Freya says today is Nymm 16, but I cannot be certain of it. She seems to be the only one whokeeps track of time in this strange assortment of adventurers. Who Freya is? You’re right, I should start at the beginning, like one is supposed to do. Tycobi reminds me that it was one of the first things I taught him. Yes, Tycobi is once again with me. But like I said, let’s go back to the beginning…
It must have been about a month ago when this mess began. I was traveling Sarlona, deep in thought and without paying much attention to where I was going. There were rocks, trees, and a path – nothing out of the ordinary. I was soon lost in thought in the face of the solitude of the landscape. I was remembering the wretched day that had taken my family from me. I was remembering the Valenar Elves and Terlor, my dear Terlor. I was praying for Carzael and Aessa. And Tycobi…
Out of nowhere, a group of ant-like creatures appeared. Freya says they are called Formians. They surrounded me before I even noticed they were there, stinging me with some kind of poison. And after that… Nothing.
Of the month that passed I remember only faint glimpses. I was locked in a cage for most of it, receiving nourishment (Yes, nourishment. No humanoid in their right mind would call what they gave me food!) from one Formian with a strange-looking blackish spot on its back. I was unable to control my actions, not even taking in the nourishment out of my own account. My mind was fogged up with the voices of the Formians. Every once in a while I believe they took me on missions of some kind. I praise the Traveler that I do not recall any details from those missions!
One day, I was laying in my cage, when my hair obstructed my view. Even though there was nothing to look at but the other sad creatures caged in the cavern with me, I brushed it out of my eyes when suddenly I realized that I had moved my hand! I had moved out of my own free will! It took me a few minutes to realize that my mind was no longer fogged up. I moved carefully and slowly so I wouldn’t alert the guardian. Now that my mind was free, I began thinking about how to free my body. It would not be an easy task.
It must have been less than a day later when I heard noise from one of the adjacent rooms and suddenly a party of adventurers burst into the great hall. They stormed at the guardian, together striking him down easily. While I was watching the battle with astonishment, a furry face appeared next to mine. A Catfolk! She inquired my allegiance and, satisfied with my answer, picked the lock of my cage. She quickly returned to her party who had defeated my guardian and were observing the rest of the creatures in the hall, most of which still appeared to be mind-controlled by the Formians. I quickly jumped down from my prison, landing much less smoothly than expected. I had forgotten that my body had been confined to too small a space for too long. I would have to stretch as soon as I felt safe.
While the adventurers were busy with a Half-Elf they had freed, I was searching for my belongings. The Catfolk assisted me, introducing herself as Nirra Silvertail. We found my armor and beloved Scimitars, but my bag of holding was nowhere to be found. As I put on my equipment, the party turned their attention to me. Their leader, a cleric named Freya Stormshard, eyed me with suspicion but did not see a threat in me. She seemed much more apt to finish what they had come for. I inquired into their mission and as Nirra was about to answer, Freya shut her up. All she would tell me is that they were out to find and probably kill the Formian Queen. As Freya spoke of the queen, a burning rage inflamed my mind. It was this creature that I blamed for my imprisonment and I offered to join them, making no effort to hide my thirst for revenge. None of them seemed to mind another hand in combat and so I followed.
We fought or way past a handful of invisible Formians. What a wonderful feeling to be fighting again! I quickly discovered that despite the initial shock, my body had not forgotten the decades of training and my dance was as deadly elegant as it had been. But I took a poisonous hit from one of the creatures and felt weakened. Yet it was nothing that my rage could not make up for! We also weren’t stopped by Frost Worm that crawled at us from a stairwell, even though it managed to swallow both Aarson, the other Half-Elf, and Shen, the Dragon-like creature. On our way to the throne room we managed to avoid or disable a number of traps until Freya transported us directly into the chamber.
Oh, if you could only have seen how we raged! I went invisible and we took out most of the Formians surrounding the queen. When I finally reached her I had become visible again through her magic, but I summoned all my concentration to perform the 1000 Cuts I had learned from Gorbar. And she bled well, the treacherous creature! Yet it pains me to say that I did not succeed in ending her existence because she stunned me, along with Nirra. I was right there in front of her, having to hear the party negotiate with the beast. I wanted so desperately to sever all her many limbs, slowly and painfully. But had it not been for Freya who decided to get us out of there, my blind rage would have cost me my life. I owe her and I intend to pay the debt.
But this strange day was far from over yet. As we exited the cave I felt a slight tingle, as if I had stepped through a barrier of energy. But before I could even ask the others if they had felt it too, I heard a loud battle cry. A Clawfoot was charging at Freya and its rider smited her. Freya fell back into Shen’s arms while Aarson immediately attacked the rider, a Halfling, dressed in the typical Talenta armor. I had already recognized him, of course. I could have found this face in a crowd of a thousand. My own child, Tycobi! Reacting more than thinking, I threw myself at him, knocking him off his mount, shielding him from Aarson. I am not sure what exactly happened next, except that I was laughing and crying at the same time that I tried to show the others that he was no threat to them at all. They were reluctant to believe it, naturally. After all, he did attack their Cleric! But they finally gave in and allowed Tycobi to stay. Words cannot describe what I feel, finding something I believed lost forever. I sat up with him for hours by the fire, as the others were taking a well-deserved rest. A Paladin! My little one became an actual Paladin… I still cannot believe it. But now he is with me once again and I am happy. In the morning we will follow the guide to Shambala in Adar. Her name is Mollard’fai, and the discomfort Freya causes her and the dislike she has for her are almost visible. Freya is powerful and I shall make sure to be on her good side as long as I stay with this curious band of adventurers. I feel an interesting adventure coming on, much different from the things I’ve experienced when adventuring on my own. I am actually quite excited, and now that Tycobi is with me once again I have no other place to be. I shall see what happens.
The way to Shambala is long and littered with the usual obstacles. We have fought two human men with magic powers, two elementals, and a few of the usual suspects. I don’t like the path we are taking, it is too narrow. When the threat is dead ahead, I do not have enough room to dance. A frontal attack is not my strong suit, but I make do. Thank the Traveler for Freya; her healing powers are quite a gift. Actually, Tycobi has learned to heal as well. I am amazed every single day by the things he has learned.
But I am not sure what to make of my new traveling companions, they are strange… Nirra is a Catfolk indeed. She is curious, sneaky and playful. Tycobi and she get along quite well. I can only hope they help each other stay out of trouble. Shen does not hesitate to fight when we face danger. I quite admire that about him, he is a true soul and an excellent fighter. I might still learn a thing or two from him. Aarson, however, I cannot make sense of. He is a caster, and I don’t like that at all. He is overall strange and unpredictable, yet Freya seems close to him. I shall have to wait and learn more about him, but I fear we will clash. He may be as stubborn as I am. And Freya. Well, Freya is indeed powerful. She has strong magic and a forceful character. You cannot help but respect her. She continues to heal and save me. How can I ever repay my debt if I just keep piling on more?
For now I will study them more closely. We will be traveling for at least two more weeks they say, but we may meet someone named Viren Icarus d’LyrandarViren on the way. Freya says he is looking for us. An old companion of theirs it seems.
We are nearing Shambala. Today Viren’s airship, the Crimson Meridian, caught up to us. Just in time! We were fighting something I have never seen before, a living spell! It wounded me severely and absorbed my energy. That thing even took my pinky!! Shen was a little too intent on fighting it and getting my finger back. Needless to say, he was wounded as well. He lost some small bits of flesh and… there is no nice way of saying this…. He lost one of his butt cheeks. It looks quite ridiculous and Aarson does not cease to make fun of him for it. Freya regenerated my pinky (which Shen did manage to get back from the creature), but refused to heal her brother. Yes, they are siblings. One of these days I shall ask Freya for the story of how Shen turned into a dragon. I am sure it is a good one!
For now, we are on Viren’s ship and on the way to Shambala to find a monastery of some kind. Freya has taken care of a crew member that appeared to be sick, or cursed. I am not sure which one.
Shambala is a strange sight! It is underneath some kind of crystal and unlike anything I have seen before. And here I was thinking I had seen most of Eberron. Clearly, I was mistaken. I have been exploring the town on my own. There are plenty of people, but I have found the occasional quiet spot, ideal for meditation. In one of the crystal alcoves I actually found a rock toad that I decided to catch for Tycobi. He’ll like playing with it I think.
I found my party when I heard the sound of Tycobi’s Hurdy Gurdy. After all these years, he still has that godforsaken instrument. But it does remind me of the good old times. We will be staying at the Whispering Respite, an inn run by an old white-haired Kalashtar. Tonight, we ate at the Black Anchor, a pub right across the street, quite a nice place. The people here don’t seem to mind talking to strangers. Eyre, our waiter, was talkative and helpful. Whatever their mission, it should not be too complicated.
When rejoining us today, Aarson brought a present for Shen. It is a shocker lizard he named Miranda. The dynamics of this group are still mysterious to me, but Tycobi and Nirra both seem to like playing with the lizard. Also, over dinner we decided to help Viren buy his airship and be independent from House Lyrandar. I was reluctant at first, but I plan on sticking around this party for a while. They are too interesting to leave just yet.
What an exciting few weeks! Shambala is quite fascinating and offered much more adventure than I anticipated. But I shall tell the events in the order they happened.
Initially, Nirra spent a few days volunteering all over town, trying to get information about the Path of Light, the religion they follow here. I mostly spent this time meditating, exploring the city on my own, and, of course, dancing. It has been quite a while since I danced in a tavern. I am pleased to know that I have not lost my edge and patrons are still very please with my skills. We have all taken the opportunity to shop for much needed items. Me especially, since most of my possessions were lost in the Formian hellhole. Viren was kind enough to improve my cloak of resistance for a much lower cost than any of the local merchants. I understand know why he is useful for the party beyond mere travel.
Around town, Nirra heard of a creature like Shen in appearance, a Half Copper Dragon, Half Elf named Ulahra, as we learned later. Before that information was revealed to us, Aarson tried hard to bribe the inn keeper to tell us of her whereabouts, but he would not tell us anything. Fortunately, we ran into her. We spoke a short while, and Aarson was intent on setting her up with Shen. I could see it in his smile that he had a plan, and he did manage to get us all out of there so they would have some time alone. Shen, unfortunately, does not seem to have a way with women. But despite this failure, we learned that Ulahra’s father had been the dragon, and that she had business with the elders of the monastery. What business I could only speculate because she did not look like a messenger or petitioner. On the contrary, she seemed strong, well-armed, like someone who knew ways to get what she wanted.
We, however, also went to see Yahli, the Elder, but were refused and sent to come back the next morning. Which we did. As a matter of fact, Freya had insisted we get there before sunrise, much to the dismay of some of the group. When we were finally admitted to the Chamber, Nirra presented him with what she later told me was a grey Ioun Stone, drained of its power. She told him it was “the potential of everything and the lack thereof.” Wise words indeed, as Yahli concurred. In turn he gave her a crystal as their worshippers wear. Freya and the others did the rest of the talking, while I stood in the back, still uncertain of why we were there in the first place. They inquired about the Inspired, presumable representing a group in Sharn that wish to stop them. Yahli told us a bit about their origins and then led us into the crystal to a room filled with strange artwork. He left us there and we immediately began reading about the artifacts and thereby learning about the Inspired’s history. Shen and I stood guard while Viren cast a spell so that he, Nirra, Aarson and Freya could examine a particularly interesting piece, made up of little puzzle cubes. I had given Tycobi something to keep him occupied so he would not get in their way.
All of a sudden, we heard angry shouts. I recognized Ulahra’s voice before I saw her, pursuing a blonde humanoid female who, judging by Ulahra’s words, had taken something that didn’t belong to her. Instinctively, we began following them, each for our own reasons. The party seemed to know the blonde women and dislike her. I was merely curious, and Tycobi decided to follow me. I wild chase ensued, through the tunnels of the monastery. Once we saw them split up, I decided to go after Ulahra. With me were Tycobi, Aarson and Porthos. Oh yes, I forgot to mention him. He is Kalashtar and he has psionic powers. I… don’t like him in the slightest. Nor do I like Rosy, his Pegasus that is living with him on Viren’s ship. I may have learned to tolerate Aarson by now, but I get a feeling I will have a much harder time with Porthos. That is, if I need to at all. But I am getting ahead of myself.
After asking passersby if they had seen the two, I tumbled through a crowd of worshippers, with Tycobi nudging his way through behind me. I passed through an empty room into one with a large pool of water where Ulahra was already building a raft. Porthos was in front of me, attacking her. That was his mistake. She defended herself angrily and hurt him in the process. He had been weakened by the effects of his own magic and did not survive Ulahra’s attacks. Part of me rejoiced at the sight, but it was silenced by my conscious. He had still been on our side and not done anything to deserve my hatred. Except being who he was. Forced to leave the body there to be recovered later, Aarson and I ran after her, yelling at her to talk to us. We were ready to kill her, but did not want to. We were instead intent on understanding what in the world was going on. After the water, there was a small chasm we jumped across, followed by guard we snuck past. Finally, in the middle of a long staircase, our words got through to her and she stopped running. In the meantime, Freya had destroyed the blonde women. We met atop the staircase, looking over all of Shambala. A majestic sight, were it not for energy bursts of some kind, moving across the sky.
We were led back to the main chamber where we examined the girl’s possessions. Among them was a bag of something very evil, a Daelkyr symbiote bag as I am told, and the stolen item they had been yelling about: a living breastplate that gives one the powers of a Daelkyr underlord. As we talked to Yahli and Ulahra, a scribe took notes. At his inquiry of our names both Freya and I refused to give it. I believe our reasons may not be too different. I have made enough enemies in my lifetime and I do not wish my path to be traceable so easily. As we left, Yahli presented us with food and some of the monastery’s important religious works.
When we reached Viren’s airship to leave, the was a blue, ancient dragon by it. A storm guardian. I may be 132 years old, but I have never actually seen a dragon. And no, Freya’s little Pip does not count. I speak of true, giant dragons. This one terrified me enough to step behind Aarson. Let it eat him first, not me! And I admit, I was counting on him having more experience with these creatures. Fortunately, the Dragon only wanted to talk, not eat. They spoke of many things that I still cannot out into context. They are a strange group. But for now, I am with them.
Today we reached Davanara. Freya has business here, but it will not take long. Not even long enough to explore the town. Later today we leave for Sharn.
I try to keep busy by doing exercises and meditating. I had been doing balancing exercises on the railing of the ship, but when I saw a blue shadow in the clouds it scared me enough to make me stumble and almost fall. I think I will be staying my quarters for a few days. I still don’t trust that dragon.
We have just arrived in Sharn. It’s raining and because Freya decided to teleport us to their house, I have no idea what the city actually looks like. That will be taken care of soon though – Nirra already promised to take me shopping. It has been decided that Tycobi and I will stay and share a room in the house. The house they tell me is in Middle Oak Bridge on the North Edge of the Upper Plateau, or something quite like that. I have not the slightest idea what that actually means… But I must go now. We are going out – a place called the Broken Anvil.
I cannot believe we are already leaving Sharn again. A fascinating city to which I will be delighted to return. The past days have been so busy that I forgot to write about them before. I shall redeem myself now that we are travelling again, headed for another adventure.
While we were going to the Broken Anvil, Nirra took Tycobi with her to Morgrave University to deliver the news of Porthos’ death to his wife. I was glad I did not need to come along for I am afraid I would have made some rather tasteless comments. They told us later that Nirra disguised herself and with the help of Tycobi’s music informed the poor soul as soothingly as they could.
Meanwhile, I met Matron Tara, owner of the Broken Anvil, an elderly Halfling. We had been seated at the wrong table (this appears to be the party’s usual hangout spot so they have laid claim to certain seats). Aarson was quite upset, but I was sorted out in the end. We then to talked to Matron Tara for quite a while. We, of course, meant them talking while I mostly listened. We were served some truly excellent food, better than I had eaten in a long, long time: lamb, Cornish hens with diced and pureed vegetables. A feast indeed! I learned that the pub was having a harder time than before because competition had risen. Freya then paid Tara to clear out the tavern for the night, so that we would have it for ourselves. We were on a mission: To selected a First Mate for Viren and the airship that he could now truly call his.
At dinner time Nirra and Tycobi had rejoined us. We were gorging ourselves on yet more wonderful food and drink until the candidates arrived. Viren was sitting on a throne-like chair he had built from two of the simple tavern chairs. First, there was Lyre, a female Gnome bard. Her chosen art was oratory – how ridiculous! My dancer nature was compelled to put her in her place, but I did not. It would not have been right. Besides, I was certain Viren would not choose someone as foolish as her. The second choice was a male Half-Orc monk named Mire. I paid little attention to him, but he seemed qualified enough. The third and last, however, was my favorite. A female Half-Elf swashbuckler, Kuir had impressive weapon skills and a general manner that was pleasant enough without being overly submissive. She would stand her ground, I was certain of it. And I was pleased that Viren chose her for the task. Once business was done, I asked Tycobi to play his Hurdy Gurdy so I could dance. It was a wonderful, peaceful night, fully lacking any fear or worry of being attacked.
It must have been a few days later that I woke up with a sudden, sharp pain in my lower back, a sort of burning sensation. I tried to stretch as much as I could, but it would not go away. It dulled over the course of the day, so I decided to simply ignore whatever it was. But at night, when we were sitting together at the house, I went to pick up a book that had fallen on the floor. As I bend over, Aarson all of a sudden yelled out loudly: “Look! She’s got one!” Confused I looked up and asked him what I had? But instead of answering me, as any normal person would have (remember, this is Aarson we are talking about and he is somewhat peculiar) he ripped off the cloth that was covering his arm and revealed a dragonmark of enormous size. I had seen some before – Tycobi had developed one upon losing his parents – but not like this! Puzzled, I simply stared at him for a while before finally uttering the obvious: “I have… a dragonmark? Impossible. You must be joking!” What followed were long explanations about the origins and types of dragonmarks. Some, like Tycobi’s, came from a personal trauma. Others, like mine, were in fact more like a disease. I learned that party had in the past transmitted the mark onto new members that stuck around for a while. I am still uncertain what to do with this. Freya says I carry one that some people consider to be evil, but I cannot cover it well in my dancing clothes. Maybe that is not necessary anyway. I am an outsider already, dragonmark or not. I may as well wear it with pride. Now I simply have to discover its power and how to use it. Simply. I feel like it has something to do with darkness and light, with darkness that is not natural to be light. But that is only an impression I gather from the dreams I have had since it appeared. I may be very wrong.
One of the reasons we have come to Sharn was to meet a shifter named Aarson who the party has been in touch with before. They had asked him to tell what he knows of the plane of ice. We met him and a quiet Half-Orc in a tavern. The rest of his party, he revealed were left in Xendrik. I swear I saw a glimmer of amusement and pure evil in Freya’s eyes when he told us. Sometimes I forget that she has a dark side that I have learned to accept and ignore. It does not bother me at all, but sometimes I just forget that it is there. The information he gave us was scattered and Shifter Aarson was all in all in rather poor condition I believe.
Nirra is the only one who really cares for the guy, so the rest of us decided to leave them alone. Freya and our Aarson went on a walk with the little zoo they have acquired – the dogs Cain and Abel, and Pip and Miranda. What a strange sight. I asked Shen to show me around the city some more. We went to the Slanted Cistern, a rather interesting bar with plenty of games of chance. There were memorabilia all around, one of them a spell component pouch Shen recognized. He told me the story behind it, about a Warforged wizard they had defeated. We then went on to throw a few knives and I am not ashamed to admit that I was proud to beat Shen at it. We both did rather well, and were asked to do some tricks. We decided that I would dance and Shen would throw knives at me. It was difficult, but he did not hit me. Considering we had never tried this before, we did rather well.
Just before we left, we also brought Porthos back to life. My dislike for him is growing every day. His manner is just truly annoying, especially his desperate desire to be friends, to make me like him. I dislike him all the more for it. He has yet to be useful to me. Or useful at all. I have not seen it yet, and I do not know that I will.
What an adventure! I am so very glad we got to leave this place! Way too cold for my taste…
We arrived in Frostweave early this morning, having to abandon the ship as it was starting to malfunction due to the cold. Freya teleported us down to where we assumed the entrance to Risia to be, the plane of ice. Once we arrived there we found ourselves fighting two ice dwarves, vendigos to be exact. One of the bastards bit me, but I could fight the unspeakable urges that come with their curse… Freya was almost struck down in the battle, but thankfully Nirra saved her with a potion. As we were preparing for the entrance to Risia to open up, the ground began to rumble and a gigantic, frosty monster began rising from the ground. An undead beast, as we discovered. Tycobi almost single-handedly got rid of it by healing it. I was so proud of him!
We proceeded into a cave, where we found two penguins. Cute little things that Tycobi and Nirra could not resist. They decided to bring them with and even named them – Beowulf and Paul. I tried to talk them out of it, but they would not listen. Poor little things will be heartbroken when they understand that a penguin cannot live in tropical Sharn…
As we made our way down into the cave, we ran into a wall of ice – the entrance to Risia! It instantly got much colder, even though it already was much colder than I would have preferred. We had not fought elements for long when the ground around us moved once more, spitting out ice creatures that appeared quite familiar. Despite their blank faces, they were perfect ice copies of some of the party – of Viren, Shen, Freya and me, all on a Crimson Dawn made of ice. I have experienced enough battles to be confident in my abilities, but after this combat I am ever more certain. I fought my ice double – and it was a vicious fight. I never realized how specialized my fighting style has become and how rarely I encounter opponents that are similar in any way at all. And that ice me… she kicked ass. Pardon my language. But I killed her anyway, because the flesh and blood me is still more effective than one created from frozen water. We shattered the rest of the doubles into little shards of ice too and then abandoned the ice ship as it was crumbling underneath us.
We made our way up the tower that was standing out at the heart of the plane. After several smaller encounters, we found the seal at the top, hidden in a strange fog. It was protected by a number of ice creatures and an old, dragon-like creature. It was so big that we were only fighting its head and neck… But as the seal broke, I felt a strange sensation coming over me, a kind of tingly of my skin. I am uncertain what it is, but I feel like I have become slightly faster and effective at dodging out of the way and like my skin has become… resistant to something. Acid maybe. I will use the journey back to Sharn to find out for sure.
We are back in Sharn. I have discovered that I was right – I am now less susceptible to acid and my evasion skills have improved. I think this must be what happens when these seals break. Fascinating. Porthos has been affected even more, taking on some of the characteristics of the ice plane. His eyes are bluer than before and his skin is colder it seems. It does not make me like him more…
Nirra and Tycobi donated Beowulf and Paul to the zoo, after we convinced them that they would be miserable staying with us. They will be going to see them quite a lot I think.
We are headed for Thronehold on the Crimson Dawn. Time to recap what happened since our return to Sharn.
Shortly after we arrived, Freya received a package from Sir’kill, a bowl that will point us toward the next seal. It appears this Sir’kill is a dragon. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I guess I have no choice but to tolerate or ignore it for now. As long as I don’t have to face him, I think I need not care.
While were in Sharn Freya and Nirra entertained themselves by scrying on the Expedias, a party of young adventurers they met a while back. I am not sure what went on exactly, but at one point Nirra took me with her to meet a dwarf named Bodok and his wife, Elf Ane. They have a church, the Church of the Northwinds, and they are somewhat peculiar. Ane is quite… how I should say… blonde. I think she means well, but it is exhausting. Aarson brought them a cake with added “herbs” that caused her some discomfort. I know I should be less entertained at the thought of her discomfort, but she is nearly impossible to be around. At the church, there were several catatonic people waiting to be healed by Freya. They reminded us of Viren’s crewmen that Freya healed…
Tycobi has indeed been going to the zoo a lot to see Paul. He met a group of Halflings there that had brought an injured glidewing. He helped them heal it and they allowed him to keep it.
And now we are on the way to Thronehold to find some magical robes that Freya wants. Should be easy enough – after all, there will be no extra planar shenanigans. Probably.
When we arrived in Thronehold, a few guards from House Deneith stopped us to inquire what we were doing near the closed up palace. Nirra presented a set of her papers to them, but the guard quickly realized that they were fake. Fortunately, they let us go once they confiscated her papers. So naturally, we decided to break into the palace.
The landscape inside looked strange, like the vegetation had taken back the area. There were giant roots everywhere, and the stone furniture in the outer ring was broken. As we entered the palace we encountered four rugged, dirty guards screaming that they were going to kill us. Of course, instead it was us who killed them. We continued down a tunnel into what we later learned was the intestines of a creature. Had I known that as this point, I may have hesitated…
On the bottom of the tunnel, we had to fight purple worms, one of which tried to eat my poor little Tycobi. In the middle of the battle, a beholder showed up and created an anti-magic field that impeded most of the party greatly. Freya almost died, but was saved at the last minute by her loyal Nirra. Viren, however, was less lucky and ended as worm food. Not for long though, as we raised him once the battle was over. It is handy having Freya with us for sure.
Next, we enter a big, dark cave where we had to fight a tentacle monster and two shadowy mastiffs. We managed to kill one of the mastiffs and the monster, but the y appeared to be fading in and out of existence. Also, I was struck by a curse that made the rest of the adventure much harder than I had hoped. There was also a pillar in the middle of the room that started talking to Freya, claiming in a strange, otherworldly voice that we would meet it soon.
As we passed through the shadowy intestines of the creature, we suddenly found ourselves in a forest. Well, not a forest as such, but there were trees. Unfortunately they turned out to be creatures rather than actual trees. Of course. Ever since my mother died I have not seen nature in the same way, and this encounter only solidified my suspicions. The tree creatures did not seem to require oxygen, which the entity we were inside was able to regulate and take away from us. I must have fallen unconscious, because the next thing I know was waking up because Shen hit me. Apparently, it is a trick he has up his sleeve that I was not aware of – he healed me by hurting me. But even stranger than that was where we were at: It appeared to be the inside of the force bubble. We began moving the bubbles until we fell and landed in a splash of acid – most likely getting ready to be digested by the entity.
We felt the bubble falling down for a while, and when we landed they dissolved. The room we found ourselves in was a large cavern, and above us we could see countless of the purple worms we had fought earlier. Worse than that, however, were strange faces attached to tentacles on the wall that began speaking to and yelling at us in all sorts of languages. It gave me the chills and for the first time I realized just how uncomfortable this place made me feel. Freya tried to negotiate with them and did a fair job, as they did let us pass to the room where we would find the robes we were looking for.
It was a room with even more roots growing out of the walls, and a force field in the middle, protecting what looked to be the seed of the entity. We had learned earlier that if we could remove the seed, the entity must go with it. I had already suggested, quite forcefully, that we make the Formian Queen a present and have the plane of law fall into chaos. In the room, there were a hand full of guards, two astral constructs as well as the man wearing the robes Freya desired. It was going to be a long and nasty fight. We had barely made our first moves when a spell struck me and left me confused so I began running right into the roots that managed to entangle me in my confusion. When the confusion finally disappeared, I found myself on the other side of the room, fighting a guard. I am not sure what it was, but while I tried to strike him, I became weary of fighting. My actions were less and less precise and I did not know just why I was there in the first place. What business did I have here? I owed Freya no favors, so why go and endanger my and Tycobi’s lives? It all seemed to make no sense. Was there a purpose to this fight? Shen killed the guard I was struggling with, but that did not cure my weariness. I don’t know what they did to me, but I never want to have this feeling of purposelessness and stupor again.
Meanwhile, Porthos was struck down and killed by the Captain of the guards who managed to disappear before the others got to him. Yet they had what we came for – the man in the robes was dead and we were ready to go home.
We have been home in Sharn for quite a while now. It seems I always forget to write down the events of life when we are not travelling. Life in Sharn is busy, much busier than I ever anticipated. It’s been so long that I had a home… I am beginning to get used to it. I don’t know if I should be afraid of that…
Angry with myself that I was so unprepared to be struck by a curse, I went on a few extensive shopping trips here in Sharn, improving my equipment and buying as many potions as I can carry. While out and about, I also found Tycobi a gift that hopefully will come in handy as we embark on this next trip. Oh yes, we are leaving today and be on our way to find Mabar, the plane of night…
While we were home, Freya has started a church so she could harness the full powers of her robes. I do not quite understand how it works, but as long as Freya is on my side, I believe it does not matter.
On my birthday, I decided to take the party out for dinner to Sannid’s Restaurant in the Platinum Heights. The food and wine were delightful, but the same is not to be said for the unexpected company that turned up. Sir’kill was there, crashing my party. I did not realize who he was until he introduced himself, as he appeared to us in human form. Damn that dragon for ruining a perfectly lovely night! With him he had a Halfling girl named Thrae who he has put with the party. Tycobi has taken a liking to her, but I do not share his feelings. I will keep a watchful eye on her so she does not corrupt my naïve little one. Unfortunately, Sir’kill’s appearance at the restaurant made me uncomfortable and grouchy and I am ashamed to say that I had a glass (or two) too many. On the way home I had to hold on to Shen who did not seem to mind. He was very sweet and even got me a birthday gift. When we got home, we had another unexpected and unfortunate encounter. It was an undead creature named Kratos who the party knew when he was alive. Because I was more than unhelpful, Nirra decided to put me to bed at this point.
After a rude awakening by Porthos (Oh yes, we brought him back – again. I wish he would just stay dead.) and Aarson who had a little too much fun with my hangover, they told we what had happened after I fell asleep. Kratos is a bodak, sent by his master to make sure we come see him in Mabar. They told me to be watchful and stay away from him if I can.
We are leaving now, and Freya intends to put Kratos in the stable. I’m sure Rosie will be pleased with her decision… It may be long journey.
We can already see our destination in the distance, the Gloaming in the Eldeen Reaches. It is a burnt, rotten scar in the landscape. Quite nasty to look at, but probably a good indicator of things to come. Porthos has just had a change of heart and left us. I guess he was sick of dying all the time…
Before we got here, we picked up Freya and Aarson who had visited Aarson’s father in Eldeen Reaches. He is a rather crude and uncharming Elf. I understand why Aarson does not like to talk about him or to visit him. I have no desire to ever see that man again.
But we are getting ready to leave. Traveler, protect us in our endeavor!
We began by literally dropping in on a ragtag band of worshippers. They were mostly commoners, armed with pitchforks and clothed in what must at some point have been sturdy fabrics. Their mere appearance disgusted me. And yet they were nothing compared to the hideous and excessively large creature constructed from corpses that was towering over them off to the side. In the center of this bizarre scenery was a Druid, clad in pelts and armed with a Sphere of Annihilation. Freya was exited and quietly informed me what it was since I had never seen one before. It frightens me to retell her words so I shall say no more than that it is potent and highly dangerous.
We stood quietly in the branches above the crowd, observing them for a short while. It was rather disturbing what we saw. While the Druid directed the worshippers right into his sphere where they would never be heard from again, the large construct commenced eating the commoners, thereby making them part of its monstrosity of a body. We were forced to get a move on when the Druid noticed us and sent a number of dog-like creatures after us. While Kratos invisibly began taking care of the dogs and the more dangerous commoners, Shen and I turned toward the construct. As we began wounding it, it started falling apart and creating smaller undead creatures. Shen proceeded to hit the construct while I got rid of the undead.
Meanwhile, Freya was battling the druid, but did not succeed. He turned her into stone and had it not been for Nirra she would have shattered into a million pieces. But Nirra, blessed her devoted little heart, saved her goddess and killed the blasphemer that had dared to attack Freya. Once the commoners realized the druid had died, they fled in a panic. Viren, however, was able to return Freya to her natural form.
Meanwhile, as I was just about the slay the last of the undead creatures, the large fire near me came to life. A fire elemental! It caught me quite off guard, but I tried my best. Unfortunately, my best was not good enough and the elemental was able to take over my mind. I lost all control and began running to the large gaping hole where the druid’s sphere had originated. I dove right in, unable to move out of my own free will. It reminded me of my time as a Formian prisoner and I grew angry, viciously fighting for control. But I could not change that I was falling rapidly into unknown depths. Suddenly, I felt someone grabbing my feet and holding on to me. Shen! It was just the burst of confidence I needed to break free from the fire elemental’s control. As soon as I was able to, I held onto Shen as close as I could as he was slowing our fall. Above us, the rest of our party appeared, deliberately sent down with us by Freya who, despite her best attempts, had been unable to control and ward of the sphere of annihilation.
At the end of the fall there was no ground as such. Instead, we landed in a disgusting pool of thick blood with nowhere else to go. Before I could so much as utter my disgust, Shen who was still holding me, dove into the pool. We did not find ground here either but broke out in a large cave. We had arrived in Mabar. Next to us, the rest of our party grasped for air, spitting out blood they had involuntarily swallowed. My poor little Tycobi was so nauseated that he could barely move for a while.
The room we were in was indeed rather large, but filled with little lightning bugs. In the twilight they produced we discovered four nightwalkers with too many limbs that could reach as far as the edge of blood pool we were in. Off in the distance was a creature that was nothing but a giant face. Shen, eager to leave and to fight his way out if he had too, struck one of the nightwalkers and was overcome with madness and rage because of it. Afraid of the effects of their touch, we avoided the four creatures and moved on to the large face that was blocking our ascend up a spiral staircase. It’s skin was surprisingly sturdy and it needed all of our combined efforts to rid ourselves of the beast.
Beyond the stairs, we found a Lich named Morthair, whom Kratos introduced to us as his Master. Rather inhospitable, he summoned a Death Wraith that both Shen and Freya had encountered before. But instead of engaging us in a fight right away, the Master explained that a long time ago, when Freya and Nirra had both died it had been him that took a piece of their soul and inflicted them with the condition that is called tomb-tainted soul. He was now offering Freya to undo this if she agreed to become a Cleric of the Lady Vol. He further promised to turn over Kratos into Freya’s possession. She agreed to his proposition. Nirra, too, accepted upon gaining the knowledge that this kind of rebirth would allow her to become a true Cleric of Freya. She’s a strange one, that cat.
Meanwhile, I looked around the cave we were in, paved with coffins and scattered with other strange objects. When I opened one of the coffins, a zombie’s hand clawed at me and I quickly threw it shut again. I then walked over to what appeared to be a brain under a glas dome, looking at it rather curiously. While standing there, Kratos walked up next to me, telling me not to touch it. I insisted that I was not touching it, but he seemed to disagree with my definition of the word touch. And to prove me wrong, he grabbed my behind. Shocked and disgusted, I jumped away, drawing my scimitars on him and yelling rather loudly. It was beyond unexpected to see this mostly lifeless creature do such a thing. But I quickly understood as I looked beyond him to Morthair’s throne that was crumbling into pieces. The seal was breaking. Kratos was regaining his soul because of it!
The man Kratos, however, was even less desirable than the bodak Kratos. The first word he said to me once fully human was too inappropriate for me to repeat in this journal. I am still disgusted by it. Before he even knew it he has evoked my hatred and disdain and I wish nothing more than to throw him down, for any of our enemies to feast on. What’s worse is that he will not leave me alone since we have returned to the ship. I am guarded and trying to feel out his invisible presence constantly. This will be a long flight.
We have returned to Sharn and immediately taken to our usual shopping activities. I must say, I rather enjoy having a place to return to after an adventure. It is rather sweet to have my own bed somewhere.
Last night, I freaked out a little and needed to get away so I dragged Shen with me to go drinking. A much needed night out.
Thrae seems to have a crush on my little Tycobi and now everyone want to have “the talk” with him. He’s not old enough for that. He never will be! Freya gave him his first pipe. They are forcing me to accept that my baby is growing up, but I cannot do it. He will always be the child I found in the ruins.
We are back in Thronehold, the place where a living entity nearly mistook us for a light snack. I’m not sure that I want to be here.
Unbelievable. We have a new base of operations now. Or rather, we will once we make it slightly more habitable. But I shall start at the beginning.
Upon arriving in Thronehold we were stopped by a few guards right away. Nirra, hoping that honesty would work, told them we were here to stop the Tarasque, but they only laughed in her face. But we were able to convince them that we were in fact no one other than the Onyx Diamonds, a different adventuring group. Viren even made a statue of us entitle The Onyx Diamonds. I hope they never see it for it must inevitably make them quite angry.
We proceeded to look for the entrance to the plane of Eberron underground and must have spent at least a few hours in search of it, until we finally came upon a part of the floor that was covered with dragonmarks. The wall seemed to be fluid and some kind of portal. Without further hesitation, we walked through the portal to find ourselves in an old-fashioned, long abandoned room. Old, dusty furniture was strewn all over the place and we even encounter a dead, yet strangely preserved body. None of this was really of interest, but we discovered three different portals similar to the one we had just passed. The first one led nowhere but toward the wall behind it. Freya consulted her bowl for the way and told us it was pointing toward both of the remaining portals.
Freya and Kratos each moved closer to examine one of them, but got too close. All of a sudden, they had disappeared. Faced with the decision how to split the party, Tycobi chose Kratos, for whom he has started to have a most strange affection. Needless to say, I do not share those feelings. I was torn between following my child and staying as far away from Kratos as could. But as I suddenly remembered the incident with Thrae, I grew angry and chose to follow Freya instead.
We chased through numerous rooms in what appeared to be a castle of some kind. Little more noteworthy than our usual activities. However, when we entered an abandoned alchemists’ lab, we – almost literally – ran into a pit fiend. While I was already in position to find, Kratos decided on a different path of action. He convinced the devil to help us! What an insane and dangerous move!
While having him with us allowed us to avoid a few smaller fights in the next rooms, it shortly thereafter would turn out to be an awful decision. We entered a large room that had little more than a giant mechanical apparatus in the middle. We moved closer to understand its function, when suddenly force barriers sprung up around us, trapping us. Nirra right away turned to the machine to try and disable it. The pit fiend teleported to the part that had Freya locked in, who was holding a key that had allowed us to pass several of the portals. I, however, was trapped on the opposite side of the machine and could hardly see them. Trapped by myself, I was startled when Kratos appeared right next to me, rambling on about how he could not leave me alone right here. Before I had chance to rebuff his rather badly timed advances, spears shot out of the apparatus and we were forced to duck. For once I chose to let his stupidity go and told him to hurry up and do something about these walls. Trapped, I was utterly useless and nothing makes me angrier than feeling trapped.
Meanwhile, Freya had managed to get rid of the pit fiend by transporting him back to the room we found him in. Nirra kept working on the machine till it was completely shut down and we then found ourselves in a similar room with one difference: Instead of an apparatus that needed disabling, this one was crumbling on its own. We found the seal!
Afterwards, we decided to claim ownership of the castle and use it as a new base camp once our abilities began outgrowing those of the mortal realm of Eberron. A rather nice plan.
We have made our way back to Sarlona, on a mission for Aarson. He did not stop nagging us about the living breastplate we discovered on our last trip here. So we have come back to steal it. Simply enough, right?
We pretended to study the breastplate, but in reality we exchange it with a plaster copy Nirra had crafted. A commotion ensued and we managed to sneak out shielded by Viren’s invisibility bubble. Only when we left did we realize that we had not been the cause of the trouble. Rather, the dragon Uhlara, whom we had left in the monastery’s prison was escaping. I have a feeling this is not the last we have seen of her.
We are preparing to embark on our next mission. But first I want to sum up a few of the events that transpired while we were in town.
We celebrated Freya and Shen’s birthday. Bodok and Ane came over to our house for a little celebration. Aarson had a rather unusual gift for his beloved: His own beating heart in a box. In his chest there no longer is a heart of flesh, but one of stone. It is rather strange, but it fits their relationship unusually well. Some might even consider it romantic.
I had a gift of my own for Shen. I have grown tired of his gentlemen behavior. I may have many years to live, but I nevertheless do not have years to waste. To move things a bit further along, I awaited him in his room at night. In his bed. That is all our companions know, even though they have tried to pry details from both of us. I shall write no more in case they ever find this journal. This night shall remain our secret.
One year tomorrow.
One year has passed since the party freed me from the Formian Queen. I cannot believe that time has passed this quickly. And yet, I can. I’m starting to think that it may be time for me to journey on. But I am not ready to give these people up completely. They are the first since my time in Valenar that felt like a family to me. Unbelievable that I am comparing the fair Elves of Valenar to this ragtag band of individuals. They are smart and crafty, but they nevertheless seem to be bound more by coincidence than by anything else.
Now that I think about it, I feel the urge to see my friends in Valenar. It has been too long.
I have just received word that Carneth is marching on Valenar. I am afraid for my friends. I wish to help them, but we are about to go on another mission. I have faith in their strength, but that does not mean I worry any less. I must keep my ears open how this fight progresses. I may have to abandon this party to go and help them.
We have stopped by Aarson’s father in the Eldeen Reaches. He was no more pleasant than the last time we saw him. But more importantly, we are about to enter Thelanis, the Fairy Court. I will report once we return.
Even though we were gone for only half a day, more than three days have passed in Eberron. Time moves quickly in Thelanis. It is overall a rather unusual while not precisely unpleasant place. There is too much magic for my own comfort, but it is not hostile as such. Nirra was rather enchanted with the place and wishes to build a summer residence here.
Upon entering the plane, we were faced with small gnomish creatures that attacked us, as well as a nymph that attempted to blind us. As it turned out, the fight was nothing more than a spectacle for a hidden audience. I was rather distraught. While entertaining people has been my living for a decent while now (when I was not working as a mercenary), I do not appreciate doing so unwittingly.
Once we had left the theater behind, we began exploring and made our way to the Faery King’s court. It took much persuasion on our part for the guard to let us in. Charm, lies and dance all did little to impress him. I care not to admit it, but it was Kratos whose outrages story for the King (told to him in disguise) bought us entry. We were invited to a meal that, as it later turned out, was partially poisoned. Kratos went about and courted the Faery princess Anp. Nirra was chatting with the King, inquiring about other another catfolk she had seen, whom the King promptly summoned for her to talk to. The Catfolk was travelling with a man named Findelas and they seem to explore the planes not unlike us.
As the meal came to an end, the dance began. But shortly after the first dance, the King collapsed. He was dead. Freya ran over to heal him, which seemed to anger the prince and sole heir to Thelanis. Also, a strange goblin that Freya, Shen and Aarson had encountered previously was there and unhappy about Freya’s choice to help. The poisoned food, from which Freya had cleverly steered us away, had caused most of the court to fall ill and it took all of Freya’s might to heal them. But in the end, the seal broke with us at peace. It had been the King’s elaborate gold necklace.
Poison. How I hate it! It is a coward’s weapon of choice…
Back in Sharn. We have received a wedding invitation from Matron Tara. Needless to say that we rushed down to meet her husband-to-be. He is a brewer named Ista, about her age. A decent fellow, but a bit reserved. We have decided to plan the wedding for them.
We also came up with a name for our band of travelers – The Aberrants. Now the Onyx Diamond will at least have a name when they look to take our heads off for impersonating them…
Viren has heard word that an explorers’ mission into the Mournlands has ended poorly and we have been called up for a rescue mission. We are already near, I can feel it…
Sweet merciful Traveler, please never bring me near this region again! It only holds pain for me. This time I did not lose Tycobi, but I was tormented with visions of Shen in agony and dying and I lost part of my thigh ad kneecap. I was so stunned I barely realized it until Nirra brought me back to the ship. It is all rather fuzzy. I remember my scimitars started having a life of their own and that there was a tetramorph attacking me…
I have decided that I must leave my friends behind for a while. I must let my sweet Tycobi grow up to become a man. I simply find myself unable to accept that he is far past the age at which he needs me to take care of him. I have finally realized this as the injuries I sustained in Thelanis have visibly aged me. I now look as old as I feel. Too old to play protective mother to my beloved child. I must go, as much as it pains me.
Where I will go? Valenar. There is war there, and I can feel deep in my heart that Terlor is still somewhere out there. He needs me more now than Tycobi does. I do not wish to hurt Shen, so I will not tell him who I plan to assist. I shall miss him and his sweetness. I do not deserve his kindness. He is a good soul and I am still a mercenary at heart. I feel I shall never rid myself of that. I worry about my Abberants, but they have fared well on their own long before I met them. They will continue doing so.
I attach a copy of the letter that I leave behind tonight upon taking my leave:
By the time you find this, I will have left Sharn behind. It pains me to do so, but I feel I must. You have heard the news that Karrnath is at war with Valenar. But what you do not know is that I have history in Valenar. I have friends there that need me more than you do at this time.
My journey will take me through the Talenta Planes, where I found my dear Tycobi so many years ago. I can see still see you as you were that day. I always will. You will forever be the child that needed me and it has been difficult for me to understand that you are a man now. Having been separated from you for so long, I now leave you again. But this time I chose to do so. It will be good for both of us. I must accept that you are no longer a child. To do so I will travel the Talenta plains when the war is over, before I return to you. Only your kind will be able to help me learn and accept the man you have become. I am proud of you, my little one. You fight even more bravely and with more vigor than I could have ever taught you. Go on and be great, little one. I cannot wait to see what you will learn while I am away. In the meantime, I trust you shall find any support and advice you may desire from Shen and Viren, or from Aarson. I trust you will not disappoint me.
Freya, I thank you for the hospitality you have shown me this past year. You did not ask for a new companion and I did not seek company. And yet it has been adventurous and exciting and once again having a home to return to has been rather calming. I hope that I shall retain your favor until I return. You are a unique soul, Freya Stormshard, and it has been an honor knowing you.
Nirra, crafty little Nirra. I shall forever be in your debt for freeing me from the Formians. You have been a great companion and I will gladly stand with you in battle once again. Go forth and be true to yourself and you shall never need anything more than that.
Aarson. I have come a long way from despising you to considering you a friend. You have saved me more than once and proven your worth. I am in your debt, but I intend to repay it upon my return. Look after Tycobi for me.
Viren – it has been a pleasure knowing you. You are a quiet yet resourceful man. I thank you for your hospitality aboard your ship. May she sail the skies for decades to come, and may her Captain stand strong at the helm. The Traveler be with you!
Shen, my dear. No words need be said. I am sorry for disappearing into the dark night, but I must. I shall return, you have my word.
And Kratos, stay away from my son.
My friends, I will return to you soon for you have grown dear to my heart and I do not wish to leave. And yet I must. I shall be with you in sprit on your journeys to come.
After weeks of travel, I have not only lost track of time, but I have also finally reached Valenar. I have received word that Terlor is caught in the middle of the war. None of the Elves I have come across seem to recall who I am. It might be that I have never met them, or that simply so much time has passed that I have faded from their memory. I wonder if Terlor will still recall who I am. I am still uncertain if I should gather more information before I seek him out or hurry on to assist him.
I am restless. I know it is unwise to have come, to seek him out without warning. Three decades have passed since I last saw him, yet I look even older than that. Cursed be Fairy magic! Yet my heart yearns to protect him. I may not have been ready or willing to stay with him back then, but I have never stopped loving him. I know this now for a certainty. Being back here has wakened so many memories I thought lost in the darkness. I know now. I must go at once.
Last night, I arrived on the battle field. Terlor, despite his sweet nature, is among the highest command of this host. Tonight, when the soldiers gather around their fires, I will go to him and offer my assistance.
My worries were for naught. Terlor embraced me as the old friend that I am. I could see that his love for me has not been diminished by time, although its nature is less romantic than it is sentimental now. We spent most of the night talking about the years that passed while we were apart. He is married now, to a beautiful Bard called Prina whom he plans to introduce me to when she returns from her mission with the outriders. I told him about Tycobi and the Aberrants, although I could not bring myself to tell him about Shen and I, for fear that I have ruined this by leaving him, as I ruin everything. Terlor is a comforting presence, just as he always has been. Yet it was more than obvious that the war has exhausted him. He is not cut out for this kind of lengthy battle. He was much relieved when I offered to join the fight on the front lines. Yet he warned me that this is unlike any battle I have fought before. Little does he know that no two battles are ever the same, and I am always prepared for the unexpected.
It is almost dawn, I must rest now for the enemy does not give us much rest. They will attack when there is enough light for them to do so.
The weeks pass. We fight, we rest, we bury our dead. And then we do it all over again. I have managed to come away mostly unharmed out of all battles, thanks to Terlor by my side. But he grows more tired every day. We will not be able to resist for much longer.
The events that have transpired in the last 48 hours are beyond my comprehension, yet I must attempt to write them down. It is the only way I can hope to stay sane.
I am back with the Aberrants. You ask why I journey back, leaving the war? The answer is that I did not. I died. Yet I am here, writing this entry in possession of not just my own body, but my own body turned immortal. Let me start from the last thing I remember of Valenar.
I awoke from my meditation in the dark of night, to the sound of metal clinging and soldiers screaming. The battle had come to the heart of our host. I had no time to wonder how this was possible. Instead, I jumped up and grabbed my scimitar belt. As I was putting it on, a silent hand grabbed me from behind, covering my mouth and muffling the instinctive scream I let out. But I never even got to utter a tone, for a second dark hand ran a blade across my throat. Just for another moment, I could feel the blood streaming down onto my armor and then I was surrounded by merciful darkness.
How long I lingered incorporeally in the darkness, with no awareness of myself or my surrounding I cannot say. But finally, I felt myself grow real again. It must have taken no longer than a heartbeat, but to me it seemed like a lifetime. Yet where I found myself was more shocking than the awareness of having just been killed. I was in a large gave, with a group of Beholders ahead of me, and the Aberrants around me.
I cannot say who was more shocked – the party, the beholders or myself – but in battle there is no time to consider such oddities. My heart made a jump when I saw Shen who smiled at me warmly before returning his attention to the enemy ahead. I quickly glanced around and was distraught not to see Tycobi among them. Where was he? Dead? Left behind? Simply out of my sight? But I had no time to dwell.
The fight was short, but tough. The Beholders were not like I remembered them. Rather they were floating and moved away like air bubbles when hit. Yet, as always, we prevailed. After all of them were gone, we took a moment to realize what had happened. There was no time for lengthy explanations, but a few words sufficed to assess the basics of situation. I was most likely actually dead. Freya said I might be stuck on this plane for now, in between life and death. Not an appealing prospect in the least. Tycobi and Thrae were not with the party at this time. You cannot imagine how relieved I felt when I heard that my little one was well. Kratos, however, had not been so lucky. Although I did not learn the details of his death at this moment, I did so upon our return to Sharn. He had died trying to defend Nirra from a Wraith. I am not ashamed to say that his death did not sadden me, but made my heart take a little jump instead. I never had an ounce of love for the man. When I learned that he had been working on adopting Tycobi I was tempted to ask where they had buried him so I might dance on his grave. Out of respect for my friends, however, I restrained myself.
In addition to the members missing from to the party, there were two new faces. At least new to me. One is Ellina Twill, a Favored Soul with wings. Freya tells me she has been adventuring with them on and off for a while. The other new face is a fellow Elf from Aerenal named Astiel. It appears he is an ancestor of Shen and Freya’s (or so he claims) who was petrified a very long time ago and recently freeded by Viren whom he now owes a life debt. He is more old fashioned than the worst of the elders that I remember from my childhood. He does not mean ill, I know it. Yet he is an unusual character to get used to.
After we had taken that brief moment to grasp the situation, we had to press on. The seal would not wait for us. We were on Dolurrh, the realm of the dead, which is why Freya thought I was dead and stuck here. We continued into a room with a large crystal that we proceeded to break to reach the cavern below. Once we were down there, we encountered a large skeletal dragon that turned out to be an aspect of the Keeper. It was a rather strange fight. I was bit and could no longer be healed, as well as feeling the life and strength drained out of me by his mere presence. Nirra’s soul was stolen by the Keeper and her lifeless body simply collapsed on the cavern floor. The bulk of the party threw spells upon spells at him, most of which were useless. Shen disappeared, as he sometimes does, but he did not reappear right away, which worried me. He eventually did reappear, but not until several seconds later. During the entirety of the battle I did not attack a single time. I did, however, manage to active a magic siphon I bought a few years ago, when I was distraught about Tycobi’s loss. It creates a dispel magic field that affected both me and the Keeper. I could see the Keeper weaken and felt myself grow stronger again, and stronger yet when I was hit by a cure spell of Freya’s. Before I knew it, Astiel struck him down and severed the skull from the body. Aarson was rather excited about this, but saddened as the skull crumpled in his hands when he picked it up.
We rested until the seal broke. Freya found Nirra’s soul tied to a shard of crystal and took it home. While we were waiting I started fading away to ghost form. You cannot imagine the fear I felt as I saw my own arm move right through Shen. When I was simply standing around, thinking, my body began moving without my doing, toward a crystal shard much like Nirra’s. Freya told me I had to go into it upon becoming a full ghost, or she would not be able to take me home. But Nirra and I were not the only ones that were were taking to Eberron. Astiel found himself a sould to serve him, and we also happened upon Sur’kill, the party’s employer of sorts. It appears he had also died and required our assistance to return to the world of the living. Once all was said and done, we returned to our home in Sharn.
Upon our return to the only real home I have had in decades, I held back some tears. I was still a ghost, without a body, but the tears felt as real as any ever have. That night, Freya filled me on more details of what had transpired while I was away. I screamed when I learned that fr a while my dear Tycobi had also lost his soul, and sighed with relief when she told me he had it back. He was on a sabbatical now, she said. She will not tell me more, however, and I am worried why that could be. Shen is of no help to me on the matter, as he knows nothing more than that. I went to sleep that night as a ghost still, but I felt strangely at peace.
The next day Freya brought back Nirra, Sur’kill and myself after she had spent all day acquiring the diamonds required for the spells. It appears that Sur’kill and the Chamber have lost power. I do not care. I’m relieved to be where I am, alive and well. In a way I feel stronger even, more than mortal. I assume this is the feeling one gets when cheating the Keeper and I rather enjoy it.
Meanwhile, Astiel has resurrected his soul as a dwarf who, after some convincing and excellent bluffing on Astiel’s part, has agreed to serve him. The dwarf still is not used to his dwarven form and claims to have been a man of the city watch in his lifetime.
And now it is once again time to rest my new old body. I still cannot believe I was ever dead at all. When I read through this account in the morning, I think it feel like a nightmare.
… coming soon …