Last Stand of the 5th Crusade

Officer’s Watch: 14 Arodus 4713

Suspect is responding as expected to treatment. The temperature in the room is cold and the illumination levels have stayed dark for the past few hours. The suspect no longer casts spells for light, choosing to stand in the darkness. The water levels continue to stay at three feet and will remain until sun break. The subject has not slept or been provided food or drink for the last 48 hours and shows serious signs of fatigue and deprivation. In addition, the subject seems to be experiencing minor hallucinations.

It is my opinion that the subject, clearly of vile origin is not an outsider of vile intent. We have received reports that the subject is a citizen of the renown settlement of Promise, and although we cannot attest to the manners of which citizens are allowed to interfere with the enforcement of laws, the laws of Kenabres are clear. If the subject is cleared of all abyssal machinations, the church of Iomedae will petition for leniency.

We will revisit this after another 48 hours of observations.

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Cohort Logs: 14 Arodus 4713

Auctus

For a nation surviving thousands of years, Mendevian laws are primitive at best. Promise was forged only 150 years ago with a clear and organized system of justice: swift and exacting, our people are protected and directed by a singular principle of justice and honor. This nation seems to recreate its laws based on each city, and within these confines does not show any form of consistency! Each few years there are rulings that contradict previous rulings with the ledgers only referencing other seemingly random decisions. The positive is there are so many loopholes and unusual situations I believe Keeya will surely be released without effort. Kyrk will take additional efforts, and apparently, a liberal application of gold to secure his freedom.

Keeya

It’s only been one day, these are the thoughts that continue in my mind: only a day. In all my years in this world, I thought I had endured all the pain and loneliness a person could, but now I know there are levels of suffering beyond comprehension. I can see in the eyes of the guards this is only the beginning of what they could do. Only a taste. I am told I will probably be released for my inaction during the night Kyrk lashed out. The guards have tested my body and spirit and do not believe me a threat, but simply an innocent with poor taste in companions.

I can hear them talking about Kyrk and that they continue to test him body and spirit. Thanks to Riva, they guards have since been quite kind. No more water or summoned rats swarming my booth and I am able to finally be warm. Of course, this is little consolation as Neleryn continues to suffer next to his sister. He will not eat, drink or sleep. I think he is broken and my words are not strong enough to bring him back. Something is changing in him, I can feel it.

Ivan

I have made a terrible mistake. I think my arm is broken and I do not know where I am. It all happened so fast. I am scared. Is this what Riva went through in her isolation? Will I ever be found?

Help me.

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Lokura's Journal 3
12-16 Arodus

13 Arodus, 4713 (Wealday)

Spent 2sp (Breakfast, 1 sp/day each person)
Spent 170 on healing

Shelyn forgive me I did not write yesterday, as events left me reeling. Even knowing the ways of Kenabres and the Dawnbringer, I find no beauty in this.

It is written that Chaos dances deep within the heart of Law, and Law fixes Chaos deep in its center. Nowhere is this more true than here, so close to the Wastes of the Old Kingdom — where Her knights fight demons spilling in — that chaos spills also from the hearts of those sworn to protect the city.

But first, the events of prior days….

Two nights ago, we were paid an unorthodox visit by one Anevia Triabade, a spy who claimed to belong to an order called the Council of Enlightenment. She sapped us in our sleep, in order to “test us”. To her credit, she could have killed us, so we chose to hear her out. It was not clear whether she was sent by Irobeth, or acting under other orders.

Yesterday, Anevia took us on a cold and windy tour of the city, filling in my comrades on the Council, a who’s who of Kenabres clergy, and corruption within the city from the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth, a cult of Baphomet. She did mention Sunestae, a half-elf demon hunter, who is the head Bishop of Iomedae. Also Nestran Alodae of St Clydwell, religious leader of the city.

That evening came our downfall. While not much for Runic wisdom, perhaps there is some truth in the old dwarven song, Barzûln Dûnost Athrid Dûrmgrist. (Literally, this means “Cursed is the Beard of One who Leaves the Clan”, but most northern bards sing, “Never Split the Party”.)

We visited the local soldier’s inn (name?), where I earned nearly three weeks’ breakfast by singing as many verses of “Songbird’s Beauty” — to a shower of cheers. I used a bit of the funds to fill Aron’s silver flask with good Ustalavan vodka. The others then left for our apartments. Riva stayed with me, and we danced together until late in the evening. She was a fine dancer, not hindered a bit by her deafness.

It was not until today that we learned of our fellowship’s demise. Kyrk, Keeya, Neleryn and Nelthiel were accosted by guards at the gate into New Kenabres. It was difficult to interpret what actually happened, hearing only the side of an overly zealous guard, but Nelthiel was killed; Kyrk, Keeya, and Neleryn were put in the walls. A terribly dark day, to learn that my new friends, whom I’d spent the better part of a year with, would no longer be with us.

Early Morning, 14 Arodus

Ivan woke us, having spend the last few days in Horgus’ estate. The news of our friend’s death and friends’ imprisonment did little to damp his mood. He had a lead. According to his sources, Horgus’ estate has been corrupted, he disappeared 6 days ago (Fireday). Commander Olnik is a Templar (Minotaur, symbol of Baphomet). Ivan found a letter from Hosilla, that they would take Horgus to a place outside of Neathholm, a village underground of Kenabres. He also found it likely that Aron had gone in search of Horgus.

After filling Ivan in on last night’s events, we visited the prisoners to try to get them some creature comforts. Neleryn had been beaten badly. In abject cruelty, the guards had left his sister’s corpse in the cell with him. They were also torturing Keeya, keeping her cold and wet in her cell. How can these men call themselves paladins? How is their cruelty any different from that which rises from the abyss? We were not allowed to visit Kyrk.

Ivan introduced us to some friends, who seemed intent on joining our party. Trynna Talbot, a Wolf of Kenabres. And Locke, who fought at my side during the battle of the Tower. He is now also a Wolf, and no longer wears his tabard, nor his battle patches.

We did not make it to Neathholm. The mere drop into the sewers nearly killed us. We returned to our apartments to rest for two days.

16 Arodus

Yesterday we hired a nurse to tend our wounds. From our windows we watch a procession of the “Heroes of Kenabres”, an apparently renowned company who just arrived out of the Shutterwood. They were prophecied to be saviors of the 5th crusade. A human from far off land.

Today, after spending all my remaining gold on healing, we returned to the crack in the ground. Went below, after about ½ hour we found double sets of tracks (presumably Aron & Horgus). Some ways in, a narrow cavern led to a blue glow. There, we found a shrine to Torag, which may have fallen from the surface. There, a mongrelman whom we had wounded lay atop of an altar, with 3 dwarves praying.

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Barca's Journal 0.1
II. Barca's Day Off

I can’t believe I’m missing our tour of the city – head injuries are serious Barca; take it easy today Barca – they’re probably seeing all kinds of cool big city stuff… oww, damn, the room’s spinning again… maybe an extra nap won’t kill me…

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Riva: The Eclipse

The_Eclipse.jpg

The Eclipse darkens the sky with its ill-omened sign
Bringing self-doubt and loss of one’s purpose.
It especially afflicts those with faith in the divine,
As their talents are tested and wane under stress.
And those seeking to follow a path will soon find
Their way lost, as promise dissolves into death.
A misaligned eclipse augurs an ability ere concealed
Or a previously hidden location revealed.

Dear Keeya! And Kyrk and Neleryn! And poor poor Nelethiel. Though we’ve crossed half the world, it feels we have barely set out. And yet here we are, half of us dead or damned. “The Eclipse darkens the sky with its ill-omened sign.” What horrible truth.

It’s been over a year since I’ve drawn from the deck, let alone taken a reading. I’ve discovered a profound solace in the order that Katsuyama-san revealed to me, and the cards have no place there. Still I always knew they would be back. Every time I told Mama about the peace of meditation and the order it brought me, she would speak words of encouragement while her eyes would ever so slightly narrow with a look of concern. I’m sure she knew I saw it. The power of the Harrow has been with our family for far too long to be cast aside by a year of training.

So I knew that the cards’ power would sometime reassert itself, and I knew that I would immediately recognize that moment when it came. But dear fates what a horrid moment.

It had been a wonderful evening. No one knows me or my history here, and that is the most liberating thing about this town. This city! To go to a bar and speak with strangers, true strangers? To feel entirely new music, to dance and dance! The men there were hardly the gentlemen of Hermea, but — damn it all, the gentlemen of Hermea were scared of me! I don’t even care if these men were a bunch of letches! Just for an evening, it’s good to just talk and be free and dance! Admittedly I felt a bit more free because Lokura was there. I’m happy to have him in our company. He seems both a gentleman and bon vivant, despite his heritage. And a fine singer as well!

And now I know what was happening meanwhile. What song was the band playing when a warhammer crushed Nelethiel’s skull? Who was I dancing with? And a warhammer of all things. Dad once told a story about a warhammer in our family’s past. The fates are nothing if not cruel. I hate knowing this. I don’t want this.

Yet I pulled that deck from its pouch. I didn’t even draw. I just turned it over and the Eclipse was staring at me and I knew that was the answer:

And those seeking to follow a path will soon find
Their way lost, as promise dissolves into death.

Those poor fools. So much promise wasted. If I had been there I’m sure I could have prevented it. Who was I dancing with when that warhammer came down on her head. I don’t even know.

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Cohort Logs: 12 Arodus 4713

Auctus

I have only just returned with the news of murder: Nelethiel killed in cold blood, while Kyrk, Neleryn and Keeya are in a frigid unforgiving cell. I do believe corruption runs deep in this town and now more than ever I need guidance and wisdom to overcome it. Never have I experienced such swift condemnation or heartless indifference than I have this eve. There are wonders in this city as there is evil; I have now felt its steel hand on my heart, but I will not falter. Tomorrow, I go back to the Black Wing, not as a man of science, but a student of law. I will not allow my comrades, my men of Promise to be judged by our lessers.

Ivan

Unknown at this time

Keeya

I can barely hold this quill, but fortunate to have it. The guards still have Nelethiel’s blood on their tunics, yet behave like nothing. In their eyes, I see an emptiness, yet on their face I see concern. It is something I cannot truly grasp and may never understand. I do not want to. My heart aches and my body trembles. Why did I not react? Why could I not stop what was happening? Nelethiel acted to save her brother, the person she holds most dear and paid for it with blood. I can still hear her cry.

Kyrk did all he could to save Neleryn from a brand. A brand! How many people carry this mark? Does everyone watch as their loved ones are burned simply to show mortality? If they would have tried and burned Kyrk and nothing happened, what would they do? Chop of his head? Strangle him in the rain and the mud? I cannot think. I see him through the bars, thrown on the floor with blood stained clothes. The guards dropped him hard to the stone and kicked him numerous times. Each strike felt it was on me and I could only whisper to them to stop.

Poor Neleryn is also near. He is in worse shape. I fear he will not survive the night, but if and when he wakes to learn the truth, will he not die again, over and over? What was his crime? What set off the guards to attack so ruthlessly? What in all that is holy in a city bless by a God could make guards do what they have done. Was it Kyrk ancestory? Was it their contempt for an elf? I am so scared and alone. I am cold, wet and helpless. Kyrk, please wake up… I need you.

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New Kenabres Southern Gate Incident Report

This is the incident report that your characters will end up getting a copy of near the start of the next adventure. Irabeth Tirabade will have a copy of this report after she learns of the incident.


Unit Commander: Staff-Sergeant Billows
Unit Support: Sergeant Fenley, Corporal Lanning, Corporal Wenstein

12 Arodus 4713- 3 Rings beyond Sunset

Approached by a group of four:(1) male tiefling; mixed heritage, (1) male elf, (1) female elf and (1) female sylph. On personal inspection of male elf Sergeant Fenley experienced an unknown “wicked” sensation. The male elf stared deeply into Sergeant Fenley’s eyes during this sensation. Sergeant Fenley responded immediately by apprehending the suspected male elf to institute standard demonic vetting test. Corporal Lanning assisted with securing the suspect. Sergeant Fenley ordered the three individual in tow to back off, as well and others approaching the gate.

At this point, the male tiefling demanded the release of the male elf in custody and pulled out a magical scroll. The tiefling proceeded to cast a spell of unknown effect that surrounded the elf in custody creating a field that hindered the ability to hold the suspect. The male elf attempted to break free but failed. Sergeant Fenley immediately ordered for back up and the neutralization of the teifling.

Sergeant Fenley and Corporal Lanning released the male elf and pulled their weapons to neutralize a potential demonic possession residing in the elf, most likely emanating from the fiendish heritage of the male tiefling and leader of this band. I, Staff-Sergeant Billows and Corporal Wenstein pulled our bows and opened fire on the male tiefling. The male tiefling responded to firing a cone that stunned and disarmed Corporal Wenstein, although I was unaffected. The female elf, at this time, pulled out a bow and engaged the battle, firing at Sergeant Fenley. This shot gave the male tiefling a moment to flee, running past the female elf and getting into a defensive posture. The male tiefling then fired another cone staggering corporal Lanning and disarming him.

The battle continued with arrows firing at the male tiefling until he fell. Sergeant Fenley charged forward striking a blow to the female elf: a fatal blow. Final arrow shots by myself and Corporal Wenstein also dropped the male elf attempting to escape.

The fourth member, a female sylph spent the entire incident on her knees with her hands held up in a defensive posture. She will be questioned and detained until her affiliation with the two surviving suspects is ascertained.

End Report

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Barca's Journal
I. Exile

The red fades from my vision, I feel exhausted, fatigued – why is there yelling?
I look down and my fists are covered with blood, in confusion I look around quickly and make eye contact with Auctus – that’s right, he was getting hassled by that Taldan elitist – why is he looking at me like that?
Auctus’ terrified gaze briefly looks past me as I hear more commotion, I turn and the sight is worse than I thought – fuck, I went too far, the rage…Fuck.

I like the airship, even if it can feel a little cramped sometimes. I’ve tried to get Auctus to spend more time on deck, but he doesn’t like heights, and says he has too much reading to do in preparation for the next part of our journey. I’ve even seen 2 types of bird I’ve never encountered before, but he just reminds me to make drawings of them in my notebook. Kyrk took some brief interest in my drawing and sat with me a few times while I watched the passing landscape. He seems like a decent sort, if you don’t mind the horns, but even though he is physically much older than me, I think he is just as freaked out at leaving Hermea for the first time.

I haven’t spoken much with the others, I think I like Lokura, he has sparred with me multiple times which has helped make the journey go faster – but what really awaits us?

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Neleryn Journal #1
To Kenabres

Father has decided to send us to to Kenabres alongside the exiles. We are to lend our aid to Paladin Irabeth Tirabade’s forces. Father’s true intentions are for me to research the the power of the wardstones should Hermea ever need to construct or acquire its own protection from the Abyss. I was hoping to stay at home in Promise a little longer before being sent off again but oh well.

It took us about a month by Gnomish Airship to reach Kenabres. That was my first time on such ship. Quite a wonderous thing, to be able to sail the skies. Our party is an eclectic bunch, to say the least. I mostly keep to myself or converse with Nelethiel. It is good to see Kyrk, an old acquaintance from the academy ,is with us though. I don’t know him well, but I remember his skill in the Arcane arts was top notch. We briefly caught up and even traded some spells. From what I hear, when I was away most recently, he got caught up in some troubles leading to his expulsion. I will have to ask him about it later.

After arriving in Kenabres, we were shown to our rooms and have been told to lie low and not to draw attention to ourselves. That is exactly what I had planned to do, until Kyrk bursted through the door and requested my presence. Apparently Lokura encountered an acquaintance , Aron Kir, a member of the Wolves. Aron seemed drunk and hysterical. I didn’t know what he was saying most of the time, but Kyrk was kind enough to translate occasionally. He seemed to be searching for a noble named Horgus Gwerm. Aron’s story and explanation seemed very vague and I am unsure of his true intentions. He pleaded with us to help him rescue Horgus from his supposed captors. He stormed off without us, I would have let him be but the party decided it would be in his best interest to apprehend him and keep him from getting into trouble or hurt. We failed in securing Aron and he got away but at least we kept him from getting himself killed.

I hope Nelethiel has been able to secure our surroundings, I fear we may be running into trouble soon.

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Cohort Logs

Ivan

It’s amazing to be off the airship. To walk on the ground in a new land with so many people gets me going, although I am going to miss my nights talking with Keeya. She is finally warming up to me.

This city is amazing, with twice the population of Promise I am bound to never go bored. After walking the streets for two days I was surprised to see so many humans in a city not bound by dragonic law, but at the same time, I hear there is a mighty silver dragon that walks the streets.

I hear my new paladin friend Draegan is going to a noble’s manor to learn of an abduction. I think I will go as well to see what I can learn.

Nelethiel

Guarding the area is nearly impossible. I can get to the roof easily enough and get a sight on most angles, but with so many people walking around I will never be able to know friend or foe. It seems the guards have the same problems. I have seen many instances of martial law enforced with fist and proclamation and we have only just arrived. I hear they mercenaries and adventures contained to a camp beyond the walls in the north. Wise move considering the threats.

Auctus

This forced mission is already a bother. There are no suitable libraries and the people here are clueless to what lies just beyond the Sellen River. How can this be?! Much of the knowledge these so-called adventures and soldier have of demons is confused and muddled, yet my father somehow believes I can learn from this. I have heard of a Librarium in the Gate District. It is claimed to be impressive, but I doubt it will hold a candle to what I have at Promise.

Keeya

This place is a wonder! So many voices to hear and faces to see. I have walked the streets with Nelethiel and overheard the most amazing stories. This city is brutish, but also lovely. Auctus is ready to crawl out of his skin in anger and frustration. I wish I could tell him to calm down and relax, but he is very short with me and feels his life is wasting away with this pointless mission. Nelethiel is stressed out because she does not feel capable to protect us at night, but I don’t think it’s really her responsibility. We are all here together and as long as she does her best, I feel safe. Ivan continues to make me laugh, but he also makes me feel uncomfortable. He is far too young to understand his advances and I know it makes Kyrk uncomfortable.

We met a few new people, Draegan and Locura. Both men are hardened from battle and trajedy. Draegon is pure in heart and Locura has the most beautiful voice, something unexpected. I hope to learn more about them in the coming months.

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