Ashfar

Sinfort's Journal 2

Well, it still seems as if sanity holds strongest when you write things down.  First, I'd like to acknowledge my encroaching fear that we'll be here forever.  You know when you're at an amusement park for the first day and you say, "Man, I could spend forever here and be in heaven."  Infallibly, by day seven or so, you realize you were absolutely wrong.  Even paradise becomes mundane given enough time.

Well, let me say that Ashfar is no damn paradise.  This place sucks.  In a sense, it has a feeling of grandeur and mystique which really serves to invigorate the party.  Then I realize that, at any second, I or my friends could die, then I suddenly admit that I would opt out of this if I had the option.  The journey to Saragost, and the subsequent journey inside Saragost, has become more reactionary and survivalist than epic and/or heroic.  I just get sick of this place.

Today, after talking to some dwarf in the tavern, .... yeah, I just siad that.  "Some dwarf in the tavern" has become as common as "that one thing with that one guy."  At any rate, some dwarf in the tavern asked us to check out his rat problem.  Yeah, yeah, I know….we're not idiots.  We all looked at each other and understood something bigger was going on, especially once he offered more than 200gp a piece.  We knew, but, on the other hand, we needed the money to gain prestige in a primitive society such as this.  So, begrudgingly, we accepted and walked into a horrible situation.

It didn't start bad, to be sure, but then rats were pouring out everywhere like some kind of bad Indiana Jones movie.  The only difference was the fact that a good handful of these rats were freaking huge!  They were the size of a big dog.  So, as I swing around and realize the battle has become an amorphous, unintelligible line of nonsense, I started trying to make some semblance of order out of it.  It only makes sense that we keep these damned rodents away from anyone who couldn't defend themselves from swarms of them.

So, as we unceremoniously skewered and destroyed these over-sized rodents, we became a little more cognizant of where we were, not just individually, but as a cohesive group.  What I'm trying to say is that we started fighting a bit more like a team.  I'll bet that'll be an indispensible factor in the future.  Our little hay-day isn't over yet, though.  Oh no.  We trek through a roughly-hewn tunnel only to find two kids crying and clutching to each other.  Instantly, my mind flashed back to my own child crying at home, desperate for any help whatsoever, so I stretched out my hand, offering aid.  Just as I did, Tim (I guess it's Karsh now) yelled at me, "No, dude!  They're not real kids!"

It turns out that big green bastard was right.  Those little freaks tried to bite me as I reached out to them.  That's alright, though, because they got the spear….......multiple times.  They said, "Excuse me, Sinfort, but I don't want the spear."  To which I replied, "Yes, I know, but you'll receive it anyhow."  They had no argument to appeal with since their faces were then distributed equally along the wooden floor of the abandoned storehouse.

Well, not to get emo, but I'm about sick of writing down tragedies into a parchment while it's this late at night, so I'm going to call this good.  If you can read this, then let my family know back home that I love them, and to not worry, I'll find a way home.

 No matter what. 

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Elwen's Journal
20th day of the Delver (late evening)

The guys made it back alive. Tim saved some street rat kid who tried to plant a cursed figurine on him. I still haven’t gotten the whole story on that, I’ll need to ask him once he’s had a chance to sleep. We’re all exhausted.

JT’s attempt to enlist the aid of the local wizard’s guild didn’t seem to get anywhere.. We all went to our rooms feeling a bit frustrated.

This is the first time I’ve had a private room since arriving here. We’re really moving up in the world. There were baths and everything. Still no running water but…that’s kind of the price you pay when you give up the modern world. For all the romanticizing people do about this time period, nobody ever mentions how much people smell. Everyone is so dirty, and with my new elven senses, I’m assaulted by it worse than the others. JT has some kind of fastidious little ritual which keeps our clothes clean and washed, thankfully..

Anyway,. with my newfound privacy, it was nice not to have to sleep in my leather armor like when we camp outside, (although the alternative is sleeping nude, which is weird on a lot of levels). I’ll spare you the details of that, but suffice it to say, I didn’t get much sleep at all when Karsh knocked on my door and told me to suit up.

Apparently there was trouble with a rat infestation, and the dwarven barkeep here wanted to hire us to investigate. Of course, we expected the problem was worse than mere rats…we know our share of fantasy tropes and you don’t hire heroes like us as exterminators.

Much to my disappointment, we weren’t disappointed…(If that doesn’t make sense, most of this week hasn’t, so bear with me). The rats in the cellar were everywhere, crawling over everything…and they started swarming… Soon giant rats joined the fray (think the R.O.U.S.’s of Princess Bride). Jeremiah did a good job getting the worst of it but Tim got chewed on quite a bit. We’re still figuring out how to fight together as a cohesive unit. What can you expect when most of us are still trying to figure out how to move unfamiliar limbs and wield weapons you’ve only seen in museum pieces?

Once the last rat was impaled on that giant sword of Tim’s, we found a tunnel and traced it back to their source: An abandoned tailor shop. It was a bit creepy, dummys and mannequins wearing decaying silks laced with cobwebs. We found two children…probably younger than ten years old, hiding in the back room.

Tim and Jeremiah tried to comfort them, but then we discovered that they weren’t children anymore. They may have been when they died, but they were vampires now. It was like Castlevania 64! They were crawling around, leaping onto the ceiling and dropping down on us, and of course, summoning swarms of their little rat pets to help tear us apart. We barely survived that battle, thanks largely to JT’s summoning a huge orb of fire that blocked off the reinforcing rats.

Now its back to bed for a well deserved rest. I’m so tired any other bedtime distractions will be the last thing on my mind. Tomorrow we’re supposed to appear before the Council of Saragost again and we’ll find out if this ‘warn the capitol’ trip was worth it.

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Elwen's Journal
20th Day of the Delver 12:30 am

A short update. Its been four or five hours since we arrived at the Tower of Undying Light. We met the Council of Saragost. Tim is suspicious that one of them might be in cahoots (IN CAHOOTS!) with the drow. Anyway, they awarded us with 1,000 gold each (I’ve never been so rich…We need to find a safe place for all this gold. I wonder if they have banks here? Or maybe we can buy gems, that are smaller and easier to carry?)

Tomorrow night they are awarding us with badges marking us as Freemen of Saragost, which I guess is a pretty big deal. They’re holding an award ceremony and everything, probably to help raise spirits.

We have a pretty nice suite at the Inn of the Flaming Beard, owned by this dwarf that likes to insult patrons. Dwarves are funny. Four days ago I wouldn’t have been able to say that with authority.

We had a bit of a celebration downstairs, and some kid slipped a weird statue in Tim’s pockets. He ran off, but we’re pretty sure its magical. Tim, JT and I were still awake, Jeremiah and Amy had turned in for the night. We decided to split up. Tim really wanted to see if that kid was in trouble, so he went to go track him down. JT took the statue to the wizard’s guild, the Adepts of the Prism, to see if he could get it identified. That left me to try my hand at picking up on local rumors and whatnot. Normally Jeremiah takes care of this stuff, he’s better at talking to people than I am.

Anyway, it actually went pretty well. People were really pretty open and willing to talk, when they weren’t staring at my boobs. (Note: buy turtlenecks in Saragost). I mostly stuck to the rich part of the tavern.

Now I’m back in our suite, waiting for Tim and JT to get back. We planned to meet back here in an hour. I’m going to go ahead and write down what I’ve learned so I don’t forget.

-It seems there are three power bases in town – the Council, the group of mages called the Order of the Prism and a group of crime lords. We’ve met the Council already and JT is meeting with the Order now. As for the crime lords, I’m not sure if we should avoid them or try to investigate them. If there’s any kind of drow agents in the city, that’d be the easiest place for them to infiltrate. Apparently they are called the Midnight Enclave, but no one would tell me more than that.

-The law is strict. Condemned criminals are executed by being manacled to the wharf wall at low tide; the incoming tide drowns them. Note: Stay out of trouble with the law.

-The Grand Baronial Hotel is the ritzy place in town. Apparently they even have a dancing mermaid act, which would be pretty cool to see. Really snooty dress code, though. If you’re not dressed up they’ll turn you away at the door. This means no armor, probably ‘nobles outfits’ and signet rings to boot. The true test will be to see if we can make a civilized appearance out of Tim. The thought of him in a tux makes me chuckle.

-There is believed to be some kind of corruption in the Council but nobody knows quite what is going on. Maybe Tim wasn’t too far off with his suspicions? The question is, is it true, and if so, how many Council members are corrupt? I asked why people are saying there is corruption going on and I learned something very disturbing: Some people on the council have been seen talking to mysterious strangers in hoods and cloaks. Hoods and cloaks= Don’t want to be seen…or hate the sunlight. Both scream ‘drow’.

-Sometimes, an up-and-coming criminal will be fished out of the harbor, dead from a massive wound to the backside, as if someone had impaled him on a sword blade. Is there a psychotic swordsman in the city, or some kind of self-made vigilante? A demon? Could be anything in a world like this..I’m a bit worried about the whole splitting up thing now..Tim and JT should have been back by now..

-There is a powerful magical item in the Tower of Undying Light. This isn’t the light itself, though I suspect it must be powerful since electricity hasn’t been invented yet. It looks like something is moving in the crystal at the top of the tower, but I didn’t catch a good look. Anyway perhaps that magical item can be used in defense of the city. Pressing the issue a bit further, I learned that the magical item in the Tower of Undying Light controls the weather. Interesting, I guess that would account for the part of the reason the harbor is so safe.

-A ghost pirate called Captain Whisper haunts the streets of Saragost. The guard told us that he asks for ale to quench his flaming beard.

-Several major burglaries have taken place recently, in which guards have fallen unconscious after being wounded by poisoned weapons. The ambushers earlier today used poisoned crossbow bolts. Most definitely related.. If they’re drow agents, what are they stealing? No one was specific on the details.

-Saragost is the safest harbor on the island. It actually has sea-gates that have to be opened and closed to let boats in, when they’re closed they provide calm waters for all the ships in the port. Stone golems are used to open and close the sea-gates.

-I had drinks with an older gentleman who was a pretty big expert on history. He said this city used to be an elven stronghold but was burned down centuries ago, so practically none of the original buildings are still standing; the elven sewer system is still intact, however and many houses have elf-built cellars, though the occupants do not know it. I guess he thought that I’d like to know that since I was an elf. Either way, there could be cool stuff down there from the old elven stronghold.

That’s about all I had time to learn before people cleared out and started going to bed. Nothing too secretive, but some interesting rumors to follow up on. Now I just have to wait for the guys to get back. I hope they’re alright..what is taking so long?

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Elwen's Journal
19th Day of the Delver, 8 pm

Another long day. We arrived at Hockton Barrow around noon, just in time for some sort of festival. Tim arm wrestled a guy and won a bit of gold. Jeremiah wrestled a lanky local outside the tavern. The guy was really spry, and it was a close match, but Jeremiah won. His kung fu was stronger.

There weren’t any ‘healing people’ contests so I remained a spectator for most of the morning. Then we found out about the main event: An archery tournament. I’ve been doing pretty decently with a bow so I signed up, along with Tim and Amy, of course.

Unfortunately I got disqualified in the first round, then Tim made it to the second round before he was disqualified. Amy was amazing though, shooting bulls eyes left and right. She would have won the Master’s Bow, but this jerk used a true shot spell to cheat, and beat her score. Then he made the mistake of insulting her in front of Jeremiah.

Naturally we followed him out of town and beat him within an inch of his life. Then came the big surprise: He was a drow in disguise! Probably a wizard, since he used the change self spell to come in and win that tournament. Bringing a captive drow back into town got everyone’s attention, and we were able to warn them about the invasion. They mobilized pretty quickly, Tim discussing strategies with Captain Jabril.

We moved along our way, but on the way out of town we saw an ogre trying to chop his way into the thorny hedge that protects the village. I guess he thought it would be a clever plan to come back later and loot a bit, but we put an end to him fairly quickly. JT had a crisis of conscience about it. I think the ogre probably had it coming, but he has a point: we can’t just assume something is evil because its a monster. We don’t know how things work here, and eventually we might slaughter some innocent creature because we’re thinking in terms of Monster Manuals.

We kept riding and came across a raiding party attacking a merchant wagon: Four goblins and an ogre. Tim charged the ogre, intent on seeing if anyone could be saved from the wagon. Just for the record, ogres are really really big…like huge. They dwarf even Tim…You can’t really get an appreciation for how huge they are until you see one face to face.

Anyway, this one crushed Tm with what looked like a tree. I really thought he was dead for a moment, until I saw him struggle to move. Jeremiah took charge after that, telling me, Amy and JT to use ranged attacks at the ogre while he took care of the goblins. I was having trouble hitting the brute but Amy was deadly accurate, as usual. I don’t know if JT hit it or not, he rode a bit out of my line of sight and started plugging away with his crossbow. In the meanwhile, Tim was bleeding to death so I started to skirt towards him, only to attract the attention of a particularly inept goblin. I avoided him and almost made it to Tim’s form when I noticed the ogre was closing in on Amy. Jeremiah had a goblin on either side of him and didn’t look like he could help her, and I shuddered to think what that ogre would do to her after seeing him destroy Tim so easily. That is when I noticed a strange…aura…of starlight around my body, shining like a beacon. It must have been granted by Lumiya, my new patron deity here, in answer to my concern for Amy. Without really thinking, I focused the light into a beam and aimed it at the ogre. Already wounded from multiple arrows, the purifying light finished him off, destroying him just as he closed the distance to the archer.

With that under control, I made it to Tim and began the now-all-too-familiar work of patching up crushed bones and torn muscle, still dodging out of the way of that goblin. Tim stood up then and finished off the little pipsqueak just as Jeremiah was finishing off his last goblin.

The merchant was grateful, and offered us a reward that JT graciously declined. Turns out he was transporting arrowheads to Hockton Barrow…they’re definitely going to need those in the days to come.

We continued towards our destination, Saragost, which seemed so far away only two days ago.

We met with Captain Severin on the road, Captain of the Westguard or something like that. Jeremiah made fun of his helmet for awhile and he offered us an escort around the refugees and into the city. It seems news travels faster than we do, and people actually paid attention to our warnings because there must have been hundreds of people camped outside of the massive walls of the capitol.

Tim grew suspicious of the Captain, remembering that there are drow agents already in the city. Still, we made it inside with no incident…unfortunately we wandered right into an ambush. Assassins in upper floors fired down on us, hitting Tim and I (really painful!). Jeremiah threw a couple of javelins back to them, to no avail, while Tim and the Captain tried to move the wagons out of the way that had us trapped in the alley.

JT cast the alarm spell, probably to alert any nearby patrols of city guards, and I just prayed to Lumiya to get us out alive. A moon goddess, she has power over water (the tides?) and she conjured a thick mist in answer to my plea. We couldn’t see much at all, after that, but Tim shouted for us to go to his voice. Captain Severin rode by, looking more than a little stressed. It is understandable, I’m sure he’s going to be in more than a little trouble when they find out we almost died en route to the Council.

We escaped, and the guards who heard JT’s alarm were sent by Severin to investigate the ambush. We, meanwhile, headed to a large tower, called the Tower of Undying Light, (I think), in order to meet with the council. Turns out Saragost isn’t run by a monarchy, as we assumed, but by a City Council of its most influential citizens. Supposedly there are five of them, with one elected to be President of the Council, but I don’t know how long the term lasts or what that entails.

Right now we’re sitting in a rather lavish waiting room in the base of the tower, surrounded by guards, while we wait for the Council to get ready for us. It is a great relief to finally be at our destination. I’m hoping we can deliver our warning, offer what advice we can, and then hit the library and figure out a way back to our own world (and more importantly, our own bodies).

I’m not sure if everyone else has the same priorities…we’ve only been here a few days and already I can feel that we are changing. Jeremiah seems more aloof, almost unconcerned about the here and now, as if his mind is elsewhere. Tim is becoming more assertive, even aggressive, perhaps from his orc nature or maybe its just a newfound sense of invincibility at being in such a powerful body. Amy remains cheerful, surprisingly she is adapting to this fantasy world better than any of us, considering that she never even played D/D before. Talk about being thrown in the deep end. JT is…well he’s still JT, albeit much shorter and with a bit of magic. I’m afrai it doesn’t seem very powerful yet, but it should grow. (There’s a thought….if worse comes to worse, eventually maybe he’ll learn how to travel between planes?) As for me, well, I’m not sure how I’ve changed, but I’m sure my personality isn’t the same. I’m less prone to taking the lead, and I talk quite a bit less. Part of that is because I’m still disconcerted by the sound of my own voice, but that can’t be all of it. I wonder how much of ourselves we will lose to our new personas if we stay here much longer?

I don’t intend to find out..

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Nhym's Journal

I’m so happy to be here in this tower. We are waiting to meet with the council or whoever it is that runs this joint. I’m mostly glad to be here because there are guards everywhere. Sure, on terms of basic probability, there are undoubtedly some of them waiting to slit our throats as we sleep, but this is still better than being outside the walls of Saragost where is seems everybody and their bloody dog wants us dead.

Seriously, we can’t seem to take five steps without uncovering a plot to genocide this world or without getting ambushed by a bunch of bad guys intent on our demise. Come to think about it, we’re not even safe from that within the walls of Saragost – we got jumped in an alley. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – thank god Tim is huge.

When push comes to shove, the GT works as a very cohesive unit – I just wish we could all be on the same page. We killed what appeared to be an ogre the other day, which is alright because it turns out they are, in fact, typically no good in this world. But the point is that we didn’t know that and we shot first. Then again, with as many things out to get us here, shooting first could be a habit to get into.

I need to start storing more offensive spells. I may not always have Tim and Jeremiah around, and they may come in handy. Balance, JT.

Also, apparently drow exist. Swell. I foolishly allowed him to land a sleeping spell on me – which was retarded. That’s simple, simple magic and I should’ve seen it coming. Thankfully, he couldn’t slow down Tim and Jeremiah who beat him into a puddle of blood. Good. Fuck him.

This is the norm here in this place, so a little reprieve is nice. Oh! They’re letting us in, I’ll write more later!

JT (Aryon for now)

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Karsh's Journal
Day 2- Southern Cross

(the word ZOMBIE is circled and accompanied by a smiley-face)

Made it to Lichgate. Worried. Making good time?

Convinced council to abandon Lichgate. Hopefully.

(The words Apple Merrywind and Halfling are written in the margin)

Killed an ankheg. Found drow crossbow bolt w/poisons.

(The snippet DROW UNDER LICHGATE has been underlined twice)

Carriage. Ambushed by bandits. Victory. Jerry, boss, dead. Mandy, evil, captive. Tig, dumb, Lichgate.

Scums Grove. Tavern brawl! (The words This is totally Mos Eisely! are scribbled as an enthusiastic afterthought)

Convinced the Guild of Merchants to take precautions.

Churney on the Green. Killed a warg. Jass, elf, druid. (an arrow connects the name Jass to the words STARBORN LEGEND )

I’m so tired.

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Elwen's Journal
19th Day of the Delver, 4 am

Its funny, back on earth I used to routinely go without sleep and not think anything of it. Now sleep feels foreign to my body altogether. Its another reminder that I’m not really human anymore. I went into a sort of trance tonight, I saw flashes of things that I don’t remember anymore. Nothing so vivid as my dream of Lumiya, but there was something significant to my dreams. I need to learn how to remember them..

Its strange how quickly you can get used to something. Like when you put in a new pair of contact lenses, at first you are surprised by how clear everything is, and after a few minutes, you forget about the difference and what was once clarity becomes the norm. That’s kind of how I feel now. Everything is sharper, more audible, each of my five senses is stronger, but I don’t even notice it anymore.

I bought a cloak and a hood in Lichgate, to cover up a bit. Ironically, the change in gender is harder to get used to then the change in species. The cloak covers my shoulders and leaves me feeling less exposed. I was very glad for it in Scumsgrove. I never felt so scared. I tried not to show it, but suddenly I realized today how different life is for girls. Something as simple as walking through town can be terrifying. I envied Tim his strength, he seems to think he’s invincible here, with a confidence born of not yet knowing his limits. The guys seemed to enjoy themselves in the tavern brawl. Amy and I tried to blend in without attracting attention.

We warned the towns of Lichgate and Scumsgrove of the coming invasion before reaching this village..it reminds me of a medieval hippy commune. They live in harmony with nature, and are guarded by an elven druidess named Jass. I chose a hollowed out tree to sleep in tonight, it has a little bed of moss inside with a woven blanket. Its actually very comfortable, and it gives me some privacy. Its been two days since we arrived and none of us have bathed yet. Between that and the gore that’s starting to dry on our equipment and clothes, we’re really starting to stink. I never even got to wash the ankheg guts out of my hair. I’m hoping once we get to Saragost and don’t have to worry about rushing around, there will be time for hygiene, although, in all honesty, I’m sort of dreading that moment at the same time..

Oh! I got a rapier today, must be masterwork, from its balance. I don’t have as much arm strength as I used to, but I think I can start practicing with it and maybe see how much of my fencing will translate over. I know my stance is going to be off, but once I adjust I should be able to defend myself with it.

That’s all for now..I have to meditate and…commune with the Moon? I know that sounds weird, but its how I prepare my spells. Lumiya is the elven moon goddess, and her powers are strongest at night, thus, it is under the moon that I replenish my divine energies. Its strange to be united, for a brief moment, with the divine powers of a god, and then to be severed again as the spell discharges. It is nice being able to heal my friends..if I can keep them alive, than all of this is worth it.

Note: Legend of the Starborn? What does ‘only five’ mean?

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Nym's Journal
I have to do this...

I’m so exhausted, but my mind is what is going to get me out of this alive (my 3’ tall frame definitely won’t) – I need to keep my thoughts organized and my brain rested. First, organization.

It seems like no matter what dimension I’m in, the whole world is against me. Back home, it was the 92% of the world that believed in God and they sent me nasty letters. That was always annoying.

Now it’s fucking brigands, criminals, and talking wolves. Yes – talking wolves. Had this occurred on the first night I was here, it would have occupied a few pages in here. Now it’s not even news.

Alright, I can feel my essence getting stronger. I’m going to try and store a few more crystals in the morning. I think the risk is worth it – at worst I’ll just be really exhausted as we ride tomorrow, but at best I’ll have a few more cards up my sleeve to get us out of trouble. I really doubt we’ve encountered the worst yet.

Anyway, we’ve done a lot in a very small period. It’s what the GT has always done – synergy and amazing efficiency when we need to.

Amy’s alright. David had some kind of godly experience and can now heal wounds. This is fortunate, as we surely stand to sustain a few more.

We arrived at Lichgate late and I went straight to bed. I need to stay rested. The following morning we were lucky enough to bump right into the only other halfling I’ve seen here. Her name was Apple Merrywind and she was the town marshal (she was really cute – I’ll have to remember that if there is no way home…after all, our kind is supposedly very rare). It was nice to have some good luck for a change. We told her about the invasion and set off.

Of course, as luck would have it, a local farm was attacked by some kind of giant caterpillar with teeth. It’s so useful having Tim be huge – he made short work of it. Amy found a crossbow bolt in the beast laced with poison, which explained it’s violent behavior. As if an invasion force unlike any ever seen isn’t enough to deal with. We sent a farm boy off to tell Apple – hopefully the town militia can do something to slow them down if, like Bronce, they are operating under the town.

On the way out of town, two men and a woman tried to rob us. Of all the people in the world, why must they pick the ones trying to save your whole god damned world? Jeremiah relieved one of them of the burden of living. The other guy was just a patsy, and we sent him back to Lichgate to turn the lady in and join the militia. He’s a big guy, though not terribly bright (Edge?). We’ll need all the muscle we can get on our side.

We arrived at Scumsgrove that night and you will not believe what happened. Dialogue right out of Star Wars Episode IV (“He doesn’t like you, I dont’ like you either…”). In a town full of bullies and criminals, which is what Scumsgrove is, it’s not a good thing to be the only three foot tall person walking around. Long story short, it wasn’t long before we were in the middle of a huge tavern brawl. Once again, having a martial artist and a half ogre came in handy (although I found creative ways to help out).

The GT is so well equipped to survive. Jeremiah and Tim’s diplomacy came through. We would have wasted a great deal of time talking to the mayor – he’s useless. The town itself is run by merchants and other criminals who stand to lose a great deal from this invasion. It’s getting late here, so long story short, they were extremely grateful and rewarded us with a pile of gold. It may be a fortune, it may only buy a candy bar – I’m not sure how much gold is worth here. All the same, it can’t hurt.

Ug…so tired. Ok, just a brief summary. We rode straight through to reach our current location, Churney on the Green. It looks like Teladrasil from WoW – definitely very druidic. We saved the pet/familiar/non-talking wolf of Churney’s leader from a very ill-tempered wolf that did talk (and threaten, and bite). It felt like The Chronicles of Narnia for a moment. He got a good bite in on Jeremiah and would’ve done more damage had Tim not stepped in. I think Jer will be fine. Anyway, she mumbled some stuff about our situation that I really should have been paying attention to – but I am so exhausted. Speaking of which, I think I’ll sleep well here – it’s very peaceful. There’s something about sleeping in a tree that makes you feel untouchable.

One last thing – I came across a section in my spellbook tonight that dealt with severing your essence. Once again, it’s not as bad as it sounds! If you rip your essence in the wrong way, it scars. But you can be very gentle with it and it will grow back fine. This discovery is important because you can actually imbue objects with your essence. From the little I’ve read, it seems like a very arduous process, but it may just be worth it. Once again, we’re going to need all the help we can get. I’ll definitely have to read up more on that.

Alright…as Amy would say, it’s sleepy beepy time. Heh…we started having some genuine laughs in the last twenty hours, even in the face of danger. We always took that for granted – but now I see how important it is. As important as I thought the fellowship the GT shared was up to this point, I was still selling it short. It may be the best thing we have going for us now.

JT Eberhard, previously of Earth

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Karsh's Journal
Day 2- The Sword of Starkweather John

The moment I held the sword, it felt as though all of my doubts were stripped away. I felt complete.

I thought I might stay for a while in the old churchyard. It’s peaceful here. I can gather my thoughts.

My friends are meeting with the people of Bronce to discuss the best course of action. I already know what we must do. We must ride to Saragost with all haste and present proof of our story to the king, so that he can muster his armies and prepare to repel the invasion. We must also investigate the plans of our enemies in the Underdark, so that we may counter them successfully.

But what of Bronce? I suspect that the king has neither the time nor the inclination to send troops to defend such a far-flung hamlet that is not of any strategic value. The people will be slaughtered unless they abandon their homes and flee to the capitol. I hope they listen to reason.

I am ready to ride night and day if necessary. We cannot falter for even a moment.

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Elwen's Journal
17th Day of the Delver- Near Midnight

Wow.

I’m not really sure how to start this entry..

Tim left to go look for the Sword of Starkweather John. I must have been more exhausted than I thought, and, feeling pretty useless watching Amy’s fitful sleep, I must have dozed off. It was not the sleep I had known before, as a human. I fell into a sort of trance, my eyes staring blankly ahead. I do not know if my friends, preoccupied as they were with what was going on, even noticed that I was out. The only way I knew it was that the room was suddenly empty, except for me and the open window to the moonlit night.

In my dream, I saw an elven woman approach me. Her hair was like starlight, and her entire being glowed with a pale radiance. She seemed serene, wise, ageless. I felt insignificant in her presence. As she approached, she seem to shrink until she was only a little taller than me at her arrival.

“You were unable to help your friends…They have all been so close to death already and you could do nothing to prevent it.” Her voice was not accusing, merely stating a truth I had already been struggling with.

I could say nothing, and only nodded.

“They will fall, one by one. The dark gathers against them and Mother can no longer intervene. She has done too much already.” The voice continued, a hint of compassion behind the silvery cadence of her words.

I looked up at her, wishing to deny her prophecy. The thought of death claiming my friends had me livid, but some part of me knew that her words rang true.

“A daughter can help her mother’s work..” The elven woman continued, sensing my frustration. “If you will serve me, as I serve Her, your friends may yet survive. Your mission may yet succeed. You must learn the healer’s art. You must become my priestess and act as my vessel. Without divine aid, only death awaits your friends…and this world.”

What could I say? I already served a God…but He had been silent since this adventure started. Perhaps He was behind this as well…a sort of higher power working through these events in His customary ‘mysterious way’. I couldn’t be sure of anything anymore, but I knew that this woman..this goddess spoke the truth.

“I accept.” The first two words I was able to utter in her presence, after what seemed like an eternity of indecision.

She smiled, pleased, and suddenly the moonlight around her seemed to spread into my being, filling every ounce of my dream self with a tranquil glow. Divine knowledge filled my mind, I realized the identity of this goddess, and the rites of her service.

“Now awake, my daughter. There is much still to be done.”

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