Night Eternal

A chill morning mist settles
The scent of damp earth is rich here

An old woman huddles in a yurt near the modest stove. Wafting notes of her herbal tea lilt through the air to stain the morning dew. She pauses a moment, as though listening, and smiles as she raises the cup to her withered lip. Outside, the gusts of a stormfront sweep the dried leaves of fall and rattle the black bones of the trees which scratch upward like fingers clawing at the grey precipice of a chill sky.

A visitor is coming. And her children are Night’s own.

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Arise From Thy Slumbers, Ye Children Of Night!
The voice of your master calls through the darkness

You dreamt of blackness, infinite and cold, of empty vast nothingness spanning eternity and beyond. All thought, all sensation, all being had fled — existence had ceased and you languished in oblivion…

Until a voice called through the veil, compelling your soul to take form once more in service.

The experience of experience is at once both strange and familiar as you open your eyes and your limbs stir, stiff with the languor of ages. Corpsedust cringes in retreat as you shift and then rise obediently. You see about you half-remembered shapes brooding in the gloom, several of them bent in profound obeisance before the being which dominates the room:

Vis Rejk Ipplomo, God Assumptive, the Void Sighted, the Night’s Eye, the Star Namer, He Who Dreams Beyond

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Sir Owain's Meditations - 1
From Crypt to Cabin

Out of the Crypt

The rush of consciousness was shocking, surrounded by strangers and loosely remembered faces, a rush of words, a mixture of feeling. Feeling, this is new. Before long, the faces disappear. Soon, all that is left are the few and the Hag. She approaches, cackling, something about visiting a friend, she detours from the Rejk’s plan, this will not stand. We journey through a tomb, my tomb I find, I do not recall it.

There is a woman, she screams, she dies. Such is mortality. Thoughts are still forming, mind is hazy, morals are forming, lack thereof? The hag continues in madness, she does not seem to be a worthy leader, though she knows to respect me. She will be watched.

There are fairies, I think I remember these, their fire burns. The Hag saves me, perhaps she is redeemable?

Enter the House

We come across a house in the woods, those within are enslaved. The half-lich returns, his methods are effective though unusual. The Hag proves further her inability to lead, she rushes and has no mind for the necessity of planning. Some slaves prove intelligent enough to reason with. The Hobgoblin understands wealth, the Ghoul understands hunger. They shall be useful in creating defenses. Several fey and bandits shall make good slaves as well.

Akorian allowed the fey slaves to escape, the Hobgoblin was sent to retrieve the girl. Retrieve her and the he-horse shall follow. The hag took one bandit with her to commune with the Rejk, her absence will be a good chance to plan.

The Ghoul, Edward, tells me of a Crusade. A Crusade of light against the forces of undeath and evil. Their Inquisitors patrol the lands and their troops come in waves across the continent. In time, this crusade shall end, and the rule of the Rejk, or perhaps of another who is worthy, shall reign; though for now, we must operate in the dark, waiting for our time to strike.

We have made plans to fortify our cabin and to venture forth into the nearby town of Gewidge. With any luck, our might shall endure, and soon our reign will begin.

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Sir Owain's Meditations - 2
From Cabin to Cellar

A knock on the door

There’s a knock on the door. The Candied Lich opens the door to find a young man standing there, wearing the robes of a holy man. After a brief moment of panic as I reach for my weapon, he claims that the ghost Circae sent him upon orders of the Rejk. I let him know that any ally of the Rejk is an ally of mine. We hurriedly scuffle him inside and shut the door before any other prying eyes wander by. After some questioning, we ascertain that his claims are true and we continue planning our next move.

Through this, my facilities began to return to me. The clarity of thought I remember having so long ago began, at least in some small respect, to return to me. Certain areas of memory and though still seemed difficult for me to reach, as though some cloudy force was preventing me from reaching them.

Into the town

Jer and the Lich wait at the edge of town, while Blessing, Ekidam, Azzok and I head in to find some supplies. Though we initially meant to merely scout, we were quickly engaged in fierce combat as a the vicious dog took quite poorly to my friendly attempt to pet it. The gnome fled to a room in the back, and as we bravely defended ourselves from the threat at hand, we heard the sound of rummaging from said room. After slaying the cruel beast, we sought find our way into the back room to talk further with this gnome who so rudely let his beast attack us.

Fortunately, it was at this very moment that Jer arrived with Tar-Akorian, eager to open the door. After a few moments of focus at the lock, we were greeted by a room with naught but an armoire and some light furnishings. Some more investigation led us to a hidden ladder, leading to a small room. Jer briefly searched it, triggering several traps in the meantime, before we found our way to another room, seeming to hold much of the gnome’s stock. Yet more searching led to us finding a small hallway with several rooms leading off of it, behind yet another hidden door, such paranoia in such a little creature. A brief search of the hallway led Jer to shut himself in a room at the end while myself and the others explored the rest of the hallway, finding some objects that were quite unusual, perhaps disturbing even for those of us less morally destitute. After some waiting, we eventually journeyed into the room Jer disappeared into, only to find an unusual looking chest laying in the middle amidst a pile of wealth, some fey in cages around the edges of the room.

A brief questioning of the Fey led us to the conclusion that Jer had been eaten by the chest in the center of the room, spirits rest his soul. After dispersing with the Mimic through the usage of a long pointy stick and some clever spellcasting on the part of Tar-Akorian, we journeyed into the room to discover the pile of wealth was merely an illusion. We question the fey briefly, but they seem by in large part to be clueless, save that they were brought here by a mixture of various green humanoids. Suddenly, the sound of voices approach, we are able to quickly determine that they are the Orcs the Fey were referring to. We set up an ambush and quickly dispatch with them.

After determining that the Gnome had escaped through a tunnel in the basement, we briefly questioned one of the surviving Goblins, and quickly found that they did not in fact work for the gnome, but rather the other way around. Similarly, he claimed that they worked for a woman. It was at this point that he faded from consciousness, perhaps my grip was too strong, I shall have to work on my people skills in this manner. We released one of the Fey so that she may return to her tree, I was not overly fond of this idea, but the party at large seemed in favor, so I figured I’d trust in their judgement. From there, we set out to plan our future endeavors within this Thorpe of Gewidge.

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Sir Owain's Meditations - 3
From Cellar to Church

A less gentle knock on the door

Amidst the discussion of our plan of action, I took a brief moment to meditate over our course when we were disturbed by a great crash from upstairs in the shop room. Fearing the gnome had returned with a band of torch and pitchfork-wielding townsfolk in tow, we rushed to the foyer with our weapons brandished. There ahead lumbered a positively massive tower of bones and metal. Its jaw clattered open and out it rumbled, “Hi, I’m Kut.” Initial shock stifled, we quickly surmised that the ghoul Edward had pointed him our direction after the two somehow met up near the cottage. Pulling information from the orcish skeleton, however, was difficult, and likely would not have been made significantly more difficult had the creature not been animated in the first place. So we accepted his strength to our group and moved on.

Unfortunately, we were now faced with the problem of a set of large shattered double doors through which our new friend Kut had made his entrance. We resolved to let those of us with magical energies to restore take whatever time they needed in the basement to do so while Kut set about guarding the foyer, and I took up work repairing the doors so as to avoid questioning come morning. After several hours, our work was done just as the sun began to peek over the distant horizon. As Blessing came up, human form restored, we discussed our plans for the day, and eventually decided upon journeying across the street to investigate goings-on in the town.

Into the Daylight

Blessing, Azzok, and myself, being the easiest to pass off as relatively ‘normal’ citizens, made our way into the small tavern across the street, “The Oaken Lodge”. It was there we met the scullery maid Sarah, the Tavern Owner, Lars, who seemed to know his way around the town and had some respect amongst the folk, there, despite his relatively trusting nature, the Trader Orlund, who seemed somewhat suspicious of us, though didn’t let too much on, and several of the locals who seemed of little importance. We displayed ourselves as a Merchant, his servant, and I, the travelling guard; and through this ruse gathered some valuable information. The notable Mother Dowsell was the town’s primary cleric and a follower of the Slave god Wea. She was taken care of by Anna, an acolyte of Aurwane. The Dowsell estate, apparently one of the nicer houses in the town, presumably once the property of the Dowsell family, had recently been purchased by Stephen Epneyn, a relatively successful merchant who had come into town not too long ago, and he and his family had promptly moved in. Finally, the inn was apparently also boarding a strange woman, beautiful yet somewhat unhinged if rumors be true. Before long, it seemed the townsfolk were curious about us, so we spun a tale of being ambushed by orcish vagabonds in the woods, leaving us horseless and destitute. This caused quite a few raised eyebrows. After a good period of talk, we began to suspect the others in the inn might think us strange, so we purchased a room for the night to ease their suspicions. From there, we returned to Liddle’s shop.

Apparently, we’re terrible torturers

We met back up with the others and discussed our plans. We all quickly agreed that if we were to gain a foothold in this town, the clerics would have to go. Their holiness was a direct threat to our power, and their absence would allow our own dark cleric to replace them as the town’s holy healer. From there we came upon a wonderful plan to attack the church in the night and plant evidence implicating orcs so as to supplant our earlier claims to their growing threat in the region. In the meantime though we had all day to wait, so we decided to try our hand at questioning our final surviving orcish captive about the details regarding his employers. After several hours of unsuccessful questioning and horribly botched castration, we gave up resolving to try again after he’s had a few days to stew in captivity without food.

That night, Blessing, Azzok, and I made way to the Inn so as to have an alibi, and Kut and Tar-Akorian snuck to the Church to remove the problem of the priestesses. Some minutes later Blessing excused himself to the room while Azzok and I spent the evening talking with the locals. Before long there was sounds of panic as apparently a fire had broken out at the church. = I’ll finish this later-=-

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Sir Owain's Meditations - 4
From Church to Coven

It came from a nightmare

The Lich and the two fleshlings lay sleeping as Blessing, Kut, and I sat in the main room of the shop, quietly discussing our plans for the approaching day. Suddenly, a noise from downstairs, a bang, a crash. Likely just one of the prisoners struggling in their bars, but regardless this would not stand. We couldn’t have our prisoners causing a ruckus, so into the basement we went to ensure they began to behave once more. Blessing and I suddenly stop talking as we see the bony behemoth of Kut begin to barrel around the corner ahead, charge ending in a wet squelch as we assume his axe hits something fleshy. We round the corner ourselves to see him looming over a mass of squirming tentacles covered in blood, little of which seems to be its own. With some strategic healing on the part of Blessing and myself, Kut manages to slay the beast, though not without taking significant damage.

=()= Finish the rest later

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Matthew's Workbook
The account of an apothecary's apprentice

She says I can’t go home. My whole family’s dead.

I’ll never see Mom or Dad again. Justine and Julia, Nathan’s gone, too. Even Miss Elena.

I don’t remember what happened exactly. I remember we had to climb out the window, and I remember a lot of yelling, and I was trying to get to the dogs when something heavy hit my head from behind. I think Kai-Ying healed it somewhat, but the headache and swelling could only have meant it nearly killed me. I guess they thought I was dead, or I wouldn’t have made it. She didn’t say who dragged me to her house, but it must have been the strangers, the “adventurers” that people were talking about.

The orcs followed them. Does that make it their fault? What’s going to happen to us now?

Kai-Ying says I have to stay with her for a while. She asks weird questions about whether I dream and what I dream about. She thinks she’s so smart. She’s trying to not let on that it’s important, but obviously it is or she wouldn’t be asking all the time — and I’ve always been told that she kept to herself and wasn’t nice and stuff. So why won’t she let me go home?

I could find my way back, but there’s wolves and boggarts in the woods.

And I guess I don’t have a home anymore…

How long is it supposed to hurt like this?

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Nightmare Prophecy
a fitful night in a desecrated tomb-temple

At first it merely seemed as though hypothermia were setting in upon the mer-prince’s bare, slender frame in the damp chill of the misty crypt where you rest. His long, frilled tail would sometimes twitch and jerk as he shivered, tossed and turned all a coiled huddle in the corner. The salt smell of the waves and the periodic sound of distant dripping was a constant backdrop to the long day you spend in the crowded reliquary where Hiemal had so long kept vigil over his sacred charge. The wailing spirits of the saints interred here echo mournfully through the fog blanketed corridors above.

And then the royal prophet’s eyes flash open, streaming blood-hot tears from pearlescent blank orbs even as he lay still in apparent torpor. The holy artifact upon his breast murmured a whalesong while it crept upward, the leather cord tangled about it writhing like a somnambulant swimming serpent, following the stream of lachryma as a slug tracks the slime of a mate.

The words which emerge into the unfamiliar atmosphere from his gill-slitted throat are clearly his native tongue, their burbling consonants mostly likely formed only crudely without the aid of the proper medium. It is a ululating and unceasing monologue with the rhythm and meter of foreign lyrics, but the chords of your soul vibrate in sympathy as though the sirens’ webbed fingers reached past your ribs to play upon harps.

With all the haste of a glacier, the Ocean’s Tear takes its throne upon the smitten prince’s forehead, seeming to melt into his pale flesh like one of the opaline scales which freckle his temples… But its size makes the transformation uncomfortable to witness: the bulk of a small fist, it buries itself within a new orbit to pour out upon the world its fathomless gaze.

Once it is ensconced, the chanted words become strangely familiar. The voice of Fate wields a tongue known by all souls:

Phuralq niest oumblammin,
Mai nasse gleglum ultrannen,
Eblid orl vouln
Nasse tip wult Douln
Yuls Thob kul tin quelonmen!

Phuralq awakens at long last,
No more to dream before He break fast,
Our Fate unspun
As Dawn now comes
With all Death’s dreadful haste!

And that was when he finally began screaming.

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Tyreyx's Musings
Pretty things

“Take my hand young beauty, you are not in hell. You are not in hell, though the others here are of the dead, the mad, the lost. But I was born on the underside of Light, wild and living. Have no fear, take my hand…”

I wonder, could I steal something pretty and make them feel?

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Tyreyx's Musings 2
Memories of the Underdark

“You can rely on me,” whispered my friend Valan, just as he had so many times before, smiling his languid little smile. We had stolen often by then, sharing meager loot like children sharing candy. But this was different. We had watched this hidden place for weeks, waiting for the right moment.

“Alright, I’m ready,” I replied, bracing myself and sliding my lithe body through the narrow shadowed opening. Valan, too burly to follow, stood guard.

The dark sepulchral room smelled of fungal incense, steam and blood; through the silence echoed the slow drip, drip, drip of some heavy viscous liquid. But the wizard priest and his acolytes were gone, we’d made sure of that.

Scanning the shadows, I spotted the faint crimson glow I sought, emanating from the graceful curve of an exquisitely crafted short bow set upon the stained stone of a pale marble altar. The bow lay slightly askew, left like a careless youngster might leave a mundane toy. Oh, but this was no toy! Stealthy as a cat I padded ‘cross the cold granite to stand before it. New-made, it was a magnificent thing, crafted of deepest obsidian glass, overlain with twisting glyphs that writhed down its smooth length , glowing with the wavering light of hot embers. Slowly, extending a single cautious finger, I touched it, felt its warmth. And a tiny pulse? Was it alive? I had never seen such a weapon let alone touched one. But I touched this one, and I held it, and I took it. (I cannot write it’s name for it is blasphemy).

I returned quickly to the cracked wall, but I could not squeeze through, not with the bow clutched in my eager fingers.

“Hand it through to me,” urged Valen.

“No, I want to hold it!”

“Don’t be fool, pass it through and let’s be gone!”

“Alright, here, can you reach it?”

I cannot say for certain why he betrayed me. He carried his reasons with him into the eternal night; ran with his reasons and the warm artifact that was so much more than a bow. I spent no more than a furious minute cutting my way through the massed dreck he’d wedged into the opening. But he was gone. Freeing myself, I heard him call from far down the empty corridor: “You can rely on me Tyreyx,” he laughed. “To let you down!”

Well Valen, I have a new bow now. And should I ever chance to see that lazy mummer’s grin of yours again, I shall bury one shaft of black ice deep into your treasonous brain and send another through that false piece of flesh you call a heart. Ahhh, how I shiver with delight just to imagine it!

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