The Lost Seekers

Baldrin's Journal Entry #15
funerals and naked stranger fun times huh

Ade
Jarvan is buried under the Requitae Village tree. He is buried next to the body of Reinard, and he is headless. I carry his head and hers in a small sack on my belt, in the hopes that one day I shall have the opportunity to bring them back to this world. I am not happy about this arrangement, but it was simply not possible to get them back to Silglen in time. Worse yet, we would have had to leave directly after my last entry, but were delayed by some form of mind eating creature. Thamior seemed to understand it better than Endolynn for once, and apparently it was able to eat the minds of its victims, while also reflecting their own memories back at them. The damned thing nearly killed Patty, since she’s being daft as a bat. She keeps following me like a lost puppy which is normally adorable but it isn’t so much when I’m running heedless towards imminent face sucking danger. Honestly, it’s starting to frustrate me to no end. She promised she wouldn’t be daft when I said she could come with us, but recently she’s just been making straight up bad decisions and acting like a loon. I worry about her Ade, she isn’t acting sensibly.
Oh well, naught much I can do about it ‘cept tell her to stop doing it. So, Jarvan’s funeral. He’d probably shudder in his grave to know it honestly, but we had the druids say a few words over him. None of us really knew much about his religious leanings short of them being unreasonable, so we left them to it. A quick ceremony all round. Not necessarily as much pomp as he’d like, but much better in all honesty. After that we spent a few days in the village licking our wounds. We’d had a long week, and I had a hunch Griffith would be following us. When he arrives it was evident he’d taken a turn back to the stupid, and decided that if he’d told Reinard he was following her she’d be mad. Ruddy daft of him in all honesty, but worse yet he didn’t bring anyone that could fix her, and flat out refused to try. You ‘eard me Ade, he refused to try and fix her. She being a useful wrecking ball and he refuses to put her back together. Fucking A-grade moron all round. Really, letting her run amok, behave like a spoilt brat and then he has the nerve to get uppity at me because I was angry about the mess we walked into. Makes me mad Ade. Here they are, these hippy dippy Druids, capable of bending a forest to their will, but utterly incapable of repaying the nice strangers that keep trying to help them. Hell, strangers that get forced into helping them by their insane leader. A leader that they let run around acting like a total bitch in the first place. Ruddy unreasonable bastards honestly. Still, time to move on.

[Next Entry]
Ade,
We’ve picked up a stranger recently that seems to think he’s Jarvan. Kind of a relief to be honest, since I no longer have to try an use the dead man’s stuff. Seriously, I understand that it’s an edge we can’t live without, but it’s downright creepy wearing the man’s magic stuff. An now I don’t have to. See, we set up camp yesterday just off the road from Silglen. From there, we intend to cut across the thick of the forest, right over the Sylph Forge and out the other side near Oakroot. An while we were out looking around in the forest, we found a man just hanging up in a tree. Utterly naked, hanging there nigh comatose. I went up and brought him down, and the others checked him over.
Now, he’s an elf, and he looks rather different to Jarvan, but has the same gold hair and eyes. Even the same inane manner, where he says mad stuff and expects everyone to just roll with it. Yet, he can’t be Jarvan. We buried Jarvan, gave him up for dead-for-now. Hell, I even have his skull in my bag still. Yet this character is insisting it’s him. Been doing it for the last day even. Yet, it can’t be him. It’s more likely a trick from Seraphim. I won’t trust him all that much, but I won’t deny that he truly believes he’s Jarvan. You can see it right in him, down to his very core. I won’t worry too much about him, but one day something will happen and he’ll be a problem, I’m certain of it. So, for the moment all of Jarvan’s possessions go to him. Or, more specifically all of Jarvan’s Force Multipliers go to him. The things that make him better at what he does. Plus, we have a nifty bastard sword for the blighter to try out (though he keeps leaving it with me at night to prove he’s a good guy). It only sensible for the time being. Plus, if he is some kind of spy, he’s not doing it willingly, and Jarvan wouldn’t want us to treat him badly for it. Still, I won’t part with Jarvan’s sword, not yet. An the blighter won’t get the Symbol of Heironeous. Me and that god have some issues to settle, and I intend to insert the wooden thing in him so far he gets splinters in his unmentionables. So, on that charming note, I’ll write you again soon Ade.

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Libris Pious 3

Libris Pious flickers with light as a winged form stands over it, staring down at it before the book opens and the image appears of a dark forest and of all the emotions anger, hatred, love, sadness, happiness, excitement, joy, terror, exasperation and frustration before suddenly…..

I am woken up by a loud knocking on my door, ignoring it i roll over and try to go back to sleep, before that psycho leader of the druids bursts in and tells me to get up, ignoring her I try to sleep but she casts her stupid ‘geas’ spell on me the requirement being that I have to wake up early for the next 19 days. Travelling with her was going to be ‘so fun’ I think. Getting up I meet up with the rest of my party down stairs and after a discussion about how we would all cope with Reynard, we set out toward Requitae.

The Journey was rather uneventful apart from the fact that what should have been a 2 week journey took us just under a week to achieve. Reynard told me and everyone else how to get into the city before handing your group a ruby. And as we took the secret entrance into the city she dissappeared and began raining her destruction and distraction down on the Yuan-ti in the upper city. As we go down the corridor, we come to a door with an indent for the ruby to be placed in it. As the ruby was placed in the door, gears and cogs began turning and it slid round on its wierd axis and allowed us all entry into next room. It was just doors and more doors. in the middle of the room was a clue, which led us into the sewers. I fall in while navigating along the narrow ledge that served as the walk way through here.

We all emerged into Requitae, in a rather abandoned looking section of the city, except for what appeared to be a bothel across the road. Inside it smelt awful and it led everyone to thinking of disturbing and horrible things, until we came into the main room and saw something put the image even more horrifically into our minds. A succubus was tied up to a pillar at the far end of the room and as we entered, you cast detect evil and the succubus ‘lit up’ but so did something above you, an Eryines by the name of Lady Ishtaar was above us and she wasnt too happy with us barging in then threatening to release the succubus without ‘paying’ for her. A fierce battle insued, it was difficult for us to pin down the Eryines due to her abiltiy to fly and teleport around, Baldrin freed the Succubus and she helped us assail her captor, until at last the eryines seemed defeated but not before pulling one last trick, se grabbed Fae and threatened the poor little sweety, As Baldrins greatsword flew through the air and hit her in the head, i took advantage of that distraction to impale her black heart upon my blade. As everyone recovered from the fight, i went up to the succubus to ask her wehter she was going to try and walk the path of redemption, but before i could i felt this urge to just let her go, so i did. As we explored the rest of this building despite how horrifying this place was, we found Lysanders mum tied upstairs to one of the beds, we freed her and asked her what happened and how she came to be here and that Lysander was with us, she didnt believe us at first, until the boar-Lysander started talking to her. As we prepared to move on, i tested out one of my new abilities and it worked really well, everyone got healed up nicely.

As we proceeded onward we came to a wierd contraption that seemed to be a gondola powered by electricity that went out over the city and led to the forttress in the middle. Telling Thamior to take Lysanders mum back up to safety, the rest of us boarded the Gondola and proceeded onward. But Reynards ‘distraction’ nearly killed us all as the roof above us suddenly started collapsing down on top of us, Lysander fell out and Patty and Endolynn nearly followed suit. We managed to all hold on until we got to the dock where we all jumped for it except for Lysander who had turned into a bird and managed to fly ahead apparently having some close encounters with some falling debris as well, everyone managed to get out safely until I tried it, i must have slipped or something but i didnt quite make it and then all i felt was a searing pain in my right leg, and as the dust settled and i could see i saw why, my leg was gone from about my knee or mid calf, (i wasnt really paying atttention at the time) downwards. I healed it up as best i could and with the aid of Patty and Endolynn’s quarter staff i was able to move forward.

As we proceeded forward into the fortress we came to a sort of Entry chamber style thing with a great big friggin sake in the middle of the room facing the main doors that led inwards. Being cautious we explored the 2 side doors as best we could and only found a ‘grey jelly’ managing to deal with that, we turned our attentions inward to the main door way. With Lysanders help and understanding of Ohab-dai, we got through the trapped doorway with no issues into the the throne room, but there was no giant Yuan-ti greeting party just 2 golems, which Endolynns magic quickly dealt with. As we looked around the throne room we saw another doorway behind the throne but before we could go through it we heard a loud scream coming from the behind that door, it sounded like Reynard……

Moving as fast as we could ‘ran’ down this corridor that led out into this area that would have probabaly been all closed in if not for the gaping hole in the roof and standing in this room where 2 Yuan-ti and their Leader the one Baldrinn had been sent to kill, but what was horrifying was that we saw him standing over Reynard’s flaming corpse and brutally decapitate her corpse, without any thoughts we all moved in, his guards were easily dealt with but ‘He’ was another matter, Lysanders and Endolynns magic seemed to have no effect on him and he seemed to have a great deal of strength whenever Baldrinn parried one of the monsters blows it always seemed to take a great deal of effort. I managed to move in eventually, i got one blow on him before suddenly the next thing i knew was i sw his flaming scimitar swinging towards me and i coudlnt dodge then i felt the searing pain as it bit into my neck and……………………..

At this point the shadow standing over the book seems to have its head cut off and blood spurts all over Libris Pious, before it promptly snaps shut and its glow dims to be barely visible……….

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Baldrin's Journal Entry 14
Jarvan was my friend, let him rest in peace

[the writing on this page of the journal starts out slightly shaky, but becomes more rigid and easy to read as it progresses]

Ade
I write with a heavy heart in the knowledge that my companion Jarvan has been slain. I write with my friend Lysander on my shoulder, stuck for who knows how long as a snake. I write to you with Reinard dead as well, but I, Patty and Endolynn least yet live. I know not where Thamior is, or the woman we found in the catacombs that Lysander says is his mother. It has been a long, eventful day. I shall start from where I last left off.

In the early morning Reinard led us to a small door set under Requetai. We were to move through this door, and open another at the end with a ruby. The passage through the warren of tunnels was essentially uneventful, short of a few basic dwarven puzzles. The corridors were dark and dank, and after a while the earth beneath our feet began to shake and rattle as Reinard engaged the enemy above. As we moved further into the warren, it opened out into a small abandoned town. One can only assume it would normally be full of snake warriors, but it was deserted at the time of our arrival. We searched through the surrounding rooms for anything of value, as well as information as to where the enemies general may be.

Eventually, we came across a bizarre place that could only be thought of as a brothel. Inside it hosted a number of small rooms each with nothing but a bed and some snake scales. Further in, the building opened out into a wide chamber, and in the centre of the room was chained a woman. Not a nice everyday sort of woman but a devil or deva or some such. She was haggard and looked as if she’d been treated harshly. The mistress of the brothel was a beautiful woman with sweeping white wings and gold hair. I don’t remember her name, but I remember that she was keeping the devil against her will. As she offered her to us for a price, I made a simple decision. It was a nasty place, and needed to be brought down around her ears, and my party seemed to agree with me as we all rushed to do something at the same time. I threw a razor to the Deva, and then rushed to cut her free as I saw the sly mistress begin flying and throwing around unholy fire. Patty helped me, and between us we released the devil to attack her enemy. While we were busy doing this the other members of our party had been chasing the fallen angel about landing whatever blows they could, but she was still capable of out manoeuvring us. At one stage she appeared above us, just over the pole that the deva had been tied to. I attempted to clamber up it in order to lash out at her, but wasn’t quite quick enough. In her final moments she picked up Endolynn’s cat Fey and threatened her life. Even as I saw her pick the cat up I’d already moved to throw the great sword I was holding at her. Honestly Ade it was all I could think to do. She was constantly out of my reach, and she looked haggard enough that it might hurt her. At least, that’s what I thought. The sword landed squarely in her skull, yet she didn’t even flinch at it. Thankfully she seemed distracted momentarily and Jarvan was able to smite her down.

Before we left the brothel we searched it to see if anyone else may be there. We were, in a way lucky on that. Upstairs, we found Lysander’s mother. Honestly I didn’t have a chance to talk to her, but she didn’t seem all that well off. Still, we picked ourselves back up after the fight, dusted ourselves off, and moved on. It was at this point I started to notice how tired Thamior looked. He’d only been in his new body for a week, and it had been a long week. He’d also burned a lot of energy on the fight, and he just all around looked worn out.

We moved through the rest of the town that we could get to, and eventually found a small gondolier suspended under a long wire. After figuring out how to start the machine, we decided it was a good time to send Thamior back the way we had come. He complained, but we pointed out that Lysander’s mum wasn’t up to some kind of epic destructive fight, and that honestly we may well die very soon and that someone should get out of this alive. He seemed mollified, and headed back. Those of us that stayed behind got on the Gondolier and headed forward.

As the Gondolier moved we started to take in how massive this place really was. The gondolier was suspended over a vast cavern filled with buildings that stretched up two or three stories high. They came nowhere near the height of the gondolier, and stretched in many different directions. What we thought had been a town beside us were the mere outskirts of a city that stretched as far as the eye could see. In the centre of this mess was a massive fort. It stretched up on a platform of stone out of the city below. This was where the little boat was taking us. We figured this was also where we would find the general. As the gondolier moved forward though, there was a small problem. Reinard was making quite the ruckus above us, and the roof had started to collapse. As chunks of rock fell to the city below, the gondolier started to buck and sway. We had to rush about to swing it out of the way, and at first poor Lysander fell of the railings. It was hard to worry about him though, as he could turn into a bird. Us, we weren’t so lucky. As the gondolier got closer to the dock for the fort, the roof started to give way more frequently. We were just about there, when disaster struck. A giant slab of stone fell toward the dock, and we had but moments to jump onto and roll out of the way. I flung Endolynn forward as Patty quickly landed, and just barely managed to roll out of the way myself as Lysander crash landed on the dock. Jarvan was not so lucky. He lost his foot to the cold stone, sheared right off at the centre of the shin. We quickly patched him up, and moved onwards. There was no going back now, the dock was ruined and cut off from the rest of the city.

The fort itself was standard dwarven fair. Lots of worked stone and ornate carvings intermixed with statues of bronze and stone. Inside we fought off a corrosive ooze and prayed to Obad Hai to allow us passage (I have reason to believe we would have died then and there if we hadn’t, as a large statue behind us seemed to almost awaken when one of us wavered). Further into the fort we encountered a pair of bronze constructs that attempted to destroy us, but Endolynn made short work of them with a well-placed lightning bolt. As we overcame the bronze constructs though, we heard a worrying noise: A high pitched scream that came from just ahead of us. A small passage was hidden behind a throne, and down that passage a grizzly scene awaited us. We rushed down the tunnel and burst out into a small clearing to find a giant snake man holding the charred beheaded corpse of Reinard. Even as we watched he stepped on her head crushing it slightly under his massive scaled feet.
The open cave space was smashed to pieces with a hole in the ceiling. Reinard had gotten impatient, and simply couldn’t wait for us to do our job. Even if she had simply waited till we had engaged the beast she may have been ok. Or even waiting for him to exit this little passage, which I’m pretty sure was an escape route (it had but one exit) and ambushing him there would have been a better plan. Yet no, that would never work for flashy Reinard. An now, our enemy could devote his full attention to us. Even as we assaulted him with arrows and magic, he and his cohorts deflected our attacks. They crashed into us with strength unforeseen and tried to push us back into the tight passage. We held our ground, summoning lightning and fire in the hopes of overwhelming their defences. My sword, non- magical and unassuming as it was, carved the generals cohorts into pieces. Yet none of us could land a solid blow on the general. He was far beyond our capabilities and yet we had little choice but to fight on.

In the course of the battle he cast something on Lysander and he disappeared from sight. When next I saw him he was but a tiny adder. The General traumatised poor Endolynn as the fight went on, and she found it a struggle not to flee from the battle. In the final moments of the battle, with but one leg and no shield, Jarvan lurched into combat with the General. He struck one last blow against the beast, and was then struck down in response. His head removed from his shoulders, his lifeless body sagging to the ground as it released his lifeblood. Even as his body lay growing cold me and patty assailed the beast, and finally brought it to ground. The fight was done. The beast was slain, but my compatriots were sorely hurt. We gathered them and their stuff up, and slid what was left of the two heads of my fallen fellows into a sack, and we left the catacombs of Requetai. Eventually we moved into the upper reaches of the town. It was an utter mess. Thousands of corpses lay piled in clumps throughout the walled off townscape. Few trees still stood, and even the corpse of a defiled dryad lay amongst the slain. Truly Reinard was a woman to be reckoned with, if a bit reckless. I sit now at the base of the dead tree of this town. I have no shame in admitting I mourn for my friend. I will write you again Ade, but I’m sure things will have changed.

[The last few lines of this passage have a few small water marks on them, as if reluctant tears had fallen on the page]

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Baldrin's Journal Entry 13
Baldrins Journal entry number 13

So Ade, sometimes the world be a terrible place. An sometimes its just got a terrible person in it with too much power. This be the second type of time. Every part of my body hurts. An not like a little, but the bone-weary, travelling for days on end kinda hurts. Probably because that’s what I’ve been doing. Travellin’. Fact is we just trekked across the Dreadwood in a week. It should of taken two to three, but we made a plan to make it nice’n easy. Easy I tell ya. Yeah right. Easy like milking a bunch a angry bees. See, we convinced Reinard that she should get our help in reclaiming Requetai from the damnable snakes. I figured that since I had to go there anyway because the mad cow cursed me, I might as well get her to shave some of the travel time off. Oh righ’, I ain’t mentioned the curse much have I. Well, Think of Reinard as a petulant child with far too much magical power. You have tha’ image in yer head: a giant screaming wailing babe, with lightning blasting out of its fingers and glowing devil eyes of doom. Ok good, well that’s Reinard. An I went and pissed her off by lecturing her citizens about how they were being daft in relying solely on magic to fight a war of attrition. Apparently every magic user I’m destined to meet is unable to see the madness involved in relying on a single tool to solve their problems but hey, who am I to complain, I’m just the big dumb meat shield that they cry at to fix the problems they cant. Wah!

Anyway, she cursed me so I couldn’t use magical stuff until I’d slain the general of the raging snake horde (someone she missed in her big magic tree tantrum), and that guy just so happens to be in Requetai. So we used her hubris against her and encouraged her to set out to reclaim the old druid settlement (very old, and very dead. Apparently hundreds of years so), and in the process we hitched our horse to her. Well, I say it like the hubris was part of the plan, but honestly she’d already decided she was going there and we just needed to convince her to take us with. Still, that was our plan, and it went off without a hitch, which is to say that it worked but by the gods it’s been an unpleasant week.

The day we were to set off, she wanders into the inn at the crack o’ dawn an starts pushing everyone around. Not like a bully, but cursing folk if they didn’t get up. Forced Jarvan to get up at first light every day for a month. An he has to do it too, just like I have to hunt down some monstrous bloody snake general. Set Endolynn in a mighty tiz, and ruined Patty’s mood something chronic. An all so she could feel like some big shot telling us folk what to do. Seriously, these druids are mad. They let her be in charge because otherwise she’d throw a tantrum, an hell I’m half inclined to agree with ‘em. Only half mind, I’m sure if they put more effort into it they could teach her some manners. An that’s my real problem with these sorts of folks. They have all this power, and they choose actively no’ to use it for the betterment of everyone. They honestly charged us to put Thamior back together even though he risked life an limb to save their damnable hides. I keep eating berries in this place that fill me up like I just had a full meal. That right there could feed multitudes of people if used out in the rest of the world. Yet do the druids spread their bounty. No, they hide in this terrible forest and get angry when they’re called on their entitled crap. Its ruddy daft, and the sooner we leave this place the better. An hell, Reinard certainly is speeding that up. We’ve travelled non-stop since we left Silglen. I’ve barely slept, and the others are much the same. I didn’t even notice when a bunch of snakes tried to maul us two nights ago. Reinard sicked a tree onto them like it was nothing. So, I sit here in this clearing writing this while I’m half asleep, and tomor’a we head to the lost druid village. The plan is to sneak into the catacombs beneath the ransacked city and assassinate the enemies general. While we do that, Reinard is to stay up top and cause mayhem to draw out the other snakes, which I’m certain she will find easily achievable. An’ I swear if she doesn’t stick to the ruddy plan ill smack her something fierce.

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #12
The fall of my Friend

I write this entry not for my own story, but for that of Thamior, a brave elf that fell to the aggression of a brutal enemy. I write as a reminder to myself. Though Thamior may be gone, he also lives on in the body of his enemy, as one resurrected by the power of the forests. I write to stay thankful to those of the trees, that I am still able to travel with a friend. I write to remember that Seraphim must be brought to bear for all the suffering he inflicts.

The final moments of Thamior’s first life are a brutal warning to those that are forced to fight alone. In a small street in Silglen, a building was dropped on Thamior, Endolynn and Lysander. Though it missed Endolynn and Thamior, it buried Lysander beneath its wooden trunk and branches. I, and Jarvan were possibly a hundred paces away, and though we rushed forward to assist our brother, some foul beast with the luck of a devil stood between us and him. Even as we fought the beast, our compatriots were beset by two rogues of disrepute. Thamior and Endolynn fired off spells to try and stave off their attackers, but to little avail. The fiends simply brushed off the waves of fire that Endolynn threw against them, and laughed at Thamior’s beams of cold. As Thamior and Endolynn stumbled about, trying to fend off their calculated attacks, Lysander struggled under the boughs of the fallen tree. The beast before I and Jarvin dodged our attacks, almost seeing them before we’d made them. He feinted and dodged, even using the debris of the tree to put us out of sight of our allies.
The rogues that surrounded Thamior and Endolynn brought unnatural darkness into being on their victims, and used the sounds of their breathing and blinded steps to move around them and put them into a position of fatal weakness. Even as Lysander was struggling out of the fallen building in the form of a black bear, they lifted the darkness and struck Thamior simultaneously. In his dying moments the fiends rended him from the front and back. They drove their shortswords into the soft flesh of his sides, and tore him apart. The last thing that Thamior would have seen was the smiling face of the Tiefling whose body he would soon inhabit.
The final blows to the rogue that struck the fatal wound came from Endolynn. Yet, the damage was done. Thamior was a good man. He was my friend, and though he lives on I mourn the life he has left behind, and wish him luck in his new one. Good luck my friend.

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The Stone Hammer's Warning
Listen ye, for i have a warning

Quoted from the aftermath of the battle of the Silglen Trees

After the Battle of the treefolk, Jarvan and Baldrin headed back into the forest city. As they entered, some of the druidfolk gathered around them and followed them to the centre of the city. It is here that Baldrin turned to address them under the eaves of their sacred tree. In a bellow that gained even the attention of those in the boughs above, Baldrin began to speak his mind to the folk that had so frustrated him for the last day and a half, “YE DAFT TREEFOLK BROUGHT THIS ON YE’SELVES. Trusting magic to protect ya, like its some cover all answer. It is’nt enough. It will nev’r be enough. Ye must learn to live without it, or you shall perish because of it. It makes you lazy and foolish, and leads you to wage war by hidin’ in your homes. If for no other reason, you must see the carnage for yourselves, so you can put effort forth to avoiding it. If you sh’ant listen to reason, then use your GOD DAMNABLE wisdom and understand that you will always run out of magic, but your arm can always keep swinging. The man to your side is a far greater ally than some unfathomable mysticism, and you an all of your fellows will be better off not relying on it”

It is said at these words the crowd shuffled nervously, like they were being chastised by their mother. A few moments passed of intolerable silence, and then someone deep in the crowd yelled back, “what would you have us do then, live without it. Its a part of us you mad city dweller, just because you don’t have it doesn’t make it less important to us”

“I’m not saying live without it. I simply want all of ye to treat it as it is. Its a tool, there to be used, and then put down when you’re done with it. No city should try to survive a siege with but a hundred defenders. When your townsfolk come back, set some of them to learn to fight. Set some others to learn how to shoot a bow, and use them to augment your strength. Rely less on magic, and more on sense and you will avoid this damnable mess in the future”.

At that, Bladrin turned his back on the crowd and moved back to the inn he an his party were staying in. Back to his suite, where its said he promptly fell asleep and slept the way that only soldiers in a bed can.

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Letter to Cassius #9

Dearest Father,

Once again I am writing from my room in Silglen. Once again, we have been off doing crazy things in the forest. Extra crazy this time, like, I feel like it was a dream and here I am waking up in my comfy, cosy bed and none of that stuff actually happened.

We had to go find the ‘Heart of the Forest’ to destroy whatever was sucking the magical life stuff from the magical tree that was allowing all the druids to do their magical things. Our druid friend knew where it was, and to get there we had to walk around a tree a certain number of times and then climb (well, slide) down a rabbit hole that lead through seemingly thin air through another tree and into a strange place with grass as green as I’ve never seen before. There was a winding path and a huge cliff, and the sound of panpipe music on the wind. We walked down the path, poor Baldrin freaking out over this strange place, and we came across an odd creature mixed between a man and a goat; a faun. He was playing this panpipe and enchanting these men who were fighting. It turns out his music was what was making them fight, and so all I had to do was stop the music… Yeah, if only it was that easy. Unfortunately I had already gotten close to him and after noticing his glaring red eyes, he started to attack us. We got him in the end, and amazingly, I blasted the panpipe out of his hand and stopped the music before we bashed his head in! So, dead faun.

We carried on, going down the winding path, and we next came to a faerie, sitting on a green table. It was quite an unusual sight, that’s for sure. She had the most irritating, high-pitched, creepy voice I had ever heard. She informed us that if we didn’t answer her riddles she would kill us. I must admit, I wasn’t too terrified; she was a pip squeak, about as big as Fae. We got through her first two riddles and then she asked us which one of the foods on the table was not poisonous. We had to eat the right one to be let through, and if we ate the wrong one she “would kill us all”. So Jarvan stepped up and tried one of the foods, I don’t remember which. Alas, it was the wrong one; laced with arsenic, and he was told that if he didn’t leave the magical land (sorry, the “Heart of the Forest”) within six hours he’d be stuck there forever. I picked the grapes, and she seemed very disappointed when she announced that we were allowed to pass. Suddenly, the table turned into a dragon. Yeah. Then the dragon ate the faerie. After we’d already started walking off, thank goodness. This place was weird.

We ventured down the cliff on the winding path and kept going and going until we came to a fork in the road with mysterious signs, both telling us that both paths were the right way to go. More and more signs popped up and were in a language I didn’t understand, but according to Thamior they were both trying to convince us to go their way, and they knew our names! It all relied on me to pick a path as I’m group leader at the moment. I just ended up picking at random, and chose the path on the left. We were travelling and it suddenly got darker and scarier. The paths were muddy, the trees were black and dead and looming… A lady was on the path, running towards us, a milk maid. She said she was running away, that she’d ended up down here accidentally, after she fell through a hole. We brought her along but I was very suspicious. When I asked her if she had seen the other things along the way after she fell through the hole she had no idea what I was talking about. As I warned the others as they kept walking, she changed into this gigantic, beastly looking, woman figure, with giant claws. She was terrifying. Everyone stopped and came back, and after a long and tough battle, we made it through, with an awful feeling… Wolf was dead. She had killed him. I don’t know how Lysander is feeling, he just went very quiet. I’m not really sure what happens now, or if he needs a new pet. I don’t know what would happen if it had been Fae. I don’t think I would have been able to go on.

There was this thick, black tar substance on the path. We made our way around it but it was everywhere. As we got to the tree we were looking for, there were puddles of it lying around on the ground all over the place, but we had made it to the tree, at long last! I’d had enough of this place. We walked closer and there were bones on the ground, and they joined up and became a hydra. After everything we had seen and been through on this journey, I for one did not want to deal with a hydra as well. I was running low on spells, everyone was tired and hurt and I didn’t know how we would get through. For a moment I was actually questioning how we would make it through, if we’d even come out of here alive, or if any of the others, or myself, would be killed. Baldrin and Jarvan were in pain as they fought to keep the hydra at bay. I didn’t know what to do. Thamior and I hung out further back, shooting arrows and hoping to cause it some pain, but it seemed to be resilent, it wouldn’t give up. Every time we hurt it it came back with more anger. I fumbled through my spellbook trying to figure out what I could possibly do, so I cast a grease spell beneath the beast. It slipped, it fell to the ground. I couldn’t believe that I had actually tripped over a hydra. Baldrin and Jarvan jumped at the chance to get it while it was down. We did it, we killed a hydra.

I flew up into the tree while I still had a chance and saw a weird machine thing destroying the tree. I was hesitant about attacking it because I didn’t know if it would retaliate, but I started to ring it’s bark with a knife (yes, the machine was tree shaped), then I set it on fire with some Alchemist’s Fire. Incredible, it fell to the ground and suddenly everything was green again, the magic had returned and the animals and creatures and fauns and faeries of the Heart of the Forest had been returned to their normal state. Lysander had his magic back, and things would go back to normal! But here’s the thing… The tree machine thing that was destroying the magical tree? It had the mark of the Undercraft Guild on it. This was really suspicious… They were either up to something or they had made this HIGHLY specific machine to do a job someone had asked them to do. Curiouser and curiouser…

When we returned to Silglen we found the druids easily fending off the yuan-ti. It was such a sight! Suddenly everything felt safe, things were working out perfectly and the town was being protected. I’m not sure where we will be heading next, or where we went today, or why the Heart of the Forest was so strange, or if we’ll ever go back there again… But I do know that I for one will be a very happy half-elf when we leave the Dreadwood.

I will write again soon.

Love always,

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Letter to Cassius #8

Dear Father,

It has been such a long time since I last wrote, and for that I apologise. I haven’t had a moment to even regain my senses since we arrived at the Dreadwood. Everywhere we turn there are monsters, towns under attack, emotional party members… I write to you from Silglen, where we arrived after being in Valadis, where we fought off some yuan-ti. Just, casually, completely unexpected. We were heading to Valadis after Lysander received a message from another druid. I mean, it was a message of berries and sticks, but apparently it read, “Lysander, help, snakes are killing everyone,” or something of that nature. Hahaha, nature, get it? No, it really wasn’t funny at all. We got to Valadis and had to fight off an army of yuan-ti. But Lysander’s druid friend was okay, and when we left the town he joined us along the journey.

We rested along the way in a clearing in the forest. Nothing of note happened, but we’re getting the hang of doing watches throughout the evening. I have a feeling Baldrin and his lady friend haven’t been focussing too much on the watches, but nothing really happened. Although, we did find Lysander’s doggy! He somehow found us, probably odd druid magic again. I tried to give him a little cuddle but no, growwwwwlllliinnng. He doesn’t like me very much.

When we came up the path to Silglen the next day we saw fires in the distance. Fires everywhere. I personally had no idea what it was, so… We sent Thamior and Lysander up to have a look at what was going on before we ventured any further. They came back and informed us that there a yuan-ti camp all around the town. I took initiative and decided to fly over to give an idea of what was happening and where we could enter the town. I turned myself (and Fae) invisible and flew over. This always seems to bemuse my party members so much. They’ll never fully understand my spells. They seem to think it’s some kind of cool trick. I didn’t estimate however just how long it would take me to get over and back, because by the time I got there I realised I wouldn’t have been able to fly back to the group unless I landed on a yuan-ti spear.

I landed not so gracefully in the middle of a pig farm and scared off some little boy, who brought his mother back, wielding a rolling pin. Some guards came over and they seemed to automatically assume I was the enemy in disguise. They brought me to their leader, who I assume was the mayor of the town. She had a chat with me and she knew who Lysander was and after “verifying” my identity as one of the good guys, she gave me a bed to sleep in. I awoke to find out that the others had safely gotten into the town through a secret entrance, and Baldrin had apparently tried to get back out again… I sighed. Seriously, who walks out into a camp of yuan-ti? It’s like, suicidal. But, he was okay. Everyone was okay. And apparently now we’re heading to the Heart of the Forest. I can’t wait… Hmmm…

I have a feeling there be a few more snakes around, more weird druid magic, which is fading though, because of the yuan-ti attacks. Everyone is worried that Lysander will lose some of his powers as well. But if everything works out we could potentially save everyone in the forest, all of the towns! Which would be something truly wonderful.

I’ll write again soon Daddy, I promise.

Love always,

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Baldrin's Journal Entry #11
if i was a villain, I'd try my hand at being anonymous so i couldn't find me...

[the writing on the following pages is a little untidy, but relatively easy to read. It’s the same handwriting as before, but cramped and uneven, though very different to the drunken scrawl on some of the other pages]

Well Ade, another quick update for you today, since im on watch and have to make sure nothing sneaks up on us. I especially must make sure of that because my pretty little lass is all tuckered out from her last few days of trekking through the woods, and has fallen asleep on our watch. She’s adorable when she sleeps Ade, all curled up in a tight ball next to me. Still, you must be wandering where we are. We be travelling in the Dreadwood Ade, and it be a right horrible place to boot. Full o’ snakes and wild things, and ‘orrible great gorillas that’ll tear yer face off if you aint paying attention. That aint no joke by the way Ade, there really was a giant terrifying gorilla thing. Anyhow, I was busy updating you. So, last I had time to write in me journal, we had just left Longspear, or were planning to. We went to Ceseli’s wedding, and then scarpered as quick as could be. We didn’a want to have to try an talk to her about her mother, or the lies she had been telling. Figured it was her business, and she must have had her reasons. Still, we didn’t want to have to hurt her, or send her to prison, so we left. An when we got back to the Arrow At Rest, the place was a right shambles. Utter mess, wagons everywhere, and not an orphan boy to be seen.

Oh right, I haven’t told you of ‘im yet. Well, he was a lad I hired to bring a message to everyone at the Arrow, but he never arrived. Saddens me a little to be honest, id intended to have him looked after. Oh well, naught to be done about it. Still, The arrow was a hive of activity when we arrived. A right mess, and in all of it was that scaly tit that told Seraphim of my family. Honestly Ade, if I hadn’t been in Lillavida’s home, I would have thrown him out a window an beat him half to death, I was that angry. Still, apparently he knows very little of Seraphim, except that he pays well. Oh, and that Endolynn’s mum knew him. Aye, the lady she be looking for. Spose now im looking for her too. I think the worst thing about this whole irritant is that I have to find some kind of drug for the scaly bastard while I’m in this gods forsaken forest. Gah, just irritates me something fierce.

Apart from that though, very little of importance happened at the Arrow. From there, on our trip to this horrible forest, Jarven made us take a detour. Past a temple for goodness sake. Seriously, religious people need to just stop building so nmany of the damned things. Then I might be more impressed by them. An this one was run by the fattest turd ive ever seen. Seriously Ade, they preach about how they need to help people, and then guys like this work their way up the chain of command and eat themselves stupid. Makes me ruddy angry too. Wow, I have just been frusterated a lot on this trip. Whats worse, apparently theres some guy out there that looks like me. He’s all pleasant to people too eugh. Ill get back to that though, but the important thing to note is he is looking for my hammer. How do I know, because apparently my hammer was made in some forge that’s sacred to heironeous, and so the imposter asked the fat priest about it. Not my hammer though, the forge. I suppose really it’s a good thing he did… well, that and apparently Heironeous is looking out for us too. You see, The god thought it was a great plan to send Jarven a prophetic dream, and that dream sent us to the temple. When we got there, this priest let slip he met me, which led us to looking at some book of nursery rhymes he had, which led to the conclusion we need to find this forge, which just so happens to be in the Dreadwood. Wow, that a mouthful, dare ya to say it three times fast. So, after discovering that, we moved on.

Now, I can’t remember the name of the town we next passed through, but it was another annoying step in our journey. Specifically, my imposter had come through there himself, and he’d been all horrible to everyone, so when we got there they just shunned me. Course, that wasn’t as terrible as the psychotic assassin shooting arrows at us and leaving corpses all over. The arrows hurt too, and knocked us unconscious. So of course, ill probably be in trouble if I return to the League without my imposter proven to exist. Oh yay for horrible people am I right Ade. So yeah, the last few days have been a bit of a trauma for us all round. An now, to top it all off Lysander is acting all strange about the next village, and won’t give us any information about what’s coming. So yeah, im sure thatll be a fun journal entry, hope your excited.

Signed,
Baldrin, the Framed Hammer

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Letter to Cassius #7

Dearest Father,

I feel like I’m going to make you have a stroke one day, because every time I send you a letter I’ve pretty much faced something that’s nearly killed me. Or in this case, nearly turned me into a ghoul, or ate my feet, or nearly burnt me into the ground, or sucked the blood of my friends…

I woke up very early yesterday morning feeling incredibly unwell. I was in a room on my own so I had to drag myself across the floor to where the others were sleeping, to tell them what was happening. I couldn’t move my muscles, they hurt so much. I was covered in a cold sweat and my skin felt so cold and papery. It was horrible, and Baldrin was in much the same condition. The others dragged us to a temple where they healed us, but we spent the day there resting. It turns out it was Ghoul Fever, which we had caught when we were attacked by the ghouls in the thieves’ hideout. We were okay though, and I’m pretty sure we’re still okay now. I hope. Apparently it would have turned us into ghouls if we had gotten any sicker.

After we had rested I went back to the inn to prepare my spells at long last, then I headed off to my temple in Longspear to see if the clerics knew anything about killing vampires. They seemed a little confused about why I wanted the information, but after a small donation, they told me so many things that would later come in very handy. It seemed to me that the only way to truly kill a vampire was to burn it while it was in it’s coffin, and if you hurt it it will go back to it’s coffin to heal. So that was the plan, hurt the vampire, follow it back to it’s coffin and burn it while it’s in there. I reported back to the others with this information. Thamior had been doing some research of his own, so we decided to make some makeshift stakes before we left for the night out of chair legs. We sharpened them pretty well and handed them out to everyone.

It was a very fitting night for a vampire hunt, the Night of the Dead, and we all wore paper mache skull masks while we headed for The Black Cat; a pub where we thought we could get some information on where the vampire might be hiding. That was… a very unsuccessful venture. Baldrin scared everyone in the bar by yelling at them, and the bartender ending up closing up and kicking everyone out. Thamior rescued a lady trapped under a table though, and when we continued walking through the district, we ran into her again and she proved very helpful. I asked her if she had information on where vampires might be living in Longspear, and she pointed us to the old mansion where a vampire apparently lived 200 years ago, but rumours stated that he was dead. My gut told me this was all wrong, he wasn’t dead, and he was the vampire who had lead the Laughers, the one who had tried to kill us, and he was living in that old abandoned house.

We ventured down the path to the house. We knocked on the door, after much trepidation, and a voice welcomed us inside. There he was, at the end of a long dining table, drinking from a bowl of what appeared to be blood. He disappeared upstairs, so we followed, and saw a hug painting above the stairs, with a human arm nailed to it. It was horrifying, and the air was filled with a sickly stench. We followed the smell into a room, and found a man hanging upside down with the blood draining from his body. The sight was horrible, we turned around and went across the hallway into another room. It was a beautiful bedroom, but when Baldrin looked inside with his torch, the room caught alight, and a stream of fire burst out of the doorway and burnt us. It was so very painful, and as we ran down the stairs to escape the now burning house, we came across a plague of rats. There were thousands, tens of thousands. They were everywhere and it felt like there was no escape. We each tried to fend them off with spells and fire and just plain out hitting them, but the only real option was to escape them. We found the door to the basement and quickly ran down the steps before the rats became too much for us to handle. Although, they already were…

We bolted down the steps (Jarvan kind of rolled and fell at the bottom) and came to another door. We ventured inside after healing ourselves; those rats hurt, a lot. It appeared to be an ordinary room, but there was light coming through some holes in one of the walls. Thamior and I pushed a bookshelf aside, much to our own amazement, and found a door hidden behind it. We came into a room with a woman in a chair at the end. It was a woman with red hair, and to our disbelief, it was Auraluna, the murderous woman we had handed over to the City Guard not that long ago. I couldn’t believe it. As we walked up to her she was unresponsive, and after trying to see if she was alive or not, she fell over in her chair. She had two bite marks in her neck; the vampire had gotten to her, and I think she was pretty close to death when Baldrin smashed her head into the stone floor… I like to think he was putting her out of her misery. That’s what I’m going to tell myself, I’m still not really sure why he killed her…

Suddenly Lysander saw this cloud of green gas at the door. The very same green gas the vampire had turned into before, when he had escaped back to Longspear from the theives’ hideout. He reappeared in his vampire form and grabbed Lysander. He was sucking his blood and I freaked out. I couldn’t let this happen, especially now that I could actually see again and may actually be of some use to my party. We knew that we couldn’t kill him directly right now, but the plan was to hurt him enough so that he would go back to his coffin. Thamior provided a few of his weird magical things to put some holes in the vampire, and I blasted a hole in his chest, and, voila, he turned back into a gas. We followed this cloud of gas down a long, long corridor until we heard a howl and were confronted with these odd, skinny, skeletal dog things. They were violent though, and scary. But we knocked them out and out of our way and met a room at the end of the path that seemed very familiar. It was the room where we had found Aurluna’s weird little stone body collection. We were standing there in disbelief. Auraluna’s daughter Ceseli had told us that she had cemented in this room! But no, here it was! I don’t know why she lied to us or why she kept or how Aurluna even got out of the mental asylum. So many questions that remain unanswered… But anyway, he went into the coffin in his creepy was in his creepy cloud of green gas, and I just blasted it with fire. Fire from my hands, and he came out of the coffin, said his famous last words (although I was distracted by him dying) and melted into a puddle on the floor. That was that, he was dead. Apparently. I didn’t believe it at the time of course. I asked Jarvan and Lysander over and over whether or not he was actually dead and he remained in a liquefied form on the stone floor, but apparently it was silly of me to think anything else; he was definitely dead.

We somehow had to get out though. On one end, we had Ceseli’s house. One the other end, we had a burning vampire mansion. I was a bit scared to go up and see Ceseli after discovering that she had had a vampire in her basement, but Baldrin went up through the elevator and went to the house to try and dig through the flaming rubble to get us out, after we ran to the entrance of the basement. Baldrin ran into the house and helped us all get through. Lysander cast a spell that put some of the fire out with water he had created from nothing (!!!) and we ran through to the door. Poor Jarvan though, he was lagging behind and a beam fell on him. Baldrin pulled him out though, and we all stood outside while the house collapsed and burnt to the ground.

So what a night that was. On the vampire Thamior found a strange ruby shaped like a heart that appeared to be burnt. We took it to his strange elven temple (been seeing too many of those lately) and they wanted to buy it from us. I thought this was strange, and suggested we take it to the temple of Wee Jas as it was a ruby. Turns out it wasn’t a coincidence, it was the lost symbol of Wee Jas that the vampire had stolen 200 years ago! I felt like I’d done such a special thing for my goddess. I hope she blesses me in some way in the future. The clerics certainly did; we walked away with a generous reward for finding it, after I embarrassed myself in front of the head priestess…

So now I’m going to collapse into bed and sleep for an eternity, although that never gets to happen, we’re far too busy. I hope you’re well Daddy, give my love to everyone.

Love always.

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