Song of the Ages

Intermission
Wyllo

So it’s done.

How did that happen?

It’s been a while, but during the few weeks that I’ve kept my silence, we killed Seethe. It’s very strange, sitting here without a motive and just…waiting.

Vashaya is dead. I’m angry with her because we went into the spirit world (or whatever it’s called) to bring her soul back, but she didn’t return with us. We went to save her, because there has to be more to this life than tragedy and vengeance; but she found her vengeance and then her peace. It’s not fair. That’s not the life we’re supposed to live.

She has a daughter.

She wouldn’t come back for her daughter.

I think I’ve stomped down my memories of family (mother) enough that I forget I had one at some point. I forget that there was anything outside the Thieves Guild, that I had a parent before Scratch became one for me. I still don’t know why he did it, but it’s just who he was. Is. He saved my ass at one point during our battle. Did I tell you we had to fight a hydra? We killed it. We fought a vampire thing that knew Yoon. Killed that one even though it took two tries. We fought a countess. Killed her. (So much killing.)

It all led to getting to Seethe, and then that was it. The end. Fulgen left us. Dax left us, but he was on happier terms, I think, since Nameia wrote him a love letter asking him to come back…to be the financial advisor of that Baron we instated. But. We’re free. Well. I’ve been free for a while. Yoon is free.

I don’t really feel any differently about anything. I think I have more of a conscious. I think that our friends leaving after we’d finally made friends was a little sharp on the tongue. But there’s nothing left here except for Fort Dax. I guess we’re not the Black Foxes anymore. Band of Black Foxes? Whatever.

I might stay for a while. A Dragonborn came to our Keep, and he shares the same clan as Qelroth did, but this one didn’t think very highly of Qelroth. I wonder if they actually knew each other. I think I’ll spy on him for a while; he was held in prison at the same time we were—oh, yea. We detained for a few hours because we killed the captain of the guard…or someone that’s the equivalent of the captain of the guard. I think that’s why Fulgen left. It was either that or because Vashaya didn’t come back with us when we went to find her spirit, but I don’t think he would have taken that as personally as this guy’s death. It’s like when I killed Bradley…still not an accident, by the way…and he questioned our morality. I’m not one for morality. I fight for the things I need to survive.

Basically: we fought Seethe and two vampire thingies and the captain. We killed all of them, went to prison, they killed Vashaya, she didn’t come back with us when we went to search for her soul, and now I’m a little traumatized because it’s not fair that a mother left her kid. Her kid came to find us, after all.

Nobody likes being left behind.

I didn’t get to say goodbye to Scratch—not the way I wanted to. Do you think he knows what I wanted to say?

Maybe I should talk to Firenze. If Yoon is free, do I really have anything to fight for now? I don’t want to risk my fire going out again. (That happened in the middle of battle. Thanks, Firenze.)

This is all a mess .I’m tired. I live in a fort.

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Another Chapter
Dax

I tried my hardest. I really did. Adventuring is just not for me. I wanted to be a good mercenary, but I am a danger to myself and those around me. Not only did I attract the attention of Seethe, but on three separate occasions, I nearly blew up the party. I will go to Redford. I will stay inside. I will keep the books of an organization that doesn’t need to kill things to stay solvent.

It will be nice to see Nameia again.

I’m leaving the Dice of Abinidoth at the keep. These people will need protection from scrying more than I will.

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And that was the easy part

So, we’d gotten into the manor’s cellar and rested up enough that we were ready to continue on. As soon as we came onto the main floor, we were met with one of the vampires we’d killed before… well, killed in the sense that we drove him off to his coffin, but didn’t finish him off at the time. He was flanked by a pair of nervous and apparently clueless guardsmen. We started laying into the creature, but when the guardsmen started shooting at us, I drove them off with a bellow and more than a little bit of spittle. They might have been attacking us, but honestly they were just doing their job. It’s not their fault that they don’t realize that said job involves protecting a bunch of vampires. Either way, it was good they ran off, since that freed us up to deal with the vampire.

Most vampires I’ve dealt with before were just spawn, whelps compared to what we were dealing with now. Those beasties are mean, but not too tricky or bright. This one though kept dancing around the room, slipping between us and causing more than a little worry as to whether we’d get him. However, we soon forced him to change to mist and that day I learned something- mist can burn. I know that campfires can drive back a fog, but that’s just that- driving it back. This was good and proper burning, so I’m pretty sure that vampire won’t be an issue ever again.

We then charged up to the ballroom, where we met the Countess. She acted like she’d been expecting us, which I guess isn’t a surprise since we’d been making all that racket just moments earlier. However, if I were her, I would have either fled or gotten some help, as we came after her with a vengeance. True, the fact that she was a spellcaster on top of being a vampire made her especially dangerous, but fortunately we all came out alive in the end. Expect for the Countess though, she didn’t. She misted up and fled, and we followed. Big did have to take a wall down so we could find her coffin, but we got her in the end.

Leaving was a little trickier. The guardsmen were now fully aware that we were inside the manor and confronted us, demanding our surrender. They wouldn’t even listen to how the Countess had been a vampire, so instead we fled back into the cellars and tunnels below to let them figure out the truth for themselves. We did look into that cellar full of zombies though before we left. Turns out they had broken into a tunnel leading to a local and thankfully abandoned mine, which was very bad news. However, I guess they were sloppily made, so most had fallen apart by the time we caught up with them, which was very good news. I didn’t want to spend days searching the tunnels for a stray zombie, not while the Viscount- excuse me, Steward- could start hunting us down at any time. I prefer to do the hunting, thank you very much.

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Wyllo...
Scratch's Journal

Where on Messen did I go wrong? I’ve had dozens of children go through my bunkhouse over the years, and I can’t honestly tell you why I grew so attached to Wyllo. I always tried to be impartial, just providing shelter and some direction to the kids that stayed at the bunkhouse. But things were different with Wyllo. Even Big became attached to her in a way the surprised me. Even after she left the bunkhouse I kept in touch, kept tabs on her, and I put everything at risk when she filed Crichton’s job.

And now, rather then lay low, keep from drawing the attention of groups like the Underhand Wyllo decides to waltz right into the lions den and go after Seethe himself… After I heard that there was no way I was sitting on my ass and letting her get herself kill. By the seven, when did she become so reckless. It’s likely Yoon’s fault, though I might be blaming Yoon unfairly…

But as I’ve been on this suicide mission in Eastport, I’ve come to realize something. Wyllo is doing better than I could have imagined. These mercenaries she’s become a part of are like a severely dysfunctional family, and it feels like Wyllo has finally found a place where she belongs. Yeah, they are a bunch of idiots sometimes, but she’s in good hands.

I never had children, but I wonder if this is what a father feels like when they see their children come into their own. This fight isn’t over, but I think my part it in has to be. I have to get back to the bunkhouse, and it turns out Wyllo is doing just fine.

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Another Footnote

As I review the manuscript, it occurs to me that the audience may find some aspects to be implausible, such as two separate occurences of ostensibly expert assassins sneaking up on and striking their beloved ally, or the near-comical greed of the tiefling merchant, or the reader may believe that the implied intervention of multiple deities is merely allegorical rather than fact. It is true that I have tried to balance the telling of a heroic saga with some levity for the sake of pacing and the entertainment of a common audience that expects such from theatrical works. But I would like to solemnly express to the reader my earnest conviction, having witnessed these events first-hand, that everything wherein is solemnly true, excepting a few instances where speech was paraphrased or embellished so that the audience would not be confused by lack of context for discussion of events that happened many tens of minutes prior in the story and may be in need of refreshment on the details of the plot.

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Killing what needs killing

So, we had struck a deal to go and deal with the Viscount and his followers, as proposed by his loving daughter, right? Yeah, I didn’t like it either since if she’s that twisted, she needs just as much killing as the assassins and vampires we were heading out to do in. Maybe we’ll get that chance, maybe we won’t. For now, we accepted her help and in return she gave us a key to a grate near the town’s harbor. She then left town, though I wonder if she really did. All we have on that is her word…

Anyways, the grate. We found it, went inside and started looking around. At first it looked like a storm grate, but it soon gave way to carved walls and tricky traps. One such trap split our group up, with Dax, Big, Scratch and the drow girl on one side of a wall and the rest of us on the other. For whatever reason, they shouted at us to carry on, that they’d meet up with us soon, and for whatever reason, we did just that. We entered another part of this underground lair, a big room that looked like a barracks for dozens of people and some of the assassins came right in, looking for us. Seems we’d tripped an alarm along the way. It was a bloody battle, with those skulkers jabbing me in the kidneys, spine, groin, anywhere they could to bring us down. All the while, they kept shouting at us to surrender.

Yeah, telling us to surrender. Like I’d do that even if I didn’t already know that they were murderers with bounties on our heads already. Fortunately, we managed to pull through and even had one surrender to us, which is the type of poetry I like, not the type that Fulgen goes on about. He told us that the assassins had moved their base of operations elsewhere and as such most of them were now out of town. He didn’t say where, but based on what we’d learned so far, I’m pretty sure they go where the Viscount goes, so find one to find the other.

After that, we finally managed to meet up with the others, who had been killing spiders and such without us. We rested up a little, but kept pushing forward, hoping to at least kill the Countess, who was supposed to be a powerful mage as well as a member of this assassin cult.

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A deal with the devil

Look at this. You can tell if a place waters down their ale by how the foam acts. This one builds up to a good head, so that means that it’s a good brew that they’re not tainting with water. What? Oh, yeah, I was in the middle of that story, wasn’t I?

So Yoon got captured by this torturer, right? Well, lucky for her, Willow was watching this all and came running to get us. We came charging in, kicking open his front door and barreling in. The man was standing there in a bloody apron, but then changed into some kind of devil covered in chains. It was a good fight since he had some magic that made some of the chains hanging in the room come alive and attack us, but in the end they all got smashed and the torturer got stabbed through the eyes by Yoon. She had managed to escape her bonds during the fight and was more than a little keen to do to him what he’d been doing to her.

Once that was dealt with, we burnt his house down. Maybe that wasn’t a good idea, but we’re talking about a place that had been inhabited by a devil that had tortured and killed who knows how many people there for who knows how long. I didn’t feel any regrets seeing that place go up in flames. Yoon told us that when she was first captured that there was some blond woman there who bewitched her mind enough to get her captured. After asking around, we found out that this woman was none other than the Viscount’s daughter. It was certainly looking more and more like the Viscount was more than just an unwitting pawn in all this, but before we could formulate any plan about how to move forward on this, who should show up at our ‘secret’ hideout but the blond woman herself!

Yes, she was alone. Said she wanted to talk. For some reason, the others brought her in and we listened to her. She told us that the Viscount was both a vampire and the current leader of the Underhand but that since he was using his power to gain wealth, power, yadda yadda yadda, that he was no longer fit for his position. She said she’d help us dispose of him in return for her assassins dropping their attacks on us. The others made it clear that they were okay with this, though they did try to add some things into the deal. But me? It was obvious that she was as much of a vampire as her father was. Now, I’m no paladin but there are some things in the world that just need killing. I count vampires as one of them. They struck their deal, but after she left, I told the others that I intended on killing her as well if the opportunity presented itself. The world certainly would be a better place without assassins and vampires hiding in the night, you know?

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Fulgen's Tactical Notes

Super Banish Combo Warcry:

darkened secret binding
light and shadow seal
sealing consuming vortex
saves or gtfo
grasping roots of the worldtree
return to peaceful order
forbidden darkened sealing circle

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----
Wyllo

Shit.

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I'm telling you, lords and kings are nothing but trouble

Where were we? Oh yeah, Eastport. So we’d split up to get into town without drawing attention, with those that the assassins were hunting laying low while the rest of us tried to find them without being found out. Not my strongest suite, you know?

Still, we found out some things. The port was deemed ‘not safe’, and any attempt to find out more was usually met with sad silence or anger. The captain of the guard told us some more about it, saying that only the Viscount’s ships ever made it in and out of the port. Now, I may not be the sharpest axe in the bunch, but that fact was beyond suspicious. Unfortunately, the Viscount was away on some sort of business at the time, so we couldn’t check him out. However, I expected we’d eventually find something worth killing at the docks.

We also made contact with the rest of our group and were told by the drow girl that there was a chapel in town that the townsfolk avoided. I admit, I don’t quite get surfacers and their churches, but I know that if you have one, people will flock to it. Hence, this one was certainly odd enough to check. We decided to check it out since night was now falling. When we got there, I had to admit it seemed a bit sinister. It looked abandoned, but skillfully so, you know? Like, the windows were boarded up, but hadn’t rotted to the point that they were useless. While we let that sink in, Yoon went up and knocked on the door.

Watch it! I know it was an odd thing to do, but that’s no reason to spray me with your used ale. A waste of good ale, that is.

So, she knocked. I can’t say she was the only one that did some rash things that night, but it still set a bit of a precedence for later. Some sickly voice answered, talking like they were expecting someone and telling us to leave ‘it’ at the door. We ducked around the corners and waited for them to open the door, at least, they did. Maybe I was a bit rash as well, but I managed to peek into the window between the boards and see nearly half a dozen people eating some guy laid out on a stone table. I know I talk about eating anything, but that’s only when you’re desperate. These folks there, they had a look to them that this wasn’t desperation but something far more evil. Really got my blood boiling, seeing that, so I had the Goliath throw me through the window.

What did I say about wasting ale! Drink water while I’m talking if you’re going to be spitting it out on me all evening.

I’ve gotta say, that big guy’s got a decent arm on him. I crashed through the window and started laying about me with my maul, sending some of them flying. The others decided to follow after me, which nearly got Folgen killed. That man needs to stand back if he’s going to be so delicate. After the creatures, the vampires, were dead- oh, and some wraiths too -we decided to stick around to see who they were waiting for. Turns out it was some guy with a badly beaten priest in tow. I tried to get him to come into the chapel so that we could question him, but he just walked off, completely unworried about vampires, the fog or the complete lack of guards all over town. He left the priest with us though, since I guess he thought we were the vampires.

Turns out the priest was some wandering monster hunter who came into town and asked the wrong kinds of questions. He got caught by that man, tortured and then dropped off to be eaten. Probably has been going on for who knows how long. We decided keeping our cover up might still draw attention since we were outsiders asking questions, so we went back to the inn only to find Willow and Yoon had followed our torturer friend to our very inn and had asked the innkeeper to let him know once we came back.

I had half a mind to take her inn apart around her ears, but she claims that the viscount has her daughter imprisoned somewhere, so she has to play nice when the viscount’s secret torturer tells her to do something. So I just ended up wanting to take the viscount’s manor apart around his ears instead. We knew going in that the viscount could be involved, but this confirmation really soured my opinion of nobles even more.

Yoon decided to pose as a barmaid from the inn and tell the torturer that we’d returned so that we could at least see what he’d try. Probably wasn’t the best thing to do though, since she just ended up getting captured. Guess she just can’t pull off barmaid like she can assassin.

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