Annals of Aldamere

Marrying the river; feet first
Marcel, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

Being unable to determine if the missing boy was definitely within the Belizaro estate, Thorne tried to enlist the aid of some local spirit to scare the girl, Sytha, into something or other. Alas, neither life nor death were kind to her, and her facilities proved insufficient to the task. Instead, she took to haunting Gabriel under the false belief he was “The Man”.

The investigation took a more mundane turn as Father Aerik and Gabriel took turns staking out the various locations, and determined a number of key facts: (1) The girl, Sytha, was doing this for her own station and not with her parent’s blessing. (2) The boy was highly likely to be within the Belizaro estate as a number of attempts to prod her into leading us to the boy took us back to the same place. (3) Thorne’s plan with the ghost was a complete failure.

In the meantime, Ser Marcel and Gretta went to speak with the Hawkwood’s, the noble house that held Andrazeti’s fishing rights, and laid out matters as we saw them. While not of immediate help, it did reinforce our options, and might in future lead to some favor. Thorne also visited the Church of the River and spoke with Father Groans.

The next morning, Aerik and Gabriel spoke to Sytha’s father and told him of the situation. He scolded her and in turn provided a letter telling the boy to return to his family. Aerik delivered the latter, and ended up with an audience with the mistress of the Belizaro household. The company was left with the certainty that the boy was in mortal danger.

Ser Marcel decided to have an open confrontation with the Belizaro’s with the aid of the fisherfolk and Father Groans. Meanwhile, Gabriel, Gretta, and Aerik were on the canal looking for an opportunity to sneak in and free the boy. As the scene built in the front, the guards came down to dump the boy into the river. At that point, the three were able to rescue him after a short battle and a grudging agreement with the guards.

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Something fishy in the family
Ser Marcel, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

After a fruitless week of trying in earnest to deliver Master Vakarn‘s parcels and Thorne trying to determine the next steps in finding his missing sister’s shade, Ser Marcel was approached one mid-day by a fisher merchant we first encountered in The Wedding Tackle. He beseeched Ser’s aid as a Knight of St. Dagon. Ser Marcel was somewhat cautious as the time in the East had taught the company that things are not as they first appear.

The merchant, Bartollo Andrezetti, had invited Ser to a “river wedding”, an event which seemed familiar but worrisome to him at the time. The groom, Bartollo’s son, had failed to show up at the rehearsal and the family was unable to locate him. There were concerns that a he had run away as he had fallen in love with a girl, Sytha, from an adjacent neighborhood.

After some investigation into the matter, it appeared the girl had been encouraged to disrupt the wedding as the direct result of some feuding noble houses seeking to claim Andrezetti’s fishing rights. The whole affair had particular import to Ser Marcel as the girl, Sytha, appeared to him in an ominous dream he had the night before.

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Gretta's Field Notes, first weeks in Yen Enoth

We infiltrated the stronghold of the Red Chain slavers for the Master of Magedeburgh Vicerin. The less said about that experience, although I was able to convince them I was better suited as a medic for the fortress rather than ‘entertainment’. That could have been far more… not fun than it was. Luckily we were able to sew the required chaos and get out leaving the fortress in disarray. We returned to Magedeburgh and Master Vicerin sent us though a portal to Yen-Enoth. I’ll have to return to analyze the ward structure on how the portal is spell chained together one of these days.

We were given a series of delivery tasks by Master Vicerin:
* Entathalus Amalga in the Tumbles
* Barnard the Unbound, general found in the Fainting Goat Tavern
* the Masoleum of Pink Stone the Odius
* the Lost Annex of the Celestarium
* Auld Afra found in the Black Tear
* Grimehelm in ‘Rape Town’
When we arrive we are to meet ‘Quarry’ the Bondsman.

The portal deposited us in Faedus Square aka “Rag Square”, apparently a giant used book market. We were greeted by snake god priests who immediately tried to recruit us. We escaped the cult of Sun Snakes and made for the Fainting Goat by way of other Taverns. Along the way we ran into an interesting charms seller who recommended Alwars Bolshie’s School of Charms and Cleansing. Apparently there scolls and cults for everything and anything here.

* side note: we met a minstrel names Stetter(?) in the DragonFlogger who had had his voice stolen by a minstrel who looked remarkably like Raulolo whom we met in Magedeburgh. Disturbing tales of face sealers. Implies some sort of immortality magic from a forgotten age.

A guide named Rhodda guided us to Gods Square, a cacophony of emerging, established and whatever competing religions, cults and Personalities. The square is dominated by the Red Temple. There is also a temple to ‘The Five’ which is the local version of Thesmism, in which Thesmie and the Four Companions are venerated equally. The Cognitive Dissonance was…. amusing.

* Set up an account at the Copper Temple (Cult of the Invisible Hand. I still don’t quite understand it all yet.)

Finally Rhodda took us to The Fainting Goat, an lovely place filled with ‘steppe nomads’, roughians and general interesting charaters in hopes of finding Barnard the Unbound. Met Gerd, the shirtless priest of the Sky Bull. Could talk to him for hours.

* Met Ned the Shaman, follower of Rhakatool Deity of the Dead.
* Goddess Chillana Wa deity of Healing and Prophylactics
* Want a multi-year acolyte-hood. Maybe not so interesting.

Eventually some of the more delicate memebers of our group demanded that we NOT spend the night here, so we made our way to The Inn of the Fountains known as Missus Appledell’s B&B.

Good food, a PRIVATE ROOM! (despite Ser Marcel’s announcement that the rest of us can share. :P) Discovered there was a fantastic Clothier row nearby and spent probably to much time at the Cobbler, Corsetiere and ‘Chappeupouri’. Although I think Erasmus has spent even more time there than me. Luckily the Fainting Goat is nearby and I’ve been make a little spare coin playing and singing in the common area – enough for meals anyway.

We eventually made our way to the Cellestarium. Amazing. Brilliant. Psychotic. Every book ever. I could lose myself here for years. Unfortunately there are competing groups of librarians with different theories on shelving. From color to date to taxonomy to…. You have to hire guides to get around.

* Spiritualist group snagged most of the books on spiritualism in the library.
* it is rumored most arcana books do not reside within the library. I have a VERY hard time believing this.
* There is supposedly a dangerous basement / storage section. Seems a good place to start looking for the lost annex, among other things.
* Discovered Edgar and the Time Keepers who use pharmaceuticals to enhance their spirituality. Stocked up as much as possible, as its been a while since the Caravan.
* Made our way to Dr. Chances Diner “Explorations in Dining” where we got amazing Noodles and our ‘prescriptions’ of esoteric ingredients from the Time Keepers filled.
* Heard about the White Lodge as well.
* Delivered a letter to the White Lodge to arrange a meeting, and met some of Ser Marcel’s fellow worshipers at the Wedding Tackle Tavern. The odd, fishy manifestations among the boatmen was disturbing.

After a few days we were contacted by by the Dagonites. Apparently the son of the owner of the Wedding Tackle, Pringel Andrezetti has been kidnapped. Or is missing. Or is eloping. He’d prefer to be with a seamstress instead of “marrying the River Bride”. Baristo Andrezetti.

* met the Dagonite Priest Father Groans.
* Interviewed the seamstress, who soon after went to a nobles house (Bellazaro)
* Hypothesis, the Bellazaro are trying to break up the wedding so that the Andrezetti lose favor, resulting in their leases on certain fishing sites to lapse. Or something. Most convoluted, back stabbing bunch os absurd I’ve ever heard. Yet another reason why the nobility is a waste of skin.

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A classification of librarians
Ser Marcel, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

Rule number one: Don’t fuck with librarians. — Neil Gaiman

Upon the return of the ‘private guide’ who made some fantastic claims about the Lost Annex and something called “The Under Library”, Thorne felt that the whole pitch had lost it’s veracity. He encouraged Ser Marcel and his men to seek for help elsewhere within the Celstium.

This lead to wandering the stacks interacting with patrons of various “librarian factions” with odd names like The Order of Time and the Timekeepers and The Phylum of the Elder Scrolls. Eventually the party was challenged by someone who claimed to work for Cassandra, the Head Librarian. She warned that many of these librarians were fanatics and quite dangerous in their way. We were set on the path to speak to a faction known as Lodzums’ Regime that claimed to focus on ‘mysticism’, but found mostly addle-minded men obsessed with “prescriptions” who admitted after some time that likely everything of real interest to Thorne known to them had been seized by some mage faction within the city.

Finding the library somewhat frustrating, the party set to follow their one lead, a group of mages known as The White Lodge, and found them in an area of town close to the river. Ser Marcel was warmly welcome in the local fisherman’s tavern, which indeed is the first place we’ve been in the East that seemed genuinely pleased at seeing a member of the Order of St. Dagon. After some attempts at persuasion and perhaps deception, a note was left with the Skreet guards of the The White Lodge leaving the group at their wits end for the evening.

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A tale of narcoleptic innkeepers and lunatic librarians
Ser Marcel, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

Having been unable to locate the Canon‘s Mission in the city, Ser Marcel’s men sought out The Fainting Goat to attempt to contact Bernard the Unbound to deliver one of Master Vakarn‘s parcels. The party was somewhat surprised to find the establishment was run by a Goatman, one that seemed to be free of his people’s legendary filth but who suffered from a strange ailment. The locals in the tavern were lively, loud, and loquacious.

Tales and rumors of the city of Yen’Enoth were exchanged through the afternoon, and the party found lodging at a nearby hostel. Another trip to the Square of the Gods also failed to turn up any sign of them missing mission, but the Copper Temple proved immensely interesting to Thorne, as does most everything else about the so-called Square of the Gods.

Upon returning to their lodging, Gabriel sought a quiet evening of meditation while Ser Marcel, Aerik, Gretta, and Thorne returned to The Fainting Goat to seek out more information from Gerd, a Priest of the Bull and self-styled guide to the Tumbles.

The next morning, the party sought out the famed Library of Yen’Enoth, also known as The Celestium. The library was found to be both immense and mysteriously organized. A “private guide” offered to seek out some of the party’s needed information, leaving Ser Mercel’s men to mill about the public stacks.

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Yen'Enoth via Yig
Ser Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

Having dealt with the matters at Thanakar Fort per Master Simpatre Vakarn‘s request, Ser Marcel’s company returned to Morgiberg. True to his word, Vakarn provided access to a “pylon” deep underneath the city which provided a form of quick travel to Y’enoth, a destination that Thorne was keen to reach as quickly as possible. In return for allowing us access to a rare means of travel, the group was given six packages to deliver to various locales once arriving in Yen’enoth.

An artifact of the ancient progenitors of the Skreet, the “pylon” created an other-worldly mist that allowed the party to traverse the distance in far less time than the weeks or perhaps months of overland travel that we had expected. The travel itself was disturbing, and Vakarn had hinted that the “pylon” wasn’t so much intended as a means of travel as being a side-effect of a failed attempt to do something else. What that might be remains a mystery, but the time in the midst deeply upset Ser Marcel.

The party arrived in the city of Y’enoth near another “pylon”, and were immediately greeted by Skreet priests who held vigil over it. They spoke of some creature called “Yig” and wanted to know more of Ser Marcel’s experience than the rest. Not being in any mood to humor them, we quickly made our leave for a nearby inn recommended by a street merchant.

The first night in Y’enoth proved disturbing on a number of levels. Thorne reported that the city itself was full of sprits, and his fox was unsettled by them. The minstrel at the end turned out to be mute, and claimed that his voice was stolen by another. More disturbing still, it seems the individual who stole his voice went by the name Raulo and bore an uncanny resemblance to the bard the party had met with in Morgiburg. While rest helped, the local diet left much to be desired.

Calling upon a local guide, we traveled to the Square of the Gods in search of the Mission that was recently established by Canon Nabon Ryth. It seemed that none of the locals wanted to speak of it or knew much about it, and after some time we were lead to the “Church of the Five Saints” which claimed to venerate Thesme along with four others including St. Thaldemar. While much was still confusing, a meeting with a former member of the Thesme mission who had recently taken up study was requested…

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The Journey East Part 2
Morgiburg, City of Iron Spires

Part Two: I am kidnapped by Slavers

Geetha introduced us to Roland of the Bespoken, a mercenary company looking to hired talented warriors. When we asked who they were working for we got the answer of the Red Emperor, chief servant of the Red Moon Goddess, which is not good as that is Thesme’s antithesis. We politely declined.
Upon arising the next morning I had the good fortune to catch the light just right to observe some interesting things out of my window. The wall opposite my window seemed to have etchings or writings upon it. Also I spotted some sort of creature, a Mottled Rock Imp, I was to find out later that lived in the crags and spires of the city, they kept the pigeon population down but were considered more of a nuisance than them. The imps in turn were preyed upon by spire crab spiders, which are a local delicacy, but who are in turn preyed up by gargoyles, presumable the top of the local food chain.
I managed to acquire a ladder and investigated the strange carving only to find out it was a heraldic device, a quartered shield with only the lower right had side filled it. The design was that of a dead Templar with crossed legs, a sign he died in battle. The locals informed me that out such designs existed and I spent the day looking into them. I found another similarly quartered with an arrow and outlines device and a third with six circles and a diamond. Most interesting! That along with making sense of the brutal artistic nature of the city and watching the wildlife kept me busy for quite some time.
The group meet up later to discuss our options. It seems the city was ruled by the Undying Lords or necrophages, who are immortal beings of immense power. The big problem locally was the influx of a big slaving group known as the Burning Chain that was upsetting the local, smaller, independent operations. Otherwise Gabriel revealed that in addition the number of temples in the city was huge, aside from the Red Moon Goddess the town also had various temples to the Beastmen gods, except the Goatmen god and Goatmen were not allowed in the city for being “too rape-y.” There was some sort of Farmer Father Deity with typical attributes of lightning, thunder, rain and crops, a River God, a Trade God and even a Temple to Thesme!
I decided to visit the Temple to Thesme and learned that the city was founded by one Saint Latimer, supposedly a companion the Thesme herself! What a shock. The local priest, was glad to help in my research and I found myself awash in a sea of Apocrypha! What a glorious find! Sadly I could do little but take a few notes on Saint Latimer as I was rather impoverished at the time.
Upon my return my friend Gretta and Thorne revealed that they had visited a mystic known as Dorlan Brauch, the Mage of the Blue Door, who was a blue skinned human mage who floated on air and who was rather corpuscular. Dorlan had promised to reveal to them a secret way east that would allow us to avoid slavers and tribesmen if we would go to the Sidehil Halls in the Elmswood to recover the Key Riven. They seemed very interested in doing so and Dorlan had promised to send his Ratling assistant along to guide us, which all seemed well and good but I wanted to know where these Elmswood were. After dinner we broke up and I attempted to find us a local map but was approached in an alley by thugs belongs to Tharkunt Kahdrel, a local slaver, who had decided he wanted our group to work for him and to do so promptly kidnap me.
I was hooded and taken to some location in the city and trust into a room and then allowed to remove my hood. Fortunately the room was relatively nice, with a bed, desk and a window but my captors did take my weapons and most of my belongings. Still, it was better than a slave pen. I was quickly greeted by Tharkunt who said that he had sent word of my fellows of my plight and that they should work for him. I simply said alright, not waiting to reveal that response would be the last one my friends would ever take. He left shortly thereafter and I was left along to my thoughts, or not quite as alone as I heard piteous sounds coming from the window. I managed to grab a peek though it to reveal they had somehow acquired an immature griffon and were keeping it chained up, although well fed, next door. Poor beast, I know how it feels.
It was a few hours later when I was visited by Airgen and Arlis the daughter and son of Tharkunt. They confided in me that they wanted my help. They asked me if it was true that I possessed spiritual powers, to which I replied that yes, indeed I did. They had become concerned that their father, who was acting irrationally for some time now, might be possessed. I told them I would be glad to help out as best I could, although another companion of mine, Thorne might be helpful as well. I was hoping that if they thus encountered them that they might seek their help even if my companions were being somewhat aggressive in their negotiations shall we say.
They thanked me and promised to talk to me soon.
A day or so passed and I was wondering what was going on when all of a sudden alarms sounded everywhere. Apparently the Cyclops were going berserk or something and guards arrived saying they were taking me to see Airgen again.
Excellent, perhaps I could be of some service to them and talk my way out of this nonsense.
However no sooner had I arrived at the scene of confrontation with Airgen, Arlis, a host of household guards and Tharkunt all arguing with each than all of a sudden the lights went out right after Marcel uttered a swift prayer to Thesme! Olis uttered a thoroughly heretical prayer to Poldaga and green light illuminated the room. Some sort of demonic entity fled Tharkunt’s body and he collapsed onto the floor!
The lights were relit and Airgen took us into the next room revealing a black idol she thought might be the source of the demonic possession. Without taking chances the idol was summarily taken and put in a box via some sort of witchcraft that Gretta used. My equipment was returned to me and Airgen thanked us for saving their father.
For those keeping track that’s now a total of 3 heretics in our party, the mystic Thorne, the witch Gretta and the heretical Poldaga worshipper Olis, not that this bothers me that much anymore, I have spent far too much time with Solars and Dagonites to see any of them in a much different light, it is how you act that matters to me know.
Anyway we hustled back up the Undying Lords, protected by the tall, gaunt Grey Ones, who thanked the group for their prompt action and when given the idol, one of their number, Master Vakarn crushed it with ease. Apparently Sir Marcel had impressed the Undying Lords with his nobility in wishing to rescue me and his courteous in going to them first rather than running off half-cocked. I, for one, was just happy to be free and, hopefully, soon leaving this city. However, it stills holds many mysteries and I would not be opposed to coming back to it, for all its dark features and brutal nature the people here may be different but can possess nobility and openness that my own home city currently utterly lacks.

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The Journey East
Mud, Muck and Undead

Journal of Father Aerik

Part 1: The Journey to Morgiburg: Mud, Muck and Undead

Well, I finally meet up with the Sir Marcel von Langer’s group. The guards that had conveyed me to them took no time to say goodbye and head back to Hätmandorf. I greeted the group in a friendly manner after showing Sir Marcel the letter of introduction. They introduced themselves as Olis Veit, a mature mercenary, Gretta, apparently some sort of entertainer, Gabriel, a huntsman, and Thorne, some sort of mystic.
Everything went well for several weeks as we travelled around the countryside of Hanzmir, went to visit the Priest Churl of Albugen, and headed east to rescue the soul of Thorne’s sister until one day, Thorne, who I am not certain of which pronoun to use in reference to, said “Who was I and what was I doing there?” We all quietly informed Thorne that I had been here for several weeks to which Thorne expressed disbelief. Muttering under his(?) or her(?) breath about someone known as “Hengist” we continued on our way east.
Our route was simple to describe, follow the Antin River north and then east. We were headed for Morgiburg, there to meet up with a Ratling friend of Thorne’s by the name of Geetha who would advise us on going further east to Anestheim, or something like that. That is not to say the going was pleasant. It was spring and the ice had given way to mud, day in and day out we trod through mud. We finally came upon some sign of civilization, only to realize that it had been burned down.
This was the town Balhout.
Balhout seemed to have once been a perfectly normal farming village but someone had taken it upon themselves to destroy it. And by someone it quickly became apparent that meant the Crusading Knights of Dagon! We searched the village and quickly discovered, as Marcel commented later, that the incompetent knights apparently had managed to turn a perfectly peaceful and harmless farming community into a dangerous and haunted den of the undead. After fighting off one group of zombies we rested before entering the main structure. I did what I could to encourage the spirits of the locals to move on but am afraid there was not much a priest of Thesme could do at that point. It turns waiting was the right idea as upon entering we discovered the undead corpses of the Village Elder, now some sort of wight, and the local Shaman, who had become a ghost.
Entreaties to the pair managed to produce the standard effect, they complained of the evil Red Fish people who slaughtered them (Knights of Dagon) and asked us to join them in the worship of their goddess Poldaga and avenge them, … and combat was entered shortly thereafter. A number of skeletons and zombies were summoned and we managed to engage them, with Thorne engaging the spirit and Olis the Village Elder while the rest of us whittled down the guards. As the guards fell one by one Olis took tremendous damage from the Village Elder who was wielding a glowing spear but he managed to prevail. While Thorne was engaged with the Shaman I muttered a brief prayer to Thesme that my arrow might hit and lo and behold it dead and the Shaman were forced from our plane! We took the time to retreat from the enclosure and heal up again, Olis taking the spear with him, also liberating the armor of the Village Elder as well.
Burning and burying what we could I said another prayer for the departed and we left the village the next morning. Fortunately we now had a road to follow making things somewhat easier. About 2 days late a road stretched off towards the north and Gabriel and Thorne wanted to investigate it so off we went. It led through a copse of trees to a Black Lake, there were no animals around the lake and it was eerily quiet and Thorne said something about the Lake drawing spirits to it, almost assuredly to die. We labeled it Black Spirit Death Lake and returned to our trek eastward.
A day later we found a chain strung though brackets set into five different oak trees forming a rough pentagon next to the road. We avoided having anything to do with it as well.
The next day we encountered a small group of peasants who were headed to Balhout, they apparently had relatives there and were escaping slavers to the east. They hoped to set up a next life there. We had the sad duty to inform them of the fate of the town and of the zombies that now inhabited it. They were despondent and had no idea what to do next. We could offer them no advice and silently took our leave to the east.
The next day we spotted slavers on boats, which we hid from and finally managed to spot the town of Morgiburg. It is a dark, wet and dismal place.
Morgiburg is located on an island in the middle of the River Antin where it meets the river Lebard and then the two travel together to the east. The town is foreboding. It is made of iron black metal and stretches upwards like spires of spider webs and rusting spines. A series of draw bridges and gates connect it to the mainland on either side of the river and chains cross the river preventing ships from travelling in either direction. The castle, on the center island is iron red rusted and several hundred feet tall. It is quiet an impressive, but not a pleasant one.
And just what is the major industry of the town you might ask-slaving.
We entered the appropriated named Gargoyle Gate, with chains coming out of the mouths of said beasts, and made our way into the city. Pennants and flags flew proudly around the city, its symbol, a green gargoyle’s face on a red background.
Fortunately were managed to meet up with Thorne’s contact fairly quickly as Geetha was easily found in the Ratling ghetto and took shelter in an Inn of here recommendation. As I slid my muck coated boots off for a propter cleaning, yet again, and looked for a place bath I was relieved to finally have a proper place to sleep, even in such surroundings as these.

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The Faith of the Warrior
Ser Marcel, Olis, Gretta, Thorne, Gabriel, Aerik

With the Arimspoi guards defeated, Ser Marcel‘s company continued to explore searching for where Father Aerik was being held. The slaver’s complex proved to be extremely old, with a long forgotten banner of the Red Company in a locked room above some strange serpent-cult hiding place. While of interest to Thorne, it brought us no closer to finding our lost companion.

Quickly taking some guards watching over some oxen in a barn, the group then tried to sneak through an old church that had been turned into a sleep quarters. While initially the group was able to make their way through, they were spotted and quickly ran down into the slave pits with both Arimspoi and true Cyclops in pursuit. Some quick thinking and the silver-tongued efforts of Gretta and Thorne got the party into the master’s quarters.

Some tense parley with the slaver and his heirs ended when the room was plunged into darkness by an evil presence lurking within the slave master. In a matter of moments, Ser Marcel’s faith in Thesme rewarded him with sight in the darkness to see the true enemy and Olis called upon Podaga through the power of the magic spear taken from the fallen village of Balout whose blessed light immediately drove away the demon before a drop of blood was spilled. With the darkness gone, Gabriel and the rest of the party were able to piece together the mystery and secure the release of Aerik.

The source of the slaver’s possession was found to be a strange serpent statuette, which the party carefully transported back to Master Vakarn who effortlessly destroyed the vessel.

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