Legacy of the Forlorn

Hunter and Prey

Coreena’s muscles tensed as the creatures walked past. She blended into the shadows perfectly, and her bow was pulled taunt and on target. Despite her preparation, she knew she was only suppose to shoot if they were spotted. These were lesser Devils, a scouting party to probe Kyonin’s defenses. Ever since the sundering Treerazor’s forces have become more aggressive and many wait for the full blown assault that will more then likely follow. That was why Coreena and the rest of her party were out here.

Kyonin had been thrown into chaos after the sundering. Coreena really didn’t care though. In fact, she found it somewhat amusing to see the elves in such a state. Their normally smug and superior demeanor’s replaced by looks of fear and confusion. They hold themselves above everyone else, but the minute a catastrophe strikes they become frightened children. She even heard talks of some wanting to run to Sovyrian for protection. Typical that some of the first recommendations was to run and hide. If it wasn’t for the time she spent with her mother and family she would write the rest of the race off as cowards.

Still, Kyonin was part of her and she knew that if something wasn’t done soon the kingdom would be lost. Thankfully some of the Elves kept their heads, her grandfather being one of them. She was surprised when he came to her for assistance. She could see that both the sundering and the disappearance of the rest of their family was taking its toll on him and he looked older then ever. When Coreena heard about her mother’s disappearance she was frightened at first. She feared that the Black Crescent’s assassins had penetrated Kyonin and were now picking the rest of her loved ones off one by one. Kyro was killed just days after Amika’s birth. He had only gotten to hold her once before his death, and now Coreena feared her mother would perish before she got to know her granddaughter as well. When she went to the spirits of the land however, they told her that her mother was alive. Coreena knew that where her mother was, her siblings were with her. She knew that what ever horrors they were facing they would overcome them, and she would see them again. Her grandfather told her told her that Kyonin’s enemies were mustering, and that the Queen was issuing a call to arms. He knew that she had spent time in the Tanglebriar, and that she would be helpful with the raids Kyonin was sending to weaken Treerazors forces before they could go on the offensive.

Coreena was thankful to get away from the cities and be out in the wilderness for awhile. Even though the Tanglebriar was incredible dangerous, she preferred it to the chaos and noise that had enveloped Kyonin. Out here it was simple, hunt and kill. She believed that the rest of her party felt the same. Most of them had guarded Kyonin’s borders for centuries and probably preferred the dangers of the mission to the politics back home.

The creatures they were observing past without incident. Still they waited until they were out of sight before her team’s leader, Tyras, gave them the signal to move on. They crept silently through the Tanglebriar in search of their target. Silent hunters in an unholy land. Even here Coreena could hear the spirits. They were twisted and some spoke as if in pain or were insane, but they still dwelt here. In the twisted trees and the blighted streams, the Tanglebriar was still a land filled with life.

There was another reason why Coreena decided to go on the mission. She was still unsure about what to do with Amika. Both Coreena and Kyro were unprepared to have Amika and now that he was gone, she did not know if she wanted the child. Before she left, her mother recommend a man who lived in Seven Arches who Coreena could leave the child with in times of emergency. Her mother told her that he was a good man but she had little contact with him in recent years. The last part was important as that means it would be difficult for their enemies to track the child to him. The mans name was Khristian Montain and he was a priest of Sarenrae. Coreena approached Khristian and he agreed to watch the child as long as was necessary. Coreena could tell he was a loving and wise man and she felt a pang of despair knowing that hewould probably make a better parent then she would. That’s the main reason why Coreena didn’t want Amika. What kind of mother would she be? Her own mother dropped her in a orphanage and saw her rarely. Coreena hated her for that, but feels that she might make an even worst mother. Amika was not even a year old and already she had people from distant lands trying to kill her, a dead father, a missing grandmother, and a mother who has to fight the urge to escape into the woods. What struggles and dangers await Amika just because she was born to Coreena and her family?

A signal from Tyras told her they were approaching their target and she quickly pushed her thoughts aside. In an instant she turned back into the hunter. Focused solely on finding and killing her prey, nothing else. They quickly settled into their positions and made themselves ready for the ambush. They had never worked together, but each one knew their place. The sat quietly with their bow’s raised for what seemed like eternity until their target came into view. This was a powerful devil covered with long jagged barbs and commanded the lesser devils around it. These higher devils were the targets of the raids. By targeting them, the elves hoped to cripple Treerazor’s command structure so that his army would be disorganized when the attack commenced.

They all honed in on their target and waited. Each arrow was enchanted to be a bane to devil kind and each one was aimed straight for a vital organ. Coreena focused on the creature. Every sense, every nerve, every ounce of her being concentrated on it. When the time came, she did not need to look to see if her arrow hit the target. She knew it would before she even let go of the string. In a blink of an eye the devil was filled with arrows and dropped dead before it could even utter a single order. The lesser devils with it were quickly dispatched and in less then a minute an entire squad of devils was wiped out.

They gathered what supplies they could from the devils and moved on. This was the aspect of the elven people that Coreena took pride from. This was the part of them that flowed in her. The people of the woods. The shadows that strike at their enemy’s leaving nothing but bodies and the wind. The hunters of land.

A smile crept across Coreena’s face as they continued on. The hunt was just beginning.

Skywatch Silence

Navarre has taken to dragging along his dark elf pet on our little excursions, and this time was no different. Palanon has found another potential location that could be used to call down a star. This time the location is high in the mountains at the Icerime Peaks, in an ancient city called Skywatch, mostly due to the observatory that is there.

I personally would have enjoyed the journey to the north if not for Falcon being brought along in tow. We crossed the River Kingdoms with little trouble, and it gave me an opportunity to see the rest of the land I will one day control. The others seemed to have a nice trip as well, although I think that we all would have had a much better time if Falcon had not been with us. I know that he was worried that one of us would try to kill him, and it was quite fun to watch him squirm during the weeks of our journey.

So as the days passed into weeks, we made our way to the edge of the world, and found an army amassed in front of the walls of Skywatch. We were stopped by some low level soldiers, who were quickly put in their place by Navarre. He has always had a way with the military types, personally I think anyone who will follow orders blindly needs to be examined by doctors. I actually think that Amaras and Navarre were on the verge of killing this poor human when a dwarf appeared yelling at the sentry to let us pass. I think he may have been a relation to the dwarves of the Five Kings Mountains, but I don’t really pay much attention to the clans and families of dwarves, as they seem to like to take every known ancestor and add it to their names.

This dwarf lead us through the camp up to the walls of the city, telling us of how long they have been besieging the city, and the losses they have taken, and on and on the dwarf droned. I could tell that Navarre was riveted by this discussion but I could care less, walls are no match for an assassin’s blade, and I was willing to prove it. During one of the breaks in the conversation I said I could travers the field and climb the wall, drop down into the city and teleport my siblings inside. I could then eliminate the leader of the city and the army could walk in without so much as losing a single man. The dwarf was not impressed, and another noble, who I did not notice arrive due to falling asleep during the extensive conversation about military matters, also felt that such a plan was doomed to fail.

Seeing this as a challenge, I used what magical effects I had at my disposal and made my way to the city unseen by the sentries on the walls. Clambering over the huge walls surrounding the city was the hardest part of the entire ordeal, I really need to start packing something other than dresses for such excursions. Once I reached the top of the wall it was an easy matter to drop to the ground and make my way toward the center of the city. Palanon had briefed us about the effects to look out for during a starfall in our excursion to the Land of the Linnorm Kings, and it was easy to see the telltale signs of such an event hovering over the observatory. I skulked my way to the center of the city, and once I had located a suitable location to conduct the summoning, I pulled my siblings to me.

One thing that I did notice during my travel through the city was that the inhabitants did not move like people, more like zombies, as I have had a number of experiences with zombies in my experiments at the Assassins Guild. They had no will, and moved like the dead, with a purpose that has no haste or joy in it, only the need to do what they were told. Hiding from them was easy, as they did not look around during the patrols, they only followed the path set out for them it appeared.

Using the bracelet that allows us to teleport family to each other, I pulled them to me, just outside what appeared to be a door into the observatory. We quickly made our way across the open area around the landmark, and started opening the door. I should have known that entering the observatory would not be easy, but this was even beyond what I had anticipated. As we activated the door mechanism, it moved so slowly that it was almost imperceptible, and all the while the door made a grinding screeching sound that drew the mindless denizens of the city down on top of us. Fighting and magical effects soon erupted around us. We managed to fight off the first wave of attackers, but knew that it was only a matter of time before they would all start to converge upon us, it was at this point that Amaras turned himself into a great beast and started to lift each of us, in turn, into the opening that was available to us. Once we were all inside, we started to close the door and prayed that the enemy would have a difficult time getting inside after I had damaged the control mechanism.

So here we were, in a tube with a door at either end, and Navarre suggested that this may be some sort of equalization tube, I guess it is something he learned from the dwarves. He explained that the inside of the observatory may be at a higher or lower pressure then the world outside, and as such the two doors allowed the atmosphere of each section to be filtered in if you were leaving or entering the area. So we activated the other door expecting what we thought was the worse, only to find the room flooding with a brackish water. Quickly casting some spells, Lor’Athron and Palanon were able to grant us all the ability to breath water, and we were safe from downing as the water level quickly rose above our heads.

Once the water level filled the tube, the door leading into the observatory opened, and we were meet with darkness , as the water enveloped all the light we could cast. Making our way blindly through the corridors we managed to make some headway, moving further into the ancient structure. We felt comfortable in our progress when we were attacked. Three aboliths ambushed us in a corridor, flanking us, and I guess they felt that would give them the advantage. Unfortunately for them, this proved to be an error on their part, as it took only a few seconds worth of magical energy to route them, allowing us to progress into the center of the building.

The whole structure was vast, but nothing had prepared us for the size of the central chamber. For some reason the light here was able to penetrate the darkness and we could see the entire night sky laid out around us. Extending above and below, showing everything in the night sky, from planets to stars, and then out of the heights came the largest creature I think I have ever seen. It looked like an abolith, but it was titanic in scope, and it projected thoughts into our heads, telling us of its plan, and how it was on the verge of creating a new order to the world. We acted quickly, trying to move up to attack the creature, when another appeared from out of nowhere attacking us and keeping us from its mate. One swam up to the top of the observatory and started working its arcane magic to call down the star, while the other sweep us all up into a combat that was meant to keep us away from the ritual magic.

In a tactical move, Amaras, Navarre and I stayed below to keep the attacker occupied, while Palanon and Lor’Athorn focues magical energy at the spell caster above us. The fight was frantic and magical energy coursed through the waters, as did the blood of both our enemies and ourselves. Yet in the end the abolith was vanquished and in an explosion of magical energy the dome of the observatory cracked open and we were forced out in much the same way that water is ejected from a fountain.

It took only a short time before the people of the city came to us, now freed from the grasp of the aboliths, and welcomed the soldiers into the city. We left as hero’s, having freed a people from evil, and at the same time saving them from the certain doom of a starfall.

Day of the Darkblight

We have never really known much about Mirri and her relationship that brought about her daughter Correna. We have assumed much, and speculated about even more, but as time passed we stopped wondering and just accepted that it happened, and knew that we would not gain any more information about the subject from Mirri. Thankfully the gods have smiled upon us and the mystery is now over, as our latest adventure brought us face to face with Mirris’ estranged lover.

We had received word, through Amaras, that a cult of druids needed our assistance in the forests of Nirmathas. So being the concerned family, knowing that Amaras would forget to come home if we did not go along, we accompanied him to meet these druids. The journey was not that long, although we had to use a boat to cross Lake Encarthan rather than utilizing the elfgates. Once we arrived and started moving through the woods, I think we all noticed how much different this forest was from our home of Kyonin. In Kyonin nature lived in harmony with the creatures living there, this forest was anything but harmonious. As we walked through the trees, I felt like the forest was trying to force us out of its boarders, branches and bushes seemed to resist us, preventing the passage into the depths of the wood. Amaras and Correna were the only two that did not experience the pressure of the forest upon them. And the deeper we entered the more resistance we met. At the point of turning back, we finally broke through into a clearing that had homes and huts around a village green, but instead of seeing the smiling faces of druids, we found bodies and blood. I quickly did my thing, utilizing my ring to become less then a shadow, and scouted ahead. Moving from body to body I found that each of them had been drained of blood, and that the wounds upon them were not consistent with an attack from the undead. I also noticed that there was a good deal of fungus and dead plant mater around the village, making me think that this pack of druids was killed by our cousins. My cousory search did not yield anything important so I had back, thinking I had found everything of worth from the group.

Once I told my family what I had seen Amaras insisted that we bury the dead, so we all set about collecting bodies. It was at this point that we found a living human. A man in his 60’s with grievous wounds, but still holding onto life. When we called Mirri over to help heal him she did so with great care and skill. When he opened his eyes he called her by name, and it was at that point that Mirri became a very different person, she reminded me of me for a second or two. She was furious and angry, calling him some names and then leaving in a huff. We found out from him that Mirri had tended his wounds once before years ago, and that he had a relationship with her, a physical relationship.

The mystery was solved, we now all knew who the father of her child was, and believe me, nothing made Mirri more upset that that. Palanon and Lor’Athorn fussed over the old man for a long while, making sure that he was ok I guess, but I ran off to tease Mirri, only to find her crying at the edge of the village. Thinking back it would have been fun to tease her, but Calistria would not have approved I think, this was her time to enter Mirri’s heart, and allow the need for vengeance to set in, after all the man had run off with no reason given or letter left behind.

Returning to the rest of my family I heard them discussing what had actually transpired here. It seems that this man was hunting a beast from his portion of the world, a spirit of sorts, that was connected to the natural world in such a way that it could affect large stretches of land by connecting itself to the native plants and animals. His mission was to hunt this beast as it was part of his clans duty to see that it was eliminated so that another spirit could take its place in the natural cycle of life. This didn’t really matter to me so I only paid as much attention as I felt would be needed to ensure that everyone thought I would be interested. I spent most of my time studying this man’s face, to see if I could determine what caused my prude of a sister to allow this man into her secret garden, for I was sure that she didn’t even know what it was for until Correna arrived.

Not being able to determine what this man possessed to pry my sisters legs apart, I settled into the conversation. What was he hunting, how long had he been hunting it, how do we kill it, can it be killed, and what happens after it is dead were all questions that were being discussed. Amaras was quick to offer our help in tracking the monster, Navarre was also right behind, Mirri came to us at that point and also offered to help, not seeing any alternative I also agreed to assist in the matter. So we all left the dead village, and moved back into the forest. As we moved deeper into the wood, we started to see more dead plant matter, and a fungus that stretched from tree to tree, almost like a spider web was cast about the forest.

Moving quickly we made good time, as the man had the ability to make our passage through the wood easier, although how he did it from Amaras’s back I will never know. After a short passage through the forest we found the creature, it looked a lot like a flower honestly. As we got near it, it pulled itself from the ground and started lashing us with tendrils, much the same way an octopus would grab pray. Most of us managed to avoid being grabbed by the beast, but Mirri’s man was not so lucky, once again being speared by the creature and tossed aside. Palanon was the major force that destroyed the spirit, blasting it with a spell that was created to kill shambling mounds quickly, it had the same effect on this spirit, cutting a great swath through the beast, rotting the plant matter quickly and killing the monster. Unfortunately it was not fast enough, for the man Mirri had loved was now dead. The tendrils of the monster still imbedded in his body, Mirri and Correna both broke down into tears, as they had only been reunited to be torn apart again.

Mirri and Correna decided to take his body back to his people, across the roof of the world, and tell them of his success in his mission. The rest of us wished them well on their journey and we returned home, or where we called home for some of us. Seeing Mirri with the father of her child made me wish that I could have that connection again, to know the father of Authiel once again. For while all my siblings think that Ari is the father, he was thousands of miles away at the time of her conception.

Linnorm’s Lament
Finally the star charts we collected from Neviodunum have borne fruit. Palanon has been able to locate a potential location for the next starfall. A location far to the north in the Land of the Linnorm Kings. I have only heard rumors about this barbaric land. Mostly that the way to achieve kingship is to slay a Linnorm. Making haste since Palanon only has found the star hours before it is to be called down, we make our way to the elfgates and pass through them to the land of cold and ice. Once we arrive we all agree that trying to hide will serve no purpose, as the gate was most likely watched by our enemies. Moving to the north, following a strange collection of clouds, we travel quickly to a small hamlet. Once we arrive we spot what looks to be a young elf being chased from the village. Not waiting to see what is really transpiring Amaras charges ahead, partially transforming his body into a cat. Amaras has always been one to charge in, sometimes this leads to a great deal of danger for him, but today was not that day. Amaras was able to stall the men long enough to allow Navarre to catch up and interpose himself between the elf woman and the men. After a short conversation the men left her in our care, I was more interested in the town then in the actual conversation, humans always have such inventive means of setting up villages and cities.

After the “rescue” was accomplished and we started to move away, we found out that the woman was not actually a woman but a dragon in disguise, the same dragon that posed as a Chilaxian ambassador a few years ago. We were told once again that a dragon-slaying sword has been discovered and that she had been dispatched to collect it before it could be used against her kin. We agreed to assist with her quest, since having dragons owe you one is a rare gift. So we continued on to the main city. Passing through the gates did not take much effort, they didn’t even seem to notice that we were not human, and as such we made our way to the main longhouse, what we would call the Villa I suppose, and made entrance to meet the slayer of Tobjorn, Magnus. The dragon wanted to come, as Magnus was said to have slain a number of Linnorm’s in the past, and since both the Linnorm and proper Dragons are distant cousins, magic that kills one will also kill the other. As we entered Magnus barely moved, he seemed more intent on a trinket he held in his hand then in us. Once we made it half way across the room Magnus started to stir as the trinket in his hand started to glow, and putting it on Magnus started to get up from his massive throne, and said “A dragon has come to my house”. Starting to advance on our party we noticed that the small trinket was in fact an amulet in the shape of a dragon, and it glowed with an angry red light. Our companion at that point tried to break away from the group and change back into its normal form, but was prevented by some magical effect. Panicking the dragon started trying to hide behind my family.

It was at this point when I really wish the rest of my family knew to hold their tongues. Amaras started making threats, Mirri started trying to profess the virtues of letting others live as they want, I even think Palnanon said a thing or two, but I couldn’t get a word in edgewise at the beginning. Everything my siblings said seemed to make this giant of a man angry, and it was only after he had reached his breaking point, one more false word and he would fly into a rage, did I manage to quiet the rest of my family and start a true dialog with the man. I explained our reason for being in his lands, the needs of our family, the danger that was about to descend on this city and the glory that could be had if he helped us to ensure that such a threat was ended quickly. One more reason was all I needed and I knew I would have had him wrapped around my little finger, after all it was what I was trained to do, but then someone behind me muttered something about stupid barbarians, and that was it. All reason fled Magnus and a fight was on. Diving out of the way I activated my ring of invisibility to hide from the titanic battle that ensued. I have never in all my days seen anything with the power that this man possessed, he nearly cut Navarre in half with but a single swing of his massive greatsword. A second swing shattered the family shield that Navarre held in his hands. Amaras was also cut by the barbarian king, slicing deep into the flesh of his body, while Mirri ran forward to help heal Navarres wounds. Magic flew from the hands of Lor’Athorn and Palanon, blasting and freezing the flesh of the king. I tried to bide my time to make an approach when present the best opportunity to slide my sword into his back. As I move forward the king let loose another flurry of swings, cutting deeply into Navarre, causing him to black out from the pain, and it was at that moment that I knew what I needed to do.

Dropping my invisibility I took the form of Navarre, turning my sibling invisible in the process, and taunted the giant toward me, knowing full well that a single blow would cut me in twain. Running toward the gates I attempted to pull the giant away from my family, as Palanon was able to point out where he thought the starfall would happen on the way into the city, and I hoped to drag him all the way there. As I was kiting Magnus a flurry of magical energy behind me struck the king and with a last bellow he fell to the ground dead. At this point, as is always the case, people started pouring out of every house and building in the city, racing toward us with swords and axes drawn, and a giant woman was in the lead. Once again all my siblings started talking, trying to ease her anger, and I could not help but feel that we were going to be fighting yet again if they kept talking. So I stepped forward and told her exactly what had happened, the truth being more fantastic then any lie I could muster, and for once the truth actually did set us free. The giant woman knew of Magnus’s anger and his taste for battle and understood that he could not contain himself once he let his rage consume him. So we made our way out of the city quickly, before they changed their minds and decided that the king was not at fault after all, and that blood should beget blood.

Making our way north of the city into the mountains and foothills of the region, the sky started turning dark, and we knew that the time was drawing close. At the summit of a hill we found an old burial mound, and the entrance was dug out, so we entered as this was the closest place to the “vibes” that Palanon was receiving. Upon entering we found 4 dark elves standing ready for us, a caster and three soldiers in armor. Using my special talents I moved around behind them all and positioned myself to kill the caster once my family started the fight. As I had predicted no sooner had I reached my point of attack then Amaras and Navarre charged forward into the fray. Taking the opportunity they presented I stabbed the dark elf in the back, severing her spine, and left her to bleed out on the floor. We quickly made the rest of the enemy regret coming to this land, and killed them all without mercy. The dragon at this point came over and collected one of the swords that the elves had, claiming that it was the weapon that she had come to retrieve. We allowed the dragon to take her prize and we made our way back home, hopeful that this would be the last of these events we would have to stop, but knowing deep in our hearts that this was only the beginning.

Travels to the East (Part III)

When we returned I did not find Coreena waiting in our quarters. Considering the reception we received when we arrived in Minkia, I became worried that she might have run afoul of some of the locals or partaking more of the local vices. Thankfully it didn’t take much inquiring before someone informed me to her whereabouts (Elves do stand out here). She had found her way to an out of the way inn. What she was doing there I had no idea and I was contemplating what I would see when I entered her room. I was not prepared for what I found. When I opened the door, I found her in bed with a young human man. They both must have been asleep as they sprang up at my entry. In an instant Coreena had her bow in hand and her companion had a long dagger. I stood there for a minute in shock.

Coreena has been growing older. Quicker then I’m comfortable with considering her human heritage. I have noticed her staring at attractive men more and more. This was coming, but I just wasn’t prepared for it. She calmed her companion, who still seemed uneasy, and got dressed. I escorted her back to our inn in silence.

I’m not really sure how to feel. Coreena has always been wild and rebellious and this might not have been her first encounter. She is so different from me. I need to learn to trust her. She is strong and she knows what she is doing (most of the time). I guess deep down I was hoping she would eventually mature and calm a little. She reminds more and more of my sister. At least Vanya settled down with another Elf. Of course who am I to talk, her father was a human after all. I think I had better just let this go. It’s her life and I need to learn to deal with that.

I began to ask around about the young man that I found Coreena with last night and have learned some troubling news. Apparently this youth belongs to what the locals have described as some sort of criminal element. An underclass of thugs and murderers. Worst, some say that a particular kind of assassin clan often draws their numbers from this element. I refuse to let my daughter get involved with some criminal or assassin in training. I confronted Coreena and forbid her from seeing the boy again. She did not take this well.

Arguing with someone who can’t talk can be difficult. Add in Coreena’s rebellious nature and we probably had one of the worst and most awkward fights ever. I thought this might be a fling or Coreena just enjoying some male companionship for an evening. Coreena however has become quite infatuated with the boy and refuses to leave him. How can someone gain such strong emotions for someone else in such a short amount of time? This must be her human side. I finally gave up and told her I was leaving for Dtang Ma tomorrow to return her fathers body and if she wanted to stay that’s fine. I didn’t want to leave her here there in danger but I was getting fed up with her attitude. I reminded her of what a burden she had been and maybe this was better and left. I went out into the night to find Drekath and Slythas to inform them of my plans when Coreena caught up to me to stopped me on the road. She was not finished apparently and began to remind how hard of a life she had growing a half human in elven lands. I was rebooting her claim when she stopped me mid sentence and looked around with concern. I was furious for the interruption until I noticed it too. Everyone around us had disappeared. We were making a scene yes, but it was too quite. That’s when they struck us.

I have no doubt these were the assassins I was warned about. I learned later that they called themselves Ninja’s, and were renowned for their skill. They came upon us quickly. I tried to utter a spell, but one quickly wrapped a cloth over my mouth and bound my hands. I thought all hope was lost when figure appeared out of the darkness and struck down one of the ninjas. It moved quickly to free Coreena and then threw itself at one of the other attackers. It used a weapon that looked like sickle attached to a ball and chain. After she was freed, Coreena quickly dispatched two others with her bow. She then moved to free me while the others were occupied with our rescuer. After I was unbound, I uttered a prayer that forced our attackers to stand frozen in their place as we finished them off.

After the fight, the figure who saved us stepped forward and I was able to see it was wearing the same garb as the other ninjas. It took off its hood and I looked into the face of Coreena’s lover. The two quickly embraced and he whispered a few calming words into her ears. He then turned and approached me and dropped to one knee. He confessed to me that the attack was his fault, and that he had disgraced his clan by involving himself with Coreena. He looked up into my eyes and promised me he would do everything he could to protect her and myself. I saw the love in his eyes and I realized I had horribly misjudged him.

I was too moved to say anything. After a moment, I put my hand on his shoulder and he told him to rise. I noticed then how young he was, only an adolescent. He turned and embraced Coreena again. I see now why she was so attracted to him and him to her. They are kindred spirits. Both young outcasts in their own lands, struggling to find their own path. I quietly turned and left them alone and returned to the Inn.

I turned to Erastil’s prayers for comfort that night. I have been so quick to judge that I forgot that there is more to everyone then what we see at first glance. I need to learn to trust Coreena more then I have. She has grown strong without me and will continue to do so on her own.

I have grown weary of this place and I pray I will return home soon.

The next morning we left for Dtang Ma. Coreena joined us and explained that Kyro (her lover) left the city earlier hoping the draw off the wrath of his clan. I could tell Coreena wanted to be with him. She was never one to run from a fight. However I think Kyro persuaded her to stay with us for her own safety (something I would have not been capable of).

We were actually given a small escort of some of the lords Samurai including Okari. He (as well as his men) did not seemed pleased with the mission, and I felt uncomfortable with them as well. Still we could not deny the lords service so we pressed on.

There was no incident the first couple of days, but on the third night we were attacked. At first I thought it was more ninja, but then I saw the goblinoid faces of our attackers. I learned that the nation of Kaoling is actually ruled by Hobgoblins and that they are constantly sending forces to harass and attack their neighbors. Their numbers were great and they were very skilled. The air was filled with arrows from their archers and I saw a few explosive bombs hurled at us. Several of Okari’s men were killed within minutes and he had his hands full with I assume was the leader of this assault. I sang to Erastil to send us aid and was rewarded as a number of celestial warriors appeared. They attacked the goblin archers and gave us chance to route their forces. I thought we would soon be victorious when one of their bombs exploded next to me and filled the air with a strange gas. I remember things getting blurry and then falling to the ground being enveloped by blackness.

When I awoke it was daylight. I had a pounding headache and I moaned as I pulled myself up. Coreena was next to me still unconscious, though Sylthas and Drekath had roused themselves. Sitting before us surrounded by a sea of bodies was Okari. He informed us that the gas put us to sleep and were out the rest of the night. I slowly realized that only Okari was left to defend us towards the end of the fight. I saw that he was wounded and very tired. Had he stayed awake the whole night watching over us? I asked him why he did not run as soon as the fight was over? Why did he risk staying to protect foreigners? He struggled to his feet and responded that “it was his duty”. He sheathed his blade then continued on.

It seems that I have misjudged the Samurai as well.

We arrived at Dtang Ma in early morning. It is a simple place with people trying to go about their lives. I found out that Dtang Ma is ruled by powerful Sorcerers and that those that use magic are held in awe and fear. I kept this in mind during my inquires. Once we arrived, Okari turned to return home without a word.

It still took a couple of days before I was pointed to the town that Rokouro came from. It was a tiny town farming town to the west below a small mountain rage. After talking with some of the townsfolk I was immediately directed to a small shack where Rokouro’s mother lived (his only surviving family). I knocked on the door and a very elderly woman answered. At first she was frightened by us and nearly slammed the door in our face. Once I was able to tell her why we came and showed her Rokouro’s body she invited us in. I expected her to be saddened by her son’s death, but she told me that seeing his body actually fills her with a sense of comfort. After he left, she thought him dead long ago. She now see’s what became of him and is at peace.

She told us the tale of why he left on his quest. He was taken on as a bodyguard for one of the local Sorcerer lords many years ago. During a journey to a neighboring kingdom, one of the lords family was lured into the woods by a strange creature. Rokouro tired to save them but failed and the creature fled. For his failure, Rokouro put himself at the mercy of the Sorcerer lord. The lord imposed upon him the quest to eternally hunt the creature until it was destroyed.

I asked whom this lord was so that I could speak with him of Rokouro success, but she told the lord passed away many years ago and that only a few remember Rokouro. It was my turn to tell her the tale of how Rokouro and I meet and how years later we helped him destroy the creature he sought. When I told her that Coreena was Rokouro’s daughter, she immediately rushed to Coreena and put her hands on Coreena’s face as if trying to feel Rokouro though her. Coreena look a little annoyed, but I feel that she was happy to meet her grandmother.

That evening we buried Rokouro in a small field next to his home. His funeral was attended by his mother, ourselves and a few others that remember him. I said some prayers and my final goodbyes to him. I feel at peace now that I have returned him to his home to rest peacefully now. Coreena stayed a little longer at his grave. She is still having a harder time letting go then I am.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Rokouro’s mother (who’s name was Nameko). I left her a large sum of gold so she could live the rest of her days pleasantly. Coreena inquired about her fathers bow as she felt a strange aura about it. Nameko told us that the bow was a family heirloom but does not remember anything magical about it. Coreena offered to return it, but Nameko said that it was where it belonged.

Our journey is almost at an end. I just wished to visit the Elven nation of Jinin and then we could return home.

Thankfully we did not run into any horrible encounters on our way. Jinn is a lush area of Tian Xia and reminded me somewhat of our woodland home. The Jinin Elves probably chose this place for that reason. We weren’t in the area long when we were approached by boarder guards. I saw that the Elves here were wearing the same armor the Samurai wore in Minkia . I found out that the Elves adopted the traditions of Minkia to help them transition into their new home.

I informed the guards of who I was and soon they took us into the interior of Jinin to meet with one of the leaders of the nation. As I journeyed through their kingdom I was relived to see that they had done well after the Earthfall. Their kingdom was small, but orderly and prosperous. I met with one of their ambassadors and they were overjoyed to hear that one of the Elves from the West had come to visit them. I learned that they originally came for the Mierania Forest but had to leave after the Earthfall and ended up here after many years of journeying. I told them of our home and the troubles we encountered after our return from Sovyrin. I told him that I hoped to find and reestablish communication with our scattered brethren. The ambassador told me that they too had hoped to reach out to the other Elves, but are having difficulties. He told me that the younger Elves are finding themselves more and more pulled away from the old beliefs and connections and adopted those of Minkia. I responded that I had seen as much in other Elven communities and that I felt it was a good thing. As our people have traveled they have adapted and learned many new things. If we were to come together again each could bring with them these new experiences and strengthen the Elven people as a whole.

It was nice to have a pleasant visit with someone for a change, though I could tell Coreena was worried about Kyro. I told the ambassador we could only stay for the evening as we have a long journey back. The ambassador told us to wait till morning as he would talk with the local lords about our discussion.

The next morning the ambassador approached us with a gift. He said the the lords felt the same as I and as a gift offered have the courts high wizard teleport us back to Kalsgard. Further he gave us a rare item that will allow one us to be teleported back to the court whenever we pleased. This was a rare and powerful item and they must truly trust us to give us such a gift . I know Coreena will want to return more then I to see Kyro, so I will give it to her. I feel she is ready for such responsibility.

Just like that we were soon whisked away back to Kalsgard and I’m glad that I will return home soon.

Curious incident of the Barghest in the Nighttime

We were all called back to Vilithi for an emergency, something that has not happened in all the ages that Vilitih has been in our possession. A goblin has made it into the great vault, what we felt was impenetrable. Even more curious is that the goblin was dead when it was found by the guardians of the library. So as a family it is our duty to find out how it gained entrance and what killed it.

So we all gathered once again to see about this issue, I came mostly as I needed to know how to gain entrance myself, seeing as how Navarre and Lor’Athorn destroyed the data I had on the final blade, I needed to figure out a way to get the artifact from the vault and this was my chance. I paid close attention to the progression down the vault, figuring out the path that would let me gain entrance the easiest, and what dangers laid in the path that I would need to overcome. As we reached the final level of the vault, the most dangerous section according to my family, I studied the artifacts in the room trying to determine how one could get past the individual protections on each item. As we came around a corner we stopped in surprise, as there really was a goblin on the floor, unmoving and from what Mirri could determine after a short exam, Dead.

So we took the body up to a small chamber in the library, and Lor’Athorn started to do an autopsy. Yet no sooner had he placed his knife for an incision that the goblin was revived and very surprised to have a knife cutting into it. Freaking out it tried to run away, but it was stopped at every turn by my more militant siblings. Seeing as it was cornered the goblin started to hyperventilate and then just as suddenly as it awoke from death, this goblin turned into a mouse and ran out of the room under the feet of my family. Chasing after the mouse we did our best to follow it through the rooms of the library, relying mostly on Amaras to follow the scent of the mouse. It only took a short while before we caught up with the goblin, once again in normal form, trying to light a stack of books on fire with some flint and tinder. It started to run again, but we managed to calm him down and talk to him.

He mentioned some things and we sort of figured out others, as far as why he was able to do what he did magically, and where he must of come from. As far as we could tell he was a member of a small tribe of goblins that was enslaved by mites in the forest, with the help of our family. According to him, the mites and the goblins were living in peace, but then something happened and everyone started dying quickly, so he wanted to come someplace safe where he could make fire, and appeared here in the library. His unnatural ability to look dead or turn into a mouse, are defense mechanisms, something that has been pass down into him from such close contact with the fey.

Taking a chance we all decided that the best thing to do would be go back to the mite village and return the goblin, while also seeing what killed off so many of them, since the goblin said that people were dying. So we took the gate to outside the mite village, and tried to figure out what was going wrong. It did not take long before we entered a part of the forest that did not look like the rest, burnt trees, decayed ground, and a sickly smell to the air. All this seemed to bother my siblings, but living around humans for so long I hardly noticed. As we entered the clearing that was once the mite village, the carnage was the first thing we saw, dead goblins and mites littering the ground, some half eaten. Moving cautiously into the village we were sure that nothing living could still be here, when we heard the howls coming from either side. As we stood our ground, creatures burst from the trees, gnashing and clawing at us. We managed to kill on rather quickly but the others took a bit more time. Surprising the goblin started yelling at us to stop and actually picked up a stick to attack Navarre. After we killed the Barghests we found out that the goblin called them down to protect his tribe from something even worse that they found in the dark. It was at this time that the goblin showed us to a cave in the ground that the goblins had opened up, and inside radiated an evil that I could not go into. Fear gripped my heart, and I knew that to go inside would be welcoming the thing to consume our souls, but the rest of my family didn’t seem to care.

So what transpired inside I cannot really say for sure. What I was told was that the creature inside was made of worms and attacked them without provocation. Seeing how my siblings normally act, I would have to say that it is the other way around but that may be an unfair assessment of them at this time. Going inside we found a small spring in the back of the cave, and that spring had powerful fey magic surrounding it, most likely a wish spell of some sort, and it was at this time that some of the surviving goblins come out of the darkness and started chatting with the one we had captured. Seeing as how we could not allow the goblins to remain here without guardianship I elected to take them out of Kyonin into the river kingdoms. The others were in agreement, so I left with the goblins and took them to the gladiator town on the edge of the river kingdoms, the town bordering Razmarian. The leader of the town was assisted by us a year ago and I felt it would be best for the goblins to be with another goblin. I had hoped to turn the goblins into a fighting force that will harass the Razmarin boarder if needed, but only time will tell.

Gates of Neviodunum

J37 Gates of Neviodunum

Phos has finally managed to create an elixir that will allow us to enter the dead city of Neviodunum. Ari is upset that he will be unable to join us, as there is only enough of the tonic to protect my family. Once we reached the outskirts of the city, I could tell that each of us was feeling the pressure of the darkness before us, a looming evil that threatened to consume the world. Taking the elixir, and making a small prayer to Calistria, I drank and followed close on the heels of my siblings as they made their way into the dark barrier that marked the edge of Neviodunum.

As we entered the darkness, I could feel the desire of the place to extinguish the life that was daring the set foot within this realm. It was oppressive, making me wish that I had decided against joining this fool’s errand. Yet we pressed forward as a group, as we only had a limited time of protection afforded to us by the Sun Orchid Elixir. Quickly we made our way through the streets, spotting figures in the darkness, figures that did not notice us or care that we had invaded this city. The dead that walked seemed to only be concerned with moving about the city in much the same manner that they did in life, guards walked patrol or stood guard outside guardhouses. Citizens of this city walked from homes to shops and back again. It was during our long examination of the city that we started to notice strange images in the darkness, images that only one person could see apparently. Amaras was the first to see a phantom of Risa walking in the mist. Others soon noticed people close to us as well. Trying to push this out of our mind we continued to walk through the city, trying to determine what direction we should be heading.

About 20 minutes into our walk is when we heard the first sound within the city. A slow steady banging, rhythmic and purposeful, and it was Navarre who realized what it was, the workings of a blacksmith at his forge. We made our way into a large weapon forge, and to our surprise we found a living entity within the building. An outsider who was busy crafting a weapon. At first the entity wanted nothing to do with us, believing us to be specters sent by some malevolent force to lure him away from the safety of his forge. But after a time, and much talking on the parts of Navarre and Lor’Athorn, the entity was convinced that we were in fact flesh and blood, the first living beings to enter the city in millennia. The entity was bound to this realm until it could finish its project, a Sun Blade, but it was unable to do so since the sun cannot penetrate the darkness surrounding the city. Navarre promised to help by finishing the blade in the light of day, granting the entity peace and allowing it to pass back into its normal realm.

Following the encounter with the blacksmith, we continued to search the city, and had some additional information from the smith, as to the layout of the area. It was at this point that I noticed something that struck a chord within me. We moved past a temple to Calistra, and being a devout follower, and knowing we would not have this opportunity to ever again enter into this city, I wanted to recover some of the relics that were kept within the temple. Thankfully, my siblings accepted my desire to collect some of the treasures of our cultures past, and helped me to get into the temple. Unfortunately, when we opened the door, a tide of undead crashed out upon us. Gnashing teeth and rending claws tried to push their way past Navarre but failed to move our rock -like brother. With quick wits and hands my siblings extinguished the last flicker of malice from the undead, with fire and positive energy magic. Allowing us entry into the temple. As quick search allowed me to determine where the relics would be kept in this ancient building, and I moved the alter to allow access to the vault. Most of the documents contained within were destroyed from age, but two daggers, and vials of some poison were still intact. Reverently collecting the items I placed them in my bag and told the others that my work here was done.

As we exited the building we were set upon by a spirit of one of the dead, a banshee if I am not mistaken. Another fight broke out and once again my siblings triumphed over the dead that call this place home. I personally feel foolish, as I was the target of the banshee, and she drew me away from the group with an illusion of Ari. But that is neither here nor there, I will need to address my feelings for him at a later time. Continuing through the city we finally started to reach the inner city, and made a choice to enter from the west, a location that was the least guarded in life, being as it was a series of parks and fountains in that area of the inner city. Making our way through the fountains we noticed that one of the fountains was overflowing with water, a magical effect made possible by an artifact that was held in the hand of a statue of the city’s founder. We all debated the possibility of removing such an item, but it was determined that our time was running short and such a detour could prove disastrous.

We started really pushing toward the center of the city. Making every effort to make good time, moving with speed and purpose toward the central tower of the city. As we made it to the main tower, and entered the building we noticed some of the damage that had been caused when the city was lost. One of the most peculiar things was that the dead inside the tower seemed to have killed each other, rather than victims of the magical backlash that most scholars say claimed the city. As we ascended the tower that was what we all saw, elves killed by the hands of their brothers. Another oddity was the crystal tree that was inside this tower, it had a strange internal glow, and I swore I saw something move within the trunk of the crystal tree.

At the top of the tower we entered the archmages room, and inside we saw the master of Neviodunum, a shattered husk. A shattered husk that moved and talked, and it was at this point that Mirri spoke up and said the work we were all thinking, LICH. This lich was not like others, those you hear about in stories, driven by a mad will and evil purpose to destroy all life or some such nonsense, this lich was sad and broken. The lich confronted us about our reasons for being in his city, and claimed we were all illusions sent to stop him once again. As we tried to reason with the lich we started to learn more about the past of Neviodunum and the end of this once proud city. They had attempted to do some magical thing that would eliminate Treerazor but it backfired, and the archmage was the only one who was able to stop it, and he has been holding the magical backlash at bay since the day the city died. It was about this time that we noticed that Amaras was once again acting out of sorts, and he attacked the Lich. Some of us set about trying to stop him, while Lor’Athorn and Palanon realized that an entity was trapped in the crystal tree, and this was the real foe. So our mages set to destroying the creature with spell and sorcery. It took only a few moments for the ozone to dissipate and the corpse of the creature to disappear into the depths. Realizing that our time was drawing short, we snatched the star charts that were the Archmage’s guide in the past, and used our family magic to remover ourselves from the city of the dead. We had accomplished out goal, and Palanon now had a method of tracking the starfalls that were being planned by the dark elves.

Travels to the East (Part II)

We have arrived in the nation of Hongal, the northern most nation of Tian Xia. It is still cold and windy, but we are all happy to just rest for a moment. The city we have entered is actually very small, and seems somewhat ramshackle. Ishiro informed me this is because the people of Hongal, the Tain-La, are semi-nomadic. He said the only reason why cities like this exist is because of the amount of trade that comes though.

I can tell I’m in a different land. The tress, the ground, even the air feels different. Perhaps it’s all in my head, but I can’t shake the feeling of how….alien everything is. We weren’t going to rest long as Ishiro told us the best place to pick up goods would be the nation of Goka just a couple days journey south. He said that it houses a large trade city and that would be a good place to start searching Rokouro’s origins. He also said that it is also a journey only a couple weeks journey to the nation of Jinin where my people could be found.

When he told me this, I dropped the books I was holding in my hands. There are Elves here too? How far have my people spread? When I asked why he told me this before, he said that he thought that I already knew. He informed that the Elves of Jinin pretty much keep to themselves but have good relations with the nation of Minaki. After I see to the returning of Rokouro’s remains, I must visit this Jinin and see it for myself.

The travel to Goka was pleasant and we are finally getting away from the cold. Though we have encountered frequent rain storms, the atmosphere has been rather pleasing. Many of the plants and animals here are so different. I wished Amaras was here. He would be able to learn much more from these foreign woodlands then I. One plant is especially common, a very narrow but tall tree they call bamboo. Apparently it grows incredibly fast and is very strong. I have already seen several structures and items made from it. Who knows what other wonders await us in this land.

We have finally reached one of Goka’s northern cities. Like many of the trade cities back home, it is a bustling metropolis filled with many different kinds of people coming and going. We have attracted a few stairs since our arrival, but not as many as I would have thought. Olly and his troupe have already found a place to stay and have begun purchasing several goods to take back. I haven’t had much luck with locating where Rokouro might have come from. What few people I have got to assist me tell me that was most likely Tian-Shu. However these appear to be the most populous people in Tian Xia. I’m already getting somewhat frustrated.

Coreena’s behavior is not helping. The minute we arrived she has been causing all sorts of mischief. One night she did not return to our quarters and I was getting worried. Eventually Slythas came to me and told me he had been able to find her. It turns out that she had found some sort of gathering where people smoke a local plant for recreation. When I found her, she was nearly catatonic and was lying on the floor wearing very little along with several others. This plant must be some sort of drug because they were so lethargic they barely noticed me walk in. We drug Coreena to her feet and brought her back. I would have given her a tongue lashing, but the sickness that hit her the next day was punishment enough. I feel I must keep better eye on her from here on.

I did manage to acquire some of this plant while I was there. After some experimentation, I feel that this drug could have some helpful medicinal purposes. I have purchased more as I feel Lor-Athorn or Phos could gain some use out of it (though I’m somewhat afraid of what Phos would do with it).

I was worried about Slythas. I didn’t see him this morning. When I asked Drekath, he told that around this time of year Slythas begins acting very strangely and often becomes very reclusive. Drekath said that in a couple of days he will be fine and to leave him be. This is a side of Slythas I’ve never heard of, so I wasn’t going to sit back until I found out what was wrong. I found him that evening in an out of the way pub quite intoxicated. When I approached, he seemed somewhat surprised, but told me to have a seat and join him. The rest of the evening he talked about many things. Mostly complementing me on how good of a sister and mother I am. I was really frightened as I have never heard him speak to me this way. He told how he wished that he had a child like Coreena, and that he always wanted to be closer to the rest of his siblings, but always felt that we were pushing him away. He then began weeping about how he always seems to get on the wrong side of people no matter how hard he tries not to. He lamented on how one thing that made the humans so great is there ability to seize the moment and how Elves are worst off because how long we take to decide things.

He rambled on for hours, all the while drinking more and more. I also noticed he was playing with a crude knife I have never seen him use before. Eventually he stopped rambling and stared me in the face and told me how he knows what its like to lose someone you love. Especially when you hadn’t known them very long. He said I was lucky that I had a lasting legacy in Coreena and that in the end, Rokouro still loved me. “Your very lucky”, he said “lucky to have what you have”. He then put the knife away, gently, and then passed out on the bar.

I realized then that there was much more to Slythas then I originally thought. One of the reasons why he acted the way he did was because he was hiding. Hiding from the pain of the past. He pushes people away not because of his arrogance, but because he doesn’t want others getting close again.

I wonder what kind of woman could have affected my brother this way.

I paid his tab and had several others help us back to our quarters.

The next day Slythas was back to his old self and acted as if nothing ever happened. I however, will never look at him the same way again.

Olly has told me that he is ready to head back. Though he says he would like to stay and help, he needs to get back to attend to the caravan and make sure the new goods he acquired gets sold. I saw that this created a dilemma for Slythas and Drekath. They have more or less become Olly’s protectors and that they felt both the need to accompany him back as well as help me on my quest. I reassured them that if they wanted to leave they could as both me and Coreena could handle ourselves. In the end Slythas declared that he wanted to see more of this strange land and decided to stay with me. Not wanting to leave his brother behind, Drekath stayed as well. We said our goodbys to Olly and I decided to head south to the nation of Minkai as it might hold information about Rokouro as well as the Elven nation of Jinn.
On our way to Minkia, we passed through the nation of Quain. During our passage, the nation was holding what appeared to be national Martial Arts tournament. Both Slythas and I thought it would be nice rest and watch the tournament and Slythas went as far as recommending that Drekath participate. Drekath at first waved the notion off saying he felt no need to participate in such a competition. However once he saw some of the matches between some of the participates he changed his mind. I think both the curiosity of seeing different fighting styles and a bit of a competitive streak is what lead him to participate. At first the organizers declined his admission saying that the tournament was only for locals of Quain. However a young human stepped forward arguing for Drekath’s participation. He argued that if this is truly and tournament of the arts, then all those who practice those arts should be accepted. He also questioned that maybe the reason why they declined Drekath was because they were afraid of seeing some of their local fighters beaten by a foreigner. After this the organizers decided that Drekath would be allowed to participate if Drekath could pass several tests to show his skill (which he did easily). The human who argued for Drekath wore a red outfit and had blonde hair. He wasn’t from Tian and looks like he came from our lands. I think this was the reason why he backed Drekath as he to was a stranger.

The matches themselves were a site to see. So many different styles of fighting. Some looked as if they were dancing on the wind while others stood unmoving like rocks. Some imitated animals while others seemed create almost magical type attacks. Drekath did well and bested several opponents. Some of the fighters did not take well to his participation and one man even went so far as to try and rip his ears off. This lead to Drekath breaking the mans fingers and winning the match. In the end he finished fifth, being beaten by a human who ended up winning the tournament. The man wore a white outfit and a red bandana. His final opponent for the championship was none other then the human who helped Drekath into the competition. The two seemed to know each other and had the exact same style.

After the tournament, Drekoth thanked us for urging him to participate saying that he “learned much” from the matches.
As we were traveling through the wilderness, Coreena wandered off on her own for some time. She does this often so I was not worried. However we eventually came across her sitting on a stone staring off into the distance. When I approached her, she seem spooked or mystified. She would not tell me what she saw, but traveled with us the rest of the evening. The next morning I noticed that she was drawing what looked to be a fox with nine tails. I asked the guide we hired about this and he became very worried. He said that it was an ancient kind of spirit that is known for being a cruel prankster. Though he said that he also heard of the spirit imparting wisdom on those that view it. Considering the difference of the tales I come to believe this spirit is like the fey of our land. I advised Coreena that if she ever encountered the fox again to flee and find us. She did not argue.

We were attacked before sunrise by a band of goblins (their kind has spread far as well it seems). We dispatched them easily except for their leader who appeared to be a Hobgoblin. I have never encountered one of their kind before, though I have heard they are suppose to be rather intelligent and crafty. This one wore the armor of some of the local warriors I have seen and fought very well. Drekoth eventually put the brute down and we continued on our way. Noon that day we came upon a group of travelers who were injured on the side of the road. After treating them, they told us that they were attacked by a pack of goblins and some of their companions were taken. We quickly deduced that this must be part of the same band that attacked us and we decided to see if we could rescue their companions. One of the men offered to come with us saying that defending the travelers was part of his duty and he would be dishonored if he came back without them.

Correna followed their tracks up the hills to a small cave complex. Their were more of them then we thought including several Hobgoblins. They had prepared some dangerous traps and had a few local bests trained as guard animals. Both Slythas and myself were badly injured but we managed to clear out the caves. Unfortunately when we found the prisoners they had already been killed. Several warriors were among them and the man accompanying us simply said they had done their duty. He took what looked like a scroll from one of the bodies and told us that they had been carrying an important message to one of the local leaders. We returned to other travelers and the warrior (he told me his name was Katsu) said they would accompany us back to Minkai.

We have arrived in Minaki. It is an island nation off the coast so we had to take a short boat trip to reach it. Unlike Goka, our presence had drawn much suspicion and ere from the locals. I have a feeling they are mistrustful towards outsiders. The main city of Kasia is large and I hope to find some answers to Rokouro’s origins. We had just been in the city a couple of days when a messenger reached us saying that the local lord wanted to meet us. I believe this has to do with our help with the goblins. The lords resources could be helpful in my search so I accepted the invitation. Coreena said she did not want to go however, so I let her be and headed off towards the palace.

The talks with the leader were interesting. He thanked us for our help and offered us dinner as well as a show. The food was good and the play we watched was fascinating as it was all performed using what appeared to be shadow puppets. Slythas thought it was a bit crude, but I thought it kind of had a warm cheeriness to it.

I did not enjoy the company of some of the lords warriors in attendance however. They were lowed and boastful and some were downright condescending. They remind me of some of the “knights” that come from the human kingdoms in our lands. I learned they called themselves Samurai and are considered some sort of elite warrior class. One of the older warriors would not even talk to us and considered our presence disgraceful. His name was Okari and I had the feeling he was the highest ranking Samurai in the room considering how the others treated him. I have heard that this region had just finished a civil war and there was a great culture shift occurring throughout the region. I have a feeling the Samurai are an ancient order and are having trouble adapting to the new nation they serve. Being an Elf, I can sympathize with the difficulty of accepting such a great change.

After the meal, I told the lord of my quest and he summoned one of his advisers. After showing the adviser some of Rokouro’s affects, he told me that he most likely came from the nation of Dtang Ma to the east.

Finally I’m nearing what I hope is the end of my journey and I can finally put Rokouro to rest.

Travels to the East (Part I)

Our journey is about to begin. I have vowed to see my lover Roukoro’s body back to his homeland that he had left so long ago. I had no idea where to begin as he told me so little about himself in the time we had. I went to Meritanus hoping that in his travels that he had met Roukoro’s people and knew where they came from. He told me that he has heard of such people from other Varisians and that they came from a far away land to the east. He said that he has heard of only one viable trade route to their land and that it is a long and tedious journey. When I told him that I wished to journey to this land, he became intrigued. He informed me that the goods traded from this land were exotic and valuable. After some discussion, he proposed that his son Olly and some of his troupe would accompany me on this journey. At first I declined considering the danger it might pose to Olly. Meritanus just laughed and told me that Varisians are used to such perils and that the chance to visit such a far away land will be great experience for Olly. As he said this, I felt a hint of sadness in Meritanus. It occurred to me that this was a journey he would of undertaken if he was able. I noticed just then how much older he looked. It wasn’t so long ago that we first met him and his family in Kyonin’s borders. They age and part so quickly.

The route Meritanus mentioned begins in the town of Kalsgard in the Land of the Linnorm Kings. I’m glad that tensions have calmed since we last visited this land. This trip sounds like it will be difficult enough; we don’t want any problems occurring at the very start of a journey. I was actually surprised when we came to the town. It is the largest city in the Land of the Linnor Kings and I have seen community’s of not only Varisians here, but also that of Dwarves and Gnomes. Still, I thought it best for me and Coreena to lay low in the town while Olly acquired a guide. Since Olly and some of his people were traveling with us, Sylthas and Drekath were coming as well. I’m pleased to be traveling with my brothers on this journey. I see them so little, and it will be nice to have family to travel with. I think one of their reasons for coming might also be to get to know their niece better.

After some time, Olly arranged for us to join a traveling caravan along the route. He said that they had taken the Path of Aganhei (as the route was called) a couple of times before and were one of the most experienced in town. It wasn’t cheap apparently as many others wanted to join on as well for the journey. In the end we were traveling with nearly twenty others. I was also pleased to see one of my travel companions resembled my Roukoro’s people. I approached him and told him of our quest. He said that what we were doing was a very noble thing, but that those that leave Tian Xia ( Roukoro’s homeland) are sometimes seen as outcasts and are very dishonored. Though his information was somewhat bleak, I took him being there as a good sign that at least we were on the right track. I admit I’m rather excited, I have never been on a journey like this before, nor so far away from home.

We travel through the Crown of the World. Though we are prepared for the conditions, it is still rough travel. The first leg of our journey brought us through the Stormspear Hills and then into the Rimethirst Mountains. The hills were pleasant enough though we did run into trouble in the mountains however. The mountains and lands around them are home to a race of giants. Our guide told us that the due to an ancient treaty the giants do not harm those along the path, but we must remain on it the entire way. I had no problem with this, but the Dwarf in the party did not like the idea of traveling through giant lands. This led to a heated argument with our guide who kept telling the Dwarf (who’s name was Kelgar) that this was the only way. Things continued on pleasantly until we ran into one of the giants. I have encountered a giant only once before during the attack on our keep. This giant was far lager then one who attacked us, easily standing twenty feet tall. It was a female who was covered with tattoos and jewelry. Unlike the bestial oaf we encountered before, this giant appeared to be somewhat intelligent thought still very savage. This would explain how a treaty was reached with these people, something I thought impossible considering what I have heard of giants. It did not approach us but kept a keen eye us while gripping the large spear it carried (which was also about twenty feet tall). We trying to continue on but Kelgar was preparing to fight. I know that Dwarve’s have a hatred for the giant race, but Kelgar became borderline fanatical (I’m guessing he had lost a loved one to giants). Thankfully I was able to calm him down before the situation escalated. I noticed both Drekath and Ishiro (the man from Tian Xia) were both ready to intervene. Thankfully the rest of the journey though the mountains remained uneventful.


We have been traveling for some time now and I have gotten to learn more about Tian Xia from Ishiro. He didn’t reveal much at first. I believe that his people are very secretive about their homeland, something I can relate to. After some time however, he began to open up to me. The nation he comes from is called Xa Hoi and he refers to his people as the Tian-Dan. Apparently his nation has been under the rule of dragons for the last three thousand years. When I pressed him about the dragons, he became very uncomfortable and I actually caught him glancing around as if expecting one of the to come over the ridge. From what little he told me of them, they sound very different from the dragons from our land. After speaking of the dragons, Ishiro was not in the mood to talk much further. He didn’t sleep easy that night either.

Maybe their dragons are not that much different then ours after all.


Our travel continues well enough. We are mostly passing through small forested hills and have run into very little trouble (except for a small night raid by some creatures that were easily dispatched). It is peaceful, though somewhat boring. Olly and the rest of his troupe get along well enough with the rest of the caravan (they are all travelers after all). Coreena mostly keeps to herself as usual, but is starting to open up a bit more. I know she wants to talk to Ishiro and learn more about her fathers land, but doesn’t really know the best way to approach him. I have never known Coreena to really look upon her mute voice or aloofness as a hindrance, but as she is growing older she is starting to see that there are times you want to talk instead of just sitting back and watching. This is a trying time for her and her fathers death weighs heavier on her then me. To me he was a good man that appeared out of no where and left me with a beautiful daughter and pleasant memory. To Coreena, he was a mystical legend that she had built up in her mind that didn’t fit the man in real life. Her world was shattered and she learned the hard lesson that all children must that real life is very different then most stories. She will manage though, I have no doubt about that.

She has taken this time to try and know her uncles more. I see she connects a lot with Drekath as both of them tend to be quite and reserved. There have been several times I have seen the two together just sitting back doing nothing but simply looking on into nothingness. I found her drawing a picture of him in meditation, she is becoming a rather good artist.

Her connection to Slythas however has become rather strained. At first she tried her best to listen to his stories and tolerate his sometimes overbearing manner. Her patience has run thin however and she has informed me that she can no longer stand his constant blathering and boasting. I admit that even I’m starting to become annoyed with him and I feel that it is a testament to Drekath’s patience and fortitude that he travels with Slythas so regularly.

We have come across several villages of a human people who call themselves the Erutaki. Their culture has some similarities with the Ulfen from the Land of Linnorm Kings. They are a simple people that live off the land and have adapted well to this northern climate. Though our deOllyngs with them have been brief, it was nice to see a new face after the long travels. Some of them worshiped Erastil and they eagerly received some of my sermons. I also helped treat some of their wounded from a recent fight. For this, they traded us some extra clothing and food. I’m glad I was able to provide something to this expedition.

We have begun to climb further north and the travel is starting to become difficult. It is horrendously cold now and the land is starting to become more barren. The walk has become tedious and everyone is starting to get on each others nerves. Kelgar’s Dwarven demeanor has put him at odds with several people and now mostly keeps to himself. Olly and the rest of the Varisians got into a fight with one of the other groups when they were accused of steOllyng and there were some injuries. I was able to calm things and it was learned that unfortunately that one of the men in Olly’s group did steal something from one of the merchants. Olly was visibly hurt when this was discovered and he harshly reprimanded the man responsible. I noticed that the Varisian’s do not welcome that man in their group anymore. In fact, they don’t even talk to him. Slythas has been especially irritable as I think the travel is much more harsh then what he has grown accustomed to. I tried to comfort him only to have a harsh and rather demeaning remark thrown my way. After hearing this, Coreena immediately walked over and punched him in the face. He is calmer now and oddly enough Coreena and I are getting along quite well.

Despite everything, Slythas’s stories are actually starting to become rather welcome. Once you get around his self centered attitude, he is actually a very good entertainer. There have been many nights were he had all of us roaring with laughter or on the edge or our seat with suspense. He did make the mistake of telling a horrifying story of man encountering a strange undead fey in the woods that had all the humans and Kelgar unable to sleep the rest of the night. My oratories have brought comfort to a few, but sometimes Slythas’s tales are all that keep the depression at bay.

Though Ishiro has also become irritable at times, I have learned a little more form him. I have started to learn the language of his people and can read what little writings he has on him. It impressed him greatly how quickly I’m learning. He informed me that his land was once governed by the powerful Lung Wa empire. During the death of Aroden however, the empire fractured and his land is now a number of feuding cities and kingdoms. This is somewhat disheartening as it means the I will be entering a more then likely war torn and chaotic land.

We have traveled even further North into what our guide called the High Ice. All around us is nothing but snow and ice. This is by far the worst part of our journey. I have seen some small animals here but for the most part the land is lifeless. It is very disheartening. The sun shines and its blinding light reflects off the snow. A few of us (including myself) have suffered temporary blindness because of the shine. I noticed that we Elves seemed especially susceptible to this condition. I believe this is because our eyes take in so much that we feel the brunt of the brightness more then the others. Thankfully the Erutaki traded us some special darkened goggles for the trip. They are horribly uncomfortable, but they work and we wear them regularly now. Even though it shines, the sun provides no relief from the cold. I thought it was bad before, but the cold I feel now is nothing like I have ever experienced. Every gust of wind saps your strength and your muscles constantly ache. The days are horrible and the nights unbearable. Its almost as if the cold is a living thing. Some ancient entity the rules the land and seeks you out strikes at your very core. It is horrible and it is weighing on all of us.

We have had several deaths already. As we were walking, the ground opened up and swallowed one of the merchants. We looked down into the crevasse where he disappeared and there was no sign of him and the drop went beyond further then we could see. It happened so quickly. Our guide told us to tie ropes to each other and we now walk in straight linked lines. Coreena leads our group and chooses her steeps very carefully as we continue on. A couple of days latter a blizzard hit us. I have no idea how we survived. We grouped together and huddled around a small fire, using our own bodies to keep the snow and wind from blowing it out. There was no moving or talking. You huddled next to whomever was next to you and did not care who they were. All that mattered was survival. Still we lost a couple men, including the man outcast by the Varisians. I have a feeling they would not let him settle in with them and he was forced out into the cold. I have never seen such a dark side to Meritanus’s people. Then this morning one man just dropped dead. By the looks of him, it was his time and he was too old to have been taking such a trip.

I don’t know how much longer we can keep this up.

There are Elves up here! I have heard legends of the Elves of the winter lands, but after traveling for some time I thought it would be impossible for anyone to live up here. It shows how amazing my people can adapt. They approached us peacefully one calm morning seeing if there was anything we could trade. They are slightly smaller and squatter then we are and have flowing white hair. There eyes seem to have adapted a reflective sheen to them (to help deal with the sun blindness I’m guessing).

When they saw me, they were somewhat surprised. I don’t think they expected to see another Elf traveling up this way. They walked over and started talking to me, asking several questions. Their dialect of Elven was rugged and they spoke quickly and to the point. It wasn’t long before they invited us to their village. Our guide said he has never heard of them inviting anyone to their homes and kept many other races away. The roots of our race run deep indeed. Their village was small with only about fifty to seventy elves living there. They gave us a little food and took us into what appeared to be a large hall. It felt so good getting out of the cold and eating something other then trail rations. Their elder reminded me of my father. Forlorness had started to settle into him, but he still gave off a sense of strength and wisdom. We began to talk and he asked questions about or journey and of the other elven nations. They are so isolated up here and I feel they have lost their connection with the rest of the Elven People. When I inquired if he or any of his people had ever been to Sovyrian, he seemed confused. I believe that these Elves might have been left behind and had to move north after the events of the Star Fall. During our talks, one of the younger elves kept eying me. He was young but must have been a great warrior for he had several scares and wore what appeared to be a necklace made out of different bones. He held what appeared a to be a stone pick.

Through out the night, our guide looked more and more worried. When I inquired, he stated that these Elves are actually very savage and only respect shows of force. I thought it was only my presence that caused them to act kindly towards us, but now I wonder.

We were ambushed. It had only been a day since we left the home of the winter elves when they came on us. I don’t know how they hid from us with no trees or ledges to sneak behind. One moment calm nothingness, the next moment they were on us. Before we knew what was going on, several of the merchants had been killed along with a few of Olly’s troupe. The wolves came at us from all angles as did a large fanged white tiger. Coreena was picking off the animals with her bow while I began to fill the air with the hymns of Erastil. Our attackers were Ogres and what appeared to be pale skinned giants. Everything became a blur as the battle erupted around us. I remember Slythas unleashing a great shout that actually fractured the ice and caused an Ogre to fall into a crevasse. Drekath had killed one of the giants but was entangled in a net with one the Ogre’s repeatedly punching his face, driving his head into the ice. I called down Erastil’s wrath and smote them in righteous fire. Drektoh was not moving and I went to go help him when I saw Coreena get taken down by the large cat. I turned to rush to her aid when tremendous forced smashed into my back and sent me to the ground. I rolled over with back and shoulders throbbing with pain and stared up at one of the giants. He looked down upon as a sneer crept across his huge face. I was murmuring my final passage to Erastil when he was lifting up the ax to finish me. He did not see the young winter elf charge behind him until the stone pick tore through his back and priced the front of his armor. He roared and spun around with his ax. The young elf easily ducked below the ax and swept the giant off his feet with the pick that had priced the giants back and then with a second pick, delivered a blow to the giants chest before its body had even hit the ice. It did not get back up. He then channeled some form of cold energy into his weapons and set upon the Ogre’s, freezing and shattering them with each strike. I drug myself up and saw that many of the other winter elves had come to our rescue. I got to Drekath as quickly as I could and tried not to vomit when I saw the pounded flesh that once was his face. I chanted my prayers of vitOllyty from Erastil and laid my hands on him. I was in time as he began to breath as the heOllyng magic mended his flesh and bone. He looked like my brother again, though very tired. I began tending to the others and thankfully was able to bring back those that were badly wounded.

I went to thank the young elf for saving us when I saw the elder of the village approach. He informed me that he had seen us and this attack in several visions and knew that we must be protected. I also learned that the young elf was not only their greatest warrior, but also the chiefs son. When I thanked his son, he just smiled and gave me his bone necklace. In honor of saving us, I gave the chief my antlered helm so that Erastil may protect him and his people. It had severed me well, and in this harsh land they may need Erastil’s protection even more then I do.

We are climbing now. Mountain paths are treacherous enough without adding in the freezing wind and slippery ice. Thankfully some of the natural caves have given us shelter from the cold so even though we are traveling slower, we are not as miserable as we were on the planes. After a couple of days we traveled under a stone arch with Tian Xia writing on it. This brought a smile to Ishiro’s face and he told me that we were crossing into the Qiang Tian (Wall of Heaven) and that we are now in the land of his people.

Shadow of Death

I almost lost both of the people I love most.

We were having dinner when we were informed of the attack. Treerazor had returned! I always knew the day would come when I and my family would have to confront Treerazor. I have pictured it, dreamed it, prayed and prepared for it. I was not ready now. Still, we sprang to action and all began readying ourselves for the coming fight. Thankfully our aunt the queen was visiting and her powerful presence was reassuring. Before we left however, we received word that our keep at Sunder Point was also coming under attack. It was decided that we would go to Sunder Point while Father and our aunt would intercept Treerazor. Before we left I asked Coreena where she wanted to go. She informed me that she wanted to stay. I wanted to her to come with us. I should have asked her to come, but I knew that she needed her independence.

When we arrived at Sunder Point we were confronted by warriors infused with the black liquid used by the dark elves. This confirms that our two worst enemies are allied. After dispatching them we found a giant bearing Treerazos black ax attacking the keep trying to destroy it. I tried several enchantments to try and dissuade the stupid brute but it kept shrugging off my spells. Thankful Lor’Athron was able to get through and influenced the beast to stop attacking and retreat. Why was it attacking our keep? Palanon’s observatory is the only thing I can think of. Could my brother’s research be a threat to our enemies? We checked to make sure that Brightglade and Riza were okay and then returned home. That’s when the real terror began.

When we returned we were informed that father and the queen had gone to the front to participate in the fight. We found both Sylthas and Drekoth recovering from battle. I tried to see to Drekoth’s wounds but they were not serious and would mend on their own. During this time we heard the sound of one of the elf gates activating but thought nothing of it at first. Then it dawned on us that only our family can activate the gates and we were all accounted for. Dread and frustration filled me as I knew than it could have only been Coreena that activated the gate. Why did she choose that time to reveal who she was? Why? This impatience and rashness must be a result of her human side. We talked to a guard who confirmed my fears that our “scout” had gone through. My family’s eyes fell upon me as they began to realize Coreena’s ties. I stated that we had no time to discuss this and we all rushed foreword to the gate to the front line of the fight.

We had not long arrived when we heard Coreena scream. I do not now how she screamed or how I knew it was her, but when I heard the sound I was frightened beyond belief. We ran towards the sound and found Coreena running from some unknown attacker. Before I could call out, a tentacle reached and grabbed her by the ankle. Time froze as I watched her fall and being drug away. Her attacker appeared then, some hideous mass the likes of which I have never seen. At that moment nothing else mattered but saving my daughter. I grabbed by bow and began firing. My rage worked against me however as my shaking hands threw off my aim and none of my arrows hit. Thank Erastil the creature chose to attack us instead of finishing off Coreena. My family soon dispatched it and I ran forward to Coreena to tend to her wounds. By then she was up and leaning against one of the rock walls. I was filled with so much rage and frustration I was shaking. Not only did she run off and reveal our relationship but she also nearly got herself killed. Once I got to her however, all I could do was cry. Blood was pouring out of her mouth and she was covered with cuts and broses. I tried to tend to her but she brushed me away. Her wounds thankfully were not serious and would heal. We didn’t have long to rest as we wanted to find our father and the queen. Amaras said that their tracks ran to the south but Coreena steeped forward and indicated we should go north. Amaras was beginning to argue and I was worried he was going to attack (it takes so little to set him off anymore, its like traveling with a dangerous beast). Thankfully Amaras began to smell the air and said the he smelled a pleasant scent to the north reminding him of the creature that guarded the cave when we were transported into the wolves. We soon agreed that we would head north as only father or the queen could summon such a powerful creature.

We didn’t travel long when we found them fighting Treerazor. We have heard tales of Treerazor since we were children. We have heard the tales of its prowess and read about the battles in which it fought. We have seen artist’s paintings and even stain glass windows showing its figure. All are but shadows to the real thing. Only when I was in the lair of Cyth Vsung have I ever been so scared. His gigantic form loomed over us like something out of a nightmare. Our aunt was standing before it in deep concentration. Our father lay on the ground beside her either unconscious or dead and a Lilliend like the one in the cave flew about Treerazor attacking like an angry wasp.

As we approached our bodies immediately erupted in pox and boil much like when we entered the lair of Cyth Vsung. Thankfully our condition didn’t actually sicken us, however we soon realized that holding this contagion at bay was what was requiring so much of our aunt’s concentration. We saw that the condition affected our father much worst and that he didn’t have much time. Nevarre rushed forward and, with some help of Lor’ Athorns magic, was able to gain the ability to fly father to safety. Treerazor summoned another one of the blasphemous creatures we encountered earlier but we kept it at bay long enough to save father. As we were tending to him, there was a blinding flash and Treerazor and the Liliend disappeared. Even the queen did not know what happened. Treerazor’s ax remained however. The queen thought in might be wise to take this opportunity to claim it, but we convinced her that it was more then likely a trap and she teleported us home.

Our troubles did not end however. Though father was no longer affected by Treerazor’s contagion, he was still in a feverish coma and would not let go of his staff. We were informed by Hialin that fathers staff might actually be the cause of the condition as it actually originated from the void. He also informed us that there was strange supernatural activity occurring in our estate once again. Vanya and Amaras went to investigate, and using Amaras’s heightened senses, lead us to the elfgate where we encountered Bealin (I do not understand this myself). He informed us that father’s soul was being drained away and that the only hope he had was for us to try and urge it back. So we all called to father in our own way, telling him how much we needed him. I recounted the story of how he saved me from the viper and how he now has a granddaughter he needs to get to know. By Erastil our love was enough to bring him back. He opened his eyes and dropped the staff and he was with us again.

Everyone now knows who Coreena is. This wasn’t the way I wanted to tell them but now it is out. I don’t expect anything to change. I know it was foolish to keep her a secret, but I still fear her becoming a target of our enemies. I have seen the face of our enemy now. I saw how it nearly killed her as well as my aunt and father, the two most powerful people I know. I pray tonight for guidance as for the first time, I’m unsure of how we can win.


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