The Legacy of the Creator

Justin D'moore's journal entry 17

Entry – 17

Raine is ok but our situation is probably much worse off than when I last wrote. After about one more day of rest Raine woke up and was strong enough to heal himself. We took about half a day more to rest and make sure he was all right. We finished explaining things to him and started to formulate a plan. Marcus, of all people, was insistent that we press on. We all agreed though Raine seemed a bit hesitant, something I can completely understand given what has happened so far.

We made our way to the stream and crossed over the bridge. Instead of going down the tunnel however we decided to follow the stream and see were it led. We walked downstream along its bank until we came to a series of falls and sharp slopes. We all decided we did not want to try and traverse that and turned back. However we did find another tunnel just before the little falls. We went through and something immediately felt, off. I don’t know what it was but all the hair was sticking up on my neck. Before I could voice this feeling Marcus took another step forward and one of the massive stalactites lining the ceiling came crashing towards us. We all managed to get out the way in time, however we decided that my feeling might come in handy so I took the lead. Before moving on I looked closely at the ground and sure enough there was a trip wire, invisible in the dark and damned hard to see even when I was looking for it. I don’t think a goblin or those lizards could have made it that elegant. It Made me wonder if it was a leftover of a time past or if something else was in these tunnels.

We moved on and just past the trap we found a small cavern littered with several skeletons. We searched them and came up with an interesting journal. Apparently these poor souls belonged to a mining expedition lead by the Dwarves. They seemed to be only a week or so ahead of us but from the creatures we had encountered so far it didn’t surprise me that the bones looked clean and aged. We found no dwarf bones however and after Marcus said a quick word over them we moved on. We emerged from the cave into…well a jungle. At least that’s what I thought at first. We were still underground but in a mammoth cavern. In front of us spread out vegetation and fungi of a wide variety as far as I could see. We began to walk into the cavern and before long we were pushing past mushrooms the size of us. Smaller fungi littered the ground and I started looking more closely. The small caps with spotted tops I vaguely remember having a medicinal purpose and were edible. As to what they cured, the fact escaped me. But if nothing else they could be eaten if we ran out of food so I grabbed ten of the largest caps I could and we pressed on. Another hundred yards in I notices large vibrantly purple pods. I know I had seen them before in some book or another but for the life of me I couldn’t remember.

We continued on but within ten steps Banshee let out a terrified shriek. We all spun to see a long purple tentacle retracting into the nearest purple pod and Banshee’s forearm bubbling with bone visible. I spun to look and had to leap out of the way as two tentacles lashed at me from two more pods. They had us encircled. And as Marcus began firing his arrows and Raine rushed to Banshee’s side I remembered what these were. These large plants were carnivorous and produced a potent acid that ate through almost any organic matter save their own bodies. We began fighting back opening deep wounds in the pods that made them shudder and emit squealing noises. But with nowhere to run it wasn’t long before we heard Banshee cry out again, looking over my shoulder I was a hair to slow to dodge the one in front of me. It felt like someone had dragged a feather over my leg and a second later I felt the same sensation pass over the shin of my left leg. Everything seemed to slow a bit, it didn’t really hurt, It felt more like a sunburn than anything. But looking down and seeing my flesh sloughing off and white bone shining back at me sent a jolt back to my befuddled brain kick starting it back into action. I started doing what any sane person should. I screamed until my throat was sore.

The battle continued despite how I felt and the fear both kept me fighting and kept me from looking at what was happening to my limbs. It also gave me focus. This thing was going to die for what it did to me. I was feeling weaker with every swing but after a while I noticed that none of them were moving and I had been slashing a dead plant for several seconds. We all regrouped and I was suddenly struck with an idea. The plants acidic poison should have dissolved all these mushrooms while we were shredding them, but they were completely fine. I quickly got out the mushrooms I had collected and ate one of them. The pain eased almost immediately. I then rubbed another on my wounds and the acid stopped its corrosive progress. I quickly passed two to Banshee telling her what to do and soon we were both stable. Raine informed us that he could only heal one of us, he had used to many heals already today. It was a difficult thing to swallow but not a very hard decision. I needed mobility to help the party, Banshee didn’t, and thanks to the mushroom she wasn’t in danger of loosing her foot. After I had been healed we wrapped her foot as best we could and continued on.

I decided to check out the surroundings and make sure no more purple people eaters were ahead of us. I climbed a mushroom maybe twice my height and looked around. The way looked clear but I did see that the far side of the cave glowed, lambent mold or fungi perhaps. I relayed this information as I climbed down and we once again set off to investigate.

We reached the far side of the cavern without further incident to find that I was correct, lambent fungi lined the walls around us. A small stream ran past and fed into a small lake tucked away in the cavern. Small glowing fish flitted to and fro in the water. As we continued looking around Raine started acting all…weird. He got serious all of a sudden and started walking out into the water of the lake, saying that something was out there. We all began to follow him and sure enough a small island, barely able to hold our group, rested in the center of this shallow lake. It had an oak sapling in the center of the island. It gave off a warm, golden glow. The air itself seemed calmer here, and even though we were far underground, it was warm like a spring day all around the tree. As small as it was it even had three acorns hanging off of one of its branches. A gasp from Banshee made us all spin, hands falling to weapons, but instead of an attack we turned to find her unwrapping her bandage, the flesh beneath completely healed. Amazed, as we all were Raine seemed somewhat nonplused, he had already taken a seat in front of the sapling and soon whispers that sounded like wind playing through the leaves on a tree or the grass in the meadow began to drift from his lips.

We all took stock and rested while Raine did, whatever it was he was doing. None of us had ever seen him this serious. Several minutes later Raine came out of his trance or conversation, I couldn’t tell and turned to address us. He told us that this was a sapling of the tree of life. The elves had told us that their ancestral home had been in such a tree, albeit much larger, but that it had been destroyed long ago. He told us that we couldn’t allow the tree to be discovered less it be plundered by the rest of the world. It needed to remain untouched and continue to grow. None of us could find a reason to oppose Raine on this, in fact the longer I spent in the presence of this tree the more I believed Raine was write. I mean as soon as I heard it was the tree of life the alchemist in me wanted to take a branch to experiment on. No, we all swore a pact to never speak to anyone besides each other about this tree.

We began to get our gear together and move out when Raine quickly knelt before the tree uttering a few more phrases in that strange language before gingerly removing the three acorns. He said we were allowed to take them and that their healing properties extended far beyond what he knew. Banshee also had the idea of taking some of the water in the lake; after all it did heal her foot.

We stored the water and the acorns and crossed the lake again. I offered to try and put a trap together to better protect the tree but Raine didn’t think it was necessary. He said that everything here had grown so large and well because of the tree and that he doubted even things killed would stay dead long if they fed off the trees energy. He gave a pointed look at the slain Purple pods as we passed. Their wounds were fusing shut. We hurried past them.

As we crossed the Fungi chamber we heard a loud hiss that made all of us jump. We cautiously turned to investigate and found another side cavern. This one got big, Like disappeared into the black and still getting bigger big. We decided that it wasn’t really worth it and were about to turn back when we found out what had caused the hissing. Great gouts of steam erupted from a crack running across the floor. Everyone but me made it back in time, I was a bit too close and my hand got scalded. Luckily it wasn’t to bad, but it looked like we would have to wait to get out. Our ears began to adjust again after the loud hiss and we began to hear the sounds of a fight. Muffled voices, the sounds of swords, and then a loud roar punctuated the air. We began debating what to do. I was in favor of taking what we had found, along with the knowledge of the tree of life and leaving. Marcus and Raine however were keen on investigating. Banshee was slightly curious and so I was out voted. We decided to try stealth before blundering in this time. We extinguished the lights and I held on to banshees tail while Marcus held on to Raines shoulder. They were the only two able to see in this pitch. We all began creeping forward, Banshee and Raine informing us in whispered voices what they could see. Eventually we came upon a battle. We were still far back but based on what Banshee and Raine were saying there looked to be several humanoid figures attacking two very large figures. The small ones appeared to be loosing. We crept closer to see if we could make out their shouting. As we neared them I was able to tell they were speaking in elven, kinda. It was a very broken form I wasn’t familiar with, but elven was in it.

We quickly decided that whatever the elves were doing down here we needed to help them. Marcus and I began firing arrows in the direction Banshee told us the big brutes were. It was a feeble attempt however, the distance was great and it was very dark. We gave up shooting from a distance when Banshee, trying not to laugh, informed us that only half our arrows were finding marks. I drew my sword and prepared to go down, Marcus behind me sounded indignant and was mumbling something about needing more light. We started to head down but didn’t get more than thirty yards before “Friend or foe!” was shouted at us in elven. I responded “friend” and our new friend shouted back “assistance!” I relayed this quickly to the others and we rushed down as Banshee and Raine threw out their lights. Two large and pissed of trolls stared down at us with beady eyes and swatted at the elves as they darted in and out around them. I sheathed my swords and pulled forth a vial of acid in one hand and an oil vial in the other. With one smooth motion I threw each at a troll. The first troll screamed as the acid splashed over its chest and dribbled down to its legs and groin. The second merely wiped at its chest smearing the oil that had just been spilled there even further. Marcus Fired off an arrow at each before I yelled “Marcus light it up!” pointing at the troll doused in oil. A smirk spread across Marcus’s face and he started wrapping an arrowhead in ripped cloth.

Banshee had fired several of hear arcane energy orbs spinning at the troll covered in acid and as each one hit it let out a resounding clap echoing and amplified the cavern around it so that each one sounded like a thunderclap punctuated by a pained wail from he target. While the troll reeled from Banshees swift attacks Raine ran forward with both knives drawn, sprinting for its legs. I moved forward with a group of the elves and began attacking the oil soaked troll, opening gashes with my hook swords. A light blossomed in the dark a moment later and I looked back to see Marcus drawing a flaming arrow tight on his bow. He let loose a triumphant shout and fired the arrow…right over the shoulder of the wrong troll. His shout turned into a curse and he hunched to start preparing another flame arrow. Banshee wasn’t going to wait for him. With a cry of her own she let loose a scorching ray of light that hammered into the troll’s chests, setting it ablaze. The troll let lose an ear splitting shriek before toppling over. I looked over to see Raine Run forward with Marcus’s missed arrow and proceed to shove it into the eye of the other troll that the elves had just subdued.

Shout erupted from the elves and they quickly encircled us. Now that I had a chance to look at them in the light these were not our elves. They had dark skin, nearly black, with white hair and longer ears. All were brandishing weapons and speaking in harsh voices. I could only understand it partially but banshee was looking more and more worried. I sheathed my weapons and was about to explain why we were here when a blackness to put the dark in these caves to shame enveloped us. I felt several sharp blows and felt my consciousness slip away.

I woke groggily in what looked to be another cavern. As I came too I saw that I was with Marcus, Banshee and Raine. We all had out gear but we were locked in this small cavern. Looking around I saw various creatures in varying states of injury lying around the walls. Closest to us were three dwarves. Still groggy I moved over too them and began to try and question them about where we were. One of them explained that we had screwed up while “helping these dark elves. They had been trying to capture those trolls, not kill them. Apparently we were to take their place as the “entertainment” now. Awesome. I asked him if he was part of the mining crew that had come down here, he said he was. Being somewhat pissed about our situation I guess I relayed the information that all his team had been killed a little harshly. The conversation ended with him punching me in the mouth.

So now I sit here writing this, knowing that we could be called out to fight at anytime. The others are trying to get some sleep. I suppose I should do the same. We may need all our strength. I’ll end this journal here, hopefully it will continue for a good while but if not I simply hope it makes it back to the surface.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 16

Entry – 16

Things are bad right now. Raine is hurt badly and has been unconscious for over a day now. Marcus is getting twitchy again and Banshee, I don’t know she’s been pretty quiet since Raine went down. She hasn’t left his side once. But I’m getting out of order. No use keeping this thing if no one can understand it someday.

We had all taken a watch after fighting that blob and were getting ready to head deeper in. everyone was curious about the bridge we had found and who had built it so we decided to find out. We started heading downstream and in an effort to ease the tension Raine started making jokes and playing with the knives he had just acquired. Marcus told him to move them with his mind instead of holding them, then he could use them in dog form. Raine immediately transformed and began focusing intently, staring at the knives. I couldn’t help myself. I silently triggered my ring of telekinesis making one of the knives wobble at first then jump in the air. Raine was utterly convinced he had done it and was celebrating his new power. Everyone was having a good time laughing with and at Raine as I made the knife move toward his face, making him fall on his butt. That’s when the gobliniods hit us.

We had a brief cry to warn us as a swarm of goblins, orcs, and rat like dogs came skittering toward us. They caught Raine on the ground and started tearing into him, the rest of us retaliated immediately. We fought hard but couldn’t push to were Raine was being savaged. He went limp near the end. Eventually we managed to kill or scare the creatures and the silence returned. Raine was breathing but he was torn up. Marcus was able to bandage him well enough to stop the bleeding but moving him was tricky. Eventually we retreated to the tunnel previous to the one with the river and made camp against a wall. There was nothing for it at that point other than to wait for Raine to wake up. Fate wasn’t smiling on us that day.

Not more than six hours later we heard movement in the tunnel behind us. I went with a torch to take a look and found four lizard men armed with crude clubs and stinking like carrion sneaking towards us. I high tailed it back to the others and warned them. Moments later the scaled creatures came upon us hissing and snapping at us. Banshee because of here collar was able to understand and translate for us. They wanted us to leave all of our equipment and Raine behind and they would let us go. We were not going to give these bastards anything, especially not a companion. I tried to bluff our way out of this mess with some intimidation. I claimed that we had just slain close to thirty gobliniods in the tunnels ahead of us and that we had only lost Raine because of their numbers. I guess they weren’t very sharp. They bought the story and sent one of their number to check. We all waited like polite little monsters for their scout to get back.

He returned shortly saying that we had indeed slayed the goblins. Their apparent leader offered us a new deal. Leave all of our stuff and take Raines and we could live. Like I said we weren’t giving these stink bags anything. I told him I needed to confer with my companions. As I turned I saw that Marcus already had an arrow trained on one of them. The Four bless that man. I shot him a quick wink and turned to banshee who was almost nose-to-nose with their scout. As soon as I got close I tore into the stinking lizard tearing our shreds of scaled hide and foul flesh. The lizards let loose savage hissing howls and joined combat as Marcus began to feather them with arrows.

The battle was going well until their leader snaked between me and Banshee and grabbed Raines unconscious form. He menaced Raines face with the club shouting at us to lay down our arms. Banshee made a move towards Raine, and the lizard hammered his already broken form with his club. Something flashed in Banshees eyes the moment this happened the next thing I know there was this flash of light and then…nothing. The lizard was just…gone, and she was kneeling next to Raines still form. Marcus shot down the last enemy as he tried to flee and then we all gathered back around Raines. He was in even worse shape, but alive. He’d have several broken ribs to add to his roster of injuries but he was still breathing. We spent the next hour changing his bandages and piling the foul lizard bodies into a makeshift barricade that at least would hide Raines from site as well as provide minimal cover for us if another fight broke out. We’ve been rotating watches and resting for over a day.

Raines has woken up once for only a couple minutes. He was with us long enough to get some water in him but then he passed out again. We’re all hopping he is going to pull through, none more so than Banshee I think. We will stay by his side until whatever horrors are left in these caves pull our bloody corpses away, or until he wakes up fine and happy, the only way Raine should be.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 15

Entry – 15

This last day has been straight out of a horror tale.

We woke up after camping on the cliff and banshee fired up one of the scrolls. It created a small disk, maybe three feet wide and nearly translucent. It held weight fine but it was only gonna fit two. I was able to figure out the another of the scrolls and got it working after a moment of, maybe the whole magic thing isn’t as hard as I thought. Marcus was weary of the disk but eventually we coaxed his scared ass on and started down. I’m glad we bought four scrolls, but we had better not get into a situation were we need to use the others or we weren’t going to be getting out of this whole anytime soon.

It took us close to a half hour to hit bottom. It was actually closer than we had thought. The floor had huge fissures in it that may have led down to a lower level, but we decided we were plenty deep for now. There were four tunnels in this cavern that we could see. We took the far left one with the plan of working our way from left to right as we finished exploring or hit a dead end. We went through several tunnels and past a couple of splits. At every entrance and at every split I chalked an arrow pointing towards the exit. Maybe Marcus was rubbing off on me but I really did not want to get lost down here.

Not far in we began hearing a shrieking scream. It was . . . disturbing, not normal, and it wouldn’t stop. Every couple of minutes it would come again. Eventually we made it to a small underground river. It ran very swiftly from north to south. We decided to forge across trying all the while to ignore the screams that seemed to come from everywhere at once. I was able to forge the river and secure a rope for the others. After everyone was across Banshee saw something in the water downstream. Something that looked like a large box. I volunteered to check it out, no use all of us getting wet again right?

After a cold plunge back across the box turned out to be a bridge. Who puts freaking bridge down here? As I walked back to our guide rope the scream pierced my skull again, but this time I could tell it was coming from upstream. After rejoining the others I let them know what I had found about the bridge and the screams. A rather wide-eyed Marcus insisted we deal with the screaming. I couldn’t help edging away a bit but we all agreed. Hey say what you will but a scared Marcus made me nervous.

We all crossed the river again, damn that was cold water, and started following the bank upstream. It didn’t take long for us to reach the point were the stream came from. It went under a rock wall. Another scream whistled out of the narrow opening driving Banshee and myself to our knees. Whatever it was really needed to shut up. We figured we could get through but not without swimming. Raine was our best swimmer. He could doggy paddle like you wouldn’t believe. So we gave him a rope to secure to something on the other side. He refused to go until I gave him two vials of acid to use on whatever was in the next cave. Once we felt Raine tug twice on the rope we all started climbing through. The next room was a low domed cave with a small pile of boulders on one side and a skeleton leaning against a rock nearby.

I had barely got a look around when I heard a short scream and banshee’s light vanished from the tunnel. She was the only one who hadn’t made it in. Raine immediately jumped in the water and shot downstream. In the fast fading light I jumped after him, going slow enough to keep a hold on the rope and not get swept away. I clawed my way to the bank after getting through and sprinted after Raines light. Banshee was all right for the moment; she had managed to grab hold of the rope we had crossed the river with. Raine got close and tread water until she got a hold on him.

I threw them my rope and Raine was able to get a bite on it. It took a couple moments but I pulled them slowly to the shore. We were all breathing pretty heavy at this point. Then we heard a scream, not the piercing screams of before but a deeper, panic filled scream. We all realized we had left Marcus alone in the cave, with no light. We all broke out in a run. We made it to the tunnel and after several slips and near falls on my part we were through. As the room illuminated around us Marcus came into sight, bow string tight and arrow nocked. The cave was littered with arrows. I entered with my hands up and slowly walked forward but stopped when I saw the whites all the way around his eyes. I started trying to calm him down when another wailing shriek rose up from the back of our cave, so loud and piercing it seemed to be coming from inside our own heads. Marcus joined the scream with one of his own and began firing arrows. The first hit me square in the shoulder and the second sunk into Banshees side. Raine jumped Marcus trying to tackle him, I joined in as soon as I got back up. Between the two of us we eventually subdued Marcus.

A while later he regained his wits. He seemed mortified to have shot us but didn’t remember doing any of it. Raine set about healing while Marcus got the arrows out safely. I started searching the room for the noise and any clues as to what it was, Marcus began to do the same as soon as his task was done. We found writing on the wall and a crown and backpack on and next to the skeleton. The bag contained two very nice curved daggers, I gave those to Raine, and I put the circlet on myself. Banshee said that all were magical but she couldn’t tell what they did, we’ll just have to wait and find out I suppose.

The writing on the wall was the fairly creepy ramblings of the poor soul whose bones were in the cavern. All it really said was that him and his friend had trapped “it” and that he was the only one who made it. The skeleton had a clearly broken leg. No wonder the poor guy couldn’t leave. We decided that the “it” needed to be dealt with if nothing else for Marcus’s sake. Marcus, Raine, Banshee and myself geared up for a fight and then rolled the boulders in the back to the side. Inside was a twenty foot round cave with a low ceiling and a couple large rocks. We all cautiously entered the cave and began to look around, but almost instantly a deafening scream punctuated the air that almost dropped us to our knees again. Then this…thing slithered and squelched its way from behind a rock. It looked like a three foot blob of fetid flesh, covered in hundreds of gnashing mouths all seeming to be…gibbering at once. And for every mouth it had a rolling bulbous eye accompanying it. The little horror oozed along leaving a viscous trail of gray slime behind it.

We all were stunned by its appearance at first, and then when it screamed again. I wasn’t really doing it justice before, but then there aren’t really words for a noise like that. Just try to imagine thousands of hot needles being pushed into your head and then pulled out from the other side and you might start understand what it was like to hear that thing. By the time we had recovered it was almost on us. Banshee managed to get off a spell before it began enveloping her. We could all hear the sound of tearing flesh and a sickening slurping sound. Raine began trying to pull the thing off her, Marcus started pumping arrows into it as fast as he could draw, and I laid into it with both blades.

The thing was as tough as it was nasty and about halfway through the fight we found out it could spit acid and blind us. But eventually we encircled it and after several arrows and cuts of my blade it dissolved to a pile of rolling eyes. Grossest. Enemy. Ever.

There were some other trinkets around the cave we gathered up before leaving the cave and crawling back through the tunnel. We couldn’t tell what time it was in the cave but we decided to camp by the river and rest up. The silence is almost unnerving after dealing with the screams for so long but it is still a welcome change. However while I sit here writing I cant help glancing at Marcus’s sleeping form. When he attacked us there wasn’t a shred of humanity left in his eyes. It scares me just remembering them. I pray we never get to a point where he becomes our enemy.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 14

Entry – 14

We made to the hole. In fact I’m writing this on a small cliff on the wall of the cave. Since my last entry we traveled to the edge of this crater without any trouble. We decided that we should climb down as far as we safely can before using our scrolls. I sure hope those things work or its this is going to have been a short trip. I’m not saying I don’t trust the guy who made them, but there really isn’t any way to test them without burning one, and we may need all four.

The climb down wasn’t very hard, there seemed to be many worn ledges and cracks that made decent enough trails. The main issue was how big this hole really was. Massive doesn’t even begin to cover it. It took us most of the afternoon and into dusk just to make it down maybe one hundred and fifty yards! The last bit was a shear cliff but had a nice platform below it. It took some rope but we were able to make it down ok. Everyone is getting some shuteye here for the night. In the morning we pop those scrolls and see what the elves were making such a big fuss about.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 13

Entry – 13

It’s been several days since the elven banquet. After eating trail food for several days I’m almost wishing I hadn’t spoiled my pallet. Other than the sub standard food we’ve been subjected to our travels have gone smoothly. No giant wolves or bandits so far and I’m hoping that maybe this time we’ll catch a lucky break.

We did find a huge footprint but Raine said it smelled old so we didn’t worry about it. Later that night we heard some roaring but it died away far off. It’s almost starting to get boring out here in the woods. If not for Raine’s daily antics I think I would have gone insane. Oh and camping still sucks. Alot.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 12

Entry – 12

We spent our last day preparing for our departure. I picked up the scrolls we had been waiting on and headed back to the inn. Apparently a messenger from Falen had stopped by, Marcus informed the rest of us that Falen was having a banquet in our honor for our assistance in the last couple of days problems. I’ve never been to a banquet, and this was an elven banquet, I was getting pretty excited until Marcus reminded me that we were the honored guests and stealing anything at all would probably end with us being chased out of town at best. I decided to play nice this evening.

We needed some clothes other than our armor, so we went to a tailor in town. After hearing who we were he insisted on making our clothes for free. I could get used to this hero thing! We spent the rest of the day running several small errands and lounging about. I did take the opportunity to get my mask painted however. I’m quiet pleased with the black and silver leaf design.

We picked up our clothes late in the afternoon and headed for Falens place. This house was nice even by elven standards and that’s saying something. When we entered we were greeted by a servant and were shown in. we were the first guests and Falen was with his daughter in the courtyard. We all went to meet him and found him fiercely engaged in swordplay with his daughter. It was the most impressive display I have ever seen. The speed and grace was amazing to watch and would be terrifying to oppose. Note to self: never seek conflict with Falen or his daughter. Their bout ended with Falen as the victor. After it was over he came over and greeted us warmly. His daughter left to get ready for the banquet while we talked with Falen.

The night continued and guests started trickling in. one of the first to arrive was Geldric, the friendly elven bard I had talked to earlier. Many more showed up until we had quite the crowed gathered. The night continued to progress and dinner was served. Near the end of the meal Falen made a toast in our honor before presenting us with very fine elven cloaks embroidered with his family’s crest. It was a good night and one I will remember for a long time to come. Perhaps we can make a place for ourselves in this elven town. Only time will tell.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 11

Entry – 11

I’m going to have nightmares about last night for a long time…

This journal probably saved all of our lives. I had just finished my last entry, and had yet to fall asleep, when I heard the vines that covered the window starting to move. I glanced over, and saw a slender white hand slipping in the window as the vines withdrew from it. I nudged Marcus awake immediately, and he began rousing the others. We all began training weapons on the window, but by that time, the hand had gone. We told Tala, our new elf friend, to go check out the window, but just then, a small bird fluttered in and landed on the floor near Marcus, making him jump. He almost put an arrow into the thing and looking back in hindsight, I wish he had. The bird hopped over to the door and opened it. No cube; just pecked it and the vines slid back. Then four of those black-cloaked, Half-Dead creeps stalked into our room.

It was all happening too fast. I grabbed my pack, uttered a quick shout of “Window!” to everyone and jumped out. As soon as I hit the ground, I started hearing fighting. Within seconds, Raine and Banshee came leaping out the window. They both started running, and in the next second Marcus, and another Banshee cam leaping out. Tala came tumbling after them and I informed Marcus that Banshee had already come and gone. Just then, we saw the black-cloaks at the window and holding “Banshee” at arrow point, we ran after Raine and the other Banshee. This is getting almost as confusing to write as it was to figure out while I was there…

We made our way to the graveyard before stopping. We had two identical Banshees, each claiming to be the real one. We tried several tests, including taking the speech collar from both Banshees and having each speak Abyssal in order to determine if one necklace was fake. This test didn’t work. To make things worse the black-cloaks had caught up with us. We all began to run again when Marcus called for me to speak in Elven. I shouted back that he was paranoid, in elven. He understood me and pointed at the Banshee in front of me shouting “That one!” I acted instinctively, and sunk both of my blades into the Banshee in front of me, twisting as I yanked the blades out and tearing great gashes on the way. Raine had summoned up a fog, and we all ran into it. As soon as we were out of sight, we spun on our heels and set a quick trap.

The black-cloaks came tearing after us, and I quickly eviscerated the first before he had a chance. Raine summoned vines to entangle the rest, and Marcus began to shower them with arrows. Banshee then shot missiles at Marcus and had an animal attack me. We had picked the wrong Banshee… Marcus turned and engaged the shape-changer while Tala, Raine and myself continued to attack the black-cloaks. We cut down two more, and started hearing guards coming behind us. The shape-changer fled when it heard this, several arrows sticking out of it.

The guards arrived and helped us finish off the last black-cloaked Half-Dead. We explained what had happened, and agreed to go with them to the guardhouse in order to get some facts straight. It appeared that Marcus had been building up some credit with them that made our story very believable. On our way back, we saw Banshee standing with some guards. She was alive, but didn’t have a scratch on her. I almost couldn’t speak I was so relieved. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been responsible for killing one of my companions in cold blood… Though we still aren’t sure how she is alive. For now, we are all just happy she’s fine.

After talking with the guards, we discovered that only a druid could manipulate those vines… And the druids were responsible for purifying the water.

It was time for us to go visit the druids.

We arrived at their grove with a full accompaniment of guards (probably the first and last time that many guards would be present and not trying to arrest me,) and roused the druids. We began to interrogate them, and found that only brother Maynard was responsible for purifying the water. He also took regular nightly walks into the city, one of which had been tonight, and that he had been gone for a long time recently learning a new druid skill. He was our most likely suspect, so I set him up to see if he was a liar. I asked his former master what had transpired during his last lesson, before he had left to learn the bear’s form. His master told me a very memorable story of him finding an injured raven, and nursing it back to health. Brother Maynard told me a crap story about loving the All-mother and being inspired by bears.

Congratulations! We have our creep.

He apparently figured the jig was up, and in the blink of an eye, a small bird had replaced brother Maynard. I took a swing and missed, and Marcus shot and missed as well. Then, out of nowhere, a large falcon snatched the bird out of the air and brought it back to the old druid I had talked to before.

A wizard was summoned while we kept the Doppelganger under our blades, and after being enchanted to remain in its true form, it was taken away by the guards to be interrogated. The night was over for us.

Over the next day, we found out that the creature had been Geased so it couldn’t give any truly useful information before it died. They did find out, however, that it had found out Marcus’s interest in the water problem and had been stalking us. When it feared we were getting too close, it got some reinforcements, and planned to wipe us out in the night. Now the elven city is safe again, at least to our knowledge. We can pick up our scrolls tomorrow and hopefully start our journey to the crater. I can only pray we never encounter anything that can wear a friends face again… I don’t know if I’ll have the courage to strike.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 10

Entry – 10

Well, it’s been an interesting two days. I guess I can’t make cracks about Marcus being paranoid anymore. But I should start at the beginning…

We all woke up and went to do what we had planned. Banshee and I went to find a wizard, and Marcus went to get Raine. We found a wizard, who was much more personable than the last one I had met, and got four scrolls of Floating Disks made. He told us they would be ready in four days. We headed back to the inn and met up with Marcus and Raine.

The next morning, we found the dead elf. Banshee was the first to notice. He had been a patron the previous night, and we had assumed he was just passed out… Except he wasn’t breathing. This rubbed Marcus’s paranoid nerve wrong, and he launched into full investigation mode. The guard was summoned, but not before I was able to palm his rather heavy looking coin purse. Hey, its not like he was gonna use any of it!

Riding his coattails, I asked who the dead elf was, and upon finding out he was a well-off merchant, I asked about where he lived or did business so that I could look for clues. He works out of a warehouse, and I even got directions. I’m starting to like the elves more.

The bag I snagged had a decent amount of gold in it, as well as three of those door cubes and two keys. I went to the warehouse with Banshee and Raine, who was apparently mad at Marcus for leaving him with the boring druids. Marcus assures me I missed a rant worth remembering when he had gone to pick him up.

Marcus himself was going to scour the water systems to find his black water and get a sample. I assured him that if he got a sample, I would take a look and see if I recognized any Alchemical elements it may contain.

Raine, Banshee and I then made our way to the warehouse. Banshee didn’t want to stay, or didn’t approve of me investigating. It was fine with me, though I did ask that Raine grab the sample of water Marcus might have and bring it to me. He had an evil grin that I didn’t understand until later.

I tried the cubes on the door of the warehouse and it opened for me. The warehouse was filled with crates and several wagons. I moved to the first wagon and struck pay dirt, finding a large chest with a conventional lock, thank the Four. One of my keys opened the lock and inside were a lot of papers and four small boxes.

At that point, I nearly leapt out of my skin when a wild looking elven woman stumbled out of the back of the wagon and turned to face me. I must be getting complacent in this city for not noticing her. She began questioning me as to what I was doing. Thankfully, I was able to talk my way out of it by telling her that I worked for her boss and that I was bringing the boxes to him. With that, and an idol threat of turning her in for sleeping on the job and drinking wine that probably belonged to her employer, I was able to walk away without trouble.

Upon returning to the inn, things began to devolve into the trouble we usually carry with us. Marcus actually found the black water and got a sample. But Raine, for reasons unknown other than he was still sore with Marcus, drank the suspected poisoned water. Lovely… We went up to our rooms and explained to Raine what he had done. He left to go vomit, and I began to open my new boxes. The first box was my favorite. It had 30 platinum pieces and several hundred gold pieces. I haven’t been that happy in a very long time! The other boxes held mostly ledgers, except for one that had a Star Ruby, a giant Opal, and two rings. Banshee, after some waving, said that the rings and the Opal were magic. That made me happy all over again. I’d better be careful, or all this happy might change my opinion of the world.

Banshee and I went down to the wizards place again, and got our things identified. The rings were one of Defense, which I gave to Banshee, and one of Telekinesis, which I kept. The Opal turned out to be able to allow the holder to understand any language spoken as if it was Common. Banshee asked for this one as well, thinking that putting it on some sort of collar or necklace might help hide her new mark. I agreed, and she fitted it to her collar.

As the evening wore on, Raine came back holding his stomach, and with him, the scary elven woman from the warehouse. She came into our room, and upon seeing me demanded, to know why I had killed her employer and where her pay was. I paid her more than what I thought her wages were after I assured her we had nothing to do with her employer’s death, and that we were searching for the cause ourselves. I’m not really sure why, but Raine suggested that I needed to throw up. The elven woman then tried to hit me and Raine in the stomach. She missed me, but drilled Raine. He vomited right in her face. Then she vomited, and then everyone vomited. It was disgusting… There was a trip to the bath house, and an added fee given to the inn owner.

Somehow, the tall elf woman has attached herself to me, believing me to be her new employer. Well, at least she isn’t a dragon or an ogre? We all are bunking in Banshee and Raine’s room, as mine and Marcus’s was soiled. In two more days our scrolls will be ready, and with any luck we will be on our way to the crater.

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 9

Entry – 9

We’ve agreed to explore the crater, although Banshee seemed a little underwhelmed by the idea, insisting that we be very ready before jumping into that idea. We slept that night and when we awoke we split up again to start finding information about the hole. Except for Marcus and Raine. Marcus is starting to get a bit paranoid after what he’s been through. He kept saying there was something in the water when we came to the city. Well, the water seemed clear enough to me and tasted fine, too. But he decided to take Raine to meet the druids today and then go off on his own to look for. . . I dunno, dirty water I guess? Like I said: Paranoid.

Banshee decided to go and see if she couldn’t turn up any more information on her past, and the fun new brand she picked up after visiting the clerics. I went to look for Geldric, an elven bard I had met the other day. He is also someone Banshee knows. Apparently, from the elven caravan she almost rode with back in Fairfax. When I last talked to him, he had interesting little stories from everywhere he’s been. I had hoped that if I could keep him from rambling he might know something of the hole, and I was right. He was able to give me more information on it than I had been able to scrounge before. His details were still vague, but it was to be expected, since the hole is forbidden by the elves.

I grabbed the travel supplies I thought we might’ve needed on my way back, as well as a spell book for Banshee. Apparently “Wild” magic is forbidden, unless its done by a druid… Then its ok. These elves have interesting double standards… Anyway, I figured she could learn to bluff casting out of a book if she had one. That way, she wouldn’t get arrested for torching a bad guy!

We all met back at the inn to go over what we had learned. Raine was apparently spending the night with the druids. The Four only know if that’s a good idea.

Marcus learned how the water in the city is purified, Banshee found out that it’s some sort of seal on her, and I found out that climbing down the hole is a bad idea. We decided that in the morning, Banshee and myself would look for magical means down, while Marcus collected Raine and continued his search for nasty water in the magically purified canals. He’s kinda becoming endearing at this point. I wonder when “The walls are watching us!!” speech will pop up?

- Justin D’moore

Justin D'moore's journal entry 8

Entry – 8

We made it to the Elven city. We lost Three Fist. He was killed by a pack of starving wolves. Poor guy just wouldn’t leave the roast pig, even if it killed him. I was just starting to get used to him. Oh well at least he’ll be remembered in this journal if nothing else. But we did make it to the city. It’s . . . well beautiful. Elegant, only a very ham handed individual would call it gaudy. That said there aren’t any doors or locks. Only re-growing vines and rock cubes that act as keys. Also all the houses are in the freaking trees. What kind of bullshit is this?! How am I supposed to steal a living when I cant ply my trade? Though maybe it’s just that I’m thinking of the wrong angle, regardless stealing from the elves will have to wait for a bit. Our little group has many goals in different directions.

And we all split up in order to explore these. We spent two days gathering information. Banshee found out more about the war with the devils and that she has an enormously powerful curse placed upon her. Marcus seems to be going on about finding an animal “companion”, I don’t understand why he cant get a dog. . . or better yet just talk to Raine. Speaking of Raine he doest really have a strong motive but he is still with us. I’m not sure what drives him but he is useful and fun so his company is welcome. I found that the crater outside the Elven city might hold an abandoned city of the moon elves. I want to go in there for possible plunder and to further myself.

I voiced the idea of a trek into the forbidden crater to the group. I’m writing this now as they deliberate. I don’t know for sure what my future holds, but I do know that I won’t be able to face it by myself. These people with me are probably the closest equivalent to friends that I’ve ever had. I don’t want to be alone again. The infighting between us worries me. I think that I need to endeavor to help them more and consider them teammates as apposed to tools. From this point on ill help them to succeed at their goals to the best of my abilities, however frustrating the activity may be.

- Justin D’moore


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