Shards of Oblivion

Zephyr's Journal 1
28th of Harvestfall

Today was a day of annoyance. I had agreed to guard a little halfling merchant as he traveled down river. The pay wasn’t particularly good, but I’ve heard its safer to travel in groups in these parts, so I considered it an easy way to obtain safe passage while I traveled to hopefully more interesting parts of the world. The other guards were much what you would expect, large men bristling with weapons in armor that smelled like they hadn’t washed it or even removed it from their bodies since the time they’d acquired it, and that time was not recently. There was also a genasai wizard, I wonder if he broke through the barrier to the elemental plane or if he was born here.

We hadn’t traveled for long before we arrived at a mill. There were no guards present, which apparently is unusual, and in investigating we were forced to dispatch with a small number of goblins and some corpulent demons. It seems there are more than one tribe of goblins beginning to access the elemental chaos.

The mayor of the little shanty collection the humans in this area call a town was understandably upset about his guards disappearance, so we only spent one night in the towns inn (and thank the gods for that, any longer and I would have died of boredom) before we tracked the missing guards to a wooded area. The guards claimed the mayor himself told them to leave their post, clearly someone is being deceived.

We began to bring the guards back to town when one of the idiots got himself dragged off by a wolf. We gave chase, spelunked though a disgusting network of goblin caves, rescued a few unfortunate prisoners, only to find that the guard we were pursuing was not captured at all, but had lured us there! My attempts to fry his lying face were thwarted when he ran from us like a small crying child. There were more elementals in the cave. We dispatched them, but I find myself frustrated. If I wanted to spend my time cleaning up the messes the elemental chaos constantly disgorges, I could have stayed at home.

On the bright side, I did manage to force rag face to eat a bug. When is he going to take those disgusting things off? His “swamp fever” story isn’t fooling anyone. Why bother hiding himself from these human peasants?

Here’s hoping tomorrow is better. Maybe If I’m lucky I’ll get a chance to fry Marek into a twitching mass of scorched flesh. I’m sure that will cheer me up.

Zephyr

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Book of Mirrors - Wintersnow - Entry 2
1st of Brightleaf
Sitting here by the candle light of my rooms oaken desk I can hardly believe that mere hours ago I was being held captive in a filth ridden hole in the ground. This Silver Unicorn Inn isn’t exactly grand but its beds are far nicer to my back than the ground has been. I miss resting against Longshadow but I rather Him not be mistaken for some hunter’s dinner or the simple minded townsfolk be scared or alarmed by His presence. We have enough stares as we travel as it is with a Minotaur and a man who hides His face. Still like all the adventures I grew up hearing this is still very close to the adventures of daring men and women. My rescuers have given me more than freedom they have given me a chance to see this plane through its natives eyes. Sitting here waiting to meet with this guard Payne in itself is a bit exciting. Midnight encounters and secret conversations are definitely the more enjoyable part of travel. I am curious to know more about my companions but whether or not they talk isn’t that crucial. I can travel freely now. Mother hasn’t been here at all and that means She lied. That’s okay I know that when She wants to find me I will be found. I plan to leave word with this guard and the innkeeper before we move onward from here. Watching a grain cart for attack is like watching the grass grow. Weariness sets in quickly. This half Elf we travel with seemed very interested in the protection of a gate between the Feywild and this lesser plane. I will keep a close eye on Her. Something about Her makes me twitch but I can’t place a finger on it. Mother would assume She was a maid or something if they ever met. I think She has a strange path to walk in this life and its interesting to see if that becomes something the lot of us has to deal with. I don’t know why I feel that way just something inside. It’s about time I went to my meeting.
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Abbot's Notes - Companions, Fallcrest, Marek

Still frustrated that I left my old notes back in the city. It’d be nice if I had the info I collected on the the Iron Chain in case they come after me. But I only had a week to dig up dirt on them before they nearly got me, so it’s not like there was that much there. Anyways then, new notes, especially since things have changed.

Fallcrest: Outside Fallcrest now, not long left before morning. Fallcrest wasn’t much of a town. Maybe it had been at one point, but it wasn’t much of one anymore. Checked in at the temple, asked The Lady for guidance, of course got none. Not sure why she pointed me out here, but won’t really be able to figure that out soon. She keeps her cards close to her chest.

The party: Arctus, Nevin, Tobias, Zephyr.

Arctus has horns. Also dislikes killing things that don’t need to be killed. Seems pretty simple, though is quite useful for strategy, which was surprising. I’m least worried about him.

Nevin is a guard, and he’s the scary, driven type. He’s usually on the front line with me, and is definitely skilled. Also, his personal business stands a good chance of getting us killed. We were attacked by Vecnites tonight, after something he has. Bad shit to get involved in here, but can’t deny it’s more interesting than hanging out in Whitetree. I do not want to get between him and his child. But, if it’s between his child and the rest of us, would he kill/abandon us to save the child? Maybe. Dangerous. Be careful.

Tobias: New. Spends money like water. Eladrin, but doesn’t care about drow thing. Don’t really know about him. Whatever his business is, not my problem. Yet.

Zephyr: Rogue sorceress. Short-tempered, clever, very powerful, few morals I’ve noticed. Quite funny though, even if most of her barbs are thrown at me. Really need to find something that negates lightning. Very dangerous. Don’t fully trust her, she wouldn’t be sticking around without a reason. Still going to needle her. Poking a beehive may be stupid, but it’s never dull.

Marek: Fuck this guy. Shapeshifter, poisoner, liar, and used us for… something. Details not important. Want to kill this son of a bitch. Also, may have been fused with an elemental spirit of fire. May want to open door to elemental plane. Find him, kill him. All leads have dried up though. His move.

Iron Chain: Haven’t seen them in days/weeks. No info.

Hah, almost getting killed has made my notes a lot more organized than they used to be. Guess I had to sober up at some point.

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Dear Thom

Dear Thom,

I am now north of Fallcrest, heading to Winterhaven. Have found a group of men and women (and a minotaur) willing to help you, and we travel together. Gods willing, we will reach Winterhaven shortly and find a cure for you. Be strong, little man, and watch over your mother while I am away.

Nevun

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Zephyr's Journal 2
2nd of brightleaf

My quest to to bring my wrath down on Marek in the form of storms of burning lightning seems to be going nowhere. We guarded the grain overnight, no one attempted to steal it or attack, it was boring. In the morning we found Marek’s mother, who lives on a decaying little farm. She didn’t know where her son was, but turned us towards a sad little wizard he had worked for. Said wizard was using one of the weakest excuses for a veil I’ve ever seen, and apparently until recently was supplementing his powers with gems containing trapped elemental spirits. He then had the audacity to be surprised when this they turned on him and Marek absorbed one. Reminds me of the time my little niece summoned that abyssal demon hoping for better candy then we had in the keep. Though to be fair, it did leave some wonderful toffees after it took her. This seems to be the end of this quest though, Marek has disappeared.

On the bright side we did get attacked by some members of the cult of Vecna. That was entertaining. We’re going to Winterhaven now to find a cleric who can heal Nevun’s son. Hopefully more entertainment will follow. I’m determined to help Nevun, since after all, he is my friend.

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Abbot's Notes - Road to Winterhaven, Arrival

Thyrea: Marek’s mother. Said son had changed after working with Graccus, had sudden impulse to join Fallcrest Guard. Little helpful info.
[In the margin:] Found dead with same all-devouring little shits from the mill. Couldn’t save her. More notes in Marek file.

Graccus: Hedge wizard, moderately competent. Used Fire Elemental Mote (see Mote file) for elemental power. Absorbed into Marek. Didn’t try to fix issue until too late and Marek was gone. Useless bastard.

Vecna/Cultists: So, we have a new bunch of people on our asses. Vecnites (for lack of a pithier name). More notes in Knife file, but they can track us extremely well, very dedicated, moderately deadly. Not as bright as I thought they would be. I guess all that knowledge Vecna hoards isn’t really passed on to the cultists. Until we can find a way to destroy the knife or disguise it/hide it better, expect them on our tail continually.

Winterhaven: Cold, lonely, unpleasant place to be. Home of the Raven Queen’s temple and the Grey Guard. Hells, I miss Fallcrest and Whitetree already.

Raven Queen: Don’t like the Raven Queen. Tread carefully.
(Info on the mark/bargain made in separate file).

Courtney Stone: Smug son of a bitch. Has us on an invisible leash to be pulled when we save Nevun’s kid. Didn’t even need his knowledge if we had found a way to go straight to the Gray Guard. I don’t like the Raven Queen’s theology, but I can sort of respect it on some level. This guy is just a prick.

Gray Guard: Not as stiff-necked as I might of expected. Tough, seasoned, reliable… mostly. The dragonborn was an ass, but that happens sometimes. The real news here is how the Sehanine priestess freaked out when she saw my holy symbol. Asked a lot of questions, eventually had to reveal that I was drow. Had to prepare for the assault on the keep before I could get answers. I don’t know where this is headed, but everything is telling me I’m not going to like how this turns out.

Zephyr (add’l.): So, Sparkypants is actually a) from some noble family and b) from a long line of gate defenders of some sort. Who knew? Happily, she does not have anyone that is likely to try to follow and kill her (and by extension, us). I think I’m okay with this kind of revelation.

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Zephyr's Journal 3

After being attacked by the Vecnites we headed to Winterhaven back by the way of the farm of Marek’s mother. Her door was left ajar, and upon entering we found her, or, we found her hand and a foot, and some more of those eating demons. There were also some strange ape demons that made wet Arctus smell good by comparison, who knew such a thing was possible. Needless to say we killed them.

We found Courtney Stone when we arrived in Winterhaven, found him to be useless. His initial suggestion was that we allow Nevun’s son to die, Nevun was against this. For reasons I don’t full understand its very important to him that his son not die. As he is my friend I am trying to support this. We were taken to speak to some members of the Grey Guard, they appeared unwilling to help us so I revealed myself to them as a Lyrandar in order to force their hand. They agreed to help us, and suggested we visit a keep with a gate to the shadowfell they’ve been unable to close in order to find am amulet that might stop of the progression of the curse on Nevun’s son. The Grey GUARDS apparently can’t even GUARD an open gate right outside their own city. Gods they’re useless. Cleaning up someone else’s gate isn’t really on the top of the list of things I want to do after finally finishing up guarding my own family’s gate, but at least it won’t be boring.

The leader of the Grey Guard’s was particularly concerned by the Gnaw Demon’s we’ve been encountering. He seems to feel they are not demons at all but in fact beings created by an ancient primordial. He also suggested that forcing one of the creatures to eat the blade of Vecna could possible destroy it, or it might simply destroy the entire universe, he was unsure. Either way, it would be bound to be interesting to see.

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Abbot's Notes - Keep Shadowfell, Lyrandar Keep,Origin, Vecna's Key

Keep/Shadowfell: Lots of undead, traps, Vecnites holed up in the innermost rooms. The last fight with the cultists nearly brought me down. Brought back some bad memories from Sarthel as I was coughing up blood. I know I (sort of) chose this life, but being this close to the edge and back is starting to leave some marks mentally. Also, closed up a rip into the Shadowfell. See Key entry below.

Lyrandar Keep: Blasted, overrun with demons, Lyrandar guardians dead. I think that might be a problem.

Origin: Well, didn’t really expect to be writing up this section. Melandra had some news about me. Apparently, a bunch of drow were going to sacrifice me up on the surface. Grey Guards found them, killed them, and saved me. I was supposed to be sacrificed in order to “save the drow” or something. Man, if all it takes is a baby to take down the drow then the surface world has really overestimated them. Anyways, they wrapped me up and shipped me off to the orphanage in Sarthel.

The second thing is that the symbol I found after nearly dying the first time was actually the symbol of another priest, whose name is unfortunately escaping me. They sent him to check up on me, and haven’t heard from him since. I have no idea how his symbol ended up next to a bruised and bloodied me, and the priests had no clue either. On top of all that, Melandra was certain all of this meant Sehanine had some special plan for me.

Not sure how to feel about that.

I respect Sehanine. I serve her faithfully because of that and because of the deal I made. I even pray to her and pay respects to her. And I know that nothing comes for free, that she was going to get something from me as I had gotten something from her. But, I still don’t really worship her. She’s my patron, my boss, my guide (sometimes), but I’m still not sure how I feel about her being my goddess. And I hate being a pawn, even for her.

So, I was hoping that the Iron Chain would be the worst of my problems. Now, it’s up there with Vecna, loose demons, Marek with his primordial buddies, and now any other drow that buy into me being the doom of their race.

Fuck, I miss Sarthel.

Vecna’s Blade/Key, (add’l):

By Sehanine’s silver blood, we are so fucked.

Had to get that out of the way. Vecna’s Blade is actually known as the Key. Key to ripping holes between the planes as it turns out. Or at least to the Shadowfell. The whoreson of a cleric in the Shadowfell keep ripped one open right in front of us, which was much harder for us to close than it was for him to open. So, this blade has gone from a deadly/dangerous magic weapon to a very, VERY important and dangerous magical tool.

Shit, I thought we were playing with a minor little castoff from Vecna that happened to go astray. How in the hells did thing end up in Sarthel? The servants of Vecna and possibly Vecna himself ARE watching us. Even if we get the amulet to Nevun’s son, we might be just putting him at more risk. The amulet alone will make him a target, and once Vecna realizes that Nevun’s kid is in Stronton (and he will, I can’t imagine we have any way of hiding that from him, even assuming he doesn’t already know), then they will come and use Thom to get the dagger.

I think I need to get Nevun to get his family out of Stronton. We might be able to bring them to the Gray Guard keep in Winterhaven, the Guards might protect them just to spite Vecna or to be able to examine his magic and its effect. But leaving them in Stronton is a death sentence. I don’t know if Nevun will see it my way though.

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Abbot's Notes - River Fens, Silvanesti Empire - Iron Chain, Stronton, Ambrose, Thom

Witchlight Fens: Lizardmen. Not friendly. Like poison and explosive wisps. I believe I hate swamps.

Silvaneste Empire/Iron Chain: So, I apparently somehow missed that Sarthel was planning to annex a major chunk of/near Harkenwold. Using the pretense of anti-goblin defense. I don’t think they’re actively pursuing me still, but they won’t be happy to see me. Furthermore, they appear to be quite aggressive in dealing with possible threats, since they immediately moved to take out Nevun when he returned to Stronton. Wonder if they’d like to handle the looming primordial threat. That would be nice.

Stronton: Just another village, except that it’s Nevun’s home and it’s been recently annexed by Sarthel. We got there, visited Nevun’s wife and kid, met the local lord, nearly got mobbed and raided, and sailed away ASAP. Lovely way to spend a vacation.

Ambrose:

Fucking politicians.

Short version: Local lord for the Silvaneste Empire. Tried to blame killings caused by Vecnites with V’s Key on Nevun. Actually a rather smart double-win for him if he had pulled it off; he gets the credit for ending the killings and de-legitimizes the old system/government by implicating the former captain (Nevun). That said, fuck this guy with a rusty spear. Nevun doesn’t deserve that shit after running all over to save his son. And he’s pretty clearly interested in Thom’s affliction for not quite clear reasons. Power, obviously, but not entirely sure of his angle. Unfortunately if he rules Stronton, we’ll probably be seeing him again. Nevun isn’t going to leave Stronton as is.

Thom: Hey, the amulet worked! Something actually did what it was supposed to do! Of course, now we’re on the run with him because Ambrose tried to arrest Nevun and was creepily interested in Thom’s condition. But we’ve halted the spread of corruption. Which means probably something else is going to go wrong to compensate.

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Zephyr's Journal Entry 4

The past few days have been confusing. We entered the keep that guarded the Shadowfell and defeated its guardians. We manged to release two undead who had been trapped forever guarding the keep. I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to help a wandering spirit, but being trapped and forced to guard a keep over a planar portal is something I understand. We found the Vecnites opening the portals, one of them even attempted to use lightning on me, it tickled. Apparently the knife that injured Nevun’s son can also be used to open entryways into other planes, interesting.

Speaking of Nevun’s son, he and his sister are one source of my confusion. They don’t know any magics, but nor are they trained in the use of armor or weapons. Who raises their children like that?! A goblin raiding party could kill them never mind a real threat, and the girl must be at least 10! Maybe he doesn’t like them? I’m concerned for their safety if they continue traveling with us. Maybe I can teach the girl to at least manifest some thunder, otherwise I just don’t see the point of her.

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