugh, magic is so odd? A fight broke out because of course, it had too. It’s us we find trouble whether we like to or not. Revolution's here, an evil demonic plant, daughters of an elven necromancer (well that one wasn’t so bad). Being dragged into the newly created veil of light, I was blinded like usual. The fight wasn’t horrible but after a minute of it ending we were still left with a giant mask of light around us... We were left with our Ashlyn and a younger looking Ashlyn. This outcome wasn’t pretty. It turns out this little aasimar copy is what is known as Star Child, a creature from outside our plane. It latched on to our paladin's memory and had been consuming them for the past unknown amount of year. Ashlyn could not bring herself to kill this child. I warned her. I warned her several times in fact. Without going into gruesome detail, the paladin of everlight, to drink herself under a dragon. I believe I left her with some mental scarring. Honestly, sometimes I think they genuinely forget that as a drow I’ve done far worse than that on when was in the Underdark.   We lost Licia before the fight; she was pulled away by her god right before I was blinded. Replacing her was a half-drow girl named Lirian. She is somewhat shy and timid from what I can tell. She tried to sign in Drow Sign Language, asking who I am. I ignored her, giving my name to people is a horrible idea.   Pin ‘fucking’ Whisperbreath about a minute later called me by my name. This is when we found out Morty is a TAD bit racist by asking “so which one of your parents was the person?”   I wanted to punch him in his stupid human face. Should have done it. I didn’t … It brought up some painful memories, besides that Ashlyn invited us to be apart of some talk with her some High Priestess.

Journal #16: The Half Elf Liese

Dreams… I haven’t dreamt for the past couple of months. I was once told to rest well and that she would make the nightmare stay away, who knew that Celuriel was telling the truth about her to keep my dreams away during the night. Although dreams are pleasant, I was quite confused at this most recent, as well as a tad bit of concern for some reason. I am not entirely sure as to why though, although I do not remember much about this dream. Recalling a bright silvery haze of sorts, I could not get a bearing on what or where this haze is coming from. The scene had shifted to an almost annoyingly white pendulum, that blistering white that is difficult to look at. It swung back and forth and sided to side.There was running; I was running through the pendulum as if they were giant swinging ax traps in dungeons. It felt like I was running through the water like in most dreams, after going beyond the pendulum there was a single long pathway. Reaching up endlessly. The memory of the dream felt like I had been traveling for hours as I awoke in the guest's room in the temple.   [The morning schedule was slipped into the book]   7 AM – 9 AM: Breakfast 9 AM – 10 AM: Morning prayers and services 10 AM – 12 PM: Free time 12 PM – 1 PM: Luncheon 1 PM – 3 PM: Free time 3PM – 5PM: Relaxation, meditation & clubs 5 PM – 7 PM: Dinner 7 PM – 9 PM: Library study 9 PM – 10 PM: Evening prayers and services 10 PM – 12 AM: Quiet time 1 AM: Curfew, except for religious exemption.   Please note that failure to adhere to the timetable without good excuse may result in discipline from your Church, restrictions from specific facilities, up to expulsion from the Temple depending on the severity of the breach. Library study may be taken as free time if necessary. Note that all activity in public spaces is monitored.   If you are visiting in search of faith, please spend the allotted religious time either sitting in on faiths you are curious about or spending quiet time in the library.   Religious, research, illness and miscellaneous exemptions can be applied for from the Abadaran Administrative Office, located on Floor 2 of the Right Wing, room 17.   With a handful of Days spent on this schedule, I had learned very little about anything. I did, however, meet the parasailor half-elf, Liese. To my knowledge, this is our first meeting. Liese if I recall correctly knew Pin from some previous excursion perhaps Ilendras? This half-elf seemed pleasant to be around but very quiet, as for when you acquired my name. It took all of about five minutes before Pin slipped up. They exchanged a few words about her brother, and Liese gave her a silver orb. I swear if I were a strong enough practitioner of the arcane I would modify her memory. Honestly, nothing special happened before the Ritual for Ashlyn.

Journal #15: This Temple is Odd

This place is too sweet for my liking. To perfect. Don’t misunderstand this place is fantastic, for people who have devoted themselves to a deity but not really for somebody like me. I think till we get Ashlyns memories back I’ll be studying in the libraries. Maybe I’ll get these scars fixed.   I am slightly hesitant to try. Apparently, my friend has a former companion that has been here for a handful of months, A half-elf that I have a vague memory of. He was sent here for a sleeping problem. I know scars won’t take that long but I much more worried about The Entity. During that scan I felt pressure in my mind I don’t know if it was The Entity, If it was it the first time in a handful of months, it did anything. The half-elf came here for the sleeping problem and has been here for months, what would they do for my question how long would that take?   Through some magical scan revealed that I have some rather odd issues though I can deal with almost all of them.   Hyper aggression: Only to my younger Siblings Scars: Can be healed Emotionally Open: I would rather not be like my kin. Vampire Enchantment Remnants: Vampiric Lady’s Dominate Person Spell Dark Entity: Still slightly unclear what the Entity what it wants. It’s connection to me is somewhere within my head. That would explain a headache while returning to that demon rock, or attempt to demonstrate that there was something mess with my free will. Do I have free will?   Does any mortal have choices, Free Will, or are we instruments for higher beings to use… If that is the case, I want nothing to do with them. I wish to live in a world where I am free from outside influences, though I am not a so dumb as to think people will not in need of deities. Being on the surface, the people chose their gods to help them, Each of them essential for their reason. The surface people when they are feeling down or when they need something, they pray to their gods for help. There is no Scarface, no selling of your soul, just dedication and faith to a deity. I might have spent about six decades in the sun, but I still have not come any closer to understanding why?   On a side note, This place has a record of myself which could be somewhat troublesome for the next couple of years. Within those record hold my name, age, if I worship a deity, my birthplace, Why we are at this temple, my magical Items, and if I’m a spellcaster or have any natural spells. Magical detection of the truth can be somewhat bothersome when it comes to hiding. I don’t plan on doing anything about it unless I am giving an opportunity to dispose of the files.   P.S. Pin’s little assistance or apprentice can’t dress that well; I felt like a parental figure again telling him to fix his clothes.   (Scribbled in the margins: This place has a lot of knowledge that could be troubling if people who deal demons were to get it. By extension anybody who was to harm people, this knowledge would be dangerous in there hand.)

Journal #14: About Sir Pennswaggle

((A couple a days before going to the Temple, pennyswaggle is not in the cart while this conversation is happening.))   Aniks: So before we go any farther, I think I should share some information about something that might happen in the future. I um… that conversation I had with Cyne brought to the light news that I need to share with you. Since it will inevitably affect some of you, now I’ll start with the least complicated one and please do not repeat this to him. Our dear Sir Pennyswaggle has been chosen by like the rest of you all by a deity or fey which this one is not to be messed with. According to Cyne “The Count” was constantly to refer to as one of the Eldest of the First World. Now my knowledge of other worlds is limited and there gods roughly about the same. Though from what little information I have gathered “The Count” is known to be associated with exiles and traitors not to mention the act Betrayal. I am not sure where that leaves us in regards to Pennyswaggle but please so be careful with this information, The god might have chosen him, but I am not sure how much he was following or practices. I will say most of you are somewhat close to your gods and are, so that is slightly concerning if the same remains true for Pennyswaggle. Now while that pertains to the group in general as long as he stays with us, this is more of problems that I have brought to you all or will eventually catch up to me. Some of you, Pin and Ashlyn, saw the vampire that dragged me away during the ball. By the way, thank you for dispelling that Dominate Person Pin as far as I am aware of the shot they chose to leave me alone for now. Now the reason behind the vampire going to some rather impressive lengths is because of Celuriel being a particular kind of monster. Why she took me was mere because Celuriel has following tightly to me as most of you have pointed out by now. This Vampire also knew our group, but I am not sure on how much which is somewhat troublesome. The Vampires have taken an interest in Celu because of what she can do and how rare these vampires are, she is also a wildcard to them. Celu is not like most Vampire because of how she was made and how she has not connected to the outside world or another vampire hence the wildcard status. They think that having her run around on the surface would be disastrous though I am not clear on how. Here in lies our problem. To some extent they gave me two alternatives that I understood. One has become a vampire and be subjected to their laws so they by extension would have Celuriel under their control as well. Not to say the lady vampire did not try to turn me. The second is more straightforward they would take her by force which could be the natural choice for them. I could have learned more, but you guys chose to intervene which was honestly slightly annoying, but at the time I was not sure what was going to happen if you had not shown up. They have been watching us from that creepy town a while ago when they first notice Celuriel. All I know for sure is these vampires are not going away and will be watching us and waiting. Now before Pin tells me “I told you so” and gets smug about it. As of the ball House Alas’thil, my house has an extremely high chance of know I’m alive. My house is filled with spies, assassins, and is good at not getting caught doing. I am not entirely sure where that leaves me since I am not aware of what my house thinks of me. Luckily we have another of house Alas’thil on the train with us to tell us that. I honestly would not be surprised if they sent somebody to kill me and by extension meaning, you all will because up against my family affairs. This is one of the many reasons why I never said my name to make sure it never made it’s way back to my house. I tell you now because I don’t want you to know after they have shown up on our metaphorical doorstep. Drow are merciless especially to dark elves who betray them, are male or failed and theoretically, my younger siblings have painted my former self in the worst way. Not to mention I was enslaved and owned by another house after the betrayal. I expect that they will not show any of us any kindness. Now I will say after the Drow assassination attempt at the ball there will be significant problems in the Underdark. So my house will be pulled into that because of their specific brand of skills meaning it is possible that my family will be distracted for the time being. For how long I could not say, my house is not small, so I wouldn't know for sure how long before they try something, if anything at all. Now Pin you can be smug.

Journal #13: Dancing with Vampire and Political Problems.

To begin the ball for me personally was a disaster. I do not believe that was a single good thing that comes out of it, besides the slightly short period that Cyne's cousin forced Celuriel and me to dance. Anything else was just a royal pain.   Somehow I managed to screw things on multiple fronts. The only good thing we managed to deal with as far as I am aware of is that we saved Cyne from being banished to another plane in a remote political execution. It was caused by some extreme nationalist believing that Cyne was not somebody who was fit to rule because he is mere, a tiefling. Which ended up involving one seriously annoyed angel by the end of it.   This time I was rather glad I did not speak with an Angel.   Returning to that extreme nationalist for just a moment, I find it quite bothersome that somebody from the surface could be blinded by racial biased. Is it such a bad thing for a Tiefling to rule? I understand it’s a bloodline of Aasimars that have ruled prior, but he is part linage and shouldn’t that be enough for those people. Do some people of this nation care so much about a bloodline that has been “Corrupted” according to the nationalist. He still has Aasimar blood in him is that not enough? Is race indeed something that defines a person, I know some tracks hold stereotypes? Can’t a person be defined by actions and the strength of their Character? This might be a case of one in a million in regards to the failed attempt on Cyne’s life, but still, I hold the surface to a higher standard than the Underdark, which is a good majority is filled with dangers and racism.   Now during the ball, Celuriel disappeared and was dancing with a slightly Pale Man. This Pale Man turned out to be a vampire as I approached them it I was placed under the spell. By another monster, as she leads me outside to speak with me in private. The Pale Lady was quite clear on figuring out why a vampire like Celu would be clinging to a drow such as myself. Thankfully before the Pale Lady had a real chance to sink her teeth into my neck, which she tried. I had regained a good portion of common sense to push away from her. Unlucky the spell was not broken but she “ALLOWED” me to speak more freely. I am starting to get annoyed at being manipulated.   It was pretty clear that the gift the Vampire Lady tried to give me was just to get to Celu, but asking so many questions personally was apparently an attempt figure out more about myself.   OH, she didn’t know everything about the group since she had to ask questions! Under the dominate person enchantment, it would make it easier for her to get that information to some extent. The Vampire probably has the necessary information on everybody but not in full, proven since she had to ask if myself had any contact with my old drow household. So she might need to have a better grasp on the people around Celu.   The lady vampire that talks to me, she was probably essential but most likely not the head honcho.   Thought process to back that statement: Why would they send the head honcho to turn somebody to have them be ruled by their set of laws just so the other vampire in under their control? No, you send underlings to do that kind of job, but since this ball in higher up, nobility and adventurers, they have to be somebody of importance or even assistance to somebody essential to be sent in their place perhaps. That Female Vampire knew a tad bit too much our party they, some vampires, had been watching us since that creepy town, We didn’t spend much time there, but a train draws attention to yourself, so I can see why it’s not hard to notice us.   Our group is becoming a little too loud.   Probably going to need to be very careful when it comes to where I sleep now though I have a feeling that I won’t be able to do anything about it.   As the Lady Vampire was driven off by Pin and Ashlyn I was still under her spell; Dominate Person was not broken until two days later thanks to Pin. I can’t trust anything that happened during this night. After that meeting, I found Celu and stayed with her for the rest of the night, though we didn’t talk much. I do recall that she was clinging closer to me than average. I should speak to her she heard from her vampire. Or at least get her opinions …   The ball ended with that incident with the angel and extremist. Who was being helped by a, as he put it, a sneak shady dark elf?   Now my worries are slowly becoming possible.   Two days after that ball we started to pack up our gear and head out to the temple. Kazric while still being hungover told me for about an hour about conversations he had with the other drow. He went on about how I should have been there which I agreed with him about that. Oddly enough it was the first time he used my real name.   Pin eventually saved me from this just to sign some paperwork about this fort she wants us to help her raid. After that Cyne wished to speak with me in private. Which I agreed to during this conversation he confirmed some of the fears. I talked to him about the vampire and told him about what happened at the ball since Pin teleported him away before the angel had shown up. Somewhere in between the conversation Pin teleported in a while walking to Cyne office. To sum up what Cyne told me.   He confirmed my thoughts on the Vampires. House Alas’thil has a high probability of knowing that I am alive.

Journal #12: Recovery from the world.

Waking up the morning after, Kazric found me on the sofa with an unopened bottle of wine. After talking to the girls for a moment, I decided to grab flowers and head to the hospital. With a voice in Ashlyn’s head, I thought it would be nice to give her something to cheer her up. I was ending up at the hospital at the same time the others did, As I place the Flowers in a box on the other side of her room. Ashlyn hugged me which was weird because I can’t recall her being without her armor or embracing me ever. We eventually had to track Kazric down. Karia poked fun at me being embarrassed at the strip club and talking to the bartender who was topless, This could have been a place Kazric might go to, but we found him in a fight club. Celu was in her mind and poking her was apparently not the best option. She almost clawed my face, noted. It was a lovely time to relax for once and not fight something.

Journal #11: Mirror World

Another day, another shopping trip. Cid was already out and about before any of us. Today I just stood outside and watched the rest of the party buy board games, play knives and other things. Sometimes they’re really like children.   Somewhere along the way, we picked up some strange snake person thing, Farron of, well I am not wholly sure where.   Despite how simple the day started, it for lack of better way of saying this was probably one of the worst days I have ever experienced. Though I could think of a couple of days that would easily beat it. Magic and what, I can only assume it was a stupidly cursed mirror, I’ll get to that damned thing!   Honestly, we found a dead body; I must have been spacing out about something because I didn’t understand how or why. Kraia decided to resurrect the girl, during this Celu if I recall correctly shied away from the Divine magic. The action of bringing this girl back gathered quite a crowd. The human came back as an Elf.   It turns out this girl was dating a Whisperbreath, Tarragon Whisperbreath, a cousin of our ratfolk. Going with this little misadventure, we made our way to find Pin’s Aunt. She was the only one that the moment at the household. Tarragon had been missing for a week according to the aunt. She was lovely; Pin tried to introduce most of us, The Aunt for some reason called me Indigo. Rather odd since even for drow I have dark skin. Maybe she was looking at my scars since they are tinted light purple. While they were getting caught up, I felt that it would be wrong if I were to tell Pin Aunt about anything I genuinely think. The family is prominent, and I would never actively say slander in front of their blood. But to me, I guess family doesn’t end at blood.   Auntie Whisperbreath then asked when Pin would finally settle down; she avoided that question somewhat. The Aunt pointed to Cid as somebody she could settle down with, I got a laugh out of that one, but hide it quite well. Then was reminded there are only two guys in our main group since Kazric is no longer with us.   The only reason why the Aunt did not point out myself was that to anybody else it looks like I’m very much taken. Celu was very much close by at almost all the time. It’s not a bad thing, but I’m conflicted about it.   Tarragon’s warehouse was the next location to explore from a helpful hint from his mother. Which is the where I started to distrust this “Farron” he seemed too wild too impractical? For somebody who cast magic, they were very headstrong and did not think things through. Let me explain.   Upon finding Tarragon’s workshop, we cased the building to see there were people within the storage facility. The people inside were not our Ratfolk’s family, a human couple of drow and maybe an Orc. I cannot recall the amount correctly, but I do remember that the Wizard and our Paladin were the only two knock on the door. We chose to hide around the corner and spread out just in case we had to start a fight. Farron tried to his “quiet approach,” which was casting an enlargement spell and attempting to break down the door. This is where a good portion of chose to stand back or stop him.   After the deal with that and the people inside, in a nonviolent way for once, we were leading the under a portion of the city. With the past of a couple of outings to the town of Undria, there are far more residents from the Underdark than usual in this portion of the city. Even more so than the Ball would bring in, which could never is a good sign. What is stirring in the Underdark? What is the cause of such a strange surfacing? Now what is to come next is complicated, we walked into something more significant than we planned for. After failing a password, and combat that happened with some less than notable skeletons with pistols. Tarragon had been talking with the wrong people, people wanting to overthrow the government.   Revolutionaries.   [Scribbed note about stupid explosions]   Please do not misunderstand me, revolutionaries are good but only when it has cause for them. These people were being manipulated by people with power than “could” help them. Drow was also involved, it may only clear indication that these people wanted change and dark elves and people took advantage of their suffering and wishes. My people rarely do anything that would make them be seen in a good light. Most Drow who start to hate their life, either die to try to leave or live on the surface.   We found Kazric magically bound to one of the Drow Wizards. I asked him a question, and he only replied in DLS which was primarily meant We should be leaving or was it why are we here. Whether one was a problem. Pin and Ashlyn for the first time were not thinking clearly. Letting their emotions cloud their judgment, we’re in an openly hostile place, and they’re going around demanding things and yelling about arrested the revolutionary. Farron decides to try and get things done his way again. Why did he choose to follow us the entire way here? Gods I’ll never know. He attempted to threaten one of the people in there. At this point I was done, It was I believe the first time in a long time I drew a blade to protect and was willing to attack. I pressed my knife against his neck and protested for everybody to calm down and think.   No such luck.   I can sum up my entire fight as BLACK TENTACLE BULLSHIT, and I hate magic sometimes. I don’t wish to go into that fight. Though I did something, using Bronze Griffin to find the invisible drow wizard better, his name is Apollo. Picked up a book on cults to see if there was any information on The Entity was there. I was not having the best time with luck. Pin went around recruiting people for her monastery and sent them to our temporary homes. I spoke with the Drows, one was from Kazrics house, and other was from House Alas’thil. Both houses are never good news, Alas’thil's are spies, and the other is torture fanatics. Asking too many questions, I told Apollo to drag me away so with its mental break it did as such.   Celu decided at this point to walk over and ask if I was alright. Cute that she cares. With slight teleportation to the castle to keep Ashlyn from walking to a strange door, she claimed that Midna was behind and Cyne as well. We heard no such voice. She calmed down, and we teleported back thanks to Pin’s quick thinking. The only reason I tagged along was that I tackled Ashlyn with I guess that means I paid her back from the time in the boneyard. Finally entering the Door, I thought it best to begin first since the drow wizard escaped through this weird door. I was alone, the rest, and I could hear them, but I did not see them. I made a couple of snarky comments about our wizard when I knew they were in the room. We passed through a fake mirror and entered a white space together again.   We were forced to watch our most horrible memories to find Tarragon, what lengths we go to for family. [Written in Abyssal Making sure my friend's memories are kept secret]   Pin: Telling the local police that her parents were making magical artifacts and other magic things. Ashlyn: Being kidnapped by Lizard people. Kraia: A burning forest with beavers running everywhere. Cid: watching his village burn. Kazric: Being reincarnated to a Half-Orc. Celu: Being turned into a vampire (I believe) Licia: Her lover was killing her group.   I do not want to dwell on this since it’s their memory and the only reason we know is that of that mirror. I would not get a chance to smash it once we left it. Some people were far better off than others, Licia, Kazric, and Celu did not take well to this. A disembodied voice told us to leave we must solve her puzzle. A simple map appeared in front of us and what should have taken a fair amount of time lasted what seemed forever, since we did not know the voice definition of wealth. Pin eventually just pointed out a trade route, and we proceed with the next puzzle. Statues of many different types and poses and the voice wanted to find a statute that showed progress. Simple enough I found the one that was walking forward.   The third puzzle was a multi-armed woman with six orbs of differentiating colors. On the walls, we found clothes of the same colors. Like before we test a couple of ideas and before long we started placing the same colored clothes on the respective orbs.   During this point, Smitten was slightly annoying to the point I believe he leaped on of the purple orb. Pin should keep that cat under control.   With all of the cloths being correct orbs we found our way into a room where we had to tell a secret in whispers or something weird like that. All I can recall is every girl, but Ashlyn slapped me. After saying all that we were in that blank whiteness again. This time we had to share right memories. Kraia: Finding Artemis with her brother. Ashlyn: Reading her family's letters to her Pin: ??? Celu: A memory of being rescued by us Licia: When she was proposed to by her lover Cid: Time spent with his old group.   I was more than annoyed after this; I didn’t feel like saying much to them. At that point, I didn’t care. Pin made a comment to me, and I flipped her off and walked away. I was done with that day. Celu and Kazric followed me to our temporary house.   Funny how the worst memory didn’t affect me as much as the good ones. The good ones were so so much worse.

Journal #10: We adopt or kidnap a child, still unclear on this one.

The little halfling has a habit of using her magical ring. For those of you who are uninformed about this magic ring, it allows the wearer to gain male appendages. I have accidentally walked in and seen a little bit more than I care to admit. Which is kind of weird, she might have put on the ring to start the day and decided to show me since this magical ring gave her a dark elf male appendage. I will have to note that the male attachment is based on the size of the race and it does not convert to halfling size.   Life was so much less attractive 5 months ago. Well everybody was waking up Kraia and noticed that her Paladin friend Ashlyn was not there. Being that only a handful of us knew where she was the majority of the party decided to rush off to the castle. Kraia yelled for Artemis and took off faster than I remember she could her riding her beaver. Choosing just to walk because I could.   Now out newly appointed princess was not within the first tower the guards told us she was in. Personally, I would keep better track of a LONG LOST princess and know where she was. INSTEAD OF LOSING HER IN A ANOTHER TOWER. I’ll speak more on Ashlyn and her past on the pages near the back of this journal. Something like her past should be written down as a part of what I think about her.   After going to explore the shopping district and the rest of Undria, where I do believe some of my friends picked up more adult toys, we attempted to pick up Pin. The Ratfolk had processed to have locked herself in her room with her robot and yell, And I quote “BOOOZ YEA, FUCK 2016” “I JUST DOWNED A BUNCH OF CAHAMPANE, YYYEEE, AAAHHHH” “PIN [one] SHOTS THE DRAGON BIRTHCES, WOOOO, FUCK YO.”   This only reinforces the face I want to get this poor girl Into some AA meeting, again I’ve written this down like four-time I believe but haven’t done anything. I am slightly concerned that her the amount of alcohol she consumes might shorten her life exponentially, especial after how drunk she sounded during the middle of the day.   Heading to the Nature District, this is one of those moments I do not recall all that clear solely due to the events that transpired after the fact. The nature district of Undria is placed close to the religious area. Which sadly I wish I had spent more time in this district because I do enjoy places like this. The beautiful nature of the surface has always appealed to my scents unlike the caverns and underground lakes of the Underdark. The smells are far better up here as well.   But I digress…   [Scribbed in the margins is a reminder to get ready for the ball!]   Now we come to a more exciting part of the day. Myself personally I am not a fan of religions, I have told an angel to his face that I don’t believe in the gods, not to say they don’t exist just that I do not pray to them.   He tried to “Cure” some problem that he thought I had. Also because he wished to know my name something that I do not give to anyone.   Regardless of that, My vampiric friend was understandably uncomfortable. The two of us sat together on a bench while the others went to their respective businesses at the temples to their gods. The small talk was sweet it wasn't anything too odd or notable compared to conversation prior. Each of our friends slowly trickled in some, faster than other. Not before noticing “them” again.   The religious group that Celu, Sir Pennyswaggle, and I had encountered before. I watched them for a good while noticing them going from person to person. Not in a building? Now for me in this district, people go to there respective gods to pray. Not the other way around, there might be people outside the temple talking about the deity but not just going from person to person. These people as far as I am aware did not have a place of worship. Now curiosity got the best of me, and I have to admit to that. They seemed odd, out of place for this district and I wanted to know why. I left Celu in the capable hands of the people who had come back from their temples. I do believe that Kraia was one of the only ones to follow.   Unluckily for me the priests, priestess? I'm not clear as to what the title would be. The person that I had spoken to with somebody that had recognized me prior. Brushing this topic off, I want to approach them as someone who not seen them previously. Exchanging the usual formalities of one group such as this, I have found that they are more like roaming Nomads preaching their “truth.” These truth Seekers talk about the one way, although that did not make sense in my mind. I'll try my best to sum up what their ideas and thoughts were. Apparently, this “Truth” is one where the Arcane and the Divine are one of the same or derived from the one source. As if all deific and magical abilities come from it, when asking about their religion or organization, I specifically wanted to know how widespread this group it. The Lady had said that the people that follow the one way are everywhere. Which was a slight concerning, I continued to have a conversation while I was trying to figure out what that concerning feeling was. Talking about the two most distinctly different and powerful influences in the world. Those being the magically inclined and those who pray and use the power of their deities coming from the same source is a rather exciting and radical ideal.   I can’t see how that would work?   Should have asked more questions?   Although I do not find myself subscribing to this “theory” as that is what I'm going to call it. I am quite curious to know how truly widespread this ideal has hit this land. I should start snooping around or ask some people higher up in religious organizations. Since as far as I know we're even in the Underdark arcane and divine casters I have never believed them to derive from the same source. I do not recall what they were wearing I do distinctly remember a silver orb around their necklace I am not sure what this is significant, it's their holy symbol perhaps. If they even have a “Holy” symbol.   They gave me a card of some sort which radiated a soft white light with a small pulse as soon as I could determine that it was some form of magic. Just by the fact that it was glowing. I decided not to keep holding it and tuck it into my pocket. I find myself wanting to know more about these people since their ideas are so different than the norm. But not because I believe in what they preach, there's something about them that doesn't...   I'm going to have to trust my gut on this. These are people that I feel have something hidden beneath the surface.   Our adventures eventually lead us in the slums. I'm like the city this place was filled with the races of many different kinds infect there was a surplus of tracks that I am not entirely familiar with. At this moment while walking through the slums are Paladin decided that she would start giving to the poor. At this moment I had to leave because Celu chose to go on an adventure by herself for once. You could say the I was a little more than interested since for the majority of the time she's been with us she is linked to my side for a while.   It's hard to explain to somebody who's been locked away in a tower without any social skills what right and wrong is. Celu remarked how easy it would be to take advantage of the people the slums who are very weak and defenseless. It's going to take a while for her to understand that something's is a little more complicated and more difficult explain like good and evil. Although I am concerned, I have a feeling that she means well in some strange sense. In the back of my mind, I will never admit this out loud, when the snake person showed up, and she knocked him down and just stated that he was annoying her I would have gotten the chuckle out of that. I'm slightly more concerned that if I hadn't been there that she would have done something that it's a little more difficult to take back. On the way back I found our traveling companions with smaller addition. Apparently, within the let's say 10 or so minutes of me being gone, Ashlyn had decided to adopt a little girl from the slums. She was one of the Shadow folk like Sir Pennyswaggle. Although I do admit the girl was charming, I am not entirely sure that it wasn't kidnapping. I mean I'm not sure what to think about this. I'm just scared if I leave them alone for more than light I don't know a month we're going to have all pack of people following us or something. The rest of the party told me of the events that led to the girl being adopted by us. Ashlyn had given her a bag of coins, and she was probably robbed in front of everybody. The Paladin did not take too kindly to that and chased him down within a matter of seconds. She's going to talk to the little girl who had no name and decided to adopt simple as that.   After adopting the girl or taking her with us. We decided to get clothes for the little girl. The little girl's face was a surprisingly exciting thing, and I almost want to say that she didn't believe this was happening, in fact, a part of me wonders if she thought this was just all a dream. I approached Ashlyn at this time because I recalled that Celu did not have clothes other than what she had and the clothes we let her borrow.   The reaction was priceless.   I have rarely seen a change in the vampire’s expression other than a slight smile or a rather blank face. I think for the first time I had seen her in shock perhaps even a little scared, having both the halfling and aasimar and dragged her off to get clothes. Ashlyn also pointed out that my guest that I would bring along to the ball would undoubtedly be Celu. Making a quick remark that Celu had never had this kind of experience she was quite freaked out at the moment. Ashlyn then promptly decided that if I didn’t want her help, then I might as well help Celu. Which I probably step back and decided to let her do her thing.   I have to say I got a good laugh out of this; it was fun to be around I guess. Eventually, we made it to the castle where we had dinner. I'm not entirely sure how eating at the castle makes me feel, well it feels wrong for some reason. Maybe because I don't know it doesn't feel right for me, I'd instead be sitting in that house eating with the people who live there or next door because that's where the rest of my friends are.   Now I have to mention the little girl, Midna, scarf down the most food out of all of us. We tried to explain that we could take the food as leftovers, but she seemed a little in disbelief. I think this is just because of where she had grown up. Cyne eventually found himself at the dining table with us and found out that his great-great-great-great grandmother or whatever the technical term is, had adopted a child. Kraia said she was the one who let it happen and I just said I was gone for like 10 minutes. It's kind of weird seeing all of us around the table with a small child.   It's like a family. Huh, family...

Journal #9: Undria

It was rather nice to not show up to a city that was not in mortal peril or creepy as hell. That happens to be a problem with being an adventurer. Adventurer's always gone sticking their head in places where is it not needed. It's apart of the job when you're a 'hero.' In retrospect, Port Amarin seemed to alright yet I was not sure why we did not stay for longer. I would have liked to see the ocean again before we departed from that port city. Anyways we stopped outside the gates of Undria. Never before have I seen such a city of this caliber, I do believe this city has quite an intricate layout from what from I can tell there's a giant castle in the background as we approached. I could not help a childlike wonder when I glanced out the window to see the large city of Undria.   At this point, I‘m starting to think Pin naturally wants to start something. If her sass could be contained in a little bottle, no a flask, that's more appropriate for her. The size of her sass or ego would probably break the flask into dust where even the gods could not repair it. From the number of times, she is argued with someone or created some problems due to her speaking. I'm quite confused and concerned as to why her personality is so forthcoming and almost passive aggressive to point. The guards stopped her and told her that the cart was not permissible within the city walls. Pin tried to find a workaround for this. As she does for most things. The little ratfolk tried her hardest to further get this cart into the city so she could have her mobile train and I assume all her creature comforts. Even bringing up the fact that all she has to do is whistle and the vehicle would come flying towards her, not flying but you know. While we know this is true, the guards probably could not stop her from doing this, the could also have destroyed the vehicle. Claiming it to be some hostilie attack on the city. Who knows. The guard takes note of that but Pin merely clapped her hands, and it went off to the whatever equated to stables for trains.   The guards seemed to be a tad bit suspicious like something was a bit off about them, not in the fact that they were guards, but that's probably because I think one of them might have been a robot. I'm not entirely sure, but they did ask for my name. Instead of dealing with fiving false names. I just told him to refer to me as the barkeep but since I did show them the name all of the invitation to the ball. I asked him not to say this name out loud since they were speaking my other companion's names as they read them off a list. The guards had done as I had asked and I was happy. It is not often when my nobility come in handy but I this time I was glad I was born with noble blood.   As I proceeded to notice our resident Cyne striding out of the cart with Kraia, the guards went on a rampage. Not literally but when he strolled out of the train turns out the rest of the country did not know he was gone. For those who knew he had disappeared, they had no clue where their Prince had gone. Now that thing is that I think technically we kidnapped the prince of the land. Or maybe we just liberated him from the mounds of paperwork he is always complaining about. Now Cyne as a person, have to say guys growing on me, still an annoying dick but I seem to enjoy his presence much more than a couple of months ago. Having that thought I find it quite funny that he just tagged along with us on a whim and nobody knew what he had done, only leaving a note and that was all. As I said, he's still a dick.   Cyne before disappearing into shadows decided to tell us that within the walls of this city our group had two houses built. Then pointed to Ashlyn and me, those two houses were built explicitly for us and we have keys now. Now the funny part about that is I was slightly concerned because I thought that my real name would have been in the house of some identification per se. Like a sign on the front yard of the house with my name in printed across. Then as we proceeded to find the houses the Prince of Darkness himself step into the shadows and disappeared. Leaving us to our own devices, Cyne was very good at dissolving almost into the dark as if it's his sole superpower.   The houses were placed next to each other Ashyln's house was blue and had gold trim it was bright, and it had many windows that the sunlight could probably reach every corner of the house. From what I can recall it had her full name on the door or was it the mailbox? It was one of the two. But this was beside the point. They had rooms for each other girls in our traveling company. Each of them had their names or some symbol regarding their deity across their door I did not take much of a look quickly through that house. I'll be honest.   My house, on the other hand, was far darker with black and purple being its central color scheme. A typical drow coloring, so they did not know as much as I thought. Makes since when they did not make mention to my more recent past. Both houses look the same in the structure just in different color schemes having very similar outer appearances the only main difference on the outside was the number of windows her house had compared to mine. Now as I decided things got a little strange in the lady new homes I decided to pop over into my house to avoid any shenanigans. The house was marked as 'the barkeeps' luckily, so that worrying part of my mind was set aside, for now, my real name getting out was far from the problem I thought it would be. While I was looking into the living room, there was a fully stocked bar. And I am not talking like fully stocked as an average tavern. I am telling you this thing was filled to the brim with 50 different kinds of alcohol just in the living room bar. For the life of me, these people know me a little too well, not everything but still it's a concerning about for somebody like me who had tried rather hard to keep people from knowing who I was. My first instinct was to hide this house from Pin; this is a slight problem. Being that the rat was an alcoholic I give it less than an hour before she finds this place. I swear after the ball we need to get her into some sort of AA meeting.   Though I will say the one thing that I have a problem with is this house was far too dark, and I'm not saying that color scheme. That was fine they just had thick curtains everywhere they had an underground cellar with more chairs and furniture with more alcohol surprisingly you know for a bartender I don't drink that much. As soon as I got there, I decided to open all the curtains to let in some sunlight ironically, walking around I failed to notice that my little vampire friend had disappeared within the house somewhere.   Feeling a little bored after the rather quick self-tour I had given myself of my temporary housing. I decided to go back to the Paladin's place. Whisperbreath must have had found the scent of alcohol in the air when I opened the door. I should have locked the house, but I knew there was somebody inside I think was Sir Pennyswaggle. Then walked in and I not my fault if she gets drunk. For the love of the Gods, she now knows, but I have a fully stocked bar, and I'm not doing anything with it.   We already decided to take this free time since we showed up early about three weeks I believe in exploring the city. Being that I did not want to be a giraffe walking around the city asked Celu if she wanted to accompany while exploring the city since I'm not sure what to do with her in the town at the moment. Then a snarky comment about something girlfriend related came from the attic, which I did not know I had at the moment. Finding a secret compartment in the ceiling opened up into this room and started glaring at Pennyswaggle who eventually accompany us which was not a bad thing I get to know him a little bit better. During this and he seems to be a reasonably attractive guy who I think I would like to get to know better though he still is quite creepy with a cupboard thing.   I find it ironic that the first place that we are to visit was the religious District in this is just from randomly walking around the city this place was filled with temples devoted to many different gods not here for more popular ones, but then something unusual happened. Interesting is perhaps the wrong word more like a strange scenario played out. The three end almost immediately a cloaked figure Kim's came up to us proclaiming if we were to know the truth or something along those lines they always have some weird fancy way of saying hey do you want to support a religion. As soon as I heard these words grabbed Celu’s hand and decided to disappear, running away, as I said to an angel roughly about a month ago the biggest fan of religions and deities.   We disappeared, and Pennyswaggle soon followed. We ended up in the affluent District. Exploring this market going from place to place an understanding that despite the fact we could buy a handful of things from here. We probably could have bought a lot. We did not feel like spending money here, and window shopping is more accurate to what this group was doing. We happened to pause in front of a dress shop, Pennyswaggle was joking about something regarding weddings, really threw me off. I tried to elbow him or at least something like that, and I cannot remember that well it was a day ago, which ended with me drinking a lot, my ability to recall of these events are far better than I could have ever hoped.   Pennyswaggle and I were hungry, so we decided to find someplace to eat and ended up in this small little Bakery. This, this is where I learned a bit about Pennyswaggle. It's kind of interesting to know that he had a group of traveling companions before this. Inside this bakery was a half-orc named Clancy and in the background of this Bakery was a very, very bright light, but I can only assume it was a magical light pouring into the main room. Now, this half-orc seems to specialize into baking. His name was Clancy and seem to know Pennyswaggle rather well. Going through the baked goods most of them looked delicious, and I decided to buy some, I wasn't paying attention to the conversation going on behind me, somebody else enters the store of confections. There was a small little argument or something along those lines I'm reasonably unclear how we got to the point where we had a Bake-Off between Clancy and this random citizen.   After it was done, we were each presented with two different loaves of bread. I believe it tasted all right, and I mean both were a little burnt and were not that different from each other. Though I have to admit and Gods only help me if this Clancy ever found this out, the bread that his opponent made with slightly better. Knowing that his opponent was cheating I gave my point to Clancy, my vampire friend did the same and so did Pennyswaggle at this point I was going to mention the fact that Clancy's opponent was cheating. Instead of this he took out a pistol and well ended his life, it was, things got dark quite quickly. The three of us proceeded to run out of the store as soon as possible and return to what we thought was the house but somehow ended up in the castle instead. We were pretty confused by this.   Now, this is the only part I will write in common about my family. I asked the lady of Undria if my family or house was attending this ball and she said no. She asked if I were to use my real name at the ball and I said I would get back to her on that subject. The only reason why I'm concerned and then my family would appear it's because this ball is not just limited to the surface. If I saw a specific portion of my siblings, I may not be able to control my actions, and I should tell a friend about that so they could keep me under control. Although it's been six decades, I can't be entirely sure as to how I would react against my younger sister and brother. They're, for lack of a better word, interesting though they're not my only siblings they are the ones that would cause the most problems and I wish for them not to be there.   Finding out that they would not be attending nor would the house of my people. That made me more than delighted it's been the best news I've heard in many years. To the point where I decided to drink significantly.

Journal #8: The Vetala [Text Roleplay]

Celuriel: Please don't starve me. You promised no harm. Celuriel has pretty much been lurking around the barkeep's area permanently. Watches any other visitors with caution.   Drowbie: So what do you think about the strange group of people we have here Celuriel: ...your friends?   Drowbie: Some more than others ... but yes my friends   Celuriel: they're loud very loud Drowbie: Well they're almost always in here. Not much on the loudness huh?   Celuriel: it was never this loud at the tower not like this only screaming   Drowbie pulls up a chair and sits across from Celu   Celuriel starts, not expecting the motion, before tilting her head and simply watching him.   Drowbie: That tower was something, well interesting to say the least.   Celuriel: it was home, once   Drowbie: When did it stop being home?   Celuriel: ...when sister overtook mother.   Drowbie: Not a fan of your sisters? I didn't get to see her that much since my friends blinded me.   Celuriel: ludrissiel was the older one, the better one. she proved that.   Drowbie: Was it really that bad?   Celuriel: … she turned me into this mother taught both of us all she knew and helped us study father's scrolls, but sister was better at it all.   Drowbie: Was your family nice before the shift in power, it was a necromancy tower it's kinda hard to understand without knowing much about you.   Celuriel: ...my father was an elven necromancer who was banished. he built the tower, but attracted too much attention i was too young to remember, but our mother hid us whilst he fought he did not win, and we were sealed away   Drowbie: So it wasn't your choice, for anything was it. If I might ask, why is it that you really only speak to me?   Celuriel: you have a past, too.   Drowbie: Yes...   Drowbie looks at Celuriel with a tilted head.   Celuriel: i can.. tell the ones who are darkest you have a lot of shadow your race notwithstanding   Drowbie: Surprisingly you are correct though most Drow don't have a 'good' story   Celuriel: you are different   Drowbie: I want to ask why i'm different because you seem to dancing around something   Celuriel: i see the world through different eyes you are not like most there is something following behind you in the mists of another world   Drowbie: What   Celuriel: i am a seer.   Drowbie said in a why do you know that way   Celuriel: i was cursed before i was killed, and death brought.. new shades to life   Drowbie is just looking at her   Drowbie: I would say I'm at a lost for words but I've a hunch for a little bit. and here I thought you were talking to me because of my sparkling personality.   Drowbie says with a clear joking tone.   Celuriel: you are the nicest, too the others seem wary around me you.. help.   Drowbie: Everybody needs… Not sure why there wary of you, When they let a Drow they nothing about walk around with them.   Celuriel: they were meant to kill me   Drowbie: There strange people Celuriel, I think that's why I stay around them so often.   Celuriel: they seem to ignore importance and look at minutiae   Drowbie: They’re very much scatterbrains   Celuriel: yet they fail to see what stands before them scatterbrain does not explain that Drowbie yawns Drowbie brings out the Hamock and attaches it to the wall Celuriel watches.   Drowbie: I can't help them that much when it comes to that, a lot of the time people just cant see whats there. What? you watch people alot why?   Celuriel: i watch you all. you to make sure you are safe the others so there is less harm   Drowbie: Don't you sleep?   Celuriel: no I am, for all intents and purposes, dead.   Drowbie: So what do you do just sit there and watch me while I sleep, do you like walk around.   Celuriel: i watch, and i see there is much of your world that you do not see   Drowbie: So now that I understand that whats with the hand holding?   Drowbie with a small smirk   Celuriel: you are warm and it should help stop others from attacking either of us   Drowbie: Those are two different things completely.   Celuriel: ...i do not understand how that matters.   Drowbie: it's more like I guess being dead you tend to have different values such as being warm I mean we are a walking group of targets most of the time. We get attacked every other two to 5 days. You should relax or read a book.   Celuriel: i.. don't have books i don't have anything   Drowbie kinda knows the feelings.   Drowbie: Well fix that I'm pretty sure they'res book somewhere on here.   Celuriel: they aren't mine   Drowbie: You know you can ask to borrow them right I mean that journal over there is free to read for anybody, it's just a bunch of my thoughts   Celuriel: those are your thoughts, though   Drowbie: Yeah it's my way of keep track of the stupid shit that happen. Somebody needs keep track of it.   Celuriel: isn't sharing them dangerous?   Drowbie: No, if there is anything too personal I wrote it in abyssal, which only one other person in this cart knows. And the journal only goes back about a month or two ago   Celuriel: abyssal? that is a strange language   Drowbie: When your a Drow you pick up a thing or two   Celuriel: i am best with infernal   Drowbie: I hate to ask but pre or post vampirism   Celuriel: both we spoke a mixture of elven and infernal mother preferred elven sister liked infernal   Drowbie: Was you family nice to you, not your sister, like you mom and dad?   Celuriel: mother was always focused on worshipping her goddess it is why she taught us it is why ludrissiel turned her into.. that   Drowbie: You didn't have a childhood did you?   Celuriel: not really   Drowbie: That sorta makes two of us.   Celuriel: oh?   Drowbie: Can you picture a Drow Childhood?   Anyways Celu I'm tired and need some sleep, If your going to stay awake and doing something, fill free to read that journal.   Celuriel: ...rest well i will make the nightmare stay away   Drowbie: Okay Dreamcatcher

Journal #7: Getting to know the vampire.

As the days dragged on, I have been more and more curious about Celuriel. She has just been there following me around or watching us. I am unsure of what she is doing while I’m asleep. I mean I haven’t seen her sleep once. Oddly enough even if she has been quiet and we’ve exchanged very few conversations since people have been coming and going from the bar. I found it was easier to talk to her this time, with a surprisingly more beautiful tone. It is almost cute to have her around; it's rather pleasant to know she’s around.   We had a rather strange conversation.   [Drowbie wrote down essential things to remember about Celu]   -Celu once called the tower home, till her sister, the Lich we meet before, took over.   -Her father was an Elven Necromancer who was banished out of the city; he was the one who constructed the tower, in doing so attracted too much attention, Celu said she was too young to remember as her mother hide them away. The Elven Necromancer did not win this fight, and the others were sealed away in the tower.   -Possibly till we showed up? Did we break the seal or have other tried to enter and failed or ended up dying? Too many questions left unanswered?   -Celu is a Seer; she told me that something is following behind me. Mists from another world. Can she see the Entity? Or at least some sort of strange bond or connection between it and myself.   -Apparently, I’m the nicest, I know it’s a long shot, but I was given a chance once before I thought I might return the favor once in awhile.   -She does not sleep, eat, and is always watching us. Since I haven’t woken up half dead, I know she is probably not feeding herself at night. She thinks by doing so we are more protected. She might be right since I’m not entirely sure on that Robot or Pin.   -She actively knows she is dead and will admit it.   -Doesn’t have anything to her name, we probably need to fix that at some point. Shopping with Ashlyn again that would be nice. I think it would be funny to have her shop with a Vampire.   -Asked about the hand holding, she like warmth, and to stop people from attacking us. I am baffled by the warmth thing, I know she is undead, does she like being warm because she isn’t???   -We probably need to get her something to do while we sleep.   -She believes that me sharing my thoughts in a book is dangerous.   -She speaks Common, Elven, and Infernal. Mother spoke Elven, and the Sister liked Infernal which should explain a little bit.   -Her mother was focused on worshipping her goddess, religious zealotry perhaps? That is why her sister, Ludrussiel, turned her into a creature we fought. I believe it was the Daughter Of Urgathoa.   -Her sister is PRETTY FUCKED UP from what I have come to understand.   -Dreams??? She mentioned something about dreams probably a throwaway comment.   She seems to be alright, hope she stays around for a while.

Journal #6: Everybody loves the bar.

I am still concerned as to why people are always in my bar, why cannot we be in Ashlyn room while we speak to each other or somebodies other than mine. I enjoy my quiet moments as much as the others. No wait, I do not think they do, they seem to be social creatures that need to talk. Night time is the only time I have to my myself, and that's not even true since I now live with Celuriel. A hand full of days into these new living arrangements. I had noticed she had not changed clothes or had any clothes for that matter, it would be a bit of a problem if she continued to wear what we found her in. I had grabbed some of my non-bartending clothes and let her borrow them. A clean simple dark t-shirt and some pants, they might have been slightly big on her but it was better than nothing. We would get her proper clothes in the next town we visit till then she might be borrowing our clothes. I had removed myself from the train while she changed. Now ever since the creepy town, I have not tied her up again, if she has not tried to kill the only person living with her than I can at least give her a chance.   As we were crossing into The Dhun we were stopped by some guards, at least I think they were guards. More like some border patrol when passing between two regions of a map. They had us ask some personal questions. Pulling us aside to keep things private which was somewhat considerate of them. I gave them the false name, as I had with many others when I had to give names. They honestly believe that I was a Drow that was raised on the surface. They gave me a Silver badge to wear not too sure how to feel about that, but it is unimportant. Celu came back with a gold badge she had on her shirt. Kazric was somewhat loud with his answers; I’m concerned as to why he gets away with all of this. Came back with a gold badge that he had promptly tossed it aside. Everybody else got off scot-free without any flashy badges. Cyne, of course, was a bit of dick to the guard that was questioning him. He gave ridiculous answers, and the guard just gave up shortly after that. Despite the dickishness of how he treated him, I got a slight chuckle out of it. During our questioning, I am pretty sure that they searched the carts. Everything seemed to work out; they didn’t find anything too “dangerous.”   Coming back to the cart, I forgot I locked Pennyswaggle, so I unlocked the kitchen drawers. With a stupid smile, he waved and was filled with a bunch of poisons in vials. Pin was the first word that left my mouth. She came to claim her bottles of poison. Pin and I had a conversation about how my bar has become very crowded while she walked in and out with her poisons.   Back to good old abyssal, I find myself writing in this when it comes to slightly embarrassing moments. Celu started feeling hungry again, this seems to happen about once a week. Which I am glad she does not get hungry on a daily basis or I might be having memory issue in the near future. I have not found any major gaps in my memory so I have to hazard a guess the memories she takes are not too terribly long. It was somewhat awkward as when she felt hungry this time, it was in front of everybody in the bar. She had pinned me, she was far stronger than I thought she would be. I felt slightly wrong when she kissed me, one because of the reasons I do not want to write about and because she was good at kissing? It is a bit hard not to have enjoyed it. I feel like that’s wrong in a way. I am confused by it slightly, but at least in time, I can get come to term with it.   Kazric, Ashlyn, and Pin had a religious and lawful school day with the Robot. Something about teaching it morals or some something; they did not ask me about it.   Now I have to tell you about the world's most unlucky god damn bandit. We tried to give them the Elven Ale to screw them over, but they attacked us. While our main group took care of the bandits outside one poor bastard was... well, he climbed into the bar with the Celu, Pennyswaggle, Cyne, and Vanbrute. He was the last one to try and do something. This bandit jumped in probably thinking there was going to be somebody to take a hostage or something. We heard a very short scream and then the windows turned red with blood.   “My Cart” Pin had yelled.   “My Bar” was what I exclaimed as the two of us ran into the bar.   Pin used magic to clean up most of the blood and what was left behind. Magic can only do so much, it may look clean, but I assure you that it does not that fresh look. It just looks clean, not to the standard I hold my bars to. I gave it that good amount of elbow grease to give it that special shine to the bar. I do recall grabbing the greatsword of one of the bandits and mounting it in my bar. It was rather good looking in my bar. Quickly rushing to my bar was our half-orc friend stormed asking for something about the interrogation. Apparently, some of the bandits survived? Within a second there was a bottle of Elven Ale in his hands. Should I regret this, probably, but the bandits did attack us first, so at least they would get to taste something nice before Kazric got to them. Wait I've only had it once? Have I? I know I tasted once near the group but... It does not matter.   We need to get rid of this Liquid Drug.   It’s just not right.   I’m going to try and not give it to anybody from now on.   Finally making through the mountains, we ended up in a bizarre town. I know the city was on a map I will have to get it that dark town's name from Pin or somebody else. I say 'dark' because there was a rather large amount of races that either from the Underdark or have connections to evil outsiders or plane in their bloodlines. It’s challenging to explain how bizarre this place was unless you were there or passing through. I believe Kraia, Cyne, and Ashlyn stayed in the cart. Ashlyn being the beaming light of 'goodness' she was, I do not think she would find this place comforting. Cyne and Kraia, well they could keep themselves busy. Though I do not claim to know what happened while we walked through the town, I think I can make a guess at how they spent their time.   Celu decided to follow me as we walked through the city. I thought this would be a good chance to let her stretch her legs and walk around for a bit. I was not sure how close she would have followed me. Her cold hand and take mine, and she kept rather close. At first, I was not sure why he had chosen to hold my hand, then I thought for a second. I was not sure if she was scared or something else. I could not tell what it was when I had looked at her. So, for the time being, I did not mind having her this close. It was still strange to have a cold hand holding my own. Like holding some cold object, that eventually warmed up. Normally people have heat when they touch, this was different. It was not a bad thing for her hands to like that, this was just strange and new to me.   I remember around that time Pin was told her Robo-friend about her keeping her money safe. To bad at that moment, she couldn’t find her money. I have not had to chance to steal a coin purse in a long time. It was not my proudest time on the surface, the first fifteen years or so were rather rough when I left the Underdark. Pin leaving her money out and about, I thought it would be 'fun' to teach her a listen about keeping her coin close. I was not going to keep the money of course, but it would teach her to pay attention, that and I wanted a bit of practice. To say I had a smug face was an understatement. Giving it to her back, she said to do it again and see what happen. It was a cute threat that was completely harmless but telling me that, only made it all the sweeter when I took it the second time. She was deaf and blind it seemed.   Coming to a bookshop, I had a split second thought. I bought a book on the great old one. Okay so let me explain, those great old ones are not to be messed with, but I had to explore every option to know what this "Entity" was. Luckily I have not had much interaction with this mysterious "Entity." Since I was still unsure of its true intention it would probably be better if I do not mess with it. I have not felt like something was making me do actions against my will, or have I done something already and I do not know it’s persuading me to take an Action that I thought was originally mine? Effecting my mind in a matter of speaking, I am not sure what the effects of this "Entity" have had on me. What are the limits when dealing with me, what can it do besides persuading me? I know that it can do this because of the demon rock. I am pretty sure I usually want nothing to do with demon lords giving my want to stay away from them. I left that life behind a long time ago; I’m only connecting dots here. Grasping at strands here, with this new book on the great old ones. I know something is messing with me, Pharasma told me that much. I have to explore all methods and options to try and find a lead on what this "Entity" is. This book I bought might have some key to connect the dots further or it just may be a book on the great old ones. With no connections. I might ask Ashlyn for a book on Gods next time I speak with her.   Pin bought her books, and I believe a spell tome or something. I was standing not too far, but far enough where I could not hear what she was saying. Then the ratfolk looked at me, and I knew from the darting glare she gave. Pin had just figured out I had snatched her purse again, and I just toss her bag of coins. I could barely hide my grin, having to turn to Celuriel to hide it. I could regret this in the future, Though at that moment I would say it’s worth it. Heading out Licia decided she wanted to the cemetery, Cyne had told us to come back before the sun had set. Telling her that it was best not to go off alone. She begrudgingly agreed, and we passed the center of town, where something loud and green caught our eyes.   Kazric bought torture equipment. Concerning yes, unexpected not really.   Coming back to the Cart Pin made a final round checking that everybody was there and I briefly talked to her about the Old Gods. P.S. I believe there bard/bandit with us, and we let him go, wasn’t there for a portion of that.

Journal #5: Introduction of Celuriel

Let me get this out of the way before I continue writing; my life is slowly becoming more complicated since I began traveling with this group. Things used to be some much simpler before meeting these people back when I lived with my family in that small village... [A line have been scratched out rather well] Where to begin oh yes the Necromancer's tower, why Pin wanted to go here was beyond me. I cannot seem this being a good place to try and live. She was very persistent about finding a base.   While cleaning some of the glasses, something I find myself doing quite often nowadays. Since everybody seems to want to be in the bar just drunk and eat. I might have to start sneaking away to other carts, or in the cargo hold to not be in a Bar all day. I’m getting off topic; I recall from early that it began to the sound of galloping outside the cart. The cart was not the fastest form of transportation, but we were not a trail or a road that people would normally take. Which made the galloping we all heard all the more concerning.   As I went to check on what was outside a translucent carriage drawn by ghostly horses was rapidly gain on us. A Ghostly wail rippled out from he carriage leaving me a bit stunned. This might have been the first time I had seen a ghost of any kind? Ectoplasm aside we were getting closer to that necromancer tower alright. Kraia easily dispatched the ghost with her throwing discs. I’m not a fan of this place I am saying that now if we live in this town I hope the ghosts do not stay.   That event was what I would like to call our first mistake.   We made several today.   We started approaching the tower, A tall pillar of stone jutting out from the forest around it. That even at a glance I could tell it was old. It was better shaped than the other location we have visited in our travels. That building we had visited was nothing more than a broken down fort with large crystals covering portions of the fort. This tower, on the other hand, was built to last the test of time, as most towers of this nature are. While we stretched out legs and got ready to explore inside Kazric broke the door and also dropped his sword, which would be the second time today that had happened. He was having some problems with that today, bad luck probably. A large bell tolled, and I believe I was the only one who could hear after for a short time after the bell had rung.. The ground floor of the tower was with the undead; we quickly dispatched with them taking care of each one without a problem. Though Pin blinded me with her magic, yelling a quite annoying “pep” talk to kill the last Undead was irritating. Sometimes I think these people forget that I’m a drow.   Heading to the second floor, it was a small library with a piano. Ashlyn started yelling about evil things, destroying the books. I happen to sneak one away before she got to ruin everything. The books themselves should not be evil, the content inside could be written about evil subjects but that's just ink on a page. I can understand if it was blood used for the ink or that the book is radiating some evil aura. This, that thing I rescued from the paladins wraithful purging of 'evil' book, was just that. A book. I think this was the first time I was slightly upset with our Paladin. She means well but she can be rather thick headed. I mean I can understand why she should want to destroy them, but she could have held off a bit longer than running in the blade in hand raised to strike.   This was our second mistake.   Our newest companion was found on the third floor, more on her later since the vampire is somewhat… well, she’s in my room currently staring at me now as I write this. A bit unnerving since she has not said too much, she is just watching me as I write. Let me get back on track, despite walking up to the third floor, we had to take out two spirits. A third person in the room did not want to be hurt. I would have thought Ashlyn would have killed her but no. She told us there was some creature in the basement. I would say I’m proud that she resisted the urge to slaughter something that was evil, but I think I’m somewhat happy with the fact she accepted somebody surrender instead. Though I am not sure whether she, the vampire, surrendered or not. Mistake three involves Ashlyn and Pin.   THEY TALKED ALL THE WAY TO THE BASEMENT. Not quietly the were bickering like old married couples shopping. We stopped at the bottom floor for like a minute and then we’re talking while every undead in that basement was watching us. HOW THE UNDEAD DIDN’T ATTACK US I will never know, a couple of us had to have them stop bickering. I’m not going into detail the fight or about the mimic, I dealt with in the fight or the book since I want to keep that one safe, though I think I’m not going to open that one without proper cause. I have a feeling it was one of those whims that I picked up that book in the basement.   Coming back up to the ground floor where we had to enter the tower, the door was gone, and the windows as well. I started taking bets that we were not in the same place anymore. I do not plan on collecting since it was very much a loaded bet. With our odds, anytime magic is involved with our group nothing good ever happens. I feel like nothing ordinary ever happens. Here is what I call my fourth mistake.   I am going to write this part in Abyssal because I need to get this out somewhere and I know only Cyne can read this. After making to the fourth floor, we are met with a horrible sight. A Nymph without eyes and brutally scarred, I have not seen a creature that broken in a long time, not since my time in the Underdark. The walls were scratched up and bloody. There was a broken bed not to far away, and the poor creature had just rags around her. She was huddled on one of the corners of the room with a blanket around her. She said she wanted to die.   I was not even paying attention to what people were saying. I was at a loss for words Kazrik spoken something but the word, had little meaning when they reached me. I am pretty sure, Ashlyn entering the conversation was the point I tuned back into the conversation. The Paladin wanted to save her. My mind keeps coming back to end her suffering. Quickly driving a blade across her neck to separate the head from the body. If I were next to anybody else or alone, I would have done it. My mind was so filled with thoughts of the Underdark just from this broken girl and events that I had seen and had to clean up, that I asked questions in Undercommon my friends but quickly changed back once I had noticed. Needless to say, the paladin wanted to save her so I could do nothing to stop her. I do not want to dwell that long on her, but she had one more appearance after our time in this tower.   Coming up too the fifth floor we found the vampire again playing with some dolls. She gave us the typical she’ll (The person upstairs) will kill us if we go up there. Before going up, I made a quick comment about being quiet and not talking. I did not want a repeat of the basement. Ashlyn climbed up into the dark room, then myself and the other follows, I have a slight chance to see the top of the tower. Before a searing light blazed into existence in the room blinding me again by I believe Licia or Pin who had cast that spell to see in the darkness that was this room. Still, I swear people forget I’m a Drow. I have trouble with extreme changes in light so by the time I could see our fifth mistake it was too late to do anything.   While trying to rub the blindness out of my eyes, the rest of the party decided to talk to the Elf/Lich. Because of course, they did, I love them to death put gods sometimes they can be stupid. Giving the Lich a chance to escape with what they say was a scroll of teleportation. She even questioned us about the fact we were not indiscriminately trying to kill her choosing rather talk than to speak with actions. Pin started to mess with the pentagram and a book she nicked from the second-floor library. I chose to leave at this moment and follow the paladin to help the Nymph and search for some “Phylactery” I’m not sure I spelled that correctly. As far as I’m aware we did not find anything.   Ashlyn ran up to talk to Pin about something, I went back to where the majority of the group was, and they asked the vampire about how to leave and if there was a “Phylactery” here. The Vampire said there might have been away in the library to unlock the tower; there were several pointed glares to our holy friend. Who seemed to not even notice them at the time. Then vampire said she could open the tower back up, but only if nobody harmed her. We reluctantly agreed, a portion of the group stated they would not hurt her, but just in self-defense, we would harm defend ourselves. In the process of casting the spell, she fell unconscious. With some deliberation, we took it upon ourselves to take her with us as well as the Nymph. We could not just leave her here could we, alone in a tower of full of the undead.   As we leave the tower for the final time, we found ourselves in the seaside city of Port Amarin. I could honestly say I had no problems here. There was some tension about this place that the rest of the group seem to have. We’ve been relatively against going to water-based cities, so was there an event that took place before I showed up that caused this tension?   Before I get started with Celuriel this will be written in Abyssal, all I wanted to do was keep her safe. I was not about to just take her from the Necromancer tower to be handed over to the guards of this city. I was the only person that I recall that tried to keep her safe the other thought it would be best to just leave her there with the guards or somewhere else. Even Kazric took my side in this, which strangely enough I had to check the Paladins logic about leaving her in Port Amarin with the guards. With Kazrics. A Vampire would just be killed if the guards got their hands on her. Why would we took her from that tower only to be put to death by handing her over?   He has his moments.   After telling Ashlyn, it would be a bad idea the party as a whole seemed to take that as “HEY, barkeep you take care of her” She is now living with me, and we tied her up. This is mostly because we're not sure what she'll do. I almost feel bad for her though. Need to find out more about her before I can let her walk around more freely. Being a vampire she might just suck out all my blood while I'm asleep, have to have some level of trust before I can comfortable sleeping again. We left the still unconscious vampire with Cyne, and myself, Ashlyn, Licia, Kraia, and Kazric chose to walk around the city. Taking the Nymph with us on a rather large horse the Paladin and I decide to find better clothes for her. Sad to say A very scarred Nymph on a horse, A Drow, and a preferably armored up Paladin tend to get rather strange looks. It must have been odd since I was carrying all the bag full of clothes. Pin’s Cart was driving around the city, and I saw it once while in a store. During this Licia, Kraia and Kazric disappeared to do what they wanted. We took the Nymph to a temple dedicated to a nature-based god, after meeting up with Licia and Kraia. Since I’m not one to actively pray to gods, I had to place my trust that this was the correct course of action. If she does not get better it is going to bother me for a while or at least till I forget, I am on the fence about not killing her.   Hopefully, Kraia’s Deity is willing to help that poor Nymph. As we choose to leave the city Pin had her eye caught by more of those robots. Knowing our conversation with Cyne about the Island I am concerned to what her motives are to buying her new “Friend” I trust her about as well as Kazric, and that’s not a much as I would like. The feeling of distrust is equal between us. I will not tell her my name, and I feel like she is not revealing all of her thoughts.   So pancakes are not the right way to break the ice with the vampire that is now living in my bar. This morning everybody was in my cart, again when are they not, I wanted to feed our new companion. It did not feel right to feed people and have her tied up and watching us eat. The Vampire quietly said that she does not eats pancakes. I was afraid of that and knew I would probably have two new whole in my neck since she was slightly hungry. I trust my friends that if anything happens to me, they’ll have my back. I guess I don’t know Vampires that well since instead of biting me she chose to kiss me, I thought she was joking about that last night. Vetela Vampires, the type of undead she was does not need blood to curb her hungry but instead feeds off memories? This was done through the simple act of kissing, which I guess is better than having my blood taken. I have 123 years worth of memory I could do without a few of them. Though this does bring a rather interesting problem for me. I... I am rather conflicted about this. It's not as if I want to kiss her, but I also would feel bad if I had chosen to starve her just because of how she feeds.   Forgive me I had forgotten to describe her.   Celuriel looks kind of like this, her skin's bloodless, pale like the moon and cold and her eyes are pitch black but if the light had hit him, they would show their true color, a dark crimson so dark in fact you could mistake them for being black. Hair's pretty long and wild; From what we saw in that tower I could guess she's never had much to take care of things like her hair. I had found a brush within my cart and after a while, what I had thought was wild hair turned out to be rather straight. She's on the shorter side maybe a head shorter than me and looks relatively young; I'd guess she wasn't an adult when turned into a vampire, but not a child as well. Not to mention that fact being a vampire and all, she could easily be hundreds of years older than me. Her face is more rounded and even her face seemed to lack color, probably due to the years of being a vampire but again given where she lived she's probably never had the chance to mess with makeup to add color to her lips or anything like that. I wonder how much of a childhood this girl had? She's continuously nervous and shy only really speaking when it had been the two of us or when spoken too. Even at that, her sentences had been short and to the point not revealing too much about herself or her personality. However, I have noted that lately she been looking at me and I caught her with a slight smile.   I do have to admit, she was quite cute.   She seems nice from what I can tell, and I think she needs a bit of time before she will be breaking out of her shell. Though I feel a tad bit strange after her feeding, maybe it's the side effect of having a vampire take memories from you? It’s been fading over the days, and it gave me a chance to write this down.

Journal #4: The Prince is not a Prick.

Be very careful around Kazric; I’m not sure he is all there at the moment. As far as I know, he has never wanted to push a friend off into danger actively. Then again I am not sure he was a friend, to begin with. He just seems to enjoy to the carnage he gets to produce when he fights with us.   Cyne, not such a bad guy. Also, he knows Abyssal which is good to know. I can practice from time to time to make sure I am not forgetting all the languages up in this head of mine. I should probably learn Celestial sooner or later.

Journal #3: Magic is kinda bullshit, stay away from Licia.

Where do I even start with this hellish cluster of a day, best to start at the beginning? Right now everybody has mostly knocked sprawled out across the middle of the train's bar which is where I live. Pin thought it would be a smart idea to buy 10 gallons of liquid drugs. That vexing substance called Elven Ale, sooner rather than later we get rid of all of the “Ale.” Or destroy those damn kegs. That shit knocked out Kazric, the only other heavy drinker besides our resident wizard. It could be handy given the right circumstances but I cannot see that going all to well. However, when Kazric awoke from his sleep his reaction to the "Ale" was somewhat different than mine when I took it two months ago? Was it two months, I cannot recall?   Kazric finally noticed that Vanbrute was not on board and got Pin to turn the Cart the hell around. Kazric now owns Pin one, which might be one of the scariest things I have ever heard. I would not want to be the one who owns Pin a favor. That was at the beginning of the day coming back to Ilendras while somehow in the process ended up picking up Cyne. He was better than last time… that is to say; I did not want to punch him. We met some weird robot and Pin got pissed or annoyed, it’s hard to tell with her. Her ratlike face makes discerning emotions harder than say, humans. This robot told her of a small island of robots which she might want to overthrow since they were oppressed and had no freedom. Cyne was firmly against that idea. The Wizard worries me a little, and I think I need to cut her back on the alcohol. She might have a list of places she wants to over through, the idea of a drunken wizard revolutionary is not one I like to keep thinking about. I had a small conversation with Cyne in DLS. Which I am surprised he knows Drow Sign Languages. In fact, I think he's the first person I have ever known to be able to use that was not a drow. I honestly might have gotten off on the wrong foot with him. He wasn’t as bad. We’ll have to see.   After basically kidnapping Cyne almost everybody was in my bar, save for Cid and Ashlyn.   SO all of this shit is going to be in Abyssal so nobody can read this. Who knew Demonspeak could be so useful for something other than talking, I think I’m the only one in this cart who knows the language but I cannot be too sure. Cyne and Kazric might be up for debate since they deal with or are from the Underdark. But as long as Licia does not speak or know Abyssal I think it will be fine. In the middle of our travels to the second tower on our list of future homes. Licia, our half-elf shaman, started casting magic. Even with my perceptive eyes, I had noticed her nearly silent chanting in the middle of the group's loud chatter a bit too late. She had cast a spell and it had found it's mark, and I was extremely annoyed at this.   Then as the spell began to take hold for the life of me, I just wanted to kiss her. If I had to describe that damn feeling, it is like an impulse with every fiber of your being wanting to fulfill that impulse. Similar to how I have those weird whims like stealing the demon rock. But slightly different since I’m not stealing Demon rocks. Anyways I end up succumbing to that feeling and end up kissing her in front of almost everybody. Then Cyne kissed Kraia, and I’m pretty sure Kazric ended up kissing Vanbrute.   Oh she just woke up, anyways now Licia just being slightly weird and just looking at me while drunk, she was probably still under the effect of that damnable drink. Elven Ale is somewhat odd. The effects seem to differ from person to person. As well as depending on how much you consumes, the strength of the particular ale your drinking. I wonder what she saw. However, after everybody passed the hell out from that bullshit drink. Which after Licia woke up she stirred awake the lovebird. Not too long after Kraia and Cyne disappeared, I assume knock boat in Kraia's room. I have noticed that people who drink that Ale, it's very rare for people, not the pass out from it. Save for Pin it seems but that's the alcoholism for you. While the slept I had covered them with blankets made sure they were at least as comfy as they could be, even the shaman though I was still displeased with what she had done. I’ll still have to figure out how to get her back for that. Not now, it would be unfair while that drink is in her system. For now, I’ll play nice.

Journal #2: The Gods speak to us, sort of.

Everything went better and worse than expected. Oh, how few words can completely throw off people’s perspective of you. The night after returning from The Boneyard, we all had very peculiar dreams regarding some the Deities that my companions follow. Myself include despite to follow any divine figure over the past fifty past years.   [Drowbie deception of the Dream, mainly so I don’t forget how it’s worded I copied and pasted it here from the game.]   “An amused chuckle from darkness - an unfamiliar female voice. "You know, I shouldn't be here. You left my House. You're a traitor. You still practice what I preach... an assassin, that's you. Have fun with what's coming!" She laughs. And then you're left in silence, a feeling of dread slowly growing in your gut - before your head explodes with pain, as does your wrist - an image of your knife [Andirifku’s Symbol Skull and knives] carved into it for merely a moment before a dark, ghostly hand covers it, and you nearly scream out: when the hand withdraws, your arm is left unharmed, but your head feels heavy, and you're no longer sleeping”.   At first, I had thought it was my younger or older sister, but something about the wording was off. My sisters never taught me anything about skills regarding my life in the Underdark and ‘My House’ could not be my mother; she was not a Matron when I had ‘left’ my home. Nor was I aware of any of my family having the ability to speak with me in my dreams. Turns out, Andirifku a name I have not heard in a long while might have been the one to speak with me. Since my companions had spoken with their patrons. [More sentences in Abyssal].   If compared to the other dreams than that is who would have spoken and might have marked me. Or tired at least, which would explain that blood on the blankets when I woke up. Part of me wants to believe "The Entity" is intervening again. Unlike my friends my forearm was somewhat unchanged, even KAZRIC was marked. My gut says our lives are going to get strange and more changeling on the road to come. OH yes but back to the dream. I believe that "The Entity "stopped a mark from showing up, the ghostly hand covered up where the tattoo would have been. Whether this is helpful or not is yet to be seen. For now, if that is the case, I am glad "The Entity" did so. The less connected to my past, the Underdark, to demons, the better.   Surprisingly the group took the demon stone thing far better than I thought they would. Scared Ashlyn half to death by putting the demon rock on her nightstand. She woke all of us up with her screaming about something evil. Nothing new mind you, but she does have some pipes on her. Loud enough to wake all of us while we slept in other rooms. At this point, I am surprised we do not sleep through it since we hear those words from her quite often. Sneaking into her room was easy since she sleeps like a brick. Telling them the truth was apparently the best option, I am pretty sure the Paladin is going to have words with me sooner or later. After that, we received a message from a redheaded elf to meet with some person named Cyne. At this moment, I learned the other members of this party do not have much of a problem when it comes to checking out random individuals. As half the party seemed to pay special attention to the elf's reared as the redhead walked out of the inn. Personally, I think this was the first of many mental facepalms. Then we went to see this Cyne person.   I swear to the gods that if you leave me in a room with this guy. I’m going to punch him in the face.   Cyne again asked for my name, which like for the past couple of decades have not really used or needed. Avoiding that topic, he casually mentioned he could just look at the letter addressed to me. That right there is a problem, I have told only two people on the surface my full name that I was given as a child. The thought of my real name quickly grabbed my attention. Opening the letter, they got everything right, yet they left out my life on the surface, save for the last couple of months. Kazric complained about the fact he could not bring a weapon of any kind. Then out pure stupidity, opened my mouth. Speaking without much thought to what I said I replied to Kazric's complaint that I could bring a blade or two. Cyne took note of that and ended up calling me 'my lord' or some other title. Damn did Pin Whisperbreath want to talk about that; their barkeep might be nobility. The fact that Cyne kept screwing with me on this, which made me want to punch this jackass even more. Luckily I told them to put a pin in it, jokes withstanding, and tried to cover my tracks by re bringing up that deities which had marked them.   Sadly they did not drop this subject and brought it up again; you would think that being chosen by gods would be a little more important than where your bartender came from…. but I digress. I showed Kazric my letter letting him know who I was, which was a mistake in hindsight. He wants to know more about my past, which took place at another time. It was just to spite Cyne since he wanted to see the letter or have me pass it around to the others. Why did he want to expose me, or want to know who I was? I know I did not help the situation but I have my reason for not wanting my name out and about. Then Cyne processed to disappear for some reason and Pin, and I figured out he went invisible. The man tries for a smooth exit and proves to me that he had a flair for the dramatic. During this time I’m sure he read the letter, I should have placed it in my pocket or in my bag. Talking about him being around and not indeed gone, the door flung itself open “mysteriously.” Then as we left, he whispered in my ear, my houses name. That promptly got my elbow shoved into what I can assume was his gut. I walked away, both satisfied and annoyed when I heard a disembodied voice laughing somewhere in an 'empty' house.   I swear I will punch this guy if he does not cut that out. I think he might be a dick.   Note to self Smittens was being very weird today and Kraia is good at tickling people.

Journal #1: Welcome back to the land of the living.

Well, it seems that I will be traveling with this group indefinitely, this is an excellent change pace for once.   I have not written down my thoughts for the longest time. Let’s see where to start with this, the talking plant? That seems like the right place to start. Well thanks to what I’ll refer to as ‘The Demonic Plant’ absorbing souls, it must have caught the attention of The Goddess Pharasma. Lady of Graves, and of Mysteries, Mother of Souls such a large range of titles. Not only that, apparently while dealing with this demonic plant we all died in some sense or at least that's my working theory, when Kazric our somewhat evil half-orc, shoved his soul-sucking sword into the husk of the creature creating some unintentional recoil. If The Lady of the Graves hadn’t step in and sent us to her domain, we would be somewhat reluctant to be sleeping in this tavern tonight.   Pharasma told us that now we need to find and destroy four of the six artifacts similar to Kazric’s Sword and the demonic talking plant. I could be mistaken on the number; honestly, that was not my first concern, but more on that later. The Goddess did mention the fact that we had already seen a third artifact, yet we might not have noticed what it truly was at the time. This might be something that I have not even been aware of or seen them. Being that I have been somewhat active with this group far more often recently than the past couple of encounters with them. The Goddess’ comment could have towards them, the group, instead of myself. At the moment, for me, nothing comes to mind that sucks souls away. Since that seems to be the common factor of these artifacts, at least I’m not aware of an artifact, item, or weapon, which can produce a such an effect that this group has encountered.   I should ask the others about this, and they might have a better understanding of what this third artifact might be.   What I am more concerned about is the voice I heard inside of Pharasma’s Tower. I had even asked The Goddess if it was her which was speaking with me. Pharasma’s answer, though it gave me very little clarity on my question, it did provide proof that something is watching me. The better questions to ask now is, how long has it been watching, why did it only speak with me when I wanted to open the door to another plane? Which the Paladin attempted to tackle me away from the door, then proclaimed it to be ‘Evil.’   She does this a lot.   Not the tackling part, the screaming about being evil one.   It was very unclear what this entity wants, and it does not seem to be that dangerous. This needs to be explored more, maybe after I get some sleep.   [This Sentence was in Abyssal] If some of my strange events or urges are tied to this, Entity, it would explain why I kept or wanted that rock possessed by a Demon Lord. Hopefully, I can wake up tomorrow before dawn and sneak into Ashlyn’s room and give the stone back.   ~Sidenote I should probably ask Kazric about that offhanded topic about an army and dwarfs. Something regarding vampires? Something unusual is going on, that much is for sure.
Character Portrait image: Aniks by Albert Rodriguez

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Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
13 Aug, 2018 05:45

Unhelpful comment warning: ME LIKEY!

13 Aug, 2018 07:44

Haha, thank you! I'm glad you're a fan of our work ^^