Book of Avilorn

The Evil Tree
Terminus 1

To-city Lord Madros Valenth
Annibain 28, 14th year R Tolarc VI

First, let me extend my apologies for withholding this report but due to the nature of the information contained within I have used the utmost security possible. Now I can report that on Tolarc 49, Prospicere was visited by Emboditor Lynx of clan Spydrak. He came seeking She who is called Raphael. He has received guidance from his gods of Order that it was time to put into motion a plan to end the threat of Clan Foustik. It is clear that both Spydrak and the gods of Order wish the destruction of Clan Foustik. I traveled with She who is called Raphael and Emboditor Lynx back to the homeland. Upon the shores north of Felis-Nuva we waited for ships from Lodain to land. These ships came on Annibain 19. Force Crimson Fang, under the command of Prince Charity Spydrak, landed upon the shores. With them was also a company of San Servian crusaders. We marched for a day towards the great woods of Balroe. It was then that Lynx indicated that a contingent of agents were to go deeper into the woods while the army waited. They were to go to an ancient grove to complete some metaphysical quest. Prince Charity commanded this to be so.

The following agents went to the ancient grove:

Prince Charity Spydrak. Returned from exile in Limbo. She is traveling with Lord Chimera and Arcadian Lancer Prosperous Legacy.

Servitor Prime Lynx. Recently reinstated as a Servitor. He has grown powerful. Prince Charity has reinstated his rank, allowing him to serve as a Priest and a member of the Clan.

Knightman 3rd class Frost Spydrak. He was also trapped in Limbo.

Knightman 6th class Alter Son Spydrak. Also trapped in Limbo with Charity.

Quadira, a malaparian pirate. Note that she has been given command of a prize ship held at Malabranch gate.

Gway, an elvan bard. Note that Malakais has encourage bards to entertain the crusaders and citizens in his city.

She who is called Raphael. The Foci is gaining in power and understanding. Servitor Lynx has indicated that the gods of Order wish She who is called Raphael to return to her Foci and deliver the sword Solevende back to the rightful owner who resides in those lands.

Celdori Yildain. An elvan ranger. Quite skilled.

I did not journey to this grove but I have pieced together this assessment: They found a possessed land there centered around an ancient tree. Finding spirits trapped, they proceeded until they were influenced by spirits and emotions conjured by this Evil Tree. Arguments and weird emotional outbursts followed as their minds were possessed. They were eventually able to free one spirit which entered into an animated harness of full plate armor. Together, with this new ally, they destroyed the evil tree and freed the area from possession. We have discovered that this new ally is Ogare, the legendary leader of the Green Army.

Addendum: Upon reading the scrolls provided by Armor of Lies, I now believe that this grove was the same place that Evikar renounced our oath to Kami Kor. It would have also then been the first place we gave our power to the fiends of Hell. If this is true then this is one more sign that the influences of devils are leaving our lands.

We then proceeded to Styxport, which City Lord Malikith now calls Freeport. He has removed all clan symbols from his troops. While in Styxport, Prince Charity was visited by Vertigorn Foustik who brought forth curses and threats to her and all who still side with King Tolarc VI. Vertigorn then summoned a Bone Devil to attack Prince Charity. Fortunately, Servitor Lynx was there to bring down justice upon the devil. Since this encounter, all clans and agents have been preparing for battle. Malakais has one Force that can march for battle. In addition, he has a full company of crusaders and the Green Army. Armor of Lies is convinced that Carnival is garrisoned by only two Companies at the most. They are marching upon Carnival. If they are not victorious, then Styxport will fall and Clan Spydrak will be decimated. The south will fall to Foustik. If they are victorious, Foustik will be broken. In either case, this war will be over by the end of the year.

Servitor Hopeless Wanderer
—Styxport

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Prolog- Terminus

To the great Librarium in Lodain.

My lord Malakais wish you to have this excerpt from the Chronicles of the Degaran, which the Clan Lords deemed heretical over 600 years ago. We are working on reconstructing and copying this important tome and will send you a full copy when we can. If we survive.

Yours in Service
Servitor Prime Armor of Lies Foustic of Freepoint

Petra 23- Year 606

The Barons arrived together to meet My Lord Kalic.

When all were gathered, it was Evikar who spoke first:

“There comes a time when you must abandon old beliefs, old bonds, and bravely stand for a new order. Kami Kor has not and will not repay us for the outrages they have done to us over the years. They can not and will not protect us from the humanoids and dragons that still try to destroy us. They do not allow us to implement feudal order in order to make our citizens free and safe.
By Yog Narath, I will no longer be their slave. We will have a free land. OUR land. I hereby break my bonds to Lord Kalic and to Kami Kor. Who here stands with me?”
One by one, the Barons and Charters of the Colony renounced their Oaths of Loyalty to Lord Kalic. First was Baron Termon. Next spoke the Magis Major of the Order of Dedlak and then the Chapter Master of the Great Cabol renounced his Oath. Next was Attercopus, Baron of the Casmark, but I noticed he turned to his Drow Priestess to get her approval before he spoke. The Last to speak was Baroness Lyara of Belroe and at her betrayal, Lord Kalic fell to the ground and began to weep. We must remember that my lord was only 17 years old at this time and still too innocent to hide his breaking heart. He spoke softly, “I am not my father.”
The Barons and Charters departed, some defiant and some ashamed. Finally, my lord Kalic, Evikar and I were alone. Picking up an acorn, Evikar stood above my lord Kalic and spoke:
“You are a fool, Lord Kalic, Just like your father. He thought he could control this land by planting soldiers. You wish to plant a tree of justice. But one doesn’t make a realm full grown. One controls a land by planting seeds. Slowly sowing seeds of corruption and fear until you dominate the minds of men. You make a realm through Dwelligar, to use the old language. I foresaw this moment years ago. Now get you upon your ship and depart these shores. There is nothing for you here.” Contemptuously, Evikar threw down the acorn and walked off.
Silently, we gathered our soldiers and returned to the ships. My lord asked me if I recorded everything and I told him I did. He replied that is should be so but ordered me to not record the location of the gathering: He never wanted to remember where his sorrow was born.

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Charity's Return

Documented Record
Demonsque 55, 817

Due to the important nature of this event, I am recording a full report on the return of Prince Charity Spydryc, my mother. The reports of those higher rank will probably be more useful immediately but this report may be of value as a historical record. I have been having dreams.

I saw a sparse muted landscape with ruins. Upon telling my Dreams to Synicalas, who is the very brave Paladin that often visits me, he determined that I was dreaming of a Limbo called the Forgotten. After a few more dreams we were certain that Prince Charity was in the Forgotten. I reported to Embotitor Lynx and he made plans to rescue the Prince.
Embotitor Lynx and I journeyed to Malipar where Edward Brass got us an Audience with Magister Balthus Mortigan-Stern. I have prepared a second report on Edward Brass.
Accompaning Mr. Brass was two adverntures from the White Tower. The first was the Maliparian Pirate Quadira. The second was the Rolanian Elf Xaphic. The random nature of these two were difficult for Embotitor Lynx to manage and made his eyes do this weird glazed-twitch thing.
Magister Mortigan-Stern granted us Emedance into the Academe’s Vault where we opened a portal to the Forgotten. How this was done and what other artifacts I saw are noted in a prepared second report on the Vault.
The Forgotten was just as I saw in my dreams: rolling sparse hills covered in dying plants, as if the world was caught in a perpetual autumn twilight. Anchient ruins dotted the landscape, temples to long dead gods.
The path quickly lead us to a temple that had been turned into a fort for the Clan. We found Charity there. She was just as I remembered her and standing next to her was comforting and familiar, as it was when I was younger. I was so happy to be reunited. Naturally I mean finding the leader of Clan Spydryc and one of the best commanders of Dwelliger and not just because she is my Mother.
With her was Lord Chimera, Knightman 3rd Frost, and Arcadian Lancer Alter Son. I have prepared a second report on Lord Chimera. Quadira instantly took a liking to Knightman Frost, one that was innapropriate but natural for women of the West. But I also espied Knightman Frost eyeing her when he thought nobody was looking.
Xaphic and Quadira was assigned the task of finding the portal home. The Forgotten is such that you never find what you are searching for. It is a perfect trap for Dwelligerians. Xaphic refused to help us: he lazed around the Fort for a while and then wandered off, heading back. We followed, filled with doubt. Still he wandered and we quickly came upon the portal.
It was guarded by a Daemon of the Monstronth, a spear-weiding woman who took the face of my mother. She summoned tendrils of energy that attacked us but we were able to dispatch this Daemon and pass through the portal.
It lead us to more woods and a different plane. Coming out of the woods, we saw a great wooden feast hall, massive and majestic. It was built upon the foot of a mountain and next to it grew a great tree nearly as large as the mountain. We found a door and entered.
Inside we found a great table set for hundreds to feast but with no guests and no food. A few entities wandered through the hall: I saw Men, Ghosts, and a Beholder. There were several alcoves and rooms that radiated off the main hall. Exploring these passages we found a door guarded by a Lathis. There was a sign that read “For sale: Rags and Bones, Odds and Ends” Linx began to shake and told us we had to get away from the door for behind it was pure evil.
Leaving this evil door we went into an alcove that was chapel for the gods of Order. Linx prayed to these gods and a Lathis entered into the hall. It guided us to a bridge over a lake. The Lathis told us that we may cross together but we will arrive at the further shore alone.
As we crossed the bridge, we saw shadows and hints of fires on the distant shores. The stars above shone bright and clear, reflecting upon the still waters. Where the lake touched the horizon, we could not tell where the lake ends and the sky begins. We heard voices on the wind, familiar voices, our parents and teachers and those we use to know. At the end there was a scream from scores of voices and a storm came over us. The stars were obscured and we were seperated. Only my mother and I were able to stay together.
We found the end of the bridge. It lead to an island with a door carved into the store. What was beyond this door was very personal, very spiritual, and very private. I do not report it here. I know that each member of our Group found a simular experience.
Our door lead eventually to the shores of the River Malipar where we found the rest of our Group. All except for Linx who did not return and whose wereabouts are still unknown. . .

We now return East to take back control of Clan Spydryc and restore Order to Dwelliger.

Prosperous Legacy
Upon the Royal Fortune

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Riggin' Scuffle

Every year in the spring, The Free City of Corsair holds an obstacle course race on the harbor. They string up ropes and planks over the water and contenders fight to make it to the end. The course is run over two days. One Race is ran on the first day (the hardest) where entry is 100 Royals (500gp). Usually only about a dozen contenders can pay the fee for the first day but the reward is often enough to buy a ship. The second day is only 10 Royals (50GP) and several races are ran. The winner gets 80% of the fee. However, more money is made in side betting. There are 3 flags along the way and each one represents making it that much farther. Typical bets involve wagering on which flag a contender will get to.

But this year is different. For some of the contenders, this race is about much more than riches and glory . . .

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Prospicere

To- City Lord Madros Valenth
Krusard 39, 13th Year R Tolarc VI

As stated in our last report, we had found four entities connected to Prospicere and Count Spargest: Vincent Graves, rogue mage from Malipar, the priest Mashenor, The elemental called Raphael, Sir Ernist Feldman V, knight of Outer Pass. We have taken their names.

Errata- Our assessment of Raphael was incorrect: She was not the elemental of Prospicere but an elemental being associate with another Foci.

Continuation- The four entities continued to view us with quiet suspicion as expected. However, they were prepared to journey with us to Prospicere. The Journey from Hopeless was without incident. However, we did see signs of monsters and humanoids within our land. Ancient Pilgrim was obedient and dutiful. His Guardians were dutiful but still lack experience. They are not tested.

Upon reaching Prospicere, the entities quickly went about exploring. It had not changed since our previous exploration except for the addition of an odd crystal and rock formation in antechamber II. This formation was an Earth Elemental that attacked Mashenor. She who is called Raphael tamed the entity and called him Dave.

While this conflict was occurring, Graves contacted the Spirit of Count Spargest and had been partially possessed by the Spirit. In its arrogance, it did not consider that Graves may have been lying to it. Rebellion is an ever present danger, as we well know, and Graves allowed the spirit to give him power over the Elemental of Prospicere.

This is where our divinations and assessments failed- The Priest Mashenor was not a decedent of Count Spargest but was, in fact, the Elemental of Prospicere. It had reincarnated itself as a human, for what purpose we do not know, but even it was unaware of what it truly was.

After being freed from its human form and put in the power of Graves, the Elemental and Graves cast out the Spirit and took command of Prospicere. Prospicere has shifted, righting itself and clearing away much of the larger stones. It is secure and stable. Already, Sir Ernist and Mashenor have sent for colonists to help maintain and expand the lands of the Golden Griffon.

Graves has been crowned Count Spargest and has officially inherited all lands and resources as per the laws the realm.

Observations- These are the allies we have been looking for. The southern border has an elemental guardian and we have Western allies with which we can assault the Rogue Clans.

Sir Ernist is eager to extend his influence into these lands and promote his agenda through Prospicere. His plans are not in conflict with our goals.

There is still the matter of She who is called Raphael. We believe she wishes to be reunited with her Foci. We believe this Foci to be located in the lands east of Yog Norath and perhaps under the influence of the Rogue Clans. With your permission we will escort She who is called Raphael back and reconnoiter these lands.

Servitor Hopeless Wanderer
Prospicere

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Snow Begins to Fall part 2

From the Chronicles of Aethlereid of te Monastery of the Crown-

In the evening another ship came into the Swan Harbor: A Foustik ship with a wing of soldiers under the command of Servitor Principal Lamentation Foustik. There was some discussion about rather they should attack the ship or allow it land but in the end they decided to hear the Dwelligerians out. They had come demanding the return of the Elven Statue and the “Scripture” found by the pyrates. The pyrates feigned ignorance. Or maybe they had already forgotten. In any event, the Foustik troops were not content with their answers and demanded to go to the White Tower.
Xaphic, Gway, Chico, and the Pyrates were all very suspicious of the Foustik Soldiers. I could see the elves jumping from roof to roof throughout the evening. And Chico flew overhead, patrolling despite the weather. I passed many quiet secret conclaves until I decided that, for the sake of a proper journal, I needed to talk to this Servitor myself.
I passed by the Harbor Master first. He was at his post and distraught. The Swans normally glowed with a pearl-like light. But this night they were glowing dull red. The snow and clouds made the sea dark and the red lights ominously reflected in the tide. Neither the Harbor Master, Chico, nor the Mage knew what was causing this change.
Even though it was late, I still went to the Dwelligerian’s plaza. Guards were posted at the gate and they eyed me with suspicion and hatred as well, I think. I inquired if the Servitor was in bed or if he could talk. Their reply was “The judgement of Clan Foustik never sleeps,” and then they quickly escorted me into the compound quickly.
Lamentation greeted me by saying that he had nothing to offer me, which was the way of his clan, but he understood that it was not the way of “other peoples” and did not mean to offend. At first he thought I had come offering information or something of value but soon came to realize that I had no information to offer him.
“So, why did you come?” he asked me.
“Curiosity.” I replied.
He paused for a moment, “Aren’t you worried that I will kill you or feed you to a devil or something?”
“I do not worry about such things,” I said, “I have Faith in Providence to protect me. Additionally, I’m so unimportant that people usually forget about me.” That seemed to amused him-at least as much as anything amuses a member of Clan Foustic.
. He asked me some questions about my life: Strange Mundane things about how I ate and what I read. I was surprise to find that he had read The Saga of Truseth North and we talked about the rediscovery of Kami Kor for some time.
I mentioned the Swans and he informed me that it was caused by the Devils that had attacked earlier. “The Sykophantes disrupts Beacons whenever they are summoned.” He seemed very disdainful of these devils and, oddly enough, cursed their summoning. We talked some more about Servitor Wathros and then I took my leave.
In the morning I found out from Dav that two Whales had beached themselves near the Harbor. They were Elder Sages according to Dav and quite Sapient. The wizard used a spell to make them as light as a feather and Xaphic and the Elvan Bard pushed them back into the sea. It saddened me that I did not awaken in time to behold this event.
Later in the morning, I helped Dav equip a boat to journey up the river. The band of adventurers were going to escort the Dwelligerians to the White Tower.
Several of the pyrates ambushed their own Captain with snowballs and pelted him to the ground. Sulls lost his pants during the conflict. The pirates were laughing despite their hangovers and even the Harpy, still disguised, joined in. At this time the Servitor left his wing and stepped around the corner. The Mage followed and shortly they returned. The Servitor’s countenance seemed altered, however, and he moved with a little less self-assurance it seemed to me.
They all left and were gone for two days. During this time, the beacons returned to their former brilliance just as the Servitor had predicted.
Servitor Lamentation and his men returned from the White Tower and immediately marched to their ship. But Lamentation veered off from his men for a few moments near my apartment. He did not see me and so I kept still in the shadow of the eave. He pulled something from belt-pouch. I think it was a potion bottle. He stared at for a moment and then he did the most amazing thing: He took off his gloves, bent down, pulled up a handful of snow, made a snowball, and then threw it at a nearby wall. Then he walked off and rejoined his Wing.
I later found out that negotiations with Avalorn fell through and Dwelliger was not to have the Statue nor the Scripture is was said to contain. The Servitor and his soldiers simply sailed away from the Harbor in peace. It was not the outcome I was expecting but I was joyful that, at least for a few days, politics was ruled by Snow and Laughter instead of Fire and Sword.

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Story I heard at the Spellbook Tavern
Little Queens
I am called the Blue Wolf, the protector of Lakewood. Most of you have heard of me. You haven’t heard of me? No, really, I have done things. Come on, guys, listen to my story and you will know what I have done. Anyways, so I went scouting the swamp one day with Arkus and Curt, my faithful attendants. We came upon that old baron’s tower and we decided that it was time to reconstruct it for the town’s defense.

While working on the tower, we found a potion bottle with a live insect in it. Thinking it strange, we took it back to the tower so I could do magical research at a latter time. But first, we had to find food for the work crews.
So I went hunting in the woods to bring back food for us all. That was when I found four ladies being attacked by an Owlbear! I ran to them and began to fight the fearsome beast. It was a horrendous monstrosity, fierce, swift, and mean. After dispatching the foul monster, I introduced myself to these fine ladies. They were searching the woods in an attempt to help someone or something, that was in trouble. Naturally I lead them to the tower and introduced them to Arkus and Curt.
Immediately, something was amiss because as the ladies were trying to get me into the tower alone, we were attacked by a Carion Crawler and a swarm of centipedes. Deftly, I charged the Carrion Crawler and hacked it with my sword. As I fought off the creature, one of the ladies opened the potion bottle and let out the insect inside. It transformed in a glowing lady: Illylikei, the goddess of insects! Immediately she destroyed the remainder of the centipedes but in the conflict the top of the tower was destroyed. She had been trapped by a demon and we had freed her, bringing balance back to the swamp and really to all the wilderness outside of our town.
So that is how I saved the town and why I am now without any money. If you need a hero, just ask for the Blue Wolf. I am free right now. You question my tale? Just ask the ladies! Only, um, play up their roles in it: I mean, I don’t want to take all the credit!

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Snow begins to fall

From the Chronicles of Aethlereid of the Monastery of the Crown:

3 Tenebre, 429

Snow has began to fall. Acolyte Tabin and I made our way to Swans Harbor in the hopes of booking passage to Malipar as couriers to St. Frederic’s cathedral. Construction of this elven outpost nears completion and I admire the elegant way the elves have made their port both beautiful and practical. The buildings are of white marble and golden limestone. Most are square, unadorned, and many are even without doors or glass upon the windows. However, the lines are so well proportioned and balanced that the simplicity of the designs are delightful. Some walls, however, have carvings upon them: Birds in flight, The White Tower, the Sun and Moon, a tree upon the ocean. One wall of limestone depicts two dragons circling each other, one silver and one bronze.

Most buildings could be used for whatever one needed and are set up around a courtyard so a company can reside in one with some privacy. You are never lost and yet can always wonder about and find new alcoves to linger. Watching the ocean are two marble swans. At night they emit a gentile glow that act as a beacon for any who might sail near shore.
A Maliparian ship was in harbor, a freebooter called Great Fortune. I overheard the crew speaking of a recent fight against monsters and naturally resolved to find out more. After settling into an apartment and dining upon roasted duck, I went looking for somebody to tell the tale.
I found the captain in one of the guest apartments at the harbor. His dress and the level of drink he had already apparently consumed gave him away as a Pyrate from Ethercist. After some introduction and my assurances that, as a member of the clergy, I would not judge him too harshly, I convinced him to tell me what adventures brought him to the tower:

“It all started,” he began, “as all important things should: At sea. I have to admit that our Vessel hain’t been holding up to her name; Theres not much good fortune going round. Time be flying but there’s not many opportunity for adventure. Mostly we be waiting, and drinking, and enjoying foreign ports, bringing on mundane cargo, and drinking. But then one day at sea we came upon a barque flying a Dwelligerian Freetrader’s flag. Since Foustic ships have been posing as freetraders, we decided to take a look ‘round and make sure they didn’t have any illicit cargo that needed to be liberated.”
“We hailed her but got no answer. She listed oddly upon the waters, as if nobody was at the helm. So, naturally, we decided to board her. Quadira lead the boarding party while I kept command of the ship. There were some signs of a fight, some blood stains upon the deck, but for the most part the ship were deserted. But then they found a dead ettercap below deck. As they moved forward they found what everybody was fighting and dying over. An ancient stature of a elven priestess. It was guarded by a dying ettercap. He said her name was Aerdrie and that she had to be protected. They could also tell that she was magical. Of course she was magical, she was elfy. See, as a pyrate, you have to decide if yer willing to deal with elves or not: Elfy dealings can be quite profitable but also quite magical. You can end up rich but with blue skin or frog eyes or something. As poor as I be now, I would say it would be worth it.
“Anyways, we took this statue on board. It was quickly decided that we should take it to the White Tower and give it to Rawl and Avelorn for safe keeping or what-not. The trip there was smooth, fair weather, good wind and no sea monsters. So up we go to the Tower and that’s when things started to get real Elfy.
“Xaphic were in residence, as he oft is. Odd elf, that one, what with the scars and jumpy-ness. He’s seen a bit too much, I think: You can tell it in his eyes if you can bring your self to look upon them. There is also some Dragon-thing as well. His name is Chico and he’s about ten feet long but he walks about like a man. Apparently he’s the herald for some dragon named Bay Matt or something.
“There’s also this wizard at the tower, Meritus. We’ve had dealings with him. A bright one, he is, and he’s the only mage I know with sense: He uses his magic to get rich. None o’this “fulfill destiny” or learning such-an-odd, it’s all about the Songs. Well, with him was another Elf, a bard Named Gway, from the woods of San Servus. I don’t know about him, he kept saying we were doing good ‘for who we are.’ I think there might be a double meaning in that.
“There’s enough elves there to cause plenty of trouble but then from the mountain came another: a blue-haired elf they called ‘kind sister’ and she had a pet Dragon thing called a Dracolich or something. It had six legs and blinders on like it was her pet falcon.”
Panic flew across my face at this point in his tale. After a few questions, I was able to determine that the creature was not undead and not a Dracolich. Perhaps he meant “Dracolisk.” I then explained that this “elf” was, in fact, one of the Harpies that live in the mountains, at which point he circled his hands to ward off evil spirits and issued a long string of cursing that I deemed not appropriate to record.
“Sulls was right, then, about the wings. I thought he had imagined it what with the demons and all.” at this point he stood up, refilled his flagon with cider, went to the balcony, and while silently brooding, began to drink heavily. I had to coax him back to the table to continue his tale.
“Well, anyways, we spent the evening drinking with Dav, the White Elf Master of the Harbor, and past a pleasant evening. That morning we spent make repairs, bringing on new rope and provisions and moving slow. We wern’t pressed for time so the day progressed at a relaxing cruise.
then the blue haired woman and everybody showed up. Soon we noticed a foul smell coming off the water and many of the boys began to feel sick. Out of the water came these three fish demons, smelling like rotten fish. One of them spit out a sea gull which began to talk. Yeah, the gull talked. It spoke for the Rotten Fish, possessed by them I suppose. It said they were the Sycophanti and they came for the ‘scripture’. It wern’t right they way they spoke, the way they looked at us, the way they seemed, well, like boot lickers from hades. They did not like being refused and so a fight broke out. “
“The fight was hard. For one, these dead fish kept vomiting stuff at us and they were casting spells, making illusions, and such. Quadira fought well but was made to think the Elven Bard was one of them. Poor Bard lost a right bonnie rapier into the sea. I kilt one of the deamons due to a grand mistake I made: The Wizard grabbed my pistol trying to ward it or something. Anyways, he must have distracted me for I accidently doubled up on the powder. I was lucky I didn’t blow me hand off but instead the bullet shot out at such a force that it blew up the Dead Fish, causing it to explode. My crew was brave, although slightly worried about curses, and with some help from the elves, we were able to send those demons back to hell.”
“Well, the rest of the day was all about recovering and resting up. But let me tell you what them elves did next ~”

I must end my record here for one of the Captain’s sailors has just come in to inform us that another ship is approaching Swan’s Harbor, and it is flying a Foustic Flag.

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Folly of elf and man

Dear Masters of the White Tower:

Within the confines of the Citie of Valoris we have unearthed the ruins of an ancient elven temple. The more we uncover, the more we find and the more questions we create. It is apparent to us that we need further council. There is magic permeating from the ruins: very old, very intriguing, and certainly beyond our understanding.

We have found graves and what we think may be a temple. We are now endeavoring to clear the rubble from this temple. But we have not touched the graves: We wish not to violate any tombs.
We request a historian from your people, one who understands the ways of elven magiks and can help us decipher these artifacts and chambers. You may find our site between the Selkie and local Banque of the Monancier Shippers .
With gratitude,

Elisebelle Durrant Morgainne

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From Leppold Heppernom's book of Adventure
Down with Hummies II

There is an old Orc proverb that goes “An Ogre with no pants and no puppets makes for a bad enemy.” In truth, that is not an old Orc proverb but it might be one now after what I have seen. And I must say, these orcs deserved that which was meted out to them. But my narrative jumps ahead.

As I wrote in my last entry, my Great Adventure has far exceeded my expectations and I have loved my journey to Lodain and San Servus. But it is upon my trip to the Phantom Forest that my trip became so wondrously strange.

Charles De La Shrubbings and I left Lodain and traveled north towards Carmel Creek. My Maliparian friend kept traveling far to the left of the road. I admonished him but he continued staying near the end of the road. And these are Sanservian Roads, mind you, and not the best engineered. Eventually we hit a washout and our wagon of fine wools was stuck.

As we were attempting to get unstuck, a group of humanoids came up the road behind us. We did not know if they were friend or foe. But then I recognized one of them! It was the Ogre Bard that was in that band that sung about that skunk. What a marvelous coincidence. With him was the “Imp” as well-later I was to find out that he wasn’t a polymorphed human but was really an Urd named Ix Ix.

This odd band consisted of three goblins, the Ogre and the Urd. I would have thought to have hated the kobald but actually found him quite amiable. The Ogre was named Rockhead and was Ogre enough but had a queer affection for the goblins, like they were stray cats or something. The Goblins were lead by their shaman, a wild haired female named Tekena. The male was called Garyl Daroon Vrillmar and he wore a musketeer hat and acted more human than the others. There was another female named Magan that had a very disturbing look in her eye; The others were keeping things from her for some reason. I would find out later the reason.

The Ogre easily got us unstuck and set off again. After a few hours we entered the Phantom Forest, a lovely old wood with majestic oaks and elms. Then we saw a carved wooden bear set along the road. I later found out that it was carved about 100 years ago by the local hero, the Phantom Ranger.

A few miles further, we came upon two sad adventures who were returning back to Lodain. They were injured and in very poor spirits. They had set upon by a band of orcs and the rest of their group were killed. These orcs had been ambushing people along the road.

And then we came to the local Coaching Inn, the Banshee. The place was more of a fort or village than an Inn. It had an outer wall and within it was a lovely garden. There were numerous wooden statues throughout the garden carved by this Phantom Ranger. We stayed that night.

During dinner, Charles had an eating contest with the Ogre and won! At that point, our suspicions that something was up with Charles were confirmed. No human could out-eat a hungry Ogre. I had some doubts, though, because the Ogre was very anxious that evening. For one thing, he didn’t have any good pants. For another, he was most distressed to learn that a troop of puppeteers had left the Banshee due to fears of being set upon by the Orcs. He decided to stop these Orcs so that “The puppets would come back.”

The goblins were looking for something (or someone) and it seemed to me that they thought these orcs might have it. While I wasn’t too concerned, I did decide to keep an eye on them.

The next day, we went out unto the road to try to lure the orcs towards us but with no luck. That afternoon, the goblins used some magic to awaken a carved statue of a goblin. This little wooden goblin lead them to the orc camp.

I did not witness what happened next but I the honor of taking down official testimonies for the local Mayor, so I got to hear the entire story:

The Ogre, Charles, and the Goblins follow the Little wooden goblin through the forest, running as fast as they can. They ran right into the Orc Camp. The Orcs had secured a secret base in a old goblin cave under a large tree. Using predetermined rocky paths and Wild Boar trails they had been able to hide the tracks to their secret lair. Well, the Orcs and the Goblins were upon each other with no time to prepare and the fight began.

The orcs were lead by a Warchief named Blackteeth. He had made a pact with two humans: a thief named Vagren and a mercenary Dogrel. Dogrel and Blackteeth had been leading the raids and were very skilled fighters.

But even the best fighters can have bad days. When they charged the Ogre, Blackteeth stumbled, dropping his sword and knocking Dogrel off balance. Both of them fell towards the Ogre out of position. The Ogre broke Blackteeth’s knee and knocked Dogrel to the ground. The Goblins and Charles made quick work of the other Orcs while the Ogre smashed the leaders down. Dogrel was most upset with his performance. Vagren surrendered to Ix Ix without a fight.

After stuffing Vagren into a sack, the goblins found a secret room in the back of the cave filled with treasure and magic. To think: This Dogrel killed and ravaged to get riches that he already had but didn’t know it. They gathered everything, heaved it all into sacks and a treasure chest, and took it back to the Banshee. The locals were most pleased by this and immediately sent for puppeteers to return. The goblins then separated everything into what was made by goblins and what was made by man. They gave the Chapel all that was made by man.I noticed that they kept for the goblins everything that was naturally made like gems and gold nuggets.

But then the most wondrous thing occurred. When the goblins presented a magic sword before the wooden sphinx in front of the chapel, the statue began to glow. It grew with a brilliance, pure white light until it became the Sphinx of Columnus. Materialized before my eyes was a Celestial Being from the Outer Plane! He greeted us all and then took the sword. He informed us it was the sword of the Phantom Ranger and presented it Victor for safe keeping.

He then turned to Magan and said, “There’s a devil in you!” She started to move as if to fight or run but she was held fast by the Sphinx’s magic. Darkness then oozed out of her and formed a sphere that the sphinx exiled into the Aether.

He spoke to all of us but then the Ogre stepped forward to ask a boon from the Sphinx. To my amazement, he asked if the Sphinx could stay for the puppet show. The Sphinx paused and then he agreed!

And then Charles turned to us, told us that his work was done and transformed into a Dragonkin! He flew off, leaving me with a cart of wool I may add.

So the next day, there I was, a wool merchant in San Servus, in this beautiful garden watching a puppet show with a bunch of Rangers, some Goblins, a murderous Ogre, and an Angelic Sphinx. It was a pretty good puppet show!

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