Uncharted Lands of Yonon

Journal of Cyros
Paladin in the service of Osoni, The God of the Far Horizon

My arrival in Yonon was greeted by a crowd looking for news of the mainland. After speaking of Navalle’s steady loss of land and the potential death of Osoni, I chose to retire at the inn where I met two… very strange men. They went by the names Kaim and Dante, and spoke of an illness that had tainted the area. Clearly what I had been told was true and Yonon is a chaotic land. I agreed to help them rid the disease from a local blacksmith. Kaim managed to stop the spread of the disease and we learned from Belian the Alchemist that mercury seemed to be effective at treating the disease, but could only be found in the Brimstone Waste. My companions’ odd friendship with a rather inebriated captain made it possible for us to sail south without any problems. The very first night spent camping on the beach we were approached by an animated statue made of marble. The remarkable marble man couldn’t speak but by drawing symbols and gesturing we managed to get him to show us the way. Halfway to the mercury pools we indicated there were more beings like him in a different directions and we parted ways, well he pretty much just walked off. The brimstone wastes are a desolate land full of geysers, roving clouds of poisonous fog, orbs of fire with multiple eyes, and giant crabs. We found the mercury and an ancient tomb where Dante found a strange lantern.

We returned to New Madro by land, hoping to find a new passage way for the Sunset Walkers. We made it through but not without being attacked by giant crabs and finding a forest completely destroyed with a very, very angry nymph. Needless to say it’s not a very safe road to travel.

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Chronicle of Kaim
You Make Good Noises

Chronicle of Kaim, Spirit Shaman of the reclusive Nouvean Tora tribe

Prologue

Under the guise of a prospector, Kaim arrives in Yonon in search of the spiritual disturbances reported from his tribal leaders. Being fully adorned in tribal wear, Kaim immediately stood out among the many residents that traversed about the port town of New Madro. Immediately deciding not to tarry too long, Kaim gathers what provisions he can from seaside markets and departs west deeper into the countryside. Upon consulting nearby spirits, he learns a brief history of the lands and its people, and learns the location of the disappearances further inland. The ancestors were unable to provide any details but this definitely was the location of the disappearances.
Using the spirits as a guide, Kaim travels across the lands narrowly avoiding most dangers by traveling during peak visibility and heeding warnings as they appear. Many weeks into his journey he finds himself lost, the aid of the spirits skewed due to his proximity to the greatest spiritual upheaval he’s ever felt. Overwhelmed with goosebumps, he decides to let himself get sidetracked. He had heard of rich ores in the mines not far from the disturbance and starts off in that direction.

First entry- “You Make Good Noises”

The party is joined by a new companion this week. Kaim the Shaman joins the group after concluding their most recent forays into abstract thespianism. Stumbling out of a poison-filled secret passage, the group decides to welcome the stranger when they learn of his spiritual past and potential use as a spirit guide. Kaim greets Lya, Nessa, Fritigern, Tri, and their Butler/Servant/Slave and animal companions in kind. Kaim happily offers his assistance as he learns the group also looks to learn of the regions disappearances.

Following the surprise introductions, the group decides to explore deeper into the mine shafts eventually running into the corpse of a quite literally ‘fallen’ explorer. Calling upon the unholy power of his Death God Fritigern peers into the incorporeal realm and consults the fallen explorers spirit in order to discern its past and means of death. Upon doing so, the group learns that, similar to them, the explorer had traveled deep into the mountain for rumors of ancient artifacts. In her haste unfortunately she had misjudged the footing of the passage and fell to her death, leaving her mountain gear about her body.

Thanking her for her information, the group decide to set up a potential escape route in case the need arose, while Kaim performed the Spirit Release rites on the adventurer’s spirit. Tri transforms into bird form and manages to secure the rope at the top of the passage, while Nessa climbed the rope and secured it in place with metal stakes. Halfway up this passage it was noted that gravity completely shifted so that one could walk along the wall as if they were on ground. Also upon reaching top a great staircase could be found. Tri, with her gift of speaking to the land consulted the steps upon which she walked about this gravitational disturbance, but couldn’t gather much information besides it is an unnatural force.

With the escape route secure, the group continues onward deeper into the mines. Kaim senses a void straight a head that blocks out the use of his ancestral spirits. He tries to consult his ancestor of the land and creatures, Kyle but fails, leading him to bear a 5 hour scolding on his lack of inebriation via medicinal herb a.k.a lack of being 420 blazed to oblivion. Deciding to continue forth the group discovers a large dome shaped room with many mirrors stripped from the walls and strewn about the sides of the room. It turns out this room was the same room in Fritigerns earlier vision, a vision that indicated his God of Death had dealings here. A small man worked inside chipping away the remaining mirrors.
Initially hostile, the man demanded the adventurers leave as they were disturbing his work. He held an armed pistol aloft ready to fire at any provocation. Kaim steps in trying to calm the man while Tri had transformed into cat form to sneak around. The man wise to their tricks to a shot at Tree with a thunderous roar of the gun, the projectile hitting its mark but to no serious degree. The discharge prompted Fritigern into action. Hurling himself upon the man he raised his heavy mace and crushed the man’s right hand sending his weapon skittering across the floor. In vain the man tried grasping at something within his bag but before any more damage could be done a face familiar to all but Kaim arrived.

Auden Vecru

The master wizard appeared as if out of thin air not too far from the group. His mood changing to a scowl upon eyeing the current situation. Auden was terse with his treatment of the man named Jortigo that we just assaulted. Questioning on his failure to keep us out and blaming him for the loss of his hand. With a wave he sent magic coursing through the mans hand making it regrow albeit in a twisted state for use in continuing his work. Work he also insisted we partake in, lest we be forced to leave. With a bit of ingenious persuasion on behalf of Tri, Auden had agreed to let her assist while the rest of the group left to come up with a plan.

It was eventually surmised that a distraction be made while Tri steals a mirror to hopefully prevent whatever nefarious plan Auden was up to. With a great heave, Fritigern ignited the wall of the cavern prompting Kaim, Lyasana, and Nessa to join in mock escape. Seeing the distraction, Tri deftly stole away a piece while pretending to assist Jortigo. In the confusion the group escaped together back to the paths from whence they came.
Reveling in the plans success, shortly the group decided to head down a nearby passage they had bypassed before. This passage led to a narrow stair case that decreased in gravity the further up the group went. Upon reaching the top the group discovers a massive open room depicting a giant three dimensional heliocentric display of the solar system. Except for the sole fact that the sun was an actual giant fireball that pulled Nessa off her feet and towards its center. With deft skill and lots of luck Nessa grabbed hold of a nearby orbiting planet biting into its side with the spikes of her shoes.
At this time that the party notices a swirling purple mass in a nearby corner of the room. Kaim manages to get close enough to interact but upon gazing directly upon its form is struck dead in the face with a crackling lightning bolt. The blast singes his mask completely black and would have melted his face if not for the additional protection. Nevertheless, he survived, while greatly wounded from the encounter. Using the attack as a chance, Kaim discerned the mass was actually a spirit in distress and successfully managed to calm the spirit. Offering it solace beyond the black gates where no one would look at it directly and make it feel anxious and self conscious. The spirit accepted and disappeared following the Spirit Release rites.

As soon as the spirit disappeared, the room began to tremble- gravity had returned to normal and many of the planets fell to the ground in great cracks as stone met stone shattering the ground beneath it in a tumultuous resonance of earth. Nessa, still clutching the side of a moon, jumped for safety and managed to roll out from underneath certain death in a nick of time as a planet fell in the spot she landed moments later. Before anyone could celebrate everyone noticed the center sun had become a giant stone and was threatening to crash down into the center of the room. It was massive and such a crash could only prove disastrous for anyone still left around. With that the group made a mad dash to the exit making it just in time before a thunderous roar engulfed them all.

With nowhere else to go the group leaves back up the previously devised escape route which turned out to lead back into the outside world on the other side of the mountain chain. Tired, battered, and dirt covered the group looks to make camp when Tri sees what seems to be a giant beetle out in the distance. With her mind made up she takes flight towards the beetle while the group moves to make camp at a nearby river.
As Tri began her quest to check out the giant beetle the group came upon a herd of 20 or so Yaks near the stream. The prospect of dinner was too much to ignore so the ranger Lya marked her target and took aim. Her shot was good but not good enough, the beast was crippled and its injury alerted the entire herd. Instead of running for the hills the yaks ran for the hills…The hills the party were standing on. These Yaks turned out to be Carnivorous Death Yaks and they were out for blood.

If there were maybe 3 or 4, the group would’ve stood a chance in hell, but 20? Nevertheless there weren’t many options. No foliage or trees for cover meant the only options on the menu were a meaty death or a long tenderizing death under the hooves of 2 dozen death yaks followed by a robust mauling and maybe a goring or two for desert. Working together to avoid such unappetizing prospects, Lya fired into the yaks with her firearm while Fritigern used his “fire-arm” to cover the horde in flames. With the aids of spirits, Kaim also did his best to slow there approach toppling mean down the hill by coating the ground in a slick coat of blood bubbling up from the spirit world.

Despite everyone’s efforts the hordes ranks couldn’t be thinned enough to stop impending doom until a rogue idea took Nessa. With a horned helmet Nessa donned her butler and instructed him to moo like a normal Yak as loud as he could. Apparently, Death yaks were deathly afraid of their normal cousins and even the mere sound would scare them away. As the Yerks(Jerk Yaks) closed in we all watched in amazement as the most perfect imitation of a Yak ever heard bellowed across the field. The Yaks immediately stopped in their tracks moments away from trampling the group and turned tail; those that fell earlier following suit, back into the wilderness.
“You make good noises!” Nessa said in a sultry response to the heroics we all just witnessed clearly impressed. Kaim felt the servant had the makings of a great shaman in him as the group laughed off their near death encounter.
Meanwhile, Tri was busy with her own set of heroics. The giant beetle that was spotted previously was actually under attack by an entire village worth of mummies. Changing into a crotiagle(croc mouth, tiger body, immense great eagle wings http://www.pronunciationgenerator.com/p/V11DL/crotiagle.mp3) She charges the mummies hanging at the side of the beetle in an attempt and prevent more from climbing up top.

Unfortunately for the Mummy Men, Tri was a powerful shape shifter, and the crotiagle one of her deadliest forms. With a mighty roar shifting in pitch from Trees light normal voice to a vicious roaring hiss escaping the jaws of a crocodile tiger. She lept with great speed and attacked the first mummy in sight. Her attack was vicious and swift the strength of the swiping blow hit with great strength lifting the mummy from its feet and straight over the side of the great beetle. Three were left on top with many more on the forest floor and seeing the great beast they readied their weapons, speaking in a language Tri couldn’t understand.
Her second attack was just as fast, with a gaping maw she lifted a second mummy straight into the air in order to drop it on another standing on top. In the maneuver the mummy managed to stab the beast with its spear before being dropped atop others on the beetle. Successfully toppling one over the side she morphs into her “Tri” form and with a strong jab, stabs her blade into a crevice in the beetles carapace, preventing her fall to forest floor below. Hoisting herself up to the top she was confronted by the remaining mummy men who were joined by a few others climbing up the sides.Seeing she was outnumbered Tri decides to retreat for now escaping back into the skies before her transformation depleted.

Meanwhile, the largest group had finished their meals and had scavenged what they could from the corpse of the Death Yerk. Worried about their friend, Kaim and Nessa send Shiv and Kyle to scout for Tri’s location. On their scouting journey Shiv manages to get distracted to find a meal while Kyle manages to meet up with Tri on her way back. He informs her that the spirits of the land say the creatures are big in the area and that killing them actually helps protect the ecosystem of the area . Thanking him for the information Tri makes here way back to the group to update them on her most recent heroics.

A bit of planning and conversation later the group decides to return and confront the mummies and get more information on why there were killing this giant beetle. Upon returning the group finds that the beetle has fallen and the large group of mummies had set up camp. Some were sitting nearby sharpening their weapons while others had finished setting up tents and were gathering large pieces of meat and carapace from their most recent kill.
The group debates whether to engage the people but realized the necessity when Tri reveals she had left a valuable weapon lodged in the beetles carapace which had now disappeared upon the team returning. Seeing the need to converse with the group of people, the group decides to approach peacefully and gather information while Tree finds the missing blade. The mummified people were actually intelligent and not mindless beasts they welcome the team hesitantly fearing harm but as soon as it was discerned we were peaceful the group opened up, many showing discernable positive emotion.

We learned that these people were named the Wetu. The reason they had felled the great beast was to protect the great plain’s local ecosystem. It is learned that these people are nomadic in nature and have great respect for the land. We also learn that Lya’s brother Khavir had come in contact with the people as they cringe from the sight of the necklace she shows them. In an effort to keep everyone calm we ask where her brother went and they mentioned the glass desert to the south but also that we must never go there.

Thanking them for their advice we ready to leave when Tri finally stumbles into the weapon and transforms taking the blade with her. She flies up and out of the camp, the natives raising their weapons in surprise. At first they question us while others raise their spears hurling them after her in flight. In hasty response Kaim hurls his spear at Tri, purposely missing in an attempt to show that they were not working with the magical creature that had attacked them earlier. In order to escape the situation the group promises to chase after Tri and when they meet again bring proof, here long eyebrows, if felling the creature.

With that promise the group sets after tree catching up with her not too far from camp. Relating the news didn’t exactly go over with Tri now that she has a bounty on her head but we managed to leave without any burned bridges for now. If we ever face the Wetu people again we may need to come up with a plan to prove we either succeeded or failed in retrieving the proof they requested.
After updating Tri on everything the group has learned, everyone plans to continue south towards the glass desert. As they travel they come across river rapids that they would have to fjord to continue. Deciding that crossing at the point they were on would be too dangerous the group heads south to a slower moving section . In a classic “Farmer-Fox-Chicken-and Beans” puzzle the group must figure out how to ferry what goods they have safely across the river without losing anything.

Eventually the group discovered the best approach and had Tri ferry most goods using her ability to transform until the rest of the group could wade over without much trouble.
Upon fjording the river the group decides to rest and stock up on water and rations before preparing for the desert

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Secrets and Familiar Faces

For this expedition, Lya was joined by two new companions, Shubaktu and Dante, who had just arrived from the mainland and wanted to pursue a rumor of treasure to be found in the Endeavor Mountains. The group set off up the River of Good Fortune, and partway through their first day of travel saw a face familiar to Lya by the side of the river: Marilo the Blasphemer was doing some fishing, and when he saw Lya he was anxious to hear what had become of the rest of the party, particularly Fritigern. Ignoring the crazed cultist, the party continued on, and spent the evening doing some big-game hunting in the environs of the beaver dam.

On the following day, Shubaktu spotted by the side of the river a small group of Echomen wearing the clothes and equipment of an adventuring party. After dispatching the Echomen and attempting to interrogate one, the party was able to follow their tracks to a small Yoon crypt, which contained the remains of what were presumably the adventurers that the Echomen had taken the clothes from. Even though one of the Echomen had a saddle, there was no sign of a horse’s remains. The tomb also held an urn full of ashes that appeared to be of Yoon origin. The urn also contained a stone that emitted a song when held, which Dante took in hope of finding a buyer for it in New Madro.

That night, while Shubaktu stood watch, a humanoid figure approached the camp with a face identical to hers. This person or creature introduced itself as Bon, and offered to trade trinkets for gold or secrets for secrets. Dante and Lya made several deals, and Bon seemed to leave satisfied, saying that she (it?) would find the party again when they needed her services.

The following day, the two newcomers were curious to see the interior of Fort Prosperity, despite the stories of its horrors. Inside the fort, the party was nearly overwhelmed by a swarm of Echomen, but eventually managed to overcome them, with some help from a pair of Sunset Walker priests. The two priests said that they had managed to reclaim a small area within the fort, and had created a sanctuary that evil spirits could not cross and protected those within from the fort’s nightmares.

The party agreed to spend a day helping the priests expand their sanctuary in exchange for healing and an enchanted scroll. They were soon drawn into combat with a pair of creatures that looked like obese men with large, beating anatomical hearts instead of heads. Shubaktu was burned by the corrosive blood of one of the creatures, but then, when she was grabbed by the other and couldn’t avoid inhaling some of the creature’s blood, she was surprised to find herself healed and feeling better than ever. After defeating the creatures, the party upheld their end of the bargain with the Sunset Walkers and stayed at their sanctuary for the night.

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Wizards and Pirates and Leviathans Oh My
or Her Equally Useless Lover

Ships came in that were attacked by pirates on the way in, apparently in small boats. Fritigern healed some hurt sailors. A carpenter, astrologist, and doctor arrived with this crew.

Fritigern, Tri, and I headed up the coast in Morning Blossom, the sailboat we confiscated from the outlaws. Ran into a small shark before coming across some Varuna, the seafolk of the bay. Tri communicated in her druidic ways and learned that:

A human, in a sphere, who destroyed those varuna who came close, took something from Hanul about a year ago, and this supposedly caused the crystal disease.

Fog rolled in, so we set down on a sandbar on a cliffside to wait the night. Giant crabs attacked during the night, and the fight got worse before it got better, though I recovered a sturdy shell plate from the heftiest crab.

The next morning Fritigern talked to the skull of Tovan I’d been lugging around. He seems innocent, reasonable, and quite dead. Tri spotted a massive white form in the water. A whale? I climbed up the cliff to survey the area, and spotted another ruined lighthouse not far north.

We discovered that Lya had been asleep in the boat, tired from training the previous days. We trekked to the lighthouse ruin, and from it spotted a stray pig wandering about. Some massive hermit crab was approaching the lighthouse, so we nabbed the pig and headed back to our boat.

Pig had a map tattooed on its belly pointing at a point on the north edge of the bay. Decided to head there after restocking back in town.

On the way back we found a defensible hollow in a cliffside along the bay, and near it, a small wrecked ship holding two bodies, both human women. Dead body atop the cliffside next to the wreck, covered in suction-cup tentacle marks. Fritigern talked to the bodies, learned that “Ivor is the key” and… honestly I was drifting off and slept in the boat. Someone fill this in.

A ghost ship appeared on the horizon. Tri investigated and I sent Shiv behind. We fled. Back in town we learned about Auden Vecru’s “Sphere of Force”, a spell that could possibly explain the sphere of Hanul’s robber. The white form Tri saw is likely “The Leviathan of Hanul”.

We set out to follow Ivor, the pig’s, map, tracing the inside edge of the bay in Morning Blossom. We cut across the bay to avoid trouble on the way over and managed to arrive safely at the X marked on the map. Someone had beaten us there; the pirate crew that had assaulted the recently arrived ship. We spied on the pirates digging up a huge hole, biding our time, as we held the supposed key. They removed a large box with strange markings and no clear opening from the hole, and fortunately seemed unable to open it.

Night fell and we trailed the pirates to a a camp on the edge of a river, while we formulated a plan. Tri set their boats loose while Shiv distracted a few by imitating the sound of a pig. We rushed in on the scattered camp, Fritigern instilling magical fear and Lya commanding Wargrim to scare off the closest guards. A swift combination of shots, druidic transformation, and strangling disabled the remaining pirates. We loaded the box onto the remaining river boat and rushed downstream, passing a few of their crew trying to catch the other boats.

After a arduous float along the bay, we arrived back at Morning Blossom, and used Ivor’s blood to open the box. It contained fanciful Yoon artifacts: A sash, dress, and ottoman.

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This is terrible. Do it!
Fritigern's Adventure Log for 9/10

I awoke in the adventurer’s compound to a knock on the door. It was the knight the others had rescued from some Yoon ruins while I was away, contemplating the box of infinite sorrows. Alges was the name, as the others informed me. None of them seemed too pleased to see the knight, but she was carrying a rather large box. Inside was a plethora of potions- 5 in total- and only two were alike. Feeling courageous, I opened a bottle. The room was filled with the sound of beautiful singing. There was no smell coming from the liquid. The party determined that it was a bottled song, and filled me in on a few facts picked up delving the Yoon ruins about how the Yoon would use songs to do almost everything. It was truly fascinating. Before leaving, Agles offered to help put steel in some of the Artisans should we head back ruin-delving. We decided to take the potions to the scholar, Istan Savas. His butler seemed fairly knowledgeable about ancient Yoon potions as well. On a hunch, I asked Savas if he had learned anything about the Box. He had nothing new, but suggested that it may have been unearthed from a mine behind Fort Prosperity.

Since the locals were starting to point fingers at us, blaming our return from the fort for the plague of nightmares brought on by the box, we decided to leave New Madro and hide the box somewhere near the lighthouse outside town. When we arrived at the lighthouse, we were surprised to find it occupied by a band of outlaws, with a small sailboat tied up outside. Nessa scaled the wall and Tri turned into a beetle and slipped inside. From the front door, I heard two men inside were arguing about the seaworthiness of the vessel, with the intent of leaving for the mainland. It was obvious they were being hunted. I knocked on the door. One of the men gave the command to ready their arms. At that moment, Nessa drew her pistols and charged in over the wall. At the sound of her first gunshot, I opened the door, with the symbol of Alaric the Imprisoned held high. Inside were 5 criminals with branded faces- an arsonist, a blasphemer, a murderer, a deserter, and a kidnapper. Nessa put a bullet in the arsonist’s head just before he hurled a fireball. He joined the ranks of the dead instantly. The blasphemer hesitated when he saw my medallion- the shackle and chain of Alaric, the Imprisoned. I held out my hand to him, and he dropped his cudgel. Tri, in panther form, managed to intimidate the rest into uneasy submission. Nessa asked from whence they came. The deserter, who appeared to be the leader, told us that the wardens in Destiero exiled them. Destiero is the rumored prison colony on Yonon. According to the outlaws, the Wardens live in a fortress and keep watch over Destiero, but only maintain a moderate state of order. A city full of criminals. This group stole a boat from the fortress and sailed out, wanting to go home. Tri asked them for their stories.

The deserter abandoned his army in a war over a useless tract of land.
The murderer used to perform “odd jobs” for a crime syndicate back in Navalle.
The kidnapper held a noble’s son for random.

The blasphemer, also a soldier, saw great suffering during his service and came to understand the true working of the world. Everything good comes through suffering. Prosperity comes through toil, victory through sacrifice, and all to often- true understanding with exile. Even the act of being born requires suffering. It is the price we pay for all the imprisoned one makes possible for us. Alaric came to him in a dream and instructed him to desecrate the relics of the Sunset Walker priests in Navalle. It seems odd that the Imprisoned would ask such a thing. His requests of me usually involve sacrifice, flagellation, and knocking on the doors of the poor and downtrodden, giving unto them the understanding that their suffering and toil is not for naught.

Tri asked if the brands could be removed. The outlaws told us that it is possible with advanced healing and magic, but highly illegal. There are things a criminal can do to re-earn his status and have the brand legally removed, but it takes a truly extraordinary deed. The criminals agree to a truce, and we decide to spend the night here. I cast a Sanctuary spell around the lighthouse and we doubled the watch for safety. None of my companions trust any of the criminals. Of them, only Marilo the Blasphemer slept.

Late in the night, while I was burying the Box of Immeasurable Suffering, the criminals tried to escape! Tri threw her javelin, and pinned the kidnapper to the earth through his leg. I tried to hurl a fireball at the others as they ran, but I lost control at the last minute and hit Nessa square on. I’m still a neophyte at pyromancy, so it only singed her a little. I ran up to the Kidnapper while Nessa and Tri chased down the others. The kidnapper’s wound was terrible, and he spat and cussed at me as I approached. I drew my mace, and petitioned to Alaric for knowledge of his will. I inflicted a great suffering on his legs, and Alaric appeared to me in his bonded glory. He spoke; and told me more of the box. No spirits can be put in the box without an ancient Yoon ritual. It has no use or purpose until such time. He was about to tell me about the Yoon ritual when the suffering of the kidnapper was ended by Lea’s spear. The vision dissipated with a flash. I saw the blasphemer still bludgeoning the kidnapper’s lifeless body, shouting praises to Alaric. This soldier boy must be very new to the way of Alaric, and seems to have only a finite understanding of the balance of the universe. He seems to enjoy the violence for the sake of violence, not as an offering to the Imprisoned. I understand. I was like him once, when I was young and my understanding was small and weak. If he is willing to take the suffering on himself as well as others, he may yet make a true believer. But this will take time.

Lya was less than amused at my offering. She scolded me for my cruelty, and vowed to end all torturing in her presence from now forward. The other, now returning from their chase, were uneasy as well. Non-believers often feel this way, at first, before they come to the understanding. They and the blasphemer are opposite sides of the same coin- he fails to understand the point, and goes overboard; the they fail to understand and ignore the suffering they have already brought into the world, knowingly or not. Even the act of being born has a price in suffering.

Tri flew back to town, Lya buried the dead, and I finished hiding the box. The next day, the only survivor of the band of outlaws woke up. He appreciated his being spared, but does not know what to do next. He told us more of Destiero. It is a penal colony along the southern branch of the River of Good Fortune. The Wardens work for the crown, and their fortress can withstand a siege for quite some time. The deserter broke in to find a ship, but only found small boats. Of the 12 of them that tried to escape, only the 5 from the night before had survived.

I wanted to take the blasphemer with us to teach him the ways of Alaric the Imprisoned, but between the brand of his crimes and the uneasiness of the others, I decided it best if we part ways. I suggested to him that he build a homestead somewhere in the swamp, away from others. Hopefully he will endure enough in the wilderness to come to a greater understanding. Right now, he is too volatile to trust in the public sphere, and I cannot afford to further distance myself from my companions. They may not be believers, but they are able adventurers and trustworthy friends; which are not easy to come by when you worship a god that often requires what my god requires. The blasphemer wanders into the swamp. Hopefully, in the future, I will be able to find him again; alive. The deserter headed North, to look for the remains of Nessa’s old ship.

We decided to head back to New Madro. It was a warm, sunny day; and though only Nessa had experience sailing, we made it back just fine. We even learned some seacraft ourselves! After a brief discussion with Pridya Vidrus, we decided it was time to clear the Saltworks in exchange for a share of all profit it brings. A little extra coin is never unwelcome. We brought Grigas with us. His rifle and spear are valuable in any such endeavor. When we arrived, we found that the saltworks was already humming with activity. Smoke was rising from the smokestacks. A giant bird attacked us outside. Tri, as an eagle, and the rangers managed to wrest it from the sky, and I fireballed two echomen that emerged form inside. I’m getting the hang of pyromancy. We entered the building. It was so full of smoke that none of us could see. The echomen inside were echoing the sounds of the battle that just took place outside. I could just discern two giant boiling pots, one of which had a roaring fire underneath. Apparently, the echomen have figured out how to use the saltworks. For what end, I do not know. Lya shot an echoman as he emerged from the smoke, and I saw a few more emerging from the pot above the fire. I cast a giant fireball at them, and they exploded in a ball of flame. A steam cloud erupted and filled the room. The orange light under the giant kettle grew out sideways through the cloud. The building had caught fire. Tri turned herself into an elephant, and used the water in the cool kettle to douse the flames, while Lea, Nessa and I covered her. I cast a spell on my mace, to make its swings more potent. I heard a echo-man repeat my incantation, only to come at me with glowing, magic claws. Apparently, they can use spellcraft as well as work the saltworks. Tri accidentally tipped over the boiling pot. It doused the flames, and finished the last of the echo-men. Tri decided to become a tiger and take a bite of one. She said she felt horribly sick, and heard voices in her head of all languages. The understanding of a little of some of the languages stuck with her. Grigas points in a direction outside, and signals with his hands- many, many more- that way. There must be a settlement of sorts out there. We decided to head back to town, and visit the scholar.

He stayed up all night, but he has some information about our potions! One has a new kind of magic that needs more study. The bottled song is just that- but the song in particular might have a specific purpose. 2 of them are perfumes that might effect mood. The last one is an eye drop that will render the taker both invisible and blind for a few minutes. It has become apparent that after eating the echo-man, Tri can read Yoon! The wizard gave her a Yoon text- it was just a scathing poetics review. This knowledge is of immeasurable consequence! I’m excited to search some ruins in the future. We headed back to the compound to rest, without nightmares.

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Placeholder Adventure Log for 9/3
Babies aren't usually poisonous

Lya (Erin), Nessa (David), and Silvertongue (Jay) spent some time buying supplies in town and preparing for their next expedition. Pridia Vidrus, the harbormaster, agreed to give the party the canoe they had used before in appreciation of their efforts in making the beaver dam passable. Nessa asked the craftswoman Biarca about getting some special ammunition, and Biarca said she could make some explosive shot if the party got her some sulfur from the Brimstone Wastes to the south of the marsh.

The party set out to discover the fate of the other two members of Grice’s adventuring party, the dwarf wizard Tovan and the human knight Agles. Grice was separated from them in a Yoon ruin beyond a giant carnivorous plant.

A short distance along the river outside of town, the party crossed paths with a group of lumberjacks from New Madro. The lumberjacks offered some tips on local plant life, and the party hired a young lumberjack, Zonan, to accompany the party on their expedition.

After a brief visit with the halfling necromancer Stiris, the party reached the area where they had seen the sign marking the carnivorous plant. After avoiding a swarm of giant mosquitoes, they were able to maneuver around the plant and reach a large, domed structure that seemed to be the Yoon ruin that Grice told them about.

After the front doors of the dome were discovered to be trapped, the party created their own entrance around the side of the structure, using an improvised battering ram on a weak point in the wall. Inside, they discovered a dark maze of labyrinthine walls with a large open space above, with a flat ceiling below the top of the dome. Every wall and floor surface was covered in small, simple carvings of human faces. An examination by Silvertongue revealed that many of these faces triggered traps, as Grice had warned. The dome was also discovered to be inhabited by creatures who resembled large centipedes with the faces of human infants and hundreds of tiny infant hands instead of feet. These creatures would hide in the darkness, using crossbows to attack the party from trapdoors in the floor and holes in the ceiling.

Some distance inside the dome, the party discovered Tovan’s corpse, impaled by a spear trap, and Agles, still alive and half-starved at the bottom of a pit. The party was able to rescue Agles from the pit, and she promised them a great treasure if they brought her back to New Madro.

When Nessa tried climbing on top of the walls of the labyrinth to get a better view, a mechanism caused the flat ceiling above to begin to lower, allowing Nessa to climb above through one of the creatures’ firing holes. Nessa and Lya fought with several of the creatures above while Silvertongue led Zonan and Agles out of the ruin, avoiding several more traps along the way. A brief interrogation with one of the creatures revealed that it could understand and speak Navalan, and said that the party “wore the faces of the Masters, but didn’t know their songs.” Nessa and Lya also discovered that a map was inscribed on the ceiling of the dome. The map showed the region surrounding the Golden Marsh, with several locations marked: the dome where they currently were; a tower in the mountains to the north; a city in the middle of the bay; and what appeared to be a flying city above the southern mountains.

After everyone had escaped from the dome, the party returned to their canoe and made camp. The next morning, Lya caught sight of a dried human foot sticking out of a nearby bog. After a bit of digging, the party uncovered a semi-preserved human corpse, which began to move and started speaking to the party in an unknown language when it caught sight of Lya’s stone amulet. The bog mummy seemed to be friendly, and the party followed it to the west for some distance before Lya showed it the second, gold amulet she found in Fort Prosperity. The sight of this seemed to infuriate the mummy, and it responded by slapping Lya, taking her stone amulet, and shouting angrily at the party when they tried to continue to follow it. The party decided to head back to town with the injured Agles while Nessa’s raven Shiv followed the mummy for two more days to see where it headed.

After returning to town, the party asked Istin Savas, the scholar of the Yoon, about the creatures in the dome, the map, and the bog mummy. Savas said that the centipede-baby creatures were crafted by the Yoon to serve as builders and laborers, and were referred to as Artisans in Yoon texts. From the map, Savas recognized the city in the center of the bay as one the Yoon called Hanul, but didn’t know more about it beyond the fact that it was an underwater city. And when asked about the bog mummy, Savas thought it might be one of the Wetu people, whom the Yoon described as deathless enemies.

After some time, Shiv returned, with the news that the mummy had headed to the west through a pass in the mountains, and was able to tell the party where that pass was located.

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It Follows
or Two Moves Worth of Jesus Lizard

Travel Log of Nessa. Documenting the events from the second day at Fort Prosperity to our return to New Madro.

Nightmares. All of us. This was supposed to be a safe distance from the Fort. Lia went hunting, leaving Fritigern, Tri, and I.

The tear through the ground left by the tall stone man led east then looped back, like a long U. We couldn’t see how far west it went, towards the mountains. It’s not going anywhere.

Headed to the fort’s north gate. Carts on a trail headed into the mountains. Tri scouted with a bird’s eye view and spotted two humanoids. I figured they were gonna get themselves killed. The others wanted to find them as soon as possible. I didn’t think it was a bad idea.

Ran into the worm amalgamation. It was happy to see us. In an attempt to name it, we asked to know its favorite thing. Waste. We named it John. He saw the figures. He scared them.

We found them in what was once a chapel. They were expecting hostiles, nearly shot us. Sunset Walkers. Fritigern didn’t like them. They didn’t like him. They found the rogue from the trio captive in the chaos beaver dam. Grice. He apparently spoke of carnivorous plants and traps, and is back in New Madro. I gave them water. They gave me a blessing. I don’t deny divine power. I don’t dwell on it either.

The storehouse was easy to find. The other’s searched the storehouse while I set out for Fionus’s residence. It had a big sign, though I don’t think Fionus made it.

“FIONUS IS A USELESS SCRIBE”

Someone didn’t like him. His house was acting as a tomb, even sealed. I cracked open the door with some tools to find a skeleton armed with a pistol. A self-made tomb. His desk was littered with notes, and the journal Istin was after.

Notes were on artifacts they’d found. An empty scrollcase, a painting of the sky by a child who had never seen it, gentle swords, an urn with geometric designs, and the wooden but not Yoon “Ring of the Wandering Eye”.

Last entry in the journal. “They’re going to open it. It’s made of ‘that’ kind of stone, designed to hold–“ two words atop each other, I know not the order: “souls”, “mine”. Mine. An enigmatic homonym. “–Tell Istin ‘I forgive you.’ – Fionis” What did Istin do?

Found the others, running. They found a Gentle Sword, the Ring of the Wandering Eye, and the urn, which held wine. John warns “The mist is coming, the mist that kills.” The mist was slower than us. We were headed to John’s home. Gross.

Asked John if the mist could follow us there. “It goes anywhere mist can go.” I made a seal between the opening and sewer grate with my tent cover. The mist didn’t seem to follow us. Rode a river of worms through the tunnel until we got to the intersection John called home. Gross.

Sent Shiv to find food. John told us there were rats. Shiv was injured upon returning. We investigated. Nearly 20 rats in a circle, tails in mouths consecutively. Marching endlessly. Tri approached as an animal. They attacked. I pulled her out and ran. Gross.

Tri grabbed a rat, tried talking to it. “We need to keep going.” It said, but eventually returned to its own thoughts. We asked about the people that disappeared. It said they “gathered in the plaza, then were gone.” Fritigern insisted on torturing the rat and testing the box. Tri did not allow this.

Echomen attacked. Fritigern fought with magic, I broke in my new pistol, and Tri was an undersized elephant. Two echomen were conjoined. This is the worst we’ve had it yet, though I don’t think anyone was hurt too badly. John started eating the bodies. Gross.

Fritigern used magic to speak with a dead echoman. It could only respond with the words we asked it.
Asked “Did the people leave because of–” I don’t remember the rest. Fritigern, fix this if you’re reading.
“The people leave because of… the people.”
Asked “Did the blue mist spirits come and then the people leave?”
“The people leave; the blue mist spirits come.”
Asked “In what direction did the people go? To the north, south, east, or west, or to another world entirely?”
“The people go.” The Echoman didn’t seem to know the answer.

We slept. Nightmares. Returned to the rats. Tri joinined them. She heard the words they did, in some foreign but humanoid language, which got louder the longer they marched

Many tunnels led out from here. One to the river. We left the way we came. I retrieved my tent cover and grappling hook. Tri distracted the many-mouthed monster while Fritigern and I carried off the urn of wine.

Finally headed back to New Madro. Stopped a few times looking for giant beetles. Tri found violent strange oversized pig-like creatures. Bigpigs. We harvested quite a lot of meat from them. Used some of it to finally attract a giant beetle overnight. Tri rode it downriver as we progressed slowly back. The Nightmares shake my soul.

Biarca was overjoyed to study a giant beetle, and had a cage ready. We gave Istin the good and bad news. We sold some valuables and bought new gear. The Ring of the Wandering Eye would cause your eye to emerge from your head, through which you could still see. Cool.

Grice is a skilled forger. His dwarvish wizard ally was named Tovan, and the knight was Agles. They left a pack with some supplies near the carnivorous plant. Past it, they found a ruin filled with carvings of faces. Tovan was killed by a trap in the ruins. Agles was trapped in these ruins, and still may be.

Nightmares. All of New Madro. It was the box. I drank and spoke with the mayor. A ruined Yoon lighthouse north of New Madro may be a safe place to keep it for now.

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Spectral Chaos Beavers
The First Expedition

Journal of Lysana Alysiia Valenkaria Islena Dulciara of the House of Aquillon

First entry – “Arrival in Yonon” or “Spectral Chaos Beavers.”

My hound Wargrin and I watched as Yonon appeared first as a sliver of green on the horizon. I wondered how my brother, Halek, felt when he first laid eyes on this new country. I felt a thrill of excitement in spite of the gravity of my purpose.

It didn’t take us long to find the local gathering place of adventurers, wanderers, and others drifting through New Madros. The “Wealthy Crocodile” doesn’t quite live up to the appellation in its name but it served its purpose well enough for us.

A large raven was perched outside on the tavern sign and as we entered, he croaked “Fort Prosperity!”.

“Who’s bird is that?” I demanded. Coming from the brightly lit street into the smoky gloom of the tavern made it difficult to see at first.

“I see you got the message” laughed a somewhat disheveled looking elf in the corner near the bar.

She introduced herself as Nessa, an adventurer seeking fortune in Yonon, and her raven as Shiv. With her (although I got the impression that they, too, had just met) were Tri, a Druid Halfling with spectacular eyebrows, and a hooded man with a strange, flat gaze who introduced himself as Fritigern.

They looked an odd group, but Wargrin seemed to like them, especially Tri and Nessa who he licked in the face when she tentatively went to pet him. That is good enough for me.

Nessa seemed to know much about the town and had heard many rumors she wanted to investigate. Any prospect of fortune is tempting, but I let her know that I am seeking to go to Fort Prosperity and am resolute in my purpose. Finding my vanished brother is my first priority.

Fritigern turns out to be a cleric of Alaric the Imprisoned God (a revelation which drove a townsman quickly away from us) but I don’t really care as long as he doesn’t try to convert me.

The group agrees that a trip to Fort Prosperity should be our ultimate goal, but Nessa and Tri wish to follow up on some of the rumors that Nessa has heard before leaving New Madros.

For brevity’s sake I will summarize what we learned:

We “talked” with Grigas, the Head of the Watch, and learned that he was captured by the mysterious “Echomen” near the old saltworks, that they are very numerous, and that he wasn’t sure what happened to him to make him lose his voice.

We heard that sometimes people branded as criminals appear on the outskirts of town, presumably from the “secret” settlement of Destiero and are chased off.

We gained a description of the missing adventures and agreed to look out for them. They are: a male dwarf wizard, a foul-mouthed female knight and a male rogue.

Tri spoke with Biarca concerning the giant beetles and found a painting that seems to suggest that they can be controlled with some kind of headpiece.

Nessa and I visited the scholar, Istin Savas, and learned more about his friend who vanished from Fort Prosperity and the missing notes. I felt sympathy for him and promised him I would learn what I can.

Finally, we spoke with the Harbor Master and she agreed to lend us a boat to investigate the strange wooden structure blocking the river.

So we finally began our journey!

We spent the the day paddling up river. It’s swift enough to make for a tiring journey, but not so much that we can’t make good time.

With a few hours left in the day, we spotted something strange: a clearing in the distance and what appeared to be a small farm.

After some discussion, we agreed to investigate. Imposing on a farmer’s hospitality seemed a much more appealing prospect than making camp in the marsh.

Tri and I were in the lead as we cautiously approached the dwelling. We first noticed a horrible stench of rotting flesh that threatened to choke us. I began to fear we would find no life there. Three somewhat scrawny-looking pigs were milling about and, as we drew nearer, they looked up and began to trot towards us.

Something was wrong.

The nearest pig’s face was…rotting. It’s left eye was a sunken cavity writhing with maggots and the flesh rotting away from its mouth bared its tusks into the gleeful grin of a skull. Undead squealing rent the air as they charged us.

“Zombie pigs!” someone shouted.

I brought my musket to my shoulder and fired into the leading pig. Its already decaying head exploded from its shoulders in a spray of rotten pork and maggots.

Beside me, Tri’s form melted into that of a creature I’d never seen: an antlered wolf. She and Wargrin stood bristled and snarling, bracing themselves for a fight.

Behind me I could hear Fritigern murmuring a spell and the hair on the back of my neck stood up as I could sense the presence of his dark god’s power around us….

“Oh no, oh no, oh no!” A distraught halfling rushed from the house and the pigs collapsed like marionettes with cut strings. “I’m so sorry, are you hurt?”

“She has de-spelled the pigs only temporarily,” observed Fritigern. “They could come back.”

Nessa drew a wicked looking cutlass from her belt and proceeded to skillfully hack off the remaining pigs’ heads.

After calming her down a bit, we learned a few things from the young necromancer. Her brother had died of the plague and she was experimenting in illegal magic in the hopes of bringing him back.

“Is your brother’s body in your house?” asked Tri, concerned.

The necromancer denied this, and showed Nessa the inside of the house to confirm there were no more zombies hiding there.

We eventually decided that the best thing we could do is make her promise to move her zombie pig farm out of site of the river. And in spite of the stench of the place, we set up camp.

It turns out Fritigern has the very useful ability to circumscribe our camp with a boundary that will alert him if anything crosses it with ill intent. This, and the fact that we took turns standing watch, is the only reason I could sleep that night.

I woke to find that Wargrin had eaten half my rations in the night so we would have to hunt soon. I wondered what game we would find in this dark land – I wondered what giant beetles might taste like.

We set off up river again taking turns scouting and paddling.

Several hours later we finally spotted this strange “wooden construction” of rumor. It appeared much more haphazard than I had expected, but was indeed very much blocking the river.

After pulling the boat ashore, Tri lead the way along shore towards the structure. I spotted something moving in the water, but too late to shout a warning. A crude wooden spear flew towards Tri and only through her almost supernatural speed was she able to duck behind a tree.

I fell to one knee and fired. The gunshot cracked through the swamp causing birds to erupt from the trees screaming. Blood pulled in the water but no body appeared. From the corner of my eye I saw a caymen with extraordinary eyebrows slip from Tri’s former hiding place into the water.

I kept my gun trained on the water. Tri was on her own down there.

While we waited, Nessa went alone to investigate the far side of the structure. In a moment we heard another gunshot and went to aid her. We found her with pistol drawn but no foe in sight. “Chaos beavers!”, she said.

Tri was gone for long enough that we started to fear her dead, before she emerged, now in the form of some creature that looked like a combination between a beaver and a duck, and told us a stranger tale. She had met with the beavers and learned that they moved here on the advice of some mysterious “Sea people” and because of a strange crystalline disease contracted by their children. The had agreed that if she could bring a healer back to them, they would voluntarily move their structure.

While Tri, in the form of an eagle, and Shiv, flew back to New Madros in search of a healer, Nessa, Fritigern, and I decided to use the spare time to hunt the the giant beetles. We spent hours tracking in the swamp and stumbled upon a strange sign stating only “Beware Carnivorous Plant”. We decided to go another way.

We had about given up hope when we caught a fresh trail. Upon following the trail, we came upon the strangest thing I had yet seen. A beetle bigger than a carriage was engaged in a death-struggle with an animate vine. Huge pincers thrashed against the plant’s tendrils, but the beetle seemed to be losing.

Nessa drew her cutlass and hacked the vines until they stopped moving. The beetle continued to thrash and for a moment I feared it would trample or attack us in its panic. Nessa, however, quickly pulled a pot from her pack and began banging on it.

“What are you doing?” I asked incredulously.

“The painting. Perhaps the headpiece used sound in some way to control them,” she explained. Incredibly, it seemed to work. The beetle calmed down and began eating the now-still vines.

Luring it along with vines, we were able to bring it back to the boat where we were at something of a loss as to what to do with it. Fortunately eagle-Tri returned later that day and was able to communicate with the beetle at least enough so that we were on good terms with the creature and might have a chance of finding it again.

Tri had brought a cleric back from the town with her and together they vanished into the beaver dam. When they emerged, we learned that the cleric had treated but failed to cure the young beavers. The beavers would allow us to safely portage the boat around the dam but they would go nowhere until their children were healed. And if the children worsened, we could not expect them to allow us to return freely.

“If it does come to battle,” Fritigern said slowly, “we should make them suffer as much as possible so as to offer them to my god as a part of his spectral army.”

Tri protested this vehemently. I’m starting to worry a bit about the tension between those two.

So we are finally headed on toward Fort Prosperity. One more day!

The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful save for two animal encounters which resulted in Tri having monkey shit thrown into her face and learning from a tiger that something known as “lantern hounds”, dangerous creatures with glowing faces, can be found south of the fort. The tiger also spoke of the Echomen, that they were no good to eat because they put strange thoughts in its head.

At last we reached Fort Prosperity with a few hours of daylight left. In spite of our curiosity, we decide it would be wise to set up camp somewhat down river and rest before exploring the fort tomorrow. Having heard that nightmares are experienced within a mile of the fort, we drift the boat about that far back down the river before setting camp.

Fritigern set his circle and took first watch. Feeling sick from the monkey-shit attack, Tri was fast asleep first, but soon followed by Nessa and I.

I was awoken by shouts and Wargrin’s baying. I staggered to my feet and looked around in the dark. Fritigern had shouted, but nothing should have been able to cross his barrier without warning.

A huge stone arm was swinging up out of the earth. Fritigern’s magic did not seem to faze it and as I stood dazed, Tri leapt past me and pushed the cleric to safety, but not without sustaining injury herself.

I caught a glimpse of a crude stone face and then the creature was past me. Another arm exploded up from the earth, towards Nessa’s tent which she just managed to pull out of the way. The creature seemed not to see or take any interest in us but simply continued to crawl through the earth leaving a path of devastation in it’s wake.

Some of the group wanted to pursue it, but I argued that we should stay and heal the injured and wait until dawn. We could continue to hear trees cracking under stone arms long into the rest of the night although the sounds eventually faded away.

I slept with my head on Wargrin’s flank. We awoke having had no nightmares.

At last, we stood before the gates of Fort Prosperity. Nessa banged on them. The hollow ringing soon faded into the abandoned streets beyond, leaving us once again with the constant hum of marsh insects and frogs.

We pushed the gates open and entered. A main street stretched out before us, flanked by low houses hastily constructed of wood and stone and the narrow alleys between them. Wargrin and Tri (now in hound form) padded forward cautiously.

The shadows between buildings writhed. The dogs jumped back. Fritigern summoned his god’s power to light the top of his mace. He swung the mace at the shadows and they fell back, but one reached out to claw at his shadow on the ground, casting a spray of shadow-blood.

Fritigern fell back. Tri’s hound form melted into a scorpion and then a cat as she slipped entirely into the shadows and approached the wall upon which they writhed. A shadowy claw nicked her ear and she scurried back to the sunlit street.

“I’m hearing something.” Fritigern said, “whispering in my head.”

“Me too.” said Tri.

“Let’s stay in the middle of the street.” I cautioned. “And get out before evening.”

Everyone agreed with this plan and we ventured further into the Fort. In the center of a square stood some sort of civic building constructed in imitation of old Yonon structures, strangely ornate amidst the crude practicality of the rest of the fort.

Inside, we discovered a room with a strange stone box on a pedestal. Fritigern stepped forward. “My god wants me to take this.” Without warning, he suddenly struck himself on the back with his own mace, causing a constellation of blood to bloom through his robes.

“What are you doing?” demanded Tri.

“My god demands suffering,” explained Fritigern grimly, “and since the three of you are stronger than I, my own suffering is currently my only option.”

I felt alarmed by this, and obviously wasn’t the only one.

“So you will cause us suffering if you can?!” protested Tri.

Nessa and I watched this exchange carefully.

“If my god commands it.”

“I will go no further with you unless you swear you will not cause us suffering.” said Tri.

Fritigern seemed to consider this, then conceded, “I swear I will not deliberately cause you suffering, but if you come to suffering, I will consecrate it to my god.”

We all accepted this, although Tri still looked reluctant.

I still feel uneasy by the cleric’s presence, but for now there is no choice. Within the building we find records and the location of both my brother and the scholar’s friend’s house.

I wish I could say the short walk to my brother’s lodging was uneventful but we were yet to encounter the most horrific thing I have yet seen. A figure approached us. In spite of myself, I couldn’t help but scan it for familiar signs: my brother’s walk, the way he tilted his head when deep in thought…but of course it wasn’t him. Too tall, and a shambling gait that put us all on guard.

When it failed to answer our hails, I cautiously tried to flank it. It whipped out one arm and I fired even before I could register what was happening: worms flung towards me and showering over my head and face.

Screaming, I tried to brush them away but could feel one of them *slithering up into my ear. I was barely aware of my companions attacking the figure to no avail. To my horror I suddenly heard a voice in my head.

“I just want to talk. Not hurt.”*

“It just wants to talk to us!” I blurted out, still clutching my head in disgust and horror. My companions cease their attack and through me relaying its words, we determine that the creature is actually made of millions of worms in one human shape. It was formed in the catacombs sometime after whatever occurred to cause the fort to be deserted. It will take us to the catacombs but we decide that going there now, with only a few hours of daylight, left would be unwise. We will meet the worm-man back here tomorrow.

My brother was staying in a graffiti-decorated lodging house for adventurers. I recognized his things and sifted through them. No clue to what might have happened to him. Somehow seeing all of his belongings abandoned here in this crude place made my task suddenly seem more hopeless than it ever had.

I did find a pendant similar to the one he had sent me and hung it around my neck. We didn’t have much time; soon the shadows would own the streets. We headed back the way we had come.

We were almost out when a terrible wailing rose up from before us. A new horror had appeared – a shapeless form punctured with a thousand screaming mouths oozing across the street. We have no time to fight, the shadows are growing long and hungry.

“This way!”, called Nessa nimbly scaling the nearest structure. She pulled a grappling hook and rope from her pack and we all somehow managed to make it across the rooftops to the walls and finally down into the relative safety of the marsh.

Again, we moved away from the fort to sleep in peace, although I am not sure I will ever sleep well again. When I do finally drift off, terrible nightmares haunt me: I see the screaming form coming at us. One of the mouths opens wide in a shriek and above, my brother’s eyes meet mine.

My companions all suffered nightmares of their own. But we have no choice. We must go back into the fort. I hope I am still alive and sane enough to write a second entry in this journal tomorrow night.

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