Second Darkness

Enemies Both Old and New

In which we discover more about our foes

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Continuing where we left off the night before, our party had spent the night on the beach below the cliff face. If you recall, we had taken quite the tumble, riding the fallen tower to the water and barely escaping with our lives. Lady Fate was kind, however, and not only did we survive, but we were unmolested throughout the night as we rested and recovered.

Two of the wizards from the Cyphermage group were still among the living, as well as my dear Samaritha. We felt it best to remove the two apprentices from further harm, and we trekked back to the pier in order to meet with Flying Cloud. Along the way, we noticed some apparent damage to the local fauna, and were able to track the path of a fragment of the meteorite to its final resting place. We will look for more signs of damage, and hope to find additional pieces.

At the docks, we exchanged our wounded wizards for Kwava. Samaritha decided to stay with the group, as she still had questions about the meteor, the ritual, and our strange elven enemies. Her knowledge could prove valuable, and I must admit that I enjoy her being close, and so we allowed her to accompany us to our next destination – the main crater.

The damage to the landscape was impressive to say the least. It was apparent, however, that we were not the first group to arrive for plunder, as most of the skymetal deposits were missing. With no signs of our dark enemies, nor of their ritual, we continued south towards the only signs of habitation on the island, a plume of smoke rising to the clouds.

As the sun set, we arrived at a large campsite, organized well for protection, with sentries and guard animals near the perimeter. A large bonfire blazed in the center of camp, an obvious effort to ward off the approaching darkness. We had approached undetected, and so decided to watch for a bit and see what we were up against. It turned out that the camp belonged to our good friend Zincher and his expedition party. This gave us the perfect opportunity to remove a dangerous foe, as well improve our plunder from his stores of skymetal.

As we were preparing to infiltrate the camp, Zincher departed his tent, as well as the safety of his guards, to take a short journey to the south. We followed, and discovered a hidden door in the cliff face, apparently guarded. After Zincher entered, we waited a few minutes for his return, and he was kind enough to reward our endeavor. We quickly ambushed him and carried him off for questioning, completely unobserved by his camp and his allies in the cave.

It was apparent from the start of our questioning that Zincher was under some sort of magical compulsion, and it took one of my own enchantments to get him talking. Once he did so, he let us know that he was unable to discuss his allies in the caves. We discussed his skymetal trove and his losses to the akata. We also discovered that his ship, the Dark Pearl, had taken the Black Bunyip at sea and that the expedition led by Slegg had never made it to the island. Once he had shared all that he could, Chuffy extracted some revenge for the necklace of goblin ears that Zincher wore around his neck. A distasteful business, but one that satisfied the goblin’s streak of cruelty, at least for the time being. We left his body where none would discover it, hoping the confusion would aid in our further efforts on the island.

We used the information from Zincher to loot his personal tent. We discover the group’s skymetal collection, as well as some interesting ledgers and notes that will fetch a pretty penny in Riddleport. Again, we left no evidence behind. It should be interesting to see the response of his men when they find that not only their leader, but all of the treasure, has gone missing…

After Zincher had been disposed of, we took our rest for the night. During the evening, I had somewhat of a strange encounter – one of a deeply personal nature. A bat, one of the darkness’s truest hunters, bestowed upon me a most remarkable gift – a symbol of her acceptance of my devotion, a holy symbol of my own. I was most pleased, as I now know that I am on the true path. I will continue my quest to please my Dark Mistress.

Also that night, I discussed our mission further with Samaritha. It is obvious that she is new to being out in the world, as she is quite uncomfortable with the darker requirements of our mission. Her innocence is charming, and likely one of the reasons I was attracted to her in the first place. I will attempt to shield her from the worst of our business, in order to preserve that lovely quality.

The next day led to quite the confusion in the camp, and we watched as the men set about attempting to find their leader, to no avail. We stayed hidden until nightfall, when we do our best work. Then, we proceeded down to the cliff face, in order to meet Zincher’s allies. With stealth and guile, we were able to gain access to the door, guarded by two dark elves, males this time. Unfortunately, our quiet approach ended there, and we were forced to battle our way through a group of warriors, a druid with his animal companion lizard, and even a shadow demon to boot! It was a near thing, but we managed to defeat the initial wave of defenders and continue deeper into the caverns.

The next section of the caverns included a hidden cover, likely used for smuggling or hiding. Inside, more drow guards were present, led by a dark elf rogue and his sister, a cleric of some skill. They were prepared for us, and the battle was intense. When the dust settled, the drow had fallen to the last man (or woman, in this case).

Searching the bodies, we discovered more of the unique weapons that they favor – hand crossbows and poison – as well as a large portion of skymetal. More important were the documents in their possession. Shindiira Misraria, the cleric, was kind enough to keep a journal, and through it we discovered that she and Depora Azrinae were allies, although not of the friendly variety. Apparently, they were from different houses originally, and although Shindiira had been accepted into Azrinae, that made them rivals in some fashion. They also mention a Nolveniss, another member of House Azrinae, a male that Shindiira planned to use as a consort when they were reunited in Celwynvian. There is mention of the Armageddon Echo as well – perhaps the weapon we have seen unleashed? We also found a group of maps that should be helpful in located their allies.

The journal continued with a scientific observation of the events leading up to and including the meteor strike. Samaritha was very interested in this, and I gave her the journal to study. Hopefully, we can use her knowledge to help master this impressive power that the drow are seeking to control.

Another interesting note – although it was of a strange, foreign design, I noticed right away that Shindiira was carrying a holy symbol of Nocticula. It appears that I have discovered my first follower of the Lady of Night. I shall have to be on the lookout for more amongst the drow, and perhaps this will be a way to gain additional knowledge of our enemies. I shall have to meditate on it further.

Discussing our findings, I thought to ask Kwava about the references to Celwynvian, as I remembered that it was a region in the north controlled by the elves. Kwava confirmed that the city of Celwynvian used to be under their control, but that it is now an ancient, ruined city. Worse, he confessed that the city is under the control of the drow. He claims that he was unaware of this until recently, when he exchanged communications with his superiors, and I believe him.

It appears that we have a new destination. I find these drow fascinating for many reason, and I know that we need to stop them from gaining full possession and control of this great weapon. Now, we shall finish our exploration of the island, to verify that we leave no enemies behind, before continuing our hunt.

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