The Guild City

Journal 6 - Vindis Florel
Down A Path Well-Trodden

“It’s been awhile, you know.” He said, eyes closed amidst the place they did dwell once.

“That it has.” He said, the voice calm amidst the darkened clutter of the room. “Though, it is no fault of mine.”

“You’re… Not wrong.” He said, sighing softly to himself, “I suppose I hadn’t much use for the ethereal.”

“And yet, did you not resolve to revolve yourself around such nebulous things?”

“I suppose I did. Though, we all make our choices.”

“It was a cruel one.”

He smiled, a humorless grin, befitting the absurdities of the situation. “Aye. That it was. Though, it’d be wrong to say I’d apologize for it.”

“Oh?”

“To apologize, you need to be repentant. I made my choice, and I don’t regret it.”

“Then there is peace, is there not? Why have you returned then—Grasping at old shadows.”

“You’re… Not wrong. Perhaps, I am driven by selfish motives.” He said, hand grasping at the somehow uncomfortable sheet, “No… I am.”

“…”

“Today, I wander into the valley of uncertainty—My feet upon little more than a precipice, naught but void on either side.”

“I see. You grasp at shadows to feel better when faced with it. Poetic, yet, pathetic coming from you.”

“I’ve never been brave, you know that.”

“Then why?”

“Because, I am already dead.”

“… I see.”

He smiled to himself, bowing his head in the cool air, “You once gave me strength, you know. The strength to wander in dark places—My… Melancholy dulled by the essence of the embrace. I… Don’t miss that, and yet- I feel compelled.”

It laughed. “Such… Insolence. Though, call me intrigued.”

“I seek the strength that kept me alive once, for one last adventure, you and I.”

“Then, let us go once more into the abyss, and as you sink, I shall watch every second with pride.”

“Wouldn’t expect any less.”

It could only smile, amidst the empty room, Vindis Florel leaning back against his bed, closing his eyes to welcome the troubled night.

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Petros - Journal 7
In which Petros has fun

Petros looks at his future brother-in-law, and back to his sister. They’re obviously in love and Petros couldn’t be happier for her. He hears his mother’s voice in his head, telling him how great the island is, and just to make sure that Ianthe doesn’t miss anything from home. Ia wolfs down popcorn and he smiles.

He meets a whole contingent from the temple of Dolora and gets caught up in their excitement. He recieves a blessing from Reyland, and for the second time he’s uncomfortable with prayer.

Petros squares up against a bard, his muscles aching from the electricity that had just coursed through them. He considers healing himself, but instead casts a curse. The next thing he remembers is one of his opponents pulling him up from the ground. Next time, he’ll be more free with his healing spells – and he will drop his enemies before they have a chance to hit him.

This is fun. Every fight he gets a little smarter and a little better. It’s like working out a muscle he didn’t know he had. In the next fight, his group unleashes everything they have at their objective. It’s over in a matter of seconds and he exults.

He spots someone suspicious, someone his group had been looking for. He trusts Sabiya to gather more information them down and report back honestly. Is it trust? Trust just might be the right word.

Another fight. The group works well together, making quicker and smarter decisions. He’s starting to feel his way through battles, his senses, spells, and reactions all blending together.

He takes a moment to catch his breath. The last traces of nausea from that strange spell sweep through his body. As it fades, he hears Ariyra yell. He turns to see an expanding light before his vision clears and his heart leaps into his throat.

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A'Donna's Fortune
The Grandmother's After Scene

A glass of wine in her hand, she takes a good look at the pieces of paper in the other.  Four of them to be exact.  She places them in order on the small table in front of her.  Her face a blank mask as she does.

First: The hermit sideways, her soul.

A paper white figure with long iridescent hair and colorless eyes clad all in black with a walking stick, head turned towards her feet.

Second: The five of cups upright.  Her past.

The same figure fallen to her knees hands burried in her face.  Surrounded by five cups all spilling fresh blood as they lay on the ground.

Third: The Devil Reversed. Her present.

The figure from before wrapped in chains being pulled by a large shadow figure smiling maniacally with glowing golden eyes.

“Funny…wasn’t that my future the first time?” She mutters to herself partially buzzed on her fourth glass wine, and perhaps a cup of liquor that left her mouth tasting toxic. She looked at the last card, picking it up with all the others, but never flipping it over. She steps over to the fire placed and tosses them in. Adding whats left of her wine to fuel the flames.

She smiles and raises her empty glass to a toast toward the sweet scented flames burning the card into ash. Maybe it’s just the drink, but sue swears she can hear someone laughing for a moment.

She ignores it and turns her back just as the tower card crumbles to ash in the flames.

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Journal 5 - Vindis Florel
Troubled Thoughts and Wilting Blooms

”Something truly wretched and unforgivable… And, yet, you’d leave something like this out for some idiot like him.” He paused, “… Or, this is a trap.”

The man murmured to himself, drumming his fingertips against his well used desk, his eyes trained on his new acquisition as it sat front and center on the table, notes hastily scrawled as he tried to draw any number of conclusions from the mess of a thing. Yet, today, he felt he couldn’t work. Sighing softly, he rose up from the chair and meandered down into the closed flower shop, the creak and click of the door behind him the only sound breaking the
barren silence.

At first, he could feel only anger and frustration. Someone had swept the rug out from underneath him- His chosen dedication a mere footnote amidst her apparent successes. That being said, the more he read the more intrigued he became- No, the more confused.
For as long as he could remember, there was a comfort in the flowers. He had never really pinned down why- the reasoning had constantly eluded him- but he always found himself coming to this room to think, to ground himself, and establish some kind of order in an otherwise discontented mind. It seemed tonight was one such night.

Rose.

Orchid.

White Lily.

Snapdragon.

Iris.

Periwinkle.

Dahlia.

Morning Glory.

He paused for a moment, and looked at the familiar blue flower. He smiled softly, gently lifting it to inspect the slightly moistened soil. It was growing well. What was the meaning behind this flower?

“Unrequited love. Mortality.” He found himself saying, “Mortality. I wonder if you still have such concerns. Perhaps, I’m the reason you won’t have such for the next hundred or two.”
He shook his head, “You’re enigmatic to me. Despite that, I find myself foolishly hopeful that through these writings perhaps I’ll learn just who you are, my Jaded Mandarin.”

Jaded Mandarin. He smirked humorlessly to himself, as his eyes caught a glance of a singular dying flower in the pot, snuffed out by the vibrant light of the others. It was to happen, every now and then. Gently, he reached in and pruned the troubled flower.
“I’ll play into your hands.” He murmured, “And, don’t you get me wrong- I’m terrified. I’m naught but a lemming to you, and yet…” He narrowed his brow, “To surpass you, I must know you. To exceed the person you are, I need to understand every angle of the jagged shadow you cast.”

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Petros - Journal 6
In which Petros likes combat and hates Remal

Petros sits in the cart, feeling it bob up and down. His thoughts idly wander. It’d been quite a trip to Remal. Terrible place. Terrible, terrible place. He’s sure there’ll be another job there soon enough – somebody there is going to fuck something up and soon. He is just as sure he won’t take it. He’d gotten Ruka out and that was the last thing he’d do for that Dolora-forsaken place.

The tournament’s coming up soon. He’s looking forward to it. Every battle he’d been in had been a thrill, an opportunity for quick thinking and putting his training to good use. He thought back to the grand temple and the countless hours he’d spent training there.

Dolora. Dolora makes it possible for him to keep up with wizards and magic weapons and druid magic. The spells she gave him saved Ruka’s life. He’s getting stronger and stronger. He’s finally able to use more of the spells and rituals he’d studied back home. That gift is rare. Most worshippers go their whole lives without casting a cantrip.

He is tied to Dolora, as he should be. His family is naturally close to Dolora, fortunate and blessed by her. They are born to be instruments of her will and she gives them what they need to humbly carry it out.

Unbidden, a thought comes to him, an echo of a whisper. “Faith means nothing with empty intent. Gestures of true belief need not be extravagant.” Another, more feeling than words, a wisp of something like anger. Why did it take her so long to say something? What in the hells is ‘empty intent’?

The cart bumps sharply before he can even acknowledge the thought. His attention turns to Ruka. Once they arrive in Asha, he can take her to the temple of Riella. He can keep his promise to his sister. And he can finally get away from Vindis and Reynard.

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Excerpt from the Diary of Reynard _Page of Swords_
Remal Sessions

Remal was a shit strange town. We arrived and was put upon by Martel family drama. Two sides of the family were feuding, the husband Malcolm of one side absent, and the kids caught up in it. We were there to hunt a beast that had torn up some livestock. wish it had just been some wolves or something, wouldn’t have caused so much grief So after speaking to the mayor (Vernon Martel) and the court wizard of the Verdonia’s (Lady Thalia), we found out the mayors brother (Malcolm again) this freaking family had gone out to hunt the beast.

Out in the woods we found a camp sight, with evidence of an attack. We followed a trail of blood gross until we came upon dead campers, beset by wolves. We quickly dealt with the wolves, but not before Arirya spoke to them a useful skill, one that I don’t despite being an animal? and discovered they were not behind the attacks. Discovering this we explore further, discovering Malcolm wounded by a small lake the first of many problems he caused, asshole

Surprisingly, he had actually found the creature responsible for the attacks. A hunger demon, which ambushed us we proceed to discover and engage. After a short but brutal battle, we dispatched the villain. Malcolm was hurt and under the effects of some sort of magic that was affecting his mind. This and the realization that the demon had to have been summoned by someone meant that we weren’t finished in this town.

This is where things got complicated so I’ll explain the rest of the players. to hell with most of them Malcolm and Vernon are brothers. Malcolm married Rulda, an orc he met back in his adventuring days. They have a child, Ruka, who has some magic. Malcolm and Vernon’s deceased Uncle Henry was married to Delilah. They had two children, Rina and Tomlin. We found Rina and her friend, the orphaned Bridgette, picking on Ruka. Delilah also hates Rulda because she was meeting with Henry on the woods when he was killed. seriously fuck these people

So, we began investigating. Our two main targets were Delilah, who we thought may be the bitch witch, and Thalia, who we knew was a spell-weaver. Rulda was also on the suspect list, but we didn’t investigate her because a few of my companions, had taken a shining to Ruka cough Petros and Arirya cough Regardless we found no evidence as to anyone’s guilt,but we did find the mayor had been killed while we were gone. So we added that to the list of mysteries. We only discovered, by a great plan I came up with, that Delilah did not kill the mayor and was probably not a witch.

The next morning we were woken to sounds of panic. Tomlin had been taken sometime in the night. We found a portal underneath his bed and Vindis discovered where it possibly led to. One was where we knew Bridgette hung out, so we went there first. only after remembering she existed and was creepy We bust in to her shack and found ourselves in a witch’s cottage. Turns out she was a witch but not the one we were after. She agreed to help us if we sat in on her little tarot fortune telling session. We all participated, and it was scary accurate. She basically told all my secrets and I wasn’t the only one. It seems I wasn’t the only one with secrets either. She told me I was the Page of Swords. That mixed with the Fool as my present means I was in the midst of a new beginning. That knowledge is both exhilarating and terrifying. I almost wish she had told us our futures too.

After the tarot reading, we were informed we could go to the Forest to save the child (Tomlin), or head to the farm (where Rulda and Ruka lived) to be heroes. As much as I wanted to be the hero, all my other companions only desired to check on Ruka. They would let Tomlin die for the sins of his mother, and I couldn’t let that happen. So we split up, Sabiya and Vindis coming with me thank god, I don’t think I would have survived on my own, and I’m not dying again We also picked up a town guard on the way there.

We arrived in the forest to find Tomlin captured by an undead Henry and a toy that contained the soul of a witch. Long story short, too long for this town Malcolm had fallen in love with Delilah strange considering she appeared to never have feelings for him so he asked a witch for help. The struck a deal, the witch would remove Henry and Rulda from the picture and Malcolm would get one night guaranteed with Delilah, in exchange for their child. also Vernon was involved some how,I’m slightly fuzzy on the details writing it down after all this time However Rulda survived and Delilah didn’t want Malcolm. Now the witch had come to collect Tomlin to use him to get her body back.

And so the battle began, but not before Sabiya convinced Henry to turn on the witch. Unfortunently she just let him die again. I then gave Sabiya some magical protection and she took out the other zombie/demons while I went after the witch’s ward to save Tomlin. Vindis stood around helped too. We broke through and dispatched the witch and Rotbane claimed her soul. The town guard turned out to be a paladin of some kind and was actually quite helpful during the fight. We convinced him to come back with us and join the Onxy Vipers.

We returned to town, to find out that our companions had only succeeded in saving Ruka, Rulda and Malcom now dead. That and Lady Thalia had now brought back Vernon some how and was puppeteer him. According to Vindis, she’s super powerful as if we didn’t have enough on our plate with the mark of a mad god, we appear to have piqued her interest as well She did give us extra rewards and an invitation to some upcoming Verdonia party.

The ride back from the Remal, I learned a few more things: Rotbane is apparently the only thing keeping me alive and can now create a corporeal form, Magical decks or taort cards are dangerous, and Vindis has a mean sense of humor and is not to be trusted with your vulnerabilities so fucking pissed about that I still might smite him if I get the chance

Overall it was a trying few days. I learned more about my companions. Sabyia actually is a good companion and maybe friend once she deems you worthy. At least I got on person to be nice to me Vindis is a dick, but will help if it interests him so selfish too Arirya and Petros appear to care more about taking care of who they like then saving the innocent. These are slightly worrying traits from a man of god and a guardian of nature. It seems Justice is not as universal as I thought it would be. Regardless I will do my best to become an honorable hero.

Seems Rotbane has a tighter grip on me than I thought too. I was under the impression that resurrection was one and done. Maybe I could find a way out of the pact if things became to unsavory. Now I know I’m locked in for life, my outlook seems bleak. I just wish it felt I was making some actual progress. Every step forward seems to be accompanied by two steps back. the weight of it all is exhausting, leaving me wondering if I’m strong enough to bear it.

At the vary least I have the tournament to look forward to. No threat of death, magical drama, or mad gods. Just pure combat, skill, and a little forced teamwork that will hopefully bring us together.

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Number 3
A little girls dream

The lull of the conversations in the carriage and the steady swaying is missing.  Instead she hears the whistling of a soft breeze and smells…roses?  The young girl opens her violet eyes.  A bed of rose lays petals beneath her, and she’s surrounded by what looks almost like a garden.  No it is a garden.  Roses of all shades and states of bloom planted around ivory colored marble pathways and perfectly cut lush grass in between paths.  There’s statues, beautiful masterpieces of men and women with tightly fit robes all around, and the largest fountain she’s ever seen pouring pale pink rose water into itself.

Ruka’s eyes go wide as she stands and looks around.  The entire garden is surrounded by hedges made of thorned briar rose bushes at least a few dozen feet tall, a set of large marble doors in place inside the hedge beyond the fountain. There’s a girl in front of them. With long raven hair in a crisp and simple white dress. Her back turned to Ruka.

Ruka opens her mouth to speak, but the girl starts to run before sye can say anything to her.

“Wait!” Ruka shouts. She chases after her beyond the marble doors that swing closed behind her. She follows her through an endless valley. It feels like hours of chasing behind her barely able to keep her in sight when she sees something on the horizon. Straight ahead, a door on a stone archway open and leading to stairs underground. The grass fading to sand around it. In the distance she sees the other structures. A tower so high it’s top fades into the cloudline rising out of a mountain, and then to her left a grand forest with treelines so tight not even her body could slip through.

The girl stops in front of the door, and turns around. A face with bluish green skin smiles at her and eyes as black as the night sky stare into Ruka.

“Do you want to come visit me?”

“Wh-where am I?” She asks. “Who a-are y-y-you.”

“You’re in the Valley,” the girl says with a giggle as if it were obvious. “We were just in your garden. This -” she points to the underground door – “is my tomb…and that’s Seryn’s tower!” She excitedly points to the tower in the distance. “I can take you there next time! He travels in Argent, he has so many cool stories, you’ll love him!” Again the girl just giggles and bounces excitedly. “Oh! And I’m Hope!”

“Wh-who lives th-there?” She points to the forest.

Hope shrugs. “I don’t know, it hasn’t opened yet. Your gardens the first place to open since Seryn’s tower. Now come on! What was your name again?”

She stares at her feat unsure, when she feels something warm. She looks up amd somehow grace is infront of her holding her hands and smiling as if it were the morning of spring solstice.

“R-Ruka.”

Hope nods and pulls her forward. Ruka follows the other girl descending down into the stairs of the tomb.

In the carriage sleeps a little half orc girl with pale pinks skin and her face more relaxed than its been all days. Surrounded by adventurers all reaping the consequences of their curiousity along the ride. Not a single one aware where the young girl’s dreams have brought her.

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Petros - Journal 5
In which Petros finds a lead

Petros looked at the scorch marks on the ground. They smelled faintly of sulphur, and looked familiar. Digging through his memory, he thought of a lesson he had mostly snoozed through. The only part he remembered was about demons.

Of course! A demon had been summoned nearby, and had left its mark here. Or was the demon behind it all along? That was a definite possibility. IT felt good to finally have a bit of a handle on what was going on. He had thought Delilah was suspicious, but everything up till now had been guesswork and hunches. Along with the demon in the forest, this was something concrete to go on.

He immediately relayed his findings to the party. They mostly ignored him, which was strange. Perhaps they weren’t really interested in solving this mystery. He couldn’t blame them. The job was finished. If it weren’t for Rulka, he’d have argued that they go home as soon as they slayed their enemy in the forest.

But they were here, they were trying to solve the craziness of this town, and he had some real information to go on. Before he had gone to bed, he had prepared a spell to detect demons and devils. He’d done it on a whim, on the off chance another one showed up. He was so glad he did.

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Competition Arises
At the Pit

Sara stares at the board, among the crowd of the arena lobby she is a rarity. Elegant red robes and carefully groomed appearance among the grime and battle hardened folk. She taps her pale chin and gives a devious grin.

“It’s certainly a …unique name,” Karim speaks up from her side. The fair young man matching his companions aloofness barefoot and in a simple tunic with patchworl leggings.

“It’s complete shit,” Sara says sounding almost giddy. “And I can’t wait to see Vindis’ face when its announced to a crowd of hundreds.”

Karim shakes his head walking away back over to two other individuals already talking.

A half elf girl with dirty blond, pixie hair and forest green eyes. Dressed in simple leathers, but carrying an…interesting item. A metal contraption with a strage barrel on it covered in glowing runes. And a young man, tan skin with a half shaven face and intense brown eyes. Wearing metallic armor, two blades at his side.

Sara chuckles at the bracket posted up. The name “Fox and Friends” with familiar names posted beneath it.

“We took the last spot,” a soft voice says from next to her. Soft dark skin, golden hair, and eyes hidden by blood red cloth. Yan smiles to Sara and nods their hornes head.

“Splendid…let’s go inform the rest of our team, shall we?”

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Shuffle the Deck
In a small shack in Remal...

The little wooden shack sits nearly alone.  The houses a good space apart on either side and none with wood quite as rotten or dark as it.  Not a single window or back door in sight.  Just one, small door barely on it’s hinges.  Inside is no more impressive.

The same old wood just as water logged inside with the same lumber type making up the floor.  A small double bed and a table are the only furniture inside small room.  The woman sitting across from the halfling girl in rags seems quite out of place.  Pale elegant brow rising, Lady Thalia lets out a scoff and slides the card in front of her back towards Bridgette. 

“Really?”

Bridgette shrugs shuffling the deck casually without the card.  “You asked what the deck said about you, don’t roll your eyes at me when your soul isn’t what you want.” 

“You speak of that deck like it has its own mind,” Thalia says tapping her long nails on the table.  “But we both know that isnt true don’t we?”

“The nature of fate can be difficult for us to hear, Lady Thalia Von Lirel.”  Bridgette smirks drawing five cards and laying them face down.  “That’s why I never bother examining myself.  It’s a bit late in the game for introspection for me.” 

She flips the cards over one by one, placing two more face down beneath each one. 

The Hermit
A blonde man with a shadowy cloak pulled above him and black pine staff, vaguely pointed ears poking out from the hood. 

The Queen of Swords
A woman with short white hair inna flowing blue gown hoding a rapier crossed over her heart, sitting on a throne of clouds.

The Page of Swords
Not a man, but a fox on two legs in a tunic with a pages helm carrying a blacl sharp blade that seems out of place on a card of minor arcana.

The Star
A dark skinned demon looking man in fine clothing standing tall with a starfish behind his visage. The card is bordered in dark, storm clouds.

The Sun
A bright halfling with dark skin in thin clith wrapped around them. Their arms outstretched and a large sun rising above them.

Bridgette chuckles and places three more cards above these closest to herself. “I wonder how these reflections will make them feel?”

Thalia stands and narrows her eyes at the girl. “I hope you realize how much trouble you’ll be bringing upon yourself.”

She hums and rests her cheek on her right palm picking up the card she showed Thalia earlier between the index and middle finger of her left. “That’s already been dealt with…trust me I’ll be on a very tight leash for awhile.” Her lips curve into a grin. “Damn if it wasn’t worth it though.”

“The arrogance of youth,” Thalia turns and walks out the door slamming it behind herself.

Bridget flips the card between her finger glancing between it and the door.

The Hanged Man
A pale woman with platinum hair hanging upside down by her ankles bound in shadows, golden eyes stating down at her.

“Almost as bad as the pride of age isnt it?”

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