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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Dark Elves and Darker Magicks
In which some myths are brought to life

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As I strongly suspected, we did find the wicked bitch Depora in the next room. She was lying in wait, along with her foul servants, a group of dretches. She was certainly not as we expected her. Although quite attractive, with her dark, purple skin and silken white hair, she did not resemble any elf that I have ever seen. In fact, she did a fitting job of matching the descriptions of the drow. Of course, those are just elven myth, used to scare children into behaving. Aren’t they?

Regardless, Depora did not answer any of our questions. She, in fact, began the conversation by firing a poisoned crossbow bolt into my back as we had advanced on the dretches. The creatures were a bit tougher then we had imagined, and it took most of our might to finish the dark elf and her minions, especially once I had succumbed to her poison and fallen into a deep slumber. The old legends spoke of the drow preferring a sleeping poison, and so this adds one more log the slow blaze that this woman may in fact indeed be a drow. The unique weapons and unknown symbology also contribute to the mystery. How fascinating!

Once the fight was finished, we examined the rest of the cavern. The strangely marked wall on the far end of the cavern turned out to be a below-ground section of the Cyphergate itself. Even more strange was the set of tools lying on a worktable nearby. It appeared that Depora had chiseled out a piece of the Cyphergate, as we found small bits of the special stone on the table. However, a larger chunk has definitely been removed and is no longer present.

The nearby journal and ledger provided further explanation. The ledger documented where the missing funds from the Gold Goblin had gone. Apparently Depora has been purchasing spell components, alchemical equipment, and exotic foodstuffs, all shipped out to the Devil’s Elbow. The journal appeared to document local weather events, as well as discussed the Blot, describing it as a side effect of the magical glyphs being experimented with on the island. Apparently the glyphs are not functioning at one hundred percent efficiency, and the formula needs “cleaned up” to minimize the side effects. This is supposed to help hide the magic from The Enemy, whomever that might be. It also stated that the glyphs could be fully functional as early as tonight. Suffice it say that we were left with more questions than answers here.

A tunnel in the ceiling lead to the surface, emerging near the Cyphergate and across the river from the main part of town. Once back at ground level, we decided that a trip to the Cypherlodge would not be the worst plan. We wanted to discuss what we had found with someone who might be able to provide answers, and of course I am always willing to take a detour in order to see a lady as lovely as Samaritha, our chosen source of knowledge. Sam was, of course, fascinated by what we had found, and requested that we take her to the cavern so that she could see the damage to the Cyphergate. Once she examined the wound, as well as the journal, she agreed that the missing section could be used as some sort of spell focus. To what end, she was not sure.

As we would prefer that these dark elves not use their glyphs against The Enemy, as that could possibly be us, we decided that we need to head to the Devil’s Elbow as soon as possible. As we are headed to the docks to charter a ship, our plans were altered drastically when a huge comet appeared in the sky above us. Fortunately it did not strike the city, as we had feared, but instead the flaming sphere landed somewhere out in the bay, likely in the vicinity of the Devil’s Elbow. Although we were not the target, Riddleport did not survive unscathed, as the meteor strike resulted in a massive tidal wave rising in the bay. The tsunami caused a great deal of damage to the wharves, as well as destroying most of the ships in the harbor. The ensuing chaos in town diverted our efforts, as we were forced to protect the townsfolk not only from the various sea creatures washed ashore, but from collapsing buildings drowning.

With the city being in turmoil, and nearly every ship in the harbor being unable to sail, we decided to stay in Riddleport and help with cleanup. Surprisingly, the local crime lords also contributed to the efforts – one of the few times any of us had seen such levels of cooperation from our leadership. Most of the week had passed before the city had regained its sanity. I spent the week helping both Samaritha at the Cypherlodge and Crystal at the Temple of Calistria, so I was quite busy both during the days as well as the nights.

As the next week rolled around, even with the city having quieted, we found it impossible to charter passage. Apparently the tsunami had caused damage, if not outright destruction, to all ships in the region, and so we were confined to Riddleport as rumors began to circulate in regards to the comet. Riddleport being what it is, the first thought on everyone’s mind was profit, and rocks falling from the sky bring to mind skymetal, a very valuable commodity. Our local crime lords quickly mobilized four expeditions to seek out the landing spot of the meteor strike, with the Avery Slyeg, a well-known smuggler, and his ship, the Black Bunyip heading out first. Clegg Zincher accompanies his own team shortly after, followed by a ship outfitted by the Cyphermages, and finally the Overlord’s team, a hired band of dwarves led by Gravin Goldhammer.

Knowing that continued investigation of the drow will require us to follow, we first attempted to gain passage with the Cyphermages, as both Samaritha and her master were to accompany that group. Unfortunately, Sam does not have enough sway with the guild to bring us along, and we are forced to wait for almost a week before we can follow. While we were trying desperately to book passage, and even considering commandeering a vessel in a very dashing and buccaneering fashion, Kwava was able to send word to his Lantern Bearer associates, and they booked a ship for us. The Flying Cloud and her captain, Josper Creesy (along with a certain lovely pirate lass previously discussed) arrived to convey us to our destination – the Devil’s Elbow. Although an unknown person or persons attempted to sabotage the ship, it only delayed our departure for a few hours, and soon we were off.

The voyage from Riddleport to the Devil’s Elbow only takes a few hours, and we arrived at the Devil’s Elbow near sunset, and the crater from the meteor strike was very clear on the northeast side of the island. Two watchtowers rose up on the north end of the island near a dock, and as we approached the pier, still standing despite its advanced age, we saw a group of dwarves approaching from the nearby buildings. Gravin Goldhammer lead this group – what remained of their expedition – quickly attempted to purchase passage off, “this cursed rock,” as he described it. His group had encountered a group of low-to-the-ground, lean, and fast-moving creatures that had decimated his party. Even worse, they fallen were seemingly rising from the dead to attack their former compatriots, and the survivors want nothing further to do with this adventure. Captain Creesy agreed to their request, and once money had changed hands, the dwarves boarded the longboat to depart. As it was approaching nightfall, and Kwava lacks the nightvision that the rest of our party shares, we decided to leave him behind for now – one, to assist the ship in case of attack, and two, to make sure that Creesy honors his word to return each day until we are ready to depart.

We saw a plume of smoke rising from somewhere on the eastern side of the island, but Gravin had told us that the Cypermages had set up their camp on the western end, in the remains of the old Witchlight settlement. As I preferred to see Samaritha unharmed, we set of first to the ruins to check on her and the mages. On the way, we were also assaulted by the beasties described by the dwarves, which turn out to be akata, lion-like alien creatures known to be associated with skymetal deposits, as the creatures are said to ride comets from world to world. They are said to weave cocoons of skymetal to shield themselves during their interstellar voyages. Whether there is any truth in that, be beasts themselves are quite real, and we repelled a small group of them before continuing to the encampment.

Once we arrived in Witchlight, we found signs of a battle, and the dwarves’ warnings turn out to be well founded, as a few of the fallen rose to attack us. We downed them quickly, and were fortunate to find Samaritha in a tower nearby, along with the few remaining Cyphermages – five in all. The rest had fallen to the akata, and apparently they were not done with their assault, as a huge group suddenly appeared on the outskirts, surrounding the tower. We were forced inside, while the creatures climbed the tower walls and scratched at the doors and window. The aged tower was not up to the task of supporting ourselves as well as the host of akata, and the damn walls collapsed, taking the entire tower, us included, along for the ride to the bottom of the cliff and the waiting sea below. Two of the mages did not survive the fall, while our party, Sam, and two other mages made it out. We also learned that these akata creatures have a severe allergy to salt water, and all of the monsters that survived the fall were finished by the surf. Knowing that, we decided to camp on the beach for the rest of the night, allowing ourselves the possibility of escaping into the waves if the akata attacked again.

Once we have recovered from our unpleasant experience, we’ll make a further plan. I am just happy that Samaritha has survived, and I plan to keep her close for the duration of our stay on this rock. I’ll further update this journal in the next few days. Fear not, my devoted audience, for my companions and I have been through worse and will survive this ordeal as well.

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Treachery in our Midst
In which we discover a foul plot afoot, and meet a new friend

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Ah, my treasured readers! You have returned once again to enjoy the exploits of I, Damian Demodius, and my companions. As the story continues, pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together. Let us commence with the action, gentle readers.

As discussed last time, Zincher and Croat had launched an attack on the Gold Goblin, apparently with the intention of ending the life of one Saul Vancaskerkin. The attack was repelled, and we cleaned up quietly. However, rumors always have a way of getting out, and news of the raid quickly reaches the ears of most of the city. This leads to a bump in our revenues, as any advertising is good advertising, or so they say.

For almost a full week, the Gold Goblin reaped the benefits of our fame. Profits were at an all-time high, and by the end of the week, we feel the market may have been saturated. Which is well and good, as the Goblin is flush with income and ownership is quite satisfied. Although we spent the week anticipating another attack, there was nothing on the horizon, and the week ended without incident.

During this mostly uneventful week, I spent a great deal of time in an alternate guise, gathering information about the city. I was seeking information on Zincher and Croat’s plans, as well as their caps and what sort men and women they might be. Also, I was curious if anything else of note was happening in our fair city. Unfortunately, Chet Manly, as I was known during those outings, was unable to discover anything of note. Besides the dark blot in the sky, Riddleport appears to be strangely quiet.

Another event occurred during this week, but more of a personal nature. After my encounter with the Lady Shorafa of the temple of Calistria, I noticed that Crystal, the eye-angeringly gorgeous priestesses that I have been seeing with increased frequency, seemed a bit distracted, perhaps even shaken. It took a bit of convincing and generous amounts of my charm, but I was able to coax out of Crystal the reason for her mood. She had been quite worried about me during my talk with her mistress, afraid that, had I said the wrong thing, she would have been forced to attempt to kill me where I stood. The thought of having to end my life made her quite depressed, and that led her to the conclusion that perhaps we had become to close over the past few weeks. Although she thought it best to end her association with me, I convinced her that, logically, the damage was done, and she agreed to continue our affair. I was most pleased, as upon further examination, I realized that I, too, would miss her quite severely if she were to be taken from my life. She is a marvelous woman, and I hope that our relationship continues for a good long time.

The next week at the Gold Goblin was not near as enjoyable. As expected, another attack appeared to be pending, at least according to Mr. Vancaskerkin’s sources. These sources had reported that a meeting was to occur at the Spar, a location in the old Boneyard, and that at this clandestine rendezvous a group of mercenaries would be discussing the attack plan. Of course, we decided to attend this meeting – well, to watch in secret – and surprise the plotters with an attack of our own.

We arrived to find what appeared to be a group of humanoids standing about a campfire, and we settled in to watch. It soon became apparent that the meeting was in fact a trap, as the cloaked figures were actually mannequins, with a group of wererats hiding nearby to ambush whomever showed up. Unfortunately, the rats spotted our hiding location and forced the confrontation early, but with Zaitherin invoking her darkness magic to blind the creatures, and help from an unknown ally, we made quick work of the vermin before turning to face our new ally.

This new ally, an elven gentlemen by the name of Kwava, told us that he had been watching the scene to see who showed up to be ambushed. He added that he might have some information that we would find useful. Sensing that he seemed genuine and unthreatening, we accompanied him back to his camp on the northeast edge of town to hear his tale.

Kwava is from the elven tribes of the Mwangi Expanse, a jungle region far south of the great desert. He came north on the advice of his tribal shaman, who experienced a vision of a lone elf standing against the darkness. He spent several years traveling this far before coming to a village on the edge of the Mierani Forest, a place called Crying Leaf. In this village he was introduced to the Shin’Rakorath, roughly translated as Lantern Bearers, a group of elven mercenaries whose motto is to, “Be the light against the coming darkness.” Seeing this as aligning with his shaman’s vision, Kwava joined their company.

As one of his first assignments as a Lantern Bearer, Kwava had been sent to track down a group of renegade elves that are believed to be operating in this area. Upon arriving in Riddleport, Kwava spent a number of weeks seeking rumors of these wayward People before hearing news of some sort of nefarious business with a certain Saul Vancaskerkin and what could possibly be his quarry. He tracked Saul for weeks, keeping him under observation, which lead to his discovery of the coming ambush at the Spar. He was kind enough to attempt to come to our aid in the Boneyard, only to discover that we had things well in hand.

Finding out that Saul has been conspiring against us is not a surprise, but it is disappointing. Obviously, this ends our partnership, and so we returned to the Goblin, Kwava in tow, to face our betrayer. Of course, Saul had planned for the possibility of our survival, and another ambush was awaiting us. Instead of rushing headlong into the trap, we utilize our natural stealth abilities to infiltrate the building from the upper floor, catching Saul and his goons by surprise and taking him captive while killing all of his hired thugs. Once Saul was defeated, we were able to talk down the remaining bouncers and send them home, although Bojask and Pigsaw are casualties of the night.

Searching the Goblin for any additional, nasty surprises that Saul may have left for us, we found evidence of troglodyte activity in the basement. Ee gads, but they stink! Despite the stench of their presence, we did not actually find any troglodytes, leading to a more thorough investigation. This does bear fruit, as we found a hidden trap door under the sands of the arena floor, heading deeper into the earth. We also found a goblin prisoner in the arena cells, apparently an acquaintance of Chuffy’s, and so we will have to figure out what to do with another of them.

With our findings, we returned to the captive Saul to question him on his betrayal, as well as our findings. Although he held up well to our initial questioning, the loss of a finger to Chuffy’s greedy mouth and our careful use of the information about our basement findings to throw him off guard, and he eventual told all. He admitted to being against us from the start, having staged the robbery of the Goblin himself! He and Bojask were also responsible for the death of Feldon, and the attempt to put us at odds with Boss Croat. He has also been conspiring with a woman named Depora, one of the renegade elves that Kwava has been seeking, and funneling funds from the Goblin’s profits to fund whatever nefarious scheme she has in mind. He also confirmed that both the elf and the troglodytes are in the subbasement area. His usefulness at an end, we end his threat permanently.

After a few hours rest to recover our strength, we headed into the caverns. Once inside, the denizens of these caves were like something out of a Darklands compendium. On top of the trogs, whom are out in force, we also encountered a Fungal Crawler in our explorations. Finally, a group of Gricks leapt out of the water to try their luck, but are also dealt with quickly. We discovered some strange rocks, which Zaitherin calls Caphorite, that have a strange property of lowering the light level in a room when they are uncovered. Strange, indeed.

Our final discovery in the area was the strangest of all. The adjoining room is a well-decorated bedroom, containing a faint, perfumed aroma. A filigreed foot chest near the bed contained a perfume bottle matching the strange odor of the space. Also, a pair of well-crafted female boots of elven design sat near the chest. Apparently, the elven renegade Depora had been making herself quite comfortable in the subterranean realm.

We plan to investigate further into the tunnels as soon as we finish searching the room. We hope to find Depora, and perhaps these other renegade elves as well, upon our continuance. I will end my notes here, until I next have time to put pen to paper.

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The Beginnings of a Fine Feud
In which some folks are quite displeased with us

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Ladies and gentlemen, it is I, Damian Demodius, returned to once again chronicle the adventures of myself and my companions. So much has happened since I last put pen to paper! We’ll just get right to it.

The third week of our partnership with Saul Vancaskerkin is as full of excitement as the first two. To start, due to the incredible success the Goblin is seeing, Saul decided to make us full partners in the endeavor. Also, with the loss of our good friend Feldon, we had an opening in management, and it was decided that I, your humble narrator, would fill that role most effectively.

During this week, I also managed to build a few new connections about town. First off, I met a half-orc gentleman named Orgug. Mr. Orgug is in the employee of a Boss Croat, one of the local crime bosses and the man in charge of all wet work in town. Although he was on a mission that I do not approve of, a contract for our own Zaitherin, it appears, I made nice with him and convinced him that his target is not around, but that I would keep an eye out for her. This didn’t work as well as I had hoped, but more on that later.

The second connection I made was with Crystal, a priestess of Calistria and close member of Shorafa Pamodae’s inner circle. Miss Pamodae is another of the city’s crime bosses, and the high priestess of the Goddess of Lust and Revenge here in Riddleport. Crystal is as beautiful as I suspect she is deadly, and as well as holding a lovely conversation, she is very dedicated to her worship. My time spent with her was definitely… worthwhile.

Business would continue to prosper, at least after a few obstacles were overcome. The first obstacle involved a delivery of fine liquors, due to arrive on the docks this week. As items that arrive on the docks can sometimes go astray without a proper escort, as soon as we were informed of the ships arrival, we set off to meet our cargo. Unfortunately, the aforementioned half-orc Orgug must not have fallen for my bit of deception, as he attempted to assassinate the lovely Zaitherin during our trek. While his human flunkies attempted to distract us on the street, the coward attacked from the rooftops with his bow. The minions were quickly dispatched, and while Taz and Zee handled Orgug, Chuffy and I finished off his fellow half-orc and the remaining pickpockets. A sloppy attempt it was – one that a professional would have handled in a more effective manner.

After our skirmish, we made haste to the docks, where our package was fortunately still waiting for us. While we were taking possession, there occurred another of the strange phenomena that Riddleport has been, pardon the pun, riddled with recently. A small tidal wave swept up onto the docks, and Taz was forced to flee into the sky with our goods while we sought shelter in a nearby building. Once the wave recessed, we discovered that a group of swamp barracuda, or small sea dragons, as I believe they are better known, had washed up on the pier. Seeing that they posed a danger to the captain and his crew, we valiantly gave the beasties something else to consider for dinner, and soon after there was a great deal of sushi for all interested parties – mostly Chuffy.

As our entire party had been endangered by the assassination attempt, I felt it was necessary to explain what I knew of the contract, my having met Orgug earlier and discovering that someone had paid Boss Croat to have Zaitherin eliminated. Zee then reluctantly explained why someone might have put out the hit. You see, she had been part of a crew that transported some mysterious individuals to the Witchlight, an abandoned, and presumed haunted city on the island of Devil’s Elbow. The passengers had left a note in their cabin with reference to some sort of test being conducted, and results to be delivered to Celwynvian. The names on the note, Shindira as the author and Nolveniss the addressee, appear to be elven names, but the writing was written in a strange tongue. Celwynvian is an old, abandoned elven city in the Mierani Forest. Some sort of mystery is definitely afoot!

Zaitherin also shared that everyone else on her crew has been eliminated, and even the very ship burned in the harbor. Knowing that someone appears to desperately want to eliminate anyone with knowledge of this trip, we attempted a bit trickery ourselves. We sent a note to Boss Croat detailing the events on the ship and the mysterious passengers, as well as the contents of the note they left behind. Perhaps this will lead to some untimely accident for Croat as well? Time will tell.

The last event of our third week was another bit of nature’s fury. An earthquake shook our fair establishment, and the rest of Riddleport as well. This type of occurrence is not common in this area, and we are once again led to believe that not all is well in the realm.

Week four is another successful one for the Gold Goblin in that business continues to prosper, but a less successful one for yours truly in that Samaritha left us at the Gold Goblin for greener pastures. She has been accepted to the Cypher Mage Lodge, and an official apprenticeship. This is great news for her, and we celebrate with dinner at one of the finest establishments in our fair city, along with flowers, jewelry, and a new dress – the works! After all, I wanted to make it a night to remember, and we certainly did at that…

Back to business. We also received another shipment of fine wines and ports, and once again went to meet our delivery. This time we were not so fortunate as to arrive first, and one of Zincher’s men, a warrior known as Old Korvosa, had attempted to commandeer our goods. He was quite rude about it, and we were forced to teach him some manners. Hopefully they will do him some good in whatever hell awaits him, as he did not survive the experience.

Apparently, ending the existence of a Zincher cap was more than Clegg and his partner Croat could handle, as later in the week Jasker Gant, a Croat cap this time, lead a raid on the Goblin with the intention of killing Saul. Of course, once again the brute force method is unsuccessful, and we slew the lot of those ruffians. We then cleaned up quietly, and left Croat and Zincher guessing as to what exactly happened to their men. Honestly, I am so far quite disappointed in these crime bosses and their methods.

The day after the incursion, rumors about that the Gendarmes were paid off to look the other way, and the Overlord is forced to disavow any involvement. Seeing that both Zincher and Croat were in on organizing and funding the attack, we now need to make sure that all of the Crime Lords are not seeking our head. I’ll reach out to my contacts and see what I can find out. As my contacts are exactly the kind of folks that I would prefer to reach out and touch anyway, it is really not that much of an inconvenience.

Until next time, good readers!

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Meet and Greet
In which we make acquaintances and become partners in a venture

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Greetings and salutations, lords and ladies! I am Damian Demodius, at your service. I will be the narrator for the opening chapter of this story. If wish to know a bit more about me, then by all means feel free to peruse the section of this journal that highlights our cast of characters. In the interim, I will continue with our tale.

It all started on a beautiful day in mid-Arodus that brought myself and my traveling companion, Chuffy Lickwound, to the city of Riddleport. We had been on the road for quite a while, and were in desperate need of a meal, a glass of wine, and some amicable companionship. Well, the later two more for me than for Chuffy, but his priorities are not always in line with my own. He is, after all, a goblin, if a bit more civilized than most of his kind.

After stopping by a highly recommended tailor’s stall in the market district, where I was able to bargain for some slight repairs and custom adjustments to my wardrobe, we found our selves at, again, a highly recommended tavern and inn known as the Mystery of the Gate. A favorite of local adventurers, the Mystery was also located close the Gold Goblin Gambling Hall, which was tomorrow’s destination. The Gold Goblin was hosting a gaming tournament on the morrow, in which Chuffy and I wished to participate. We’ll get to that more as the story progresses.

Although not the highest quality establishment we have ever patronized, the Mystery was adequate. The food was nourishing, and with a bit of spice added, quite satisfying. The wine was of high enough quality to quench our thirst, and we were able to share it with our friendly neighborhood tailor, who joined us later in the evening. After an amiable evening, a lovey sailor lass named… well, I’m not sure I caught her name, but nevertheless she chose to join me in my room, and we shared a memorable night of passion before parting at the dawn

I joined my compatriot Chuffy the next day for my morning repast, and likely his third or fourth meal of the day, before setting out for the Gold Goblin. The gambling establishment had really gone all out for this Cheat the Devil tournament, with hellish decorations, a mock Contract for joining the festivities which includes placing one’s “soul” in trust until the end, an entry fee of “10 pieces of silver” to continue the theme, and a bevy of beguiling beauties dressed as succubi – my personal favorite addition to the decor – to attend our needs.

We began our play for the 10,000sp prize, and I found myself and my friend Taz the tailor at the same card table. His skill at cards was noticeable, and with the distraction of the lovely ladies besides, my winnings were not progressing as quickly as I had hoped. Chuffy had chosen a game more to his liking, and his winnings were growing quickly. I hoped that the dealers would not catch him in any underhanded dealings and toss him from the tournament.

My worries would not come to fruition, however, as while the games were underway, a dastardly band of ne’er-do-wells attempted to rob the casino and steal the prize money! They started out with a spell to conjure a bright flash and mimic the sounds of fireworks to distract, blinding most of the guards and even Chuffy and Taz as well. As they moved against the helpless guards, I knew that I could not allow such underhanded behavior to occur, and I used the powers of my bloodline to summon darkness to hand and I sprung to attack.

With the brigands as blind to me as the guards were to them, I was quickly able to send their wizard and a group of his goons to the next life. A strange young lady, whose name learned later to be Zaitherin, assisted with her spells of chicanery, and once Taz had regained his sight, the outlaws were quickly dispatched, with the last surrendering before my blade.

After the scuffle, I was gallantly able to assist one of the lovely attendants with her injuries while the guards tended to the mess. Once things were back in order, the proprietor of the establishment, one Saul Vancaskerkin, desired to speak with us. i reluctantly left the side of my patient to hear his words, and after thanking us for our assistance in thwarting the robbery, he offered us jobs, and even a partnership in the venture that was the Gold Goblin. This was the perfect opportunity to establish a base of operations and earn some coin while pursuing my other goals in Riddleport, and the others apparently felt the same, as we all agreed. Saul spent the next few minutes giving us a tour of our new residence, and since my succubi waitress had left with the rest of the staff during our tour, I was forced to retire for the evening with nothing more than the snores of Chuffy and Taz for company. Oh, the travesty!

Our first week of our new employment went swimmingly. Chuffy spent his days in the hidden catwalks of the Gold Goblin, watching for anything untoward, while Taz walked the floor, his presence discouraging any uncivilized behavior. Zee spent her time at the front of the gambling hall, greeting our guests in her peculiar but effective way, and I was out on the streets, promising great rewards to those whom partook in the games of the great Gold Goblin! Other than some toughs trying to start a ruckus, which Zee handled with perfect form, and the appearance of Clegg Zilcher, a rival of Saul’s, at the gaming tables one night, followed by a nasty prank with some snakes in the scullery, the week was mostly uneventful.

Week two was an entirely different matter. The stunning Samaritha, a half elven lass with gorgeous crimson hair, joined our staff as a server, and I plan to become much more intimately acquainted with her in the coming days. All was not sunshine and rainbows, though, as a strange omen involving a flock of birds diving straight into the Cyphergate and their untimely deaths proceeded the death of Feldon, our pit boss, who was accosted and murdered while running an errand for Saul. Whomever was the cause of Feldon’s demise attempted to pin his slaying on a local money lender who works for another crime boss. If we had fallen for the feint, it would have put us at odds and could have had harsh repercussions for Saul and the Goblin. We return with our findings, and let Saul know what has occurred.

It appears that we have made enemies somewhere. Until we discover whom is attempting to set us up, we will continue with business as usual at the Gold Goblin. After all, there are still many a maid, server, or guest that have yet partake in my most tender and intimate of ministrations. And, of course, whatever my new companions have on their platters.

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