Second Darkness

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


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.

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


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!

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


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.

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


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.

Enemies Both Old and New
In which we discover more about our foes


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.

Into the Woods
In which we continue our pursuit of more than just foes


My dear readers, I wish to begin this entry with an apology. I believe I have been doing you a recent disservice. If you feel, as I do, that my writings have been more terse of late, know that you are not the only one. We had been stuck on that cursed island, and without my creature comforts and more than amicable companionship, my mood has been less than perfect. However, with my recent religious experience, as well as our escape back to civilization, our forecast is much brighter, and I will continue my narrative with a more positive bent. Of course, we must start with the escape from the Devil’s Elbow…

After having vanquished the drow on the island, our work appeared to be complete. We took our rest in order to be prepared for a possible fight on the island above. However, we had skipped over the fact that one cavern in this complex was sealed by magic, and of course we could not let such a mystery go unexplained. We broke through the barricade, disrupting the magical seal, and entered a cave not unlike the ones surrounding us. Inside, we came across a sad sight – Vishari, the siren noted in the island’s legend, lingered on here in spirit form. She had been unable to pass on until she was assured that her love, Yaris, would accompany her. From the stories, we believed that Yaris had thrown himself form one of the lighthouses after his lover’s death, and so we promised Vishari that we would find proof of his passing on, so that she would be able to as well.

We traveled to the southeaster end of the island, recovering an additional meteor fragments that we encountered along the way, and once we reached the lighthouse we began our search in earnest. Fortune favored us greatly, and the body of Yaris was easier to find than we expected. We wrapped his remains in an old cloak and brought them back to the caves where Vishari waited.

Upon revealing the body to Vishari, we were unprepared for the most unfortunate events that followed. Yaris had indeed failed to pass on, and he spirit rose from the remains as a deadly wraith! He called his victims to his side, and they proceeded to try and add myself and my brave companions to their ranks. Fortunately, Vishari did not share his disdain for the living, and her beautiful voice rang out as we battled, inspiring us to defeat her true love’s shade, and so we did. Once defeated, both spirits were able to enter the true afterlife, and the island was once again spirit-free. Huzzah!

After that harrowing encounter, our remaining time on the island was brief and without incident. We returned to the pier, and our ship arrived to take us back to Riddleport on time and with minimal fuss. While the life of a pirate may never be in my future, I must admit that the voyage home was calming and restful, and the roll of the ocean is something that I will always enjoy. Perhaps I will buy a vessel, once my adventuring days are done, and ride the waves, enjoying a taste of the bounty available at strange, foreign ports. But that musing is for another day, as our adventures continue.

Our return to Riddleport was riddled with activity. Both the Cyphermages and the forge dwarves were grateful for our help on the island, greeting us warmly and offering reward for our efforts. We also had some inferno-hot information on the inner works of Zincher’s holdings, and Mistress Shorafa or Calistria was more than pleased to take it off our hands. Kwava was spending this time making contact with his superiors, while we spent a few days enjoying the creature comforts of home, while also arranging for upgraded gear and preparing for what we assumed would likely be a trip to the Celwynvian region.

Of course, we were not disappointed. Kwava’s superiors were interested in hearing our tale, as well as meeting with us in person. They were also especially interested in reading the journals of our drow enemies, a very useful task in knowing one’s enemies. Kwava would not be joining us, however, as his duty was to remain in Riddleport and keep an eye out for any additional drow activity. And so, after wishing a passionate and lasting goodbye to the lovely ladies of my adopted city, we set off to the town of Crying Leaf, to meet up with a Miss Eviana and share our exploits with the elves.

The trip to Crying Leaf took us four days on foot. We considered mounts, but with Chuffy among us, that was unlikely to work out well, and none of us were adverse to a bit of leg stretching. It was mostly an uneventful venture, although we did have a bit of a scare with some local Velashu horselords, who charged our group from their magnificent steeds before thinking better of attacking. They gave us information on the region, offered to sell us a few of their extra mounts (we declined), and wished us good luck in dealing with the elves, who do not welcome outsiders with open arms.

The fourth day brought us to the Mierani forest, and we followed an old hunting trail towards out destination. A flock of forest drakes attempted to make a meal of us, but the lovely and talented Zee ended their assault by creating an area of magical darkness, a place where few creatures excel like we do. Once the drakes were repelled, a group of elves, who had obviously been watching us, emerged from the forest to ask our business, and once we established our identities, we were escort to the town.

What we found out upon arriving is that Crying Leaf is a village under siege. The town had been fortified against attack, and there were obvious signs of a recent battle. We were taken directly to Eviana Nirgassan, the leader of the elven forces, by Kaerishiel, a member of the Shin’Rakorath, the Lantern Bearers mercenary group that Kwava belongs to, and their apparent leader in this area.

Eviana was very interested in the information we had brought, and asked to review the journals personally. She also informed us that the elves believed that they had the drow contained in Celwynvian, the ruins of which have fallen almost entirely into their hands. The activity in Riddleport reported by Kwava and confirmed by us indicated otherwise, and was of grave concern. Eviana informed us that she could use our help in the upcoming attack on Celwynvian, to the obvious anger of Kaerishiel, and asked us to stay in Crying Leaf for the night to consider the offer, while she reviewed the journals. We agreed, and after a brief trip to gather some local intelligence, we retired to our lodging.

The next morning Eviana confirmed that they would be headed to battle, and offered us a place as mercenaries, paid to accompany the army. My friends and I agreed, although once again Kaerishiel expressed great anger and disdain for our assistance. The Shin’Rakorath are apparently very concerned with outsiders knowing elven secrets, and even my family history was not enough to assuage his doubts. Nevertheless, we set of with the elven army towards Celwynvian, gathering intel on the situation amongst the elves as we traveled and learning more of the history of these drow that we were about to confront in numbers for the first time.

Marching with an elven army is a bit different than traveling with the military among other races. Elves break into much smaller war parties while on the march, and they are much stealthier as a result. We made a game of playing Who is the Sneakiest with our Lantern Bearer watchers, but otherwise the trek itself was mostly uneventful. However, a couple things of note did occur. We spent one night on the road, and we took our evening meal with Eviana, discussing tactics and receiving intelligence from the elven rangers on the front lines. The second event of note was meeting Shalelu.

Shalelu is one of the elven hunters, and I have rarely in my day seen such a ravishing creature. Tall, long of limb and slim of waist, with flowing golden hair and eyes of a deep sapphire that could drown a man in their depths. I was captivated, and I must admit, had a difficult time following the rest of the evening’s events. However, I had enough mental capacity remaining that I discover that we would be attempting to take all of the main arteries in the city during our assault. Our group would be responsible for securing the Academy of the Arts first, and that our planners would reassess the situation after our initial attack. But back to Shalelu…

After returning my companions to the campsite we had chosen, I returned to the main camp to speak with Shalelu some more. We talked of many things – tactics for fighting the drow, politics, our families and our pasts, the Shin’Rakorath, and anything else that came to mind. Spending time with her was exhilarating, and although she appeared to be all about her duty and her mission, I can sense a burning passion beneath that cool exterior. It would be quite a challenge to keep my mind on our coming battle.

Speaking of which, the following dawn came too early, and soon we were on our way to Celwynvian proper. The city was obviously in ruins, with large amounts of overgrowth covering buildings, roadways, and almost everything else. The Library was on one of the main thoroughfares, and we crept upon it in stealth, using the vegetation for cover. Instead of attacking the obvious entry point, we decided that we should come in from the room, taking out the sentries before descending into the building. Our assault went smoothly, and almost exactly as planned, and once we had defeated the drow and their pet spiders on the rooftops, we scoured the inside of the building until all was clear.

Once we were relieved by an elven patrol, we returned to the camp to report our success. We now wait for our next assignment, giving us time to rest up and time for myself to see how Shalelu fares. Until next time, dear readers, when hopefully I can report some significant progress – both on and off the battlefield.

Fleshcrafters, Alchemy, and Taz’s Revenge
In which we learn more of Taz's past, and help him avenge an old wrong


Just time for a quick update, as we are in the midst of ongoing battle here in Celwynvian. Once we had returned to the camp, Eviana gave us time to recover before assigning us take the Alchemy Lab, a building on the northeast side of the city. There, the drow were manufacturing their fearsome crossbow bolts, which unleashed fire, acid, or poison upon contact. The loss of this strategic target would greatly reduce the effectiveness of the drow legions, and we were excited to be give the assignment.

Before we set off, I spent a few hours amongst the men of the elven legion, learning more about the people we were serving with, as well as about our leadership. Unfortunately, Shalelu was still out on maneuvers, and so I was unable to continue my pursuit of her affections, but my time with the troops will be well spent if we ever have to rely upon their help on the field of battle.

One interesting note on our mission. The lab forces were commanded by a drow named Ilverae Parastric, their head alchemist, and her name was not unknown to our party. Apparently, Ilverae was the creature who had captured, enslaved, and tortured Taz’s parents, experimenting on them with the drow’s Fleshwarping techniques. Although they eventual escaped, a rare feat among the drow slaves, this experimentation lead to deformities in their children, and Taz was of course born with his third eye and bat-like wings. Suffice it to say that Taz was extra motivated to pursue our current target.

We chose to skirt the edges of the city on our way to the Alchemy Lab, to avoid any unnecessary confrontations along the current battle lines. We did, however run into one adversary. We were attacked by a treant, likely an ancient guardian of the city, now crazed beyond reason. Likely, the loss of the city by the elves led to the creature’s mental state, and we were forced to put it down.

We are also pretty sure that the rogue dragon Razorhorn passed over us at one point. The beast was difficult to make out, and did not make landfall, so we were not able to get a closer look. We will need to be on the lookout in the future, and maintain our stealth as often as possible, since a surprise attack by such a beast could prove devastating.

Once at the lab, we were forced to fight the guardians, two creatures called driders – half drow and half giant spider, and apparently the result of this Fleshwarping we have now heard about. We combated their invisibility with our own magicks, and then Taz and I bypassed the chemical seepage on the ground to bring the fight directly to Ilverae, while Zee and Chuffy dealt with the troglodytes on the outer ranks. Ilvarae’s magical prowess was considerable, and after Confusing Taz and taking to the sky, she would likely have escaped if not for Zee’s well-timed Charm spell, which allowed us to bring the confrontation to a mostly peaceful end.

Using the powerful mind-magic, Zee was able to convince Ilvarae to return to the camp with us, after revealing a great amount of information about the drow. This intelligence will no doubt prove invaluable to our continued efforts to understand and defeat these creatures, and so we decided to hand her over to the elves for continued interrogation. She was not pleased by our plan, and unfortunately we were forced to cut her down when she tried to escape her new captives. Too quick an end, according to Taz, but a necessary route.

While scouting ahead on the way back to camp, I discovered a lone elven warrior lying wounded on the edge of the city. I helped Rodrick, as his name turned out to be, to return to his people, and it was a good thing I did, for he had important intelligence for Eviana. It turns out that a group of the Shin’Rakorath, including their leader Kaerishiel, are currently pinned down in the city, under siege by heavy weapons and needing immediate assistance. We of course agreed to set out at once, as even though Kaerishiel has been less that friendly to us, his loss, and that of his troops, would greatly set back the morale of the elven army. And so, after taking a quick moment to pen this narrative, we are setting out for his position. May the Lady of Fate guide our way!

Assault on the Academy
In which we approach the Armageddon Echo


The situation for Kaerishiel and his men was as dangerous as reported. The Lantern Bearers were pinned down in a crumbling tower, and Kaerishiel and two of his fellow warriors were down, victims of the drow sleeping poison. The remaining two elves were attempting to guard against any sort of assault, but the vicious pounding the walls were taking from the drow ballista on the neighboring tower was taking its toll, and the fortification would not have lasted long.

Zee moved to assist the elves under the veil of an invisibility spell, while Chuffy, Taz and I made a direct line for the drow’s position, also under an invisibility affect. Taz flew up to the top to directly attack the drow firing the ballista, while Chuffy and I attacked their allies in the base of the tower. The drow were unprepared for our sneak attack, and fell quite easily, but it was at that moment that the dreaded green dragon that had been rumored to have been seen in the area, Razorhorn, chose to confirm its presence and began a strike on our location! He breathed his foul, acidic breath into our midst, and we were forced to flee the tower and attack the beast directly in the open. With the three of us surrounding the creature, our flanking tactics whittled it down in a hurry, and by the time Zee could join us, the battle was over and the green dragon’s threat to the elves was ended. Huzzah!

We quickly gathered the wounded and began a stealthy return to the elven encampment. We hoped for smooth sailing, but along the way we came upon a group of drow and trogs escorting a band of elven prisoners. Fortunately, they had not noticed our approach, and again stealth became our key ally as we struck at them before they realized we were there. In no time the enemy was down, the prisoners were freed, and we were once again headed towards the camp.

Upon our return, we escorted the elves to the infirmary and reported to Eviana. I made sure to present the horn of Razorhorn to her with our compliments, while also informing those present of our success in retrieval of Kaerishiel. She and her commanders were dutifully impressed, and thanked us for our efforts before asking us to return to our tents to await further orders.

Once Kaerishiel was fully recovered, he came to thank us personally for saving himself and his men. His tune is quite different from that which he sang upon our initial arrival to the elven forces. I appreciated that he has come around, and was gracious in accepting his apologies. He even agreed to perform a favor for us, and after finishing our rest, we returned as a group to the body of the fallen dragon. With his magics, we were able to located the monster’s lair and raid his horde. We returned victorious to camp to gear up before the final assault.

Sure enough, after our return Eviana informed us that her forced had cleared a path to the Academy of the Arts. Three groups will attack the drow headquarters, with myself leading my companions, Kaerishiel leading a small band of Lantern Bearers, and Shalelu with a group of her rangers taking the third weak point. We volunteered for the front gates, to further impress our elven allies, and we set out at dawn the next morning to cut the head off of the snake and finish the battle of Celwynvian.

That night, I spend some more time with Shalelu. We talked of our place in this war, and how things have progressed on the battle front. We also spoke of the death of the dragon Razorhorn, and Shalelu seems pleased that no other elves will lose a loved one to this hateful creature. She kindly rejects my invitation to stay the night. but I can sense that she is warming to the idea. She will be mine! Oh yes, she will be mine…

The next morning, our various bands set out to the Academy, each traveling individually and under stealth. Upon arrival, we surveyed our attack point, where a group of drow and a couple of flesh golems were stationed to repel intruders. We felt a frontal assault would work best, and after we took down their casters in mere seconds, the remaining dark elves and their minions soon followed.

Once in the building, we turned towards the entrance that Shalelu and her rangers would have entered from. We discovered the bodies of her men, along with the drow troops stationed there, and some remaining water elemental guardians, which we let be. Shalelu was not among the fallen, and fresh bloodstains indicated that someone was dragged away from the central area. We had to move quickly, as she could have been in great need of assistance!

We next turned quickly toward the entrance that was being attacked by the Lantern Bearers. Again, fallen troops and drow were littered about, and as we were turning to leave a demon stepped from a summoning circle to confront us. A Vrok, as we later learned it was called, the abyssal nightmare was quite formidable, and Chuffy was nearly killed before we were able to slay the fiend. But all of this was just wasting time. Shalelu was still missing, as well as no Kaerishiel, and so we followed the trail of fresh bloodstains through the final passage we had available.

The trail of blood lead to the first room in this building that had not fallen to decay. Also, it was the first on that appeared to be occupied, as a lovely elven maiden floated upon a giant leaf in a pool of crystal clear water. Well, if that didn’t scream TRAP then I haven’t been adventuring long enough, but Shalelu was still in trouble, so after a brief bout of questioning, the lass confirmed that our missing allies had been taken through the doors towards The Portal, and so I opened the doors to find a rear guard standing before a shimmering portal. They were not much for words, and their barbarian captain attacked almost immediately.

Although the captain was quite fierce in his assault, he was quickly overcome by our superior numbers and skill. During the fight, something kept attempting to magically control the thoughts of my companions, and once I had finished with the drow, I turned my attentions to the elven lass, whom Zee had begun to assault with magic. After close examination of her pool, I discovered that the room was entirely cloaked in illusion, and that an Aboleth, as I believe they are called, was attempting to manipulate us all. We banished him to the depths, but not before he struck me with his horrible, diseased tentacles, infecting me with a disgusting, flesh-warping plague. Fortunately, Zee was able to call upon the gods to cure me before I was lost, and I shall be sure to thank her profusely once we are out of danger.

The Aboleth gone, and the building clear, we stepped up to the portal. We had to move quickly, as Shalelu could be suffering all sorts of unspeakable tortures at the hands of these drow. We dashed through the shimmering curtain of magic, and stood in a strange place, with the feel of a foreign dimension or plane. Zee mentioned that it reminded her of the Plane of Shadow, and the building in the distance appear to mimic those of Celwynvian, though of a time before she had fallen into her current state of disrepair.

This was apparently the Armageddon Echo, and there were no enemies or allies in sight.

We must move quickly to rescue Shalelu, and so I will leave it here, until I have time for a further report.


Echoes of the Past
In which we pursue the drow army's leadership into the Armageddon Echo


Salutations and good tidings, my loyal readers! When last I left you, we had just entered the Armageddon Echo, the shadowy realm retreat of the drow invaders of Celwynvian. It turned out that the Armageddon Echo is just that, an echo of the past city, specifically at a point in time somewhere around a week before Earthfall. The city appeared to be in pristine condition, but the entire landscape was muted in color, likely due to this realm being a part of the Plane of Shadow. A blot was present in the sky, similar to the one that we had seen above Riddleport some weeks back, but much larger and more menacing. This bodes ill for the world, as it seems the drow are indeed on the way to being able to reproduce Earthfall itself!

We had little time to ponder those thoughts, as a group of Blast Shadows began to emerge from the tree line at the entrance to the city, and we soon found ourselves in a battle for our lives. The creatures were not fearsome in combat, but upon their deaths, the creatures exploded into flaming death traps, and even with my demonic resistances, we were all lucky to survive. Once we had, though, we tended our wounds and ventured towards the city, where we began to interact for the first time with the Echo’s inhabitants.

Our first greeter was an elderly elven man, who stood near the gates, staring up at the blot in the sky as if studying it. He also appears to be muted in color, and his voice is almost a bit out of sync with reality. Despite these oddities, Ilamain Silverwind, as we found he was called, was kind enough to answer our questions, revealing the state of the city as being mostly empty, as the population had already fled through the Gate to Iadara, the capital of the Kyonin. They were there preparing to flee to the ancient elven homeland of Sovyrian, and he suggested that we could join them, as the Gate was still open. With the help of the elven librarian in a bottle, as well, this information gave us our first indication that we were in an echo of the past. He asked if we were emissaries, and spoke of two others whom were visiting from their homelands. They were unknown to us, but again reinforced the timeframe of this realm. He was not able to direct us to our missing companions, however, giving us only a vague direction before returning to his study of the heavens, and so we continued to make our way into Celwynvian proper.

As we passed by the Library, a location known to us from present times, Taz mentioned that maybe we could find something of use inside. I thought that maybe a map would be handy, and so we stopped to investigate. I was surprised to find that the librarian on staff was none other than Eloquan, the bottled librarian that I have been carrying around! He was as useful in the Echo as in the real world, and help us to find the before-sought maps, as well as to search the areas of the library in which the drow had been so interested in the real world. Our investigation uncovered their interest in the mutability of the shadow realms, as well as an obsession with the heavens above. Likely this research helped them create the Armageddon Echo, as well as make progress on their Earthfall Doomsday rituals, and we will need to inform the elves of such when we return.

After our stop at the Library, we continued into the city, heading towards what we were told would be the best place to find lodgings for “visitors”, meaning non-elves, the Fluted Goblet. When we arrived, we found the place empty, like much of the city so far. Nevertheless, we availed ourselves of what found remained, and spent the night resting from our battles and gathering a plan to find our people.

We woke the following morning with the plan to search a few portions of the city for signs of the drow, as well as perhaps purchase some scrolls to help locate them, and our first stop was the markets on the southeast side. The market square was devoid of merchants, unfortunately, with a group of doomsayers discussing the pending apocalypse. Note to self – take doomsayers more seriously from now on… Regardless, fortune did smile upon us, as a group of drow had spotted us, and attempted to divert our search efforts in a most permanent fashion. Except for the assassin whom cleverly disguised himself as a muted echo being, and almost ended Zee’s life, the threat was quickly ended, and their leader taken hostage. Using my Charming demeanor, we were able to gain quite a bit of information about the Armageddon Echo, confirming some of our thoughts as well as informing us that Earthfall would indeed occur here in a couple of days. She also let us know that Nolvenis, the realm’s creator, carried a key that controlled access to the realm, and that he was holding our elven allies in the Observatory close by. We thanked her for her cooperation with a quick death, and moved out to rescue Shalelu!


We were able to come up on the Observatory without being spotted, and Chuffy utilized his magical gloves to peer through the walls and locate our missing elves. I used my burglar’s tools to cut an opening in the rear window, and we crept inside quietly. Under the cover of magical silence, we eliminated the guards and our companions were free! Unfortunately, we did not have time for a proper reunion, as Nolvenis was still holding the Shadow Key, and we needed that to be able to escape the Echo.

After stashing Shalelu and Kaerishiel in the shrubbery out back, we took to the sky under a cloak of invisibility to scout the top of the Observatory tower. We discovered that Nolvenis and his guards were indeed present, with Nolvenis himself studying the heavens above. They were all unaware of our presence, and that made it irresistibly easy to attack at once. Nolvenis was down in an instant, and his guards moments later. We gathered his possessions and fled the scene before his reinforcements could arrive, leaving them to wonder at what had occurred. It as masterfully done!

Once we were back at the Fluted Goblet with our companions, Zee finally had the opportunity to examine the Shadow Key. She was able to easily discern its activation and effects, including both exiting the Armageddon Echo and activating the Elfgate to the Darklands. Apparently, activating the gem also resets the Echo and destroys all of the visitors – a happy gift for our drow friends. Healed up, and with Shalelu in tow, we activated the gem and returned to our native plane.

We avoided being shot by our elven allies when we suddenly appeared before the gateway to the Echo, but once they recognized us, they welcome us back with open arms. The army was delighted to learn of the fate of Nolvenis and the end of the drow’s ability to retreat to the shadow realm. We were showered with appreciation, both in the way of fame as well as fortune, and a great feast was held in our honor. The drow threat in Celwynvian was over, and we were to thank. Huzzah!

I made sure to keep checking in on Shalelu as often as I could. It was good to find out that she was not permanently harmed by her time in captivity. She was very grateful that she was not fated to die in that horrible shadow realm, and she made sure to show me just how appreciative she was of our efforts to rescue her.

Of course, celebrations can last only so long, and a couple of days after our return, Evianna requested our presence. Her people were disturbed about what we had uncovered, specifically as to why the drow had such an interest in Earthfall. If they were looking to replicate that cataclysmic event, then the whole world would be in danger. Such a powerful ritual would need to be performed at the heart of the drow’s power, and so someone would need to travel to the Darklands and investigate futher. Evianna asked if we were willing, and we of course agreed. I find the drow fascinating anyway, and would love to get a chance to learn more of them. Plus, I would find the end of the world most disagreeable.

The elves had been hard at work, planning for a way to infiltrate the drow city of Zinakaynin (“Last/true home of the elves”) and discover their secrets, and they believed they had finally perfected a plan to do so. Giseil Voslil, an elven wizard and alchemist, had been studying various techniques in order provide a workable disguise for an infiltration team, and his Recorporeal Incarnation would allow us to appear as drow, using the bodies of our dead enemies as a sort of magical flesh suit. It sounded quite awful, but the effects were such that it would be near impossible to penetrate the disguises. Although I believe my companions might be a bit hesitant to through on a dead drow body suit and enter their city, I find the idea invigorating! We set ourselves to gather the proper provisions, and soon we will use our Shadow Key to enter the Darklands.

Wish us luck, my gentle readers!

Into the Darklands
In which we infiltrate the drow city in hopes of locating those attempting the Earthfall ritual


Welcome, my loyal followers! As you know, we last left off with my brave companions and I preparing to journey into the Darklands, under cleverly created disguise as dark elves, to seek more information on the vile ritual that the drow seem to be attempting to bring about. Another Earthfall is possible if we are unsuccessful, and so the fate of the world is in our hands.
As we emerged from the Elfgate, our elven allies on our heels in parody of a pursuing force, we played the role of fleeing drow forces and ran for cover. Our friends were outnumbered, but with the element of surprise on their side, and with a bit of help from Zaitherin’s magic, they were able to play their part convincingly and retreat through the portal with minimal losses. We fled past the main force of gate guards and to the rear supply wagons, where a delivery driver named Gadak was waiting to pass through to Celwynvian. We informed him that the drow forces were overwhelmed, and the traitor elves had taken full control of both the city and the gate. He offered us a ride in his supply wagon back to Zirnakaynin, and we were quick to accept his guidance to our desired destination.

Gadak was quite chatty, and we were able to divert his questions into a passable story as to who we were and where we were from. We claimed to be from the Darklands city of Gizratayn, and that our masters had been killed in the Celwynvian skirmishes. Gadak was impressed with the tales of our prowess in battle, and since we were essential ronin, Gadak offered to introduce us to the master of arms and the Slave Mother of House Vonnarc. As we were looking for a way to enter the drow’s society smoothly and without suspicion, this seemed a perfect plan, and we accepted his invitation.

Our story seemed to have held up under the questioning of Slave Mother Undamesta, and she agreed to take us on a servants. Us males were assigned to Paingiver Drovonais, head of the guards, while Zaitherin was assigned to household duties more fitting to the higher-ranked females. Once assigned, our menial tasks were begun.

Let me just pause a second here to say the title Paingiver is very appropriate. Drow are vicious creatures, and prone to violent mood swings, and our overseers were no exception. Floggings were administered for no reason other than whim, especially for newcomers. It was a long week, and I grew tired of it quickly.

In order to avoid more menial tasks (and unprovoked beatings), I decided to make myself more useful, and presented myself and my skills to one of the House daughters, Eskervalla. She found me interesting enough to approach, although she was a bit skittish when I revealed my talents. She assigned me a task – the death of a certain noble from House Rasivrein whom has been charging House Vonnarc exceptionally high prices for their slaves – and I set out to accomplish the task.

During our first two weeks in House Vonnarc, we learned quite a bit about the House itself. We also learned more about House Azrinae, who is apparently behind the attacks on the surface world. Apparently most of that House is missing, and we surmised that likely these drow have retreated somewhere in order to work on and perform the Earthfall ritual. This has become our key focus now, and hopefully we can learn more about this House’s occupant’s location soon. Entering the House does not seem possible, because even though the occupants are mostly absent, the First Son Kardinnyr has stayed behind with a host of deadly traps, arcane weapons, and summoned demons to keep out intruders.

During one of our missions, Chuffy managed to pick up two new slaves – his father and sister, whom the drow has somehow captures from the surface. We also had an encounter with a giant purple worm, who almost got the best of yours truly and tried to swallow me whole before my party was able to finish the beast. Huzzah to Taz and his might swing!
During this time, Gadak started to become suspicious of our story and motives. He was watching Chuffy a bit too closely, and we had to divert him from this curiosity. Zee was able to distract him with her magic, and may have to further follow up with her wiles if he keeps it up.

I also managed to complete my mission for Eskervalla. Rhespen Rasivrein, was careful, but not careful enough, and I was able to find him in a vulnerable moment and end his annoyance of House Vonnarc. My mistress seemed pleased, and rewarded me in a most pleasant manner.

Our infiltration will continue until we have successfully located the ritual.


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