A Troubled Economy

A Motley Crew

23 Eleasis 1372
1837 days have passed
5 days have passed since the Drow incident

These past couple weeks I have grown to know my companions a little better, and I feel the need to document this in the event that one of them turns on me.

Tuck Arbuckle:
A worldly Hin standing approximately 3 1/2 feet tall. Average build but with a slightly vacant look in his eyes. This worldly traveler is a master of disguising himself, becoming completely unrecognizable to the untrained eye. He is very focused on his personal gain, but he does not seem as though he would abandon an ally as long as it does not cost him anything. That said, He values more than just coin. He seems to value experiences as well – including but not limited to recreational drug use and prostitution. He is very sly and very witty and has a sharp mind that has helped us numerous times. However, I feel like that would give him the greatest edge over me in the event of betrayal. He is skilled with some basic magics that enable him to turn invisible, put people to sleep, and even run at a great speed. However, the only combat prowess I have witnessed so far has been with a small shortbow. I don’t know if that is all that he can do or if that is all that he has let on. The man can read Drow. He does not seem to take well to the Drow race themselves, though I cannot blame him. Seemingly positive at all times, I feel that Tuck could be a great ally or a terrible foe depending on who is holding the money.

Sahil:
Sahil is a quiet and gentle young man. I feel that he poses zero threat to me now or in the future. The man walks with a peaceful demeanor and only fights when it is his last resort. In fact, I’m not entirely sure I’ve seen him fight at all. The man is gifted magically. Healing and aide spells protect us from this blistering heat and repair our injuries as necessary. He is a very sheltered youth. I feel that Sahil would never betray anyone as long as he wasn’t being forced to. I feel that were I to cross him, he would not seek vengeance and at worst would simply ignore me and walk away. I respect him, not only for his abilities but for his calm demeanor and his coolness under pressure. He’s a fairly frail human standing approximately six feet tall and maybe weighing 125 lbs. He is very lean. He prays to the adama in its entirety. He does not seem to focus on the worship of one specific deity.

Shino:
Shino is a lean, graceful, and muscular man from the land of Wa. Shino follows Danjo as some sort of indentured servant or perhaps as repayment for some sort of debt. Maybe even as a teacher/student relationship. I’ve witnessed Shino utilize a multi-section staff – likely a weapon from Wa – as well as conjured magical flame. His abilities are not limited to just offensive as he has also been a key part in our magical protection from our environment. Shino is a human roughly six feet tall of Wa descent. He has dark hair and is approximately 200 lbs of very lean muscle. He is younger than Danjo, but I feel he holds more composure than his master. He seems to be wise, calm, and collected with the capability to fell mighty foes. Shino’s alliance seems to purely be with Danjo, though I would like it if he would remain my companion for future adventures. I feel that that is entirely dependent on where Danjo goes. That said, I don’t feel like I have anything to worry about from him given that Danjo does not turn against me.

Danjo:
Danjo is an older man of Wa. He also stands about six feet tall and weighs roughly 200 lbs. I have witnessed Danjo wield both a long bow and a foreign Wa blade that he refers to as a katana. Danjo is a mighty warrior and if his words are to be believed, he has seen a lot of combat in Wa. Danjo gives the impression that he is no longer welcome in his homeland, though he has not specified why. That said, Danjo has made very little effort to not stand out in a crowd. This has become a bit of a hindrance to our group as Danjo goes out of his way in every shape and form to show that he is not of this land, that he is a traveler. Normally this would not be such a problem if we did not have Drow and Barghest trying to assassinate us. Furthermore, Danjo has proven unable to act rationally in some situations. Case in point, the event at The Eye where we knew that an assassin was watching our every move. Danjo ordered the strongest drink he could. A drink that he should have had no question about how strong it was. And even in that situation, Danjo felt it was a good idea to chug this drink as fire crept up around our lodging. Needless to say, Danjo did not remain conscious shortly after, forcing Enalda, Shino, and Sahil to fend off the assassin after I had been struck. A man of his strength and experience I feel should not have made such a foolish decision. He knowingly and willingly put our entire party at great risk in a time of desperate need. Despite his poor judgments, he has proven to be an asset at times, particularly in combat with the beasts of the desert. I feel that Danjo, though he may turn against me someday, may not be a huge physical threat. I do not see any capabilities beyond his skills with weapons, and I like my chances in a fight, which, funny enough, he has asked to spar with me should we get a free moment. Hahahaha.

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The Loss of Friendship

The first time I realized we were different was around our seventh year. I was used to everyone at the tavern telling us that we were beautiful and thought little of it. Our mother would brush my hair at night and tell me how pretty it was. There was no one else in our town besides my brother and I with such light blonde hair. There was plenty of black and brown, and I knew that we had unique hair. I didn’t realize how unique we were in our little city. Not until the children our age started to point our our differences.

Early on, I had had a friend, Arabez. Her mother was a seamstress, and she lived four houses down from ours. Arabez, Setibyr, and I would play in our tavern during the day when business was slow. She didn’t seem to mind that Setibyr and I were always together. She had no other siblings her age and was always underfoot at home. She was the last of five children and was often shooed out of the shop.

It was during our eighth summer that Arabez started to act differently around us. One morning when she came over, she was very quiet. I tried to get her join us in a game sticks at one of the tables, but she seemed to not want to come fully into the dining room. I asked her why she didn’t want to play.

“Ma says that both of you are not like us. She says that you’re different and that your pa left you cause you’re strange. I don’t want to be strange, too, and have my pa leave me so I’m not going to be your friend anymore.”

And, just like that, one of my only friends besides my brother walked out the door. Our mother rushed to tell us that our father had not left because we were different. He didn’t even know that we had been born or she was sure he would love us just as much as she did. It did little to ease the stinging of Arabez’s words. Setibyr and I became closer than ever. We were each other’s only friends.

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A Heart of Wood and Pith

I haven’t always been able to make letters. Pak-Pak had to teach me. Prayers, at first, were all he taught me. He scratched out the letters with his beak in the dust. I copied them with my finger. When I got them right, he would whistle with delight. When I got them wrong, he would ruffle his feathers and squawk, “Again, again.”

I quickly learned to form the letters, but the words seemed strange. They were words for priests in golden temples, not for a child of alleys and trash heaps. After I had learned to copy, he said I should write my own thoughts. “Write your thoughts,” he said, “and they may outlive you.”

I wished to be a tree yesterday. Monstrous vines had ripped us from the path as we walked. They crushed the wind from my lungs. My vision turned dark and I saw a dusting of lights like the Tears of Lucha when they pass by night.

And in the darkness, I saw the children of Ormpe, sick with hunger. I saw the bodies of those we found in the desert, abused and burned. I saw the woman of Lastar clinging to our garments as they wailed and demanded news of those they feared lost. I saw the dwarf whose throat was cut to the spine. I saw our camels snatched aloft by great talons. I saw their eyes huge with fear. And in this, I wished to be a tree.

The adama dwells as assuredly in leaf and bark as it does flesh and bone, yet trees are insensible to pain and terror. So, even as I felt the signs of death upon me, was it really so strange a wish?

My hair turned to leaves and drank in the air that had fled my lungs. My legs that had trembled with weakness grew stiff and immovable. My feet turned to roots and sank deep in the soil. I ceased to struggle, and the vines which threatened to crush me grew suddenly slack. The spell, however, did not render me completely insensible. I do not understand how the magic works, how I could still hear without ears or see without eyes. But I could see my companions wrestling to escape the vines’ grasp. I could hear the sound of vines being crushed and ripped by Danjo’s blade as he struggled to free us. The sights and sounds seemed muted and distant, as in a dream that is only scarcely remembered upon waking, but I could not escape them.

I could see the hin who mutters in his sleep and dulls his memories with women and drink. The easterner and his servant rejected from their homeland for some reason they seemingly fear to confess. The pale Halruuan who bears a palpable burden of hate and his loyal sibling who forgoes her own desires to help him carry the weight. I could see them all and I managed only to preserve myself. They survived, all of them, but not through any help that I had rendered.

In former days, I could fill a cup with water or cleanse the spoilage from a heel of bread and ease another’s suffering. But now, when lives hang in the balance, the best the adama grants me is to turn my heart to insensible wood and pith.

I understand now at least one prayer that Pak-Pak taught me. “Illuminate my path, Lady of Silver, as I navigate the terrors of night.” Indeed, may all the gods, and the spirit which dwells in all things, preserve our paths.

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The Man from Iiso goes into the mountains.
beasts of the air elves in the trees.

six fled into sand__
two lost camels on the way
treasure gardening

Lastar is behind me and my allies and I’s entrance into the Curna Mountains has been bought with the loss of two of our pack animals each grabbed by two colossal flying beasts. The first was an amalgamation of a dragon a man and another monster called a Manticore. Through use of magic and my own attempts at archery we were nearly able to deter the creature. However It proved the victory even though having noticeable difficulty in carrying the camel away. In a shock of good fortune the camel who had been taken was not carrying any of our supplies as we had just set up our camp. However this may have been merely a respite before yet another loss another of our camels. I must digress for a moment for something truly sublime I had seen one night during my watch with my second Shino Fumei. By the light of the moon and stars a strange truly alien winged beast flew over our camp It’s pale skin taking on a silken quality in the moonlight and Is visage was eyeless this moonlit hunter was blind. I felt my breath catch in my throat before I sat in silence. I saw It turn It’s snout as If to regard me even from It’s perch in the sky before the moment passed and some far off scent or sound drew the creature away. Shino later told me of the creatures fantastical powers over sound meaning this creature could have sounded It’s call and blasted our camp and us all into the next world. Now in regards to the loss of our second camel came in a flash of shrieking of sound and a gust of wind as he was snatched like he most succulent desert peach by some cousin to the thieving Tengu a Wyvern. I permit my choice of words in that this camel was laden with the bulk of our stores and supplies apart from my personal gear which has stayed with me atop my personal mount Al Shamlal. I will make a point to a treatise on him soon.

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Out of the desert, into the footlhills
Beasts, giants, elves oh my!

We continue to travel east-ward toward the Curna Mountains. Travel in this desert would almost be tedious, were it not so deadly. This wasteland is the exact opposite of the tunnels in where I once was enslaved, but it is in many ways the same. The confines of the underdark versus the wide-openness under the sky. Perpetual darkness exists down below, but it’s never dark here. Even in the middle of the night, here there are many stars, and Selune, and her tears. Yet, danger surrounds one in both places. Powerful beasts roam both, lack of water is a danger for those unfamiliar with the underdark, much like this hell. My main worry in this desert, is that the roaming bandits will find us. I know I have stalwart companions, and together we will survive!

We noticed some creatures watching us from a great distance. We tried to close in on them and see what or what they were. They eluded us, except for what appeared to be an obvious trap. At one point they anticipated our path of travel and left a message in dethek writ with chalk on the stony ground. Our extreme predictability has once more become a liability. We took evasive actions to hide our travels, and we changed directions for a few days, and I think we lost them. We have seen no sign of them these last 5 days or so.

We have lost two camels to great, hungry desert beasts. First we were set upon by a mantimaera. It was three-headed like a chimaera. It had a head of a man, a goat and a dragon, and it had the spike-throwing tail of a manticore. Certainly some wizard concocted this mad beast. Either way, the Yondalla-damned beast took off with a camel, a tent, and a barrel. Then a form of dragon, it had wings, but no fore-legs, flew down among us and made off with another camel. Now, I’m glad it was the camel and not one of us, but it’s damn annoying!

Finally we entered the foothills and started climbing in elevation. It got somewhat cooler, especially at night. However in the foothills, we have encountered more deadly foes.
Twice we almost stumbled into a band of hill giants and dire wolves. Thinking quickly we were able to hide and avoid detection. A hill giant is an ignoramus, but if he’s too hungry, it could get awfully dangerous. I think I could trick hill giants to avoid the stewpot, but I’d rather avoid them completely. Maybe they can be used against the elves we met. Have I mentioned the elves yet? I do love elves, but these were not that sort!

Finally we came upon some wild forest elves. At first we could not see them. They warned us off with a volley of arrows. Not knowing if we face elves, or the troublesome bandits, we retreated a distance. I used some camouflaging tricks I from my youth in Luirwood, and was able to creep in behind the elves. I used an illusory Tuck on a mule to distract them. I made it back to the my companions and they wisely agreed we should not force a fight here. We have no quarrel with them and no need to start bloodshed.

As we trekked through the forest, looking for the path to the Valley of the Shrines, we were suddenly attacked by enormous vines that were able to grapple all my companions! I tried in vain to cut the vines, but soon saw that my party was being pulled to their doom. Luckily that resourceful Sahil was able to change into a tree! I used my magic to light up the area and we saw how truly huge the creature was!! Then Danjo, with a very impressive display of martial prowess, saved everyone by slaying the attacking plant-monster! The plant beast was forty feet across and it must have been centuries old. I couldn’t imagine the number of poor souls who lost their lives to this insidious menace! Danjo mentioned that would should look for treasure, left behind by previous victims. We spent several bells searching around and we got quite a haul in platinum, gold, silver and crints! We even found some magic items. Now this is more like it!

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Memories of the past

As I was pulling Danjo into the temple I was overcome with a sense of fear, the kind of fear I had not felt since I first encountered Danjo, 9 years ago. He was charged with issuing justice upon my family and did so with seemingly no remorse or hesitation. Though I will say, he did give them the choice for an honorable death. Both my mother and my father took their own life as a way to save their honor, which would have cleared my name, if I was indeed old enough to be guilty of their crimes.
They had not been as careful as they should have been while skimming off the top and misreporting their earnings to the local shogun. It took some time before they were found out, but when they did, their honor was destroyed. The family, our ancestors, and all of our land fell into disgrace. Danjo showed up to right our wrong.
He took me, as a prize for his completion of the task, and I was then overcome with fear, the very same fear I would feel when attempting to save his life. Was I to be his slave and no longer be allowed schooling as I had been with my parents? Would he use me as a mule only to lift and carry? Or possibly he would have foul and twisted desires that he would force me to accommodate…
Strangely enough, he gave me a rather lavish room, and almost anything I could have ever wanted, including access to better schooling. It seems that my fears were misplaced in him. It was because of him that I was able to finish school at the top of my class, and begin training as a wielder of the all consuming flame. I owe almost everything I am today to him, so as long as I draw breath, I will do everything within my abilities to make sure he lives.
I do think of my mother and father sometimes, I have a great many memories of them, but my thoughts quickly turn to their inability to stay within the confines of the law. At least they should have been better about not getting caught cheating. It makes me sick to think that I am their child. I am great and powerful. I am far more intelligent that they ever were, yet I am their child. I choose to not associate myself with them or their lineage, I even went as far as to change my name so that I would not be connected with them.

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A thrice-damned city

20 Eleasis 1372
1834 days have passed

There is a far seedier side to this city of “strict laws” than I had expected upon arrival. In the two short days, I learned that we were very much not welcome here.

After sitting through the necromancer’s undead drum act, we were served our meals for the night. Mutton stew for Enalda and I, simple rice for Sahil, and much more exotic dishes for the others. I hadn’t thought about lying low at this point, but I still didn’t want to stand out.

Tuck, absorbed in the atmosphere of the Eye, requested some sort of mixture to be added to a drink of his. His mood elevated quickly and he was much more jovial than usual. I was curious about the substance until I found out he spent a handful of gold for it, no thank you. After finishing his meal and drink, he left with a Hinn prostitute. To each their own, I suppose.

Shortly afterward, a Drow in a large hat made his way to our table. He dropped sacks of crints on our table with a message. Noone could read the message, but with the aid of Sahil’s magical abilities, he deciphered the text. The money was a gift, and we were to meet someone at a tailor’s shop on Guardian Way in two bells – Likely to discuss more work. I became wary immediately. I did not like this person picking us out of a crowd.

When Tuck had finished with his…acquaintance, we left for the tailor’s. We arrived a bit early, and while waiting, I was able to commission some silver coins with the symbol of Hoar stamped on them. I felt it may strengthen my relationship with the Doombringer, offering the tokens to those who seek vengeance such as I.

Enalda also entered and sought something engraved with Lucha’s symbol to be added to her scabbard. While I liked the idea, I was not surprised that it was not in stock. That would have to be custom-made for her. Perhaps if we are in town for a longer period in the future.

Afterwards, we entered the mostly-empty tailor shop. I had a bad vibe about this immediately. An old man, Suhl, approached us. He gave us a story about how he frequently paid for information and was looking to pay for us to travel South to Listenshire. He offered a massive quantity of crints for the work, again raising my suspicion. How did a man with nearly no stock and rising supply prices have so much money to toss around? On top of that, I was not sure how it would interfere with our current work. I didn’t like it one bit.

My suspicion only got worse when I politely asked if Suhl would let me use my Detect Chaos ability on him. He became very apprehensive immediately. He was stammering about how he didn’t know what the spell would do to him or how that would affect our deal or why it was necessary. I didn’t believe that he could live in a city like this and not know what this ability did. I assured him nothing would happen, used the detection on him, and came up with nothing. I gave him a gold piece for the hassle, even if he wasn’t an agent of chaos, his actions provided useful information to me.

In the end, we discussed it and left without giving a firm answer. I was against it, but a few of the others only saw more money to be had. They could accept his offer, but I would not. On our way back, we split up – Tuck and Sahil left for the Eye, Shino and Danjo to the camels, and Enalda and I went to resupply. I feel like Enalda and I may be the only ones taking our survival seriously.

Once back at the Inn, we reconvened in Enalda and I’s room. Tuck and Sahil told us of a Dwarf who approached them and delivered a warning under magical silence. He warned them not to trust the tailor, and that the tailor had sent many to their deaths already on the road to Listenshire. The Dwarf apparently made a hasty exit when he noticed the Drow approaching through a crystal ball. Later that evening, a message arrived from a delivery boy, advising them to “Seek the path to the sacred shrine.” We could only assume that came from the Dwarf.

Midway through our conversation, a scream could be heard from outside. We went out to find a woman in hysterics. She blubbered on about a dead body outside. We dashed for the door to find a dead Dwarf, his neck nearly severed, bleeding out on the street. Sahil and Tuck identified him as the Dwarf who delivered the warning. This gave me reason to believe the Dwarf over the tailor.

Shortly after, the Lastarr authorities showed up via some magical means – A massive giant and a very powerful-looking man. They questioned the audience after having us give him space. I complied immediately, wanting to assist in every way.

Tuck and Sahil were interviewed by the giant while I led the man to the terrified woman inside. They were finished speaking with us and teleported out just as they had arrived. Most of our entourage quickly dashed back to the room to discuss our next steps. Only Danjo lagged behind, valuing a free drink from the bartender more than the need to address our sudden danger – a foul-looking beverage that could be smelled quite a distance away. I did not believe that now was the time for dulling our wits. We all arrived at the same conclusion back at the room, though: Suhl and the Drow were dangerous and we needed to leave soon.

The room got very warm unnaturally quick and before we knew it, the hall outside of our room had been set ablaze. Danjo and Enalda made to bash the door down when I shoved them aside and went to work with my hammer. The hammer tore through the door in two well-placed hits, opening the passage and filling the room with smoke.

We had to get out. NOW.

Tuck put his fleet feet on and dashed down the hall through the flames. I looked over at the fool Danjo, who saw the encroaching flames and slammed his drink back in one gulp. I could not fathom his idiocy at a time like this, how utterly and moronically reckless. This man could be a danger to us soon, but I couldn’t contemplate this now. I made a mad dash through the fire and made sure to keep an eye on Shino behind me. His elder may be foolish, but Shino did not seem to share that trait. He was both wise and useful.

We rounded the corner and were met with a huge blast of water coming down the hall. I managed to duck under it in time, but Shino did not and was swept up in the current. He made a quick recovery and followed me down the now-extinguished part of the hallway.

A priest of some water diety I could not identify was channeling these huge torrents. She called to us, “Are there more?” We replied, “Yes!” She acknowledged our answer and ordered us to keep moving, quickly.

Outside the fire and water, Shino and I had made it. Shortly after, Danjo emerged from the flames mostly unharmed. He looked at Shino briefly, seeing that he had also made it out, then passed out. It didn’t take a doctor to see that the drink had finally hit him. Wonderful, now I had to carry this troglodyte’s asshole out.

In the lobby, Tuck advised us to stay put while he went back towards the rooms. The maitre d demanded we make our way out to the street. I didn’t want to risk more lives by further crowding the exit and went outside to wait for Tuck. This ended up being a poor decision.

Outside, among the crowd, I thought there wasn’t anything to worry about. The fire was inside, and we were away from the fire. I was wrong. I came to this realization seconds after I felt a sharp pain in my neck. A crossbow bolt, but it was tipped with something. I struggled mightily against wave after wave of lethargy that passed through my body. Very soon after, my entirety became limp. I dropped Danjo to the ground, but he still did not wake. I followed shortly after.

Enalda immediately came to my aid. She hoisted me over her shoulder and made her way to the temple of Lucha. I could see, but I could do nothing else. Shino had picked up Danjo while Sahil followed. We came under further fire and I could hear the bolts showering my brave sister. Some I could hear clang against her armor, but others made a much more sickening sound. I could offer a prayer to Hoar. Once again, I came begging to the Doombringer. Please, deliver us from this danger. Guide my body and soul that I may have my revenge on this Drow. He had injured my sister, and for that he would pay.

It was getting difficult for me to breathe. We got to the temple and Enalda quickly demanded to be let in as more bolts hit the doors. The guards reluctantly let us in. They immediately looked at our wounds and tended to them. It was explained to me that the poison I was struck with was called the Tears of Death. I was only minutes from dying had they not aided me. My body ached with pain all over as if I had just been in a dozen bar brawls. The temple let us stay the night for our safety. It was only now that I had noticed the absence of Tuck. I do not know if he had just been completely separated from us, ran, or was killed. I suspected he had fled, but hoped he just found a safe place for the night.

The following day, I had a thought. I suspected that the crints we were given somehow allowed the Drow to track us. I had to think of a way to discard them safely. The priests offered to retrieve supplies for us prior to us leaving. Enalda and I sent them out with some coin to grab supplies.

A short time later, the priest returned visibly upset. He claimed that we had given him fake money! I told him in earnest that we had been deceived by Suhl and would gladly subject ourselves to a Zone of Truth to prove our innocence. The priest chuckled and smugly said we didn’t have a choice in the matter, as if he was proud to catch some sort of criminal. They stripped us of our equipment and shackled us together. We were led by guards down the street to the temple of Tyr where we would be interrogated. This was a terrible idea with the assassin still loose, but we had no choice. Surely the guards would be strong enough to deliver us safely, right?

Wrong again. The guards dropped in front of us as I glanced up to the rooftops and saw the Drow. Sahil and I called him out and drew the public attention to him. He continued firing, dropping Shino and Sahil both. It became nigh impossible to move with the dead weight on the shackles. Luckily a gnome dashed to our side and covered us in an obscuring mist. This was no gnome, though, but our pal Tuck in disguise. I couldn’t have been happier to see him. He picked the locks on my chains and I was able to carry Sahil.

Before I could get him to safety, a massive ring of fire surrounded us followed by a shifting prismatic sphere. The authorities had finally arrived, led by a heroic figure in plate mail. He assured our safety and took us back to the temple of Lucha where we explained everything to a priest of Tyr. They made another effort to gather our supplies and even gave us the cover of a camouflaging spell, giving us invisibility for a good period of time.

Outside, we made our way to the sacred shrine described in the note. Sahil and Tuck had managed to ascertain its whereabouts. I felt it important to report back to Assur and deliver the information we had. We were not sent for heroics, but for information of which we had gathered a lot. I was the lone voice speaking this, however, and I could not venture out by myself, so we went East instead.

A pair of pterafolk descended upon us and though they were rather intimidating, they were all squawk and no bite. Once the first one had been slain, the second made a wise decision to keep on flying.
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2 days have passed since the Drow incident.

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Murder and Mayhem
we have powerful enemies

I was enjoying the music and the crowd inside the Eye. I have been in many dockside bars, but this place was totally unique. I decided to try some of the unique “offerings!” I had a great drink that made me feel like I was flying! Soon I was ready for a whore and there was a beauty of a hinn!

The young tart was brought to me and I felt entranced and intoxicated (of course I was!) and we went to a private room for our tryst. When I was done she was sad to see me leave, I know. I returned to the table where my companions were deep in conversation. They had a note written in undercommon, which unfortunately I was forced to learn during my captivity. There were bags of 125 crints, one for each of us. The note said the money was a reward and a request for an audience at the Truth Tailor on Guardian Way in two bells. We decided to go.

At the tailor shop we met what looked like a gray-haired human tailor. He said his name was Soole, and he wanted us to travel to the Duchy of Listenshire and bring back information about the condition of commerce there. As a tailor he relies upon cloth goods (obviously) and he was trying to decide if he should flee or stay. He offered us an outrageous sum of 3,000 crints apiece on our return. We all wanted the money, not least, me. We knew our contract with the Church of Luche was a barrier to that. We decided to see if we could find a loophole in the Adama that would allow us to do both. We gave no answer and left.

Danjo and Shino decided to go ‘train’ Danjo’s camel. I thought it was a shame that they would squander the opportunities offered by this wonderful city night life, but the ways of the men from the east are very strange. Setibyr and Enalda decided to go purchase supplies in anticipation of our departure. I felt fortunate to have such dedicated companions. That left Sahil and me. I always consider myself to be a man of the people, though I admit, I don’t mind making a few coins along the way. It makes life so much more comfortable! Sahil, on the other hand, completely eschews wealth and in fact, wants to give his coins away to help the poor. Either way, I value the young lad and I don’t want him to suffer more than he already has. I invited him back to the Eye, so I could introduce some of life’s finer things! No one is guaranteed to be alive tomorrow, and what a shame if this young man should die never having enjoyed the company of a woman, or a fine meal, or drink. Back at the Eye, I ordered him some pleasure-making powders and fine mead. We were enjoying the offerings, at least I was and Sahil was trying them.

As we sat a dwarf came to us. He sat and created magical silence. He had a magic globe to make the silence and to watch the outside of the Eye. He warned us that Soole is a disguised barghest. The dwarf said Soole had hired many other hapless folk to go south to Listenshire, and none ever returned and were presumed dead. The dwarf urged us to go east. My own experiences led me to believe that the source of the marauders lie in the Curna mountains to the east. Suddenly that dwarf panicked and said he must flee. After he left, a drow in a huge, wide hat appeared. Sahil said this drow was the deliverer of the note and money that led us to Soole. I decided we should get out of the public eye. We retired to our rented room. Not long after that, a small human boy delivered a note to our room. It said, “Seek the path to the sacred shrine.”

Soon Setibyr, Enalda, Shino and Danjo returned. We heard a scream outside and went to look. The dwarf that came to Sahile and me earlier was dead, nearly decapitated in the alley outside the Eye. Soon magical portals opened and a wizard, a storm-giant, and some others emerged. They were the local authorities and came to investigate the death. They immediately took charge and started to question witnesses. I knew it was only a matter of time that someone revealed that I had been talking to the dwarf not one bell past. I volunteered all that I knew about the dead dwarf, the drow in the big hat, and Soole to the Storm Giant. I wanted to get the magic globe from the dwarf’s satchel, but I knew the giant would not allow it, so I told him it was there, in order to build trust. I then told the Storm Giant about the note that told us to seek the path of the Sacred Shrine." The giant seem surprised, but told me that the <something> was a location in the Curna Mountains where Tormtar and followers of the Red Knight trained to do battle against an uprising of beholders centuries ago. He did specifiy that it was less than one thousand years. Soon afterward I was released. We went back to our room.

I began to realize the depth of our error of entering the city in such a visible way and talking to the crowds. We were being watched, and had made that very easy by openly frolicking in what is likely the most-watched establishment in the city. I wanted to leave the city, but it will be very, very difficult to leave undetected. I began to devise a plan to sneak my hulking companions from the Eye unseen, when suddenly it got very warm.

A fire was blazing in the hall outside our room, and we were trapped with no window! This was a clear attempt to kill us! Acting quickly, Setibyr swung his huge hammer. As soon as the door was open I said, “Quick! Everyone out!” I bolted out. I was singed a bit, but not too badly, all things considered.

I realized this was a perfect opportunity for my companions and me to leave the Eye in the cover of confusion. I gathered them about me and bade them stay, while I acquired the necessary things to disguise them. The fool drow who first greeted us, tried to force us to leave the building with the rest of the crowd. I ignored him and went about my business of trying to save the lives of my friends. Of course, they were not where I left them five minutes later. I went outside with a bundle of blankets and they were already under attack in the alley! Someone was shooting at them with a hand crossbow. I recognized the small size of the bolts. A drow weapon! I kept my distance and followed my friends, looking for their attacker. I heard Enalda say they were going to the Temple of Lucha. I knew they would be safe if they made it there. I wandered off and got a room for the night.

The next day, talk all over was about the murder and the fire. I ate and disguised myself as an elderly gnome, Bliztagath a tinker fallen on hard times, with a limp! I limped to the Temple of Lucha and waited. I decided to examine these crints I got last night. They looked Dambrathy, but I soon discovered they were enchanted slugs. Tymora’s tit! After a few bells my companions emerged in chains! I followed at distance, and soon their guards were attacked from the rooftops by a drow assassin with a hand crossbow! I could see the group was about to be slain in the street! I rushed to their sides and cast Obscuring Mist . I freed Setibyr from his chains so he could lift one of the fallen companions. Soon we were surrounded by a magical sphere of flame and then lights and then we were rescued by agents of the law and escorted to safety once more.

Alas the dirty, drow managed to escape the authorities. That worries me. These authorities are very powerful, and this drow must be, as well.

The authorities finally realized what I deduced hours ago. We have powerful enemies who are not cowed by the laws in Lashtar. Unless they wanted chaos in their city, it was in their best interest to help us sneak out. They did.

Under a Hallucinatory Terrain spell, modified obviously, we left Lashtar and headed east toward the Curna mountains.

On the second day we were attacked by lizard bird men. We killed one and the other fled, to look for easier, less capable food.

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Murder in the Merchant City

I think I have had enough of this adventuring. So much has happened, and I think we are in over our heads. Our time at The Eye enjoying a break from the desert was interrupted by a drow with a rather large hat. He gave each of us a sack of 125 crintz, and he also gave us a scroll that Sahil was able to decipher. It instructed us to go to the Tailor’s Truth to speak with the proprietor about a possible job. I had some very strong reservations about taking such a job considering our current contract. Tuck had no reservations about anything and took some kind of mood elevating herb before leaving to spend some time with one of the hin women who sold her body for coin. I don’t understand the appeal of being with someone that you must pay to tolerate your company, but perhaps it’s a custom of his race or where he is from to not form deep attachments. Either way, it did give us time to discuss the situation.

When he returned, we paid for our meals and decided to head towards the shop. We were in agreement that interfering with our contract was not wise, but speaking with the man should not lead us to any harm so long as we were careful with what we disclosed. While we waited to speak with the man who had summoned us, Setibyr commissioned some work from a silversmith. I was rather disappointed to see that the smith had nothing bearing the insignia of my Lady. I suppose I can understand that it would be difficult to display works from every temple, but I cannot afford to wait about town for a piece of artwork. I’m certain I can find a smith in Assur upon our return and have my Lady’s sign placed on my scabbard then. Until then, I will have to carry her in my heart and on my holy symbol and display her in my works.

The tailor, as he claimed to be, was rather interested in us and our travels. We disclosed to him that we were employed by the Lady to complete a job, but we made sure to stay rather vague. He offered us each a total of 4,000 crintz for the completion of a job where we found what was causing the stoppage of goods along the trade way. He claimed that he only had the funds to survive for four more tenday before he would have to close his shop. I immediately became rather suspicious about his offer of payment for our completion of his job. If he was in such a bad way financially, there is no way he would be able to afford paying six adventurers a total of 24,000 crintz. We left to discuss our options and seek legal counsel before making a decision. On our way back to The Eye for the night, Setibyr and I stopped to resupply our rations and replace the barrel that had exploded during our trip. Once our shopping was complete, we met back up with Danjo and Shino and returned to The Eye.

From here, things went downhill quickly. Tuck and Sahil informed us that a dwarf warned them against working with the tailor, Suhl. According to the dwarf, Suhl was an evil man and all that were employed by him disappeared into the desert and were never heard from again. The desert is a rather cruel place at the moment so I could believe that anyone sent out could meet their end quickly. I was not sure that was entirely indicative of the tailor being evil, but it was certainly something to consider. His willingness to part with large sums of gold that he may not actually have was far more concerning to me than other adventurers not returning from the hostile desert. I care little for the money itself, but question his abilities and motives if he would so easily part with crintz in a city that revolves around money.

We decided to retire for the night to discuss our situation more privately. I offered up our room as Tuck and Sahil said that they had had a messenger approach them previously in the larger room. I thought ours might be more private and may not be being watched as closely as the room that was housing majority of our group. Shortly after we entered, a terrible scream rang through The Eye. There had been a murder right outside the front doors! The dwarf that had warned Sahil and Tuck about the tailor was nearly decapitated.

We got our first taste of the law enforcement of Lastar at that point when they can to investigate the murder. They were incredibly no nonsense. Quite frankly, they were terrifying. They questioned Sahil and Tuck before they left with the dwarf’s body. We returned to The Eye to finish our discussion and possibly find different, less conspicuous lodging for the night. Again, we went to our smaller room. Danjo entered with some kind of vibrant alcoholic drink. I really did not feel it to be the appropriate time to be getting drunk, but I stayed quiet. I have spent enough time working in the tavern to understand that some need to kill their emotions with alcohol, though I may not agree. He did, at least, choose to wait to drink the concoction.

He did not need to wait long. There was a fire started in our hallway and we were swiftly put in the position of needing to escape from a burning room. We managed, but chaos now reigned in The Eye and just outside. Patrons had been evacuated and were milling about outside. Danjo, who had downed the drink before running through the fire, was passed out on the ground. Either the drink was strong or his tolerance was terrible.

Setibyr made to help carry him away from the crowd, but he was struck with a bolt. Normally would have taken such a small hit in stride. It would have angered him, but it would not have done much other than be an annoying small wound. I watched in horror as my brother dropped. Surely such a small wound should not have brought him down! I pulled the bold from his neck and was hit with one as well. I felt a stinging and realized right away that these bolts were poisoned. I did not succumb and realized we needed to get him to a healer right away. I did not know the nature of the poison.

Lady have mercy, I was terrified. I could see my brother’s eyes and knew he was aware of his surroundings, but he could not move and could not talk. His breathing seemed more labored and he could not support himself. More bolts continued to rain down on us. I was able to withstand whatever poison they had been coated with, thank the Lady. I carried my brother as swiftly as I could and we begged for entry at the temple of Lucha. They were hesitant, but allowed us in where there was safety.

They healed my brother. For that I am forever in the Lady’s debt. The priest said that poison was called the Tears of Death. Had we not gotten to the temple when we did, Setibyr would have died. My brother, so healthy and so strong, would have died to a simple bolt. My Lady is the only reason he survived. I could offer up my prayers every waking moment for the rest of my life and not have given Her enough thanks. I donated some gold to the temple to help the monetary costs of healing him, but the remainder of my debt will be paid with prayers and deeds. Once we have finished this cursed job, Setibyr and I will need to sit down and discuss our future and whether we should quit adventuring. I am ready to be done now. Quietly running the tavern is seeming more appealing every day. I don’t know that it would satisfy him, but perhaps I can appeal to him by offering to set up shop in a different city. I know Lath has too many difficult memories for him.

The next morning, we were able to send one of the priests out to purchase replacement goods for us. I sent paid him with the crintz from the tailor. This turned out to be a grave mistake. I had suspected that there was some sort of tracking spell on our bag of crintz and planned to leave the entire bag with the temple, minus the cost of a new desert outfit, but the crintz were fake! We were accused of passing fake coin and were shackled and sent to be interrogated, despite our insistence that we did not know it was fake. I had not wanted to keep any sort of payment from this tailor and certainly did not want a bag that could lead him to us, but I never dreamed the crintz was fake, especially in a city where money was so very important and respected.

During our trip to be interrogated, we were targeted by the assassin with the poison bolts again. He dropped our guards and Shino and Sahil were affected as well. Knowing what we did, we knew we had limited time to get them aide. We could not seek asylum with the temple of Lucha, however. As we were trying to decide on a course of action, the city guards sprang to our rescue and returned us to the temple. I had my doubts as to whether they’d let us in, but the guards overruled the priest who had sent us to be interrogated. Finally, someone listened to us and did not brand us as criminals. He convinced the priest that they must help us flee the city as we had been attacked three times in less than a full day. The attacks on us were putting other innocent citizens in harm’s way. They agreed to sneak us outside of the city, and we took them up on the offer.

Once we were back outside of the city, it was a little easier to relax. We could not let our guard down entirely, but the assassination attempts had stopped. The only thing trying to kill us now was pterafolk. Far easier to contend with than sneaking drow. For now, I’m happy to be back outside the city where we can see our threats coming from afar.

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Trouble on the trade way
Wondrous sights in Lastar

We captured a hobgoblin and attempted to extract information from him, but we had no clear ways of communication to him. We decided to keep him captive and wait until we arrived at our destination and then have someone else translate for us. On our path he managed to escape somehow and ran off. We tracked him, and by we, I mean mostly Sahil and Tuck. This hobgoblin had managed to run off with not supplies and fell victim to the harshness of the desert. No information could be gathered this way, but one of the others spoke of a spell that could allow one to speak with the dead. Fascinating, I will have to try and study this spell at a later date.
Getting closer to Lastar we found a group of wagons damaged beyond repair with the bodies of countless men, no women, littered around the place. It seems crude harnesses were constructed to hold these men down to be raped. What type of fucking vile monstrosities are we going to encounter here? As we continued still, we found yet another group of wagons, this time with Lastar in sight! It seems the city state would do nothing outside of their walls, pathetic it seems to push for trade and yet offer no protection for the merchants.
This group of wagons was set ablaze by some kind of oily black tar, and when mixed into water is became violently volatile. This explosion I feared would bring the marauders back into the camp to rape the lot of us to death; this is not a fate I wish to endure, so I suggested, rather forcefully, that we needed to depart NOW.
At the city gates we were “greeted” by the city guard. They asked a few questions and set us about our business, nothing really important to note about these guards, except they were in mass number and many seemed very, very capable.
Inside the city, it was like nothing I had ever seen before. Races I had only read about and heard mention of once or twice. It was really a feast for the eyes. If I did not have pressing business I might spend many months here to learn much of what this place has to offer, but for now we have business.
We made arrangements to possible have that spell to speak to the dead hobgoblin cast for us, but we will have to wait and see what happens.
The most wondrous thing I have ever seen, no one will ever believe me back home in Wa, this in has a beholder as a keeper. Pours drinks and talks to patrons. What the hell? Even the music and the entertainment are not like any I had ever seen. If I were a rich man, I would spend my life inside of this city and learn every secret that it has to offer me, but I must be ready to finish my tasks, both immediate, reopening the trade route, and the long term, helping Danjo reclaim his land. Both are equally important to me, as I gave my word to do so, and my word is my bond.

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