Chronicles of Golarion

The Meeting of the Elders

Snow flecks swirled to obey commands of the fierce winds fickle will. The abundance of crystallized rain drops were thick enough to taint the atmosphere steely gray. Towering evergreens, ancient to these lands, slumped heavily as their thick coats of snow clung to every branch. However heavy the snow fall, it was barely worse than normal and only noticeable by those who cared.

The native peoples to the Land of the Linorum Kings were accustomed to frigid weather which, during this time of year, settled under the bosom of below zero. Some lodges took great pride in their ability to withstand such extremes, such as the Ice Troll Lodge. Compared to their cousin tribes, Ice Troll Lodge members needed far less clothing to protect themselves from freezing weather. The biting wind and nearly blinding snow proved to be a minor irritation as members from all of the lodges gathered in one of their most sacred place, the Howling Hag.

Group after group carried large leather bags full of food, bedrolls, and offerings to the Gods. Some carrying the elders who no longer possessed the strength to make the entire trip. One after another they made a full days hike along the treacherous mountain path. Unstable rocks slipped out from beneath well planted footsteps, winds thick with snow whipped and lashed, and unpredictable geysers spat at unaware lodge members. Anyone who lost their footing was met with a helping hand and a roaring laugh from their peers. A slap on the back or shoulder mended bruised egos and eased the tensions of their journey. Dirty jokes were told, marriages mulled over, whispered alliances danced under breaths, and mighty songs were sung loudly as though nothing exciting were to happen that night let alone the life threatening trek they all embarked upon. One’s character is highly valued, and showing fear is a weakness. As a collective and individuals, they treated this quest like another mundane day to show their courage.

While the day came to its end, the hundred strong group turned the final bend, the setting sun parted the clouds. The sky burned and set the clouds aflame.High on the mountain face, the awe-inspiring mouth of their sacred monster had also caught fire. The agape jowls of a mad creature remained forever frozen as though cursed to scream for eternity. Hundreds of gleaming pointed teeth, protruding icicles, caught the flames. Glistening in the red, orange, and purple hues of sunset. Its mouth lined row after row above and below. Some out-weighed warriors while others so thin they resembled the teeth of krill eating whales. All catching and reflecting the suns glorious display. Whatever the size, should one massive icicle drop, even the best warrior would have been impaled into a gory scarlet warning to others. The monstrous cave was an invitation to test ones fate.
Those who had never laid eyes upon the creature-like-cave stopped in awe. Some momentarily breathless, while others fell to their knees. They offered tears and prayers. While most others offered whispered praises, all were anxious to get inside to warm up and to begin the evenings events.

The inside of the mouth was larger than any hut or cabin any lodge member had seen. Walls smooth to the touch from ages of lashing winds exposed the mountains swirling horizontal stone pattern. Drawings, carvings, and offerings decorated the cave sides. The
ceiling reached so high a dozen camp fires would not illuminate it.

Though its size and toothed entrance was enough to make this cave awe-inspiring, the horrific sounds which resonated inside is where “Howling Hag” got its name. Every so often when a gust of wind was strong enough, the cavern erupted with echoing roars. They believed the cave was a cursed creature frozen in time but not asleep. The howling was told to be screams of anger, woe, and insanity. These sounds served as a warning to those who did not heed the will of the Gods.

Once inside, the political ebb and flow of who will camp with whom began. Everyone making sure to have the best view of the ritual while not offending alliances. As arduous the task was, people began to unrolled their bed mats, made fires and organized their belongings. An electric buzz filled the room as preparations were made for ceremony. By the time everyone had set up their camps the elders were ready.

Along the caves wall, flames licked the cavern wall and fierce heat emanated from the enormous erected fire. Well over 30 elders, witches, berserkers, warriors, and important figureheads seated themselves in a semi circle around the fire. All of them adorned with their best. Ettercap Lodge members, replaced the hair on their head with scale tattoos, berserkers donned the skins of poisonous snakes, lizards, dragons and other poisonous creatures. They often split their tongues and used herbal oils to change their eyes to resemble the venomous creatures they regularly subjected themselves to. No other lodge could withstand the amount of poisons Ettercap was accustomed. The Ice Troll berserkers, being extra careful not to cover their valued tough scarred skin, wore enough tanned leather to leave only genitals to the imagination. War paint accompanied the proud bare chested men and women of the Ice Troll Lodge. Subjecting themselves to extreme drought, cold, and regular ritual scaring resulted in their inhuman like ability to withstand cold. Their scars were their source of magic. Unlike their nearly nude cousins, those from Snow Tiger covered nearly every inch in the skin of their lodge. Every element of the Snow Tiger was used to transform a warrior into a guardian. They wore beautifully lush striped fur around shoulders, thick ivory claws fashioned into fist weapons, and teeth strung on sinew thread. Undoubtedly the most stunning of the lodges. Those of the Owlbear Lodge were much less organized in their dress. A mix of feathers and fur braided into hair locks. The spiked armor was not for show, but rather a weapon in itself. They were known for their superior wrestling techniques and prided themselves in taking down creatures much larger than themselves. The spiked armor caused more carnage with the added benefit of being intimidating. The Great Stag Lodge was not a stranger to carnage. Like their guardian, their berserkers were the battlefield chargers. They were the best at bullrushing their enemies. Regularly, on the front line screaming and smashing into opponents. Their elders, warriors, and berserkers wore great stag antlers adorned with charms, paint, and herbs. As intimidating as the Great Stag Lodge was, the Wolf Lodge incited the most fear. Once under a Wolf Berserker, an opponent would be torn apart either limb from limb or guts first. Like the master hunter, the foe did not need to be dead before the flesh tearing began. They fought best in packs of four to five. Unlike the Great Stag or the Snow Tiger lodge, they did not wear the skins of their guardian. Instead, they modified their bodies to resemble wolves. Sharpened teeth, they participated in facial bone cracking to make the face more wolf like. Even amongst the other berserks it was seen as barbaric.

Each lodge picked their best warriors, witches, and shamans to sit amongst the elders. Some wearing furs or feathers, antlers or claws, snake skins or simply their own skin. While the remaining hundred crowded at a far enough distance to respect the semi circle of important figureheads while getting the best view. The wisest and oldest witch stepped forward to begin the ceremony. A hushed lull spread throughout the group. It seemed the cursed creature stopped howling to pay respect to the elder.
A curled figure shuffled her way to the fire. Her body covered in ratted clothing accessorized with dried herbs, mummified rodents, twigs, teeth, feathers, and pouches. Her ash gray hair protruded from her hooded cloak so thick her deeply wrinkled and sunken face was barely distinguishable. All members recognized her at once. If awe had a sound, it would have be audible at that moment. Rumored to have wondered into the mountains to die as a young witch, she returned a decade later alive with the gift to commune with the gods and guardians. The price…her sight, sound, and voice. The shiny skin of old scar tissue had grown over where her eyes once were. The same scarring had replaced her ears and grown into her ear caal. Though her lips were not fused shut, her tongue and teeth had long been removed with no laceration, acid, or magical evidence of how they were taken from her. If the word “taken” was accurate, she never said.
Her knuckles were as gnarled as the knots on her staff .She reached into one of her pouches and threw handful of herbs into the fire. A black billowing smoke rose with golden flakes floating towards the ceiling. She motioned for the sacrifice. A large, broad shouldered man with a mane of chest hair and the locks of a lion stepped forth with no assistance. Fearlessly, he approached the witch. With only paint and herbs on his skin, he stood in front of her naked. A low rhythm of feet and staves pounded the cave floor accompanied by the humming harmony of the crowd. The old woman threw more powders into the fire. Each handful resulting in explosions, thunderous cracking, and spectacular colors. The group began to sing and pound harder as the fire burned brighter. The old woman bounced, as best she could with her tired frail body, in a circle around the man. To the energy of the song, she touched him with oils and spat salves on his skin. When the man fell to his knees, another elder came into the circle with a human skull filled with a black tar liquid. The blind deaf witch graciously took the skull from the elder and rose her hand to the crowd.

Soon the song became a low lull as they watched. The elder placed a hand on the young man’s back, while the old witch stood in front of him.

The elder spoke to the crowd as much as he was to the young man, “Only those willing to give their life are worthy. If there is even a drop of hesitation it will taint our sacrifice! Just like a drop of poison in the well will kill a village…” to that some of the Ettercap shifted to a cocky stance which said takes more than that, “… it will anger our Guardians and kill our
villages.”

He moved a hand to the young man’s shoulder, “May any of you have something to say, be it love, confession, or rivalry, do it now. This will be the last time you speak to Guhreth.”
The young man surveyed the crowd. Those he loved wept with pride and some with sorrow. Approving nods from family, friends, and foes. There was no need to speak. He knew what they had to say. His heart swelled with pride and he was ready.
“Then it shall be!” The elder roared and the crowed followed suit. Cheering rose higher than the fire and melted into a rhythmic song once again. The elder took his place again
and the old woman resumed her ritual.

She offered a small dagger to Guhreth and turned her palm face up. He drug the sharp blade along her flesh. Once she bled, she squeezed her hand into the tar filled skull. The concoction began to boil and soon caught fire. She spat a great mouthful of spit into the fire which killed the flames. The chanting grew louder as she drank from the skull. What was left she offered Guhreth. He drank the oily tar passionately. The old woman danced again in front of him for a few seconds more. Suddenly, with a strength which surprised the young man, the old blind woman lifted his chin back to expose his throat. She smeared a line of her own blood, from her still bleeding hand, on his neck from ear to ear. It looked as though she was cutting it open with a blade. Seconds later, Guhreth began convulsing. Blood oozed from his lips, eyes, nose, ears, and even his pours. He soon was covered in blood sweat. His voice gargled as the line from the old woman’s blood opened his flesh like the dagger did to the witches hand. The blackest oil erupted from the magical throat wound. The liquid tar spurted fiercely as though it was his own blood. The oil reflected no light from the fire like oil normally would. Instead, it seemed to consume light. Spewing with rage the rich dull liquid slashed onto the old woman’s clothes and onto the floor. Guhreth, remained on his knees, slumped but did not fall. The crowd cheered with fright and awe.

All went quite as the tar gathered itself. Rising from the puddle it began to take detailed shape. First a snake, then a wolf and into each guardian with surprising accuracy. Lastly, it became a tall lanky figure. Nothing like the guardians it imitated before. It was skinny and tall with no defining details, no fingers, no ears, and sexless. It was as though one of the drawn figures on the wall took shape in front of them. The blazing fire behind it made it seem thinner than it was. It turned to face the crowd. With a silent unnatural step, it moved towards them and they collectively leaned away. It stepped again. Panic was about to hit the crowd if this light canceling oil creature kept getting closer. It was about to move again, but stopped as though it remembered why it was there. It turned to the old woman and strolled over with an unnerving gate.

She held its hands like an old friend she had not seen in years. She looked up with her empty scarred sockets, smiled, and nodded. She brought its hand to her mouth. Her parted lips were suddenly spread wide as the creature forced its hand into her. The crowd gasped but did not move. Soon the hand disappeared down her throat, then its elbow, and up to the shoulder. The old woman did not make a sound or movement of pain. She stood with her toothless mouth open. The oil creature shoved hard into her the old woman’s mouth. She reached out with her knotted fingers to assist it. Its body did not react as oil would. No slippage between fingers. She grabbed a hold of its body and pulled it into her. All the while it forced its body down her throat, it began to melt over her face and down her body. The creature slipped the rest of its black bulk into her mouth and any remaining oil followed.

The old woman fell to her knees. Nervous eyes shifted amongst the inexperienced figureheads. Perhaps they should help her. She curled into herself and began violently shaking. Her cloak covered her entire body. A piercing scream came from the lump in front of the fire. The shape under the cloth shifted and shook. Faces, hands, breasts, and many other body parts appeared to be pressing from within the fabric. Finally, a Berserker from the Owlbear lodge lost his composure. With frightened steps, he walked rapidly to the morphing cloth pile. Others readied their stance for battle.

He grabbed a handful and threw the cloak as aside. What was reviled was not a terrifying creature, not the oil figure, not some multi limbed monster, but instead, an incredibly tall naked woman. All sat in awe. Her hair long and full of waves was not the color of a human. It was as though someone spun silk from the sunset yet, it shimmered in shades of black oil as the light hit it. A constant change from sunlight to blackness. Though it moved weightless like silk in water. This effect was true for her eyebrows, long thick eyelashes, under arms, the hair on her mound. Shoulders slight with defined collar bones transitioned into long fit arms and slender fingers. Her skin, impossibly soft like snow in the distance. Once touched, it melted away. Resembling Goddesses of fertility, her hips and thighs were thick. Though her waist was small, her stomach had the pooch of wealthy mother which accentuated her figure. Her large eyes, one blue one green but both holding their own universes, swept across her people.

She moved past the warrior whom uncovered her with grace unlike the old woman. Everything about her was contrast to the old woman. Her face was smooth and free of aging. No stray hairs grew from her chin. She stood immaculate and unabashed in front of the crowd. A blanket of motherly calm swept the cave.

Her voice rich with wisdom, clarity, compassion, lust, passion, and mystique boomed yet whispered as she spoke, “My children. It is time again for a legend to live amongst us.” Within the fire, there stood a heroic figure.

Motioning to the heavens she said, “The gods have come to me and spoken. A child with one eye green and one eye blue shall be born in each lodge nine months from tonight. But only two will make it to adulthood.” The flames illustrated her words as the heroic figure transformed into six infants.

Her multi-leveled voice rose the hair on everyone’s neck. For they knew none of them were going to be legend and their children might die. She said, “Do not mourn the souls of our children. They will rise to the heavens.” Four children faded and the remaining grew to adults.

She paused, “With the exception of one.” For a moment her lips curled into a frown.
Her smile returned, “One of our children will bring great glory to our people. Prosperity for generations and the ability to defeat our enemies. They will bring home unknown knowledge from faraway lands to aid us and unite us.” Images of battlefields won, embracing families, and other pleasant images emerge and melt into each other.
With a scowl she said, “The other will lead Death by the hand, like an eager child rushing a parent, to our lands. The soil will become sterile. Those who do not die from disease will die of starvation. Those left will be sold into slavery to survive.” The fire went from reds and oranges to sickly greens and grey ash. The cave darkened and people began chattering.

Women covered their mouths in shock. Men shuffled uncomfortably. A man in the crowd with golden blond hair spoke up, “What if we choose not to fornicate this night? Or if we kill all the blue and green eyed children to prevent the destruction you speak of?” The crowd nodded in agreement with the courageous man.

A wind blew and the cave howled. The fire behind her flared hot. Once again the cave was brightly lit. She locked her wild eyes on the man. The volume of her voice rattled the cave. Dust and rocks fell from the ceiling, “YOU DARE CHALLENGE THE PROPHACY GIVEN TO YOU DIRECTLY FROM THE GODS?!”

The man fell to knees. All color drained from his body. Her demeanor softened and her voice resumed its multi-toned melody, “The Gods would not put such a decision before us all if they did not feel we were ready. We must train them with books and battle early and equally. When they are ready, we are to send them away to learn the war techniques of other lands. They are to learn as much as they can. The greater their journey, the better prepared they will be to decide our fate. Songs will be sung for ages about them, tapestries woven with their images, and everyone will know their names.”

She walked to the slumped body of Guhreth. “The gods have a gift for you to show their confidence.”

Kneeling down to pick up the dagger, she held his hair and leaned his head back until the wound across his neck opened wide like a Venus Fly Trap. Without flinching, she raked the dagger from ear to ear along her own throat. Deep scarlet blood pour from her throat into Guhreth’s. Once the blood became black, she covered her wound and spoke under breath. Her neck was healed. Repeating the same motion on Guhreth’s neck, she showed the crowd his healed wound. His lodge began chanting quietly and it quickly spread. With godlike strength she lifted the body until his toes brushed against the floor. One arm under his kept them chest to chest. The other hand held his mouth to hers. She began to breath into him. The crowd got louder. Starting from the lips, black tendrils grew under Guhreth’s skin. The deep dark web grew with every breath. It filled his veins until his whole body was black.

While she continued to breath into him, she began to change. The unnatural weightlessness of her hair dropped into curls, the surreal sunset in her hair settled into a deep red mane, the shimmering oil which accompanied the sunset fell into a puddle around her, the softness of her skin began to look human, but her eyes remained the same. One blue, one green.

On her last breath, she lost her strength and dropped Guhreth. He fell into the same position he was in before she lifted him, slumped over on his knees. The onlookers waited silently. Anxious moments passed. His unnaturally black body jolted and startled everyone who watched. It jolted again. Soon he was writhing. Curled over with his hands around his midsection, he began to vomit. Greenish black sludge plopped from his mouth to the ground with each heave. Starting with his toes, the tendrils receded. By the fifth full body contraction, a pile of oily tar laid in front of him.

With intelligence, the pile seemed to let in a large breath and sighed. Then began to roll towards the fire. It entered the base of the flames and melt. Quietly simmering and hissing
until nothing was left of the sludge.

She took his hand and lifted him to his feet. They faced the crowd.
She addressed the onlookers, “Do you see the will of the Gods?! He has been given back to us.”

Her human voice was eerie in comparison, “And I have been given youth for the night.”
He held her hand in the air and said, “Do as they wish and we will be rewarded. My fearless sacrifice pleased them and I have been reborn as Gyhren. Now let us drink, eat and fuck for the Gods!”

They embraced again. The crowd cheered and wept for the naked couple.

For three days, those hundred who gathered at the Howling Hag to witness the avatar perform a miracle, partook in a three day celebration. It was a true Feast for the Senses. In the evenings, one’s cup was never dry of Jhuild, better known as firewine. Bellies were full with exquisite fruits and rich meats. Glistening skin rubbed against other willing bodies regardless of gender or social status. All infidelity and sins of indulgence were forgiven during the celebration. No one was to deny any advance. For doing so would dishonor themselves. The sounds of pleasure roared louder than the Hags Howls.

The mornings were dedicated to easing the headaches, nausea, and dehydration from the evenings festivities. By midday, gambling and good natured contests took place. Friendly competitions amongst berserkers were great entertainment. The loser performing whatever bet, sexual or humiliating, was made before hand. Stories were sung and created to be passed down the generations. By the time the sun fell behind the mountains, the drinking and partying began again.

On the morning of the fourth day, everyone began packing their belongings. They said their goodbyes to old friends and new lovers. The women all secretly hoping to bare the child from prophecy. Like the trek up, they marched group after group back to their homes.

Gyhren had accepted a place amongst the important figureheads. The old blind witch had not been seen since the first nights festivities. She would not be seen again for nine months when Sandraudiga and her siblings were born.

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工作 一百三十七 (八)
2nd Sunday, Gozran, 4715 AR

RECAP JOURNAL ENTRY: COMBAT NOT OVER*****

Group attacked late at night. A water elemental ends up boarding the ship, bypassing Khaterina’s alarm spell. The slamming of a body up on main deck was heard and many people responded. Chul-Moo and Sandraudiga couldn’t hear initially, still remaining asleep. After awaking, Chul-Moo listened to see what he might pick up from the scuffle on the main deck, but couldn’t make it out.

Other’s ran to see first-hand what was transpiring on the main deck, to include: Joryn, Sandraudiga, Khaterina, Petronicus, Bellamy, and Kyra. Crew members could be heard moving about the deck rather swiftly and general sounds of melee ensued.

Not long into the melee, Joryn was bullrushed over the starboard rail, and not long thereafter, Khaterina was grappled and pulled over the stern of the ship from the poop deck. Joryn in Eidolon form began making attempts at climbing the side of the ship with claws. Khaterina ended up being pulled further under the surface of the water by the humanoid creature that was grappling her. She swiftly fell from sight as it was pitch black out, and she went to deep to see.

The battle ensued on the main deck with other people continuing to fight water elementals. Eventually, Chul-Moo went above deck and decided not to engage after seeing water elementals. After briefly locking eyes with Worg, he ended up going below deck again and returning his quarters. Eventually, as the battle continued, and the Firetreader continued to move farther away from Khaterina’s last known position in the water, Sandraudiga decided to attempt a rescue.

Sandraudiga grabbed a good deal of rope, tied herself off and dived into the ocean towards Khaterina’s last known position. Additionally, Joryn by this time was able to climb aboard the ship again and begin the process of summoning a squid in an effort to aid Khaterina and Sandraudiga.

As Khhaterina had been under the surface of the ocean for a few rounds by this time, she was getting assailed from all different directions, by both the water elemental and the humanoid creature. Initially the humanoid creature began to pull Khaterina deeper down into the oceans depths, albeit at a slow pace. Khaterina realizing her futility in attempting to break the grip of the humanoid creature attempted to feign death. Her ruse worked initially, and the humanoid creature stopped taking her further down. After not to long however, the water elemental caught up to the both of them and grappled Khaterina away from the humanoid creature after she had struggled to get away and as well realized that Khaterina was in fact not dead. A small melee between the humanoid and the water elemental ensued with the water elemental winning out and taking Khaterina yet another 90 feet further down into the dark, oceanic depths.

It was at this time that after Joryn had had the opportunity to regain his human form, and summon a squid, that a jetted squid slammed into the water elemental, freeing up Khaterina from its hold. Simultaneously, a magical flare of sorts was dropped into the ocean, providing a limited amount of luminescence and allowing Sandraudiga to find a rough location of Khaterina. Soon after, Sandraudiga grabbed a hold of Khaterina and pulled tight on the rope that had been slack, allowing the forward momentum of the ship to violently pull them forward and up, erupting forth from the surface of the ocean. Sailors then pulled both Khaterina and Sandraudiga out of the frigid waters, and on to the deck of the ship.

Immediately, Khaterina was taken below deck to get warmed up and checked over by Kyra and the ship surgeon, Cherrylilly. A short while after getting blankets and comfort to Khaterina, an outburst was heard on deck, followed by orders from the captain for archers to the rails. A seeming simulacrum of Khaterina was floating starboard of the ship and was hauled aboard after short reflection. Chul-Moo briefly left his cabin to examine what was going on above deck, then went back below to the galley to get some food.

After the other Khaterina was pulled on board, additional concern was expressed and Chul-Moo at this point went above deck again examined the other Khaterina for an alignment aura and determined it not to be evil, at least according to Chul-Moo’s Detect Evil ability. He stated that it was not evil, and proceeded back below deck to examine the other Khaterina with the same ability. Joryn at this point loudly exclaimed something about the Khaterina above deck, the immediately went below deck, following behind Chul-Moo to the room that Sandraudiga had Khaterina in.

As Chul-Moo stood in the doorway of the stateroom that had Sandraudiga and Khaterina in it, he detected evil from the clone of Khaterina. As Chul-Moo examined the imposter of Khaterina, Joryn asked if it was Khaterina, to which Chul-Moo replied no, it wasn’t, and that he would kill her. With alarm on the face of Sandraudiga, she stood up, blocked the doorway and declared that no one would attack her without fully knowing whether or not it was in fact an imposter or Khaterina. Chul-Moo unemotionally continued to stare at this point, as a smoky explosion erupted from the bunk that had the Khaterina imposter lying on it, and the session ended there.

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工作 一百三十七 (七)
2nd Starday, Gozran, 4715 AR

Today was unremarkable other than the peaceful lull of the sea. I have been quite pleased with the ability to rest rather unmolested so far, knowing of the potential storm to come.

I have not yet decided whether or not I will stay on this job or not. I am continuing to study my fellow hires to determine what the odds are of me surviving with these people. The payout is enormous at 10,000 Sails, and if I can collect, I sure as hell will.

However, that money will do me no good if these fellow hires end up being incapable of fighting in a manner that takes advantage of their skills. Time will tell.

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工作 一百三十七 (六)
2nd Fireday, Gozran, 4715 AR

After the crew continued to stand by for seemed like an unusually long time, the captain ordered the ship to be searched. I went back to my stateroom to rest while the crew did that. Of course, the ship ended up having nothing on board (other than the corpse). Nothing more came about from anyone attempting to figure out how the corpse of the dead sailor came aboard in the manner it was stated to have come over the rail.

I don’t see any relevance between the job and the corpse. It seems like my fellow hires are looking for things where nothing exists. Sailors die all the time out on the sea, and especially on the ocean. I find it particularly odd that my fellow hires, being aware of us being in the vicinity of Hellmouth Bay, may find that there is something worth investigating: a sailor died because someone attacked. I suppose this will teach this cheap ass captain to hire better sailors next time, or perhaps hire people that can actually protect the ship. The captain is cutting corners, and I am certain Lord Dagons’ creatures or cultists are taking advantage of it.

The rest of the day (since it started just a bell into the rise of Somal) was uneventful. The crew were naturally superstitious about all matters of what was behind the sailor dying. Beyond defending myself I see nothing to look into here.

The crew just wrapped up searching the ship, so I’m heading back to bed.

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From the Journal of Khaterina Arlen (Entry 3)

This trip is beginning to test my patience, as it is long and boring. I haven’t had access to a proper library to keep me busy in some time now. I feel as if my mind is leaking out of me.

At least the company is good for the most part, though the man Chul-Moo is quite the bore, and makes me more and more uncomfortable every time we end up fighting something. Last time in questioning one of the orcs who attacked the ship, he removed the finger to get at a ring, when he could have just taken it off the old fashioned way. The man is disgusting and I shall have to figure out some contingencies in dealing with him, I do not trust him.

Sandraudiga, while completely insane with what seemed grief of her tribesman, cut her own finger off trying to get into a chest. Kyra took care of her thankfully and she seems to be keeping most of her function intact. She is a strange woman this barbarian, but there is something oddly endearing about her. I shall have to watch her and see what she is capable of, for her talents in combat seem as if they would be strong.

We stopped in Corentyn, which was a nice opportunity to get a few new spells and to relax a mite. I had some dinner with Bellamy, who is by and large the most civilized of our group, and is quite pleasant to talk with. He has a flair for the dramatic, but it is an endearing quality, and I think I will enjoy my time with him the most. He can defend himself with flair and a civilized manner that you do not see often in this world.

We had to leave again though the following day, which was a shame, for I am sick of being on that bloody ship. Some of the crew started going missing though partway into the trip, right as we are sailing over an underwater city of monsters. This is fairly foreboding, and Bellamy saw some kind of creature on the rail pull someone over. He didn’t get a good look as I lit up my staff which blinded him. I really must find a way to overcome this poor sight of mine, and I feel bad for the inconvenience I caused the man.

So I cast an alarm spell upon the railing so we may catch whatever creature is causing this, and hopefully get out of this alive. Soon after the corpse of one of the missing men slid over the railing, activating my alarm. It slid on its own over the railing, and I wished I had had my glitter-dust prepared. It might have revealed something invisible, these issues are really beginning to tax my patience.

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工作 一百三十七 (五)
2nd Wealday and Oathday, Gozran, 4715 AR

Woke up to the sounds of alarm at about 1 bell past high-moon on the 2nd Wealday. Apparently two of the new crew hires went missing while they were supposed to be on shift. Both were also supposed to be form the port of Corentyn. My fellow hires, who I will now call VIP’s as the captain has apparently titled us as such and has asked that we stay out of ship affairs as VIP’s.

I’m letting the captain dig his own grave with this mess. I’ll just sit back and watch him fail at this and have to capitulate to his own initial demands by asking for help.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t but a few minutes later that most of my fellow hires began helping run some sort of investigation. These people really are unbelievable. They appear to be looking, like children, for an opportunity to show their prowess by showing up the next person. I figure I’ll watch them dig themselves more holes for themselves, and come in at the last minute and earn their loyalty that way. Loyalty appears to be the currency they trade in the most, so I figure I can earn some rather large piles of it through well timed assistance. I’m hoping I can get the captain to lose credibility in the process as well.

2nd Oathday

Another man went missing in the middle of the night, in the early hours of the 2nd Oathday. Someone saw a man go overboard. After several minutes of my fellow hires searching high and low for him, a seemingly unholy occurrence took place. The corpse of the overboard ship hand went up the outer hull of the ship on its back and slithered over the side railing onto the deck. Nothing happened with the corpse after that, however, Shelyn cried out that the corpse was undead, which sent a powerful fear through the crew who recoiled to far sides of the ship from the corpse. Yet another nick against the captain as it becomes apparent that the VIP’s are more useful than they seem.

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工作 一百三十七 (四)
2nd Toilday, Gozran, 4715 AR

After several more days at sea, our vessels put into the port of Corentyn just to the east of the Arch of Aroden. While I typically do not comment on the more philosophical aspects of life, this monument to the prowess of the gods is certainly profound. The arch spans out of site, and if I am told correctly by Kahaterina, it has a magical wall of force that can in times of need encompass the entire structure to prevent a naval incursion.

We were in port for a day, and I managed to get Worg to go get an ale after he had his crew unload and load both the Firetreader and Water Weird. I spoke with him at length about speaking with the captain about getting me a more ample share of the booty from the sale of the captured rowing vessel. After a while, Worg was amenable to that and ended up speaking with the captain the next day. Captain Valrienos was apparently not convinced however. I informed Worg that having a loyal, dedicated, and very skilled archer to assist him if needed was worth more than the greed of the captain. I think Worg and I have an understanding that will likely present itself in conversations through the politics of the ships.

I also attempted to gather information on Captain Valrienos while in Corentyn, but to no avail. I will see about getting information in our next port of call. The next couple of days went uneventfully. I relaxed, and resumed my evaluation of the crew and my fellow hires.

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工作 一百三十七 (两)
1st Sunday, Gozran, 4715 AR

Continuing to observe the crew and my fellow hires. The next several days have gone by uneventfully so I have taken the opportunity to relax, enjoy the open sea, and casually observe.

While Sandraudiga is repulsive in every manner possible, she is consistent. She puts her pride, loyalty to others, and her deep rooted desire to socialize before anything. I would include her capacity to fight on that list, but her fighting prowess is merely a manifestation of the three former traits, though she is skilled I admit. She has been attempting to frustrate me with her wiles by trying to get me to speak with her about myself. She has been sorely disappointed. She clearly has deeply ingrained flaws that would be perfect to leverage should the time come. Someone dying on her watch, or some other outcome that would go to demonstrate her failure to the “tribe” would likely go a long ways to mentally wreck this female.

Sandraudiga did after the raid by the pirates also manage to in a drunken rage chop off one of her fingers. The priestess of Shelyn managed to get it reattached in time and it seems to be healing well. She is a definite loose cannon that I will be watching closely.

It is about 6 bells after high-sun as I write this and our vessels are about to pull into the port of Corentyn at the Arch of Aroden. The Arch is truly a marvel. Kahaterina says the gods themselves created it, and it certainly seems to live up to the tall prospect that that is the case. We’re suppose to be here for a day, departing the following evening. I am going to try and get Worg to go out and have a drink with me. I am hoping he can be convinced to help me get a generous split of the earnings from the sale of the rowing craft.

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工作 一百三十七 (一)
1st Oathday, Gozran, 4715 AR

Three days after departing Westcrown, we were set upon by pirates. They consisted of primarily gobins, orcs, and some ogres. A vessel approached from the south and came within boarding range, while another invisible vessel approached from the east between the Firetreader and Water Weird. A melee ensued with both the crew and travelers of the Firetreader and Water Weird repelling the pirates. I learned a great deal of those that travel with me from this battle. I have no idea what to expect from any of them, but watching them is helping a great deal in ascertaining their strengths and weaknesses.

The battle lasted several minutes. Petronicus was particularly valuable to the direction and success of the battle. His alchemical design are impressive and very decisive in affecting large swaths of a battlefield. He effectively creates pockets of debilitating toxins that seem to render most combatants ineffective, if not helpless. He appears to understand some inherent level of battlefield tactics as his placement of the toxic clouds create narrow fields of movement that were very helpful for the use of my bow, and for melee combatants to choke off forward progression. Petronicus is certainly one to be aware of if every anything went south. He seemed initially rather addled, but I am uncertain if this is actually true. After studying him more, I feel he may just be more eccentric than anything.

Sandraudiga appears to be consistent in her mannerisms, as is my analysis of her. She appears to be very loyal. Something to be exploited if need be: likely her biggest weakness. She is powerful, and well skilled in melee combat. Her greatest weakness would be against mind affecting toxins and ranged attacks. Sandraudiga had a conflict with Worg (the quartermaster) during the melee. Not sure if this hurt relations between her and the crew, but it may be something useful to use later.

Joryn summoned what I have come to learn is an Eidolon. He is a summoner, and apparently, a powerful one for his years. It is doubtful that mind affecting toxins would work as well as constitutional toxins, but this man would need to be put down fast due to his summoning abilities: Eidolons are quite potent. Joryn keeps to himself quite a lot. He is the one that concerns me the most so far, as I know the least about him. Joryn does not give tells to vices, weaknesses, or anything much at all. I will continue to study him and see what I can determine.

Kahaterina is definitely weak in melee. She would have to be taken in melee rather than ranged I think. She has spells that could help her at ranged I think more than taking her out directly if need be. She does seem to possess a desire to please people though, and this may be something to take advantage of should the need arise, much like with the weakness of loyalty that Sandraudiga shamefully allocates.

Bellamy is a puffer. He thrives on attention and drama. He is skilled in melee, but seems caught up in himself so much that I feel he could be handled with subtle guile. Mind affecting toxins with ranged delivery are this mans greatest weakness from my observations so far. He seems committed to this group in the same, fool-hardy manner that Sandraudiga and Kahaterina are.

Kyra appears to be a typical lump on a log priestess. She mindlessly moves to aid people without thought for herself, others, or why she would do so. If she has a reason for her actions beyond blind devotion, she gives no hint as to what it would be. She is most definitely critical these peoples survival though.

Generally speaking, short of Petronicus, Joryn, and Kahaterina, everyone seems rather unfocused, and a danger to themselves and others. They are impulsive, rash, and thoughtless it seems mostly. Their actions appear to be driven by the moment, rather than a higher, dedicated purpose.

After the primary combatants were eliminated or injured to sufficiently claim victory, I went around and finished off any survivors. I then moved to Worg immediately and claimed my part of the booty under color of maritime law. I was rewarded with a wand of feather fall. A rather helpful, and valuable magical item. I also received a share of the gold. All in all, it turned out well. After the captain scuttled the invisible ship, he hooked up the smaller, rowed ship, and headed west.

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From the Journal of Khaterina Arlen (Entry 2)

Our fat was pulled out of the fire by a strange attractive swordsman and his employer, a woman by the name of Wen. She is a high priestess of Abadar, and took us into the temple to let us lay low for a few days. I cannot say this is the brightest thing I have done, to help this old man of an Alchemist, but I have to live with it. The contract was really my only option as it got us out of the city, but it should be fascinating.

We are to retrieve a sword stolen from an Abadarian vault, which I didn’t think was even possible. The woman’s name is Tirianna and from Kaer Maga, and I will have to improve my magical ability significantly if I am to take down someone who was able to break into an Abadar vault. I think our best bet is to track down her subordinates and use that to get at the woman, and the new member of our group seems like he could be useful for that. He seems to be quite skilled, even if he is a bit dour.

We took a ship out of the bay, two of them, the Firetreader and the Waterwyrd, I boarded the larger of the two the Firetreader. We were at sea for a few days when we were attacked by orcish and ogre pirates, they were quite violent. I did my best to put a few of them to sleep, and kept the larger ogre’s mind occupied while my comrades fought the rest. I do not think we would have survived if that armoured ogre had had the chance to attack us in full. It was a nightmarish beast, and I was worried, and am very glad my spell worked out, otherwise we might have had bigger issues to face. I spent most of the battle holed up at the front of the ship, wasn’t going to get myself hurt like I was while fleeing my old apartment.

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