Legacy of the Forlorn

A bird in the hand

An Excerpt from the Journal of Amaras

Unlike many of my family I found myself in younger years moving along the edges of our realm where I found many travelers of various races. I would often spend a night with them giving them the best route around our forest home in exchange for stories of the great world. Galt was one place I had heard of and never felt the tales could be as true as they were told to me. A place that holds their people under control through terror and fear of something called the Final Blade could surely not exist. I had an opportunity to view this first hand for Vanya learned that the Shadow Vulture was there so we set off to find him and put a end to his life. When we arrived I watched the people there and never have I seen a populace more filled with fear then there. They would not look at us they would deal with us only if forced and then we met a woman a Pathfinder who said she was to aid us only to turn us over to the Grey Gardeners for questioning. I am ashamed to admit I did not do well with this and I am sure that was their intended goal, they placed me alone in a small room with no windows and left me there for hours. I felt like a caged animal and when they came I lashed out at them and the only I reason I did not try to kill was because my family was being held by them. When released I stormed out of the building into the air to breath freely and await my siblings, we for now were free to seek our prey but we found something altogether different. We found Risa and her mother Brightglade was here in the city and of things trying to stir the population to rebellion, we quickly pulled the young women aside and told her of the danger she was in. I ordered Nil’sha to guide her back to the realm of the dwarfs to the land we hold there, where we felt she would be safe. For her mother was already taken hostage by the creature we sought and he was not hard to find but killing him was altogether more difficult than we thought. Using his powers of alchemy he hid from us cloaked in invisibility, I had found him once by smell and grabbed him only to feel his clothes rip and tear free of my grasp. In the end though we slew him and found that he held one of the Final Blades this we returned home with to lock away for as Vanya warned giving it back to Galt would make us look guilty of theft. As the others returned to the forest I guided the recovering Brightglade to our home in the mountains where her daughter stayed. Upon reaching that place I took in the views from the high cliffs that stare out over the rolling hills and the towering forests far away. The place is defensible for it has only one way to reach it through a set of narrow passages that open the great plateau it sits upon. I found that Risa had been camping there in a pavilion offered up by the Dwarf King himself, I chose to stay with them as something called to me in that place. Over the course of the next few months I began to work with the pair of them laying out what I hope to become a garden to rival the one my mother created. We laid out paths and places for flowers and trees to grow, using magic we enriched the soil so what we plant would thrive. I even went so far as to plant a pair of acorns from the Gold Oak there, I know they will not be golden like their parent but it will give Brightglade something to call home in years to come. I was in the process of transplanting a batch of Star Lilies near the elf gate there knowing they would climb it and shroud it I sweet smelling flowers under the night sky when word reached me of the impending wedding between Jaylinn and Cade. For some reason word of that threw me into a rage and it took all three of my companions to calm me down, I don’t know why I reacted in such a way and I was embarrassed by my actions. I sat later under the stars with them talking about all that has transpired since they left the forest, and I am not sure why but I told them of my curse and the secret I hold. I had seen Brightglade shed tears only once before but she was saddened by my plight and swore she would tell no one of it. It was Risa who surprised me most of all, she moved over next to me and threw her arms around me in a fierce hug that would have done a bear proud and whispered into my ear “There is no need to fear Amaras for I believe in you as you once believed in me. You can beat this and you can become stronger from it. Don’t make the mistake I did and challenge it alone, use those close to you who care for you to help you.”

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Mirrianna’s Travel Log: Galt

I have been to many enchanting places in my travels. The intimidating Five King Mountains, the surprising Gnome city of Omestra, and the mysterious Lake Elf Kingdom. I have also been to many horrible places. The wind swept Half Elf city of Erages, the anarchic River Kingdoms and the frightening woods of the Tanglebriar itself. Still, none of those were as disturbing as the Kingdom of Galt.

The problem with Galt is that unlike the Tanglebriar or to a lesser extent the River Kingdoms, it doesn’t seem the dangerous when viewed from without. The people go about their lives farming or crafting and the cities have spacious inn’s and bustling markets. However once you travel to Galt you actually feel right away that something is off. The people all speak in whispers and hurry to and fro while constantly eyeing the shadows. It’s as if they expect some horrible monster to jump out of every ally they pass even though the kingdom itself seems secure. I soon learned the Galt is a perfect example of how the dangers within can be just as frightening as the dangers without.

Almost the very minute my family and I entered the town; we were abducted by the local authorities and interrogated. I actually found the experience kind of amusing although a bit irritating. After facing down undead, demons and traveling to the Abyss itself, a man hovering over you telling you about how much trouble your in isn’t that offsetting. They separated us to help learn information as well as frighten us I’m assuming. The integrator came off as competent however my family and I have been through a lot and we trust each other implicitly despite what the man told us. In the end they learned what we wanted them to and they let us on our way with a warning that we should leave the city by daybreak. It was no surprise that they followed us after that and we conducted ourselves accordingly. All and all, I feel sorry for the people of Galt having to live under such tyrannical conditions. It would be actually a great kingdom if only they would only establish some competent rulers. I don’t think I will be visiting again until that happens.

We were surprised however to find Risa in Galt as well. We were warned of a local woman starting an uprising and when we approached her Risa’s scent became plain to Amaras. When we confronted her she informed us that her and her mother came here on their travels and settled in the local hedge maze. This explained the strange rumors we heard about the maze when we came into town. However Brightglade was captured and Risa was trying to rally the local populace to try and confront the terror that had been plaguing them. Such acts are a death sentence in Galt and we informed her as such. Vanya was especially harsh with her concerning her actions as well as interacting with the elf gate in the center of the hedge maze. Whether she was doing this out of concern for me and Amarras having taken responsibility of Risa from the Inevitable or simply because she doesn’t like the girl I do not know? In the end Risa was escorted out of town by Nil-Sha and was told to return to Kyonin.

Despite the rough welcome, we achieved what we came to do. Another one of our dark cousins, Vulture, has been defeated. His lair was a testament to his derangement being filled with alchemical abominations and other signs of death and torture. It was he that captured Brightglade and had been torturing or experimenting on her. I did what I could to help soothe her pain, but what had been done to her was ghastly. Though I try not to take pleasure in killing, every time I see first hand what the Dark Elves are capable off I can’t help but take comfort in their demise. Vulture was clever and dangerous opponent making use of invisibility to strike at us while we attacked blindly. In the end it was Lor’Athorn and Palanon’s magic that defeated Vulture by leveling the battlefield with waves of fire. They have both become very powerful spell caster’s I pity the poor soul that truly draws their wrath.

Brightglade is now reunited with her daughter in Kyonin and is recovering from her wounds. In the future they will hopefully choose their travel locations with more care. We also managed to obtain one of the fabled “Final Blades” from Vulture’s lair. I don’t want to consider what he was planning to do with such a fell object? Just being around the horrible thing makes me uneasy. I have learned to hate my foes, but I would never wish to impression their very soul. What does that say about those that made them? Seeing how things work in Galt, I would say it won’t be long before the creators of these blades are destroyed by them. I’m disturbed that Vanya volunteered to take the blade to arrange its removal. I wasn’t the only one in the family that didn’t trust her with it. She is the leader of an assassin’s guild and would probably find use for such an artifact. What does that say about her? Thankfully the blade is secured in our lower vaults where hopefully it will not feast on another soul. If only there was a way to remove the others?

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Beak and Blade

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Twenty-Fifth

Alchemical Discovery:
It is of no surprise that an explosive weapon and fiendish components have such a potent synergy. Not only have I tested both the accuracy and efficacy of alchemist fire in use with the potion launcher, I have also found that using other fiendish components can amplify the energy released in the resulting splash.

When employing these fiendish bladders, I can combine the mixture with some component of the creature’s anatomy to increase the combustive potential of alchemist fire. Often, a tongue will suffice, though sometimes a fuel sac or liver will do the job nicely. I may have to experiment with creatures that have an affinity for cold, though I have not yet discovered a bladder that will complement such a chemical mixture.

Main Entry:

I have never thuought much about the nation of Gult, but my recent brush with its unique culture has left me thinking less of it than before. This barbaric society would do away with even the cycle of rebirth that we elves revere. This goes too far even for humans. Even this affront to my sensibilities makes me think of the short sighted dark elves. Perhaps that is why we found ourselves meddling in Gult at all.

As always, Vanya’s information had led us to a series of murders taking place in Gult. She had somehow gained enough attention from Lord Kestrel, whom had intimated that our good friend Vulture was behind the murders and had become something of a liability for the dark elves.

I still question the motive, given that the dark elves are so desperate to bolster their numbers, and reduce casualties. It makes me wonder what amount of oversight allowed Vulture to become such a rabid beast. Perhaps it was the savage taunting we gave him during out last meeting. We may never know.

Our travel to Gult became a contrast in cultures; those of Kyonin and Gult, human and elf, and of Amaras and civil society. We had blundered through an attempt to discern the nature of the murders, and discovered that Risa had, through a clever disguise, been helping the local resistance movement. Despite this, the authorities were using them to gather what dissidents remained in town, and were no doubt waiting for the best moment to strike.

In revealing Risa, we had learned from her that her mother had gone missing, so she was on her own and trying to help the locals. Though Vanya remains eternally distrustful of Risa, I was a bit relieved that though her actions were unwise, her intentions were good. It does speak to the extra work we may have to do in keeping an eye on her, and steer her away from trouble.

We deduced that Brightglade’s disappearance and the recent slayings could have been related, and tracked Vulture to the hedge maze, finding an elf gate in the process. Though this was a perilous coincidence, considering Risa’s ban from interfering with said gates, I imagined that any ill intent on her part would have occurred by now. Moreover, the visit from the dimension spanning being of law must be a powerful deterrent.

We discerned the key to the gate, and stepped through into some strange underground laboratory. All manner of undead constructs awaited us, augmented with some kind of acidic device. When we finally found Vulture, I made sure to repay his assault in kind.

After a heated and protracted battle, we were able to defeat Vulture, securing and destroying his head with extreme vigilance. I can’t help but feel a bit regretful of having dealt him a mortal blow, if only that he may have been of more use to us alive, for information if nothing else. Still, if even his kindred do not mourn his loss, surely it was the just thing to do.

End Entry

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Friends and Phos

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Twenty-Fourth

Alchemical Disccovery: I have finally perfected the potion launcher! It turns out I simply needed a delivery device that would not rupture from the delivery system. I appear to have found such a thing among the various samples I have collected. It also turns out that the bladders of fiendish creatures are not only resistant to the heat, but also the shock caused by an explosive. I have calibrated these bladders into a rubbery membrane that ruptures upon high velocity impact with a creature or object.

Thus, I can finally deliver ample amounts of liquid over long distances. The device still takes a while to reload, but I am working on a spell that makes such a thing trivial. Once these preparations are complete, I will be able to provide ample support from long distances, and give others the ability to do so as well. I call it the Aqueous Artillery Canon.

One unfortunate side effect is that the membrane used for these launch-able potions are too tough to rupture if thrown by conventional means. This means that they are not as versatile as I had hoped, and useless without the potion launcher. Still though, I feel it may revolutionize support roles in the coming conflict.

Main Entry:

I am a bit disillusioned, if you’ll pardon the turn of phrase, with the recent events. Phos, a long time friend of the family, turned out to be some manner of alternate personality of an elf who had managed to alter himself into that strange old man we know. The sordid tale is as follows.

Recently, a pair of elves from the lands afar, those we would call cousins, came to us asking for Phos himself, saying that he had taken from them something of great importance. These elves were in some way related to those who had given humans the secrets of black powder long ago. This in and of itself is troubling even now, but their presence had an air of dread. They had serious business with Phos, and were not leaving until they had seen him.

We had no reason to hide him, but we were worried for him. We promised to let them speak with our adviser, but our search was fruitless, as we found only his laboratory in a state of disarray. Our worries only grew as we clued out the location of the errant alchemist, but also the fact that he was no longer the same man.

Our search tracked him down to the forests near the fungal caverns, and our suspicions were confirmed. Phos was… not Phos. He was some other man; young, brash, scared, and fraught with guilt. A quick interrogation yielded some interesting findings. Whatever his name was, he was a pretender. He wanted to be smarter, and so he concocted a potion to make himself more intelligent. It also created… or maybe brought to the surface a new personality, I cannot say.

We cajoled him into coming with us, to speak with our cousins, when a shambled had appeared suddenly. Our elven captive was likely to run if the fight lasted for long, but Palanon and I had been prepared enough to lay waste to the creature in no time. Our prisoner was secure, and we returned.

I will not understand this elf’s motivations, but he decided in the end to be Phos again. His talk with the foreign elves made him more depressed than before, and it appeared that there was a question of parentage involved. I suppose I cannot blame him for wanting to forget, but to run from one’s self is perhaps the worst thing I can imagine. I am reminded though of Faunrah, and her incurable sadness.

Perhaps this personality shift is not unlike a rebirth gifted by nature. I dislike how easily we elves can throw ourselves away… I must strengthen my resolve against this sort of thing if I am ever to ascend in status.

End Entry

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Death of Vulture
Vanya

Vulture has been killed. I had been looking forward to this day for quite some time, but in the end it feels a little anticlimactic. He fought the way I would have, striking from the shadows and doing his best to avoid detection. In the end it was the powerful magical abilities that Lor’Athorn and Palanon possess that killed him, not Amaras or I, though I think both of us wanted the pleasure of watching his life fade way as we cut into him with claw and dagger. It is the one uniting factor that I share with Amaras, our rage at the dark elves, yet our rage stems from different places I think. He always seems to grow angry when confronted by things that are abominations of Nature, which I suppose the dark elves are. I on the other hand am filled with a need for vengeance against those who claim to have killed my mother, and to a lesser extent caused the loss of my siblings mothers as well.
I suppose it is strange then that for all those who may be looking from the outside that I am working with one of them. Kestrel is the one who told me of Vulture’s location, and I used that information gladly. It is a very dangerous game we are playing, he and I, since if he fails he dies, but if I lose I will become one of my enemy. Kestrel thinks I am the most vulnerable to losing myself and becoming one of the dark elves, and I have to wonder how many of my siblings would agree. I think I am the only one of my siblings who is not susceptible as I have given up a great deal and been subjected to even more in the service of Calistria. Perhaps it is hubris to think that I have nothing left to lose that would cause my soul to be tainted in such a way to cause the transformation, but it is a belief I have to cling to otherwise Kestrel may win.
Killing vulture did net us some unexpected treasures however. Risa and Brightglade were in the small Galt town where Vulture was stalking his pray. They had come here for some reason, personally I think it was for Risa to study another gate without us looking over her shoulder. Risa also appears to have been trying to stir up the population to fight against the Gray Gardeners in Galt, something that was likely to get her killed. We confronted her after one of these town meetings and told her to get out of Galt before they decided to remove their problem by taking her head. She is the one that told us that Brightglade was captured by Vulture.
Brightglade was easy to locate, and it appears that Vulture was torturing her for some unknown purpose, another reason I would have liked to have struck the killing blow. What she told him, and who he communicated that information to is lost to us now. I am still unsure as to how Vulture got close enough to capture the dryad due to her unique protections.
Lastly Vulture did what I thought would have been impossible, he stole one of the Final Blades from Galt. We found it among his belongings, and I wanted to take it for study back to Daggermark, but my siblings were not so understanding and decided that it would be best to lock it away in our vaults. I had hoped to study it since some of the records I have found in Daggermark since my ascension to head of the assassins guild suggest that some of the greatest assassins could do exactly what the Final Blade is created for, keeping souls from returning to this plane of existence. Also I wanted to work with the Blade to see if I could figure out what Vulture was trying to get at. Being an alchemist, he would not have been able to construct weapons with the same magical properties, which is the thinking that my family is exploring, but I have a feeling it may be something similar. There is a connection between Brightglade and the final blade but I cannot see what it is yet. Maybe I will with more time

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The Truth of Phos
Vanya

A number of interesting things have come to light in recent months. First Phos is not who he appears to be. For all intents and purposes Phos is the alter ego of another man, a complex alchemical creation of herbs and oils that is used to bring him out of the subconscious. The only reason we know of this is because Phos gave away all his herbs to help the injured soldiers who have been fighting in the Tanglebriar. Without those herbs he reverted back to his normal self, something a great deal stronger and more fit then the Phse we have come to know. The alter ego was not as smart or wise as Phos, and appears to have a slightly darker character then the doddering old alchemist. This faux Phos imparted a great deal to us, first the Phos we know is not aware that he is an alchemical creation. Secondly, the Phos we know may think that he was helping Harith create gunpowder, but the truth of the matter is that Harith was being guided by Phos since he knew the formula all along, as the faux Phos stole it from the Mordent Spire elves long ago. Thirdly is the Mordent spire elves themselves, they admit to having this formula and have been its guardians for thousands of years, a charge that is due to the secret being given to the humans in ages past.
I cannot help but wonder what other secrets are locked within their realm. Are there other things that can be used to fight the dark elves? Are the dark elves a branch of our family, those exiled here after the Earthfall. If Phos was able to steal from these guardians, would it be possible for me to do the same. These musings are better left to a later date.
Another minor detail that we learned is that Phos, the faux Phos that is, has a child. This child was born of one of the Mordent Spire elves, and was the individual who came to our court to confront us about the theft of the black powder recipe. This may be a valuable piece of information if I ever need to go to the Mordent Spire.

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What Lies Beneath?

Who are we really? That’s one of those big questions that people like to ask. There really isn’t an answer to it and your better off just focusing on something more productive. That’s what I used to say until the events that happened with Phos. Now I think that is a question that is worth asking.

It’s odd how you don’t look back on how important someone has been in your life until something happens to them. I remember one time Phos found me crying from one of mothers many scoldings and took me back to his lab. I remember the smell of the place at the time was bizarre cross between roast pheasant and iodine. He sat me down and made a warm cup of something to make me fell better. It did, though it also caused me to only see in black and white for the rest of the day. After that I remember going up to his lab many times when ever I was feeling lonely. He always made time for me. I think it was because of those times that I felt the need to start dabbling in alchemy later on.

I could never understand why father made Phos one of his advisers. He wasn’t a military expert or spy or someone well versed in politics. When I was young, I used to think that father kept him around for amusement, like the position of a court jesters used in some of the human kingdoms. When I grew up I realized how important Phos was however, and that underneath his amusing exterior lays a great wisdom and a kind heart. I think that was the problem. We all pictured Phos as that wise but quirky Elf in father’s court, we didn’t know what really lied below.

When the Elves from The Mordant Spire came informing us that Phos had stolen something from them I thought that they were mistaken. Phos wasn’t a thief, though I could see him accidentally misplacing something on his person then forgetting about it. He had been acting strange lately ever since the incident with the haunting however. After discovering that he fled, I knew that something bad was happening. Phos would never run.

I could have never in my wildest dreams imagined that Phos was actually an alchemical creation of someone else. We tracked down Phos to Faunra’s and Quais’s old cottage but found some one else instead. I admit that I was truly shocked when we heard the tale from the man who Phos truly was. I can understand the need to improve one’s self. There have been many times that I have wanted Lor’Athorns intelligence or Navarre’s strength, but I would have never considered going as far as he did. Despite the shock of the discovery, I’m not angry with the man for the motives behind his actions were noble and his alter ego has helped us and Kyonin as a whole many times. He blames himself for Tove’s death which I can relate having lost some of those under my care, but he needed to learn to let it go. It was apparent that weight of his guilt and the effects of his elixir that he was becoming unstable. I especially didn’t like how he kept referring to himself and Phos as separate individuals. They are not two different people trapped in one body, but merely different parts of the mans soul magnified and manifested through alchemy. The fact that he didn’t think of the situation in that context shows how far he has become lost from himself. He kept describing the problem as Phos trying to break free from within him. He was suffering withdrawals from his elixir and was starting to border on shock and insanity so I doubt that this was true. In the end I pity the man. He was scared and wanted to do nothing more then run away, whether into the world or into himself. He had been running for so long he doesn’t know anything else. I had the feeling that some of my family actually were hoping for him to escape. Though I understand their need to wish to keep the man who is Phos alive, they should know that it would only delay the inevitable. How long would he last before his sickness finally overcame him, or until one of his elixirs makes him lose complete control? He needed mental and spiritually healing and learn to accept who he is, not to continue on as before.

Thankfully it didn’t have to come to that and we were able to return the him to the Mordant Spire Elves to answer for his crimes. Apparently it was Phos and not Harith who discovered the gun powder. Phos was just guiding Harith along. This would explain why the Dwarves informed us that they were unsure if Harith truly had any alchemical innovation. This discovery was apparently discovered by the Mordant Spire Elves long ago and they have been guarding it ever since. The man who is Phos acquired it on his journey there and latter presented it to Harith as Phos. They revealed to us that house Edasseril started in Sovyrian and had many branches of the family both there and on Golarion. This is why our family were considered traitors in Alenea’s vision. It was the line on Golarion where the Humans acquired the gun powder. The Mordant Spire Elves claimed they did not know if this happened by accident, theft, or betrayal. They concluded that even though Phos acquired the formula and helped Harith with it, he was fully responsible for the discovery and spread of the powder. They stated they would return to their people to discuss what was to follow. The man was spared and remade the elixir to turn back into Phos. This might be for the best as he can continue advising my father and providing us with alchemical agents. Though I’m sure the rest of my family is happy to have the old Phos back, I will never see him the same again. He is scared man buried beneath a reflection of lies, guilt, and misguided nobility. I don’t know what upsets me more, the fact that we had been lied to all this time or that a little piece of my childhood just died?

It makes me wonder about my family and those close to us. What do they have hiding beneath? Navarre has been acting more aggressive in recent times. Is it old rage boiling to the surface or have the constant battles started to corrupt him? Amaras has been acting more agitated and confrontational, why? Is there a bastion of order underneath Palanon’s chaotic surface? If that is true, what does that say for Lor’Athorn’s thoughts? Has the travels affected Drekath at all? How truly afraid is Hialin and has Amrune gotten over Faunra’s betrayal?

I cannot dwell on these contemplations. It has been revealed that the spirit haunting the grounds might be Tove. This might have been brought on by the influx of wounded receiving the same aid as she did from Phos or something relating to the defeat of the bog hag. I must study to see what can be done to ease her spirit before things get worse.

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Memories of the Past

From the journal of Amaras Druid of the Green

Memories….I never gave much thought to them as I grew older but then who does? Do humans give much time to contemplating them or do they simply take them as being a part of themselves. As they age I have heard they lose them anyways so do they care much when they make them since they only stand to lose them later in life? I wonder do they feel the same fear I feel now as my own memories slide from my mind as if a drain has been opened?

“Memories make you who you are, they give you the strength to live.” That is what my Sister Mirrianna told to the tormented soul of our advisor Phost. When I heard them I was so shaken to the core I had to leave that small cottage and lean against the wall breathing to calm myself while I listened to them talk to him. A strange thing we learned that day, the man we had known since being children was in fact two different people one being caged by the other and held in a prison for so long. I felt for this younger elf he wanted to destroy both himself and the personality we knew as doddering old Phost by creating a third one. I wanted to rush in and grab him and yell at him that was not the way for do I now suffer in such a way now? Three different souls wage war in my body, the soul of the Elf, the Hunting Cat and the Ayer’shir and I know not which one will win. I did not rush in for to do that would have divulged my own curse to my family, I am shamed by not telling them but how can I? If father as to learn it would only add to his burden for there is no cure and how can he be forced to watch his own child change as I have and know he is powerless to fight it. In the end we did not have to worry about him taking this dangerous road but he showed me great strength and courage the younger elf allowed himself to be once more consumed by that of his other half to become the man we knew again. At that point I knew what I had to do though it was a cowardly thing, rather than face the spirit in me I have turned to the same method Phost used and now I cage it halting its growth. There is too much at state now too much to lose for me to risk trying tame this beast. But how much more can I lose from my own mind? How much till I am no longer me? I know I have lost memories for there is a fleeting feeling like I should know something but can’t recall it. For instance I know there is a Shadow called Vulture who for some reason I bear a strong hate for and wish to kill and rend but why? What did he do over all the others that singles him out in my mind? I wear a suit of leather armor that I am told comes from a creature I helped to slay but I can’t recall any such battle. So to that end to preserves what memories I have left I have turned to art, using my natural talent and magic I have begun to craft sculptures to capture those times but more than that. I have turned that skill upon the outside of my home to the three massive oaks I have taken to living in, speaking to their souls they agreed to my plan and with my magic and their own they merged into one massive tree. Upon their bark I have begun to shape my greatest memories…I know that someday the elf known as Amaras Edasserial will no longer exists so I hope that this, this will help others recall that man.

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Reflections of the Highhelm Siege
I have spent much time amongst the Dwarves. We are both vastly different and completely alike at the same time. There are times I can’t stand them and can’t believe that they’re kingdoms have not fallen to anarchy. But there are times when I’m astounded by their honor, knowledge, and fortitude. The siege of High Helm will be one I’ll never forget. I’m honored that my family and I where there to be part of that battle. We helped lead to a great victory but leaned a horrifying secret and worst of all, failed to save a good man’s life.

I remember little from our first trip. I had been fasting to purify my body and soul for the trials ahead. I was the one who brought the teachings of Erastil to the Dwarves and started their religious schism. If their culture suffered because of it, then so should I. However the schism turned out not to be the main cause of the trouble with the Dwarves and they handled the introduction of Erastil like they handle all differences, with some shouting and an occasional fist fight. Still I was weak and only remember some bits of our journey. Beautiful mountainsides, Dwarven laughter, and Palanon asking for my help though I don’t remember why. One encounter does stand out in my mind though. On the way to the first town we encountered a wandering Human. When we approached he claimed that he was a hunter and that he had a friend in the next village. He claimed that his friend was “losing his path” and asked us to look in on him. We agreed and the man went on his way. At the time I didn’t think too much of the human, but looking back I feel that I have missed something. There was something about him that stood out, something…different. I can’t explain it but I feel there was something more to him. Why is most of that journey vague in my memory but he stands out with perfect clarity? This will vex me.

His friend turned out to be a young Elf named Lirimas that was friends with Girath Brokensheild. Lirimas was a hunter that lived with the Dwarves with his wife and son Koehal. I didn’t see why the strange human asked us to watch him. He had a loving family and is liked by the Dwarf community. I soon wrote of the human as some crazy ramblings. However when we told Lirimas of the encounter, he informed us that he knew no one by that name. Who was the human, and where he get his predictions?

The more I talk with King Borogrim, the more I respect him. He is truly a great hero and king, and the right ruler for the Dwarven people. During the trials leading up to the siege he was assaulted with many great problems and tragedy’s but still carried through. First he had to keep his people together on the verge of a civil war. Religion and politics are so difficult. Many people don’t understand that it is easy to win the battle. Just defeat your enemy. There is no victory in politics, only compromises and attrition. Even after it appeared we attacked one of the priests of Torag, Borogrim manged to hold his people from falling apart. I helped persuade the that follow Erastil to aid in Borogrims cause. I heard that Vanya approached the priests of Torag. Even though I would consider that hopeless considering the circumstances, I have learned not to underestimate her.

I remember when Borogrim was asking the priests to go into the Vault of Whispering Kings to commune with Torag. I know what is like to want answers from our gods. The yearning to have the answer to end all problems. We are like children wanting our parents to just give us a nurturing hand. But the gods are more complex then we can imagine and I warned Borogrim of this. It is dangerous to seek a gods council. Sometimes the answer you get (if you get one at all) is not the one you were hoping for. Thankfully Borogrim saw the wisdom in this and chose not to pursue with the ritual. Sometimes simple faith is the best course.

Then there was the attempted assassination. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time Borogrim has had an assassins dagger aimed at his throat. But I think what nearly broke him was it coming from Rufenhime. I could tell he cared for that child even though I’m sure it was not the son he imagined. The look on his face when we told him that Rufenhime was one of Lady Smilos’s agents was heart breaking. I thought that all might be lost until Palanon spoke up. My brother amazes me sometimes. Underneath that lounging exterior lies the heart and mind of a true poet. The words he spoke to Borogrim were both true and enduring and after listening to Palanon I can see some of Borogrim’s woes being lifted away and him standing a little taller.

In comparison, the siege was probably the easiest problem for Borogrim to deal with. Not that the siege was easy. It was a hard battle and many Dwarves lost their lives. I still remember the horrors we faced that day and thank Erastil that my family and I were able to vanquish these horrors from the land. Though the siege was a victory, we suffered a horrifying loss, and I now fear and hate my enemies more then ever.

First there was the fight with the vampire. I have only read about these horrid creatures and everything said about them is true. I’m a priestess and my abilities and gifts should have been a match for this blasphemy of death. Instead all I could do was watch as it nearly killed Nil’sha and engulfed my family in flames. I remember seeing the vampire reform form the mist it became and thinking how foolish it was to return when it was beaten. Then it spoke the words and I saw the fireball launched at my brothers and sister. When I saw their silhouettes burning in the flames I could only think that it was over. They were dead and I could do nothing about it. However my family is strong and the look on the vampires face turned to despair as they came out of the flames. Its own arrogance was its undoing and Navarre finally put it out of its misery by beheading it. Or so we though. Our dark cousins are anything but resourceful and they turned the remains of that foul creature into horrible undead Shambler. Thankfully my prayers and wards were more effective during the siege when this abomination confronted us and Amaras was able to overpower it and drive into a running river, destroying it hopefully permanently.

It was during this time that we learned about the dark Dwarves that also lurk deep below th lands. Borogrim referred to the as Duergar. Though I have only encountered a few, they are a mirror to our dark cousins. They are foul, disgusting and truly evil creatures. Unfortunately they appear to be also cunning and resourceful. Their existence also establishes how us and the Dwarves are alike. We each have our own demons to fight.

During our second trip their was the discovery of Lady Smilos assassin in Borogrim’s court. I always despised that woman and what she represented. We learned about the siege through a spy in her guild as well as the name of another of our dark kin, a Lord Kestrel. Apparently he was behind the attacks on the Dwarves and his sister was the vampire that Navarre beheaded. It was he who probably turned her into a Shambler. I know that no matter the benefit, my family would never have my body desecrated this way. We also learned afterwords that Lirimas’s family was kidnapped by one of the Duergar disguised as Brokensheild. We found his poor wife’s body murdered and his son still unaccounted for. Amaras said that he found tracks that were probably Lirimas’s near the sight. He more then likely assumed his friend betrayed him. What a tragedy. If only we had kept an eye on him as the stranger warned. I weep for his wife and the fact that Koehal is at this moment being turned into one of our enemies. Damn them to hell.

The siege itself was a new level of danger. Though we only encountered a small band of the attackers, we had to fight their leader, a horrifying brute who reeked of fiendish taint. Thankfully my prayers proved useful to my family and they were not only able to defeat the brute and his horde, but the vampiric shambler as well. However before the combat Lirimas appeared and told us of the coming enemy. During the fight he slipped away to one of the towers. Vanya and Nil’sha pursed but they could not stop what happened. Vanya told us that she found Lirimas attacking Brokensheild who he thought was the murderer of his family. Vanya claimed that as soon as he ran Brokensheild trough, that he changed to a dark elf before her eyes. She slew him and then was confronted by lord Kestrel who told her that turning into a dark elf is just a matter of “breaking ones soul”. He informed her he did this to Lirimas as a test. He ruined a Elf’s life, murdered his family for a test? How I hate them. He also said that Falcon’s plan was to do this to our father and turn him to their side. The idea of father becoming one of them……. I don’t want to think about it. Vanya told him that Lady Smilos was the one who informed us of the raid. Then she tried to attack him but he fled. I don’t agree with Vanya’s actions. If Lirimas could be changed to a dark elf then perhaps he could be turned back. Also, Lady Smilos would continue to be a good source of information as long as she did not know about the spy. However if Vanya had not killed Lirimas then we more then likely would have had to face him latter, and I shed no tears for Lady Smilos.

The siege was broken and High Helm stood. In honor of our participation, Borogrim made us an honorary Dwarf clan as well as giving us land near an ancient elf gate. This is great honor and this will help me further my cause in spreading the word of Erastil amongst the Dwarves. I wonder if my family will let me build a temple there?

Still, I can not let that go to my head. We have beaten the enemy once again but they come keep coming on, more powerful and deceptive then ever before. I know now that we will never have peace until either we or they are wiped out. I pray for now for penitence for the actions I will have to take in the future.

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Clash at the Big Bridge

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Twenty-Third

Alchemical Discovery:

I have tried my best to make use of the golden leaves that Amaras has gifted me. I tend to miss obvious solutions, so it was no surprise that it took me this long to do so. The leaves are perfectly suited to be fit to make a glorious fan. Such a golden fan will be obvious, of course, but will also accentuate any dance in which they are used.

Additionally, the fan can be more easily enchanted to do wonderful things. I have experimenting with creating strong winds, but this innovation has eluded me. For now, the fans merely increase attractiveness, but in that they excel.

Main Entry-

We have seen a conclusion to the events in Highhelm. Though our efforts were successful, the victory was tainted somewhat by a revelation that troubled us. Perhaps moreso is the disturbing foolishness and inefficiency with which the dark elves concoct their machinations, simply to reveal things to us about themselves. None of it makes sense, as it not only reveals potential weaknesses, but takes far more resources than necessary. Again, the grinding machine of the dark elf guerrilla effort seems opposed to itself in its function.

To be less analytical, I shall speak more frankly on the matter. As was approached, we were making preparations for the coming monster hordes. The king was trying his hardest to keep us from battle, though we assured him that we could hold our own. His political sensibilities had of course caused him to prevent our harming to damage relations between our nations, which was prudent. It was nonetheless a frustration to sit and watch.

I knew right away that his request to cover a secret entrance was going to result in an important defense of the dwarves lands, whether by Borogrim’s shrewd design, or not. Without delay, we saw the enemy approaching. A small war band, led by the nastiest hobgoblin I’ve ever laid eyes on, came towards us with murderous intent. Thankfully, Amaras’ command over nature prevented their advance, making useless all but their skirmishers.

This did not, however, stop the hobgoblin. The creature was curiously demonic in nature, and his wings were but one of many advantage that the unfortunate mixing of blood had provided him.

Navarre was immediately shaken up by the flurry of blows. Thankfully, I had prepared something for just such an occasion, and Navarre demonstrated wonderfully the first application of my wonder potion. His fear diminished with the help of my extract, and we were able to face the demonic hobgoblin head on.

With a concentrated effort, and through a number of dangerous exchanges of brutal strikes and magical energies, we defeated the hobgoblin handily. An elf we had met earlier had feigned to help us, but was not ready to run suspiciously to the dwarves hold. Worried about his behavior, Vanya and Nilsha fled to see to his actions.

Meanwhile, we were greeted by the creature we had both expected and feared from our foreknowledge of Lord Kestral’s communication with Lady Smilos. A vampire shambler… truly among the vaunted ranks of creatures that simply should not exist… appeared before us. We were not surprised to find that the vampire dark elf we had faced earlier had been turned into this detestable thing, but we were surprised to find that it was more than happy to consume fleeing goblins to boost it’s durability.

Bridging the gap and launching a strike at the creatures was a slow and calculated affair, as we sized the creature up, and it watched with fear and anger as most of us stood in Mirrianna’s protective circle. Our eventual assault harried the creature, and Amaras was able to deal with the creature deftly, thanks not only to my magic, but also to the second use of my wonder potion, granting him the temporary strength needed to drop the creature in the river, causing it to disintegrate.

We learned later that our elven friend had been manipulated by Kestrel, and had murdered his best friend through a colossal and carefully crafted misunderstanding. This brutal and misguided acction caused something to change in him, demonstrating for us something that Kestrel had wanted us to see. Ultimately, we had won the battle, but it may have been arranged with the simple goal of playing out this sad scene for us to see.

I am still in disbeleif that it truly transpired in such a way, not because I do not believe the actual outcome, but that Kestrel would be just as melodramatic as Falcon, spending such energies into some side show. It is important to know, of course, but I can only think that had Kestrel invested the extra energy into winning this battle, we’d have been that much closer to defeat. It is a strange feeling… I do not mind that the dark elves are apparently incompetent in the face of their grandstanding methods, but it does make me wonder if the dark elven purpose is to win, or simply to make themselves feel superior before they snuff out like a guttering candlelight.

End Entry.

Addendum- I have learned that we have been granted land in the Dwarven lands. I am both gracious and appreciative, as I may wish to cultivate the lands as well as our relationship with the dwarves. I spoke, as did my siblings, to the dwarves assembly, hoping to give to them an assurance that we stand together, and that our enemies are shared, as are our victories. With time, perhaps we as nations can look to each other as brothers, as Borogrim now does with our fellowship.

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