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Mauril’s Journal, Part 5

   Posted by: Mauril   in Campaign Logs, Fantasy, Pathfinder, RPG

It never ceases to amaze me that I have been selected as some sort of hero.  Almost as if I was chosen by the gods for this purpose.  I rest now in the incredible city of Arcada.  Never have a seen a city more dedicated to the gods, and thus to their beliefs and writings, in all of the Kingdoms.  Equally as fascinating is Leonardo’s and the Vodan Steel Works.  Though smithing was my father’s profession, the shaping of useless raw materials into a finely honed edge or a bulwark of defense interests me.  But I have not set down here to write a companion’s guide to the city.  I have taken myself from my studies and my wonder to relate the events following the summer of 194.

Two of my companions, Alder and Rath, have been requested by one of their rulers to travel to the Staenland and give aid to a Spaarthan baron by the name of Hal.  For those unaware, Hal had established for himself a city high in the Ulfswall Mountains.  Baron Hal had apparently requested aid from Pricess Sia as some ancient disturbances had begun to trouble Halswood.  Alder and Rath summoned us and requested that we meet in Lynnsylvania.

After several days, we all arrived and immediately set forth for Tir Weft and then overland towards the mountains.  We had been given word in Tir Weft that caravans to or from Halswood were not making it through.  It only took a few days of travel to find out why.  As we traveled we came across several wagons whose porters and drivers were, for lack of better descriptions, dissolved.  A short bit of study later, I had determined that it was some sort of naturally produced acid that had eaten these poor souls.  It did not take much longer to find the source of this acid.

Springing from the ground near the roadway as we passed were four enourmous insectile creatures.  Known as ankhegs, these beasts are fiercely territorial and very capable of making that defense.  However, my companions are more than capable of defending ourselves as well.  It took only a few moments to slay the creatures.  Remembering from my cryptoanatomy, I had Rath extract the acid glands from the ankhegs.  I wanted to save a carapace from which to craft some armor, but, as I would have needed someone else to carry the carcass for me, I was turned down.

We traveled on to Halswood, which was a rather backwater town.  Ruled by druids and barbarians, they saw little need for the modern fineries that I had been used to in Barloz and even in the years since my flight.  I was getting more used to sleeping on the ground and eating from a campfire, but there are times when my back longs for a down mattress.  Halswood offered us its finest, but straw is a poor substitute for goose down.

In the morning, Hal appraised us of the situation at hand.  For reasons he was not fully certain of, an ancient beast had somehow returned to the lake on which his city rested.  Prior to the establishment of Halswood, the lake near Eriad was home to immense sharks known as megalodons.  Hal had a hand is destroying their threat and making the lake safe for his people.  Recently, however, they had returned.  He wished us to investigate.

After some discussion, we concluded that the only way to really test the situation was to actually immerse ourselves in it.  So we were offered a vessel and we cast off fromt the city hoping to find the dire sharks.  It did not take us long to find one.  Rather, it did not take long for one of them to find us.  It attacked the raft and nearly capsized it.  After a fierce, if halted, battle, we were able to drive the creature back to the deep of the lake.  Feeling that we must be on the right track, it was decided that we should press on.

We were soon beset by a coven of sea hags.  The green witches attacked our split group.  The first unholy trio waged combat on the warriors.  Unable to quickly dispatch them, Alder was cursed by the evil eye.  A second group of the sea hags had crawled into the raft where the casters and Braden were.  The fighter was able to hold them at bay long enough for our magicks to bring the witches to rest.  On the bodies of those who had remained on deck, we collected three enchanted necklaces.  After some careful study, we determined that these periapts gave the hags control over the minds of their companion megalodons.  This was a power that we could not let go to waste.

Wounded and with damaged ships, we returned to Halswood to bring news.  We had learned how to use the necklaces and had formed a plan.  We would use the sharks to explore and discover how the problems in the lake had arisen.  Upon our arrival in Halswood, however, we were appraised of a new threat.  Something was living in Eriad.

Nothing humanoid had inhabited the ruins for over 800 years and the destroyed city was explored less than 50 years ago and determined to be too dangerous for inhabitation.  Hal’s son Barret had reported seeing campfires and movement in the ruins.  Something sentient was living in the ruins and that could not be good for Halswood or the Kingdoms.  We were asked to further investigate.  Our empathic links with the sharks through the pendants had revealed to us that the megalodons and the hags had been driven to this lake and that they were afraid of something living near the ruins of Eriad.

Given a new craft, we set out for Eriad under cover of night, hoping to arrive by morning and retain some element of surprise.  Part of the way across the lake, the sharks had begun to become nervous.  Moments later an incredible beast breached the surface and tore through our towed raft.  This creature was, in form, like a swamp turtle but its proportions were grossly exagerated.  It had a head the size of a trade wagon, not to even mention the size of the body.  We had been given enough warning through the sharks to defeat the dragon turtle with a mixture of archery and coordinated attacks from the dire sharks.

We limped into Eriad feeling that we couldn’t risk the loss of surprise.  We docked and entered the ruined city.  We had not even all deshipped before we were set upon by archers.  These fighters proved quickly to be a small threat.  We dispatched them and found them to be Jarls of the Redstone Spur.  They were clad in white and blue, however, instead of the traditional red.  The air in ruins had taken on a supernaturally cold fog as well.  Things were not adding up even for me.

We ventured further, on information gleaned from one of the captured Jarls, and found an ancient temple of Archgate.  Credit to its artisans, the millenia old structure was still standing and in very good condition.  Knowing that was where the rest of the Jarls had holed themselves, we took refuge in a ruined temple to Bors and Shyla.  We were able to make it through the night and in the morning prepared ourselves to attack.  We had seen more archers in the temple of Archgate so, rather than assault the ruins directly, we planned to force them to come to us.

As carefully hidden as possible, we prepared missile weapons for the first unfortunate soul to set himself in range.  After a few minutes, when our resolve was about to break, one stepped forth and we brought him low.  Moments later, another.  Then a third.  Two rogues tried to sneak up to us from the east and full battle was soon waged.  Through combined might of archery and magic, we neutralized the minions.  We had thought things to be going well when a storm brewed and lighting began to strike at our party.

A fierce druid made himself visible and began to cause nature itself to attack us.  Moments later our fate worsened.  A great white wyrm rose out of the ruins and began to strafe us with this searingly cold breath.  Part of us tried to hold off the druid while those more capable with their weapons tried to drive off the dragon.  In terrible sweeping passes, the dragon’s cold bit into our bodies as Alder and Braden tried to pierce its hide with their swords.  Two, three and four passes it made, each time sustaining wounds from our warriors.  As it tried to flee, Braden fired a single parting shot.  The arrow struck home and the beast crashed into the temple.  We had also managed to kill the druid, though he had done well to attempt the same on us.

Our imprisoned rogues revealed to us that Fagin, the druiud who lead them, was attempting to establish a new division of the Dragon Jarls, united under his white dragon companion.  They also told us that they were expecting an envoy to arrive in the city the next day.  We knew that we needed to intercept whoever it was and whatever they were bringing.  Anyone dealing with the Jarls was an enemy of the Kingdoms.

The next day we attempted to bluff the caravan that arrived into divulging its purpose and origin.  But luck was not with us and we had attempted to fool the kings of lies.  A pair of snakemen revealed themselves and began to attack.  We barely had time to react before a great beast erupted from the back of their wagon.  Some sort of serpentine abomination the size of an ogre leapt from under a canvas blanket and tried to rend our party with its powerful claws.  We were able to bring the three of them down after a short time, though it was no simple task.

Learning that the snakemen had allied themselves with the Redstone Spur was troubling news.  We immediately returned to Halswood to inform Hal of this and then we were to return to our various kingdoms to disseminate the information.  Having no home anymore, I decided to further my research and traveled here to Arcada.

Of my research, I have learned much.  I have further expanded the number of spells I can craft in a day and I have further explored the text of the Book.  It seems that its ancient writer had been doing much as I am now.  The opening passages of the book are what unlocked my mind to this power, but the remaining passages detail the experiences of its original wielder.  The man (or woman, the text is unclear) had been from the lands now under the control of Manath.  He or she had been a follower of the elemental gods with specific devotion to Cheleria.  He (or she) had chosen to write the text in Arcane Naduumian to try to keep it secret from the other priests, which leads me to believe the text is actually of Skosian origin.

I spend each day reading the opening text of the book, to renew my mind with the powers contained within.  Several weeks ago I began to have a suspicion that the text itself was shifting, changing.  So I decided to test this.  As best as I was able, I copied down the opening page with quill and ink.  The next morning I compared the texts and they were, in fact, different.  Only slightly, but different nonetheless.  I tried it again, to rule out the possibility that I had made an error in my transciption.  I had not.  The text was changing.  What it is changing into, I know not.  I do suspect, however, that this is the key to the expansion of my abilities.  Further study is still needed, but I suspect that it will not be long before duty to my companions calls me away.


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