Previous entries -- 1/9/47 to 1/12/48


     Today we've arrived at the fine little town of Rongaz.  Lotus has wandered off somewhere -- she has a childhood friend in this town, as I understand it; I probably should've tagged along, since I'm sure that her friend's reaction would have been interesting.  Magus is going to try to keep an eye on her, though I'm not sure just how much good that's going to do.
     Anyways, there's been some sort of odd problem in the town.   There've been earthquakes lately, and I'm pretty sure this isn't one those areas that are prone to that phenomena.  Livestock have been disappearing, and so has the town drunk.  Tomorrow morning I'll ask the livestock what's been happening to them.
     This town has a couple of decent musicians.  For some reason or another they pretty much had a contest with me over who was the best.  They didn't stand much a chance, though.  Being one of the best musicians I know really certainly doesn't mean as much as I thought it would, but I guess I'll take what I can get.


     Well, we certainly know the cause of the earthquakes now...   Purple worms do not travel in packs, but a pack of purple worms is what woke us up this morning.  The worms took the time to surround our inn, which was a bit odd; purple worms literally aren't smart enough to use even remotely sophisticated tactics.  Seven worms showed up, though only one was a full adult.  Taishou, Sir Phillip, and myself were trapped in the inn, while Taxil flew around raining destruction on the worms while Cloud tore three of the younger ones to pieces.  Business as usual for those two, I suspect.
     Taishou seemed to have just the right spells for the situation; if Sospitas occasionally gives her devotee a nudge in the right direction, I'm certainly not going to complain.
     The adult and one of the near-adults escaped, and the three of us stuck in the inn managed to get out of it before it collapsed, but the rest of the inn's residents that day didn't have as much luck.  Whatever was responsible for this has a good bit to answer for.
     I guess I owe Taishou my life yet again; as far as I can tell, the only reason I'm not in the adult's belly right now is because it really couldn't ignore the twenty foot long bees and the fire elemental that Taishou had managed to call up.  I was literally face-to-coils with the thing, for the Goddess's sake.  I guess I should be happy that I didn't die twice in one week's period.
     The general collapse that the worms caused revealed some sort of ruins; there's a room full of purple worms eggs and larvae there, and we decided to withdraw until we could recover our collective expended magicks.  I guess I know what we're doing tomorrow.


     Well, that bizarrely exhilirating.  I think this is the first time I actually saved one of my companions...
     We went into the ruins, and discovered yet another legacy of Taxil's past lives.  There was some sort of undead monster -- a Morhg, I think -- that blamed Taxil for its existence in the ruins.  It was being sustained by some sort of black orb.  It was the force behind the purple worm attacks, and courtesy of it we got to experience the joy of fighting a pair of purple worms in a situation where we couldn't possibly outmaneuver them.  That was rather unpleasant, to put it mildly.
     Since the morhg would only attack Taxil, he put up some basic defenses and then ignored it.  The real threat were those two purple worms.  Cloud, in a pretty spectacular display of just why we rely on the guy perhaps too much, killed one of the worms with a shortsword.  The thing would swallow him, and he'd literally explode out of it in a shower of gore and start tearing it apart with that frost sword of his.  Trying to eat Cloud pretty much gave it terminal indigestion.
     Lord Phillip d'Leiden didn't fare so well, though.  He's an absolute terror when mounted, but he lacks Cloud's toe-to-toe combat prowess.  Cutting his way out of the adult was pretty much the limit of his abilities, and the adult weakened him sufficiently that he probably wouldn't have survived another trip down its gullet.
     Which resulted in a last-ditch effort to save Lord Phillip by killing the worm first.  Taxil bombarded it, Taishou roasted it, and I managed to lodge a crossbow bolt in what passed for its brain, finishing it off.  For some reason, I found that pretty satisfying.  I guess that at least for that one time, my presence wasn't much of a burden.
     After the two worms were out of the picture, Cloud clove the morhg in half, and then got to work on the sphere that was animating it.  It took him quite some time to destroy, but it is destroyed nevertheless.
     Taxil says that he doesn't know just what the heck happened in that ruin; I guess we'll have to take him for his word.  I wonder what other little bundles of joy Taxil has managed to leave behind in a past life.  The ugly thing is that they're all probably just as lethal.
     I'll be really irritated if we happen to run into this sort of stuff while on Asteria...


     What a weird, twisted day...
     We arrived in the mining community of Rockfall only to find over one thousand people named "Lex" already there.  Then came the three and a half feet of candy filling the streets.  And then the candy sharks.  We sort of had the situation under control (Lord Phillip had temporarily taken charge of the town) until the sharks showed up.  We found out through magical means just what was happenning when the candy appeared; the traces that we detected did not leave much room anything else.  We found the source of the sharks before the next Wish had been made, so we knew what the search for.  By that time, the next wish had been made.  I don't feel like explaining just what it did, though.
     As a side note, I got to experience one of the powers granted to Taishou by Sir Byron d'Artan's holy symbol.  Sharing Taishou's thoughts when she wasn't quite right in the head was rather bizzarre.
     Taxil had actually found the location of the lamp before that wish, but had gone back to collect us.  When we got there, we found those two doofus assassins there babbling about using the lamp for great goodness.  In fact, one of them had already summoned several thousand people to start cleaning up the candy.  They made fairly convenient shark food, though.
     A shark had swam off with the lamp, and so we sent Taxil hunting again.  He found the shark pretty quickly -- despite its relative mindlessness, Niki stilled granted it its wish.  Taxil killed it -- it couldn't do anything about him -- and took the lamp from its corpse.  At this point, we got to meet Niki and try to reverse the damage that she had unintentially done.
     Niki is an odd sort...  She means well, but its entirely on a case-by-case basis.  She'll do what she thinks that particular wisher wants, but she seems somewhat indifferent to the consequences.  She wasn't upset about the sharks eating people, but she was upset about the sailors who got brought back to life in the middle of the ocean by accident.  We saved them with another of her wishes, though.
     After we'd pretty much undid everything that she had done, we used one final wish -- or rather, the other assassin did -- to send her to her favorite master.  I guess I'll wish her luck -- and hope she doesn't accidentally unravel the multiverse.
     As a last note, those two blue dragons brothers were in town.   They'd apparently had angered their mother again, since they were once again in those forms.  She had also given them Niki's lamp, which was why there had been so many people named Lex in town -- one of them had asked for Lex, thinking that was Taxil's real name.  Since Niki didn't know which Lex he/she/it wanted, she had brought in all of them.
     We actually ran across them, and Lotus went and pointed out Taxil to them.  At that point, Taishou, Lotus, and myself went and left -- the dragon was already out of her own clothes and was stripping Taxil in the middle of the street.   Taxil did something then, and Lord Phillip went and helped him out.  As I understand it, that particular dragon has lost interest in him now.
     And that's that, I guess.  The idea of getting some sleep sounds good right about now.

Post-midnight Addendum

     That was disturbing...  Niki showed up in my bedroom with her favorite master Vorlag, a man of odd fashion taste and no small amount of libido.  It was rather improper, but I guess that those two don't care about that sort of thing.   Anyways, they granted me a wish -- though Niki required it to be self-serving -- and appearantly went and granted everyone else a wish, as well.  I simply added a property to that amulet that I have; I guess I'll find out what everyone else wished for tomorrow morning.  I can't complain.


     And so it begins.
     Looking up and seeing blue instead of green is so odd...
     Did Cloud feel this way, or he did just shrug it off the way he shrugs off just about everything?
     We're currently in Cloud's hometown, and it has now just occurred to me that Cloud's never even bothered to mention its name.  The welcome here is about along the lines of what we were expecting, but it's still unpleasant, just the same.
     First things first -- Cloud's mother Maria, his sister Rachel, and this Mr. Thompson that he kept talking about are unnaccounted for.  Or rather, two of those three have been accounted for, but it doesn't do us much good.  Lotus managed to run across Thompson when she "snuck" into the jailhouse (actually, she floated right in, but that's a moot point), but he left when she went to find Cloud.  Cloud was able to find out the general area that he's located in; he means to search for the man tomorrow morning.  He seems to have a great deal of faith in him.
     Rachel's location is a good bit more distressing -- she's in some sort of "re-education camp" where the forces of Mellek forcibly convert people to their way of thinking.  The Order of the Undying has a somewhat easier time of it, but Mellek's methods apparently work.  Adding further insult to injury, one of our dear siblings happens to be the sadistic monster in charge of the camp.
     Which brings up the Angel of Death.  It's a rather pompous name, but it seems that he has earned it.  His method of operation involves flying around while raining destruction.  Also, this seems to be one of the weaker ones -- after all, he's stuck occupying a town instead of being on the frontlines crushing all resistance.  I'm not sure just where our brother stands in the hierarchy in this force -- on one hand, he doesn't command the troops.  On the other hand, he's clearly the most powerful thing in this area.
     I wonder...  Just what does the king offer them?  What can be so good that it keeps them from just casting him down and seizing all of his armies for themselves?  Does he play them off each other?  Is he offering something they can't refuse?  Or has the strongest of them already replaced him, and it simply isn't known?  Though it's quite possible that all of those are wrong.
     Lotus is rather irritated that I keep referring to the Angel of Death (I wish I knew his actual name...) as our brother; Actrevius is keeping his own counsel.  Or rather, he told me a few days ago that the "creatures" that we would be facing on Asteria are simply our enemies, and while he acknowledges the blood relationship, our kinship with father's children goes no deeper than that.  Quite frankly, I hope to the Goddess that he's right.  Regardless, all three of us are agreed that the Angel of Death must die.
     He may not die tomorrow, but at least his position will be much more tenous.  After that, he'll hopefully be joining the ranks of the cannon fodder in the realm of the chosen ones.


     We did it!  We really, honest-to-Goddess did it!
     Have fun in the realm of chosen ones, son of my father.  Maybe one day -- thousands of years from now -- you'll cease to be cannon fodder.  Of course, if there's some modicum of justice, you'll be summoned in your new body by some idiotic wizard who means to make you his slave.  He'll probably send you on some sort of suicide mission, and it'll be back to the bottom of the ladder with you.
     Of course, the Angel of Death isn't the only person who died today.  Derek Strongblade perished in the battle against him.  I'd mourn his sacrifice except that, of course, Taishou will simply restore his life to him tomorrow morning.  Interestingly enough, Taishou was the target of almost every attack that the Angel of Death dropped on us -- or at least, right up until the combined efforts of Cloud, Lotus, and Taxil slew him.  Magus and Taxil harried him right from the beginning of the battle, but he actually ignored them.  I admit that we should probably be grateful that Derek was the only person we lost.  Still, I'd say we did a pretty good job tonight.
     As a side note, we've defeated the garrison, killed several clerics of three of the evil faiths (The Golden Lioness, Karactas, and Lodus all lost some clergy members -- though as I understand it, that isn't nearly as much a matter for concern as it would be back on Parasonnea), and claimed the payroll for the entire region for our own.  We'll be metting out justice to the surviving soldiers tomorrow.
     Actrevius seems pretty dissatisfied -- I guess the fact that he isn't even a remote match for any of our siblings here must irritate him to no end.  I suspect he's being a bit harsh on himself, though -- as I understand it, between him and Lord Phillip they killed two of the three most dangerous psionicists in the town and tore apart several squads of soldiers.
     Lotus, on the other hand, seems pretty pleased with herself.   She was pretty crucial in the fall of the Angel of Death, and she also managed to steal the entire payroll singlehandedly.  Mr. Thompson isn't very happy about the tree that's now in his youth center, but I kinda like it.
     Mr. Thompson is kinda odd...  He's very slow on the uptake, but he always manages to understand things anyways.  He's good man, though.   As an extra bonus, he solved the mystery of Maria Strife's location for us -- he'd rescued her when she was being shipped off.
     But why all of the gold chains?  Cloud did say something about the chains being the source of his power, and there is a good number of enchantments laid upon them.
     Anyways, we're going to evacuate the town now, in case of retribution.  We'll take the people somewhere safe, and then we're going to pay Malakai a visit.  I do hope that Rachel's at least still herself...  The Angel of Death managed to corrupt the force he was traveling with by sheer proximity.
     Enough of that.  We'll get your daughter out of there, Maria.


     Mission accomplished, though that was rather close...
     My part in today's business was very simple.  I sang.   Beyond using my wands, I did nothing else.  I guess I did enough, though.
     Lotus and Taxil were the ones who actually rescued Rachel; they were appearantly a bit sloppy -- Taxil was half-dead when he got out of the camp -- but they still pulled it off.
     The rest of us "merely" provided a distraction by assualting the gate of the camp.  It was a near disaster at a couple of moments, but we (by we, of course, I mean everyone else -- as I said above, I was just singing) did well enough.  For the sheer shock value, Taishou was actually swinging around Cloud's original sword.   By the grace of one's goddess, a great deal is possible -- if one has the potential to channel the energies, anyways.  And I don't.
     Malakai showed up shortly after Taxil and Lotus escaped.  I think I understand why he was at this camp instead of on the lines doing something important -- Cloud and Actrevius practically shred him.  Surprisingly enough, it was Lotus that got the kill, though.  Cloud had reduced our errant brother to his last vestiges of strength, when Lotus came out of nowhere (how is she able to move that fast?!) and more or less pierced his heart.
     I wonder why they explode like they do?  Does all the pent-up energy just burst out, or is it some ability that they deliberately developed?
     To give him a little credit, I will grant that Malakai was put at a serious disadvantage by the fact that Lotus had actually disarmed him.  The man had a bizzarre sense of pride...  As Actrevius said to me later "What honor is there in challenging someone to a duel if you already believe that you completely outmatch your opponent?  It'd be like Phillip or myself challenging one of those gate guards."  It's probably the same sort of sense of "honor" that father possessed.  I guess that pride in one's abilities to crush those weaker than oneself is still a legitimate form of it.
     It's still disgusting, though.
     Lastly, there's the matter of Rachel.  To put it mildly, Rachel is currently a vegetable.  We're seriously considering resorting to something called psychic chirurgy to repair her mind -- as I understand it, it's quite extreme, but otherwise it'll be weeks before she comes to herself.  Cloud isn't happy about it, but he seems to have decided to go with it.  What has to be done, has to be done.
     My thoughts seem to be skittering all over the place...  Maybe in part because that odd little hole in my being seems to have closed up.  But more likely because while we managed to save a single girl, we left only goddess-knows-how- many behind to their torment.  We accomplished our goal, but in a sense we still failed.  Saving Rachel was the limit of our capabilities, and I guess I just don't like that.
     I guess we'll either grow stronger, or ... I'd rather not deal with that possibility just yet.  It simply isn't palatable.
     At least tomorrow won't be nearly as bad.


     We were pretty busy today.  We've left Rachel in what we hope will be a safe place -- a temple of Sospitas that's dead in the center of the largest unconquered territory.  Or, at least at the moment its unconquered.  We've finally gotten to see on a map just how much Mellek has conquered, and it's insane.  I think Cetarr has actually managed to claim more territory than father did, and in a much smaller amount of time.  I guess we're just going to have to hope that his kingdom will fall to pieces once things start going wrong for him; I don't see what else could reverse those gains.
     We're currently in the main base for Soldier.  The 2nd-in-command had some trouble believing that we had slain Xanthus and Malakai, but he came around.  We're now waiting for Captain Fierce to come back from a strategic conference.  In the mean time, we'll be making further preparations for the next big fight.
     Soldier has collected of dossier of our siblings, with reported abilities and identifying traits.  The one we're being asked to deal with is some of dark knight, complete with a Nightmare from the Lower Planes.  If his fighting abilities are anything like Lord Phillip's, that is going to be quite messy.
     I ran into some bards that were in Dyce's faith in the camp; they were quite good, and more importantly, they enlightened me on something that was quite interesting -- probably due to the lack of arcane magic on Asteria, new mystic songs have been developed.  The effects of these songs vary greatly, and they're harder to use than the basic ones that just about any bard would know.  The bards offered to teach their song to me, for which I'm grateful.  I'll be starting on that tomorrow.
     I'd like to be able to go to the obvious repository for these songs, but I'm afraid that that isn't an option.  The high temple to the Goddess on Asteria is inside Mellek's borders now.  While my brethren apparently weren't slaughtered, I doubt that they're in very good shape.  I'd guess that all those that were past a certain point in ability were killed, and I have no idea just what has happened to the contents of the temple.  I'm a little surprised that it wasn't completely destroyed -- apparently, Cetarr is a little more worried about unduly upsetting the populace to the point of rebellion.  I guess that it helps that our faith is generally regarded as "harmless."  It's a bit embarrasing, but if that conception is keeping my brethren alive, then so be it.
     Unless I misinterpreted him, Magus has promised to check on the Goddess's high temple, for the sake of getting an accurate report.  I'll owe him a good bit for that, I guess.  I hope they're okay.


     Well, we met Captain Fierce today.  He's a bit of an oddball -- Soldier is a brawn over brains organization, after all (sorry 'bout that, Cloud).   He's certainly a big fan of the brute force approach.  Quite frankly, I'm not sure what to make of the guy.
     Also of note are a few prisoners that Soldier captured.  They were sent to investigate the ruins in a town in the middle of the desert, but never actually got there, due to Soldier.  Captain Fierce has asked us to investigate both the ruins, and to deal with a man named Rashad, who seems to be the route home for the investigation team.  We'll be teleported to the town of Melkendin tomorrow.
     I guess I'll mention now that it was my companions and I that questioned the prisoners.  Cloud and Phillip got carried away, which wasn't very pleasant to listen to.  I guess that's their perogative, though.  I greatly prefer my own method, though; it's painless, among other things.


     Well, that was smooth.  Our business with Rashad got wrapped up very quickly -- Taxil and Lotus walked into the man's tent, and spooked him into teleporting away in under fifteen or so heartbeats.  We really need to restrain those two...  Anyways, Rashad fled, and apparently did so to the high temple of Pariveda.   I think Rashad's the first non-evil person we've encountered who was working for Mellek.  Oh well.
     Courtesy of Taishou's magic, we're currently an hour or so away from Silver Spring, our actual destination.  I'm currently using Endure Elements spells to protect our armor-wearers from the heat.  Every little bit helps.  I hope.


      Talk about isolationist backwaters...  It took the chief -- a somewhat unpleasant man by the name of Kamir -- nearly hour to decide whether or not he wanted to even talk to us.  These people have no clue as to what's actually going on in the outside world.
     They have a cleric of Siom, but no cleric of Wailelle.  I guess that they're grateful for the spring, but they seem to be a little out of touch with the ways of the goddess of the waters, I think.  That spring's an oddity in itself -- Taxil found a portal at the bottom of it.  Made by the creators of the "ceremonial chamber," most likely.
     Kamir's agreed to make copies of the runes in the chamber for us, but Lotus snuck in there on general principles and made her own copies.  Taishou and myself couldn't decipher them, but Phillip thinks that he'll be able to do it if Taishou transfer the spell over to him.  I guess we'll be doing that tomorrow.


     What a mess...
     It turns out that the real purpose of the ceremonial chamber is the teleport circle in the center.  We sent Lord Phillip through, and Lotus rushed into the chamber at the last second to be teleported along with him.  The problem with that is that the locals only wanted us to enter the chamber one at a time, since they were convinced that our presence would offend Siom, or something along those lines.
     Phillip and Lotus came back out about half-dead, since there were golems guarding the other side.  Tomorrow, we intend to all pass through instead of sending a single person.  There's slight complication, though.
     Kamir is currently obsessed with the notion of whipping Lotus, and actually has a "ceremonial flogger" just for use on any community members who get out of line.  Or had, rather.  When he threatened Lotus with it, she simply yanked it out of his hands and walked off with it.  Our relations with the clan here have more or less been completely trashed.
     To make matters a bit messier, Taishou is fixated on punishing Lotus, and managed to get Phillip to agree to flog her himself.  I don't particularly care for this notion -- beyond getting us back on good terms with Kamir, who I'm honestly starting to dislike, it's going to accomplish nothing beyond alienating Lotus.  Tomorrow is going to be quite messy.
     I wonder who died under the claws of the tarrasque today?


     Today began with strangeness, and ended with strangeness.
     Today's first spectacle was the nauseating scene of Phillip flogging Lotus with a switch that he had enchanted.  I'll need to talk to Lotus later.   We don't get along very well, but she's still my sister.
     After that unpleasant scene, we were allowed to go through Lustasia gate.  We finished off the remaining golems, and took a look around.
     What we found didn't make much sense.  It's mostly living quarters, with some sort of library containing an iron golem (we'll deal with that tomorrow), another room containing multiple portals (most of which are defunct), and last but certainly not least, two huge rooms containing floating ships.  Not airships, mind you, but huge sailing ships that happen to be floating in mid-air.  I've never heard of anything like this, and neither has anyone else.
     Interestingly enough, we're still on Asteria (Taishou went through the ceiling to look around).  This complex has been buried by the passage of time.  Maybe we'll find some answers in that library.


     Well, Magus is back with us, though he didn't feel like reporting on the state of the temple of Pariveda yet.  Instead, we handed him three books that we had just picked up, and told him "identify 'em!"  Which he did.  We'll need to repay him for all that he's doing for us somehow, somewhen I think.
     The books were interesting -- I got one of them, Taishou got another, and Lotus got the third one.  We'll get around to reading them sooner or later.
     Taxil was the one who found them -- he went and told Taishou and myself about them, but wanted to hide them from Cloud, Lotus, and Phillip -- but changed his mind when Phillip confronted him about the books that had just vanished off the shelves.   There's also the matter of the non-magical book: it speaks of a great disaster that befell Lustasia, and talks about the organizing of an evacuation.  Taxil is convinced that he wrote the thing in a past life, and possibly even constructed the shipyard, because that's what this place amounts to.  Are these the original airships, back when magic was common on Asteria?  Or are they something more?
     The general attitude towards Taxil's claims is "yeah, right" but after that "factory" thing, I'm a bit more inclined to believe him.  He's a little loopy, but I doubt that he's knowingly lying.
     One of the portals in that ship room simply lead us to a cave elswhere in Asteria; the other portals -- except for three in a seperate chamber.  We'll check them out tomorrow.


     Well, we were able to explore one of the portals.  I certainly didn't expect it to lead us back home, though.  The first portal was one-way, and sent us a second shipyard (this time, located on Parasonnea).  After we'd found what there was to find there -- not really surprisingly, Lucas Nightshade had actually found the place, and left a signet ring behind (Lotus had said ring now) -- we went the only remaining portal.  We wound up in a wizard's laboratory (Lucas's, of course).  We found many rare books there, and promptly siezed them -- Magus, Taishou, and myself each claimed about a third of them, though we promptly handed them over to Eric later.
     Once we got out of the lab, we found that we were inside Castle Nightshade.  From there, we decided to have Magus teleport us to Ilian.
     We talked with Ben, and got an idea of just how much Eric and Ben already know.  The only thing that we had found that Ben didn't already know about was the laboratory under the castle.  Eric put in an appearance, and let us ask a few questions.  Taxil spoke with him for awhile, and then I asked him a couple things in front of the entire group.
     The fact that our siblings could theoretically manifest those powers without any outside assistance is kind of disturbing.  Runestar Manor would be a potential disaster area if Eric wasn't keeping an eye on it.
     I've paid a visit to mother, so I'm going to sleep now.  Ben means to see us off tomorrow, I believe.


     Why'd we agree to this job?
     What sort of question is that?  For the money, of course.
     Instead of seeing us off, Ben asked us to deal with a dragon that had been seen in the country recently.  In theory it's red, but we won't be certain until it sneezes at one of us.
     This town's a total mess right now -- we killed the kobold barbarian that worked for the dragon without much trouble, but we used up a lot of spells in the mistaken assumption that it was the dragon itself.  Hopefully that won't cost us too much..
     While killing the kobold wasn't that hard, the dragon promptly ran about town in human form charming random villagers into causing trouble.  It looks like we'll be fighting the dragon on its terms, not ours.
     I think I have a good deal of praying to do as soon as I'm done writing.


     What a horrible, ungodly mess.  By all rights, Taxil should've died, Taishou actually did die, and Cloud came very close.  That stupid animated vault showed up right before dawn, and started attacking the town.  Since the rest of us were trying to sleep in the vain hope of getting our spells back, Cloud and Taxil fought the vault on their own.  While they were on their own, Taxil got rendered unconscious and Cloud had to flee.
     Lord Phillip and Natsuki demolished the vault once they actually got to it; the vault simply couldn't touch them.  The dragon attacked them shortly thereafter.  They retreated, so it turned itself invisible and moved in on us.   That's when it really got ugly.
     Taishou flew up to it, dispelled its invisibility, and got promptly torn apart by it, since she had somehow managed to get right next to it before dropping her spell.  With Taishou and Taxil both gone, we were in a great deal of trouble.  So it came down to Cloud, Phillip, and Natsuki to carry the day against a mature (or a bit older than that) green dragon.  Amazingly enough, they did it.  Seperately, Cloud and Lord Phillip were each inflicting massive wounds upon the dragon.   Natsuki did her own little bit -- after all, every little bit helps -- but her main role was in providing Phillip with some mobility.
     I did my own little part, of course.  I'm pretty sure that I indirectly saved Cloud, actually -- the dragon just barely rendered him unconscious, but the wound would've been mortal if I hadn't used that one song to bolster his lifeforce before he engaged it.
     Phillip slew the dragon right after it took out Cloud -- Cloud had hurt it sufficiently that it wouldn't have been able to survive the next pass by Phillip, no matter what.  We won, but that was absurdly close.
     I went with Natsuki to find Taxil; the dragon had tossed him in a tree about a minute's flight outside of town, apparently with the notion of torturing him to death later.  I guess Taxil got lucky once again.
     We now need to get back to Asteria in order to get a True Ressurection for Taishou.  We'll divy up the dragon's loot, and divy up the dragon's body -- we figure that the money gained from the carcass will go to the town that had the misfortune of being our battlefield.
     Mother is going to be so mad at me...


     That's just disgusting...  But I'll get to that later.
     We're back on Asteria, and Taishou has been returned to the lands of the living by the high priest of her faith here.  Lord Phillip has now agreed to go on a quest for the church of Sospitas, once they request it of him.  Now, at least we can get back to business.
     We mean to finish up with that shipyard, and then seize an airship from the forces of Mellek.  I've also heard of a potential way to reach my faith's high temple, though I'm not sure just how it'll work.  We'll have to see, I guess.
     Now, I might as well talk about THAT.  Eric handed Taxil a very odd weapon right before we left for Asteria -- it's some sort of brilliant energy weapon that Taxil calls the Atma Weapon.  Apparently, Eric had acquired it from Taxil's most recent life.  The identity of said life wasn't really that much of a surprise to me -- Eric had dropped hints to us before, but then Lotus pointed out something that I had overlooked.  And it is quite disgusting...  I really, sincerely hope to all of the good gods (and the neutral ones, too) that Taxil's past life didn't have any children...


     That was simple enough...  We've finally explored those last two portals, and they weren't anything significant.  We also sealed the circle connected to Silver Spring on the shipyard side.  Lastly, Magus summoned that archon that he constantly relies on to the shipyard, so that we can get back there at any time.
     That's pretty much that; hopefully we'll never have to return to that town.  It's not like they want us there, anyways.


     This shouldn't be too hard...  The "secret" base (after all, Soldier found it, so it's probably not that secret) contains two retired airships, has a hanger (that's the term that's being used for a place where they keep airships; I guess that's fancier than "airshipyard") that's sealed that in all likelyhood contains another airhsip, and also houses an undetermined number of troops and engineers.  There are a couple of oddities, though.  The main one would be the fact that there's a family in the brig.  More accurately, there's a mother and two children in the brig.  We'll find out why tomorrow, I guess.
     The other oddity is the complete lack of spellcasters or psions on the base grounds.  While some wards have been set up, you'd expect to see someone with supernatural abilities on base grounds.  Odd...  Oh well.  I figure that this base is going to cease to exist within the next day-cycle.
     As a side note, Taxil did the reconnaissance, and this time actually stayed out of trouble.  I guess he's finally learning, a little.


     That was sickening...
     Well, we killed all but three or four soldiers on the base.   The problem is, before we killed them the soldiers went and killed all but one of the engineers.  Adding insult to injury, it might've been within our power to prevent the murder of the engineers.  Now that I think about it, it's less and less likely -- there were about 80 soldiers on the base, and I doubt we could've stopped that many elite troops from killing a group of unarmed civilians, especially considering that there were passages through the base that we were unaware of.  Nevertheless, we went to investigate the hangers instead of the building that the engineers were being herded into.   So their blood is on our hands, I guess.
     In reparation for the fact that we partially botched the mission, we'll be covering the expenses involved in bringing all of those people back to life.  Perhaps more importantly, we're going to try to extricate the families of the engineers from Mellek territory, since we're pretty sure that they'll be murdered in retribution.  Magus estimates that we can do this in one day; hopefully he's right.
     Almost as a side note, we managed to get an experimental airship.  The sole surviving engineer also happens to be the designer of the airship.   Dr. Lancaster seems pretty happy to help us, though that isn't that much of a surprise.  It happened to be his family that Magus, Taishou, and Natsuki busted out of the brig.
     We're going to have a very busy day tommorrow, so I'd better get to sleep.


     Well, this should be interesting.  I've been wanting an excuse to go to Florentia, anyways.  Not for the reason that we're actually going there -- an operative by the name of Alyssa Junespur vanished without a trace about two weeks ago.  It's unknown whether or not she's been slain or imprisoned in some place with a non-detection spell active upon it.  Tomorrow, we'll be entering Florentia in order to determine just what happened to her.
     I told Actrevius that he can't come along by general consensus -- he's going to stick out like a sore thumb, he doesn't have any way to disguise himself, and paladins are quite unwelcome in Mellek territory to begin with.  He's more than a little irritated, but he'll do what he's told because I talked him into agreeing to doing just that.  However, it still is rather harsh to do that to him, so I'll try to make it up to him later.


     What a day...
     First and foremost, I had the honor of meeting with his Her Ladyship's Most Esteemed Servant, Zaxxon Atlus.  I'm trying to figure out how to describe His Grace without sounding, well, corny.  His Grace's faith in Our Lady of the Arts has been enough to physically alter him, much in the same way that Taishou's faith in Sospitas has altered her.  I guess that someday I might be able to strive for that.
     I learned a few things from His Grace, but the one who received the bulk of the information during our exhange was him.  Magus seemed pretty upset when I later mentioned that I had told His Grace just about everything that I could think of to tell him; I'll need to speak with him later about that.
     So my day went pretty well.  I got meet with the leader of my faith, find out a great deal about new art forms and instruments -- I think I'm going to try to learn how to play that one really big instrument (I think it was called a "piano") and see if I can blueprints of it to take back home with me -- and more or less spend the bulk of the day with members of my faith, both at the temple and at the circus.
     The rest of the party, however, was another matter.
     The general rundown goes something like this..
1)  Lotus managed to cause even more trouble than usual, resulting in a comatose embezzler, a tree in front of the guard station, possible long-term problems for one of trapeze artists (Lotus was impersonating her), and the next item in the list.
2)  Lord Phillip is in prison right now, though he'll be let out pretty soon.  I'm not entirely sure what the heck happened there, but I get the impression that it involved Lotus doing something weird, followed by Lord Phillip doing something rash, followed by Lotus doing something that was compromising enough that both of them were taken into custody.  I guess I'll need to speak with Natsuki to figure out just what actually happened.  While it was probably her fault in the first place, I'll give Lotus a little credit -- she did, after all, spend most of the night trying to break Phillip out.
3)  Taxil got into a fight with a spike-driver who was armed with a mercurial sledgehammer, of all things.  While it was a very uneven contest -- it's Taxil versus a civilian, for Goddess's sakes -- Taxil didn't come out of it unscathed.  He had a couple of really nasty bruises that I healed immediately, since it was drawing attention to him.
4)  Magus and Taishou, along with Taxil, spent much of the night trying to make sense of an embezzlement scheme, along with some sort of "jealous rivals" deal (between an artist that was Alyssa's lover and the spike-driver, who was a friend of Alyssa's; Taxil intercepted the spike-driver when he was on his way to kill the artist).  Though they did manage to figure out a matter that I had decided to investigate seperately.
     Specifically, the embezzler/accountant had been magically enslaved by a horned wizard who dwelt underneath the temple museum.  There'd been reports of a shadowy figure showing up in a part of the museum (said part was now "closed for renovations", since Our Lady's servants were trying to investigate the matter themselves); said figure was actually the embezzler showing up for instructions from his master.  At least we now know just what happened to the tiefling that had vanished without a trace...
     Today was enjoyable (for me, anyways), but I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.


     In the name of the Goddess...
     It takes a great deal to actually make me sick -- while I'm sure that my personality isn't anywhere near what my father had envisioned for me, I still have a few of the quirks that result from being what I am.  But some things can be just a little too much.
     I'm not sure what's worse -- physical proof that my assorted half-human siblings regard sentient creatures as a food source (rather like father did, I'm afraid), or physical proof that Taxil's past life really did reproduce.
     Nah.  The really, really sickening image is...
     On second thought, I am not writing that down for posterity.
     Anyways, Taxil is actually adjusting pretty well to the fact that he's just met his son from a previous life.  Lotus and myself are another matter.   We'll be taking Junior, as he calls himself, back to the main Soldier camp -- he's still quite psychotic, but he can atone for his past crimes by helping us deal with the forces of Mellek.
     I hope.  We still need to explain to Alyssa why we let the monster that ate her arm live...
     One last note to self -- ask Junior if he created those doors with their very unique keys, or did he find them like that?


     Well, isn't that wonderful...  No less than a day after my brother and I were dropped off at Our Lady's high temple, the rest of my companions were given a mission by Captain Fierce.  The mission in question was to rescue a seer that was the last surviving member of a Soldier insurrection team, and, as a secondary goal, to slay the tiefling Kas Patheos, a red-haired, yellow-eyed assassin.  Kas has apparently been a thorn in the side of Mellek's opponents ever since he developed his skills as an assassin.  His usual method of operation is either (a) hunt down and destroy resistance groups inside conquered territory, or (b) kill all the key defenders at a city right before Mellek's armies arrive there.
     Anyways, not only was Kas responsible for the fate of this particular team, but he had also issued a challenge to our group.  He would do battle with them in the town of Vassen, in the former country of Cattran.  They went there, and rather gleefully ran about raising hell (a letter opener?!  why?!).  They went ahead and set the time and place for the battle.  Kas accepted, and brought his associates with him.  This was two days ago.
     In the resulting bloodbath, Kas lost three of his associates, Lord Phillip was incapacitated (leaving Natsuki to carry on the fight while he was recovering from the Mind Blast), Cloud almost died, Taishou almost died, and both Taxil and Cloud got teleported to random locations.  At this point, Kas and his two remaining supporters -- an archer of some sort and a psion -- decided to cut their losses and retreated.  Kas Patheos is still at large, as of this writing.  I guess it's safe to assume that we'll be seeing him again.
     At this point, the focus of the mission changed a bit -- while Kas was gone, the seer was still somewhere in the city.  They decided that the seer was probably inside the "temple" of Ol' Gloom & Doom that had been established inside the town.  Said "temple" used to be the town jail, but was expanded into a full-blown prison and desecrated, as that faith once again undulged in its typical excesses.  They confirmed that their suspician was correct, and so, today, they pretty much went to war with particular branch of the joy-kill's faith.  They killed off several of the monsters that dwelled in the prison by luring them out.  My companions then decided that they'd done adequate damage, and so assualted the prison itself.
     As Taxil's charred corpse indicates, that didn't work too well.
     How it went is that Cloud and Taxil entered the prison through the front door, wrecking massive havoc ("Hi?" someone must've been in a really odd mood) via carving through every single door (and every single animated skeleton) that they happenned to come across on their way to the torture chamber.  Unfortunately, they got trapped between some sort of spellcaster in troll form (I'll need to check with some of the other servants of Our Lady here, but it sounds like it was one of the Wretched, though they like to style themselves as "The Chosen" or some such rot) and some of the resident Templar.   The Wretched One managed to paralyze Taxil, but was unable to kill him before the rest of the group arrived (they went through the prison walls with an earth elemental -- hopefully I'll get to see that trick for myself, soon).
     Unfortunately, after they vanquished the Wretched One and his Templar support, the prison warden showed up.  My companions were in no condition to face him at this point; Lord Phillip was promptly incapacitated and Taxil was promptly slain.   My companions tried to fight the monster for a little while longer, but they were forced to retreat.
     Magus then showed up up right here at the temple.  Or rather, that Lantern Archon that he always calls "Taxi" showed up with a portable hole right next to it.  Magus filled me in on what had happenned, and then they went to the High Temple of the Ageless One in order to acquire a True Ressurection for Taxil.  So by the time of this writing, Taxil should already be back with us.
     Tomorrow, they'll be heading back to finish the job.  They know they can't win a direct contest against the prison guards, so they're going to cause a distraction elsewhere in the city and then send in Taishou with some elementals to start rescuing prisoners.  That should be able to work...  I think I can be reasonably certain in saying that nobody really deserves what's happening to those poor souls.
     Okay, maybe some people do, but still...


     Well, this is quite the mess.  Soldier is being forced to relocate its main base, we probably just condemned some man's poor family to death, and most seriously, there seems to be some sort of massive epidemic of undead arising from their graves.  While they appear to be zombies, they really aren't.  These creatures seem to more or less possess the abilities that they had in life.  This was rather messy at Soldier's main camp, since some of the "zombies" that had re-animated were walking around performing those techniques that Cloud refers to as limit breaks.  Fortunately, Cloud and Sir Phillip put down the most dangerous of the zombies without much trouble.
     Shortly after that, I questioned Roger; he admitted that he was a spy, specifically sent to keep tabs on us.  He informed me that Cetarr's forces were going to launch a surgical strike involving the heaviest hitters among my siblings, with the purpose of annihilating us.  Captain Fierce promptly ordered a re-location of Soldier; we decided to relocate to the country of Kleev (all of the Soldier members seem to be really enthusiastic about that name...).  Roger informed me that his family was being held hostage in order to insure his cooperation in this endeaver, and now he's been caught -- I'm afraid they've already been put to death, and we can't pull off an extraction this time.  Maybe one day Roger will forgive us, but it's more likely that he never will.
     Lastly, we've picked up a new companion.  At one of the many towns being attacked by zombies that we encountered, we found an Elf by the name of Oani.  I was a bit surprised; this is the first Elf that I'd seen outside of Florentia on this planet.  I talked with her a bit, and she asked to come with us.  We agreed; she's a very good archer.
     We'll be sleeping on the airship tonight; we've been doing so much stop-and-go that we haven't reached Kleev yet.  The capital city was named Suundyr, if I remember right.  Oh, well; time to call it a night.


     What an awful, awful day.  And a rather humiliating one, at that.  Though I guess I should be happy that I'm not dead or languishing in one of Mellek's prisons right now.
     We reached Suundyr, and Actrevius, Oani, and myself went into town in order to meet up with Soldier's people and with the rulers of Kleev.  Unfortunately, Mellek sent a crack team of psionicists to deal with our entire group.  The pair that came after Actrevius and myself managed to immobilize everybody but myself in a single shot.  Oani wasn't completely helpless -- some item that she had sent a retalitory stream of fire back at one of the psionicists every time she was caught in a power's area of effect, and it actually stopped a couple of powers from being used on us.   However, Oani couldn't actively direct that fire stream, so it came to me holding off two psionicists until the others could shake off the effects of the mind blast.
     Needless to say, I didn't do a very good job of it.  For some reason or another, they stopped dropping that one particular power -- Mass Concussion is what it's called -- if I remember right, and tried to subdue me.  If Natsuki had arrived a few heartbeats later, I would've fallen.  As it was, Natsuki arrived, one of my two assailents fled, and I was able to paralyze the other.  After this, I learned that similar attacks had been made against the rest of the group.  However, my companions were much better equipped to deal with their assailents than I was.
     Sir Phillip was incacitated but Natsuki was able to get him away from danger, Lotus managed to kill her own assailent and Taishou's assailent, Cloud killed his own assailent in a single blow, and Magus blew his to bits.  Since Taxil was at the High Temple of the Ageless One, Mellek couldn't figure out where he was, and thus he unscathed.
     After the assassins were defeated, then came the second wave -- a group of elite seers scrying on us and then attacking us through the sensory beacon.   It was a very small amount of punishment per shot, but with an entire group doing this every few beats, it amounted to being pecked to death.  I created a globe of darkness, and we hid in it for a bit while we figured out what to do.  We decided to hea to the local temple of Valos, since it was shielded from scrying.
     When we got there, the third wave began.  About fifty of Mellek's elite troops teleported into the skies above Suundyr, and started raining destruction -- At least two of those fifty-odd people were city-destroyers.  The amount of damage inflicted upon the city in a very short span of time was staggering.
     We teleported away to the Temple of the Ageless, partly to escape from my siblings and partly because we needed to pick up Taxil.  Once here, Mellek demonstrated that they can actually pierce the shielding placed upon the temples -- fortunately, I noticed that I was being scried upon.  The same group of fifty showed up at the high temple shortly thereafter, and we forced to flee.  At this point, we'd figured out that there was really only one place that we could go, and that was home.  Since I stayed in Magus's portable hole the entire time after I was scried on, I hopefully didn't betray our route back to Parasonnea.
     Hopefully we'll be able to go back in about a month and a half.  I really, really want that ring...
     Eric met us when we returned, and filled us in on a couple things -- the most relevant being that Parasonnea had a world-wide undead swarm yesterday.   That pretty safely rules out the tieflings as responsible for what happened on Asteria...  I've looked back through my previous notes, and noticed that we'd reached Kryl about thsi time last year -- which was when the Forest was overrun by undead.  I think we neally need to investigate Kryl Forest itself.  I'm guessing that the epidemic is only going to get worse from here.
     Magus has decided to park himself at his manor and learn new spells.  In the meantime, we'll be investigatng a letter that was addressed to our group -- a request to return to the town of Kefka in Tear.  Someone wants to hire us, but desires to meet us through a middleman.&nsbp; Taishou suspects a trap.  We'll go there, regardless.
     After that, we've resolved to pay the assassins a visit.   Perhaps we should also check in on Spin Dashlin; he's got a bit to answer for...


     Well, I guessed they asked for it.  Though we'll probably all be paying for it.  At least Phillip, Natsuki, and Oani all decided to be responsible...  It's fairly irrelevant for Actrevius or myself, since alcohol is too weak a toxin to do anything to either of us.
     Anyways, we came to Kefka, got a hero's welcome, and then everybody went and got drunk.  Since we'd come here on a job request, I was a little irked.  Appearently the dragon that we slew here cursed the town, and another dragon has decided to give the town grief, apparently in an effort to lure us here and kill us.
     As a welcoming committee, whatever is responsible for the current troubles sent a hydra after us -- a very well-trained hydra that had so many spells cast upon it that it was fairly unnerving.  We slew it regardless, but it cost more spells than I really care to think about.  Or rather, it cost Taishou more spells than I really care to think about.  I'm not sure if we'll be in any condition to deal with whatever sent that hydra; if they're smart, they'll try to finish us off before dawn.
     Of all the stupid things...
     Though now that I think about it, I'm starting to suspect a human agency and not a dragon.  There were just a few too many spells on that creature for all of them to be from one source...  I hope.  Though there's always the worst case scenario -- a dragon with human back-up.
     I noticed Cloud seems oddly confidant, for some reason.  And it can't be from the wine, since he got sobered up.  I guess we'll see by the end of tomorrow.


     Well, what happened today isn't what I was actually expecting to happen.  Cloud, Oani, Actrevius, and myself were doing late-night patrol before dawn this morning (the former pair in one group, and the pair in the second group), and my brother and I were the ones who found trouble -- annoyingly enough, a trio of kobolds especially equipped by that dragon.  And we do now kno that there is indeed a dragon involved -- it killed the chieftain of a nearby kobold clan, and took it over.  Anyways, the kobolds were dealt with, and one of them -- a spellcaster named "Boompow" -- was taken alive.  Anyways, we questioned Boompow, asked the local alchemist (whose secretly a wizard) to indentify the items we took off the kobolds, and decided to camp outside of town.
     When we returned about ten hours later, it turned out that some kobolds had snuck into town and stolen all of the horses.  Not a single person noticed.  Where were their watchmen?!  I guess they'd decided to ignore our advice...
     Also, the alchemist finished looking over the items.  Most of them sound too good to be true...  Taxil took the cloak, anyways, despite assorted misgivings.  I guess we'll see how that turns out.
     After that, we checked on Boompow's lair -- it was a fairly simple affair.  We rescued two elves, killed just about every single kobold there, got sealed in by the dragon (who can teleport), had Taxil use that Dig spell that he keeps wanting to use to get out, and made our way back to town.
     As it turns out, while we were away the dragon showed up at Kefka and abducted the mayor's daughter.  Once again we'll be fighting this one on its terms.  Wonderful...
     And why is it so obsessed with sending notes?!


     Well, it's finally done.  Okay, it's only almost done.   We'll still need to find the mayor's daughter -- fortunately, that shouldn't be too hard to Taishou and Natsuki to do -- but everything else is more or less dealt with.
     To sum it up, the dragon fought us on its own terms, retreated after some heavy fighting via teleportation, came back fully prepared and healed once again, and died.  On its second round with us, however, it almost rendered Lord Phillip unconscious, actually did render Lotus unconscious, and it did kill Taxil.
     Which brings up his cloak.  Once the dragon breathed on him, the curse on the thing activated.  I'm not sure exactly what it did, but that one attack that he always drops was at reduced intensity, and he was in a great deal of pain.   Anyways, it's entirely possible that the curse is what killed him.  We've decided to risk a trip to Asteria in order to get him True Resurrected for the second time.  Looks like we'll be on our way to Runestar Manor after this.
     I guess I'll mention that fighting the dragon on its own terms involved fighting it underwater.  A bit to my own surprise, fighting underwater with only the benefit of flight and water-breathing magic (the latter being acquired viapotions provided by the dragon itself) hampered us far less than I thought it would.  I guess my companions are just that good.
     Ah, yes.  One last thing to note -- once Phillip scored the killing blow upon the dragon, Cloud started swearing -- I couldn't hear him clearly due to the water, but I could tell what he was doing due to his facial expression -- and did something.  It was probably one those "limit breaks" that he talks about.   Anyways, while we've all witnessed Cloud reduce many creatures to flying gibbets of meat, I've never actually seen him turn something -- especially of that size -- into fine mist.  The sea would've have promptly claimed it anyways, but there is literally nothing left of that dragon.
     Well, tomorrow we rescue that girl, and then it's on to Ilian (and the temple of Arcanus there).  And from there, we're going to Runestar Manor.


     This will be interesting...  It'll be the first time since I was thirteen that I've stayed in a place for longer than one month.  Anyways, I'm home now; Actrevius, Lotus, and Oani all came here with me.  We've got a kind of a mission to do while we're here -- to investigate the assassins.  They've been left undealt with for just a tad bit too long.
     In addition, Actrevius means gather up a small group of paladins, divine champions, swordsmen, and clerics, and go on a sweep to see just how much Tear's monster and bandit population he can wipe out in two months.  I'm not sure how much he can actually do -- there's a lot of travel involved in that -- but I'll wish him luck.  I guess Ben might have other plans for him, but then again, he might not.
     I myself mean to begin to work on something that I've been meaning to develop for quite some time -- my political career.  I'm probably the best diplomat that Ben has available to him, and it's high-time that I started getting to work.   I'll present myself and request the position tomorrow, I think.  Connections are always good to have, and I think I can help my country a great deal.  I'm not sure how, exactly, but I'll work on it.
     I'm not sure just what Lotus wants to do -- I think she means to investigate the matter of her mother, which is another matter we've neglected for too long.  I don't actually know what she's up to, though; we don't speak to each other all that often.
     I have no idea just what Oani is planning to do; I'll need to ask her.
     Taxil flew off somewhere without a word, Taishou, Magus, and Lord Phillip are all going to engage in spell research (though Phillip will be at it a much shorter time than the other two), and Cloud is heading to Benden City to pay the local crime lord -- Nagan, I believe -- a visit.
     After Phillip finishes his spell research, he, Cloud, and Natsuki mean to go on what they call a "world tour" -- some sort of rampage across the Southlands, the Eastern Islands, Pariveda, and Corlea.  Phillip said something about the three of them simply landing in any town they come across, inquiring as to whether or not there was something nearby that needed to be smited, and then going and smiting it.   I think they mean to mean to visit most of the high temples (note to self:  you're overdue to visit the high temple to Our Lady on this world) along their route, and ultimately finish up by paying a visit to Natsuki's parents.
     I wonder if Natuki's parents are going to be just a little rattled when they find out just what their little girl has been up to?
     Ah, well.  I guess we'll be back together soon enough.


     Taxil has certainly picked up a wide variety of companions over the years.  I just wish they wouldn't show up in my room when I'm about to go to bed.
     Quiani Moonsilver is one such companion -- a renegade drow that knew Taxil 150 or so years ago.  He apparently made quite an impression on her, since she's been looking for him ever since.  Somehow or other, he managed to get a message to her, and for some reason or another he had Quiani deliver it to me.
     The gist of it is that he might be just a bit late when we're supposed to all get back together.  Okay, "just a bit late" is an understatement; he flat-out said in the letter that he might not be willing or able to come back.  He's apparently at Benden City, doing gods-know-what.
     I can't actually do anything about this, so I'll be letting Lotus and Oani know what happened tomorrow, and I'll let the others know when I see them.   Quiani means to stay with me for a bit; she'll be coming with us.  Hopefully that won't be too much of a problem.
     Ah, yes.  The day of the Lioness.  I guess I'll just have to tough it out...  Maybe I should get one of those rings like the one that Taxil is running around with.  I'd hope that something like that would make that day bearable.


     While we're quasi-heroes on Asteria, most people don't know much about us here on Parasonnea.  That might've just changed, though.
     After all, most groups on this planet aren't actually able to rip out the heart of an orc horde.  Which is exactly what my companions did today; I missed out on the fun.  What we're doing right now is damage control -- Phillip and his comrades from Gellian are trying to keep the orcs away from the slaves that they've taken, Magus is doing some crowd-cleaning, and the rest of us are trying to eliminate pockets of resistance that still remain in Cantryl.  My comrades managed to turn around the situation here in about two days.  The fact that Ben, Eric, and Magus's father are just about the only decent people who are still stronger than we are is, well, just a bit weird.  To me, anyways; I wonder if my companions will eventually exceed them?
     Yet, on Asteria we aren't even all that strong; Cetarr apparently has hundreds of people that are just as stronger or stronger than my companions.   I wonder how the war is progressing?  We need to be stronger enough that Cetarr can't just force us right back off the planet when we return.  But if we wait too long, there might not be that much to return to...  Of course, even if there is something to return to, we need to figure out just what we can do.  I wonder why Magus has been refusing to tell us what he found out at Pariveda's high temple?


     What a surreal experience...  Taxil certainly managed to lose himself in a very disturbing place.
     The Lost Sea, as it was called, was some sort of pocket dimension.  Inside were visions of events that could have been... Ben doing battle in Illian during the war, father seated in King Johnathon's throne, a completely vacated Gloecoast, and the evacuation of one of the worlds, followed by something happening to it.  Not in that order, though.
     I also got treated to the sight of watching myself die.  For some reason or another, the Gloecoast-that-wasn't had a Mirror of Opposition in one of the buildings.  Fortunately, I was the one who stumbled upon it, and the duplicate that it created was dealt with very easily.  Kind of pathetic, when you think about it.   Anyways, we left that place, with someone who we thought to be a traveler who was stranded there, and wound up elsewhere.
     More specifically, we were in some sort of transluscent building, apparently located above the skies of Parasonnea.  There we battled something akin to those Taxil monsters...  Cloud apparently died, but we carried the day.
     After that it got even stranger, and I'm not going to say just what happened until I'm sure as to whether or not it was real...  It's quite possible that I won't say what happened even when I figure out what actually did happen.
     After that, we were back on the Zephyr.  Cloud was alive and well, and Taxil was back with us.  Cloud then promptly threw Taxil right off the ship.
     We teleported back to Runestar Manor from there, after the Lost Sea vanished.  I guess that takes of that.  I hope.


     Luthasia, Lucas, cataclysms, Chosen Ones...  The Council Draconis informed us of a great deal.
     The relevant thing is that the world of Luthasia was destroyed many millenia ago in a great cataclysm, and it sounds like a new one is coming.   Kryl Forest, the Taxil Monsters, and the undead plague are all just warning signs.   We also learned a bit as to what happens during the cataclysms.
     First of all, the gods are completely cut off from the worlds when it occurs.  All of those who draw upon the gods for spells are denied them during this time period.  However, there is a small handful of chosen champions -- one for each diety -- who still are able to contact their dieties.  Each of these champions will bear an artifact connected to their respective gods.  I think back to that odd dream at the beginning of the year, and I start to wonder...
     In addition, Lord Runestar made contact with Lucas and the Betrayor when he first arrived.  Lucas had apperantly done extensive research of the cataclysm, and the Council thinks that Lord Runestar was trying to learn what he knew.   Unfortunately, it seems that much of what Lucas knew was lost when he summoned father and perished.  I'm starting to think that perhaps there was meant to be a much greater infrastructure to ward against the cataclysm -- more than an old paladin, a wizard, and a lone angel, anyways -- but father quit possibly destroyed most of it.  The way the dragons spoke of him, it sounded like he was more an accident than anything.
     To put it very mildly, I'm quite nervous as to what the future holds, now.


     Well, I guess it could certianly be worse.  We've got a Hag's Eye sitting in a vial of holy water that's inside a locked box sitting in the basement of Runestar Manor right now.  We've also got a merrow in the dungeon, and somewhere outside of the town of Rayellve we've got a brain-dead reef giant stowed away.  Whoever is the master of those things may or may not be just a little nervous.  We'll interrogate the merrow tomorrow, and then we'll see if we can wrap up the mission that Vallende gave us.


     Let's see here...  Magus made the merrow his friend, and found out from it that the hags that it worked for and some enemy kuo-toa had been forced to serve one of the accursed ones; in specific, a hezrou.  The hezrou was also served by a group of arcane spellcasters who were dedicated to Vina.  Anyways, we snuck into the cave that was underneath that wrecked galleon, snuck all the way through it, and then found the chamber where the leaders and a large squad of kou-toa where stationed.
     To put it very mildly, we totally annihilated everything.  A few weeks ago, we couldn't have even pulled off what we did; technically, we shouldn't have been able to do what we did, but I'm certainly not complaining.
     Lastly, we spoke to Vallende Swfitstrike after the massacre, and we got to find out a bit more about Lotus's mother.  We know more than Vallende does, but what she told us still helps a little.  What it amounts to is that Miss Blossum, as we're calling her, came to this world along with Lord Runestar.  What more or less happened to her is that when father came and replaced Lucas, she decided to try to work with him.  Obviously, this didn't work out very well...
     Lotus may be able to help her, but I guess we'll just have to see whether or not she actually do it.  Honestly, I can't see her managing to redeem anything, let alone something on the scale of her mother.  That she'll actually try is probably the best we can hope for.


     I don't know if that was a good idea or not...  We went into the capital of the country that the assassin's guild called home, and then marched right up to the palace to speak with the king.  Nero refused to admit that assassin's guild existed; I guess he's terrified of the leader of the guild.  In all likelyhood, Nero probably ran to the wizard to tell him about us.
     Oh, well.  I figured that the assassins would detect my siblings and myself anyways.  We'lre now retiring in a pair of rented rooms that have been thoroughly warded, and we'll walk into a death trap tomorrow.  Though I guess we can all be brought right back if any of us fall...


     I feel physically better than I did last time this happened, but I certinaly don't feel good about it...  My brother went and took a Quest spell for the sake of my revival, which carries its own sense of guilt with it.
     Adding further insult to injury, it turned out that all of my preparations for this mission were completely pointless; in fact, the only difference my presence made on the mission was that someome wound up taking a Quest spell for my sake when it was all over.  I guess I shouldn't be to0, well, embarrased about what happened to me; even Natsuki fell in that attack, and she's much stronger than I am.
     I guess a person like myself who had a bit more sense would have retired from adventuring by now; it's painfully obvious that I can't make any difference in what's coming; I guess I can hope to be able to do something in the aftermath...  But since I know what's coming, I can't justify walking away from it.  I'll see it through to the end, and I guess I'll just try not to get in the way...
     And now there's the matter of Jericho.  A man who apparently belives that he can atone for the crimes that he committed while working for father by committed more "necessary" crimes.  This might be a wild guess, but its possible that both Lucas and himself have fallen afoul of the same thing.  Each had some higher goal to attain -- Jericho's is to battle the children of Magraravich, while Lucas's was to prepare for the coming cataclysm.  Each started to accumulate power to deal with the respective threats.  But eventually, each has started to desire power for power's sake, and ceased to care about the people of the world each believed (or in Jericho's case, believes) he was going to save.  Quite frankly, our two worlds are just really big lumps of dirt.  What actually matters is what lives on those worlds, not the worlds themselves.  But both men came to regard their fellow sentients as just vermin, who are obviously of no consequence and completely expendable for the pursuit of the greater goal.  Each took to the low road, and tried to accomplish their respective goals through thoroughly immoral means -- Jericho through a wave of mass assassinations, and Lucas through the time-honored tradition of summoning a powerful Lower Planar creature.
     But now, Jericho has simply weeded out the weak, forced the survivors to band together, and caused so many murders that I'll be very surprised if he doesn't join the ranks of the cannon fodder when he finally dies.  Those who would adopt the outlook of the Chosen Ones -- and his rather disgusting "logic" fits the mindset of those abominations very well -- only join them, in the end.  I might try to reason with him -- to see if I get him to understand that he needs to save himself before he can really save anything, but any proper Chosen One woudln't reason with me, and I doubt that he will, either.  After all, if I could actually reason with a monster like that...  Oh well.
     And then, there was Lucas.  Lucas called forth a lord of the realm of the Chosen Ones to assist, and got one that was far too powerful to bend his knee to any presumptious mortal.  Now, Lucas quite possibly suffers somewhere in eternal torment, and the entire world paid the price of his folly.
     And as the final insult, we've been forced into working Jericho in order to secure the release of Lotus's mother (who he apparently has been enthusiastically torturing the entire time she has been his prisoner, even though she's in a coma.  Though I wouldn't put it past father to have made her able to feel pain inflicted by external sources), for with a single spell Jericho was able to make himself completely invincible against us.  I guess we're just too weak...
     Though it didn't help that Magus actually decided to blow off the mission in favor of beginning the research of a new spell.  I don't understand him at all, anymore.  I doubt that he'd care what I thought, though.
     I guess I'm done for the night...


     That must've been messy.  At least our people were revived and Kas and company won't be.  I hope.  As I understand, my companions wrecked their usual havoc when they reached the town that Kas was hunting in (is it just me, or do they have more fun when I'm not around?  I hope it's just me...), and challenged him to battle.   He accepted.
     Kas himself was slain early on in the battle -- Jericho's poison, whatever it is, certainly works -- but he had already slain Taishou before he was brought down.   Taxil was struck with a Microcosm (I'm starting to wonder if that's what is afflicting Ms. Blossum?), and then Phillip and Natsuki were slain by the Purified One that had been summoned by the enemy cleric on Kas's side some time before the battle.  Cloud and Magus were able to defeat the Purified One, though.  While it was a very difficult battle, Kas's entire team was indeed slain.
     They really do seem to function better when I'm not around...


     At this point I'm starting to wonder if the situation on Asteria is even salvagable.  We got in touch with Captain Fierce again, and with the war council he was in.  Anyways, Cetarr's forces have basically advanced on every front by at least a full "line" of kingdoms.  Considering how much manpower he must have at his disposal by this point, I'm not sure if even destroying the rest of my siblings in his service would make any difference.  I don't particularly care for the notion, but it seems that Cetarr's victory is ineivatable at this point.
     Cetarr's elite forces have also taken to making raids on major population centers; among the casualties of these raids are multiple high temples.  Knowing the general effectiveness the anti-mellek forces, those raiding parties probably aren't even suffering losses.
     Striking a bit closer to our little party, Rachel is one of the casualties -- in a sense.  One of my siblings -- named Morgrul -- apparently has the ability to transform humans (possibly humaniods in general) into thoroughly disgusting monsters.   In fact, Cetarr seems to be employing entire armies of former humans...  Cetarr may be physically human, but there seems to be about as much humanity in him as was in father.   I'm inclined to worry about the center of my faith on this world again; Cetarr spared it to avoid evoking too much internal hostility, but he might not even care anymore.
     Anyways, Rachel is one of Morgrul's latest victims, and divinations have revealed that they're actually in the same city.  And so we're going to kill two birds with one stone -- we're going to recover Rachel, and more importantly (sorry Cloud, but Rachel really is a secondary objective -- we'll be lucky if she's even salvagable, at this point) we're going to terminate Cetarr's monster maker.  Captain Fierce has informed us that he will be accompaning our expedition -- I guess that Malakai is still a sore point with him, and he means to make up for it by obliterating a tiefling that actually matters.
     As a side note, Morgrul has actually betrayed father, though not nearly to the extent that Actrevius, Lotus, and myself have.  Morgrul is a cleric of the Tyrant God, and I suspect that father's desire was for our only god to be him.  I guess Cetarr has more than adequately subsumed father's role at this point, though.
     I guess I'll get some sleep now...  Tomorrow is Old Misery's day, and that's going to be unpleasant, regardless of whatever happens.


     How strange...  Going in on this day actually worked.   While we don't feel very good right now, neither does anyone else on this forsaken world. &nsbp; And so, despite ourselves, we were able to practically walk right into the city by virtue of the guards simply not caring about anything.
     For whatever reason, I was functioning a little better than everyone else, and so I wound up in charge by default, which I'm sure was a mistake.  I guess I'm not actually functioning very far below my normal state of mind; Old Misery can't steal hope from people who've already lost it on their own.  If I was left on my own, I'd probably try to find seem peaceful spot on Parasonnea, and then sit down and wait for the world to explode.  The only thing really keeping me going is that I owe everyone some compensation for having my existence inflicted upon them.
     Lotus isn't with us right now; I don't know where she's wandered off to, and nobody cares enough to find her.  Neither is Oani or Magus; I think the former is off with Lotus, and the latter has probably just blown us all off again to work on something he regards as more important.  I wonder why Magus even travels with us, anymore.  It's not like he needs us.
     Though it probably won't be of any use, I do have some idea of what the common belief about Cetarr's forces is.  The notion of the worthless abominations that I'm related to being thought of as angels is... well, more than a little disturbing.  Cetarr's practically poisoned the continent.
     I did learn something of real value, though -- the high priest of Karactas is in town, probably visiting Morgrul.  We'll undoubtedly winding up fighting him.   I have no idea how that's going to go.
     I also went ahead and investigated the local temple to Karactas, as I was uniquely qualified for it -- I really doubt anyone else in our party could walk right into an evil temple and get back out without problems.  I figured that I was best suited for the job, and it's not like it'd make any difference in tomorrow's outcome if something bad happened to me.
     I guess I'll be feeling better tomorrow..  Though not by much.

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Marie's Background and Character Sheet