Swords for Adventure

Terror in the Oasis

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Mordecai crested the dune and looked onto the wadi he and his halfling guide Guilsin had discovered on their 4 week trek out towards the tomb of the Necro Empire. The wadi was actually fed by the spring in the oasis they had discovered, it formed a riparian area descending into the canyon Mordecai had been climbing out of for three days. The wadi itself disappeared back underground no more than half a days journey from the oasis towards the tomb, so there had been little water or food for two and a half days. Water for an ice sorcerer was not a real concern ever, but Mordecai hadn’t eaten in three days and was famished. He had to leave his supplies at the main entrance to the Necro tomb when he fled via the head priest’s back entrance. He had cursed himself for not looking for a wedge of cheese or even an apple on his way out. Still he had made it and was looking forward even to a traveler’s biscuit from their supplies.

Mordecai emerged from the canyon and the wadi spilling down it into the oasis he and Guilsin had camped at. They had decided it would be best for him to stay here with a good vantage to see approaching tomb dwellers or their allies, and to have a place to keep the horses watered and fed along with himself. It was morning and the sun was up, this time of the year it wasn’t oppressively hot but it was still the desert and there was some sweat trickling down Mordecai’s brow as he made his way towards where they had set up camp. He began calling out to Guisin but there was no reply, that, combined with the fact the birds were quiet as well was an ill omen Mordecai was certain. He eased his arcane caduceus from his belt and began creeping forward more mindful of the noise he was making.

When Mordecai had come within 3 or 4 stone’s throw of where they had camped he was creeping in a low crouch through some reeds in grassy marshy area when he nearly tripped and fell, when he looked down he let out a yelp. He had found Guilsin, at least the top portion of him. His face twisted in a death grimace of pain and horror. Mordecai also saw what he believed was the back left haunch of one of their horses. It was then that luck was on his side and his back was to the sun, because he caught the flash of the shadow from behind with just enough time to drop and roll hard to his left. A massive form Mordecai judged swarmed past him glancing off him along its path of travel and knocking him much further than he intended to roll. When he got to his feet he was dripping with mud and water and looked towards the threat. He saw the sinewy body rise up from the reeds, a massive serpent bigger around than a man. It reared up to nearly twice his height before opening its mouth wide in a grotesque hiss and bearing its fangs.

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It held its mouth and in a brief inspiration Mordecai again threw himself aside to the left just as the beast let out a stream of venomous spittle most of which sprayed past him. Some however splashed onto him and he let out a yell as this foul smelling slime burned on his skin. The beast closed its mouth and reared back again opening its maw and bearing its fangs, but this time Mordecai struck first. Two quick gestures with both his hands and an arcane word and bolts of frost lanced out from him striking the monster square in its wide open mouth. It dropped low and swirled in a angry whirlwind opening and slamming its chilled jaws. When it reared up again Mordecai uttered more mystic words and made a more quick gestures then suddenly a swirling whirlwind of snow and ice sprang to life next to the beast and smashed into it. It was knocked aside and down a bit.

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The serpent opened its mouth and lunged at the vortex only to bite a mouthful of swirling frozen air and stinging ice crystals. It reared back again and once more Mordecai hurled more bolts of frost at the beast, catching it this time in the side of its massive head. It was staggered again by the blasts and turned its monstrous eyes back towards Mordecai. He could tell it intended to lunge and with a gesture the whirlwind of ice crashed into the beast from behind once more. The serpent was knocked forward and nearly flat by the impact, Mordecai left it positioned on top of the beast, flaying its scaly hide with crystals of ice tearing at it. He then began to chant and hold his hands in front of himself. A blue glowing sphere manifested and he threw his hands palm forward at the beast. Shards of lance sized ice flew at the monster just as it drew itself up again, it managed to dodge a pair of them, however three struck home with one piercing through the back of the beasts head via its mouth. Mordecai moved the whirlwind back onto the beast and it was twisted in a circle and its now limp lifeless remains hurled onto the bank of the reedy marsh.

Mordecai breathing heavily stomped up onto the shore next to the dead serpent. He fired several more bolts of arcane frost into its head to make sure it was truly dead before turning back to Guilsin’s remains. He dragged them back to their camp. There was still one terrified horse tied up to a date palm and a good deal of their supplies strewn about but still present. Mordecai gathered what he needed together and even managed to find another wandering horse which he coaxed back to camp. He burned Guilsin’s remains with arcane fire not wanting him to serve as some beasts meal. Not knowing if the serpent nested alone Mordecai choose to load up and leave once he was done. He took some dead reckoning estimates and began the four week trek back towards Tal Afaya.

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Tomb of the Necro Empire

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Mordecai sat down on the rock ledge in front of the stone portal. He stared at the brass emblem in its center which had a series of rings around it which had not budged an inch in the last hour of his trying. They formed some sort of quasi arcane combination lock he could not seem to discern the order of. He glanced down at the frozen corpse of one of the tomb priests, a hobgoblin in red robes and he spoke sarcastically. “Any suggestions old boy?” he asked. The body didn’t answer.

Mordecai had come to the tomb for two reasons principally, the first being that no one had examined an intact tomb from the Necro Empire in centuries, and second, because the Emir of Tal Afaya had paid him rather well to do so and retrieve a long lost family heirloom. Mordecai had managed to secure the base key to these series of tombs after a run in with some of the guardians of the order in the bazaar of Tal Afaya 3 days past. However having reached what seemed to be the end of the crypt after a series of arcane fights with the tomb priesthood, he was now thoroughly stumped. He stared a bit longer before he rose and tried another series of entries into the dial on the emblems face, all to no avail.

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The tomb had not been overly large, a single corridor, a couple sets of stairs, and two antechambers with priests, and he had arrived here. He knew he was alone for now but also that it wouldn’t last. His encounter in the bazaar made it clear the order maintained a presence outside the crypt in the surrounding cities no doubt to assist in the myth of the tomb’s curse and keep the curious away, or make the curious dead. Mordecai was quite tired regardless and he laid down for a few minutes to gather himself and clear his mind. While lying on the floor in front of the portal he looked towards the ceiling, it was fairly high and domed. There was some light spilling in from shafts around the top of the dome. The dome itself looked like nothing more than a roundish rocky hill from the exterior, it was only on closer inspection its true nature became obvious.

Mordecai glanced around the chamber. He had entered from the floor below and ascended a circular walkway that rose up a central pillar that in turn formed the platform he was on in front of the portal. Glancing around the room he admired the various sculpture in alcoves and relief work on the walls. Looking back towards the ceiling there was a very intricate tile relief that depicted some long gone Necro Lord and some battle or other had waged. It was as Mordecai studied the relief he thought it familiar and then it struck him, and in turn he struck himself in his forehead. Arranged around the scene in the relief were subtle, yet distinct impressions of the same emblems on the dial of the portal door. He jotted down their order in the language of the Necro Empire and sprang to his feet.

Mordecai entered the icons into the dial in the order of their position in their root alphabet and as soon as he entered the last there was deep grinding noise of stone on stone and the portal began to roll to the side. Mordecai could see beyond and into a room with the distinct gleam of precious metals and jewels. He entered cautiously mindful of any traps, although the Necro Empire was typically not known for that sort of thing, there was nothing to say crypt keepers in the ages past didn’t learn new tricks. Once inside the room was fairly wells lit by shafts of sunlight descending through holes in the ceiling and bouncing from mirrors mounted to the walls. The room was rectangular, the long end proceeding from the portal. There were alcoves along the walls with pedestals and shafts of light shining onto them, many were empty, but Mordecai’s eyes were drawn to one half way down on the right. He could see the shape of a scimitar and likely why he was here.

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Mordecai went to the scimitar and it was indeed the Emir’s family heirloom, a weapon used in the battles in this region of the world during the Necro War. He examined around the pedestal and was reasonably sure there was no traps, so he removed the sword. When he did he heard a loud gong sound in the distance, further up the tomb. No traps, but apparently an alarm. He quickly hurried towards the back of the tomb, if they were similar in design to other Necro tombs of the time there would be another exit leading to a high priest’s quarters. Mordecai found a modest iron portcullis at the other end along with another combination dial which he entered the icons into. There was a metal of metal grinding noise and it began to rise. He could hear the sound of footsteps coming closer, likely in the antechamber. There must have been some hidden side door to other rooms of sect members he had missed. While waiting for the portcullis to rise he looked to the right and on top of the last pedestal on the right was a ring, shining in the sun light. He moved closer and it was obviously arcane, with a dazzling stone and polished precious metal. “Now there’s a pretty thing.” He said out loud pocketing the ring.

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Mordecai dashed into the now open passage and pulled a chain on the opposite side. The portcullis slammed down. He could see more priests of the order surging into the room through the entry portal. He uttered a quick set of arcane words and a pulse of icy blue light streaked from his outstretched right hand, through the portcullis bars back into the room, when it reached the lead priests is exploded in an icy hail of shards. There were screams and he could see bodies falling and people scrambling for cover. He followed up quickly with another incantation and a lattice of ice formed around and in the portcullis gate and bars, which would keep it from being opened easily for some time. Mordecai then turned and dashed up the stairs away from the treasure room. He could see sunlight as he ascended the stairs finally coming to an empty bedroom. He had likely vanquished the room’s owner in the antechamber to the treasure room. There was a balcony door than opened out to a precipice. From the outside it likely appeared to simply be a ledge, there was a set of stairs descending downward along the cliff face to the canyon floor below, also disguised to likely appear as a simply angled rock formation on the canyon wall. Mordecai ran down the stairs, as his excursions went, this one had gone fairly well, for now.

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The Gathering

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Mordecai looked up from the tome he had been studying. He was seated a desk in small room he was temporarily living in above a shop on the docks of Waterdeep. It was the local chapter of the Cartographer’s Guild and he had managed to secure extremely sparse accommodations in exchange for assisting with some map updates and additions he had from his travels. In the interim he had been studying a number of arcane parchments he had come by on his last adventure far to the east of the Sea of Fallen Stars, and hadn’t had a chance to study properly. The business with his brother Feanar and putting him to rest as well as agreeing to embark on a voyage with his former companions had been occupying Mordecai’s time. Now, however, they had managed to find themselves with several weeks on their hands in Waterdeep and each had chosen a way to spend their time while Smee secured their travel arrangements.

It was dark out and he had agreed to meet them all at a pub off the docks not far from the guild house. Mordecai wrapped himself in his dark gray cloak and made his way down the back stairs from his room and onto the streets. The docks themselves were a somewhat seedy and rough area in the evening for common folk, although not many would trouble a Tiefling with an odd air about him. Still, some cut purse’s were not renown for being the wisest, nor most observant examples of their species. Mordecai had decided to cut up an alley between two streets when he heard voices from the dark off to his left call out. “Oy, whas this? A right proper gentleman strolling on tha docks after dark is it?” the second voice added in sarcastic commentary “Right you are rory, tha good sir must have lost his way.” The two stepped into view, they were human, dressed shabbily, each holding a long knife. Absolutely the epitome of an image of ‘thug in alley’ Mordecai thought to himself, so cliché.

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Mordecai turned to them with his head angled a bit down with his hood still obscuring his features. “Why I’m delighted with your concerns, I assure you I am quite capable of finding my way.” He stated hoping they would just go away, and knowing they wouldn’t. The two of them laughed in unison and then the first growled. “Ahm fraid directions aren’t free guvna, and neither is this alley, pay yer toll and we might nae cut ya too obvious.” Mordecai said nothing, he held up his hands and then threw back his hood exposing his Tiefling features. He gestured quickly with both hands and a flash of blue light flew from them and slammed into each thug. They were thrown back into some barrels and the air crystallized with the sudden and extreme drop of temperature.

Mordecai stepped towards them an evoked a bit more of his favorite showmanship, he turned his eyes to blue fire and his voice began to oscillate in a odd reverberation, as well as, project at a much higher volume when he spoke to them. “Should I simply kill you both, or perhaps take your souls with me to depths of hell and savor upon them for all time?” he asked and them cackled as manically as he could manage. It had the appropriate effect as the two thieves nearly injured themselves backing up the alley and away from him. He was fairly certain one had urinated on himself.

Mordecai snickered to himself, mother always frowned on his little tricks like this using his heritage this way for fun. Of course if mother were here she had the power to make the two fools drool on themselves and hang on her every word like puppies. Mordecai did the best he could. Neither was seriously hurt, although explaining frostbite on their chests in the middle of the summer might prove difficult. He continued on his way and arrived at the Prancing Pony where the group had already gathered, he was a bit late.

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On entering Mordecai saw them around a table in the back of the busy pub. Smee caught sight on him and yelled across the bar holding a flagon in one hand “Oy! Over ear ye blue skinned devil.” Mordecai sighed and made his way over to the table. Everyone was gathered, Thamar, Harndur, Erza, Algares, and Smee. There were a number of charts and a contract on the table. Harndur smiled and slid a goblet of mead towards Mordecai as he unclasped his cloak and sat down. Harndur spoke “Smee was telling us about our future drowning.” he said sarcastically. Smee looked up from his flagon with a hurt expression “Ere now, thas not right, she’s a good ship mate” he then turned to Mordecai and slid his flagon towards him “Ere devil, do tha thing mate, cmon now.” he said gesturing towards the flagon. Mordecai glanced sideways at Smee as he was looking at some of the charts. He held out his right index finger and touched Smee’s mug and it frosted over instantly. Smee took a long draught and then lowered it, “Thas fantastic! Absolutely brilliant it is! Its so damn good cold!” he exclaimed. They them began discussing their upcoming journey in detail.

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Enter Mordecai

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Mordecai stared out the carriage’s window holding his chin as the horse drawn conveyance bounced along the cobblestone streets of Waterdeep. His other hand clutched the official diplomatic correspondence from the court of Dol Naroth granting him overseer power of his brother Feanar’s remains. The carriage was making its way through the temple quarter of the city to the Shrine of Correlon Larethian where his brother was entombed. It had been nearly a month since the shimmering mystical image of his eldest sister Amara had appeared to him on the shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars and informed him of Feanar’s passing. He could still feel his heart pounding as Amara spoke to him, he heard the words, but the buzzing from the rush of blood in his ears had made him feel deaf.

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Amara had instructed him to travel with all haste to Waterdeep and insure Feanar’s burial wishes were executed correctly, and to officially represent the court of Dol Naroth. He and his other siblings did as Amara instructed, their parents not fully aware of the quasi secret order that their children had formed amongst themselves over the decades. She had also instructed him to take up with Feanar’s companions of the time and assist them. There was still a shadow growing on the Sword Coast and Amara said they must resist its machinations. Amara had taskings for the rest of the siblings as well, she had explained to him Tyne had been sent to look into a matter in Thundertree and she had dispatched the twins to take up Feanar’s station and duty to The Order of the Secret Flame. Amara had said Mirnin was in Tal Ashya on the western edge of the Arad investigating an important matter. Mordecai smiled when Amara had mentioned Mirnin since he knew full well wherever Mirnin was she was not acting at Amara’s direction, as Mirnin made a point of answering to no one. Finally when Mordecai had asked, Amara had smiled and answered him gently that she did not have news of their eldest sibling and brother Fandin, although there had not been a ‘veil drawn across my eyes’ which meant Amara could still feel his life in this world.

Mordecai asked about their parents when he could speak and Amara told him mother had gone into mourning in the temple, and that father had gone afield with no mention of where he intended to tread. Mordecai’s heart sank a bit, mother would be in mourning for not less than a year likely, and father’s anger would only be sated when the blood of a great deal of blackhearted souls had been sent to judgment. Amara ended the contact and told him to take care of himself, she did not wish to lose anymore brothers. He had smiled and promised his sister. A bumpy halt to the carriage’s movement shook him from the memory. He had arrived at the temple. Mordecai dismounted, and paid his coachmen, turning to the temple he ascended the stairs where he was met by a shrine acolyte.

Mordecai bowed and then introduced himself. The acolyte extended his hands and spoke. “My heart is heavy and grieves with you Mordecai of the line of Fandol.” Mordecai was momentarily surprised at the fact the acolyte did not miss a beat or blink an eye that he was a Tiefling. He quickly reminded himself these were the people who had saved him, the people who had taken him in and raised him, and he was in fact one of their kin, in the line of Fandol, of the Court of Dol Naroth.

They entered the temple and walked silently towards a wing that was the mausoleum. They arrived at a sarcophagus with his family’s heraldry. The acolyte turned to leave and Mordecai spoke “Thank you again, and I won’t take too long.” The acolyte turned back, his expression quite compassionate and he spoke. “Take as long as you need, the tears and the patience of the gods are timeless.” he then left Mordecai alone with his brother.

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Mordecai took a knee before his brother’s crypt and placed his hand on it. He had mourned and raged after Amara’s vision weeks ago by the Sea of Fallen Stars, and he had thought of nothing but his brother on the road traveling here. Mordecai came to finish his brother’s affairs and set things in order per his wishes. It all had seemed proper and the order of things and it was at this moment now Mordecai realized he was in no way done with his grief. His chest tightened and he sobbed heavily. He was but a child of eight when his father had rescued him from the witch cult in Neverwinter and brought him to Dol Naroth to raise him. Feanar was the same age and when they first met and the battles between them had begun, pushing their near immortal sylvan parent’s patience to the edge. Eventually the two brothers learned scheming and getting into trouble together was far more fun than fighting, which also tested their parent’s patience in new insidious ways. Tears poured down his face, Mordecai was simply not ready to say goodbye to Feanar and it was at this moment now the adopted Tiefling realized how much he missed his family and the glades of Dol Naroth.

Mordecai wasn’t sure how long he had stayed in the temple, but it had been afternoon when he entered it was dark as he walked down the steps. He began walking towards the harbor district. Feanar was at rest now, endless fertile green country, under a sun that never sets, in the lands beyond grief and evil. Mordecai however was still in this world, and in this world grief and evil still strove to encircle their merciless steely grip around the throats of the innocent and the weak. Here evil and grief needed to be opposed and defeated, and to this end Mordecai made his way through the city towards the mystic’s academy where he could find and meet Feanar’s former companions.

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Trap and free
The group finds Smee!

Smee sat in a corner, the darkness surrounded him. The lack of light no longer plagued him in this place. He had heard once, after what he figured was the third day of his entrapment, the sounds of fighting just outside the door. He remembered the feeling of relief, he knew it was no rescue party meant for him but whoever they were it was satisfactory.

After the sounds of battle came to a close and no one entered the door, he despaired slightly. He awaited the return of the demons and his own sacrifice but they never came. Instead, possibly the next day, he heard fighting again and this time the group was victorious. The door swung open and searing light pounded into his retinas.

“Oi’ me eyes!” he yelped. The group entered and surrounded Smee as his eyes adjusted to light once again. There was an elf, a half elf, a tiefling, and a small gnome. They stared at his gigantic person with a mixture of awe and disgust.

“What the fook are ye lookin’ at, ya wee shit?” he grunted at the gnome. In response, he was shot a quizzical look. The tiefling crept into a more advantageous position as the half elf approached.

“I am called Feanar, war deacon of the Order of the Secret Flame, and who might you be? Why are you here?”

Smee grunted before clambering up to his feet. He stood with his pelvis thrust forward fingering his belly button. “I am Smee, half breed. I was brought here as a sacrifice. And what brings a rag tag group of Feywilders into this place anyway?”

Feanar shifted his weight and he noticed the heavily armoured elf flank opposite to the tiefling. “We are here all for different reasons but also the same. There is a group of hags we all received omens about and are duty bound to destroy.”

“Oh aye? I know them hag bitches. One be a demon cunt, but don’t think they aren’t all pure evil. They are somewhere in this catacombs, it was they who intended to sacrifice me,” Smee explained as he hoisted his right breast to satisfy an itch underneath.

Feanar and the elf were obviously repulsed, but Feanar continued. “Well, the oozes are dead. I figure you are free to go. I see in you no enemy and I bid you safe travels.”

Smee gaffed heartily, throwing his head back and hugging his belly as it bounced up and down. “Oh, half breed, that is unacceptable! I am in the debt of you and yer friends! Shit, did’n you listen? They were gointa kill me! No no, not me. It is not yet my time. By the pirates’ code I am bound to you all by a life debt.”

The tiefling and elf relaxed and the gnome continued to tweak in the corner as Smee’s laugh echoed through the halls. Feanar’s face contorted as he gave the gigantic pirate a thorough up and down. “This Smee is obviously human, but his skin is grey! Look at his beard, unkempt and red like blood. All those scars on his face…he must be a gifted or tough warrior at the least,” thought Feanar. He also took note of his baggy black pants held up by a belt with a large buckle underneath which ran a soiled red sash. His boots were nearly to his knees that his pants were tucked into. He was bare chested with a bulbous pannus and female sized breasts. He was filthy, foul mouthed, but intimidating. All he wore on his upper half was an interesting set of leather straps with 3 empty slots a piece.

“Well, welcome Smee. That one there is Thamar, a paladin of Vandria. The gnome there is Erza, a great fighter but slightly uncouth barbarian. And that one is Algares, our nimble thief. Handur, an elf druid, is not here but if you survive long enough you shall meet him as well.”

“Well met! I haveta say, they took all me fookin’ weapons. For the most part, I don’ give a shit. But they took me pistols. Help me find them, if they still be here, and I shall show you my quality.”

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Milo falls
Algares uses potions, leads to death

Buh’s spirit hovered above the battlefield. He watched as Feanar, Varis, Erza, Algares, and Milo struggled against the stalagmite monsters. However, true to form, they pervaded and acquired a sword amongst other things. Suddenly the world blanked and came back into focus. The room was empty, but a battle din was heard in the distance.

Buh floated through down towards the next room. The group was in combat with some oozes, and not fairing too well. As they hacked them apart, they just reformed or split into multiples. He could see Varis was already down, no longer moving. He felt no emotion anymore, a perplexing concept as he had lived through emotions when alive.

Again the world went dark and then came back into focus. Feanar, Algares, and Erza were being beaten back. Milo was also down now, face first into the floor. A word from Feanar awoke him, but the ooze had dissolved his leg. Algares, before fleeing, bent over to give him an invisibility potion and flight.

As Milo went to follow the group, Buh could see the ooze rise up and come crushing back down on him. Obviously, the ooze could see Milo in his current state. There was an irony here. Algares had inadvertently caused Milo’s death. He was also invisible; they would never find his body in time to save his life now. Buh concluded the world was a little worse for the loss of this man; his instincts were always to save those not strong enough to do it themselves. Between him and Varis falling, he contemplated the future of his friends before drifting off into the void.

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Buh-bye!
Death of Buh the Half-Orc Sorcerer
26th Alturiak (February) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

Buh’s mind railed against the voice of Gruumsh, become ever louder and beckoning his inner orc side. He was becoming erratic and crazed, and throwing himself into situations beyond his powers. He could feel the orc within him winning the fight against his human half, and he felt his mind warping under the mystical evil of the caverns.

As he followed the group trying to corral his orcish fury and brashness, they came upon a room full of splendid beauty. Piles of gold and jewels lay throughout the room, and in the center he saw a podium upon which was an enormous precious gem. As he entered the room, he felt his mind groan then snap under the weight of Gruumsh’s presence. He immediately reverted to like he was just following his accident. With glee he careened towards a large pile of gold. As he dove into it the illusion disappeared and a thunderclap went off in the small space. He staggered to his feet, ears ringing, and noticed that all the gold piles were now gone.

There was still the gem, and he ran into the center trying to reach the shiny his mind so coveted. He could not reach it, for as he stepped toe into some water 4 giant tentacles lashed out for him. 3 managed to get a grip on his legs but he beat two away. The final tentacle pulled him towards a stalagmite which now showed to be a heinous monstrosity the likes of which Buh had never seen. Not knowing what to do, he fired off as much magic as he could, but to no avail. The creature slammed Buh’s body into the ground like a child having a temper tantrum does to a doll before tossing his lifeless body aside. Buh’s suffering is now over, and the world is a safer place.

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Mimic Room
28th Alturiak (February) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

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Feanar finished wrapping the bandage on Smee’s arm and he glimpsed Algares still rubbing his neck. Feanar walked to the spot where he had laid out his bedroll in the treasure room. The team had decided after the confrontation as this room appeared to be an extra dimensional space protected from the rest of the cave that they would again attempt to take rest and prepare to push through the caverns and attempt to locate Adrean or learn of his fate, as well as, locate and confront the Hag’s coven with an eye to ending the corruption of the land.

Feanar arranged his bedding and then removed his helm, it felt like part of his skull at times he wore it so often. The defeat of the cursed chest and blade left him quite certain they were as safe as they would likely be anywhere. Feanar jotted a few notes in his journal in regards to the monstrosities they had just recently faced. The frantic pace they had been required to maintain had prevented him from any detailed measurements, but he still had quite a number of observations in regards to behavior and battle details to enter.

While he scribed in his journal he could see Algares staring at him, Feanar spoke without looking up from his journal. “Yes?’ he asked flatly of Algares. Algares replied staring, still looking somewhat in shock. “It was completely severed?” he asked still rubbing his neck. “Yes.” Feanar answered plainly. “You stuck it back on and now I’m alive?” He asked still staring at Feanar. Feanar answered again very dead pan without glancing up from his journal. “The specifics of the incantations and the manner in which the power is channeled is somewhat technical, but in simple terms, yes, I stuck it back on and now you’re alive.” Algares stared still and spoke without changing his expression. “Thanks” he said before moving off to his bedroll. “Not at all.” Feanar responded.

Erza jumped and spun around the room swinging his enchanted blade. He was still giddy from the fight. Feanar had lie back to attempt some rest. Erza spoke. “I felled a cursed blade in midair, didya see Feanar?” he asked while flipping and spinning about. “I did, you should rest.” Feanar answered with his eyes closed. “I knocked it right from the air, after it had felled Algares and Thalmar!” He spoke to the air very pleased with himself. “Indeed you did, you should rest.” Feanar answered without moving. “Ah, you’re probably right.” Erza answered and flopped onto his bedroll.

Smee spoke to Erza. “So it be that easy, he say jump and ye say how high?” he asked laughing. Erza sat up and looked at the portly companion they had freed. “He stuck Algares’ head back on and brought him back to life, he might know a couple things about rest and being ready.” Then he stuck his tongue out at Smee before burying himself in his blanket. Smee’s face warped into a quizzical guise as Feanar sighed and drifted off to sleep.

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Thamar's Introduction
Tracking of the Witch Illius
5th Ches (March) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

Thamar walked into the tavern in the Town of Secumber. His platemail glistening in the pale light from the fireplace. He came to the tavern searching for a Hag, a Demon Witch he had tracked. Thamar read his Inquisitorial decree condeming Illius the Hag to death. Thamar left his three retainers and his squire outside the tavern, knowing his quarry was inside and sealing off her escape.
Thamar understood the precarious nature of his actions. He approached the bar keep, careful to scrutinize all in the room. The bar keep squirmed under the scrutiny. Thamar’s great sword glowed with a pale blue light. He carried it in his right hand, in his left was the Holy symbol of his Order. It was the source of his divine strength and symbol of his retribution. The symbol glowed with the same blue haze that seemed to flow between it and Thamar’s greatsword.
Thamar whispered several words….“I will smite you with the power of Vandria. My faith in my Inquisition will destroy you.” The sword in his hand surged with energy, pulsing in his hand.
The witch Illius was near and Thamar’s Divine Sense guided his hands. He drew his sword up in both hands and instantly stepped through blue mist 30 feet towards the fireplace and Illius. She was concealed in the darkness appearing to others as a patron. Thamar’s movement was fast and would have proved fatal had not Illius been a spell caster. Thamar’s sword struck home, yet it hit a shimmering field that exploded, knocking Thamar across the tavern landing on a wooden table that splintered beneath him.
Illius stood up and growled in a language none understood. Thamar raised himself up on one knee. He grasped his sword in his right hand and boldly yelled "Foul trespasser, you have seen the last of your days. " Thamar grasped his great sword in both hands, standing to his full height and charged Illius.
Thamar’s sword, outlined in a supernatural light, struck hard into Illius’ skull sending bone and brainmatter across the table. A sudden eruption of fire and force ripped through the taverns interior blowing out the windows. Thamar was knocked across the tavern, picking himself up in time to feel flame rush out the tavern.
Screams from outside the tavern greeted Thamar’s ears. Only now did he understand he had not killed Illius and is men were now paying the price. The screams of his retinue faded as he shook off the stupor caused from his body colliding with the tavern wall. He exited the tavern.
His men were ashed and dead in the mud and muck outside the tavern. A familiar voice entered Thamar’s mind…“did you think me so easily vanquished?” Thamar kneeled and prayed to Vandria…"see me through to the destruction of Illius and my redemption.
The tavern burned brightly behind Thamar as he walked away following vague tendrils of evil out of town.

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An inward reconciliation
Varis` Journey
23rd Alturiak (February) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

Varis Sat quietly smoking an exquisite pipe, taking several long draws and exhaling the smoke. Smoke billowed and rose up and around Varis. He contemplated the near past, thinking about events leading him to his current predicament. He spoke softly at first “My oath to protect the civilized people’s and community of this world…….” Varis` voice softened and tapered off into thought…He whispered to himself while cleaning and sharpening his many blades.

He thought about the visions, heard told by party members. He reasoned “blind obedience is how we got here, it is nothing short of Tyranny embraced.”

Varis was making effort to reconcile the half-orcs actions. Buh started a blaze that claimed an innocent child’s life. His actions forced Varis to run into a burning building to save others Buh put into harms way. This was not the first time the half-orc had acted in such a manner. Varis thought about many times Buh had been instrumental in ending critical battles. He mused sometimes that wild magic gets the better of him. Varis shook his head and scoffed. Varis reasoned Buh’s fireball had been an example for good and helped other trusted companions reveal and destroy several foul denizens.

Varis thought to himself….“I am sworn by oath to protect the innocent and safeguard civilization from evil.” He remembered his oath…He surmised it referred to the Greater Good, as well as the means and justification to that end. It did not release him nor his companions of their conduct and activities. Truly what may be deemed useful and necessary in defeating evil must be reconciled. Varis puffed smoke from his pipe and exhaled softly.

He spoke aloud….“I shall not suffer another innocent death while I yet have means to defend that soul.” Varis glanced about the companions wondering if he one day might take action.

In the here and now, Varis dismissed his concerns. He vowed to keep a close watch. He relit his pipe, took a few puffs of the elegant tobacco and shoved his freshly sharpened blades into their sheaths.

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