Legacy of the Forlorn

War, Death, Honor, and Betrayal (Part II)

As I look back on this experience, many things weigh heavily upon me. First, something must be done about the spirits that lay within the towers. These brave warriors sacrificed themselves so our ancestors could escape to safety and they should be honored. Instead they are locked in an never ending battle long ended. Freeing such souls will not be an easy task but one that I will see to personally. I will speak with father and arrange to have a monument built in their honor. I will have their bodies moved to this monument so that they may rest in the land they died protecting and were never able to return to. This and the proper blessing hopefully will be enough to ease them the to the afterlife. The accusations against my family still trouble me. When we spoke of this to father he said that it might be possible as even he did have not have knowledge of the actions taken by our family so long ago. If our family was banished, how did our line return with the other elves to Kyonin? One of the most disturbing facts about this information is that the Dark Elves whom we struggle against might actually be our own distant relatives.

By Erastil why can’t anything be simple.

After our experience in the towers Treerazers forces returned in full and began a new offensive. Thankfully some of the scouts that Amrune sent to investigate for my expansion spotted some of Treerazers minions on the march and was able to report back. Quickly Amrune rallied the troops and was able to muster our forces in time to stop the offensive. The losses have been horrible but thankfully Treerazers forces were pushed back. I thank Erastil for this blessing as I cannot imagine what would happen had the scouts not been sent forward at that time. Amrune reports however that Treerazers is using new troops that he has never used before, including evil fae like those used by the Dark Elves. The implications of this information is very disturbing. During one of the meetings, I recommended that Amrune and Click send scouts to patrol some of our borders as many of our forces had to be moved to the front, and I feared that some of our enemies might take advantage. I have also heard that movement of the troops might cause problems for Seven Arches, but I trust whatever troubles might arise that my brother Elensar can handle it. I’m upset that I cannot spend as much time at the front caring for the wounded as I want, but so much is happening so fast. I wonder how the shorter lived races can stand it.

Not long after the offensive we were approached by King Borogrim with a request. Apparently his cousin wishes to hunt a dangerous beast residing in the Tanglebriar to bring honor to his clan. Though King Borogrim did not say it, we could tell that he wished us to escort his cousin and help him on his hunt. During this conversation Borogrim confirmed something that I have been fearing for some time. The Dwarven Church of Erastil that I helped found is creating a schism in the dwarven community. King Borogrim fears that this might even lead to civil war and has asked for our assistance in the future. I brought the teachings of Erastil to the dwarves because I saw they had many traits that Erastil praised. Family, honor, and community are all cornerstones of the dwarf race and Erastils beliefs. Instead of strengthening these ties, I have shattered them.

We helped King Borogrims cousin as promised. The creature we fought in the Tanglebriar was a horrible beast corrupted by a fiendish taint. I have no doubt without my family’s aid the young dwarf would have perished. I now prepare myself to return to Five Kings Mountains and fix the trouble that I have caused.

I have to ask myself if I misinterpreted Erastils blessings? Did I do wrong by spreading his word? Is this a test? I have begun to fast to help focus my mind and cleanse my body as well a pay penitence for the consequences of my actions. I only pray to Erastil that I don’t make things worse.

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War, Death, Honor, and Betrayal (Part I)

Much has happened since I have last written and many things have changed.

After the destruction of the Bog Witch I raised the question of possible further expansion into the Tanglebriar and the creation of a forward base of operations with my family and advisers. Seeing what Treerazers presence had done to the land pained me ,and with the current lull in his forces I thought this would be the perfect time to take advantage and begin trying to rebuild what we have lost. I was actually shocked by the amount of resistance I received after bringing up this proposition. While Amaras agreed with me, Vanya and Palanon argued that it was a fools errand. They went so far to argue that it was a “waste of troops”. Taking back our land from an ancient enemy is a waste of troops? Hialin also argued that the land was corrupt and not worth the effort and that we should “wait out” our enemy. How can you “wait out” an immortal enemy? Also the land we would take back can be renewed in time, but only if it is purged of Treerazors taint. Navarre and Lor’Athorn seemed to take a neutral stance during this debate, and even though I respect them for their caution I wish they would speak up in further discussions. Thankfully Amrune agreed to send scouts into the area to see if such an expansion was viable. With that the meeting was ended and we headed out to Erages to recover this ring promised by Falcon. It turned out latter that it was a good thing that Amrune sent the scout’s as they were able to discover Treerazors offensive and get word back in time to rally our defenses. More on that latter.

When we reached Erages we first ran into our brothers Sylthas and Drekath and a very drunk Olly. Apparently he had a bad romantic encounter and Sylthas was trying to raise his spirits by intoxicating him. However Drekath revealed that Meritanus had not returned from his trip and that this is what upset Olly the most. This concerned me greatly and I once again started to wonder if this family was not cursed. News reached us latter that Drekath and Sylthas were able to rescue Meritanus and that everything was okay. I laugh at this now as this will be the fifth time my family has rescued Meritanus and his kin. It’s almost becoming a hobby.

We then talked to Vanya’s contact Darsaadi for information about the towers. Eventually I promised her a favor and a small monetary donation for the information. My sister didn’t seem to happy with me offering Darsaadi a favor. She really needs to be more trustworthy. Darsaadi told us of a passage used by her friend who disappeared exploring the towers several years ago. We discovered the remains of this poor soul upon entering the towers. Though I will be sure that he receives a proper burial, he was a tomb robber who got what he deserved. Of course since we are also pilfering an ancient ruin that doesn’t make us much better. I was amazed at Vanya’s skills as we advanced through the towers and if it wasn’t for her we would have been greatly injured or even killed by the the towers defenses. Though the tower was eerie, I wasn’t horrible frightened until we found out the horror the laid below.

Behind a sealed door was an Elfgate surrounded by the corpses of thousands of our kin. These were the brave soldiers who died holding the line as the rest of our kind left this world. The minute we entered the ancient hall, I could feel the anguish of their souls surrounding us. Their emotions were so powerful I could almost taste them in the air. Fear, anger and most of all betray forced them to remain locked in this tower. I have never felt anything like it and it still sends a shiver down my spine recalling the memory. I immediately began reciting prayers of comfort and protection and called down the holy power of Erastil to bless and purge the hall. As I prayed, I could feel the anger of the souls rescinding and retreating, though I knew it wold take more then my blessing to truly free them of their torment. We soon learned that one of the trapped souls down here was that of the ancient elf hero Alenea, who was reliving the battle of her death over and over again. I cannot imagine a worse kind of torment then to relive the same horrific scene of your death for eternity. We learned from Alenea that she was betrayed by someone who we believe to be her husband who attacked her and her soldiers. As we spoke with her we got to see visions of the past as if we delved into her very memory. The scene around us seemed to change as if by some wizards illusion. I have herd tales of such things happening but I never thought I would experience such a vision. Through Aeleneas memory’s we learned several things. Fist, the soldiers fighting with Alenea were using weapons similar to the one Lor’Athorn invented as were their attackers. Second, we learned that our family were traitors.

Hearing about Alenea’s death at the hands of her husband was heart wrenching and explained the horror her spirit was being forced to relive through. The thought that the elves and humans used weapons thousands of years before Lor’Athorn invented them was thought invoking. Though it explains the replica found in the armory, it makes me wonder what other hidden weapons or artifacts are lurking from the past waiting to be rediscovered. None of these revelations staggered me as much as hearing my family name being associated with traitors to our people. Upon hearing this I felt like I had been struck and for a brief moment everything I ever knew came into question. Aelenea explained that it was our family who gave the humans the weapons and that they were exiled to an island for their crimes. After seeing these visions Aelenea returned to the cycle she was cursed to relive. The ring Falcon sent us to find rested on Aleneas remains which Palanon removed after promising to avenge her. He also examined the Elfgate and said that it lead an island.

As we left the hall we were attacked by what appeared to be mercenaries who followed us to the tower. Though they were easily dispatched by my siblings, I was horrified by the actions taken by Amaras. During the fight he morphed into his tiger form as normal and killed one of the attackers. After the fight however, he drug the body back and began eating it. I knew he had been acting strange lately and has been isolating himself more and more, but now I see what he is starting to become. I must confront him about this for I fear he has delved to far down a dark path and may soon become a threat to those around him.

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On Shaky Ground

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Nineteenth-

Alchemical Discovery: Although I have not worked very closely with Amon, the Gnomish gardner, some of his inventions have given me ideas. Among the first of them is the luminescent plants that he has created.

Regretfully, they are not quite bright enough to read by, let alone to act as any kind of serviceable street light. However, they can be delivered by projectile. I have already used the luminescent material to create a black powder round, as well as a sling stone and arrowhead. When utilized, this ammunition will cover a target in luminescent powder, thus making someone more noticeable, especially in the dark.

While this will not work against magical darkness, yet, I have good reason to think that this can not only help scouts for marking spots in the dark, but also to catch would be thieves who might hide. I have been very careful not to let too many people know of this, as I know there are those among our ranks who would hide from our enemies on a regular basis. Still though, I hope I can put it to good use.

Main Entry-

King Borogrim is an interesting fellow. Though he is a king of sound body and mind, he is perhaps more troubled than the mad kings I’ve read about in history books. I do not mistake him for a bad leader. It is only that he is beset by circumstance and misfortune despite being, from all indication, a good leader.

He came to us, introducing his nephew, and being as kind to us as he usually was. However, this special combination of events meant that he needed something from us. First came the pleasantries, of course. Borogrim had told us of dire events going on back home, though he did also tell me that Vague Harith was doing well, and I was happy to hear it.

Yet, it was as I expected. Borogrim had come to us seeking help. His nephew had needed to slay a deadly beast to regain some dwarven honor that he had lost before. I was not opposed to this idea, but I wonder about the nature of their penal system should this be the way they expect royalty to recompense their honor.

We would also learn that Borogrim might ask further help from us in helping to secure his power, as he had suspected a plot against him involving the opening of a forbidden door leading to the darkest parts of the underground. This sounded quite unnerving, if only that the dark machinations we had dealt with had already spread to other lands.

Nevertheless, we set out to fight this creature. Deep in the Tanglebriar, we sought this devilish creature out, so that our dwarven ally could fight it, with our assistance. It was a bulette, and a particularly nasty one at that. Reports have told of it harassing our people for decades at least.

We took our time and stalked it to a section of sand that was likely to be its home, and started to provoke it at the dwarf’s behest. To my relief, the creature that had appeared was no more dangerous in appearance than any other mild beast we had encountered before. Yet, as uneventful as its passing was, what came after was much more harrowing.

The beasts mother, as I later learned, had come out to avenge the first beast. The dwarf had known all along that he would have to slay a child to bring it’s matriarch. She lived up to her reputation in ferocity and looks, appearing as a deadly combination of devil and beast.

I admit freely that without the help of King Borogrim’s nephew, we might have succumbed to the devil-beast. We had barely scratched by with a victory, killing the creature with a combination of crafty magic and firm steel. I may not understand the need of dwarves to seek danger, but I certainly have gained a respect for it, if nothing else.

When it was all said and done, I had gathered my customary samples, and we had assisted in the moving of the corpse so that the dwarf could prove to his people that he had succeeded. We did a good thing that day, ridding the world of a danger, and helping a fellow noble gain his place in his society. However, I can’t help but wonder just how easy the pairing of fiend and beast is, and just how much more of the nature around us had already been corrupted.

End Entry.

Addendum- I have begun to worry about Hialin. Well, more accurately, I have begun to worry more seriously about him. He has become unhinged, and I hate to think that he’d do more damage in this state than he might as a prisoner to the dark elves. I am hoping to find some way to rehinge him, for his sake and ours.

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Tomb of a Hero
Vanya

My head is spinning with some of the things I have learned since going into the towers of Erages. Some of the things I learned were beyond what I had thought possible, and others were not things I had ever wished to learn.
We had arrived in Erages with little trouble, my siblings and I have become very adept at moving from city to city quickly and efficiently. Once we arrived we saw that Sylthas and Drekath were also in town, having a bit of a pity party for Olly. It appears that Jaylinn has chosen to be with Cade, and while that is the bit of news they were helping Olly with, the greater tragedy is that the ship that Meritanus has been using to trade across the lake has gone missing. While watching my brothers try to keep Olly in good spirits, not hard to do with an overabundance of drink, we meet with Neirein. She told us a little of the towers, and suggested we speak with the inns proprietor about further information.
The innkeeper, Darsaadi, was willing to tell us of the tower for a price. We started our negotiation on the price at a disadvantage thanks to Amaras, he threatened to kill her if she did not tell us what we needed to know. This is something I will have to talk with him about; he has grown feral while protecting the glade. Miri took up the torch and started making a deal with Darsaadi, in the end Miri agreed to 200 gold plus a favor. I may need to convince Darsaadi that the favor was not part of the arrangement in the near future.
Darsaadi did tell us of a passage that a friend of hers did use to collect salvage from the towers, a secret door that he used to great gain. Unfortunately, he went into the towers about 2 years ago and never returned. Armed with this bit of knowledge we set out to enter the towers to collect the ring that Falcon promised us. I guess I was expecting something more when we came to the towers. They looked more like small hills of rock, not the ruins of a once great keep. Searching for the entrance to the tower we needed proved to be easier then I had planned, only one of the towers had an intact entryway. Once inside it was a relatively simple matter to find the secret door now that we were aware of its existence. The smell of rotting flesh was a better indicator of where the door was then the information gained from Darsaadi.
Once we opened the door, Darsaadi’s friend fell out, dead for two years, and it looked like his back was broken. Move along carefully I attempted to locate any traps that may have led to his death. We made quick time, and came upon a small storeroom. It looked like this was the location that Darsaadi’s friend used to make his money, crates were broken open, and trash was scattered about the room. It looked like he had managed to find everything of value and sell it. Continuing on we encountered two more traps, one of which I was not able to disarm on the first try. It was while I was disarming the second trap that I heard movment in the room beyond. Sneaking forward I spotted what appeared to be large statues that were moving toward us in the hall.
My sibling sprang to action, forming a defensive line and casting magic to stall the golems. Not being one of great strength I set about looking for a way to disarm stop the advancement of these golems. On the wall written in ancient elfish was a message, “All soldiers must be armed for entry”. Thinking quickly I pulled my sword and called out that I was reporting for duty, but it did not have the desired effect. I then realized that the small storeroom was actually an armory of sorts, and asked that Miri and Palanon look for a weapon in the rubble, probably a mithrial one since everything that Darsaadi’s friend took from this place was made of Mithral. After a few moments Miri was able to find a overlooked sword and bring it to the front of the battle, but instead of trying to move through and stop the attack she drew her bow and repeated what I had said earlier. I have to admit it was a good idea, as bows are one of the weapons this is tied to our race, but I was certain that the key would be in the room, and not something we brought with us. Snatching the sword from Miri’s other hand I ran forward and was able to pass the golems unharmed, yet they kept assaulting Navarre and Amaras. Palanon yelled that he saw a magical field near the back of the room so I made my way into that field, afraid of what may happen to me if it proved to be another trap. Yet once I moved into the field the golems stopped their attack and moved back to the positions they had prior to our entry.
Another small staircase was beyond the room with the golems and we advanced as carefully as possible. At a small landing there was another trap. This time it was a pit trap, the floor would spin if enough weight was on it, dropping the person standing on the landing into a pit that appeared to have no end. After disarming the trap, a simple matter of bracing the floor against the stairs to prevent the movement, we continued down the staircase to a set of huge doors. I was told by Palanon that there was an arcane lock on the door, and that gaining entry would prove most difficult. As he and Lor’Athorn set about discussing how to gain entry past such a powerful magic spell, I tricked the magic into releasing it’s hold on the portal, unlocking the door and gaining the ire of my siblings once again. Palanon was certain that what I had done was impossible and wanted to know exactly what I had done. Yet I cannot tell him what I did anymore then he can tell me how his magic truly works, when disarming magical traps or bypassing magical wards and locks I have found it is a matter of intuition more than knowledge.
Once inside the room we saw a large, and active, elfgate. Surrounding the elfgate were the 10,000 year old skeletons of our kin. This was the tomb of Alenea, fabled hero of the age before the Earthfall. As we entered, we felt a great anger and sense of betrayal fill the room, it seemed to emanate from the bodies of our kin. Afraid that we would be facing the undead Miri cast a spell to lessen the hold of the afterlife on any near her, this seemed to diminish the aura that was filling the room a little. As we moved closer to the gate we started to see fragments of history playing out, elves standing guard were their corpses were now, and one lone warrior standing in the midst of them all giving orders. The ghosts seemed oblivious to us all, reenacting the way they died all those years ago. We stood and watched hoping for some clue as to how they died, or what killed them. Watching the scene it was apparent that they were fighting a battle, and all the forces were focused on the assault from in front of the gate, opposite the direction which we came. Alenea looked to be afraid yet resolute during this image, yet at one point it seemed like she heard a sound from behind her. When she turned a look of relief and happiness filled her features, and just as suddenly it was replaced by fear and pain as the image of ghostly black lightning filled the room, ending the vision from the past.
After the ghostly play finished Palanon moved toward the skeleton of Alenea and swore an oath to avenge her death while taking the ring from her finger, the ring we had been promised by Falcon. We moved about the room, careful not to disturb the remains of those who had fallen, least we incur their wrath, and started examining the gate, when the scene started to repeat itself again. Miri tried to talk to Alenea yet failed to break past the cycle the ghost must have been repeating since she died. Miri did gain us some insight into Alenea and her husband though, knowledge that he had been gone for quite some time, and that the elves were evacuating through the gate. Yet she could not pull Alenea from her nightmare and as such was told to go through the portal, and turned away to watch the battle unfolding. I thought this was an impressive idea yet the timing was wrong, it needed to be done at the right time, when she was most fully here with us, and as we had seen that was near the end, when she died. So I waited until just before the lightning arced across the room, and then I jumped into action pushing Alenea away from the blast that was moving toward her. While this did not save her, it did break her out of the dream for a while.
I managed to gain a great deal of information during the short time she was lucid. First and foremost is that our family was considered traitors by the rest of the elfish world, we had given guns to the humans in the past, a mistake it appears we have repeated. Secondly that our line was exiled to a small island for our crime. Since we were exiled it means that we, the Edasseril line, were not taken to Sovyrian. She also mentioned that her beloved had traveled into the darkness for a time and that at his return he was not the person she remembered, having killed her I expected no less. Yet in the end our conversation could not keep her from reverting back to the nightmare she relives.
Palanon was taking this time to examine the elfgate, and came to the conclusion that it connected to an island far to the northwest that had a large husk of a tree upon it. While this may become important at a later date, we decided that the best thing to do at the moment would be to leave the dead to their tomb.
Upon coming out of the tomb we discovered that the trap I had disarmed was once again operational. I took the time to disarm it and used my special gift to make Navarre invisible. With that we advanced forward to see who would be lying in wait for us. As we entered the room that held the golems we discovered that the golems were gone, and three would be bandits were hidden in the room. When I sent this thought back to the others I had not expected them to react, but they did. The next thing I know, there is a ball of fire exploding in the center of the room ahead and Amaras is leaping past us, taking the shape of a giant tiger.
The room explodes into a flurry of action and movement, and in relatively little time, all the bandits are incapacitated or dead. Something that truly turns my stomach is that Amaras took one of the bodies away and started eating it. I must have a talk with my brother about this. Otherwise the single ambusher that we let live was questioned. He was told to come in after us once a small object he was given became warm. Following that he was given a pair of gloves that destroyed the golems, he said they turned to dust once he touched them. Instead of killing him I let him go, I don’t know how my siblings feel about that, but I figure it will be better to have him spread the rumor that there is nothing of value left in the towers then to have more would be heroes stumble across the remains of Alenea and her soldiers, since that would only end badly for them.

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A muddled past

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Eighteenth

Alchemical Discovery: One of the things I have wanted to do is to be able to have more control of the battlefield. My increased use of pits has been successful, but to be able to push creatures into these pits would make it even more successful and battle controlling.

To that end, I have created an ammunition type that employs the use of a shape charge. This can be applied both to my prototype, the earth fruit launcher, as well as to arrows. Each iteration of the ammunition has different results. I will detail my results in a separate specifications blueprint.

Main Entry

The current events, especially as they relate to our distant past, have astounded me. I find myself researching history more fervently than ever before. This story of love and betrayal makes me wonder at the exact moment that our lineage changed. I get ahead of myself, however.

We had resolved to travel to search for the ring of Eldarniel. We had spoken to one of Vanya’s contacts in Erages, and procured the information for a pittance. Even in my limited grasp of diplomacy, I saw a few missteps in our dealings with said informant, but it is not for me to say.

We made haste to the tower that held the ring. It was said to be especially deadly, and riddled with traps. I rescinded my use of the trap finding ring to Vanya, who made much better use of it than I ever could. We did in fact run into a number of traps that were both insidious and dangerous, before running up against perhaps the worst trap of all.

As we continued on, we discovered that we had triggered the awakening of two clay golems. Though I have studied their construction and function, I had yet to see them in action until now. Through wit and creativity, we had managed to shut them down with another aspect of the trap’s construction. The golems themselves have me in awe. Their abilities were quite impressive, and I was sure that a straight fight would have been in their favor.

Though we came across a few more traps, we came across a large door with a mystical lock. Vanya expertly bypassed it, showing that her talents had grown by leaps and bounds. However, what amazed me more was what the room held. It was a veritable graveyard, holding the remains and souls of a multitude of damned people. With enough concentration, we could see a ghostly scene play before us like an endless play.

I was… fascinated by this. I can manage illusions and ghostly images, but this was a sight invested with deep emotion; specifically sorrow. The scene played out by the elven commander, Eldarniel’s wife as we discovered, was one of trust and betrayal. Eldarniel himself appeared, his image somehow trapped by this scene, or perhaps encompassed within the lingering mind of his wife. I tried to wheedle some information from her apparition, and what we learned was deeply troubling to all of us.

Our family were regarded as traitors, and had fled to the far reaches of the world. How we came to have our name after our return to this world now remains a mystery. I myself am unsure who to ask, or what tome to consult. We are likely to find answers on a remote island, but that island is also potentially too dangerous, even for us. Legends tell that on this island there are elves who hate all humans, and might not be too friendly to us.

Once we had gotten this information, we had tried to leave, only to be accosted by a few human brigands. My siblings continue to shock me with their behavior. Some of those men were little more than a small much of blood clinging to bone by the time they were done. I continue to wonder what I can do to keep this barbarity from continuing. Do they even notice what they are doing? Nevertheless, Falcon had sent these men, and we were all sure that it was a signal that our diplomatic ties were severed from this moment hence.

So my search continues. I have been furiously attempting to tap the university in Greengold, and speaking with Quillandra, hoping that somewhere within my reach, I can secure some answers.

End Entry

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Bitter End

Journal of Lor’Athorn Edasseril

Entry the Seventeenth

Alchemical Discovery: Though things between Mirrianna and myself have been strained as of late, I found a chance to mend things when she approached me about an item she wished me to make for her. What she sought was a device that would allow her to shoot her arrows true, and leave our fellowship unharmed.

Although my training with combat and the mystical arts already allows me to do this, I see that she has thankfully focused herself on healing and defensive magics. I do not fault her for this, and it has saved our siblings on many occasions.As such, I focused my energies on creating something that could impart to her what I had learned in my training.

Using a slight bit of illusion magic, I was able to conjure a magic to work on lenses that allowed for precise targeting in combat. The illusions would create something of a reticule to assist in pin pointing the exact spots to shoot for in heated melee, speeding greatly the time that it usually takes for careful aiming and shooting. It need only be tested in combat, but I believe it is done.

Main Entry-

We are nothing if not an ambitious bunch. Soon, we set off for a foray into the swamps of Tanglebriar, intent on killing one of the promising lieutenants of the army of Treerazer. I was afraid that even our considerable strength was not to succeed this time, but I would not readily voice my dissent when we were already set on the task.

The move through the swamps went as well as could be expected. We ran afoul a large river dragon, which appeared to be tainted with devilish blood. The encounter was brief, but intense, and no doubt acted as something of a door knocker for the bog hag, alerting her to our presence. I was of course quick to gather a sample.

When we got further in, we at last got sight of the bohag herself. She had either summoned or been gifted with a trio of bearded devils, who were quick to set upon us. They were ready for our arrival.

I find myself frequently writing of our encounters as if each was more dangerous than the last, and I fear that this may be the truth. We continuously fight for our lives, and I must reiterate that this is no way for nobility to act. Were that we had surrogates to fight. Alas, I believe those surrogates are instead working at the royal court. I long to be there someday, rather than to be murdering unspeakable evils in the dreaded swamp.

And yet we are a capable group of fighters. Perhaps we do our part by acting in the army’s stead. I take some comfort in the lives we no doubt save, and feel that in some way, we are acting the part of nobles. I suppose I had just grown up with some idealized view of what nobility entails.

Ah, another one of my famous digressions. I must really keep on topic. The bearded devils were fierce, and barbarous. They moved swiftly among out flanks, and employed deadly tactics. These were beings confident in their prowess, and unafraid for their lives. No doubt their home realm was more ruthless than any I could imagine.

The bohag was watching from afar, and threatened some kind of maniacal action as we fought the devils. Before long, Falcon had appeared, and was about to give her the bag, making our trek here moot. As she reached in to use it, we all watched in horror as she pulled out something furry. Vanya, the clever girl, had given a different bag to Falcon. I know he is smart, and could not have failed to notice this distinction, but it served us well. We may never know why, but he had betrayed the bohag. How he would take our deception was yet to be seen.

We soon capitalized on this mixed blessing. At the behest of my siblings, I employed new magics, and new tools. Already having experienced the disappointment in using fire against devils, I had commissioned a device to turn arcane fire to arcane ice. The bohag, who had been perched safely at a fair distance from us, was subjected to the first trials of the new device. Between this arcane device and the innate might from Palanon, we had defeated her.

As luck would have it, the devils were not so murderous as to work beyond the scope of their contracts. They left without delay, sparing us further hardship. As with the primal beast we encountered recently, I fear we will see them in battle once more. I will be further prepared for that eventuality.

Our barbarity was apparent once the bohag fell. My siblings reveled in the destruction of her corpse, while I merely pitied her for having been lied to. She had commented during the battle that we were as bad as our enemy, and I wonder just how true that is. I must reflect o our methods. Perhaps I should speak to Mirrianna, to seek some kind of spiritual rejoinder to the accusations which had been leveled at us.

End Entry.

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Bog Witch Dead
Vanya

The bog witch is dead. It is hard to believe that she is dead and the fear we have felt about her return is finally at an end. I have to say it was not an easy fight, I almost died while confronting one of the devils that protected her. Yet I have gotten ahead of myself, there was a great deal more to this then just a quick fight.
After we last met Falcon I decided to switch out the bag that we promised for a bag of tricks. Wanting to keep it secret I asked Lady Smileos if she would allow me to borrow it for a time. The cost of such a gift is now weighing heavily on my conscious as it was more than I would have been willing to pay had I known what the end cost would be. Taking the bag I put it where we agreed to drop our package off at, and made all haste back to my siblings.
Our meeting with Falcon was quick, mostly just an exchange of locations, yet Amaras taunted Vulture enough that he threw a small vile of some liquid into the diamond falls, a poison to be sure, one that would have killed the otters that lived there if we had not kept them away for a time. After we were certain that the otters would stay away from the poison water we took an elfgate to the edge of the Tanglebriar, the last known location of the bog witch.
Quickly making our way through the swamp we became aware of a creature lurking in the waters surrounding us, and once we had no choice in our path, my brother decided to pull it out into the open. The beast that came from the water was immense, a true monster if there ever was one. It snapped and bit at Amaras with a fury, one that was quickly quelled when magic and sword were brought to bear against it. It was frozen into the small stream that hid it from sight by Lor’Athorn and his magical prowess.
Unfortunately the confrontation alerted the witch to our presence, and as such she was prepared with her bodyguards, three horned devils. We quickly split our forces, those of us without the means to harm the witch(since she was several hundred feet away from the group of us) focused on the devils, while those who were magically inclined attacked her with a vengeance.
Most of the fight was a blur, I only remember striking one of the devils as it prepared to assault Palanon, yet once I struck home, it turned its fury on me. It was during this quick exchange that Falcon arrived via some magical gate and gave the witch the bag. I am truly thankful that I had the presence of mind to switch them out. She had only a short time to express her rage at the switch we performed before Palanon and Lor’Athorn ended her existence once and for all with two fireballs. Once she was slain the devils dropped their arms and left the field of battle, I guess they had no further reason to stay since the witch was dead.
I have been trying to figure out why flacon would have brought the bag to the witch. I had assumed he would have just been angry and keep this to himself, but he brought it to her, and did not warn the witch as to the true function of the bag. It really makes no sense.

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Return to Sender

Journal of Lor’Athorn Eldasseril
Entry the sixteenth

Alchemical discovery: As I continue researching, I notice that a significant amount of my research is focused on assisting my siblings. Lately I have noticed Amaras getting into a significant amount of trouble due to his tendency to wrestle with his opponents. Though there is little I can do to defend him in those situations, I can help him become more effective, and perhaps then he can end those fights more quickly.

I have conceived a series of wooden devices that fit over joints, which help in maintaining a grapple. Though they can be cumbersome, they assist in both maintaining a grapple, as well as resisting grapples from others. With luck, I can improve on the initial design, creating entire arm length grappling devices.

Main Entry-

The being known as Falcon has been very much a thorn in our side, possibly since our birth. Though his antagonism has been revealed to us only relatively recently, his actions have been shown to touch across time in a way most malign. I am beginning to appreciate the nature of the dark elves and their secrecy, as theirs is a campaign that could not succeed in the open.

To expound, they have shown themselves to be not only limited in numbers but in resources. I would not call them cowards, for the strategy is sound in the face of superior forces. However, Falcon is either a fool for revealing the limitations of his people, or a better strategist than I could imagine. Given the setbacks we have dealt him, I believe we are close to cracking the solid grip of fear he has over our family.

I write this because of the recent encounter we have had with him. Since the incident with Risa, we had been given a warning that Goldenoak would be the next target. We were of course worried, but Amaras more than any of us. He took it upon himself to provide protection for the site, as Brightglade had taken the opportunity to go with Risa and guide her. Perhaps it was all Risa had ever wanted.

However, as Amaras had already involved himself thoroughly in the defense of Goldenoak, we were glad to do the same. Between us, we worked hard to ready the defense of the great tree. I personally had asked for an old mentor of mine, Thostyli, to be present to help us with the defense, as I am sure it is in his vested interest to protect the trees of Kyonin.

A battle would not come that day to Goldenoak, however, as Falcon and his associate had called for us to broker a deal. Impressively enough, he had wanted to avoid bloodshed, something I thought him incapable of. However, it was here that he revealed to us a great deal of his weakness. He told us that his people were fallow in terms of children, and that their life was more mortal than ours.

I feel as if he wishes to draw us in, and have us trust him. I never will, but I imagine even in misdirection he could trick us. He plays a dangerous game, but one that will keep us guessing. I imagine Vanya may be able to outguess him, and for that I believe her to be our only hope in defeating him permanently.

But what Falcon offered was of slightly more interest than Falcon’s ultimate fate. He wished to not only call off the attack in Goldenoak, but secure a victory for himself in the eyes of his people by means of a trade. Palanon and I had conspired to send back a message that had no doubt caused a loss of face for Falcon, and he had much to regain from the losses our fellowship had incurred.

In trade, he proposed to tell us the location of a ring in exchange for the bag of seeds that the Green Lady once used to unleash hordes of creatures in battle. No doubt it was to placate the Green Lady’s daughter as an ally, but it was a dangerous proposition nevertheless. After a bit of arguing, we agreed, and promised to exchange items in an abstruse yet necessary manner.

Once this was done, we had only to enact our plan. We conspired to kill the Green Lady’s daughter before she could make use of the bag, and take the ring. A bit underhanded, but we could not afford otherwise. It is for this reason I do not call coward those who try to outsmart us, as we try just as hard to do the same. In war, and war it is, one must weigh honor and victory. I hope we do not lose sight of either.

Addendum:

A bit later, we had run into a strange creature on our way back from Goldenoak. I cannot say much more other than that it was some kind of primal manifestation of bestial intent. I have much more research to do, and regret only that we were unable to gather a sample. I have a feeling we may encounter it again…

End entry.

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Falcons' Folly
Vanya

These past few days have held a number of surprises and some suspicions have been made fact. First off we have accurately planed out the next action that was undertaken by our dark rivals, they did indeed make a play for Goldenoak. They managed to amass a sizable force of fey creatures, and had we not taken precautions, such as asking the queen to send support to the glade, as well as having Amon help with defensive structures, we may have lost the opportunity that was given to us.
No sooner had we arrived to help Amaras then one of the small fey came from the forest carrying a tattered piece of cloth. I held off voicing my suspicion as to what it was doing, but the universal signal for peaceful contact, a white flag, was recognized by my siblings. The imp, I don’t remember what my brother said this thing actually was, told us that we had a chance to fight or talk, and it hoped we would chose to fight. Since all we have ever had from this dark elf has been lies, half-truths, or ploys designed to hurt our father, I was in favor of just killing the imp, but some of my brothers wanted to see what Falcon would say this time.
We traveled the next day to the clearing the imp told us of. Upon our arrival we saw Falcon, in all his unworldly perfection, and a horrid creature that looked to have lost everything that Falcon possessed, he was twisted and ugly beyond description. He told us his companions name was Vulture, and that unlike previous visits to us he was not under any of his usual magical protections. With a flick of my wrist I dropped my hidden dagger into my hand and was prepared to strike out, ending his part in our story, but I remembered one of my brothers books and a similar situation that the hero encountered. A smuggler was confronted by a kings man who said much the same thing as our dark elf friend, he attacked with a blinding flourish and turned to leave thinking the kings agent was dead, only to be attack from behind. So I stowed away my knife and decided to be calm and listen to what Falcon had to offer, I do not know if any of my siblings had the same reaction as I did and I guess I will never know.
After a lot of posturing and idle threats on both sides we started to get to the meat of the matter at hand. Falcon wanted a seed from the golden oak, and in exchange, he was going to tell us the location of a ring, that may shed some light onto the existence of his race. In addition to this he told us a bit of his societies culture, even if he did not mean to, such as the importance of appearances, something Palanon and Lor’Athorn did really caused him a good deal of harm to his standing with is people. I had also surmised that his people we not reproducing as quickly as our own population, something he confirmed, and expanded on, they were reproducing at a rate far less than that of normal elves. The final tidbit of information that was given to us, was that they were no longer unaging, the ravages of time would take their toll on his people, we had discovered our greatest weapon against them, if only my siblings could see it. I managed to surmise that the reason they had lost their immortality was due to the sovaryian stone, when we left this world the connection between the two planes of existence were severed, and the connection his people had with it was lost as a result.
We took a few minutes to gather ourselves together to discuss his proposal, and we argued a great deal about whether to give him the acorn or not. Finally, we decided that we had him over a barrel, as the humans say, and could offer something less and get the offered item in return. We approached him after our conversation with the proposal that he would get the seed bag he tried to obtain using Risa, if we got the ring. We argued for a bit, and I finally found out that this elf could loss his composure if the correct pressure was applied. We agreed on using a box they had found in the forest as a means of communicating the drop point for his ring, and I agreed to hand the box to him. I must admit my intention was not to leave peacefully, but to incite a fight. I chose to target Vulture with my verbal attack, as he had not said a thing to any of us throughout this whole exchange, and I could see the hatred in his eyes. Baiting him proved to be easy, a word here a look there, and I could tell he was holding on by only an edge. I did not push him over though, yet my conversation may save the lives of my siblings in the future, I had seen that same look Vulture had when I visited the assassins of Daggermark, and it may very well be the look I have when in a fight as well. Every blow he lands will be a killing stroke if I do not miss my guess.
I guess our plan is to give Falcon the bag but make a bee line for the hag, we need only discover her location, and Amaras has an idea to talk to a seer, so that is where we are heading now. I hope that we will be given some real information and not riddles to solve.

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Reflections

From the Journal of Amaras

Taking up protection of the Golden Oak has been in some ways more than I expected it would be, the Queen assigned a unit of her Leaf Shade Runners to help and I have clashed with their leader more than once on our ideals. Blackoak the young treant has returned as well with allies to help and he is just as thick headed as before and the three of us have argued long into the night. Still I have not known the kind of peace I do here in the forest for some time. I discovered a trio of massive fir trees that I have begun to shape via my magic into a home for myself a place that I can rest and think over the many things plaguing me. I have found my thoughts turning in more than one direction as I worked, the harsh words that I shared with Jaylinn upon returning from my journey and of the tender moment we shared not long ago as I took my leave of her. It still pains me to know that I will not see her again anytime soon If ever as I struggle to control what is growing inside of me. But I had no choice for some time I found myself growing nervous around groups of people or snapping out in anger for small things. The final draw was when I called forth my claws and felt the urge to swipe young Cade across the face for a simple act of defiance. What would I do if I had injured him or by Natures Spirit Jaylinn? I could not forgive myself so instead I have chosen a form of Exile, my siblings don’t understand my need to be here alone like this but I think Jaylinn does in her own way. That is something I have found amusing in its own way, our people claim to be so vaunted and above other races but when it comes to reading each other we seem to fail. Where my own family has not noticed the growing conflict in my body a human girl and a fey girl both have seen it with a glance and reached out to help me.

I don’t fully understand what is happening but I have my thoughts on why, what I do know is that as each full moon rises my flesh stings and burns ,I find my more animalistic side rising to the fore. I have hunted before yes but on those nights I hunt like an animal killing with my bear hands and shredding the flesh with my teeth and gulping it down. In those times I feel Nil’sha’s respect for me grow as if we have bonded on some lower level more familiar to her. I have also found that my kin-ship to the other animals in the forest has shifted as well a group of Darken Wolves who live near the grove have taken to coming around more often. I have spent more than one night with them sitting around me listening to their stories of past hunts and glories and at times reveling them with my own. Perhaps the one aspect of all that has shaken me is that I feel my memories slipping away from, I could not pen which ones for I no longer have them. I know they are gone only by virtue of knowing it should have something there but it is now gone from me. For instance I tried to recall a incident from my past childhood that dealt with my sister and my injuring myself, I know she did something and I know I use to know but now it is as if it has been wiped clean from my mind. How much more will I lose and why? Will there come a day when I can no longer recall the names or faces of my own kin?

I have also begun to ponder if our action in this brewing conflict with our dark cousins has been a good or ill thing for our people. We have now met this Falcon several times and each time he let his arrogance shine through but on our most recent encounter we found we had damaged his standing with his people. He was not nearly as much in control as he wished he was but it was obvious that he needed us to agree to his words else something bad would befall him. He has mentioned on more than one occasion that he is the only one of his people willing to talk to us. This was shown by the one with him called Vulture whose eyes oozed hate towards us. I think losing Falcon would be a deadly blow to ourselves as we will lose a point of contact to our foes and one who we have proven we can drive into giving more then he wishes. And we will need that knowledge in the coming battles, I suspect that Vayna will no doubt think that I wish to save them in some way but there is no saving them, death is all that I can offer these shadows. But before we grant that boon we must reap what we can or else risk being felled ourselves.

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