Written Letters never sent
I've followed you to the wondrous city of Adventure. Arriving just yesterday, I've already met the local sweetheart, a Retainer and Knight of Torm, named Noah. How delicate his fragile hold on his faith must truly be to cling so desperately to it. Despite my observations, I cannot help but relate to this fanatics drive to accomplish his own tasks which parallel mine.
Tomorrow I'll seek you out and hope you've founded a circle of confidence for us to begin our researching the numerous institutions of this glorious city. Perhaps with enough like-minded comrades we could do more than grow our pockets. Perhaps we could grow our minds as well.
I continue my expedition into the frozen north seeking old the rarest and most bizarre reagents. There are a number of hedge magic rituals which I wish to perform in the near future, if only to further my own research. I recently came across a strange book, and with it, a passage about conjuring doorways.
It is regarding the creation of a planar key;
"Put plainly, can this key be energized in such a way to control it's destination point? And can the gateway be manipulated to be one-way, or two-way travel? Can such a key be calibrated to specific end points? Can these points be interdirectional?"
I'll pick up where this researcher left off and begin my own experimentation.
Let me tell you a story;
"There were once thirteen Children of the Night. They were born eons before Torils beaches were filled with sand and blood. When the sun was born, they woke and crawled in desperation away from the blinding sight. For years they shriveled in the warmth of the first Star, gnawing at the first signs of life essence birthed by Amauthor. It was Azuth who harnessed their mothers power and locked them in the darkest, farthest reaches of the Cosmos. There, they bided their time, growing strong in darkness, aging and molding themselves into Kings. These Kings of Shadow in their slumber were stronger than any one god, and in some tellings of the tale, the gods were born out of their nightmarish dreams, which too could take form in the mortal world.
In the year 1364, 3 Kings dreamt their escape from the Far Realm, and were slain with overwhelming force by the armies of the mortal world.
I believe one escaped more recently by trying to Dimension Jump, her name was Lyss.
This leaves Nine. Nine Kings of Darkness dreaming of a means to escape their prison, and return to their home, and make war on the gods whom stole it."
During some late night scavenging at the local library, I stumbled across a Star Map I hadn't yet seen before. All the well known constalations were listed, one of which, forms a magical gate, a ring of binding, like a less complex thermatergic circle. I say less complex, but the distances between those stars are millions, no, billions of kilometers.
Perhaps this Shadowstar is the location, the gateway i've been searching for?
The key. . .
Many of the older scriptures detail how conjuration magic will sometimes require an anchor, if Gond made this key, and it was truly used by a wizard to seal away the original 13, all that I have left to do is form another.
Yes, of course, I'll just slap one together using the local smithy...
It saddens me, all this research, all this planning and cutting edge discovery and I find I've yet another hurdle. A Gondkey is no simple feat. If it took a God to conjure it, it would likely take a God to form another..
"Some things, aren't meant for human eyes."
The gods created us, grant us knowledge, give us feeling, make us seekers of greater understanding,
then ask us to be humble?
To teach a child how to love, then ask it to restrict itself is asking it to not be what you've taught it to become.
Karsus's Folly is wrong. It was the Gods' Folly. They failed us. It was their foolish to teach us our potential, then deny us.
To seek knowledge is to pursue our destiny as beings who can be greater.
I go to seek the Obelisk tonight. I'll translate its secrets.
I do believe I met the most wonderful woman in the world last evening. She can't be more than twenty five, and speaks with knowledge far beyond her years. A natural scholar, questioning the world around her. If there was any room in my heart for more than my research, perhaps I'd try and get to know her.
That husband of hers might get in the way, but that's what husbands do.
I recently entered the service of the House of Death. This was MY decision. I think I might tell her about it though. There was hope of a secret library, perhaps some special knowledge, but nothing thus far. Rumors say you are rewarded with knowledge when you prove you've earned it. I'll publish my paper of their unfortunate man wrong theories of the Wheat King.
On to the research...
Little progress since my last update. So much to do. You keep gardening, brother.
Blue Star Sapphire
The Chaos Key
I only need a few more pieces of the puzzle.
A most potent discovery! A breakthrough!
The Shadowfel, the Otherworld, the Plane of Darkness, whatever name you know it by, it is a gift TO them! My most recent translation of an older text regarding the Old Ones says it was created by the gods to lure them away from the Prime Material Plane. It was here the gods used their magic to imprison them, and then they cast that prison Far from our Realm.
The devils in the details as they say, we're so close now...
Spellcraft DC: 32
the below graphic is that of a powerful planar scrying ritual used to view, experience, and hear across the realmspace. A passing of the above DC would allow one to understand that this spell is a form one one-way communication, where the caster is experiencing the other place yet cannot communicate with it directly.
List of Reagents:
Blue Star Sapphire
A piece of the realm you wish to view, or more specifically the creature.
Cast Find trap on the compass.
Cast Legend Lore on the Blue Star Sapphire
Cast Knock on the object.
Tie the Star Iron to a piece of string, wrapped in a twice-knot, and suspend it over the Star Map.
Cast See Invisibility on the Star Iron, while suspended over the map.
- Note that the Compass will act as a timer, when the compass cracks, end the spell, or suffer the consequences.
- Prepare a plethora of mind wards. Suggestions are protection from evil, protection from chaos, Clarity, Negative Energy protection, Protection from elements, a Spell mantle version, invisibility prepared, and have an assistant on hand to hold off whatever might mistake you for a meal.
((duration is depending on the quality of the compass, a mundane compass will last Caster level+1d4 turns))
Today, as you witnessed, we were able to observe ... It. Yes. I cannot even write what I would believe its name to be. Any description of it would be an injustice to its terror. A part of me believes we witnessed both the beginning and the end of all things. The first spark of life, and the last. Yet buried deep within the blackest part of the madness, a presence indescribable. A darkness all consuming. Its eye opened. I could not see it, I could not hear, nor taste, nor smell, but some part of me was screaming, begging me "LOOK AWAY." And I could feel it. Some curious part of it writhed beneath my feet, and the blackness circled my boots, crawling up my legs, exploring the alien species invading its home. It encompassed all of me in mere seconds and before I could even think to breath.Whether it awoke from some dream, or perhaps we slipped into its attention, I cannot say. I do not know. However I am certain it is awake now. Conscious. Thinking. As you know, my frail physique failed us. My concentration broke only moments after it saw us, and I was nearly lost forever, consumed by the Terror that Slept. With my concentration broken, the spell fizzled, and we returned to our realm with more questions than ever before.
More research is necessary now.
What does it want..?
It's following me. I sometimes wake in the night, and it's watching me sleep from the corner of the room. I've taken to sleeping with the lights on since what happened at the House of Death. Since I awoke, and all the cadavers heads were facing me, eye-lids snapped open. their drained faces and mouths in a voiceless scream. Who did that? Who moved them? Thus, I've taken to rooming at the World Serpent Inn when I can. Or the Bloodied Axe, or Sewer bar.. Really, anywhere but there.
It's not a ghost, or a haunting. It's a shadow as tall as twelve feet, and it's following me.
At first, I thought it wanted to make contact. While searching for reagents in the Underdark with Sergeant Hatchet, it revealed itself to our party. It pointed at me, and before I could say a word, it began to transfer itself into my body. It was all over so quickly, I couldn't even react. The others watched on in shock and horror, as I began to consider whether or not I would join the cadavers I treated so cruelly at the House of Death. Then it was all over, and a golden portal was resting on the ground in front of us. As we began to contemplate the portal, it began to close. Immediately, one of our number stepped through. Since we were in the Underdark, safety means sticking together. We wall entered the portal together not knowing what to expect.
I remember it dawning on me as I crossed the threshold, that the towering shadow figure reminded me. albeit vaguely, of the creature I saw while Planar Scrying with my brother. Perhaps it truly is the same thing. Perhaps its trying to contact us now?
as we exited the portal, the Shadow was no longer alone. It was joined by many.. dozens... And spells were beginning to be cast. Sergeant Hatchet, ever the brave and strong-headed orc she is, charged forth to meet their ire. This inevitably turned out to be foolish. The Shadows dispatched her in short time, and before a click of my wand, life had left her body. I did the only thing I could think of.. The only order I could muster.. The only phrase one can speak when the Shadows given form begin to crawl towards you in the night. I shouted "RUN!"
And run we did. For what seemed like a life time, we wandered the caves. I stopped to gather my breath, but any real resting meant 'they' would catch up to me. They did speak. They whispered about giving up, and the end of things coming. The terrain was unforgivingly onerous. A cave which I believe was hallowed out by an old lava canal. The shadows crawled on it everywhere. The ceiling. the ground. the walls.. At this point I had lost several members of the party. I knew some of them had to be alive because ... I could recognize their screams. . .
On what felt like the second day of running from these creatures, I was out of magics, and arriving at a dead end. My strength was failing me from the negative energies these creatures excreted. They were commanded by an unholy speed and determination to consume.. An endless hunger for more.. I arrived at this dead end, and placed my hand on the wall. Closing my eyes. Wishing only for a quick end. I heard a voice in my head, my voice "Your heart.. Will.. Explode..."
When I opened my eyes again, I was standing at the entrance of the vast cavern. A Shadow creature in front of me. Sergeant Hatchet and the others at my side again.... Yes... It started over... And like an endless loop of time, the same circumstances were achieved, the same motions... Sergeant Hatchet rushed the Shadow, and was brutally taken down. I shouted the words, knowing exactly where they would lead. Again, I was wondering and endless corridor of stone listening to my companions scream at a series of their own personal terrors. It all was happening again.. How many times had it happened before?
I found myself at the same wall. The same dead end. The shadows crawling. I turned to face them, perhaps this time would be different? Perhaps in my state, a wizard without spells, without combat draining, perhaps -I- could achieve what Sergeant Hatchet could not and overpower the creature?
These thoughts were futile. I awoke at the beginning of the cavern. Sergeant hatchet sprang into action. I numbness crawled over me as for what seemed like the seventh time one of the finest soldiers in Arabel was cut down effortlessly by this Shadow creature. I didn't fear it. I didn't hate it. I just wanted to understand...
Another series of endless corridors. This time, I could almost remember them. Left... Right... Straight.. Left... Ah, the dead end. I place my hand on the stone. The touch of it is familiar. Many hand-prints adorn the dusty wall. I am more fond of it than facing the Shadows. It means a brief moment of clarity and quiet before the nightmare starts again. I close my eyes as the shadows approach and hear the voice.. my voice again "Your friends will abandon you."
I don't know how long it went on. I think all of us left a piece of ourselves in that place. I know Sergeant Hatchet did. She refuses to talk about it. In fact, they all refuse to talk about it. I don't know why, dearest brother, I've kept this from you... From Delves... Perhaps I don't want you to think me afraid.. I am afraid.. So very afraid...
We awoke in the Underdark one final time. Before we stepped through the portal. This time.. We all watched it close, and in silence we vacated the place. It was a rough journey, but we had survived- no.. We had died again and again to so much worse. It wasn't the Nine Hells.. It wasn't the Abyss.. Not Limbo.. Where were we? How did we get there? What does it want?
I'm still running in my own way. Seeking answers, refusing to face the shadows. I sleep with the lights on, now. When I can sleep. My eyes feel heavier every day.. My dreams are nightmares. I keep seeing Sergeant Hatchet cut down, and hearing my own voice.. The phrase, always a morbid reminder of my fragility "You're going to die."
What is left of your brother,
Thirty three days. That's how long it has been since I arrived here in this city. In that time I've walked amongst giants, I've bedded heroes, I've seen the darkness beyond the stars. nursed children, and watched them grow strong. I made friends.. Then watched them die.
After my arrival, I became obsessed with a prophecy.
A Poem written on an obelisk in the Hullack.
The Red Mother grows ravenous beyond her needs. She is an empty hunger that cannot be sated, such as we made her. Malwen and the others think she will remake the world. Kold, my brother, we both know nothing can be born new from a dead world.
Now Angels speak of the end of times. The one called Faith showed me the future in a vision. Glory, standing tall above the corpses of men, a single fallen angel beneath her, "Mercy."
Two forces seek to unmake the world, and here I sit patiently waiting with the Ashes of my Love wondering which side will succeed first.
I have nothing but contempt for myself. I see the moment when I close my eyes. She ran though the trees, battered and beaten already once. She grabbed hold of the Herald of the New World and in that moment.. I think she looked at me.. I think she saw the look of horror on my face.. And even in her final moments, no fear, no remorse, just those judgmental eyes.
She leaves me alone with the last riddle of man;
"How do I save a world not worth saving?"
I can feel the heat of the explosion on my face still. I taste the bark which riddled my body as pieces of the Red Mothers children were scattered. I smell flesh burning from the holy light of the heavens. This is the end. These are our final days.
I spent much of the laterday trying to answer questions I wasn't even prepared to ask. Demons defending Arabel, manning the walls with undead, Drow 'defending' a corridor, and the Red Mother at the center of it all. Her little fingers reaching out hungrily, devouring their sentiments.
They don't deserve this.
Brother, I stood with you on the edge of our universe, gazing into the blackness with wonder and curiosity and fear. Not knowing truly what we had started. What we had awoken. Darkness hadn't been coming to Arabel, as Hope had assured me. Darkness was already here. It had been for longer than most of the Gods had been alive. They did what they could to combat it, and by their grace made Man and Elf and Dwarf to continue their good works. By the grace of the gods, they bestowed us with the most important feature of all, our Will. It is by this, that we forged empires and unions and did great things. Did.. Terrible.. Things..
I can only speculate that we were given the gift of choice to prove we were not just 'Good,' but also 'Worthy.'
Instead of fighting the darkness, instead of triumphing over evil, we decided to nurture it. We failed, and turned away from their blessing for darker pacts knowing full well the rules of the game: damn yourself, damn your soul, burn forever.
When the Red Mother came to us, we were granted a second chance, and again, the fickle nature of our corrupted hearts showed our true loyalties. Not in the gods, but in our own need for self preservation.
"Make her strong. Make her stand tall."
I remember it. I was a part of it. I chose the same choice that you did, my dearest brother. We are all to blame. None of us are worthy. None of us are good.
Yet still, we remain. A dwindling spark at the rising tide of the Angels. It isn't fear - we know fear. We've dreamt of it and gazed into it at the edge of the universe. The only emotion I feel at the end of the world is Anger.
They gave us this world to share. They allowed us to choose, and rigged the game they forced us to play. They have no right to take the world out from under our feet. No right to stop others from choosing their own path. -That- is what this war is about. The game they made, the test of the gods, it was all a fallacy. None of us left, none that draw breath in this city deserve to live, yet still we stand. I want our last breath to be held back to spit in the face of our enemy, our old friend.
How dare they judge us.
This world was not theirs to end. It was ours..
It's not fair. It's not fair. ITS NOT FAIR.
Why must SHE haunt my dreams? I've seen chaos. I've murdered Lords and men. How can she haunt my dreams? What is she waiting for in the Salt march below Arabel? What awaits me in the underdark? Will she bury me there? Will she run me through as she did Mildred? ITS NOT FAIR! I KILLED HER ONCE I CAN'T DO IT AGAIN!
these journal entries are found on the Corpse of Arfas Klennemen.