Noble Intentions

A Meeting in The Ambersand
Adventure 1

Thanks for the notes, Sara!

In the Desert of Raduun, just outside the oasis town of Desheb, five lone travelers happened upon a vicious carriage attack. Unable to turn away for such barbarity (well, except for Rooke who was feeling skeptical about the situation) they defeated the carriage attackers one by one: Musushi, the dwarf still adjusting to the above ground landscape, wielded his great spoon with fearsome strength; Thomas the half-elf ranger set loose his arrows with deadly precision; Elythia the young human sorceress used arcane forces to halt the villains; Rooke the human fighter cautiously looked on and provided emotional support to the newly formed team; Layla the half-elf cleric generously healed the injured victim of the carriage attack. The now healthy merchant named Ishak gave the party a small ivory and copper token and instructions to seek shelter and a meal at The Ambersand in Desheb. As Ishak left, the party rooted through the remains of the attackers for loot. Musushi generously (naively?) gave his share of gold to Elythia, who found the dwarf’s ignorance of above ground customs funny and full of opportunity.

Inside The Ambersand, the travelers were underwhelmed by the dingy accommodations and surplus of rats. Musushi, seeing the silver lining in this infestation, seemed eager to capture some of these vermin for noodles. Luckily there were alternative meal options. Greiz the innkeeper seated the group and took their food orders. He also informed them that Ishak’s token is from a merchant’s guild called the Ivory Clan. While waiting for their food, Elythia pounced on the opportunity to share some recently overheard gossip: Greiz’s daughter went missing when the vultures left (?!), and that there is a nearby wizard gone insane over their research. Mulling over these bits of information, Layla found it impossible to let go of the fact that Greiz’s daugher was gone and he seemed unperturbed. There was some confusion over the meaning of vultures, and an unfortunate nearby patron of the inn was brought in to the discussion which had no fruitful conclusion. They may be birds, or possibly a warband. Greiz returned with the food, and a quest: Find and eliminate the source of rats. The reward would be worth their time.

Greiz’s instructions led them to the Temple of Three, a once great stone temple long abandoned. They gingerly picked their way through the rubble. Layla detected a faint magical presence but no obvious signs. Once inside the temple, Musushi began striking the walls. Wall tiles clattered to the ground and sent up clouds of dust. Thomas cleverly noticed that the dust was not acting as it should – unless there was a room behind the wall. Musushi redirected his blows, and a hidden doorway was revealed! …and also a hoard of angry rats! They fought off the rats easily, kicking them away, but a particularly vengeful rat bit Musushi.

The group was about to venture further into the hidden passage, but Thomas noticed as strange settling of debris on the cavern floor. His keen sense of perception saved them all when he detected and disabled a pit trap. (This guy is pretty handy!) They next entered a small chamber which held the remains of a man and his adventuring gear. He was surrounded by the bones of several large rodents. All of the bones had been “picked clean”. Thomas found a silver dagger, a string of beads, and a vial of an unknown liquid among the bones… Continuing along the dark tunnel lit only by their torches, they saw an eerie message written on the walls: He sees me with nine eyes. No one could make sense of the unsettling words. Musushi led the way deeper down the narrow tunnel, barely detecting yet another trap. Who set these traps and why?

The adventurers continued along the dark tunnel until it opened up into a large cavern. A beam of moonlight fell upon the floor of the cavern, revealing a large and hostile dire rat. The group defeated the rat together, but before they could breath a sigh of relief, they had an immediate and uncomfortable feeling that they were being watched. Collectively turning around and looking upwards, they were greeted by the sight of a hideous rat-like monster looming over them. Rooke’s and Thomas’ arrows struck true but did no great lasting damage. Magical damage appeared to self-heal. Layla hurled her flaming torch at the monster but it didn’t seem to care. Despair began to creep up on the group as they wondered how they could possibly defeat this beast. The giant rat monster leaped down from its perch and rounded on Musushi, and then on Elythia. In desperation, Elythia blinded the creature with a blast of overwhelming colors. The beast staggered back, clutching at its eyes. Seizing this opportunity, Thomas slashed at it with the silver dagger which left lasting damage! Emboldened by this success, he struck it again and again until at last it was defeated by a blow to its spine. The monster’s body dissolved into a writhing black tar which then melted into a still dark pool. The ichor seeped away into the ground, revealing the corpse of a man. The party was disturbed and confused by this development. They gathered the treasure and trinkets left behind by whatever or whoever the man/beast was, and hurried back to the Ambersand to confront Greiz.

Greiz thanked them for their assistance, and claimed to have no knowledge of the were-rat or other trials within the Temple of Three. Before the group could further interrogate him, he led them down into a beautiful villa which overlooked a large underground lake. An old regal woman with facial tattoos and piercings greeted them. Muini, a representative of the Ivory Clan, gave each of them a weighty bag of gold as reward for their troubles. The eradication was good for the merchants as they are expecting a highly important shipment soon.

Musushi, Thomas, Rooke, Layla, and Elythia were also given lodging for the night by Greiz, who noted that there appeared to be a falling star in the sky. Just as they were starting to turn in for the night there was a violent roar and rumble as a shock wave moved through Desheb. Looking out the window, they could see a harsh glow from the direction of the city of Memphun

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Memphun Burns
Adventure 2

Thanks for the notes, Freddy!

The party awoke from a sleepless (and presumably Memphun-less) night to a town on edge. The massive explosion over the horizon had not gone unnoticed. Seeking answers from their only friendly contact there, the innkeeper Greiz, the group became privy to the talk of the town: a shipment of the Ivory Clan was expected from the city and search parties were being dispatched to retrieve it. After bellowing a few questions about the coming apocalypse (to which Greiz merely shrugged), they left the Ambersand with just enough purpose to not flee the land.

The party took this opportunity to resupply and inquire about the goings on of Desheb, namely the details of these search parties, naming them competition. Visiting such esteemed shops as the Stuff Shack, they accomplished these two goals. They had water, sand masks, chain mail (one of which was painstakingly selected to match Elythia’s fine color requirements), grenades of acid and fire for Rooke and Musushi, and Thomas left with the flirtatious favor of the half orc shopkeeper, Kayras. However, when questioning everyone they came across, the group came up short in the way of apocalypse news (much to Musushi’s frustration). It was noted that the wererat’s sword was of elvish make, though its creators had passed through far too long ago to remember anything of note. Also, the armorer noted that the Sun had been dimming of late (whatever that meant).

Most importantly, the group came across two other groups. One was dispatched from the Ivory Clan itself to safeguard their cargo, led by the warrior Ahabef. The other, a dusty band of loot-seeking mercenaries led by a brute named Uzigal. With a streak of megalomania, he had apparently named it Uzigal’s Company. Finding more kinship (and fewer fleas) with the expedition of the their former employers, the party agreed to set out with them in a few hours time. The favor and resources of the dominant merchant clan would be most welcome in seeking any answers.

They were suddenly blessed with the hope of news. A rider, now blinded by what he saw, had witnessed the destruction of Memphun! The group rushed to his side and Layla healed him of his miscellaneous burns. With eager ears, they begged him to tell them what he knew. They were disappointed. Beyond confirming the destruction of Memphun, the man was a yokel, screaming and gesticulating vaguely of unnamed gods who were totally pissed with us because reasons, man. The gang bade him half-hearted well wishes and made for the desert with Ahabef.

The road to Memphun was (expectedly) incredibly sandy. The sand masks came in handy when faced with a sandstorm on the second day of traveling. In addition to choking several of the party with dust, the sandstorm also revealed a hidden cave. With a desperation for clues leading to rashness, the party descended into the cave. And were immediately attacked by scorpions.

The battle with the scorpions when comically poorly. Though victorious, Thomas had a brush with death before being saved by the healer Layla. Ahabef’s twin brother Befaha, was not so lucky. In fact, he was quite unlucky. Dead. He was dead. He died. Furthermore, scanning the cave revealed nothing worth taking for their troubles and the destruction of the scorpion family. All things considered, Ahabef took it pretty well (he did not attack the party).

Disheartened but hopeful, they pressed on. When they arrived at Memphun, the battle in the cave seemed a mercy. It was a city of death. Once great towers and humble shops lay shattered on the wide boulevards. Fires yet burned after days ablaze. And the corpses. Rotting, bloody things; burst apart on rock and clay as though flung by demons. A yellow dust lay upon them, mercifully obscuring faces frozen in shock and agony, true; but also completing the theft of their humanity. And there was yet more dust in the air. It could take months to come down.

It was a grim sight. Some of the party were stunned to silence and disgust. What could they possibly hope to find here? Eventually, Ahabef took charge. He’d remembered the task he owed his guild. He bade the party to press on to find the expected Ivory clan shipment.

What they found was wholly unexpected. Figures who yet lived rummaged through the corpses. Hoping to question survivors, the party cautiously approached… to find Uzigal and his unwashed band of raiders. The two groups bantered, attempting to find out about each other’s motives. Finding no competition, our heroes attempted to hastily retreat before any was discovered. They were, unfortunately, too slow. As Ahabef came into view, bearing the mark of the Ivory Clan, Uzigal became triggered and old, untold feuds roused his crew to violence. A fight broke out and could not be forestalled by intimidation or diplomacy.

As luck would have it, the fight was also short lived; if the blinded horseman could be believed, by divine intervention. A shadow passed over the group. Looking up, they saw that it was a rock of immense size descend menacingly upon the city. So massive and so far it was that it appeared to take forever to impact. But when it did, miles away, the shockwave was enough to toss those left standing asunder. Debris soon crashed down among the warriors, killing the lucky ones outright. All ran, crawled, and dove to cover, but by the end, only the adventurers were left alive.

Awed by the sight of a smaller version of what must have killed Memphun, the team abandoned their quest for the shipment and made for the impact crater, looking for clues as to the meteor’s origin. Memphun once again proved to be the ruined city of surprises. Halfway to the crater, they were attacked, not by the living, but by the dead. Or undead. A trio of skeletons, reanimated to be mindless killers, stalked toward the party. Initial resistance was (shall we say) error-prone, but Layla came to the rescue. As a cleric of Pelor, she raised her hands and unleashed holy fury. With a word, the skeletons burst apart, clearing the way forward. Puzzled, the group hid behind Layla and proceeded forward.

Before long, the group found their clue to the meteor’s origin. Or rather, an obvious sign hit them in the face. Out from behind the remains of a building, they witnessed a high speed chase. A man had survived! On a cart pulled by a horse! The… thing… chasing them could only be described as a blue mist with a hint of the demonic. The man valiantly fled, but the mist was too fast. It caught the cart. It killed the horse. It flung the man into the dirt. And revealed itself for what it really was.

In the blink of an eye, the mist was transformed. In its place stood a hulking behemoth. Demonic and foul in nature, it let loose descriptive threats and arcane wordspells, identifying itself as Hol Beloth, the Gravewalker of the Nine. And it had a bone to pick with the now prone rider, who was armed only with a spellbook. It was pretty clear who the party should help and Hol Beloth knew it too. Thus, he unleashed a score of skeletons to keep them at bay.

Luckily, the party hid behind Layla. She once again raised her hands and the skeletons burst apart. Musushi followed up with an Entangle spell, binding Hol Beloth to the dust on which he stood. The rest of the party attacked the demon, which interrupted his chanting and earned them his ire. With a swipe of his hand, the broken skeletons reformed and stood and stalked forward once again!

Two can play at that game. Layla raised her hands a third time that day and burst the skeletons apart once more. The rest of the party moved to finish off the surviving skeletons. During the battle, the former rider had not been idle. He too, was chanting. But at this time, Hol Beloth could address the man unmolested. The magic was quick. A celestial portal opened beneath the man and pulled him in. Halfway. It snapped shut with a sickening crunch and the man left this world amid cries of agony. The group watched in horror as the light left the man’s eyes. That horror was amplified as they received the full attention of Hol Beloth. He raised his hand to once again raise the dead. The party looked to Layla, but she could only stare back. Her spells were spent for the day. It was clear: The group raised their weapons; their only defense against the wall of bone that promised to overwhelm them.

A flash of light drew all attention. The world appeared to peel back and admit a single entity. It was an entity of contradiction. A peaceful visage of a normal man with unbridled power behind eyes as calm as a pond in Spring. He was at once as weak as any mortal man and as tall and radiant as the Sun itself. The few words he whispered boomed across the dust. Hurling insults, Hol Beloth was dragged back to the void from whence he came.

For the first time that day, all was quiet. Even the wind seemed to rest in deference. Finally, the man spoke. He was Nephrem, angel of Pelor, and made the mistake of offering to answer questions. Bombarded by a torrent of the party’s pent up confusion, he revealed that he had come as an agent in a war between gods. One side, the side of Hol Beloth, sought to erase the world. The side of Nephrem and Pelor, his lord, sought to preserve it. The leader of the enemy was a god once imprisoned, known to the Mortal realm as Cyric. Rooke noticeably reeled at the mention of this name, but would say no more.

Nephrem denied offers to rally kingdoms to the cause, but assigned the adventurers one mission. Find the Heart Stone in the Ilecin Delve to survive the apocalypse and hopefully tip the balance. He bestowed gifts to the party, each playing to the strengths of the receiver. A circlet to thwart arrows aimed for Elythia. A ring to shield Rooke from mind readers and a fire axe to hit them with. Layla received a shield with the radiance and blinding power of the Sun. Thomas received boots of speed, to cover great distances or attack twice as fast. Musushi received a cloak to aid in hiding in the dark.

But most importantly, he bade Rooke take the tome that summoned him. The Codex of Duri. Blank, but for a single, prophetic page. With that, the veil between worlds regained its strength and Nephrem returned to his realm, leaving them alone to face the coming night.

Eager for supplies and other aid, the party elected to return to Desheb before heading to the Delve. Though they did so weary of their Ivory Clan patrons, who may find it suspicious that they return without their own agents. Relieved, then troubled by this new information, the party set out once more to an uncertain future.

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Working Title: Shit Gets Real

After being tasked by the archangel Naphrem to prevent the oncoming apocalypse, the group of reluctant heroes decided to make haste back to Desheb to resupply and hopefully recruit allies. They had only a week before the next date listed in the mysterious Codex of Duri. Musushi thoughtfully prepared a breakfast for his companions—however none dared try it, skeptical of what ingredients he could have scavenged from the corpse-strewn city. It was during the ensuing bickering that Sir Thomas wandered away from his fellow adventurers.

Layla spotted Sir Thomas as he clutched his throat and collapsed, but could not identify his ailment. Luckily, Musushi recognized the rare Postofficius fungus growing where Sir Thomas had fallen. Inhalation of the spores sometimes lead to a condition colloquially referred to as “Going Postal.” Thankfully it was not a fatal illness, and Musushi knew that most people recovered in approximately 8 to 9 hours. Sometimes longer, if it was near a holiday.

The party fashioned a stretcher for Sir Thomas, and headed out. Not long after, they observed a band of looters digging through the rubble, with four horses tied to a post and tantalizingly unattended. Thanks to a few clever spells from Elythia and Musushi, the adventurers were able to make away with the horses before the looters knew what was happening.

Despite living underground for the majority of his life, Musushi proved to have a strong sense of the cardinal directions, and was able to lead the party out of the ruins of Memphun. The hot sun and arid climate took its toll on the party.

Pillars of smoke were visible as they approached Desheb. Bloody, armed corpses littered the outskirts of the small village, and sounds of battle carried from further in. The adventurers recognized some of the deceased as members of the Ivory Clan. They decided to look for Kayras at the Stuffshack first, to gather more information about the situation before engaging. That plan didn’t work out too well, however, because they almost immediately stumbled across Greiz facing off with a man in a dark grey cloak.

Although his weapon was coated with blood and had obviously been used to deliver grievous wounds, the ex-adventurer was looking worse for wear. His opponent appeared unharmed, and even had an air of enjoyment. The adventurers called out inquiries and demands to cease the violence, which went largely ignored. While Rooke ascended to the roof of a nearby building for a better vantage point, Layla stepped forward and used her sun shield to temporarily blind both combatants. This seemed to have a greater impact on Greiz, who started slashing wildly at invisible enemies. Greiz would only answer “kill him!” when asked again what the holy hell was going on. Since their attempts to end the conflict peacefully had failed, the party decided to take Greiz’ advice.

With the prowess and agility of a masked vigilante with a penchant for hoods, Rooke jumped from the roof of the building, broke his fall with a roll, and popped up to fire two arrows at his foe. The first entered the cloaked man’s temple with such force that the point emerged on the opposite side. The second lodged itself in the man’s chest.

Once his opponent was dead and he was no longer fighting for his life, Greiz was more forthcoming with information. The man they had defeated was known as Black Marten, head of a group of mercenaries that resented the Ivory Clan’s power. Some in the group were unsure whether they had just put down a vicious usurper, or a civil rights leader.
After another bout of bickering, the adventurers decided to report their findings to Muini. If she was suspicious of their return sans shipment and sans Ivory Clan companions, well, they could fight their way out if necessary.

Muini was indeed displeased with their news, but chose to believe that they truly had not found the shipment and were not keeping it for themselves—because they would have been idiots to return if that were the case. Nonetheless, the decorated woman paid them each 100 gold for their efforts. The group pried for more information regarding the mysterious shipment, but learned only that it was meant to go to Lady Seema Idhan on the Salt Coast. After the destruction of Memphun, Lady Idhan was likely next in line to rule Raduun.

While uninterested or unable to provide the group with resources for their quest to find the Heart Stone and prevent the decimation of all life, Muini did procure a flask and a request for orc blood. It adds a nice spice to wine, apparently.

The party decided to look again for Kayras, hoping her affinity for Sir Thomas would convince her to accompany them north, into the orc-inhabited Salt Flats. Kayras was found in the Stuffshack, wrapping her impressive wounds from the town skirmish. She was happy to see them, particularly Sir Thomas. His state of limited consciousness did not dampen her mood. “The last thing he said before passing out was your name,” Rooke lied.

So invigorated by her recent battle, Kayras volunteered to accompany the party before they could even ask. Although her hands were too damaged to use her favored greatclub, she had taken a liking to a simple sword. It leaves a hand open for rude gestures, you see.
Kayras told them what she knew of the orc tribes in the Salt Flats. They were always warring one another, for territory, status, or perhaps just out of boredom. Kayras believed an orc named Drekha to be the dominant leader of the territory they would pass through. She was also familiar with their destination, the Ilecin Delve, although she referred to it as “The Great Maw.” Orc culture considered this to be the mouth of the world, and they had a practice of throwing sacrifices into the pit to feed it.

The adventurers devised a plan. They would bring a supply of weapons with them as an offering to Drekha, in exchange for safe passage to the Ilecin Delve. Failing that, they figured they might as well allow themselves to be captured and thrown in. The end destination was the same, anyway.

They filled a few sacs with weapons collected from the dead mercenaries and Ivory Clan members, and spent the night at the Ambersand before heading north. Sir Thomas still had not regained consciousness, but the party remained hopefully that he would recover at an opportune moment, and thus loaded his prone form onto a horse for an almost-certainly-perilous journey.

It wasn’t long before they encountered a group of orcs. “We have brought a supply of weapons for Drekha!” the adventurers announced immediately. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t fans of Drekha, and were very interested in acquiring new weapons for themselves and some guy named Oosgash. It appeared Drekha wasn’t the dominant orc in these parts afterall. While the more diplomatic members of the party attempted to bargain, Kayras stepped forward and greeted the orc leader with a head-butt.

Then it was on.

Two of the four orcs were dispatched in short order, leaving one standing and one gravely wounded. Rooke honorably offered the last standing orc the chance to surrender, but the concept seemed foreign to the heavily scarred brute. Layla wanted to heal the injured orc in exchange for safe passage, but he did not speak Common and Kayras informed them he would only attack again once healed. So they left him a crowbar to fend off the descending vultures, and continued on their quest. Before leaving though, Musushi collected some of the wounded orc’s blood in Muini’s flask. The bond between gourmands surpasses social niceties.

The adventurers tried their ploy again with next group of orcs they encountered (“We have brought a supply of weapons for your leader!”). The results were basically the same. Elythia surprised them all with a spell that completely removed an orc’s head. It didn’t decapitate him—no, his head just disappeared, leaving the nerveless body standing a short second before slumping to the ground.

Finally, the group looked down upon the valley surrounding the Ilecin Delve. More than a hundred orcs were gathered around the great pit, singing with deep, ululating voices and carrying their weapons unsheathed. Several metal structures had been erected around the pit, but the adventurers could not discern their purpose. Rather than confront a legitimate horde of orcs, the group decided to wait until nightfall and sneak into the Delve.

They hid when a patrol approached…unfortunately they didn’t manage to finish dragging the unconscious Sir Thomas into concealment, and his protruding leg alerted the patrol to their presence. Another battle ensued, and more orc blood was spilled onto the salty sediment.
After the sun set, Musushi artfully defiled the orc corpses by propping them up to appear standing and alive. Elythia cast a spell to illuminate the dead patrol from behind, and projected an illusion of human voices to lure the orc horde away from the Delve. Once their attention was drawn to the pretend intruders, the adventurers made a mad dash towards the pit.

The ruse didn’t work for long. The orc horde spotted the party racing across the valley, and immediately attacked. Layla and Musushi lost their horses to spears, and themselves took several arrows. All in the group managed to reach the Delve and descend by rope, save Musushi, who for some inexplicable reason decided to jump.

Musushi managed to cast an entangle spell to break his fall. Coupled with the soft, spongey fungus that coved the floor of the pit, he just managed to survive.

Moments after Rooke and the rest of the group reached the floor of the Delve, the Codex of Duri began to vibrate. Rooke flipped open the book, and they watched in fascination as another cryptic messaged appeared on the second page.

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The Illecin Delve
It's a Trap!!

Dear Diary,

Finally, some time to write. We are somehow still alive, in spite of some of our best efforts otherwise (Musushi) and the booby-trapped cave we just left.

To start, after climbing/leaping down into the depths of the Great Maw we decided to stabilize Musushi and get some sleep. Rooke was nominated to keep watch, and he accepted this post without complaint. In fact, Rooke hardly said anything because he was staring at that book, the Codex of Duri, from Naphrem. Apparently he performed his duties well enough because we all survived the night.

We then began our exploration of the Illecin Delve. It isn’t a very nice place – too much gross fungi growing on all the dead things. Oh, and the traps. We came across some stupid dead orcs who had gotten impaled by spikes. Presuming the orcs didn’t throw themselves onto the spikes on purpose, we decided the corridor was likely booby-trapped. That pot I’ve been carrying around (to keep it away from Musushi) turned out to be useful – I just banged it around (using magic, obviously) the path ahead of us to ensure safe passage.

Next, we entered a room containing a stone golem and were promptly trapped by a stone door. We turned to Rooke to ask him to check the Codex to see if the heart of stone might be in this golem. The answer was No, but it wasn’t Rooke who was talking. Well, it was, but he was kind of possessed by the Codex… Anyways, weird. I became rather concerned, as there was a starved orc inside this room who had clearly not been able to escape. Layla, out of the goodness of her heart (far too generous, I don’t understand her sometimes), attempted to give the orc some food (which we should have saved for ourselves, seeing how we were trapped) but Musushi decided to grab the food back from the orc because he wanted to ask it some questions first. This give and take of food did not sit well with the orc, and it was obviously angry. So we had to kill it. I think Layla was mad about this… but we had bigger problems to deal with, because it turned out that the stone golem wanted us to answer a riddle. And he wasn’t very nice about it. Musushi and I argued about the answer and even though we were BRAINSTORMING the golem decided to just attack us with lightning. Thankfully Layla gave it the correct answer. The door opened, and we escaped.

We escaped into a hallway that floods with very little warning. My shoes got wet (not okay) which I immediately noticed, and this gave me a good running head start. We barely made it to safety, which happened to be another room with a very heavy stone door. In the center of the room was a clock-like device that began counting down from 12. As the count down continued, the panic in our group increased. We pulled a lever attached to the clock, and this reset the countdown. This was repeated many, many, MANY times as I had to keep pulling the lever while everyone else relaxed. I came to believe that this lever was a trick and distraction meant to keep us in the room. Also I was tired of pulling the lever. It took many tries to convince everyone to let the clock count all the way down to 0… but finally it happened. Lo and behold, we escaped.

More traps and tricks followed until we reached a narrow stone path leading into a void of darkness. We bravely continued on until we were met by a large boulder that took up the entire width of our path. It approached us when we approached it. It seemed to be mimicking the movements of the person in front… This was a tricky puzzle, but Layla (she’s pretty smart) had the excellent idea of using her owl to lead our group. The owl plan worked, and as the owl flew to the side of the path, the boulder tipped off over the edge. Our way forward was clear.

Rooke/Codex took charge at this point, leading us through another set of (fake?) booby traps into a large empty room. Empty except for one large stone golem, with a sparkling stone hanging around its neck. We immediately believed this was the heart of stone. Musushi climbed up the golem and reached for the stone, which awakened the golem. It didn’t like us. Layla’s owl retrieved the shiny stone hanging around its neck, but the battle was going rather poorly with poor Kayras taking most of the damage. Miraculously (praise whatever gods were watching and caring), Thomas awoke at precisely the moment we needed him. Rejuvenated, he grabbed his longbow and shot off his arrows, some of which hit the golem directly where the stone used to be. Defeated, the golem sank to the ground. At this point we thought we had already gotten the stone via Layla’s magic owl, but Rooke/Codex told us that we were wrong. The Codex of Duri (the book) began to talk to us… yes, a book… and it told us that it (the book) was actually the golem we just defeated, and he also used to be some sort of shamen who trapped the heart of the world in his physical form. It’s all a lot to take in and keep track of, but basically we figured out that we needed to dig around inside the fallen golem for the REAL stone. We found it! We asked the Codex of Duri what we should do with the stone, and he responded by showing us ancient visions of shamens using the stone to fight back demons. Quite a handy artifact.

Our last task was to figure out how to LEAVE, no easy task considering a large orc encampment surrounded our exit. Sir Thomas, fully recovered from his bout with postofficius, valiantly volunteered to be our ambassador to the orcs and parley with them. Through a combination of flattery, showmanship, and lies, Thomas managed to convince Drekha that the shiny stone was the real heart of stone AKA the heart of the world AND that we were offering it to him because he is soooo cool. This pleased Drekha greatly, and appeared to give him and his followers a big moral boost right before heading into battle with Uzgash. Perfect timing, and a great way for us to make a discrete exit.

We are now in our way to the city of Gemoor on the coast. Who knows what we will find there, but hopefully we can find out where some of the Nine Eyes of Cyric have been sent and use our new weapon to defeat them. I hope I can also get word of Roger. I miss him.

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