The Dark Ages

Meditations of Ja'Kar
Transformation of Drunken Fists into Righteous Fists

As I sit here and meditate I think on what my master told me.

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.bq).

For the longest time I felt as if being the Drunken Fist was what he meant. Now I think different.

Events are changing.

Chaos and decay infect this world. The balance my order preached, is no longer in balance.

I remain true to myself, but I am now the water.

Mesha granted me an insight that I lacked.

That insight is the world is rotting. Orcs rule Irecia. Evil festers the soil. No one seems able or willing to do what is necessary to fight this.

Talk. Talk. Talk. That is what they choose to do.

Those who should lead, lead for their own glory.

Those who preach their faith, do so for their own glory.

Mesha is a goddess, this I know. What I do not know are her intentions.

The land is rotting. Chaos and doom abounds.

I will be the water. I will be the Righteous Fist.

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The Journey to Irecia

Adventure called once more, and I gathered with some of my fellow adventures to decide where we should go. There was much debate, I urged the party to go to the monastery to help Sir Reynauld capture the monastery, but I was outvoted, the party felt that the monastery was too dangerous and decided to go to Irecia instead.
While I knew that Irecia was far more dangerous, I did very much want to go there to see what was happening in that region. Also, I had it in mind that if we could find one of the damned from Irecia, I could cure him and find out what really happened.
Unfortunately, that was not to be. We set out for Irecia, myself Grel the Paladin, Beláldur, Jar’kar along with a few new adventurers, a fighter named Fergus, a littling named Balto, and a ranger named Ragar. It was not far past the bridge that we came upon a large battlefield. The ranger told us that there were about 50 orcs vs about the same number of humans. The humans clearly won! This was good news, but made us cautious.
We continued on our way and heard the approach of a patrol. We all decided to take cover to let them pass, but the monk decided to sit in the middle of the road on the assumption that he could befriend the orcs. Things proceeded in the expected manner and we soon found ourselves engaged in combat.
We killed eight of the ten orcs before the last two fled for safety. We took their horses and weapons and continued on. With them galloping toward the inn, we knew that they would be on high alert soon, so we proceeded through the woods and around the inn.
After a few days of healing, we were able to continue on toward Irecia. Soon after we left the woods, we heard the sounds of horses behind us. We galloped for about an hour then went off the road when we heard they were still coming.
We accidently came upon what turned out to be the tomb of Carmella the Brave, Queen of Irecia! We investigated but did not find anything of great interest. The monk was adamant that we should not disturb anything, and I had to agree it did not seem right to take anything. In the end, we left the tomb to continue to Irecia.
The rest of the journey was fairly uneventful. We came to the outskirts and detected Movement in the keep! We found a ruined village to hide the horses, and we three fighters stayed behind while the thieves and the monk scouted the area.
While we were waiting, two humans, members of the king’s guard, sprung up and spoke to the ranger and myself. They told us that they had captured the north keep, but that the orks held the other three. They were outnumbered and could not last long. Their leader Turgard urged us to take Woldred to the Marshal to beg for aid.
As there was little that we could do here, we gave Turgard what food we could, a suit of chainmail, and wished him luck. Then we headed back to Enonia.
The return was fairly uneventful with the exception of the dozen tents full of orcs that had sprung up just outside of the woods.
We returned to Enonia, and immediately reported to the Marshal everything we had learned. He seemed genuinely encouraged by the developments and indicated that he felt it was time to take the inn, if there was just some way to get inside. I brought out Jorann’s map and told him that I had heard that there were caves below, and I was almost sure that there was another entrance from below.
The Marshal charged me with finding this entrance!
We then went to Sir Reynauld and told him our story. He then explained that Carmella was his ancestor and that he, and the Duke, would be very upset if we had looted the tomb. Luckily, we had restrained ourselves and thus were clear of conscious.
Now I must speak with Jorann and all the other adventurers who had adventured in the inn. Hopefully I can find the information I need!

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Grel's log
Spring in Enonia

Spring has come to Enonia again, and I find myself increasingly worried for the fate of Enonia.
Yesterday, I went adventuring with a few of my new companions, i.e. Jakar, Beladur and Ostlen.
We had decided that with news of sir Reynauld’s defeat at the hands of the orcs, and of the strange exploding orcs, we felt it would be a good idea to scout out the monastery ourselves.
We also decided that while we were out in that general direction we could find out if there was any truth to the bakers tale of a new shrine north of the monastery.
Our initial talks with Yinnivax and sir Reynauld were not too informative, so we took the baker and set out to find the shrine first. This proved to be fairly easy, as the baker did seem to be called by a goddess. From speaking with the baker and Jakar, it appears that this goddess is Mesha the bringer of seasons.
While I did not feel any evil coming from the shrine, I did not feel any particular welcome and felt it would be prudent to remain outside of the shrine as I did not want Tangadorin to feel any displeasure with me entering a shrine to another deity.
It has been in my mind lately that the more we learn about the Doom, the more it seems to be connected with the end of worship of all other deities . Was it the Doom that stopped this worship, or was it the end of worship that caused the Doom?
Either way, it seems to me that with these deities returning, perhaps there is hope yet that the Doom can be reversed.
Anyway, we left the baker to find his own way home, as it would be far more dangerous to accompany us while we set off to scout the monastery. Our timing was fortuitous as when we arrived the remaining orcs were in battle with two giant wasps. With a little help from my companions and the exploding orcs, the wasps were soon victorious.
With no sign of any remaining orcs, we set out to explore the monastery. However, we only got through one chamber and were on our way to the stone fountain, when I was suddenly seized by a dreadful feeling of chaos. Luckily, I was embewed with the light of Tangadorin both in my heart and in my trusty blade, and so was able to overcome this awful influence.
Then an evil voice called out to me entreating me to come play with it in the pond. My companions and I had too much information to pass on to Yinnivax and Reynauld to chance our death in the monastery. we felt it would be best to report that the monastery was no longer crawling with orcs, so that it could now be cleaned out.
WE returned to Enonia and reported to Yinnivax and suggested that we wouyld like to inform Reynauld. With yinnivax’s permission, we did just that. I also allowed him to copy Jorann’s maps of the monastery, for which he paid quite handsomely. I felt that anything we could do to help root out the chaos is worthwhile.
Meanwhile, I return to the temple to report to Jorann all that I have learned.

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Beláldur's Take

I’m a long way from the sea, and I miss it more than ever. The humans have a growing problem with orcs; they’ve been claiming more lands and fortifying them. In days past, we elves would simply gather 10 or 20 elite warriors and clear out the infestation, but that ship sank long ago.

My companions from town seem capable enough, although some seem a bit cowardly at times – you’ll never reach your destination if you’re too afraid to set sail! There’s been no sign of my Grandfather’s bow or the goblins that took it, but I’m anxious to see this monastery I keep hearing about with the “strange goblins” in it. I wonder if they’d be willing to go there with me?

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Sad loss
Extract from Treen's journal...

There is so much happening in my mind everything is jumbled, we sadly lost a member of our party during this adventure. Tobias met a terrible end, but it was so because of his courage and character. He met his end scouting ahead to make sure we were not walking into a hornets nest.
Considering his previous exploits one would think him invincible, alas that was not the case.

A group of us set out to find the elusive druid grove but as we approached the place of the inn we found a lot of activity, the Goblyn and Orcs were building a fortification. We camped and Tobias decided to go scouting. He came back some time after with four human captives who we fed and somewhat healed. In the meantime we had taken out a Goblyn patrol.

Seems like Tobias freed the captives by collapsing a roof on some Orcs – wish I had seen that….

We returned to Enonia with our friends, learning they came for a village to the North. They had been attacked by Goblyns and forced to flee, one wished to return to see if there were any left. After some rest we headed North about two days later we approached the outskirts of a hamlet.
Tobias went forward and scouted, he did nt return when we expected. We waited a while longer and then approached the hamlet. The sight was not pleasant, in front of a barn were the remains of Tobias, given the beetles we came upon I can only hope he was dead before they started feasting.

We destroyed the beetles and found nothing else, although the member of the hamlet did express his gratitude for saving his and his companions’ lives.

We returned to Enonia and rested.

Some time later we headed East to find the grove, despite the lack of solid information we did find it. Some members of the party had a terrible time and found themselves being flung through the air, but Ceresaii was happy!

We thought about attacking the camp by the inn, but decided against it, instead Dargellen found signs of a patrol and we thought that would be a worthwhile target. We tracked them and thought we had the advantage, unfortunately we were wrong, they turned the table son us in the woods.
We did eventually win, but there were some serous injuries to our party, fortunately no more deaths. We tended to our wounded and made haste back to Enonia.

We have told Renauld of our findings and it seems that he may be taking them seriously ( he paid us a pittance for the information… ), we shall see.

These developments to the East are troubling, if the Goblyns and Orcs establish a base so close we are in for some rough times, the Troll may be our only hope to stem the tide, but I fear we have tread a path past him that will be discovered.

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Cull the forest and some strange creatures
An excert from Treen's journal

We assembled an interesting party, 3 thieves, a cleric and apprentice, a ranger, a druid and myself. We headed out of Enonia towards the Monastery. On the way we hailed the Striped Mage and this time he came down to see us. He seemed even crankier than usual; seems the Chaos followers have been bothering him. We told him about the forest room with the pillar and that sparked his interest, the pillar is some form of power cylinder. He would not elaborate more on what it was or could be used for, but he strongly suggested we did not mess with it. He refused to recharge my wand, suggesting instead I go to Irecia and study…. alright for him he can just float over the Orcs!

We carried on into the monastery to find Mazlor’s glyph had been tripped. There were a few remains of Chaos followers, nothing of value remained on them, which was somewhat disappointing to Kallister, Tip and Tobias.

As we did not have Mazlor or his ‘keys’ with us we had to take the long way round to reach the area of the forest. We got to the cavern with the raging river without incident but here we met a large number of the followers, with them were two magic users, seemed to be clerics. We made short work of them, sleep spells always works in these situations, unfortunately Cujo did take a lethal hit, a sad day for Jorann.

We proceeded through the caves to the river landing and boarded the boats, interestingly the band of thieves stayed together……. We explained to them that this ride may seem a bit weird but not to worry we would be with them all the way.

We made it all the way to the forest room without seeing anything but when we opened the door we were assailed by a disgusting rotten smell. The plants we had hacked before were decomposing, which was good news. We followed the path, Tobias went on ahead. He had slipped on one of the cloaks we had taken from the mob earlier, hoping this would provide him some protection. As we reached the Northern corner of the path we heard him scream and he was running back towards us. What followed was a strange site. A purplish flying creature with no wings appeared, an organic body grafted onto some metallic plate. There were mechanical and organic arms flailing, a strange chattering/shimmering/hissing sound emanated from it. I fired a magic missile at it and caused some damage, but it looked like it passed through some kind of shield. Dargellon’s first arrow bounced off the metal body. The sound changed and we saw a glow from the organic hand followed shortly by an arc of flame. We were all caught in the blast and suffered some damage. Dargellon fired another arrow, this one was true and the beast exploded, the mechanical parts falling to the ground. We examined the remains and found the mechanical arm to contain a poisoned needle.

Tobias had gone to the door, the rest of us proceeded to destroy the remaining plants, but after the first pulse of magic both Kallister and Tip decided to leave and join Tobias. Dargellon, Jorann, Ceresai and myself remained. We did manage to clear the remaining plants, no more mutants coming from this field!

We headed back to the door expecting to find the three other there when we heard sounds of battle coming from some distance off. When we reached the corridor we saw it was coming from the other end and floating there was another one of those purple tripods. We planned an ambush by the door, but it went the other way, we guessed Kallister, Tip and Tobias were the focus. We ran up the corridor and later found that the three of them had been having some fun. Kallister and Tip had stumbled upon a ritual involving a huge and heavy symbol of the three fingers. Tip had killed the leader with what looked to be a clean, powerful strike to the neck – the head was lying some distance from the body. They then killed the other three, who strangely did not attack them but did keep pushing this symbol at Kallister. Tobias had taken a serious blast from the tripod and was unconscious, but looked like he would recover.

Kallister had been removing the gold covering from the symbol, there was a considerable amount of gold and this would not be a quick task. I stayed to help her while the other explored the area, suddenly they returned and Dargellon was not looking good. He was pale, shaking and had malodorous pus and blood oozing from a rent in his right arm. The door to the North contained some ugly creature that had attacked them when the door was opened, fortunately it was chained to what looked like an alter, so could not follow them.

I poured a vial of Holy water on Dargellon’s wound but this had no effect. Kallister dug out two scrolls they had found and handed them to Jorann but there was nothing of benefit. We decided to head back to Enonia as quickly as possible and take him to the Temple.

As we entered the room of statues we found ourselves confronted by another group of followers, we dispatched them quickly, my sleep spell and Jorann’s hold significantly evened the odds. We bound one and took him captive. The remainder of the journey was long and uneventful, we tried to be gentle with Dargellan as we hauled him up and down the dungeon. He could walk but was unable to climb.

Darellon was clearly getting worse all the time. As we passed the Fountain of the Light we stopped to see if this would help. There were obscene symbols surrounding the entrance and several red candles burning in front of the door. Mazlor is not going to be happy. Ceresaii decided to kick them out of the way, unfortunately he tripped a glyph and was knocked unconscious, these followers have some serious magical powers among them. Drinking the water did seem to give Dargellan more strength. He plunged his arm into the fountain and the wound was cleaned and healed, however, the real damage could now be seen. The disease was spreading through his body and looked to be killing his flesh as it went.

We left the Temple and pushed through the night arriving at Enonia exhausted about 4am. We hurriedly explained the situation to the guard, who let us pass so long as someone stayed and explained what we had brought back, Jorann and his apprentice volunteered!

We did get Dargellon to the Temple and Averin did heal him and ordered several days rest for full recovery.

These followers are growing in number and the tripods are not easily defeated. The power cylinder may be a key but the Striped Mage warned not to mess with it, we have some serious thinking to do……

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Camping and Fishing by the Lake
At the Church of the Light in Enonia...

“I’m truly sorry, as I say, Deacon,” Ashaziel says apologetically to the frumpy, balding priest of the Light, “Burlok was a truly brave and pious man, and we are all sad to lose him.”

Ashaziel, a local peasant in his early 30’s, brushes his hand back over his forehead, all the way back through his mid-length long hair and finally stopping at the back of his neck, as if the act will help him draw forth his memories. “He was new to town and looking for a bit of adventure I think, you see… not that he didn’t enjoy his life at the church, he always spoke well of it and especially the good cleric Mazlor… and ever since I lost my mentor, Asgrim, I’ve felt it was time for me to be striking out on my own, but I’d never gotten up the nerve. So, in a way, Burlok is to thank for our leaving town in the first place.”

“Not that Burlok was inviting the tragedy that followed… He seemed to enjoy life, and certainly had a fine taste for, erm… strong spirits. But for some reason, he found my stories about all of the kinds of fish I’ve managed to catch at the local pond as a bit boring, though I can’t imagine why. At any rate, Grel the holy warrior and a fellow named Tip that also knows how to handle a blade had been planning on going out to take a look at that Crystal Lake that half the town seems to be talking about, so it seemed a great time for Burlok and I to join them.”

“Of course, we might have had to call off the whole thing if Kallista hadn’t just returned from deep in the Kingdom. Where the rest of us were down to our last coppers, and couldn’t afford the woolens we’d need to keep ourselves warm from the cold fall weather quickly coming on, Kallista had a nice pouch of gold and agreed to lend us the funds to get the necessary gear. She even hired a fighting man named Parix to come along, who seemed to me slightly… bloodthirsty. He scared me a bit.”

“At any rate, things were fine at first; we camped north of the old Inn our first night out, and the only thing strange we ran into the next day was a circle of trees that seemed to have grown extremely close together. Kallista investigated, and said that she heard a cranky voice say something like, ‘I can hear you but can’t see you’ when she got close. Since it seemed that we weren’t going to be invited in, we moved on.”

“That’s when tragedy struck. We saw what looked like a group of small statues standing in the distance but was in reality a large group of animated zombie corpses of ko-balds. Asgrim had told me of such things, but they were truly gruesome. Before we knew it, Burlok and Parix were down, and their flesh was being feasted upon. We fell back, and fortunately were fast enough to stay ahead of them far enough to set traps for them with oil and fire. Eventually we whittled down their numbers until my friends could finish them off with steel, and so we had won… or so we thought.

“The lake itself seemed placid and there were buildings to provide shelter when we arrived, but we wanted to explore the nearby cave we had heard about. Unfortunately, shortly after going in, the resident LIVE ko-balds didn’t seem too eager to let us pass. Instead, they wanted food, and our 2 days’ rations apiece wasn’t enough; they demanded ‘many much more’ of it, so I suggested we do what I do best… go fishing.”

“Fortunately, the lake is well populated with fish and a simple enchantment into the water put many of them quite asleep, and we were able to gather them into one of our bags. This seemed to do the trick with the ko-balds, and we made a rough agreement in which we would fill the bag again for them each time we wanted to pass.”

“Luckily, we were able to find some valuables further on into the cave, if for no other reason than to allow us to pay the toll sir Reynald has imposed to allow us back into town! Not so luckily, we were attacked at night on the way back here by the skeletons of the very undead that we thought we had destroyed! Being only 4 of us left, we ran away, then ran away some more! Luckily again, we were able to go back and recover our valuables the next morning.”

“So, as I say, we are sorry about the loss of Burlok. He was a fine drunk, er, cleric, and was a fine example of the best of the Church of the Light…”

Ashaziel’s rambling tale trails off, as he realizes that the Deacon he was been talking to has fallen asleep.

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Goblin Garden
(Annihilation of the Body Snatchers)

Monastery
[Mazlor, Jorann + henchman, Dargellon, Tobias, Treen + bodyguards, Cesarii]

We arrived at the Monastery without interference and were gratified to not perceive new signs of unholy ceremony – chiefly the vile candles and symbols from our last visit. Regardless, I embarked upon the first tentative steps to reclaim the Monastery, once again. Tracing symbols of holiness into the walls of the Monastery, I transferred the Light’s power and granted the Monastery a rudimentary ability to repel unwanted visitors.

I held out hope that I could regain energy in the Fountain Room and spread this defensive power throughout the Monastery, and so we repaired there for a time. Alas, we wert too oft disturbed by agents of Chaos. A pack of grub-worms and a mud-demon met their ends in the Holy Font, and nearly Tobias as well. The final disruption came in the form of thudding sounds by the stairs. Upon approach, we found a crew of the Green Iron Fist descending into the Monastery. Their minds were clearly possessed, for they paid us no heed, and proceeded inwards with nary a sign of acknowledgement.

Knowing their plight and thinking they could lead us to The Master, we fell in line with them. Down the crevice, through the cave, up the rope, along the stream, over the river, to the docks they went, losing most of their number on the way – some accidentally and some not so accidentally…At the docks, we even rode with them, as our numbers were too great for one raft and we had no mind to leave any behind there again! They made land at the other dock, walked up to the garden aviary, and descended in the guardhouse. They proceeded left into uncharted – and most certainly unimagined – territory.

Another ‘garden’ of sorts housed twisted trees with giant glowing pods. The ensorcelled goblins strode under them and were swallowed by them, like a flytrap. Dargellon shot a pod, which responded only with a drizzle of green ooze. Treen’s bodyguard joined, and they pierced perhaps a score. Yet, this was but a fraction of the whole, and so we cautiously made to manually smash more. Various strains of mutated goblins fell out and lay unmoving. We still faced no direct resistance and thus destroyed the majority of the room. However, there was a painful and disturbing throbbing emanating from a corner of the garden. We endured as best we could with our will and godly assistance, but eventually we could manage no more, and were forced to retreat.

Riding the river back, we had the rafts to ourselves, but the same could not be said of the river. Eerie and troubling lights flitted and flickered about. A familiar foreboding and fear gripped a number of us, and in the panic, we became separated. The raft with myself, Cerassii and Jorann’s henchman (?) was left behind. We could not bear to approach the glimmering lights and there was equally unnerving consideration of where our trio might try to barricade ourselves and survive a night Below. Mercifully, we summoned enough divine magic for myself and (?) to shake our terror. The unbeliever Cerassii was more resistant, so I channeled the Light’s power to incapacitate him instead, and thus we finally traversed the river, hours behind our comrades.

Reunited, we made to the Monastery entrance, finding the corpses of the goblins who had fallen prey to the Light’s wards. I performed prayers in the Fountain Room and restored the wards as we left. We had no desire (and in the case of Tobias, no coin) to pay Reynauld’s burdensome Entrance Levee, so we made to sleep just outside city gates. The guards liked not our intentions and shooed us away perhaps a half of a mile, where we passed the night without incident.

We returned to the pod garden and resumed our vandalisation, noting gladly that previously assaulted stalks appeared to be withering and dying. Tobias soon wandered astray, discovering both the source of the throbbing and its guardians. We dispatched these goblins quickly and turned our attentions to the source – a giant pillar of woe. Twisted, agonizing faces swirled about whilst it pumped out its bloody thrumming. Bodies and objects tossed against it were tainted in a peculiar way. I attempted to divine whether turning the Light’s power against it would be wise – but even this the accursed object sensed, and lashed out against, rendering my mind nearly empty. Though my companions sought to question me, I knew naught – not even whom they might be or our reasons for being there!
Holy water seemed to weaken the pillar, but it also must have alerted more guardians, for they burst in soon after. I hid behind the most capable looking fellow and observed the carnage. Lacking sufficient water to wipe the pillar out and not having faith in other means of harming it, we elected to leave it be for the nonce.

Blessedly, my mind refilled with my life’s recollections on the way home.

Mazlor,
Beacon of the Light

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Disturbing Times
Extract from Treen's Journal

There is so much to write, I am not sure all is clear in my head but I must note the recent events before they are lost forever.

A large group of us have decided to attempt to close the portal for good. Not wishing to sacrifice myself in the manner of Asgrim and as Parabellum could not give any details of what Asgrim was actually doning at the time we decided to try asking the Striped Mage. Leaving Enonia under the scrutiny of the alert guards we headed North. I hailed the Mage and he contacted me after I asked for help to close the portal. He did want to know how I knew about it and was skeptical until I mentioned the Master, at that point he told me to come back when we found the portal, no offer of immediate help!

We headed to the monastery and immediately saw it had been desecrated by the chaotic three fingered lot, there were burning red candles and obscene graffiti everywhere. Not much we could do but I think Alana did write some ‘anti’ graffiti! We headed to the crevasse, stopping by the fountain of the Light on the way. Curiously we found this burnt mass (it may have been human at some point) in the doorway. We removed it from the room and headed on. Reaching the river without event we found the rafts and headed on. We made it to the beach and mushroom field and started to explore. Coming across a small tunnel we disturbed some undead and the ensuing battle was interesting with ghould, skeletons and a rather stinky something. Good prevailed over Evil and eventually we had the place to ourselves (I think). As we explored more we discovered the source of the skeletons, an underground graveyard. Mazlor asked that we return the bones back to the graves, so after some sorting and digging we were done..

We reached a dead end in a tunnel, curiously it had a large stone block in front of it, with what looked like dried blood at the bottom and underneath. After some debate we decided to move. After Kjeld broke his pole trying to lift it we decided to push. An Elf spirit suddenly rose,thanked us for freeing her and then disappeared, we suspected she had become the somewhat smelly one. Underneath were some rotted silks and to Kee’s delight a clean looking long sword, with a dragon as the handle, spread wings forming the guard. Further exploration revealed the mines that had delivered the stone used to build the Monastery. This was it so we headed back to the rafts. We headed to the opening opposite the one we entered the cavern by and followed the river, suddenly we came upon a whirlpool and everyone thought we had found the portal. Suddenly Irem said this was not the portal and we should turn back, he offered no explanation and insisted this was not the portal. None of us wanted to enter anyway so we tuned back. We went to the dock by the cliff and suspected this lead to the columned room reached by the winding (sturge infested) stairway, we were right.

We headed to the ‘garden’ area and yes we heard the scampering of feet above us after we ran tothe tunnel. Jorann had this wonderful idea that the two of us should run out into the open, he would shield me and I put them to sleep. I know he and his God have vowed to protect Mages, but still…. Despite my doubts we went with his plan, mainly because he suddenly grabbed me and dragged me outside. Fortunately his plan worked, I escaped unscathed and he looked liked a pin cushion – ha! We moved on and came across a structure by the path, of course someone decided to open the door, this spiked beast rushed us and suddenly it was mayhem, once again Good triumphed. Beyond the structure was this fountain with a flowing back ooze, suddenly Kjeld rushed forward shouting something unintelligible and smashed it to pieces, no real answer to that. As this was a dead end we went into the structure and found a descending stairway, of course we went down. We found ourselves in the middle of an intersection, not wanting to open up more cans of worms we decided now would be a good time to loot the library. Unfortunately we opened the door with some difficulty and found it destroyed, something had exploded from the middle, Jorann was convinced there was still something of value to be found, but after extensive searching all we found was pulp.

By consensus now was the time to head back, we returned to the rafts and exited the monastery by the crevasse (no sturge this way). On our way back we noticed smoke to the West we went to investigate and then Dargellan noticed we were missing Irem and there were tracks heading West. We followed them and cresting the rise ahead we came upon a strange site, Irem was fighting Irem! Long story short one was held the other wasn’t, as we negotiated with this one several people came over the hill and clearly they were not coming to invite us for dinner. The ensuing battle was hectic. The ‘free’ Irem was running around insisting he was the real one and looking for a weapon, tow of the approaching party were magic user, druids or clerics I guess as I could not counter their spells. One cast a spell spell that caused use to attack someone other than him, Kee bravely through herself in front of my Magic Missile to save one of our party. I have to say this was a brave and actually very graceful move, she launched herself into the air, took the hit, rolled into the ground and came to her feet with her dragon sword in hand ready to cut swathes through the enemy. Eventually all that remained were the party (with free Irem), held Irem and a druid held by Kjeld. The held Irem was moving and suddenly he disappeared then above us cloud of gas was floating in the air. In the confusion the druid escaped and rand into the burning building, he was gone.

We regouped and Irem explained how he had gone to a meeting with the dark stranger and then the next thing he knew was locked in a strange building. He escaped by setting light to it and as he was running away was beset by his doppelganger. As we headed back to Enonia Irem said he thinks it would be a good idea if he went into the Kingdom for a while, Enonia was not a good place for him anymore. We paid our tax without bitterness, it seemed irrelevant under the circumstances.. Irem said he had some affairs to close out before he left ans so with heavy hearts we said our goodbyes. For a thief Irem had many good qualities, not that I would tell him that, maybe our paths will cross again.

So many strange things happening, based upon Irem’s explanation it seems Chaos is here in Enonia. Yinvax has been shunted off to the stockade and I don’t trust the new guy… maybe he is the problem.

Given that ‘Irem’ was not Irem and I am sure that the goblin we interrogated mentioned a whirlpool where you went through, came back and were improved I think we may have found the portal. I must see the Striped Mage as soon as I can, maybe I should ask him to recharge the wand, he doesn’t seem too friendly but surely that is a trivial matter for him.

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The Crystal Lake is discovered
An extract from Treen's journal

While talking to Ceresaii the Druid in the Mug and Pot I overhead a band of men discussing a map one of them had been left by his grandfather showing caves full of riches in the area. They all seemed rather keen to find these caves and from the conversation I heard they clearly had no idea of the situation outside the town.Ceresaii and I introduced ourselves and invited the group to join us in a drink. We explained to them the trouble we are having with the Goblins and Orcs. I mentioned the Dragon and Troll, they did go a little pale at this point. They showed us the map and it clearly showed some cave about a day’s walk South of the Dalewoods Inn in the woods. Despite the situation they were still planning to explore, I knew they would be dead within an hour if I did not go with them. We arranged to meet the next day and headed out of the East Gate, the guards seem to have increased and they are definitely watching more closely than before.

We went South of the bridge and made it to the Inn towards the close of day. They wanted to camp in the clearing, after reminding them about the dangers, we went South into the woods. We made camp and set up watches. Early into the watch we found ourselves surrounded by very large centipedes that appeared out of the ground. The situation was not good and rapidly became worse. While not strong, their bite was full of deadly poison. Three of our party died and I survived by the skin of my teeth because I had an anti-venom handy. These Southern woods are getting very risky, I think I prefer Goblins and Orcs to poisonous creatures.I was too sick to carry on so we returned to Enonia to rest, my fever lasted three days. By the time I had recuperated the gang had picked up three more adventurers and persuaded Sal to join us.

We headed out East again and the night by the Inn was uneventful. The next morning we headed South and before the end of the day came across a crystal clear lake, we spotted a hamlet to the East. As we approached the hamlet we could see it was almost totally destroyed, it seemed that the earth had been pushed from the lake like a wave. As I looked in the lake it seemed like a cone had been pulled from the bottom, I suspect this is where the Floating Tower came from. The earth had crushed all but three of the houses. We searched for a while there was nothing of note other than a rift leading through the hamlet heading East.

We camped for the night in the houses and the next morning followed the rift East. Shortly we came to a crevasse across our path, it was maybe 30-40 yards long. The Western side was a sheer drop, but the Eastern side sloped down underneath us. We walked around to the other side and tied several ropes together and two of our party went down. After an age Ceresaii went down to investigate and then shortly returned with them. Seems there were sounds of flapping wings further down. We decided we should explore further so all of us went down, two by two using the rope to steady ourselves, the slope was not steep, but was tricky.About 300’ down we came to what was effectively a fork. We picked a direction and entered a cavern and I heard Kobolds chattering, suddenly a few screeched at us and told us to go. We (wisely) held fire and talked to them, they definitely seemed scared of us and hungry, but there appeared to be a lot of them. We tossed in some rations and basically left them alone, one did warn us to be careful if we went below.

We headed back and took the other branch and entered another cavern (if only it had been full of Kobolds). At first we thought they were bats on the ceiling. As we moved forward we saw some large fungi. They stated to scream and suddenly there was a fluttering of wings above us, no bats here, it was those blood-sucking beasts from HELL. I cast sleep and they all fell, ahh so satisfying. Then more came we fought for a long time, they liked Sal, he was gorged upon and dropped, another of our party almost died. Finally we killed them (nothing like the sound of willow against a BLOOD SUCKING BEAST FROM HELL). Short work was made of the screamers and the wounded were given first aid, Sal brought our man back from the brink. About now we noticed we were walking on moss and skeletons. A search revealed a flask, dagger (glowed blue briefly when drawn) and a corroded tube, which I have.

We decided to press on for a while, what fortune we did… we found the Crystal Lake! Yes, it is a Crystal Lake. Down the passage we came upon another huge cavern, almost filling it was this mass of crystal, around the edge were broken chunks (Ceresaii and I collected quite a lot). We walked all the way around and found nothing of interest. The crystal was solid and after we had circumnavigated it someone suggested we go to the middle. With some trepidation I joined the exploration. The crystal held and we came upon a set of stairs that descended to the depths below.

The stairs came stopped at the intersection of two passages. We were a little disoriented at this point, no-one had a compass. Each corridor ended in a portcullis and about half way down was a statue. Investigating the statues we found them to be solid and appeared to be made of silver. Each was carrying a sword aloft. Ceresaii decided he wanted a long sword and promptly hacked (very noisily) at the first. He succeeded in breaking off a hand with sword. The hand looked to be encased in silver or something similar, the inside was brittle. The sword on the other hand was solid silver, Cerasaii chose wisely. Unfortunately he got rather greedy and decided to get more. As he was smashing at another statue four fire beetles arrive. Fortunately the other mage put them to sleep. We decided at this time to leave and head back.
We reached Enonia without incident, thankfully. The guards noticed our somewhat disheveled appearance and made some snide comments but we ignored them, how much fun a sleep spell would have been…….

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