Song of the Ages

So many people want to live in Sotherland

I’m worried about this issue with the Lighthand. They are important allies and clients of the Black Foxes and we can’t afford to antagonize them. Since Anya specifically asked for our help, we can’t afford not to help them.

On the other hand, we don’t really want them to move into Sotherland. Sotherland has enough paramilitary organizations.

Lucky for us, most of the Lighthand’s best selling points also make them a threat to Sotherland’s sovereignty. They have a strong moral compass. They are unaligned with any nationality. They’ve had a stabilizing influence on Hamil. I hope the Grand Marshal sees how they will never be loyal subjects and an idle neutral army inside the borders is a serious liability.

And we have to send that girl as the only representative of the Black Foxes interests. I hope she’s up to it.

Cleaning house

So there, now you’re caught up on what else happened in that tomb. So, we spent some time resting down there before we came back, during which I think Fulgen finally started realizing that we weren’t just figments of his imagination. I do feel for him, you know? The man’s an illusionist that takes pride in weaving stories. I imagine that he was weaving stories upon stories for himself while he was trapped down there and was having a hard time pulling his mind out of what must have seemed to him as a story.

We returned home with Belfran’s magic only to find the place different from before. Some of the changes were bad- after all, seems like the lich’s cult had attacked the fort again in our absence and the guard was feeling even more on edge than before. But some was good. Buildings are going up outside of the walls and it seems like this place might actually become a town at some point. At least, everyone seems to think that’s a good thing. Just as long as no one goes around calling me lord, we’ll get along well enough.

So, the guard captain had some magic that let us talk with Sanders, our dearly departed traitor. Granted, we didn’t go out of our way to make him feel at home here, so I shouldn’t be too surprised that he turned on us like that. Mama Broarhush has a saying I heard once, ‘Any child hated by the village will gladly burn it all for warmth’. I don’t know if it’s an orcish saying or something else, but you get the idea. We brought him here, but mostly spent our time avoiding him or berating him due to his interest in necromancy. Mind you, I’m not sure why we brought him here in the first place, but once he was here, we could have done more.

Turns out his soul, or whatever we were talking to, is just as cheeky in death as he was in life. Only he wasn’t afraid of us now. No threats could encourage him to help us, but he did seem to have a fascination with Yoon and finally gave her the lich’s location to try to get her to consider joining it. I hoped Sanders is the last traitor we have to deal with, but it’s Yoon, right? She wouldn’t stab us in the back… silt… she just might. But now that we know where the lich is rebuilding- some ruined city in the north- now we have to figure out what to do about it. Do we march up there and storm the place or try to get the last book that the lich seems so intent on collecting before he does?

Fire and Ice

Fulgen is alive. He’s not all here yet, but I suppose being trapped behind a mirror for months will do that to you.

We got through the caverns, but at the end, there was a skeletal beholder. I accidentally tripped something and we fell down into a deeper part of these caves, but that deeper part had a monster.

I don’t like beholders. I don’t like skeletal ones, either. I guess that’s what happens when a beholder tries to become a lich, though.

We made it through. A little (a lot) scratched, bruised, bleeding, but we made it. We found ourselves in a room with magical weapons, and I found an ice rapier. Firenze can have a friend. There were some other items, but where I wanted to ask Yaavys and Haqorel if there was anything they wanted, everything was claimed. Haqorel has her staff, but I think I’ll give Yaavys the Nine Lives Stealer until we can get back to the Keep. And if we convince her to come with us again, maybe that’ll help keep her a little more safe.

I don’t want to be responsible for someone dying. Plus, I like Yaavys.

I guess it’s time to go home. I’m going to ignore Almahen threatening us. (Yea, there was a note. Let’s not talk about it.)

Leaving the tomb

So, after we left the tomb… wait, whaddya mean I jumped ahead? I told you about rescuing Fulgin, right? And did I tell you about that door with the puzzle lock on it? Yeah, you see! I didn’t jump ahead… wait, did I tell you about the undead beholder?

I didn’t? I guess I did jump ahead a bit then. Next drinks on me then.

So we saved Fulgin, though he seemed only partially aware of it. I mean, he acted like he was free, but each time Wyllo, Yoon or I tried to talk to him, he’d glance at us out of the corner of his eye and pretend he didn’t hear or even see us. At first I thought he was somehow angry at us and this was his way of showing it, but I started noticing him giving that same furtive look at empty air. I think he was seeing things that weren’t there and he was assuming that we, his old friends at least, were part of that as well. Sure, he’d talk to those of us that he didn’t know since I figure he assumed they were real, but us? Ignore so not to show how far gone he really was. He couldn’t even seem to process the times where those of us he considered ‘real’ interacted with us, his figments. He does seem to be getting better, but this is probably going to take some time.

After we grabbed Fulgin, we got through the puzzle door and deeper into the tomb. There were some more traps, this time in the form of a bunch of mimics that tried to eat us, but we eventually got past them. That’s when we triggered a trap. Granted, I think we had to trigger it to move on since it looked like a dead-end anyways, but it was a bit frightening to be walking down stairs that suddenly became some chute and a pit yawning open ahead. We tumbled into the room hidden at the base of the chute, only to realize that there was some undead abomination rearing up and looking quite angry with us. I didn’t even know that beholders could be liches.

Yeah, you heard me right. A beholder-lich. As if a beholder or a lich wouldn’t have been bad enough, we had to find ourselves locked in a room with something that was both. The fight was a bit of a blur for everyone, me especially. It’d zap me with some of its magic and suddenly I can’t help but feel that this creature is some kind of stony saint! Then it nips me and breaks me out of that daze, only to zap me with something else and knocking me clean out! I’m just glad that the others were able to take care of themselves more than before, even that little dragonborn girl that’s been following us around. Ah, you know her, do you? She’s been saying what!? Well, that’s a lie. I’m a dwarf and am not some kind of bear, thank you very much. Believe me, if I was, I would have used it in a few of the fights we’ve had, like against the Duke or while protecting the Empress.

Anyways, we managed to break whatever spell was keeping that thing moving and we managed to move past that point to the actual vault. There were a few magical items that were sitting around, but nothing that seemed like it was holding the lich’s soul. In fact, we found a note from the bloody thing that seemed to be mocking us and our efforts.

Smelly wizard, what does he know? He doesn’t even know when to die.

The Oath Bow

Finding the Lich’s lair was not much trouble. Our new partner, Haqorel, who happens to be a goliath, mentioned a place her kind never venture, an area on the frozen tundra they dare not go. We figured that we should head there. Together, she and I managed to lead the party safely there, even though we only possessed a vague knowledge of where to go.
The entrance wasn’t hard to spot, a giant skull carved out of stone in the side of a hill. Never seen a clearer X marks the spot in my life.
Inside there were puzzles to solve, and we found what someone that Wyllo and Yoon seem to know, a mad man named Fulgen.
But then, he’s apparently been in there for months with only his illusions and delusions as company, I figure just about anyone would be crazy after that.
Anyways, Wyllo and Belfran did most of the brainwork in solving the various puzzles in the dungeon.
Unfortunately the lich’s soul thing wasn’t there. I guess Mr. Lich has been spying on us during our dungeon crawl because he left us a note, which we found among some goodies.
Everyone got weapon from this quest. Yoon has some black magic blades, Wyllo got another rapier. She’s fond of those. Mosi, Fulgen and Belfran also got some shinies, but I’m not sure who got what.
Myself, I got a long sword. I’m not super handy with those, but I’m sorely in need of a magical weapon. I’ve been vulnerable without one considering the foul creatures we’ve been fighting. It doesn’t do anything, it just glows.
We found some special dragon arrows, for dragon slaying. I kept those too, seeing as I’m the most handy person in our party with ranged weapons.
And lastly, a bow.
An Oath Bow.
I’ve only seen one of these in my life, and before now have never laid hands on one. But one of my favorite characters from childhood stories had one, a character from The Folly of Llamryl.
It’s a bow of elven make, and despite my strong dislike for my people, and my culture, I can’t help but be drawn to this weapon. I’ve been running from my kind for so long, and even after coming face to face with my father again, I continue to reject them.
Perhaps it’s time for me to grow up. I’m not a child anymore, and I really need to stop acting like one. My kind are cold, and calculating. The politics in the elven world has poisoned my outlook on my entire species for so long. It’s time I look past it.
I will never again dwell in Celeria, but I can’t be a human, no matter how hard I try.

Fulgin is back, but not quite

So, when we got to that town, whatever it was called, I got a little carried away at the tavern and ended up sleeping under a bench. As such, I missed Sanders trying to sell us out and then getting killed, as well as finding and taking in that hulking woman with a busted leg. They caught me up on it in the morning, but still feels weird that so much happened in such a small town.

What do you mean I shouldn’t have drank that much? Did I ask for your opinion on my drinking? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Plus maybe I prefered sleeping under that bench that night and it wasn’t related to how much I drank, did you consider that, smart guy?

Anyways, we left the next morning with the barkeep staring daggers at our backs and this new goliath limping along beside us. I suppose I could have carried her- don’t give me that look, I could have- but she seemed adamant about doing this on her own. We got to the next town, which was actually a decently-sized, though frozen over, port town and spent some time finding out more about the area and to see if anyone knew anything about a bard passing through earlier that year.

Why were we asking about a bard? Well, you remember Fulgin from much earlier? Turns out that shortly after he left us in Sutherland, he went looking for some of the lich’s relics, trying to figure out a way to kill it for good. It sounds strange just saying it, but apparently a lich stores its soul elsewhere, so killing it really doesn’t really help, since the killing part doesn’t quite stick, you know? Last we heard, he had come down to this port and we figured we could catch up to him and see what he’d found out so far. Turns out people did remember him passing through town a number of months ago, but had left with some hired muscle to check out a supposed tomb somewhere in the frozen wastes south of us. We got enough information to be able to find it ourselves, so we set out to catch up or see what he’d been looking for.

Luckily, the tomb was fairly easy to find. It was some large, stonework skull entrance in the middle of nowhere. Subtle, right? The hard part was once we got inside. We triggered something and the entrance nearly sealed on top of us. We got inside, but were stuck. Before us was some puzzle door and we had to search some side rooms for keys that would open it. Some required killing things, but most of the rooms just required us knowing full well that what we were looking at was a trap meant to kill us. We even found Fulgin stuck in a strange mirror room. We got him out, but he doesn’t seem right in the head. Granted, if he’s been down here since he left town, that means that he’d been stuck there for months and, well, I imagine I’d be a little soft in the head too if I had to do that.

A story written on the back of a "friendship bracelet"

Once upon a time there was a young, idealistic boy named Gil. Gil loved stories, especially stories about brave heroes who save people who are in trouble. Gil wanted to meet the brave heroes from those stories.
Gil’s father was a terrible person who believed that people were weak and stupid, and he made a business out of wringing money out of people through dishonest means. One day Gil’s father gave him some money and told him to invest it. Gil thought very carefully about how to invest it, but his father became very angry when he told him about his plans. Realizing that his father wouldn’t let him keep the money, Gil went out and spent all of the money on booze for himself and everyone around him to spite his father.
That night Gil went to a temple and yelled loudly at Syr Evan’s altar. To this day Gil cannot remember what exactly he said, but apparently Syr Evan listened and took whatever Gil said very seriously. The next morning Gil woke up with the ability to bend light and energy with his bare hands. Gil decided that this was a great opportunity to show that his father was wrong, so he decided to go on an adventure so that he could prove that the stories he loved could actually happen.

I killed Sanders

The last several days the Black Foxes have been traveling down South to the Wastes to look for clues about the Lich. Instead of taking the main road, I led the party straight across the frozen plains to get to Pleasant Grove, bypassing another town and shaving a day or two off our journey. After trekking for several days through the snow, I was looking forward to resting in a proper tavern.
While I am used to being out in the wilds by myself (with Fenris, of course) I must admit that a warm bath, a hot meal, and a good drink is always a pleasant treat.
But no, our restful stop in Pleasant Grove was in fact, not very restful.

There was a man, an employee of the Black Foxes, named Jean-Paul Sanders, who came with us. He was a plaything of sorts of Yoon. She didn’t treat him too well. The rest of us should have done more to help the poor man, but we didn’t. We were all enablers in this abuse. Anyways, he betrayed us. Little surprise there.
He tried to escape, and use a zombie as a decoy (his first successful zombie as far the Black Foxes could tell) but we eventually caught up with him. He’d hired a group of thugs to protect and escort him out of Pleasant Grove and to the Lich’s side.
He knew too much. In the end, we decided to ambush the group when they attempted to skip town. I snipped down Sanders once they left the inn. The brutes attacked, and Wyllo and Yoon fought them valiantly enough, but the quickest way to end the fight was to kill Sanders.
So I shot him down once he made a break for it.
It was a clean kill, an arrow to the neck.
Once their employer was dead, the thugs backed down and went on their way. We had the wizard send Sanders’s body back to the Fort, they have a cleric who can interrogate the body.
Meanwhile we have decided to press onward.

On the Road

It’s been a while, hasn’t it. I can’t remember now what the last thing we talked about, but I do recall having to go to Celeria and meeting a dead-end of a father who doesn’t mean much to me. I also recall looking into a certain dish of stuff that I’ve just now named the Wishing Well—though it was certainly _not_a wishing well. It was apparently a possibility of futures to come.

Almahen is in my future. Well. Our future, if we keep up this path that we’ve stumbled across. That we’re keeping to, I assume. That I think we keep realigning ourselves with, and I don’t think there’s any way to avoid it now. I haven’t really told anyone else this, just because sometimes I feel like even though there are a great many things I would do for this group of people—these Black Foxes, sometimes (most of the time), they don’t seem like the sort to really think with their minds. To really think at all. Dragons, killing shots, traitors. Yea, we have it all going for us.

After Celeria and my disappointing father dearest, we returned to Fort Dax and met with a pile of letters requesting aid. I have to say, it was a little overwhelming, and encountered a sealed and stamped letter asking us to go to the aid of the empress in Hamil. I don’t think I like being summoned, by the way, but we went, ran into some interesting political ties, my paranoia shot up about twenty degrees. I will tell you that it was enough to want to kill someone but I had the voice of reason literally stopping me in the form of Belfran. Hamil’s empress was requesting our aid because she was expecting an assassination attempt, and while researching whatever information we could find on this threat, Yoon and I ended up in a tavern that helped us with certain resources. [written in thieves’ cant] Certain resources meaning a certaind ark coin and Yoon having a tie to them. It was interesting, connecting those two pieces. [end thieves’ cant]

Our information led us to a servants’ uniform being smuggled into the palace and we had Belfran tag it. It led us to a certain older gentleman (he was not a gentleman) wearing the tagged uniform and sneaking around where he shouldn’t be. Paranoia wanted me to slice the guy’s throat open, as I mentioned. Belfran stopped me. If I remember correctly, I may have taken out his eye, but I also might just be letting certain violent fantasies get carried away. I have no regrets, considering that as Belfran insisted on taking this man somewhere to be questioned, we got to this grand ballroom/hallway and the guy conjured up a fucking marilith. Cue discovering Yoon also has some really fascinating magic flashing from her fingertips. I’m pretty sure I can tie together where it’s sourced from, though I’m missing some pieces of that story. It’s not really my business, though I wish she would just tell me.

At any rate, that surprise, combined with Mosi’s new werebear powers, managed to carry us through the assassination attempt. That and Belfran watching out for the empress (who, by the way, owes me money and I fully intend on sending her a letter about the expenses we accrued while trying to keep her safe), and so the empress’ life was saved, and we went back to Fort Dax. Mostly unscathed.

At Fort Dax, though, we had another situation to take care of. Several of the people who stay with us at the fort had gone to take care of a request from a farmer about missing livestock. They were a little shaken up and so those of us who had gone to Hamil ended up trying to figure out what was happening. We also dragged Sanders with us because Yoon seemed to like him and who am I to deny a budding friendship? It gave me a chance to get to know him a little as well, even though when it came down to it, we had to make sure that the thing taking the livestock didn’t eat him, too.

Yoon took care of that, and I can at least say that I knew she would be able to watch out for him even if she did want him to come along.

The thing taking livestock was a roc. A massive-ass bird. It ended up trying to carry Farin away and we tracked it far enough until realizing that Farin had gotten herself free. And then we continued to track it back to its nest and discovered two.

I’m not going to lie, it was kind of fun taking care of them. I missed these sorts of adventures.

Yoon went into the rocs’ nest after we managed to take care of the two of them and found some things. We even found a signet ring and I think we might try to get it back to some relatives of the man’s, just so that they know what happened to him.

Also, a lot of roc meat. And talons and feathers.

When we got back to the fort after this, we decided to start heading south. There have been some reports coming up from the south, and it’s also where Fulgen last was. I’m still annoyed with him, but I would have thought he’d gotten a hold of us by now, just to let us know what’s going on. Alternatively, there have also been reports from the north, which is where we’ve been seeing monsters that we shouldn’t be seeing (like rocs), but I think there were also reports that Almahen might be up there that deterred us from going north and vote instead to go south. I’m a little worried about not hearing from Fulgen, though. That’s still ok, right, despite the annoyance?

Anyway. We decided to go south and got Sanders and Yaavys to come with us and the former is now dead. Hence, the traitor. Yaavys, on the other hand, had interesting things going on with her journal. [written in Elvish] There was an awkward picture int here of me with Qelroth, let’s just leave it at that. [end Elvish] To make things short, I had to mediate and get her journal back because Farin decided to swipe it. Journals are personal. It’s not anyone’s business.

Oh, Sanders? Should I elaborate on that? Let’s just say that where Yoon wanted harass him, I know that she meant it in a way that just wanted to connect. Everyone’s been kind of weird to her lately, and it’s pissing me off, and Yoon getting to know Sanders also let me get to know him a little, so his being with us on missions let us keep an eye on him as well as chat with him. I don’t know what it was that made him betray us, and while said betrayal made me see red and want to kill him, I do know that I wouldn’t have once we caught him. I also know that Yoon wouldn’t have, but Farin, who seems more impulsive than most of us combined, probably didn’t think that far through.

When we got to White…something (I think? I’m still a little wired from the actual events), we got to our inn and Sanders disappeared into his room and Yoon and I went to check on him and heard voices coming from the other side. The door was blocked, so we tried to force our way in right as he opened the door to us after trying to ward off some time. We cornered him because something felt wrong, and then he used some sort of magic to disappear.

I went through his things and Yoon filled in our party members that were still down at the bar. We managed to gather up Oak and Farin and tried tracking Sanders, but found instead a zombie (what the fuck? HE COULD MAKE ZOMBIES THE WHOLE TIME?) and also ran into a goliath with a very broken leg. In the time it took us to decide to go back to the inn with her, we realized that with Sanders’ betrayal, something very bad might have been happening back at Fort Dax and Oak volunteered to go back. I won’t ever tell him how worried I was about him going by himself—it would have been like sending Yoon by herself, but I knew he could take care of himself. Yoon could have too, but that’s beside that point. The point is, he went by himself, and said he would send back information on what was going on there.

We didn’t hear anything until the next morning, and int hat time, we ran into a group of very large men who Yoon tried to get information from concerning Sanders. [written in thieves cant] It involved her coin. I’m a fan of not letting anyone else know about that. [/end thieves cant] and they told us they couldn’t help once we name dropped.

Yea. Paranoia more.

This is getting very long. Basically, following this, we saw that the large men were trying to sneak out with a smaller one in their midst, and when Farin got the killing shot, they dispersed. This was all Almahen’s doing, and even while wrapping up Sanders’ body and sending it back to Fort Dax via a teleportation spell, I wanted to know why Sanders turned on us. I want to know now why Almahen is so invested in us, even though I do now why.

I know I have trust issues, but this may have put me over the edge. I don’t think I’m going to have any shining moments anytime soon, though I do think that a certain protective side might also make an appearance.

I just want to know why.

…I think I already do, though. I have a feeling. I’ve been an outcast, too. I’ve been part of different groups of outcasts, and I can recognize in them what I know in myself. It also brings up the way our party interacts with each other. I think some changes need to be made. I suppose I’ll just have to see how this plays out. If I’m the supposed fearless leader, I guess it’s up to me to start up both of these things. The interaction and the changing.

Nobody sells me out. Nobody sells Yoon out, especially when she’s putting her ass on the line to make connection—even if it’s weird, the thought of Yoon and Sanders. It was still a connection. Nobody sells us out.

PS Mosi says the empress back in Hamil had a thing for me. I guess she was nice to look at, but…what in the actual fuck?

I was almost dinner

After stopping an assassination in Hamil, our group returned to Fort Dax-my cousin’s fort- and learned that her sellswords had been unable to help some of the farmers in the area who were dealing with a roc problem.
So we went roc hunting.
I used a cow as bait, and when the roc showed up I started shooting it with my longbow… and that drew it’s attention to me. Instead of taking the cow, it grabbed me and took off. I managed to escape it’s grasp just before it landed in it’s nest (which was in the forest for some reason)
I tracked down my group and took them to the nest
Turns out there was two of them.
We managed to kill them both, and Heian made two longbows from the bones of the beasts. One of which he grudgingly gave to me.
Can’t wait to use it in battle, the thing has twice the range of any longbow I’ve ever seen!


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