The Chronicles of Etinerra

The Aftermath of the Victory
The Meditations of Ja'Kar

As I sit within the shrine of Mesha, I ponder much.

I ponder the course of my life, and how it resembles a stream which slowly gains speed and forms into a river. My order teaches that life is water, and the longer the water flows, the stronger the water becomes. I have dedicated myself to this belief, and I find myself more committed to my order’s teachings then I have ever been.

The events at the inn, which my companions are still celebrating about, has shown to me, that my stream of life is stronger. I have braved the many challenges that have attempted to create a damn and end my flow, but water is stronger than a damn. Water flows, it adapts, and it can change shape to breakthru whatever obstacles are in the way.

Unlike the others, I did not celebrate the victory. Yes, I spent some time in the company of my companions, but the need to be honored is silly. I chose this path because it was the correct thing to do. I did not tread upon it for fame, rewards or to be a hero. It was the right thing to do, because the balance needed to be restored, and though this is a great victory, the balance is still unbalanced.

So I left the company of my companions, and traveled to visit Turgen and check in on how his progress is. I also wanted to mediate on Meshsa, and see if I could learn more.

I am happy to see the progress Turgen has made. I am also happy to see how more have flocked to him and they are at work on building a temple or church of some type. I am happy to see that the money I provide the baker has gone to build his shrine, and not gone to his pockets. I hope my continued friendship with him, helps him realize that wealth is fickle. It does not stay, it does not keep you warm, it does not make you happy.

I am also pleased that Turgen and his friends have agreed to provide the kobold with pigs.

Some might think my friendship with Atonok is strange, but it is not. No one is born evil, it is the events of one’s life that influence the course your stream takes. Atonok, though a kobold, wants nothing more but to live in peace, raise his rats, and hopefully raise his hogs. Who am I to judge him, or hold the actions of his race against him? Atonok is an example to all, that you can change the course of your life stream. My hope is that I can bring Atonok into the fold of Turgen’s people. I will show them that Turgen offers much, and that by befriending him, they will show their dedication to their goddess.

Speaking of the goddess, I spent many of hour meditating within the shrine contemplating Mesha. As I mediated I had the briefest of feelings that she touched me. The touch gave me the impression, even more so, that she is a fickle goddess and is tied into nature. I am still unsure of her intentions, and I will continue my meditations on it. What I do know is that I will do whatever I can to support Turgen and his growing followers. Turgen is another counter weight that will help to return this world into a balance.

It is time to return to the village. I have things I must do, namely purchase horses for Turgen and rejoin my companions. My stream is still flowing toward them, and I must do what I always do: flow.

Back to the Monastery
An excerpt from Jorann's Sermon

My dear friends, I know that over the last few seasons I have been telling you all that my days of adventuring were well behind me and that I could finally devote myself to the advancement of the Temple. However, I must now tell you that I was wrong!
Tangadorin has been sending me dreams about the forces of Chaos at the Monastery, and while I was planning to send Grel out to further the fight against Chaos, Tangadorin had other plans. He came to me and told me in no uncertain words, that the “Stain of Corruption” is growing and that now is the time for it to be cleansed! He told my that it was my duty to see that it was cleansed!

Furthermore, the Marshal, Averin and my good friend Mazlor have all been having the same evil dreams. The Marshal summoned us all to discuss what this meant. He also tasked us with finding out what is going on there and dealing with it.

So my Friends that is why I have strapped on the Holy Scepter of Tangadorin, polished up my armor and shield and set off with my old companions, and some new ones, to the Monastery.

It was the 10th day of summer, that I set out with Mazlor, Sally, Pyria, Fergus, Beladur, Balto & Jakar.
The journey there was uneventful. We found the place deserted with but a few empty tents outside.My dear friends, I know that over the last few seasons I have been telling you all that my days of adventuring were well behind me and that I could finally devote myself to the advancement of the Temple. However, I must now tell you that I was wrong!
Tangadorin has been sending me dreams about the forces of Chaos at the Monastery, and while I was planning to send Grel out to further the fight against Chaos, Tangadorin had other plans. He came to me and told me in no uncertain words, that the “Stain of Corruption” is growing and that now is the time for it to be cleansed! He told my that it was my duty to see that it was cleansed!

Furthermore, the Marshal, Averin and my good friend Mazlor have all been having the same evil dreams. The Marshal summoned us all to discuss what this meant. He also tasked us with finding out what is going on there and dealing with it.

So my Friends that is why I have strapped on the Holy Scepter of Tangadorin, polished up my armor and shield and set off with my old companions, and some new ones, to the Monastery.

It was the 10th day of summer, that I set out with Mazlor, Sally, Pyria, Fergus, Beladur, Balto & Jakar. The journey there was uneventful. We found the place deserted with but a few empty tents outside. The elf Beladur had an odd conversation with an owl that wanted him to be his familiar, but it melted into goo when Mazlor presented his holy symbol. So we entered and began our adventure. We found some of Sir Reynauld’s men dead with some dead chaos goblins. What was truly strange was the way the dead humans were melting wherever they were touching the goblins. We separated the men and gave them peace.
I lead the way with my map, but since it had been so long, I took us to the wrong location and we had to backtrack to get to the crevasse. The three ropes were still hanging in midair, just as Grel reported, so we climbed down them. Almost immediately we were attacked by chaos goblins, but they were no match for us! We killed a shamen with a strange chaos staff, but Pyria did not hear the activation words, so she couldn’t get it to work. I destroyed a chaos shrine with holy water and Jakar took the ten regular goblins, who seemed to have no will of their own left, and led them out of the monastery.
We continued to the rope where the water flows upwards, and our brave elf Beladur climbed up it. We heard a couple load thwaks, and Beladur fell to the floor bleeding.
When we revived him, he had no idea what had happened. We were sure that the way was guarded and were not sure how to proceed. The brave littling threw a molatov cocktail through the opening after climbing the wall. We heard a series of explosions and goblin guts rained down. When we climbed up, there was no sign of anything alive, so we continued on our way.
We came to the river and encountered some more goblins, much to their regret! We heard some humans calling for help from the passage to the left so we followed it, killed some more goblins and freed some humans. We fed them and helped them escape. They told us that there was another shamen and about thirty goblins, including some big spiky guards for the shamen.
We continued on and found more chaos goblins with some chaos humans guarding the next passage. A fierce battle ensued, but once again, Tangadorin was with us and we prevailed!
We continued to explore and eventually came to the shamen’s chamber. There we found the shamen with three spiky goblins and three spiky humans! As we entered he had just finished a spell which gave me a queasy feeling of dread. I was able to hold the three chaos humans, but the shamen cast fear on us and Sally, Balto, Fergus and Beladur fled for their lives!!! Pyria killed the shamen with a massive magic missile and then set about killing the held humans, while Mazlor, Jakar and I fought the chaos goblins. Just as we killed the last one, the rest of the party returned, looking sheepish.
In front of us was another chaos shrine with a sphere of chaos energy swirling around a trapped goblin writhing in pain. I brought forth the Holy Water of Tangadorin and desecrated the shrine and disrupted the chaos which melted away.
We decided to scout a little further to the river, but when we got their, we heard a strange sound the likes of which I had never heard. Mazlor told me that it was the sound of some strange flying beasts which shot death beams. We were all hurt, and our spells were depleted, so we decided to head back, rest and return soon…..

Meditations of Ja'Kar
The Rescue of the Little Ones

Much has happened since the events at the monastery. The most important thing, besides the fighting of Chaos, is the aid I have brought to a group of goblins.

We found a total of twelve goblins within the deeps of the monastery, but unlike the rest we encountered, these twelve were devoid of ego, will or desire. Their minds were blank, and they showed no signs of aggression, let alone motivation.

As typical with most of my companions, their first reaction was to kill them. I find it amusing that those who espouse to have faith and goodness in their hearts, when faced with a situation they fall back to killing. If this is the “holy light” of Tangadorin, I must ask is this god nothing more than a tool of evil? Those espousing their faith seek to destroy, regardless of the evidence they see before them.

If it was not for my actions, and those of Balto, these innocents would have been murdered. Much to the chagrin of our companions we rescued the goblins, and took charge escorting them out of the monastery. Once the in safety, we feed and made them comfortable, and returned the side of our companions.

The events within the monastery are not important, we still have work to do. What is important is the goblins.
I took them in my charge and guided them to Turgan’s temple to Meesha. Though Turgan wanted to help, the residents at the temple, did not want to bring the goblins aid and sanctuary. It was then that I took matters into my own hands. I remember it clearly, and the words still linger within my mind…

“I hear your words and know you to be a believer.” Turgan said. "But sometimes the faith of these others is less about Meesha and more about their collective interest. This might prove to be too much. What would you have me do if they choose to not let them stay here? I may have to choose between goblins and Meesha’s flock.”

I looked at the man, who has become my friend, and someone I respect greatly. I spoke him simply.

“Turgan my friend, I understand your fear and worry. I understand the fear and worry of Meesha’s flock. Not only do I understand it, but I accept it.”

“However, think on this, we have a chance to be different. We have all come to this place because we have heard a calling. Perhaps this is a test, a test to judge if we will take the stream that shows anyone has the power to change.”

Excusing myself, I walked to the center of the temple complex. In a flourish, I demonstrated my skill in the martial arts. I worked the forms with staff, glave, fist and feet.

Water flows over the mountain, to Ice Breaks Upon the Earth, into The Rain of Spring Rebirths, into Ice forms into Spear_, then into Wave breaking the shore_, and finally into Pebble creating ripples. I did this to mediate, and gather my thoughts. Working the forms, and there were many more then those, helped clear my mind and strengthen my resolve.

I finished with a leap into the air; driving my glave blade down into the earth. It stood straight and true, quivering with the aftermath the display. Standing there, next to the glave with my arms crossed, and my arms in my sleeves. I spoke. Like a torrent the words flowed.

“For most, you know me. For those who are new, I am Ja’Kar, the fist of Me’she, the Defender of the Stream, Protector of the Weak, Guardian to the threatened, Disciple of the Balance, and now Warrior of the Iron

In my time here, in Enonia, I have done my part to bring balance to this land. I have fought enemies, I have aided in the over throw of the orcs of the fort. I have rescued those in danger at Icea. I have lived my life to the tenants of Shuǐ zhī lù, or in your language The Way of the Water. My order believes that life comes from the water, and that all who live, travel their own stream, following the currents where it takes

At times this stream runs straight and true, which represents the good. Other times it might be a fast moving river tumbling over rocks,. drowning all in its rapids, this represents chaos. Still, at times the stream is a combination of both, it is neither too straight and steady, or too twisted and rough, this represents Zhōnglì, or in your tongue

My order works to insure Zhōnglì, we do so because unless the balance is maintained, life is threatened. If there is too much Law, then the concept of peace, love, creativity, and the like is threatened. Law is about order, order that is imposed upon you. bq).

If there is too much Chaos, there is no change, there is no peace, and there is no life. Everything is destroyed, or enslaved. Chaos is

You need both Law and Chaos, and it is Zhōnglì, which keeps the balance between them. It is because of Zhōnglì that you have free will, you have art, you have life, and you have love. bq).

I say this in order to explain to you why I believe in what I do. Life is Zhōnglì, and Zhōnglì is

In each one of us, we have the potential for great good or great evil. No one, man, woman, orc, ogre, goblin and the like, is born good or evil. Their stream, or life, offers them a journey of uncertainty. It is how you sail upon this stream, that determines who you are, not what you are.
For example, you walk through the village and see the person in front of you has dropped their coin purse. Your stream has now

Do you quickly grab the purse and keep it for yourself? Or, do you pick it up and give it back to the owner? bq).

Each fork has consequence. bq).

Taking the purse as your own, someone could see you, and seek to have your arrested. Giving the purse back to the owner, you discover it belongs to a wealthy merchant, who is so touched by your decency, he tells you to keep the purse, and he offers you a

Zhōnglì. Pínghéng. Yīnguǒ bàoyìng._ bq).

Or to put it another way. Neutrality Balance.

These goblins, are innocent. Their stream has been cut, severed. They are helpless. Yes, you are frightened, yet put yourself in their shoes. What if this was you? Devoid of self worth, docile and lacking free will. Would you want someone to treat you with kindness? How would you feel, if instead, someone choose to kill you, either by weapon, or by abandoning you?bq).

You are now at a fork in your individual streams. Do you do the right thing, even though it is uncertain, and show kindness by giving these goblins shelter? Or, do you do the easy thing, and kill them, staining your souls, and slowly leading you to Chaos?bq).

If I thought these goblins were evil, or a threat, I would have killed them right away. Doing so would help restore the balance somewhat. Instead, seeing their plight, and seeing their helplessness, I realized that it is by kindness and compassion the balance is titled away from Chaos. bq).

I ask of you, look into your hearts, look past your fear, and embrace the chance before you. You can show Enona, that your faith is different, that your act of mercy and kindness is what will help tilt the scale away from

Know this as well, if you choose the fork leading to the death or abandonment of these innocent goblins, my stream will diverge. No longer will I look upon you as allies and friends. No longer will I view you as servants of Zhōnglì.bq).

I leave my weapon here, as a reminder that I am always here. It serves as the fulcrum which you now rest

Give these goblins shelter, and you will serve as an example of what true faith is.”bq).

Once finished. I stood there, waiting for their reaction. My expression was like rock, neither happy or angry.

The reaction I received brought much joy to my heart.

Turgon’s mouth was agape as he watched my speech and the effect it had on the assembled. Although some grumbled, they agrees to accept the goblins, “As long as those critters don’t act up or turn on us!” A couple of the followers were more enthusiastic than the others in their acceptance.

Turgon taking me aside after the goblins are lead away, spoke. His words still fill my ears.

“I did not know the depth of your spirit or belief, truly you are called by Meesha. It could be that you are to become her champion!”

“Mistake not someone who is quiet, humble or lacking of pride,” I said. “Faith does not require you to speak loudly or be boastful. A lot of my companions are clerics and paladins and all they do is boast of their god, and put their needs in front of others. Let your actions speak for themselves. Live your life with purpose and dedication. This will show all how solid your faith and belief is in Meesha. bq).

We are still learning about this goddess. We honor her in what we do, not what we are. You have done a brave thing my friend, and I know it is not easy to accept the goblins into the group. I know you look at me as if I am strange when I mention my friend the kobold. Again, his stream is different, and all of my dealings with him have been rewarding. He might be strange, but I sense in him great potential.
I will never bring harm to you or the others.”bq).

I walked around the shrine area, talking to whoever I see, and introducing myself and learning their names. I thank those who are helping the goblins, and I ensure the ones who remain skeptical that there is no hard feelings I understand their fear. I tell simply told them:

“Your fears are understood. I know my actions might confuse you. I harbor no ill thoughts, or ill will toward you. Treat the goblins kindly and put away your prejudice. In time you will see that what has happened here is not only the right thing, but the honorable thing.”

Entering the shrine I meditated.

As I mediated within in the shrine, I sensed someone watched over me. Words filled my ears, and the voice of that could be no one else but Me’sha. She offered my kind words and I got the impression that she was pleased.

I thanked her for her kind words, and a promise of a boon she offered me. I told her that I want for nothing, and there is no greed or selfishness in my heart. I also told her, that I might not be the most typical of those who come to her, but I respect her. I also see her as needed. Chaos and evil flourish, and the more good we can bring into the world, the more the balance will be restored. Finally I tell her when I call myself her warrior, I mean it. I might be the unlikeliest of followers, but I will ensure her and her followers have my staff protecting them, as well as fighting for them.

I leave the temple with hope and sadness within my heart. Sadness because I find much peace and tranquility there. Hope, because I feel the right thing has been done, and I feel that these actions have helped tilt the scale slightly away from Chaos.

From Glory to Goo
Balto's Journal

I gave the Marshal that wolfskin stool I took from the orc chief’s tent. He gravely but respectfully accepted it, telling me that it would be the official seat of the fort’s new commander. I appreciated the symmetry and rough justice of having the stool of chaos become the stool of law. And I was glad he treated me like any other person in his command – I’m a little tired of everyone subtly checking their purses and counting their rings as I go by. I don’t steal from my friends and allies. I’m not stupid.

Anyhow, we headed back to Enonia in triumph – all except Ja’Kar, who slipped away to the temple his group is building. But he rejoined us not too much later. On the 10th day of summer, a new adventuring party forms. Grel is away, tending to the flock of Tangadorin, but in his place is Joran, another paladin devoted to the same faith – and the person who provided so many helpful maps. Belaldur, Fergus, and Mazlor and his apprentice Sally are with us as we drink with Pyria.

Pyria has been sent back to us by the Striped Mage, and tells us that the time has come to close the portal. We need to throw the acolyte Roh into the portal he has opened. And Joran and Mazlor grimly tell us of the nightmares they and the Marshal have suffered – dreams of encroaching chaos, twisted red goblyns, the damned. So we make plans to go to the ruined monastery of St. Eggyx, where we should get some help from the guardsmen left there by Sir Reynald. Several of us chip in some gold to purchase holy water and healing potions.

When we reach the monastery, we see the camp outside it abandoned. The only sign of life is an owl, that seeks to suborn Belaldur. Mazlor, though, holds his holy symbol up to the owl, who dissolves into a red slime that drips to the ground, burning away the grass as it soaks into the ground. The resulting black circle reminds me that there is supposed to be another dead zone, that looks burned but within whose bounds nothing will grow. I am upset, but I hide it pretty well. Still, this is worse than even the forest-clearing the orcs had done.

We make our way into the ruins. Just inside, we find the bodies of several men and chaos goblyns. Where the goblyns touch the humans, the humans are melting! We lay out the humans apart from the goblyns, Mazlor and Sally saying a few words. I burn the slime away, but when I try to burn a goblyn, it makes a greasy, vile cloud of heavy smoke. We move on, aided by maps from Mazlor and Joran, but we still get a bit lost. Eventually we make our way down some magically suspended ropes to the next level.

We almost immediately engage a group of chaos goblyns. They were preparing an ambush, but we’d come up too fast. It’s a hard battle, made worse by the arrival of reinforcements led by a goblyn shaman. But we prevail, and heal up. At the far end of the chamber, we find a dozen or so goblyns of the normal sort – except they are very passive. Most of the party wants to kill them, but Ja’Kar and I insist on taking them back to the surface. On our way back, we meet the ghost of one of the guardsmen. I give him my wineskin and he vanishes.

While we are gone, Belaldur blunders into an ambush. We get back to find him stunned and gasping on the floor. I climb to the opening in the ceiling he’d tried to get through and throw a Molotov cocktail in. That sets off a chain reaction of exploding chaos goblyns, covering me in guts and goo. Ja’Kar cleans me off. I’m really starting to like Ja’Kar. He also seems free of prejudice.

We continue to an underground river, fighting off dark mantles and piercers along the way. We hear cries for help from across the river, so we make rope bridge and go to the other side. We see some human guardsmen in cages, with goblyns between us, so we kill the goblyns and free the humans.

Many more humans and goblyns have been changed into chaos beasts by the goblyn shaman. We need to stop him, so I sneak down passageway to scout thing out. I find chaos humans and chaos goblyns blocking our way to the next chamber, but we surprise them. The battle noise draws reinforcements, though, and we hear more approaching. Luckily, we dispatch these new foes, mostly through another chain reaction of exploding goblyns.

The penultimate battle against the shaman and his final forces does not cover me in glory. His spell of fear drives half the party, including me, away, but Pyria, Mazlor, Ja’Kar, and Joran slaughter the enemies. We go on into a the next room to discover a chaos shrine. I find the shaman had been wearing a flexible glass armor that fits me and does not impede my movements.

We get ready to explore further, but hear an odd chirping that Mazlor says comes from machines with rays of death. So we head out, feeling we are being watched, even violated. Joran summons the powers of Tangadorin, and we feel better. Outside, the goblyns are still dazed and confused.

Another trip to the Monastery
Life of Pyria

There have been strange things happening, the Marshal, Jorann and Mazlor have been having strange dreams. Jorann has been tased by her god to cleanse the stain of the corruption!

The group gathered for the trip to the Monastery in an attempt to close the portal, Myself, Jorann, Sal, Mazlor, Balto, Fergus Ja’Kar and Belador left the town. Everything was normal, the farms deserted, the tower just floating there. When we arrived the camp was still set up, we decided to leave alone, it could be useful if we needed to stay for an extended period.

Entering the monastery we came across bodies of mercenaries and red goblyns, wherever the bodies of mercenaries touched the goblyns there was a strange melting effect and the presence of red goo. Mazlor insisted we moved the mercenaries away, once done he said a prayer over their bodies and we returned to the goblyns. We discovered the goo could be burnt….

Jorann using the map from previous visits lead us to the crevice, on the way Mazlor and Sal walked through a wall and disappeared for a while, apparently there is some secret entrance to a sacred shrine.

Reaching the crevice we found three ropes suspended in the air with what had once been a structure over the crevice lying in ruins on the floor. Mazlor, Balador and Ja’Kar went down and the rest of us followed, suddenly there were a group of misshapen goblyns upon us, led by a Shaman, we were outnumbered. I cast sleep and they all fell, the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

We continued with our exploration and found a cage with 10 goblyns inside, apparently of the Green Iron Fist, it seems they were called there. There had been more, but some had been taken away one by one, never to be seen again. I fear here is the source of the grotesque red goblyns we have seen. They did not seem capable of doing much and we had a long debate over what to do with them. Finally Ja’Kar and Balto decided they were going to take them back to the camp we left outside the monastery.

The rest of us continued and coming to a large cavern with big pool of shallow water in it we saw another floating rope leading to a hole in the roof. Mazlor and Jorann said this was they way. Balador climbed the rope, only to suddenly come tumbling down. Balto said he could climb up and had prepared a flask of burning oil. After he through the oil into the opening several explosion happened followed by a shower of blood and goblyn body parts. Following his declaration that it was clear we all went up, to find a strange sight indeed, the water was flowing uphill. Following the water we eventually come to a large cavern of stalagmites and stalactites.

Entering the cavern we were attacked by a pair of Dark Manatees, with a bit of effort these were taken care of. Ja’Kar decided to make a rather horrifying cloak out of one of them. Carefully crossing the river, we hear voices calling out for help, warily we move towards the sound. We come across four red goblins guarding some of the Marshal’s men. The goblyns are defeated but Ja’Kar falls, fortunately we revive and heal him, I would have missed that strange Monk. We free the men, who tell us about a Shaman and spiky Orcs,and continue with our search. Coming out of a passageway we are confronted with five humans and five goblins. Belador quickly lit a flask of oil and threw it at them then we successfully engaged them. there was no time for a rest, we heard the sounds of more enemies coming down the passage, quickly Sal spread some caltrops inside the opening and we positioned ourselves ready for battle. The caltrops did the job, the goblyns were slowed and Mazlor quickly killed one, which to my utter surprise exploded, fortunately none of us were hurt. I then saw the most bizarre thing, another goblyn exploded, and another…. and so on.Suddenly there were no more goblyns. This may explain the explosion we heard after Balto threw the earlier oil flask.

Jorann led us down the passage, telling us there was a Shaman’s room further on, seemed like a good place to find him. We found the room and the Shaman, unfortunately he was not alone and was prepared for us. He was already casting a spell and with him were three chaos humans and orcs, all with large spikes protruding from their bodies, this was not looking good. His casting finished and suddenly several of our party ran away (I shall not name them in fear…… that their reputations will be damaged). A magic missile took care of the Shaman and in rather spectacular fashion if I do say. We rid ourselves of the other, after Jorann had held the humans I took care of them with my blade.

In the room was a globe of chaos, with what looked like deformed goblyn writhing inside. Jorann destroyed it with Holy Water and we desecrated the alter.

Tired, bloodied and out of spells we agreed it was time to head out. All was quiet and we arrived at the chamber below the chasm to see that the walls are on fire. I am not sure if this is good or bad. We can get to the ropes without danger and climb back up into the monastery. As we head to the entrance there is a feeling that we are being watched. Jorann dispels this feeling with a few words.

Arriving at the camp we find the goblyns brought back by Balto and Ja’Kar, they appear to have no will of their own and will do anything you tell them to.

We have survived another day and learned new things, unfortunately I fear this is just the beginning.

Closing on our Quarry?

Mazlor, Sally, Jorann, Beladur, Balto, Fergus, Raygar, Ja’Kar, Pyria

After a scant few day’s rest, an identical assemblage returned to the Monastery. Tis a great pity that Alana remains occupied tending to the ill and injured back in Enonia and Kee has been away for so long. More favorably, though, Sally has been freed of many of his Temple duties, allowing him greater freedom to accompany me. Also, Tangardorin persists in his recent wont of assigning Jorann to assist, rather than the burlier Grel. His motives intrigue, yet remain entirely opaque to me.

Upon descent, I ascertained that the vile entity occupying Eggyx’s font remained. Its presence is to me like a ceaseless blacksmith’s hammering in the skull of a wretch who has had far too much to drink. I informed it it’s time will come to an end soon, and I swear by the Light to make truth of my statement.

We espied in Melchrit’s chambers an ambulatory, headless body. The thing was compelled by the power of the Light and gave purchase. Still, I recollected all too well my experience with a like, yet (physically) defeated, body beneath the Inn, and was cautious. We declined to engage it and approached the door unopposed. I cannot evade the feeling that there is more truth to the story of Melchrit and Phalleum than we have thus far revealed.

I gave demonstration of the workings of the Great Sealed Door of Eggyx and we proceeded. Our familiar greeters arrived without fail. They were oddly gaunt, and dispatched with ease, however. They appeared not mutated, but rather malnourished. We have never provided them sustainable nourishment, so what source of feed might now be in dwindling supply? Goblyns? Chaos energy? I am uncertain, but cannot envision an explanation where this development bodes ill.

After traversing the stairs, I possessed strong suspicion that the Torture Room would still be in use and suggested a detour (Averin’s rebuke for once leaving goblyn prisoners there, while mild, still stings my ears). A covert assessment confirmed two of the frightening creature/object hybrid fliers. Balto and Beladur volunteered to snipe them, then led them into a waiting ambush, which unfolded with remarkable effectiveness. I became intrigued by the metallic portion of these hybrids, leading to Jorann ‘skinning’ them and setting them aside for transport to the surface. Efforts to aid the new prisoners were futile, and we had no choice but to terminate their sufferings.

We proceeded to the nightmarish garden, with its path, tunnels and brambles, at which time we found an unwelcome addition to the foliage – pod trees, cousin to those previously only seen deeper below. The familiar bloated bird-goblyns were also present. J’kar baited them, whilst our trio of bowmen (Fergus, Raygar, Beladur) felled them.

Beyond the stone watchhouse the fountain awaited. A repulsive black chaos sludge now filled the font and pod plant and trees seemed to be drinking it in. Jorann, Sally, and myself tested various remedies involving blessings, purifications, and holy water, the net effect of which was sufficient to eliminate some sludge and cause roots and tendrils to retreat, but far short of our desire to fully eradicate the sludge.

After descending via the guardhouse, we chose the opposite direction of the original pod garden. This brought us to a desecrated altar, now bearing a crude carving of Vanir’s name, undoubtedly the year’s old work of Kjeld.
A subsequent room sounded of odd babbling and yelping. I recalled an old tale from Tobias and Kallista about such a strange beast, living in dark and filth, which had driven them away with fearsome bites. I counseled avoidance, and such was done.
A third was wall to wall covered in what was perhaps putrefying flesh and bone. Again, none desired any dealings with this.

Another pair of pinging fliers (guardians mayhaps?) were defeated with startling ease, when compared to our first encounters with them. Beyond we found the living quarters of a humanoid. Could it be the dwelling of the enemy, Roe? All about was writing, writing, writing – some indecipherable, owing to an unknown tongue, and some incoherent, owing perhaps to madness? We treated his room as a grave robber would treat a newly discovered tomb, and returned home to try to make some sense of our findings.

Perhaps of even greater import than our Monastery incursions is a new development in town. Those who would follow paths other than the Light hath received rough treatment, of both a verbal and physical nature, at the hands of cloaked and hooded foreigners. Questioning recipients found the outsiders to be of a splinter faction of the Light, titling themselves “Light Bringers”. My understanding is such that they are a militant group, formed by Deneb, in the area of Skalfier, subsequent to a traumatic experience he did suffer.

Averin and I conversed upon this matter.

Beacon of the Light

Belàldur at the Tavern
A Wenching Tale

Aye young lady, I am an Elf of the North Sea clans. Belàldur is the name. Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce it correctly, few humans can, and even fewer can spell it! I’m a long way from home, but you never know where you’ll wind up when you live life drifting with the tide. I also happen to be one of the Champions of the Barony, perhaps you’ve heard of us, and the Battle of the Dalewoods Fort? Come, have a seat here and I’ll buy you a drink, and tell you the thrilling tale of our latest expedition into places dark and dangerous.

You’ve probably heard about the old ruined monastery north of town. There is an evil that dwells there that is beyond description, corrupting everything around it. We found the corpses of Sir Reynald’s men and the goblyns they had been fighting… the corruption literally melting their bodies into a vile ooze that sank into cracks in the floor. That place is so twisted, reality itself shifts at times, leaving you feeling lost between different planes of existence, hot forceful winds of chaos howling against you, body and soul. We pressed on, despite the terrors.

At one point, we found ourselves descending a massive spiral staircase, with stairs that FLOATED IN MIDAIR, when we were attacked by a frenzy of desperate, blood-sucking creatures. One of them attached itself to me, its face-needle draining my blood before I could scrape it away with my blade. Here, have a look. (Belàldur peels back his shirt to reveal the wound.) Right there on the shoulder. There was a whole flock of those things we had to fight off before we could continue.

Those creatures were nothing compared to the creature we had to face next: floating round horrors, made of flesh on top and steel on the bottom, creating eerie sounds that echoed through the dungeon. With weird tentacles hanging out all over their bodies, one of them with a large glowing eye at the end of it that could assault you with deadly beams… Balto, one of my companions, had the wise idea of ambushing them with a flaming flask of oil, but the oppression of the dungeon was too much for him and his hand slipped. I can’t blame him much for it, I was a victim of this myself once while we were down there and managed to put an arrow into one of my own friends! Not fatally by luck, it was just a flesh wound. At any rate, we fought bravely and defeated the creatures, helped along by a particularly lucky bow shot of mine straight into one of those twice-damned eyes… (Belàldur mimics drawing and shooting an arrow.)

Next there were the strange goblyn guardians that stood atop 10 foot high brambles in a twisted garden with their crossbows. Ja’Kar, one of the odder members of the group, that believes in one of the strange human superstitions (no offence) again proved quite useful in baiting a trap for them, running like a demon out into the open with no armor to draw their fire and making them perfect targets for the rest of us. He may be unpredictable, rescuing goblyns one moment and executing them the next, but he most certainly is brave. We pressed on…

Imagine a fountain filled with sludge of pitch-black sludge, pure evil in liquid form. That’s what we came across next, and of course the 2 priests of the group were not about to let it stand. As strange as I find their philosophy, I can’t deny the power of their magic, as they were able to vanish enough of the sludge in the fountain for the evil in the area to backlash, shaking the ground as the vile plants that had grown around it retreated. Beyond, we found what seemed to be the home of the foul being responsible for all this chaos, but he wasn’t there.

We will return there soon, and my hope is that we’ll destroy the source of all this evil and corruption. Of course, we might just wind up dying a gruesome death. So I plan on living tonight as if it were my last. Would you like another drink? (Grin.)

Once more into the Breach my friends…

The 14th day of summer had arrived, and my companions and I were ready to head back to the Monastery in order to rid it of the stain of Corruption. Mazlor, Sally, Beladur, Fergus, Balto, Ragar, Pyria, Jakar and I headed back to the Monastery.
Our journey there was uneventful, and we had no problems going inside. Once there we found that even though we had separated the humans from the goblins, they had continued to turn into chaos goo, and there was little left. We decided to take the stairs this time, but were surprised to find the headless corpse of Melchrit guarding the doorway. Mazlor presented his holy symbol and the foul thing gave us no further trouble.
As expected, we were attacked by the usual sturges on the way down, but no one was seriously hurt. We reached the bottom and entered the lower level. Everything seemed as we recalled. Mazlor thought it would be a good idea to check the torture chamber in case there were some humans in need of rescue. What we found was the thing of nightmares! Balto and Beladur snuck forward and ended up attacking two flying half metal half flesh monstrosities. They soon came fleeing back and we were able to overcome them. They were the same creatures we had heard last time at the rivers edge.
We went back to the torture chamber and found three humans and three goblins in some strange state where they were shifting from chaos to normal. It was horrendous. That oaf Jakar decided to kill them all on sight, but Mazlor and I had hopes of helping the poor unfortunate humans. I made one drink Holy Water in the hopes that it would fight off the chaos and restore him, but the chaos had already claimed him. He screamed in agony as the holy water went through him, and I knew then that they were beyond our help. So we allowed Jakar to continue his bloodthirsty work.
We continued on our way to the chaos forest but were attacked by a strange chaos human whom only Sally’s and my weapon were able to hurt. Tangadorin was with me and we vanquished it. We then entered the chaos forest and were immediately fired upon by those accursed chaos bird goblins. To my utter astonishment, the area was now overgrown with the Chaos trees which had never before been here. They were everywhere! I was dismayed. We ran into the tunnel and Jakar decided to run out and be bait to allow our party to attack them. I think we may have finally found a use for the oaf.
I couldn’t quite remember what the fountain at the end of the path was, so the party agreed to go have a look. To my utter surprise, the fountain was full of some awful chaos sludge and the roots from the forest were all drinking up this foul essence! I dropped some Holy Water in and the entire forest reacted. Mazlor blessed it, which stopped the fouintain, but nothing else. Mazlor, Sally and I each spent time to Purify this foul sludge. The forest shrieked and all the roots pulled back, but there was far too much sludge for us to Purify. We will need to come back to continue.
We returned to the stairway down to the next level and went down. When we got to the bottom, we felt a hideous shift and I was completely cutoff from Tangadorin!! It was an awful feeling. Nevertheless, I hid my dismay and agreed to continue on. When we opened the door there was a powerful wind buffeting us. We fought against it and decided to explore this area, since we had never done so before.
We found a desecrated alter that made us feel better than we had since we went down the chaos stairs. At one doorway we heard Maniacal laughter, but we did not enter. As we were walking we encountered two more of the awful flying metal chaos creatures. We destroyed them and found R’oh’s bedchamber. I gathered all the pages of notes while the others rifled through the closet.
We decided that it was time to head back. Soon we will return and end this corruption!

Fumbling and Frustration
Balto's Journal

Ja’Kar had appreciated my help rescuing the goblyns from their captivity under the monastery. They were no threat to anyone, but frustratingly apathetic and unable to defend themselves. Ja’Kar took them to Mesha’s shrine, I think to help support it in exchange for protection and food. Most of the rest of us split off from him and went back to town. But I want to talk to him some more – he has a respect for nature and balance and a disrespect for organized religion that make me think we could do great works together.
After my first descent into the monastery’s depths, I relished the fresh air and open spaces. The trip back to Enonia was a real delight, walking through the warm summer day. Since those of Reynald’s fighters we had freed arrived in town just before us, it was hard to escape notice. I appreciated the free drinks and easy company, but I might have heard more if I’d been able to stick to the shadows. My new armor drew attention, too – the Marshal’s armorer tried to get it from me, even offered 500 gold pieces for it, saying he’d never seen its like.
Anyhow, after a couple of days, Ja’Kar rejoined us and we headed back to the monastery. Let’s see, that was me, Belaldur, Ja’Kar, Mazlor, Sally, Joran, Ragar, and Pyria. Everyone had reprovisioned, and Ja’Kar had even brought chalk to mark our way through the depths. The trip to monastery was quite pleasant. Belaldur and I shared what gossip we’d come across in Enonia.
We moved pretty quickly at first – we knew this level. In the meditation room, the bodies were nearly all melted away, and the weapons and armor had been looted. Some chaotic force tried to suborn Mazlor, but he resisted with the help of his magic necklace.
We make our way towards the stairs but as we enter a chamber hear an odd shuffling. Remembering tales of a headless undead former adventurer, a cleric named Melkrit, guarding an iron door that lead to the stairs, the clerics move to the front of our party. Mazlor turns Melkrit, clearing our path to a huge iron door. Sally mutters how he has seen this door before, and Mazlor steps forward with the key and unlocks the door. Sally and Mazlor begin to chant, Mazlor produces a dessicated finger – necromancy? My skin crawls –and carefully places it in a special spot. Many, many locks and bolts snap open, and we see the doorway filled with what appears to be black water.
Ja’Kar walks through; so does Ragar. Well, I’m not going to leave them to face whatever is over there alone – I rally our group and we all pass through the water. I get a weird feeling as I walk through the water, but everyone is fine. We are on a large stone platform, floating in nothingness; behind us is an archway with a sheen of black water in the opening. Ahead are strange, twisting stairs leading down. Ja’Kar takes point and I go behind him, the rest of the party following in single file.
On the stairs, we are attacked by a flock of oddly skeletal stirges. They have clearly not fed in a long while. It is dicey for a while, but we dispatch them all. Ja’Kar finishes one which had been harrying me. As we knock the stirges away, some fall up, others to the side, and yet others twist away on weird tangents. I don’t like these stairs! I am so glad to finally reach the bottom, thought disquieted by the archway filled with black water across the landing from us. Again, Ja’Kar and Ragar go through first, and I follow and step to the side.
We are in a chamber with some vilely carved pillars – the faces in these pillars seem to be screaming in horror and pain! We move off through a door and hear real screaming and a metallic drone. Mazlor casts a spell of protection on Belaldur and me and we sneak over to peer into the room from which the sounds are coming.
There are 6 creatures bound with chaos energy to the wall. They are shape-shifting and writhing. Ministering to them are two floating flesh and metal constructs. I impulsively decide to toss a pot of burning oil at one of these floaters, but my aim is a bit off, and the oil and flames splash harmlessly on the far wall. Belaldur shakes his head ruefully and we run back the way we had come, pursued by these floaters.
Our companions set up an ambush, which was quite successful. The floaters do shoot a beam that hits several of us, but they are both felled by ranged weapons. The metal seems potentially useful but we leave it to pick up on our way out. We head back to the torture room, where there is another reality ripple. It is evident that these six beings are beyond hope. Ja’Kar and I decide to kill them, but first Joran anguishes one by dosing him with holy water. Ja’Kar and I put the poor creatures out of their misery.
Back through another door, to a gallery of statues of sentient beings, all in pain and fear. While Ja’Kar is at one end of the chamber, I see a door by me open to admit a chaos human, and I yell! Only magic weapons affect it, but they do kill it and it melts away into goo. Glad it didn’t explode!
We make our way through a nightmare garden, all brambles and pod trees, but with a path that we follow. Beladur and I hear something, and a red goblin face appears on the top of the brambles. Fergus and I kill it, and it is no goblin but some bizarre goblin/chicken hybrid. We hear more of them moving in behind and above us. Everyone runs for it, and we make it to a tunnel through the brambles. These creatures run above us as we go through the tunnel, and we realize they plan to catch us on the other side. Ja’Kar runs ahead, bait for a counterambush. Again my aim is not so good – have I had a killing shot yet today?
We go on down the path, past a low stone building to a clearing dominated by a large fountain of foul sludge. The clerics try spells and ensorceled water to cleanse the fountain but are only partly successful. We head back and enter the building and down a long flight of stairs. A strong wind pushes against us as we pass through a door, but it dies down as we move down the corridor. We find a chaos shrine that had been rededicated to law, which helped relieve the oppressive feel of the space. Further along we decide to not enter both a room from which we hear gibbering and a charnel-filled chamber.
We surprise and easily vanquish two floaters, and then find Roh’s quarters. The walls are covered in indecipherable and mad writings. We loot the room, Joran grabbing papers from the floor. Pyria takes some vials and scrolls, and pens and quills and the like get split among the magic users. We even take Roh’s garb and paint a smiling face inside his wardrobe. Suddenly reality shifts and Joran says he can’t sense Tangadorin. I feel very uneasy about the reality shifts, and am very concerned at what is ruining nearly every shot I take, but we make it out to the surface with no problem.

The Monastery.... again
Life of Pyria

So the group headed back to the Monastery, this time Mazlor took us to a different place, not the crevice.However, the room we needed to be in was occupied, a headless creature was wandering around. Fortunately the power of the Light held it and we had not trouble, Mazlor opens a door at the far end of the room, this involved inserting what looked like a desiccated finger and some words. I should have known this was not a good sign, beyond the door was this wall of dark water, without a word Ja’Kar walks through, of course we follow. The good news is we don’t die but do face a strange twisting set of stairs surrounded by oblivion, apparently this is the way to go. If this bizarre staircase was not enough a group of Sturge attacked us, one even got hold of me, these bloodsucking beast truly annoy me. Managing to remove it and we killed them all without serious injury. Reaching the end of the stairway we came across another wall of water and a door, no finger needed this time.

We entered a room with columns with grotesque carving, I had no wish to look closely. As we left the room we heard screams, and a strange sound. Balto and Belador went to investigate, they soon came running back followed by weird floating objects, that did not look friendly. Fortunately we did manage to defeat them. They were a hybrid of organic and metallic, with a long probe. Jorann decided to pour Holy Water on them, this dissolved the organic part leaving the metal!

Heading to the room Balto and Balador had reached we find three humans and three goblyns tied to racks with glowing bonds. The bodies keep changing, going from a recognizable form to something more globulous. Ja’Kar kills the goblyns before we can react, Jorann intercedes before he kills the humans. Thinking he can ‘cure’ him Jorann forces Holy Water down the throat of one of the humans, it burns from within, Ja’Kar kills the other two.

Returning to the column room we took the door to the East, beyond is a long room with 12 statues, two each, Human, Elf, Dwarf,Goblyn, Littleling and Orc. As we were examining them, Balto yelled out, a creature had come through a door to the South. Fortunately our group of Priests dispatched it as only magical weapons seem to do any physical damage. Continuing through the room we head out of the East door into an area with high bramble hedges and strange trees with pods on them. Mazlor and Jorann seemed concerned, apparently the last time they were here the tree were not. A red goblyn suddenly appeared above us on the hedge, Balto kills it and we notice it has bird like legs, this place gets stranger by the moment. We see the brambles from a tunnel up ahead and head into it, we can hear more goblyns above us. Ja’Kar decides that he will run out ahead to draw out for the rest of us to shoot at. Speed and the ability to dodge seem to be his thing. Off he goes, two creatures follow him giving Balto and Balador shots at them. A short while later the two creatures are dead and there are no more sounds, guess that was all there was.

Regrouping we follow the path and come to a building with a door. Mazlor and Jorann mention there should be a strange fountain up ahead. We continue and come to clearing and there is fountain of black sludge, the roots of the pod trees around it are trailed into the sludge at the bottom. Determining that this sludge is a sources of the evil Jorann, Mazlor and Sal try to remove it. Jorann initially pours some Holy Water into the pool, there is much bubbling and frothing. The roots from tries start to pull themselves out of the pool and the trees begin to shake. There is a visible drop in the level of the pool, but clearly this would take a lot of Holy Water. Mazlor casts Bless on the fountain, roots and vines withdraw but still the fountain stands. The three of them try to purify it. This has a large impact but not enough to clear it. Now we have gained an idea as to how to clear the fountain, but not having the means to hand, we head back to the door, Mazlor and Jorann know where this leads to. They want to confirm all is as they remember. We go through and head down some long winding stairs. Following the corridor we come to a room, upon opening the door we see it is full of oozing goo with strange limbs reaching out. We close the door and leave. Heading North we come across two of the floating creatures, now we know how to deal with them they are quickly destroyed, more metal to use! Mazlor and Jorann lead us to a room that is full is clearly belongs to a Magic User, I am assume Ro, there are scrolls, books along with other items.

Mazlor and Jorann explain that given what we have to do and our current state of spells it would be better to go back and then return another time. They feel that one more visit and we will be able to close the portal. We head back without incident, the headless corpse once again being held by the Light.