The Guild City

Tykos Journal 4
Dragons and Demigods

Things are getting out of hand. When I accepted the Raven Queen’s help, I expected to find the wizard Osmodius within a short time, get my revenge, and finally be at peace. I never wanted to be undead, or go on some epic journey for the Raven Queen.

Yet here I am, hiding in a church after seeing not one, but two dragons. One of them was Zuccio, an old mentor of Viola, and was good. Unfortunately he fell at the hands of the other dragon, Osmodius. How Osmodius ascended so far is beyond me, but apparently he has become an exarch of Nerull. He has gained so much power, I have no hope of destroying him as I am now. It looks like I’ll need more help from the Raven Queen should I ever want to achieve my goal. That means its time I visit her temple, and become a true acolyte.

That means escaping Osmodius first. We have a plan to clear an underground path full of traps, so that us and the nearby residents can escape. I hope my compatriots are up for the task. Viola might be reeling from the loss of his friend and mentor. Also I have yet to see the abilities of the two “brothers” we fell in with. A magic-using Squirrel Folk and bowman.

I hope they can trust me too. We fought some revenants, and I fear they may have spied some into my true form. Either way I’ll do my best to move forward and gather strength, as I’ll need all of it to face Osmodius in the future.

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Viola - Journal Three
Sweet Smoke & Blackened Thoughts

“Well, this is certainly a strange set of circumstances.”, Thought Viola as he returned to leaning back on his chair, slipping a now lit pipe between his lips, giving the thing a soft puff, the sweet smell of the smoke misting lazily around his nose.

Flipping the papers he had been toying with around between his hands he mentally ran through his set; the songs and stories in the repertoire coming back easily to him. This show would certainly go off without a hitch… Yet, he still felt uneasy. This feeling had been gnawing at him since the swamp. He couldn’t quite place it, but it, frankly, pissed him off. Put him on edge.

That fucking Dragosai hadn’t exactly helped.

He sighed. The man certainly had the best intentions at heart, but Viola despised the big man’s utter persistence and air of superiority. He had no right to presume upon him. This freedom that he had worked so hard for- There was no way in all of the nine hells he would willingly give it away.

But, why was he so bothered?

Dragosai hadn’t caused this feeling, merely, inflamed it more or less. What could it be?

Viola adjusted the pipe between his lips and slowly began to sip a drink between puffs, gently dabbing his quill in ink before getting to jotting down little words, loose, unincorporated with any sort of cogent thought.

Perhaps, it was this mercenary work. Viola wasn’t one for fighting and, frankly, the whole kill-kill-bang-bang feel of this work bothered him. That, and that Mira girl. That… That little demon is one to be watched. Elowynn seemed to eat the woman’s words with a side of toast. He wondered why? Is she truly that in love with the idea of gold to set all cares to the wind? Surely she must’ve considered what she could be planning. The lady is planning on using us as a spear against the Verdonias. Is she really that eager to fight? Perhaps, she is underestimating the reach and drive of the woman? Overconfidence isn’t an uncommon trait. No… No, perhaps he just underestimated her.

He truly thought someone that wise would not have been quite that openly naïve.

Oh well, he’d give her the benefit of the doubt for the time being. “Besides, I won’t know her for that much longer anyhow as far as I’m concerned.”

Viola took another long drag on the pipe, looking at the web of buzz words he had written down.

“disappointment”, “pacifist”, “serpent”, “catharsis”, “liberation”, “bird-man”, “blue-sky”, “blue-sea”, “family”, “green meadow”, “gentle breeze”, “cowardice”, “hummingbird”, “drunk”.

He paused, looked at the page and casually scratched out a choice word, before his eyes widened at a few of the words he had scrawled towards the end of the thought.

“Monster”, “Gore”, “Vomit”.

He quickly scratched those out amid a little shot of adrenaline, his eyes testily looking about the room.

Those_ things_. Those disgusting_ things_. Zuccio had spoken of the bastards in a ghost story, so, naturally, it was one hundred and fifty thousand percent his fault for that horrible jinx. Viola had never seen that many corpses in his-

He stopped biting his lip as he blocked the mental image. Losing his lunch was certainly not a priority at the moment.

He hadn’t signed up for that. Fuck that. No thank you.

These thoughts certainly didn’t belong in his head right now. Certainly, not now. And this little exercise certainly had not helped him make the feeling go away.

Viola casually stood making the choice to take a long walk before returning to the tavern. The remainder weren’t due back for awhile anyhow. He did feel a bit of inspiration for a song perhaps.

Sauntering out of the tavern he began to hum a little tune.

He had no idea what exactly he was humming, but it felt like something right.

Something that struck chords.

It was soft.

Haunting, almost.

Like, an adventure, but, also like remorse. Pity.

It had certainly taken a dark turn, but, perhaps he’d write it down-

He stopped.

Right in the centre of the road he stopped, taking a sharp inhale.

“I am never working in this business again.”

He said, as he pushed the ritual song of Istus, Goddess of Fate, from his skull.

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Green Marshes, Cursed Artifact (Session 3)
The Weaver's Warning

Teke Teke…that’s the name of the creature Myra’s item was possessed with. I’ll never understand some people’s desire to put at risk, what still is, just to honor what once was. The whole of the Green Marshes are filled with undead and all sorts of cursed, malevolent, and abhorrent creatures. Some were even decent people once…why risk adding to the body count?

When we came across the bandits who had stolen the artifact they were already dead. An unidentified source, had slaughtered them in horrific ways before eating their entrails…I can only hope they were, at least dead, before that second part. While doing an investigation of the area, it was clear whatever it was that brutalized the bandits was still close by. I wanted to cremate the bodies to rule out the possibility of them returning in unlife, but Cassandra and Tykos believed they should be buried. As is their custom for honoring the dead.

Well we did that. And in the process, one of the “dead people” wound up being a Teke Teke. A woman turned demon through sorrow, now only an imitation of what it once was, to lure unsuspecting prey in before it eats them inside…and out. Luro nearly became it’s prey before we could do anything. If not for his quick reaction when it struck, he surely would have been.

Is that how you honor the dead? By putting them in cursed soil, so they can possibly come back as mindless beasts, and continue the train of death? Well now that it’s done I’m going to need to keep an ear out for missing persons in that area. Should my fears come to pass I’m going to go back and do what I should have done in the first place. Regardless of how much anyone objects to it.

Anyway, moving on. While I was on watch the night following the battle and subjugation of the Teke Tekes. I heard a voice in the forest, and for a second, I thought to rouse the party and check it out as a unit. But something about the song, attached to the voice, made me feel…unthreatened. It was a sad song…one that sounded less like it was from a demon, trying to bait prey with a beautiful voice, and more like a song given life from a being of immense helplessness. One who had seen so much, and yet could do so little…if anyone knows how that sounds…I guess it would be me wouldn’t it.

It was a woman. I tried to see her face, but could only make out the bottom half of it. Her hood seemed to cover her eyes no matter which why I looked at her. After awhile I could tell she meant no harm. Creepy as she was at first glance, she gave this, aura of resignation when she spoke. She clearly believed that even if she wanted to, she could do nothing but sing, and weave her thread, no matter how hard she tried. Though she did come, with a warning. Our group seems to be caught in a path that once traveled, can only be seen to it’s conclusion…we no longer have the option to travel a different one. Thankfully, though the path is impossible to disembark on, it has multiple forks in the road. Most fraught with despair, but a select few that lead to a light at the end of the tunnel. She warned that one of are party is at far more risk down this path than the others. And that they, if not extra careful…could be trapped in a nightmare from which there is no waking up from.

Well, whoever it is, I will do the best I can to ensure that that never happens. I owe them that much.

One thing is for certain. Whatever may come, whichever trials we may face…if we don’t think carefully on which way to go about them…none of us, may make it out alive.

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Tykos Journal 3
Demons and Deals

Finishing a job is satisfying. The tougher the job the more satisfying it is to complete. And this one was pretty tough. We came across the bandit camp where the doll was supposed to be and it was decimated. Torn apart by something evil. Turns out the doll had awoken. It apparently two Teke Tekes that were somehow bound into it. Luckily our little band proved more than a match for them and destroyed them.

Cassandra also proved to be a great help. We had a nice long talk, sharing things about our lives. I found out she wishes to Knight of Bahamut. It was nice to get to know her, but I didn’t have the heart to tell who I now serve. I don’t know what most people think of The Raven Queen, but I can’t imagine it would be a good reaction, especially among those who follow gods of light.

As good as it feels to finish the job, it feels even better to get out of the swamp. It was full of undead and monsters and it was damp and dark. It had an uncomfortable aura. Something strange happened the last night we were there to Dragosai, but he wasn’t sharing what it was.

Either way I’m glad to be out of that swamp. That and we were paid rather well, thanks to a little bartering by Elowyn. Additionally, Myra, head of the merchant’s guild and the one who sent us on the job, wishes to become ours, and by proxy, the Hellhound’s benefactor.

This I find suspicious. I don’t know any of her motivations, except that she wants to take down the Verdonias. As appealing as that sounds, its not what I should be focusing on. I need to be finding Osmodius, but with nothing to go on, I feel like gaining some level of pull in this city is my best course of action. So I’ll probably take Myra up on her offer.

Until then I have a new set of armor and an invitation form Cassandra to look forward too.

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Luro's Compendium of Occurances and Happenings
Entry 2 and a Half

The savvy reader may ask, “But Luro, you’ve skipped from Entry 1 directly into Entry 2 and a Half! Where is Entry 2?” To this I answer that the aforementioned entry cannot be revealed. What I can say is that I was hired for my mechanical skills in constructing certain… barriers. Regardless of place, time, and activity, we (here I also refer to the patrons of my service) met up with the traveling group from the Verdonia prison. What a fortuitous happenstance!

As I was on my way out of the dismal swamp, I decided to tag along. After all, what if they ran into a lost and abandoned city covered in crude traps? Some sort of mechanical monstrosity? A killer guppy who’d eaten a key to ruins? While I had my misgivings as the spellcasters were still associated with the group, what would another day in the swamps be? Turns out vile monstrosities live in other places than the mountains and forests.

Dragosai was kind enough to carry me across the deep rivers we crossed – well, deep for me. But as we crossed the first river, there popped shadows out of my peripheral. I looked around and more of these things appeared. I’m certain I sounded crazy, but my suspicions were confirmed as these deadly jawed creatures attacked from below. We crossed as quickly as we could and hoped that they could not attack us on semi-solid ground. There was some trouble getting onto the land but once grounded the attack stopped.

I shall continue this Entry at a later date, as the sunlight begins to fade. Off to get some real clothing and a few odds and ends!

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Elowyn's Journal
Vol. 2

Thank the gods for work.

Besides the obvious benefits of securing employment once again, to have something gainful to do at all is more than welcome. Sitting still in that jail cell, traveling to Asha itself, our time wandering around the city; I can see none of it as anything more than wasted effort that I would have rather spent looking for another copper or two to pocket. While I may have accepted this in-between time when I chose to leave Karinth for Asha in the first place, never was it my intention to be diverted so sharply along the way.

That damnable woman will pay for that some day, and when she does, I’ll have to remember to cut myself a paycheck from her own riches, with a hefty interest fee attached.

Being back in the thick of things feels better than most else…. And at least I can say that my traveling companions are not utter imbeciles and aren’t making this job more difficult than need be. For that I can also be thankful. It is too hard to find competent help in things like this, which is in a large way why I have always preferred working in solitude.

The affair would have gone off entirely to my standards if not for that incident with Dragosai and the less agreeable of the dryads. As is my experience, those accustomed to using brawn and aggression to get through things in life do not tend to be so skilled in the art of the compromise. While he did succeed in putting the fear of the gods into her and avoided a fight in the process — impressive, to be sure — I do wish he hadn’t tried to do so much blasted talking leading up to it all.

I will give Viola one thing; he may be annoying, but he does know how to talk his way out of a situation. I can respect that. We seem to be of the same school of learning, he and I, however different we may be in each other imaginable respect.

Despite having cleared up the first part of our work and rescuing the girl, there is still more yet to go. I’m certain that leaves plenty of time for my respect to dwindle for any one of these men for any variety of reasons. If they were to come out of this higher in my esteem than when we met, that would be a very peculiar thing indeed.

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Tykos Journal 2
Rescue and Restitution

It feels good to have a job again. Having a definite goal is… relieving, after all the uncertainties the have plagued my life lately. Not that I don’t have a purpose, I just didn’t have anything more then vague feelings to work off of. Having something certain to work towards brings back a little of my previous life.

It is also a chance to see Cassandra again, maybe help her and repay a little of what I owe her. I feel eternally indebted to her for breaking me from curse. I can’t explain it why I feel so strongly towards her, as I never felt anything that strong in life. Its not romantic or even just camaraderie. Maybe its because she was the first sign of light I saw after years of the dark.

And just as I was feeling better, some shop keep implied she knew what I was despite my coverings. The Drago went ahead and confirmed it. I’d like as much as possible to avoid having others know about my condition. It eats at me, knowing I’ve become some sort of abomination. My greatest fear is that it will becoming widely known and I will be completely outcast. I may not be the most sociable individual, but I spent my whole life among people, family and friends. The isolation of being outcast just might ruin me.

Luckily, I was able to relieve some of this anxiety in the swamp. We came across some undead and I blasted one apart. It was the first real test of my power, and it was rather cathartic. Unfortunately, we drew more undead to us. Fortunately, The Raven Queen hates them as much as I do, an I was able to drive most of them away.

The rest of the group preformed admirably, disposing of the rest of the skeletons. And I was able to test a theory of mine, that I can’t actually die again. One of the damn skeletons got a lucky shot and hit me with what was a deadly blow. Within mere seconds I was standing back up feeling better. The wound was still as painful as it would have been before my death. Also I get the feeling that The Raven Queen wouldn’t be pleased with me about skirting death some more, so I plan to avoid using this power.

Exploring this temple, Elowyn and Viola were very adept in solving the puzzles and dealing with the dryads we found in therein. Drago was adept at stumbling through traps. But he remained standing after all of them and was able to drive out that nasty dryad, so he redeemed himself well.

In the end we were able to able to save Cassandra. She was just as radiant and kind as I remember. She said that this made us even and even gave me a magical staff, but I still fell I owe her so much. She agreed to accompany us on the second half of our mission. So I may have the chance to repay her and, hopefully, get to know her better.

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Viola - Journal Two
Amid the Starry Sky

The sun was bright, hanging lazily in the sky. The boy sighed, laying down in the field, huge fluffy clouds on a slow meander above him. His chest rose and fell with the deep inhales of an afternoon nap, the sort of thing that comforted him to no end. Another soft gust of wind. The flowers billowed alongside the long grass, little petals and the scent of honeysuckle and buttercups ripe along the wind as it caressed the peaceful meadow.

Wake up.

The boy opened his eyes slowly, the sounds humming softly in his ears as he stood, hair billowing in the wind. Alone, the boy yawned quietly before observing the landscape; letting the world speak verse to him, the very pulse of nature chirping into his mind.

Suddenly, a sign of life. A bird gently flew across the horizon, it’s song loud and smacking of cheer. And another, and then another, and another. Blue birds, and black birds, and red birds- Birds of every colour soared around the boy as he looked up in awe as the little buzz (a familiar one) graced his perception. Peering over, the little boy looked at the hummingbird, hovering cautiously around him.

Spoken words. A gentle laugh. A fit of song and dance.

Then, the birds were gone. The meadow dried and cracked. A hollow laughter on the wind as the boy looked around, the sun practically burning out in front of him. The hummingbird remained, staying close to him- Assuring him with its song.

That, he could no longer hear.

The bird’s wings stopped, and the little thing fell to the ground. Shadows burst from the ground, the laughter deep and stinging- A viper in the meadow. A hand gripped into his shoulder- Another one on his neck, his arm, his waist – claws digging into his skin, reaping bloodied furrows.

_ “YOU WILL NEVER BE-“_

Viola gasped, waking up with a start as a hand instinctively reached down to clutch at his chest. He looked around, calming his racing heart as he reasserted himself. He was still in the swamp. This was camp. The others were either strewn around him asleep, meandering or gone.

He reached up to the bridge of his nose and pinched it hard.

“… Old habits die hard, it seems.” He smiled humorlessly before looking down at the smudged paper he had been sleeping on. Some sort of shitty love poem written for the entertainment of a certain dryad whose voice was, frankly, one that would put some bards he had seen to shame. In these somber moments, he couldn’t help but wonder about old Zuccio. The Alabaster Muse had most certainly gone to lands far and wide by now. He always spoke of Shou-jun. Perhaps, he went there- But, knowing him, he likely headed as far south as he could conquering maidens all the while. Oh well, such irrelevant thoughts were better left for later times.

He reached over to his writing utensil, the inspiration coming quickly to him as the communication gem sitting next to one of the bedrolls entered his view. His hand flew quickly across the page, penning what his heart spoke before putting the thing down.

Reaching over to the gem he brought it to his lips, pausing for a moment as he gripped the thing. “Willow?” Waiting for a response he smiled softly to himself, “Have you ever written lyrics to a tune?”

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In the Swamps...
The First

Laurel stomped out of the ground she had burrowed herself in and slammed her fists into the mud as she collapsed. “Aaaaahhhhhh!” she wailed beating into the earth over and over again the acorn clutched in one of her hands. “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! It was mine, I FOUND IT FIRST!”

With one last shout she threw herself onto the ground in a tantrum thrashing and sobbing. Finally her movement ceased and she laid there crying and wallowing in the mud. She opened her yellow eyes to see boots standing in front of her. Before she could pull herself up her eyes caught a faint glow in front of her face. A small black shard thrown in the mud in front of her.

She picked it up in her green tinted hand and looked up at the hooded figure standing over her. She tilted her head and smiled. “Now what’s this?”

“Dear girl,” a twisted and muffled voice said. “Have you never gotten a gift before?”

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Green Marshes, Cassandra's Rescue (Session 2)
My Patience Only Goes So Far...

Today was…well…emotions ran high, that’s for sure. I got to see Zariah for the first time in the few months since, I was pronounced dead. She…gave me quite the scolding, in front of a crowd no less…though I can’t blame her. If our positions were reversed I don’t know how I’d have reacted to seeing someone I cared for “come back from the dead” as it were. I’m just glad to see she’s well, and in good health. Though I fear how long that will last. Knowing the Verdonias most likely aren’t daft enough not to realize every Hell Hound I’ve met since my escape probably knows about their goings ons. Knowledge their eagerly waiting to erase I’m sure. She can handle herself in a fight, I’m not too worried about that, it’s their underhanded tricks I’m concerned for. The one’s I’m still recovering from…I still don’t quite feel like I’m in my own body with how weak they cursed me.

In any case, if they’ve done their homework they’ll think thrice before doing anything to harm her of all people. She’s too intelligent to be an easy target, and should they hit the mark anyway…well…if me, and the rest of Hell Hounds weren’t enough…they’ll have one FURIOUS dragonborn to add to that…and my old man is probably the only one on this continent who is more intolerant than I am when it comes to people hurting his loved ones. One things for sure. If I’m mistaken in how well they will research their targets, or if they prove arrogant enough to believe they can handle…Him…without taking severe losses…I would pray they be given a quick death, if I didn’t know fully well they didn’t deserve it.

Well, we’re in the Green Marshes now. It’s unfortunate Luro had a separate job he decided to prioritize…I have no doubt I would have been impaled…burned…and sliced open less, if he were the one looking for traps, and not the rest of us. The job was given to us by Myra. Yes, THAT Myra. So it definitely payed well, even got half the payment before hand. One-hundred gold no less! The main job was to secure an item that was stolen on its delivery to her. Fucking (Insert the worst derogatory term in the giant’s language for “moron” here)! You want to talk about someone who’s terrifying when she’s mad? DON’T FUCK WITH MYRA DE LAFLEUR’s MONEY! The hell?! I thought every dipshit from Asha to Argent knew that! Well whoever it is, is dangerously stupid. Enough to where, if it wasn’t this, I’m convinced it would have been something else, not long from now even, that would have done them in!

Curious thing though…that wasn’t her only request. A priestess of Bahamut had gone missing while searching ruins in the Green Marshes. I wonder what their relationship is?…it wasn’t far from where her item was stolen either. The reward for that was about four times less than recovering the item but, we prioritized the woman. Half because we were worried, and half because Tykos seemed to know her personally, and was clearly set on making sure she was safe, stolen item be damned. On the way there we met a couple of, what I can only assume were bounty hunters. They were after some sort of dangerous fey creature causing trouble nearby. After a tense back and forth, where we all had our weapons at the ready, we parted ways peacefully once we convinced them we weren’t after their quarry. I wonder how they fared?

Anyways, a quick march and a lot of undead later, we entered the ruins where Cassandra reportedly went missing. In there was quite a beautiful and mysterious sight. Vines. LIVING vines. Ones that responded to touch, and seemed to have a mind of their own, amidst glowing spores that looked to substitute as sunlight, where none could previously reach! I don’t know how the rest of the party felt, but, something about it made me feel so…at peace…a peace that, unfortunately, happened to be a stalemate between two dryads. One harmfully greedy, and one just trying to defend herself.

We met Laurel first. She seemed good-natured enough at first. When asked if she had seen Cassandra, she hid nothing, and admitted she held her captive, for being “nasty”, to her. Some people need a time out if they’re being needlessly rude, even if they are a priestess of Bahamut. Laurel even said she would release Cassandra if we did her a favor, so…who was I to judge?

The favor was to burn another dryad’s tree and kill the dryad it was attached to for “invading”, “her”, home. As she put it. If that WAS the case, I would have gladly driven the other dryad out for forcing her way into someone’s home and setting up shop where it was unwanted. It was not. Upon meeting Willow, the other dryad, she had a different story to tell. She was indeed in the ruins against Laurel’s will, but it was not Laurel’s ruins…and it was not to cause harm. She simply had nowhere else to go. Undead were everywhere around the marshes, and this was the only safe place she had. Given the hoard of them we had to repel JUST to enter the ruins, the malevolent fey creatures that needed dealing with, and the cursed artifact that was stolen within the marshes…I found it hard to believe she was lying.

What do you call someone…who would wish death on another creature, and go so far as to burn their lifeline, for no other reason than they seek shelter, the same as they seek?…Someone, who in turn needs to be thrown to the wolves, and reminded how fast things can change when you take people’s kindness, for weakness.

I was already agitated, but I gave Laurel a chance to defend herself. She said…“its mine, and I shouldn’t have to share.”…NOT. GOOD ENOUGH! I chased her out. Put my greatsword to her throat and gave her an ultimatum. She would take her chances with the marshes, or meet her end right there. Fair enough right? Considering that’s the deal she gave Willow, who wanted nothing more than shelter from the storm, and was more than happy to coexist peacefully with her new housemate. I think so. When she protested, I backed her up against the wall, and made it very…clear, I was no longer negotiating. She made the smart choice.

Willow now has the temple all to herself, and with Laurel gone we retrieved Cassandra, who, surprisingly, wasn’t too worse for the wear, along with the relic she came to the ruins in the first place for. Even got a couple of magical items for our own personal use too. Not bad for the first real mission of a group with a member missing, is it?

As we parted ways with Willow she gave us some beautiful flowers to remember her by, and when I offered my assistance to deal with any, troublesome, house guests in the future, she gave us a crystal, one that opens that line of communication should she ever need it. I think I’ll make it a point to come visit now and again. I hope this isn’t the last I see of Willow. But something tell’s me it won’t be the last of Laurel…when that happen’s, she better have had a change in attitude…I find I have very little reserve, when it comes to mercy, for people so psychotically selfish nowadays…

Whatever the case, we’re not out of the clear yet. One more cursed artifact to go. I can only hope this one’s as easy as sending the thieves running scared before any real damage is done. Though, something tells me it won’t be.

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