Sharn: From Antiquities to Inquisitives

Monsters and Traitors

After leaving the strange metal factory we headed out into the Mournlands. There was some talk about using teleportation to get us back home. I don’t know much about that stuff. But I bet it would have been better than this place.

All the plant life was in a perpetual state of death and there were some dreadful monsters. J, the eladrin agent we saved from the factory gave me a new totem and Zerif a new set of armor. So that helped us get past all the creepy crawlies. But it really was a horrible place. And not a single bunny to chase! What kind of forest doesn’t have any small furry creatures in which to chase and chew on?

Zerif and Eldrik were being rather friendly to each other. I found it very odd and so did Dyer. Those two have never gotten along. So Dyer, Keylith and I tried our best to keep an eye on them. I never really found out what they were up to.

Once out of the Mournlands was when we ran into real trouble. Our first night, out of nowhere Eldrik attacked our Eladrin friend and her partner! These people had helped up. True they made mistakes. But who hasn’t? And they were on their way to admit what they had done and atone. That is more than what most would do. Eldrik had no right attacking them. Traitor!

I ran after him, and showed him what my teeth could do! I will admit, I was no angry I may have over done it. I burst out of my wolf fur and attacked with the fangs and claws of a wolverine. And Zerif, my best friend came to my aid! He attacked with the little handled teeth he carries (since his natural ones are not very effective). I told Eldrik to show me his throat. Showing submission is the only way to show regret and ask forgiveness in such a situation. But he would not and like the coward he is, tried to run away. Run away! From me! Now that I think about it, the attempt is very humorous.

I ran him down and Zerif and I subdued him. Dyer was not happy, thinking Zerif and I acted too quickly. And Keylith kept her own council. But he attacked those weaker then himself, who had helped us, and where under our protection. Traitors deserve no better!

I am not sure what we will do now. I hope we don’t split up. Separating the pack is never a good thing. But I will follow my friend Zerif, who I can always rely on. Though I will miss Keylith and Dyer if we do separate.

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Thoughts on Success

Translated from the journal of Dyer’ Mi Shaton. The original text being written in a complex cipher utilizing the languages of demons, madness, elf and dreams.

There is little time to write, and a great deal that hastens to be yet done. Yet I hope that by penning away thoughts of the past few days, I might clear my mind to progress on unhindered.

We have traveled little in distance since the last time I had a moment to enter my thoughts here, yet our position continues even now to alter from moment to moment. Less than two days we have spent in this place, but the impact of our visit here may take years to fully manifest in our fortunes. Assuming that we live to spend that time, and our fortunes do not end here as so many others have before us.

Having traveled further into the lost Cannith facility, it has become clear that this place is not a mere lab or research facility. It is, or at least was, a full Creation Forge. Much of the side chambers have been collapsed, but enough of the work rooms remain to mark this place as a singular find.

After leaving the lab we first entered, we came upon and dispatched greater than a squad of hobgoblins and bugbears who had set up camp in a storage or communal barracks. We continued exploring the complex, aided by an unwilling prisoner who we pushed ahead at spear point. He also came to inform to us the nature of himself and his fellow brutes occupying this place, as well as putting name to the leaders we should expect. The first of this upper echelon we found hiding in another laboratory further inward, behind a mixed guard of goblinkind and foul constructions of oversize warforged blended with necrotic flesh. The living guard did not succumb to Zerif and Erdirk’s morbid attempt to mine corpses, but their actions at a minimum did appear to have unnerved the guards enough to force them to fall back. They attempted to protect one of their leaders, some sort of artificer. The creature was also accompanied by an unusual beastly form of construct that attempted to protect its master. We would come to see larger variations of this thing soon, but for now it did little to deter us. It failed to keep its charge alive, but in turn we failed to collect more than notes and evidence rather than a direct source who might have been able to respond to questions. I did though impose upon Zerif’s storage thought to secure the remains, as they may prove a resource or some other worth at a later time.

My fellows and I took the precaution to barricaded ourselves in the secured lab and rested. Not held back by the same requirements for rest as the others, I spent my supplementary time looking into the research and materials that were being put to use by the Blade Bear artificer. Finding nothing that could be of immediate use, though enough of monetary value to divide up, we pressed on.

The next route we came across we were forced to bypass. A passageway whose entrance chamber was beset by mechanical deterrents. Zerif, having been incapable of handling the challenges that the House masters had built themselves, lagged behind as we moved ahead to discover what was once the main foyer to the forge. Though blocked off as a route of egress, we were still greeted there. Alas, our host turned out to be the forge ghost of this place’s now deceased foreman and Lord of House Cannith. It appears his study of nercomatic lore paid dues beyond his living opus. He was not pleased with our presence and before departing to continue is duties, the former lord demonstrated a continued jurisdiction over the residence of the forge. Even in their death, they toiled in response to his call . Necrotic flame, clouds of ashen bone twisting to display the shapes of the souls once bound to them, and a massive chain of larger bones reshaped into that of a segmented worm assaulted us. Zerif returned in time to again have much of his blood spilled about the room, but in the end we passed these challenges as well

This time, in the back room, Keyleth managed to come upon but not bisect by means of her dual swords a source of information. A half-elf apprentice, locked in as if being held against his will but otherwise unmarked. The boy was able to confirm some of the information we had gathered, as well as add in more details. Whether his stories are reliable or not, is still something unproven.

It appears he and his Eladrin Mistress had employed (and he says were later betrayed by) the gobliniods we had been killing. Taking coin as mercenaries, the boy says that they were unaware that they had in truth employed Blade Bears with their own goals. All were led to this place on behalf of the Citadel, a layer of complication unwelcome when there are so many other power brokers willing to tear into us for being here. By this time we also became aware that some sort of living construct awaited us deeper in the complex, and was making efforts to demonstrate the potential power of this fully operational creation forge. Not wanting to witness such a thing, we proceeded deeper into a magma chamber leading to the forge proper. There we were again best by the Cannith forge ghost, but this time he lingered long enough for us to put him down.

Needing again to rest, a storage room was converted to meet our needs. There we were surprised to be reunited with Fang. Judging ourselves prepared for a final confrontation within the heart of the forge, Zerif examined the doors to adjoining rooms before we proceeded. The attached chamber contained a riotous assemble of chains, waste pits, and weighty arcane apparatus. There we killed the last of the Blade beares and their military leader, who attempted to ambush us amongst the cogs and mechanics of the running forge. We turned their assault aside without pause. Fang then proceeded to demonstrate that her time away had not changed her manners, as she attempted to pull a large crystal of equal dimensions to herself out from the machinery utilizing nothing but her teeth. I think she might have intended to bury it if she had been successful. We then found the missing Eladin female artificer in the next room. Erdick set out to try and hire the lady on as an employee, with the same vain determination as Fang had with the fore mentioned crystal. In comparison though, Erdick is likely to bury his would be employee having not been successful.

While unwilling to directly aid us, the lady artificer did confirm that the remaining chamber held the forge itself as well as the grand construct that we had been warned of and whose existance was linked to the creation of the smaller drake warforged beasts that we had encountered thus far. We managed to talk her into passivity, but she intends on quickly returning to the Citadel and accounting for her misdeeds and failures. How to deal with that problem must be weighed carefully, as she may be needed either to activate the portal back to Sharn (if at all possible) or to guide us out of the Mournlands if we proceed away by foot. Yet I do not trust her, and can not be certain that even if she is honest that she will not inadvertently cause my fellows or myself harm. There is though always the option of seeking a bounty from the Citadel for this failed duo, but if sincere they may also present a great opportunity for introduction into the Citadel’s inner workings. Still, there are certainly those that will kill us simply for knowing of this place, and it may be best to leave no trace or witness to our actions. Then there are the even greater magnitude of tensions the actual lore contained here will raise should any of it get out, which will prove to quickly envelope us should my fellows fail to take the appropriate degree of care. And as I have noted before, care is not a trait my fellows demonstrate in abundance.

At last we faced the creature at the center of forge. I gave consideration to the option of being able to subdue the beast construct with some commands or by way of discourse, as it might have be shown to be useful to our various pursuits intact. Again though, upon greeting us it too did not prove to be tolerant of our intrusion or respectful of our intellect. An attitude likely not helped by Fang’s insistence on demonstrating her position as the alpha queen by hurtling herself at the far larger beast. My fellows paid for their insistence on always running deep into hostile rooms with a momentary loss of their free will to this creature. I do not know if the beast would have been able to overcome my will, but it was at least not able to outthink my cautious intellect. leaving me to continue the onslaught. Blazed arks of energy and power from the forge sizzled about the creature, and it tossed and flung most of my fellows around the room. It even called forth malformed or seemingly incomplete smaller constructs of a design similar to its own. These were ment to haggier us and act as sacrificial barriers in response to our aggressive acts. It did not succeed for long, and it too was sundered by our effort. Though Zerif again left pools of blood about. I am puzzled by which may be the lesser of him, the amount of skin left unmarred about his person or the degree of unstained cloth in his wardrobe. Still, the creature was formidable, as it even left charred marks on me in exchange for my efforts to harm it.

Now we find ourselves in a tomb of a creation forge, silent again since the death of the dire creature awakened within it’s heart. Erdick seems intent on taking possession of this place. I fear that even as well start a simple inventory, that more forces of the gobliniod factions we have faced or additional agents of the Citadel will be headed here soon. They will surely be looking for this place, and it may be only a matter of time before we are caught off guard. Even without that threat, how long before something form the surface of the Mournland comes to find out what has been causing echoes down below. I am not one to be put off by the vile research conducted here, but the horrors of the Mournland are less easily dismissed. That is not to say that I believe that the forge itself may not still be a source of theat. All possibilities considered, it is I believe best to leave as sooner rather than following any delay motivated by glutinous whims.

Now having cleared my mind of the route behind me, I must set aside this pen and begin to discuss with the others what comes next. I will offer my counsel on the most sensible actions, but first we must account for what options present themselves. I hope that there is a way of reopening the portal back to the sewers of Sharn, and that there is enough materials left about here to activate it at least once. If not, I do not enjoy the prospect of walking out of the Mournlands. But knowing the options is only half the struggle ahead, as there is also the heavy task of trying to get the others to follow a sensible way forward. These follows who have in the past always ran ahead into rooms, despite the near death it has brought them so many times. Regrettably, I can imagine what they may be wishing to do…and what I might be put in a position to do as a consequence.

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Good News Everyone!
I have terrible news...

Greetings potential foreign investors. I am pleased to inform you of some recent developments here at Naked Industries. Thanks to a special investigative effort lead by our CEO and CTO, one Erdrick Ust Nautha Zwi-Chrast, we are please to announce the acquisition of our exclusive semi-autonomous artificial intelligence task drones construction facility. We came across vengeful spirit of House Cannith (angered at the atrocities committed by his brethren) who inhabited this facility. As thanks for for sending him on his way to the after life, we have started cleaning out the trash and sprucing the place up with his blessing. You can now see our logo proudly emblazoned on the floor of the lobby. Now we were not the only ones tasked by this spirit. It seems that some other independent agents were also tasked with the restoration of the facility. One went native and joined with the Hobgoblins who have attempted to usurp this facility from its rightful new owners (me). The other tragically lost his life due to the treachery of an individual whose name I personally refuse to sully. As that is just not in my nature.

I won’t waste your time with the excessive details in how I managed to disable several of the ingenious traps with the greatest of ease. Or how with excessive use of my Gugnir Pulse Carbine MkI I managed to tactically disable the rogue constructs raging throughout the upper levels of the facility. What I will tell you is about the exciting new products that will soon be rolling off our assembly lines!

WAIT A MINUTE! Erdrick? Doesn’t this sound a lot like a creation forge that once belonged to House Cannith in the once prosperous nation of Cyre that has now become the stinking shithole known as the Mournlands?” Why you would be almost correct in your assumption. For you see Cyre was the nation that had the creation forges in them and gave rise the intelligent species known as the Warforged. But their creation was not an altruistic one and their treatment as little more than a slave war force during the war was one of the great horrors unleashed by House Cannith. We on the other hand have taken the moral high ground. Where our autonomous drones will have a semblance of intelligence in order to perform high functioning tasks, we have not crossed that threshold in to true sapience. Because we here at Naked Industries, respect the treaty that ended the war and will not repeat the same past mistakes.

Naked Industries would like to take a moment to thank several contract employees without whose help this would not have been possible. Lady Keyleth, and Lords Dyer and Aldos. Fuck your couch Zerif. The preceding message has been brought to you by Naked Industries. Remember, if it’s not Naked, you’re not trying hard enough!

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Thoughts on Travel-Dyer

Translated from the journal of Dyer’ Mi Shaton. The original text being written in a complex cipher utilizing the languages of demons, madness, elf and dreams.

I write this as my fellow continue resting, using the additional time my superior fey blood allows me to jot down some thoughts in a hope that doing so will allow me clarify the mysteries of the last few hours.

We find ourselves in a situation I can not be precise about. I do not share all my suspicions with the others, as it is nether important to our immediate needs nor are the implications likely to fully register to them. It will need to be discussed soon, but that can wait for the others to finish resting.

We came here through a portal, located in the sewers of Sharn within a closed off chamber not far below the spot the others left a Daask hooligan I had hoped to be able to ask some questions of. Zerif, Keyleth, Aldos, Erdirck and I returned down ahead of the others, and found the “prisoner” gone. I often think that they do these silly things so ineffectively as a way to vex me. They keep a halfling who knows nothing of worth for endless days, but can not secure a villain with knowledge of the inner workings of Daask and insight into all of us for even a few hours. If I thought them crafty enough, I’d suspect that one had snuck back and finished off the man before he could tell the rest of us some secrete they had been hiding.

Exploring the nearby areas resulted in Zerif yet again charred from a serious of snares, but did gain us access to a camber containing a cluster of goblin carcasses of some age. One of which was in possession of notes and a satchel belonging to a noble of House Cannith, detailing research and pursuit of a Xendrik artifacts and darker areas of study than typical of that house. After stuffing the skull of this creature into Zerif’s magical bag, and after he again found a snare by allowing it to burn off the outer layers of his skin, we located more goblin corpses bearing the trappings of an exploration team. All having died in combat with some unknown foe. There, a nearby wall radiated strange vibrations of magic.

My tentativeness was counterbalanced by Erdirck’s hasty ego, as he pushed through this wall and into the unknown. Followed shortly by the other, who seem to have forgotten the nearly fatal rush into the darkness that almost allowed a acrid cube of gelatinous solvent to dissolve several of them a short while ago. I attempted to secure a route back as best I could, and for lack of a better available avenue found myself headed after them.

Now perhaps the best I can hope is that the others left behind find that rope and it leads them toward us. Not the best of fortunes for them, but other sources of reinforcements are not likely.

The other side of this magical portal found us in a desolate and oddly dulled stretch of open land. Among the rocky and hilled landscape, a nearby cave seemed to have been blasted open. My immediate thoughts, based on the writings from the Cannith scholor I had reviewed so far, was that we had been brought to Xendrik. The wrongness and ill nature to the very air though also brought to mind the possibility of having been taken to one of the nearby planes. While I was able to quickly dismiss that possibility, my mind continued for some minutes to fixate on the concept that we had found ourselves in a manifest zone of some ill natured plane. I think now that such an outcome would have been better than what I have come to believe is the truth of our situation.

Peculiar noises and the signs of danger, including phantom forms circling, soon made it prudent to make hast to the cave. Hopes of having some level of protection there were quick fouled. We found the entrance guarded by a squad of well armored hobgoblins, who wasted not a moment in raising arms against us. Leaping from over boulders and from among the rocks, they attempted to swarm over us. Still, they found the combat less to their advantage than if they had waited and parlayed with us as Erdrick seemed to have attempted. Their apparent captain was rather lethal individual, swinging a glavie with enough potency to fling several of us about at a time back. In the end though, they all fell. Yet again, my fellows fail to see the benefit of keeping at least one around to talk, with Keyleth raining furious sword blows upon the weakened captain even as he lay crippled in the dirt where my magic had pinned him to the ground. Maybe vile actions are primed by something in the air, as Zerif seems to have resorted to rather barbarous means of dispatching the opponent he struggled with deeper in the cave. I did not see it myself, but Erdick was much closer to him at the end of the fight and his tongue is ever spitting out his mind’s thoughts. He taunted Zerif for some minutes, commenting on Zerif’s willingness resort to biting to bring down that hobgoblin during the last moments of their private struggle.

While some of us surveyed the dead and the others bound wounds, Zerif tired of listening to Erdrick’s prattle and went exploring. This time brought more clues to our predicament, though I would not realize their significance until the final piece of the puzzle fell into place a while later. Those who were injured by the hobgoblin’s found it much harder to bind wounds and restore themselves than typical. The air here saps the very flesh, reminding it that life is not welcome in this land and resisting its presence. We even noted all plant life near to be withered and dead. Strange manifestations of power continued, causing our foes’ weapons to sizzle and corrode. A further sign of how unnatural these hills that once were a center of an empire have become.

The dead hobgoblin’s bore brands of clan markings, but little else of value. Zerif though soon located deeper within the cave a dead goblin down a shaft that had been cut by a waterfall, but he nearly broke his nose as he slipped trying to get down to it. I instead found myself at the bottom of the pit, and assessed the body of a goblin sage. This one bore marks that made him as a member of the Wordbearer clan. I hope to one day be able to inquire of this one’s spirit what secretes it keeps of the long lost Dhakanni empire, and cajoled Zerif into putting the whole wrapped body into his bag as well. The others find their treasures, but scoffed at this true treasure as one might overlook a tarnished coin. If I can find the means, this corpse may hold enough worth to make all this worth while. Now though I realize his presence here should have also warned my mind that Xendrik may not have been our location after all. Certainly it would be possible for a member of this goblin clan to travel that distance, but relics of the Dhakanni empire are not found across the sea.

This strange find did opened, if only a mere crack, in my thinking and allowed me a glimpse at our true location. Yet, though my mind is barren of irrational hopes, it seems that some part of me refused to see the facts right before me. Instead of examining that line of thinking, I allowed myself to be distracted by the simpler and more direct question of what else these caves contain.
Having regrouped and rested for a few minutes, we proceeded down another shaft. Zerif again found a snare by the worst possible of methods, but this one being far more potent than the fire blasts back in the sewers. One that also nearly broke my spine as well. Zerif, still wounded though got the worst, as both of us were forcefully blasted by an arcane ward. Further, it flung us up to the passage’s ceiling then only to let us fall equally painfully to the ground once again. As Zerif proceeded to bled out, I managed to drag him back from the area under the ward’s sway. Erdrick, again indulging his hasty ego, simply left the rest of us in a dash to the other end of the cavern. Luckily for Zerif, Aldos remained long enough to bring him back, before he too rushed down the passage. Zerif followed them quickly, as did Keyleth once she stopped talking to her swords about whether or not to do so. I remained back long enough for the ward to appear to fade, and to be sure that the trap was not going to block us should we need to retreat with hast from whatever was behind a door the others found at the far end of the cavern.

Past that door and down a constructed underground chamber, a wall had been breached by force. Zerif and Erdrick peaked in enough to see a chamber outfitted to construct or at least research warforged, including incomplete or experimental versions and a arcane machine with a pulsing purple stone at its apex. We rested briefly before entering this strange workshop, and it was fortunate that we did. Keyleth was rushed a mere moment after passing the threshold of the chamber by every one of the decrepit warforged in the chamber. Soon even the strange machine was acting against us, flashing bolts of energy against us and using these same pulses to raise up the warforged we put down. Keyleth again took blow after blow, with Erdrick working feverously to keep her from falling and Aldos doing what he could as well. I in the meantime made my way to the strange machine and set to deactivating it, striking at these forms as I could with blots formed from the spaces between all places.

With the strange warforged all broken and the machine now reset to now help guard us in this abandoned chamber, we set to rest after all this. It has left us physically drained, but not enough to put our minds to sleep. I can see the glow in Erdrick’s eyes at finding this workshop, but I am not sure if its significance has completely penetrated his intellectual fever. I can not but admit that such a place of curiosity and secrete studies holds much interest for me as well, but I find myself distracted even as I hold myself in trance. The others seem content to contemplate potential treasure, or think on what will come next. I do not believe though they think on the right question, a habit I try to break them of often but to no avail. Then again, perhaps not thinking on that question will allow them to enjoy this rest, and hold hope that they will profit from treasures of whatever sort they prize from within these caves. To me it is madness not to ask it, but it may it just be a clarity that comes from staring into madness that lets me think on this puzzle.

Even if they asked it, would they know how the clues fit to solve the truly important question at hand?

Warforged workshops. House Cannith. The strange atmosphere. Even the Hobgoblin clans, who are far more likely to have set out from Darguun to lands nearby than across the sea in search of plunder or relics from their ancestor’s grand kingdom. There are no jungles here, and the ruins are not those sized to fit the giants of eons ago. They are of a more recent fall, of a much briefer empire. The creatures outside are not exotic breeds from across the sea. Anything still native to roaming these landscapes are no longer natural, no matter how exotic one’s thinking, and are perhaps even less hospitable than what travel in even the wildest parts of Xendrick or even the rest of Khorviare.

We are not in some patch of Xendrik under sway of foul planes. We are not nearly so far from Sharn, though in spirit we could not be further.

We are in the land that was once the seat of House Cannith’s power. We are somewhere in Cyre, hopefully close to the border with Darguun if the hobgolin’s did not travel far.

Of course, Cyre is gone. The land fallen and sour.

We are in the Mournland.

And there is no certainty we will ever leave.

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One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer

So today’s report is going to be short and sweet cause home boy here needs to get his drink on. Also because I’m minorly annoyed that once again, this report fall to ME to be done. Not all of us went back down for today’s escapades. Dyer was off doing whoever the fuck knows. Fang? Probably chewing on a bone, some dead animal or her crotch. I could care less about the fleabag. We went back down in to the sewers to go after more dragon shards. Needless to say it was s short trip. We got ambushed… again… by halflings… I swear these halfling mafioso are worse than a case a herpes.

I really shouldn’t be saying this. AGAIN… but DO NOT TORTURE IN FRONT OF THE PALADIN. While yes, older orders editions had them being paragons of good and virtue and now they are more paragons of a code, Al strikes me as an old school kind of guy. Would I like to see Al as the Paragon of Awesome? Yes. Because then we could roam the universe as utter bro’s tearing shit up and eating delicious sandwiches. But as he is of the latter persuasion, STOP TORTURING IN FRONT OF THE PALADIN. Oh, and while you might not like what we (Al and I) did Zerif, we DID untie that Halfling you tortured and let him go. NEENER NEENER NEEEEEEENNERRRR!

Not much else happened. We made a little more headway in to the sewers/catacombs/long ass labyrinth. Probably the most important thing that happened was that Bloodbath & Beyond has just rolled out its new line of personal defense systems! That right the all new Einherjar Armed Combat Suits Mk2 has just been introduced and the results were better than anticipated. Reports are coming in from all over Sharn of satisfied costumers lauding the extra defense boost they received while in the Einherjar Mk2 Suits.

Some might ask “But Erdrick! I’m an old school tank and spank kind of guy who likes to wear heavy armor, and you always go around in those classy leather suits. How is that even worth my time?” And that IS a good question, but have no fear! At Bloodbath & Beyond we take in to account our eclectic customers and the Einherjar Armed Combat Suit Mk2 comes in three varieties Silmeria (light), Lenneth (medium) and Hrist (heavy), each specially tailored for your individual combat needs. Stop in this week and trade in your old Mk1 suits and we’ll give you a 10% discount!

The previous report has been brought to you by Bloodbath & Beyond. Bloodbath & Beyond LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Naked Industries. Remember if it’s not Naked, you’re not trying hard enough.

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I NEED MORE SCHNAPS! - Erdrick

So after a few days of working in the shop, I finally decided to meet up with the others and see how their investigations (read: bulldozing) into the shard went. Surprise, surprise they were getting nowhere, less than nowhere. These guys (coughcoughDyercough) were all over the place. Imagine a hyperactive child who is overstimulated, tossed in to a room full of toys, then shot full of speed and adrenaline just for lulz and told ‘you only get one’. That is the kind of attention spam I’m dealing with.

To make matters worse, people are starting to have ‘issues’. I’m LOOKING AT YOU ZERIF! He spent the better part of the day crying bitch tears doing nothing. There’s a saying on how to deal with what you have; “Hydrate, stretch, and man the frak up”. Key seemed to be in a foul mood, but when you run in to your arch-rival and she shows you up, who wouldn’t be. I applaud her passive aggressive vandalism in order to taint (hehe taint) the reputation of Scarlet. Kudos my dear. Al’s been busy with his Order recently, but what else do you expect from paladins? Fang… I’m beginning to suspect Fang is either; A: a shapeshifter; 2: someone whose been hit with a polymorph, or π: a druid who chooses to stay in her animal form. Either of these options doesn’t bother me too much. She packs a solid punch in a fight and has proven herself effectual. But if she wants to be treated like a person, she should god damned act like one. Until then WHOSE A FUFFY PUPPY?! WHOSE A FUFFY PUPPY?!

So my ADHD addled companions couldn’t quite decide what to do. I TRIED to get us back on track by giving a logical argument on going after the source of the Dragon Shards below Sharn. Key being the biggest detractor stating something… sewers, blah, blah. I wasn’t really paying attention. But I suspect its because she doesn’t like getting hit by big random pieces of meat in dark, smelly places. To each his own. Taking a page from Al’s book, I suggested we return the personal effects of the changeling that died a few weeks back. We also had this Dorf and Tiefling on loan from Cloud. Not the brightest pair, but Jello, there’s always room for more meat shields.

Visiting the house gave little in the way of leads, other than Dyer, Key and the flea bag coming up with this brilliant (read: retarded) plan of ambushing the butler later for more info. But until that time, I went drinking with the Dorf and Tiefling kid. (It was only 10:30, but that’s what alcoholism’s all about. Amirite?) Well dusk happens and Al and I are up in some kids tree house having snacks watching this travesty unfold. They amazingly used restraint. They got some fairly useless information that probably could have been deduced if I wasn’t so damned drunk. To alleviate this urge to kill all humans, we decided to check out one of the leads on the drugs. Turns out the bastards were using dragon shards and processing them into snuff. Really? That’s what you’re using them for? At least turn them in to residuum. So I felt we needed to pay them a… what’s the word I’m looking for? Visit? No, that’s not it… BEATING! Yes, we needed to pay them a beating.

Yeah, busting into that drug processing plant was a JOKE. An utter JOKE. Although this time I took the leader and I will be interrogating him. Cause last time I left someone in Dyer’s hand the moron tortured the guy in front of Al. A paladin. I’ll let you swish that around in your mouth a little. He TORTURED a man IN FRONT of a PAL-A-DIN. And by torture I mean he cut his head off. /golfclap. Didn’t even butter him up a little. No good cop, bad cop. Didn’t even bother to put on a little Stealers Wheel. Just off with the head. What a dumbass. So yeah, that’s pretty much it. I’m going back to drinking.

The previous report has been brought to you by Bloodbath & Beyond. We’ve been working on a larger, more modified version of the patented Gugnir Pulse Carbine Rail System. Something we like to call the Mjollnir Heavy Support Weapons System Mk1. This thing is guaranteed to pack a punch through any dumb SOB that decides to bust down your front door. With both a portable and mounted platform these babies are the ultimate answer to front door protection. Order yours today. Bloodbath & Beyond LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Naked Industries. Remember if it’s not Naked, you’re not trying hard enough.

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We're on an Airship - Keyleth

Ok, so the journal entry is through Keyleth’s eyes. I know for a fact I can’t do an awesome job like some of you but, will try my best!!

So our story begins with a grand announcement that we are invited to a grand affair. My immediate thought: “SHOPPING!!” We all had to look like we were dressed to impress, even Fang!! After which we all looked so snazzy we discussed who would take the dog. Fang had to be on her best behavior we didn’t want to get declined or kicked off the airship. Dyer and I had decided that we would take Fang. Since Zerif would be acting like he worked alone, good cover, we all thought! Another cover was that Dyer and I were “together” only for a disguise so he would be accompanying me for the night alongside Fang. As we all made it on the boat safely dyer, fang and I gave a nodded to our buddy Zerif. He would go on his own as a lone wolf but, hopefully would be reunited with his wolf pack.

We all look onward toward our mission all having different ones at the time mine getting drunk, Fang eating tasting food and Dyers just doing the investigating as usual. We all explored areas of the boat as began to do so we saw many familiar faces detective Breven was down stairs for the majority of the time. Kelslon who came out of the room that we later found Scarlet Jax’s doing the same.

First, person we saw was my ached enemy Scarlet Jax as I was reminded of what she had done to me and about to say a few words about it to Dyer I looked beside me and noticed instead of talking to my swords I was talking to a dog. Dyer had already made his way with the rest of the swarm of men around Scarlet .I whispered under my breath be careful l and always be on your toes but, like a man I knew he wouldn’t have paid any attention. I thought to myself (guess I said it out loud) well…she hasn’t changed a bit! Just as I was making my way toward her to cause a scene I was reminded by a good friend (Zerif) to remain calm he had some information I would love to use against that broad. So fang and I started to enjoy the cuisine (steak kabobs) Not drinking a lot because I knew I would have to fight this #@$%* I steady myself for once! Scarlet excused herself from the crowd of men that was surrounding her to go to the bathroom.

Fang nudge me to follow as I made eye contact with Dyer he knew there was something up and there might be a scene he would need to hose off. Fang and I went up stairs to have a meeting in the ladies room we hoped we could be back real soon with no evidence of what had happened. As I grew impatience waiting for the!@#$%. Told fang well bride her with a treat to stay and make any commotion to make me aware. I stared to do some of my own investigating what?! I guess Dyer rub off on me for a moment. Zerif and Dyer were both down stairs little did I know it had been a good twenty minutes waiting for Scarlet. Dyer made his way up to see what was going on making sure there was no drama for the mama. He said “Zerif is doing an excellent job portraying that he isn’t associated with us and hopefully getting some good information. Immediately after he finished his statement the bathroom door began to open as I turn around to make a move Scarlet replies “Keyleth WATCH OUT!! Then, throws her dagger straight at me!!” Thinking to myself “Your joking right?!” In a blink of an eye we see a Halfling lying there died waiting for gratitude from me about the kill and my life. I respond with but, immediately interrupted by her with Well… are you going to thank me or what?! Rolling my eyes Dyer agrees and in ah of her ways he says “Yes, thank the woman” I glare at him and roll my eyes only to look down and notice that Fang has gone missing Oh no!! My eyes widen with shock and amazement that Fang is missing and excuse myself to go have a drink but really looking for her down stairs I haven’t had more than a drink tell you and this is what I get myself into I need more!! Staring my mission to find Fang I find myself at the bar singing a lovely song “I’m all alone there’s no one her beside me but, you got to have friends come on everyone!! That’s when they announce it grub time!! I mean meal time!!

I see Dyer and Fang making their way down the stairs but, not with Scarlet?! What a shock I think to myself the way he was l over her I was sure she would have played along?! Something’s up I just know it!! Thinking Fang was happy to see me she ran pass me to Kelson of course. I make eye contact with Dyer throwing him a wink and a gesture with my head to motion which way Fang went. With a look of disappointment on his face thinking that Fang would have just made it easy on him and come to me decides to non chalet to get her. I offer her some food under the table making sure nobody notices but, as if I really cared.

As we look in Zerif’s way we see him trying to bluff his way into the door where we all noticed that Scarlet and Kelson came out of. Dyer and I knew we needed a distraction and quick! Before we could think of one Fang had decided to pull the table cloth of and that’s when we knew it was our queue GO TIME! Dyer and I started arguing about various thing acting like an old married couple at the time which I guess got the attention of most. Just in the nick of time Zerif got into the room and Fang went on her way with the steak knowing it would be her last treat for a while. As I made my way to another table disgusted with Dyer by this time he had ordered everyone drinks.

As I watched everyone enjoying their drinks and being merry and happy at this time I had decided I would try my luck at joining Zerif. Ready to talk to that !%^&* I decided to start chit chatting with one of the boys reminiscing about the falling men at least he portrayed it that way and thinking man, those boys were great I hope they fell with dignity and pride even though I really believe in everything she does is for herself. I kept thinking to myself I bet that *&%$# she just persuading one of my the wolves in the pack I have to get in there ASAP because I was going to be Damned if that happened again to me!! Finall,y making it into the room all amped up ready to kill the only person I see is Zerif I quickly respond with where’s the !@#$%?!?!?! Don’t get me wrong I was happy one minute to see him not talking to Jax’s but, the next I was mad because he wasn’t talking to her !! It’s on like Donkey Kong Scarlet Jax!! We must find her!! As he finishes packing the drugs up into the bag we do some investigating to find where they keep coming in and out of.

He found a hidden door that we enter into a whole different part of the airship as we look around there’s the broad!! Heading outside the window as she perches herself as if she’s going to just fall out the window she’s responds with”Really I’m in a dress!” I run to push her out the window but, not fast enough she gives us her signature move by blowing a kiss, winking and exits. AHH HELL NO THIS NOT HAPPENING!!Thinking quickly and on my toes (as quick I could being a little wasted) I follow out the window after her! What?! I wasn’t about to let her just go slip right out of my hands again who knew when we would be this close again! I would have my revenge whether or not my wolf pack would see it or not they would see her dead body on the ground and me having a triumphant look upon my face like I was WINNING!! As I yell upward to Zerif “Are you coming?” I immediately knew he wouldn’t be. As I see him just stare out the window down at me. Many thoughts went through my head would I get to see the wolf pack again? Was Zerif that the last person I would see if my mission failed. How far down am I going? As I reeled myself back to the case at hand which was oh there she is Scarlet Jax I could smell her I was only finger tips away from her as soon as I went to reach to grab her Jax’s reflexes were quicker then mine at the time leaving me no idea where she could be!! WHAT?!?! YOU GOT TO BE JOKEING ME!! So I wanted to blame the fog, darkness, couldn’t find her, my closed eyes?(Possible it really was happening) As I landed on my feet thinking I will chase after looking to my left and my right Jax was nowhere in sight !

So then, I started to remiss about how the night went overall. Man oh man I got lucky!! NO ABSOLUTLEY NOT WITH DYER!! With the events that happened on the airship things could have turn ugly real quick on that airship but, I was proud of myself for not giving into the games many played on the boat. I finally got to use my words of persuasion on one of the “boys” but, knew in the back of my mind if he didn’t see through my b.s. he wasn’t going to make it . As I was feeling all high and mighty with myself in the ally all of a sudden a huge recognizable bag fell into my arm that’s right the drug bag that Zerif found while he was in the room before I could enter to help load it up.

As I began to look up at the sky to thank my deity I realized I didn’t really chose one. I will keep that to myself and not tell the wolf pack. It’s like politics you just don’t discuss it as a group. While I was thinking this all out loud I keep hearing a loud commotion up in the sky and hoped that everything was ok with the wolf pack. Not knowing this at the time it was Dyer and Fang parking the VERY EXPENSIVE aircraft they borrowed NOT STOLE I believe they had every intention of returning it. As I noticed a shadowy figure above me on the roof top I thought great I’m all alone here in a dress as I looked closer I realized it wasn’t a human figure it was an animal maybe a dog?! I sure hoped it was Fang. Soon enough we would all met at the “place”. At the tavern that I was just passing by I noticed an aircraft was parked thinking to myself that’s unusual why would a aircraft be parked here. As I entered our “place” with a sign of relief I everyone in the wolf pack except Fang but, then as I got closer I saw Fang.

Finally, as we all sat around the table Dyer and I enjoying ale and Fang enjoying a bone we discussed what might be happening to Zerif. He was left to take all the blame then, I realized Zerif can take care of himself as a matter of fact I’m sure nobody would admit to it but, he was the best at protecting his ass. We knew her would join us sooner than later but, when?! Then, we discussed how the night went overall well ..never as planned is what we all thought but, that’s our style then, I went on to one of my rants and raves about Scarlet and the next time we would meet.

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Thoughts verses Actions-Dyer

Translated from the journal of Dyer’ Mi Shaton. The original text being written in a complex cipher utilizing the languages of demons, madness, elf and the realm of dreams.

Following the breaking off from my fellows at the Rusted Wrench, I set about a quick trip across Sharn, my mind tossing about the various tasks at hand.

First, I found a morose fellow of old acquaintance, negotiated a simple price for a his services. Crump is a street peddler, but he has been known to buy bits from the pockets of the dead the guard sweep up from the streets. The guard get a few coins, and Crump sells some goods that he knows no one will be missing. Now, acquiring the skull from a dead man is little out of his usual business, but my guess is he can convince the same guards who pick the dead’s pockets to subvert the skull of the changeling who died infront of Haven trip to a potter’s field. If not, there are always other ways. I might have engaged a Halfling to steal the bag of bones directly from the grave, but I have decided to forego such services until this current unpleasantness with the Boromar Clan is more settled. Not that my fellows are helping that matter, but I did not know that yet.

Stopping by my hovel to pick amongst the meager books and references I have at hand, I then went to Haven to begin trying to puzzle out the cryptic nature of the shard we have come upon. Taking up my usual corner table, I set to work. Breaking to write a letter to the CLOUD bosses and shell out a few coins to another street level associate, who with a little luck will tell me should any Halfling cut throats start asking questions about my whereabouts. Another break allows me a moment to send off a second letter, this to a friend who manages The Museum of Oddities. The place is an eclectic array of trinkets, some dating back to the age of Giants and most labeled more for show than academic accuracy. Still, Mortimer has good knowledge of the odd and might be able to tell me more about this accursed shard.

Time past. I rested in mediation at the table as needed, but found disappointingly little from my books. Yet, knowledge is the an investment that is often long in showing gains.
When they return, my fellows wear stains of blood and filth. Oddly the smell of oil hangs about them. Nothing prepares me for the new they come baring. They have yet again managed to draw blood from the Boromar Clan. They bring papers and a few trinkets, but as many questions as hints of answers. I would have rather heard less of killing, and seen a sample of the strange ooze they describe or had been given the blood or bone of the great lizard. That is nothing now. I am intent on their tail, and shake my head. I help the scyer through the papers and journals they have scrounged up. Names of drug peddlers, suspicions of the Halfling mind. With that, we set to moving a step forward in this investigation. It seems that shards are being bond to powdered drugs, to enhance their illicit effect. Profit drives these men, but too me it is a waste of potential. The worth of shards should not be measured in coins.

The fellows and I look for a way to find out where these enhanced drugs are coming from, but have nothing more to start with than those on the street who sell them from the alley ways. Proceeding debate, we agree to go to one such knave. A mixed blood orc man titled Jar, who made himself master of like minded simpletons. From behind a cart of apples, these urchins sell their illicit mixtures of both mundane and potent mixes. They are not a hard group to spy. Having taken over a stretch of alleyways, landings, arches and accompanying stairways among the hovels in Sharn. Some of us approach, others try to fade into the scene, and Fang of course tries to hunt a furred varmint in a nearby tree. It is not hard to get one of the thugs to bring forth Jar, as the minions are not capable of contemplating the idea of more coins than it takes to buy a sword. Jar seems to enjoy to prospect of gaining more coins, and calls for the fellows and I to accompany him up to a landing above to talk. He has spotted our friends who tried to stay back, so we all transverse his little corner of poverty.

Sitting next to Jar, I try not to gag at his unwashed smell. Offers of pay for an introduction to his supplier do not inspire him, nor do temptations of biting the hand that is feeding him. I see little glint of anything in his eyes. He is a mongrel, happy with the bit of streets he has and only hungry enough to snap at what seems easy flesh. He does not heed my warnings to take our peaceful offer, and wants instead to take from us what we have about our persons. His men are around us, even Aldos who has hung back away from our parlay with Jar. When the frenzy begins, it is Jar who is put task. Wildlings and other mongrel men-orcs against the blood of fey is not a even fight. Keyleth is an eruption of blades. Zerif cuts are as unwholesome as the curses I call upon, and Erdrick’s discharge flings feral forms over railings. Fang and Aldos do their part as well, with Fang running down those who tried to flee as if they were hobbled does. Jar falls, but we did not let him perish without answering questions about what he knows of where the shard laced drugs come from.

I have misgivings about what must be done next, but Jar is not a brute to be allowed the chance to stick a knife into one of us a day or week from now. We have crippled his tiny empire and taken his gold, and he is not likely to forget us or suffer such actions without revenge. Diverting attention from our action is required too, and I see a way of doing both. Jar and his hanger-ons conducted himself in open view of their neighborhood. Even if the surrounding streets and their inhabitants know what to see and not to see, I do not want word of our actions being talked of openly. I act as headsmen, with Jar standing in full view of anyone peeking out from their holes. I proclaim the act a sentence of the Boromar Clan, with Aldos’s small frame posed next to us unwitting attesting to my ruse. The act may keep any watching us from talking. Our mustered group has been seen about too much of late, and I fear what motives others are attributing to us. If the guard do hear of this, they may look the other way due to it being but an act of street law being enforced. The Clan of Halflings is a greater concern, Should are actions of late be looked at and pieced together by the clan, my hope is that this execution will confuse them. If the moons are aligned right, maybe they will even be draw to suspect that we could be agents internal to them, who are acting as a part of some internal clan conflict.

With Jar dead, we move pick one of the lead he has left us. Figuring the warehouse where the drugs are said to be enhanced and the dock outside of town where he gets his normal supply are going nowhere, we head off to interrupt a meeting between the city guard and those who purchase shards for later use in the drugs. With little time to spare, we make our way across town to a tavern where the deal is to take place. Aldos stands outside, with Zerif and Fang doing tricks in the street for coins. Before the rest of us enter, I try to be clear to my fellows of how poor an act it would be to assault the guard. They seem too often to insist on finding a way of vexing any authority that is put in their path. Even Erdrick seems to listen this once, though Zerif did announce his intention of at least trying to lift the coin from the guards if the chance presented. We watched the guard go into a back room with a man, while a loathsome breed of bodyguard watched the door. The guard left, unmolested. I discover later that even Zerif’s hopes for extra coin were in vain. Inside I talked my way past the guard and gained a few words with the shard buyer in his den. Enough to verify his business and the need to explore the room more. A few words of planning were passed about us, and Keyleth and Erdrick are set to the task of creating a distraction so that either Zerif or I may encroach into the back den.

Keyleth, for all her grace with blades is not one for the art of subtle distraction. Her portrayal of a inebriated lass, wishing to dance with the man may have been better accomplished by Aldos, had he come inside. Erdrick, as always, took a more direct route. Flinging a dart into the bodyguard creates the distraction we desire, but Zerif is caught with his hand on the door. The door is breeched enough for me to slip through the space between spaces and reappear inside the den, but the man notes my presence inside before the door can again be closed. Again, violence is taken up. The man uses foul magic to possess the other patrons in the tavern. their eyes turning fierce and actions being those of a mob against us. The bodyguard swings wildly at Erdrick, but the dart in his skull proves too much a distraction. Smoke, steel, and bolts of eldritch force lash around. Patrons fall as does the man and his bodyguard. Inside the den, my fellows get distracted at first but then notice a hidden panel. There we discover a bag of shards. The tavern and those inside are looted by my fellows, the pockets of dead turned inside out. We take advantage of the lingering bewilderment of the last two dazed men who had been taken possession of by the man’s magic, and bind them behind the bar. Departing, we make our way to Haven. A message awaits us, telling us of there is a need for us to pursue a task in all haste. The warehouse and our other troubles will need to wait.

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Down by the docks - Fang

I never understood the people who abuse drugs. They don’t offer any sort of nutrition and they don’t make you faster or stronger. Just slower and stupider. But we heard of a drug operation that might give us more information on the corrupt watch and the Boromar clan. So off we went.

The meeting was to take place in an abandoned warehouse by the docks. If that’s not cliché, I don’t know what is. But we all hid in various placed, hoping that one of us would be able to hear what was going on. Keylith hid on the roof, and I found if very amusing that Erdrick went with her. It was like watching a squirrel climb up a tree followed by a horse. Let me tell you, horses do not climb.

Anyway, people always seem to overlook me. This time it worked for me because I got to pick through the garbage in the area. There were some very interesting smells. But despite all that I was trying to keep one ear open. We were all there for information after all. But then I saw this cat. It hissed and ran away. What was I supposed to do? Chase it, that’s what! So I ran after it around the building and being as quick as I am caught the thing! It was very fun. And when I shook it in my jaws the cat’s head flopped around in a most satisfactory way!

Some of my companions can be very selfish. So before I went back to guard duty I wanted to hide it. If one of the others found the cat they might take it for themselves. So I started poking around and I saw another trash can. But this one was much larger. So of course I take a look. But instead of garbage there are bones and orange goo. And not the good kind of bones. You know, like the cow ones that might still have some meat on it and perhaps some of that delicious tangy red sauce. No. These were human bones and they had been stripped clean by something. It was defiantly time to get out of there.

So with my cat treasure in tow, I walked around the front of the building. By that time the watch had arrived along with the Halflings of the Boromar clan. They were conversing and I was trying to casually walk away. That was difficult as the orange goo was starting to leak out of the dumpster. Then it exploded! Kind of like when Zerif mixes things in his lab that should not have been mixed. He does that more often then he lets others know.

Anyway, out pop two of what I can only describe as trash monsters. Luckily they don’t care that I was looking around their house because they attack the closest person, which happens to be one of the watch. And then of course all hell breaks loose as my companions join the fray.
I have to say, while each of them can hold their own in a fight, they do not fight like the pack that they are. Everyone just throws their weapons into whatever threat is closest. It becomes very chaotic. But working together as a pack would combine our efforts and make us stronger. Picking one target to strike together, before moving onto the next. It would also keep us together. And for awhile we were separated with Aldos all by himself outside. It had me very worried.

But we did manage to suppress the garbage monsters and the Boromar clan, while the watch ran away. Kind of like the cat. Which reminded me that I had left my cat outside! Luckily it was still were I dropped it. Aldos had kept it safe for me when he was abandoned. Not all of my companions are selfish, I guess.

Anyway we started searching the warehouse when Erdrick and Aldos became trapped in a room. See what I mean about the pack not staying together? It only leads to trouble. Actually anything involving Erdrick leads to trouble. But before we could save them one of the escaped Halflings appears with some dinosaurs in tow. We disposed of them quickly. Only one team can have a mascot thank you very much! And we were back to looking through paperwork and splitting up the treasure. And some peoples idea of treasure makes know sense to me. Zerif once tried to explain the value of a painting to me. But they just smell like turpentine and they don’t taste very good. But we took some of them with us anyway. I bet Dyer would like some of them. We should show them to him when we see him again.

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Thursday Night - Aldos
Because Wednesday night was too boring.

Some times I wonder how I ended up here, and by here I mean Thursday. Thursday evening walking back to Haven with everyone. Well, not literally everyone, but our C.L.O.U.D. unit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company. Most of the time. Where was I? Oh, right.
Thursday.
So it’s evening, and we’re heading back to Haven. I’m hungry and could really go for something that’ll stick to my ribs. My mind is occupied by sweet and savory when everyone stops, and before I can even see why we’ve stopped, Fang bolts down an alley and tears into something. Something big. Oh, and of course there’s a second one of whatever it is. And they’ve both got maces that probably weigh as much as I do. And I know what’s happening next.
Fang catches two pretty vicious strikes. Had to hurt. Dyer follows almost immediately, slowing one of the ogrish behemoths with some lethal blast of magic, and it’s on. They all move so fast, sometimes I feel like I’m just in the way. Erdrick starts launching rounds from his spring-action deathdealer, Zerif jumps into the fray, dazing the big oafs, and Keyleth. Scares me sometimes. Not in a fearful “I need to run for my life” kind of way, but more of a “we are so lucky she’s on our side” kind of way. She connects with a brutal flurry of lacerations, and there is red ev-ry-where.
So they’re all going to war in this alley, and I finally catch a glimpse of what had the brutes’ attention previously. I don’t recognize her, but the others later tell me they’ve seen her around the market. Just some woman minding her business. In Sharn, that can get you in trouble. I can’t tell if she’s hurt or not; I can’t tell if she’s screaming or crying through all the melee, and I try to get a little closer. Maybe I can sneak past and see if she’s ok.
Nope.
As soon as I’m within swinging reach, I know EXACTLY how Fang feels. I’m hit three times. Twice by one ogre and once by the ground. I have the wind completely knocked out of me. The idea of anything sticking to my now broken ribs is replaced by hopes that they will heal. By the time I can get up, everyone is covered in blood. It’s hard to tell if it’s their own or if it belonged to the two monsters who just hopped the lightning rail out of this mortal coil. Zerif and Fang are already seeing to the hysterical woman, and she just keeps repeating how she wants to go home, almost ignoring of whatever it is that they’re saying. I feel so bad for her. If she didn’t have nightmares before, she will now. The elves offer to take her home, and she’s at the point where she’ll agree to most anything. She’s in good hands, though.
Dyer starts looking over the freshly dead monstrosities. I wonder if the disgusted expression on his face is out of disgust for these creatures, all the blood, or their foul smell. He finds a bandana or something and cuts it from the corpse. Daask, I think. The sharp and throbbing pains in my chest and side make me want to leave this place all the sooner.
Dyer, Erdrick, and myself make for the Haven again, and it’s almost like fate is waiting for us to get there. We turn a corner just in time to see a body fall from above and impact with an eerie silence. The three of us quickly move to the fallen, but Dyer keeps moving and signals back to us with an open palm to the ground. Erdrick nods to him and Dyer disappears around the corner. Obviously they saw something else that I completely missed. This body is covered in wounds, and barely dressed. As we kneel beside the deceased, his face starts to shift and slide off. Amid the torn remnants of bloodied pajamas and bed sheets, we find something bound by rope. With a sense of urgency and the feeling that we shouldn’t be staying around any longer than necessary, I place the bundle in my bag, Erdrick and I catch up with Dyer, and the three of us disappear into Haven.
In the back, we can discuss amongst ourselves without having to worry about curious minds and eager ears, but we wait. Keyleth, Fang and Zerif should be here soon, and they’ll no doubt see the body on their way. There’s a part of me that feels like we did something wrong when we took the bundle. I mean, we are C.L.O.U.D., but if someone had seen us without any idea of who we are and what we do, we’d be mistaken for thieves. Have to think fast and act faster.
This guy falls from the sky without any warning, apparently dead before the fall, or he died while falling. My first thought is that he has something that he’s trying to keep safe. So if he’s trying to keep whatever is in this bundle safe and we have company on the way, then we needed to get out of there quickly.
It’s starting to get late by the time we’re all together again, and the first thing Zerif asks is what we know about the body outside. We briefly explain what little we know, and he tells us that Breven is already here. Breven. I can safely guess he and Zerif had an exchange, and I’m glad I wasn’t there. I pull out the bundle and very bluntly tell them I’m not opening it. Those who can check for magical auras and whatever else without opening it before doing so. Inside is an assortment of portraits, trinkets, and subjective junk. Our victim must have been in a panicked hurry or suffering from delirium.
After the clutter is spread upon the table, something catches everyone’s attention. Something purple. And crystalline. And my heart sinks into my stomach, compounding my discomfort. The etchings, gold bands, and suggestive dark swirls within are ominous enough for me.
As Zerif and Erdrick begin a heightened conversation regarding the origin, purpose, and fate of the shard, Fang takes her own approach to examining the object. By carrying it off into a corner while everyone is busy with discussion. Very quickly she’s oppressed with a somber expression, and she drops the shard to the ground, moving away with haste. Foreboding, I would say.
A realization sneaks up on me, and I find myself taking to the portraits. I stare at the strangers’ faces. His wife? Children? They would want to know. And they would want to know why. Questions are piling up all around us, and it’s starting to get late. If we go anywhere for help with this, it’ll be the Rusted Wrench. The question arises: do we go now, or do we wait until morning? Most want want to wait until morning, but I think we should go now. I don’t want this shard doing something while we’re all asleep, or the same fate to befall one of us as its previous keeper. What if someone is looking for it? Or even tracking it? If we wait, we could be allowing for someone, or something, to get closer.
Maybe it’s all in my head.
Maybe I’m not so far off.
I press that we go now. Despite the fact that I don’t feel I’ve made a very strong case, I think everyone senses how I feel about it. They agree, or at the very least they consent. I haven’t swayed them, their hearts did it for me. Or so I tell myself. I recollect the dead man’s belongings with the exception of the shard and place them back in my bag. I’ll keep them safe for now. What of the shard?
Eventually it finds its way back into my bag, but the decision doesn’t sit well with everyone. We’re ready to head back out and for the Rusted Wrench, but as Zerif passes me toward the door, he makes a not-so-subtle attempt at relieving me of my bag. He continues through the door, smoothly. Very. Smoothly. But I understand. Portentous shards and halflings go together like the charred scrapings of a lizardman’s carcass and moist, delicious buttercake, topped with berries and a side of ice cold milk. Respectively.

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