.:| Quote |:.
"In darkness, no one sees you bleed or cry..."
-- Kierath Ranamor
.:| Vornae Proverbs |:.
"I no naka no kawazu taikai o shirazu."
A frog in a well does not know the great sea.
"Ame futte chi katamaru"
After the rain, earth hardens
.:| Libraries |:.
June 8, 607 ER Gather - Kirran, Greyhelm
Michiko and I arrived in Kirran to find that the damage done by the incursions of the Chaos Forest was substantial, but thankfully the soldiers stationed there had been able to recently push back the progress of the forest to a reasonable distance from town. We selected a small lodging on the northern outskirts and set about cleaning it and making it habitable for our stay. The heat was quite oppressive until the sun set, and it made me glad that I had brought several of my mechanical fans to stir the air.
After securing our accommodations, we slowly made our way to the tavern where we found several people already milling about. Before I could make many introductions, I was summoned by Count Wyndham for a private discussion regarding the current disposition of Du'Kratha and what plans might be made to recover him.
Upon the completion of our conversation, I formally introduced the Count to Michiko and then begged my leave so that I could have a conversation with Shadowmancer. That conversation was interesting in that it relatively quickly turned from why I had stepped down and left Tyrangel to a discussion of other nobles who were not ready for the titles they had been given, including Baron Travador. After a goodly amount of time, I thanked Shadowmancer for his words of wisdom and rejoined Michiko in the tavern.
A short time later, after dealing with several plants that had managed to devour other adventurers, a Chaos Lord appeared and stated that it was time that "we" live up to our bargain and put an end to Kauffe. He agreed to grant planar asylum and open a gate to Kauffe's planar bubble in exchange for the retrieval of an item which was holding the bubble intact and repelling them. Sinai gathered a small force for this, and I stayed behind with the rest of the town to await their return.
After Sinai had left for Havoc, a woman came running into town begging for help. She said she had summoned some elementals to help "destroy all evil", but that they had turned on her. Moments later, a large group of sand elementals entered the tavern looking for "the summoner". Finding her with us, they determined that we, too, were evil and attacked, attempting to take her with them. Unfortunately, the battle sapped quite a number of our resources, and in the end the elementals captured the summoner and took her with them as they melted back into the ground.
Soon Kellian burst forth from the Chaos Lord's gate at almost a run and staggered into the tavern. He had apparently retrieved the item and been sent ahead with it. Sereg and I went with him to the guildhall to secure the item and identify it as the rest of the rescue mission slowly trickled in through the gate. Sereg completed his identification of the item, and confirmed that it was indeed simply as the Chaos Lord had said, as the rest of the town began making their way to the guildhall along with the Chaos Lord. While Kivuli began the resurrection of Logan Marr, the Chaos Lord was given the item and he used his own strength and magics to render it back into the base components it was created from.
As people made their way back to the tavern, I stepped aside intending to speak briefly with Sinai as Michiko retired to our lodging for the night. Unfortunately, my plans of joining her moments later were dashed, however, as Kauffe rifted in with a small army of his elementals. Du'Kratha in his twisted transformed state was also at his side and under his control. Kauffe was very angry at his planar bubble being destroyed, as he was yelling quite frequently about how he was going to teach us a lesson for invading his home.
The town was initially cornered into the tavern, and was hard pressed to establish a foothold outside of it despite multiple attempts through both doors. In hindsight, it would have been wiser to use those doors to funnel our enemies rather than allowing them to use them against us as they did. Even when we were able to make a push out of the building, the fighting quickly became scattered with people attempting to gain ground on two fronts, thus forcing an eventual retreat each time.
Early in the battle I made an attempt to imprison Du'Kratha, but he simply shrugged aside every spell I cast at him before dropping me. When I came to, I found myself farther away from the tavern and quickly erected a circle of power to protect myself as I watched for another opportunity to try and take down Du'Kratha. Unfortunately, before I was able to spot such an opportunity, Kauffe noticed me standing to the side in my circle and came over to taunt and threaten me. He apparently grew bored quickly at my lack of fear, though, and rejoined the attack on the town.
A short time later, as the fighting raged on, Kauffe's form shifted to one that appeared more as a Chaos Lord, streaked with swirls of many colors rather than just the silver ones of his Havoc form. Something had also happened inside the tavern that appeared to renew the abilities of the town, but I was not able to feel its effects due to the circle of power still around me. Eventually, as the first light of dawn began to brighten the eastern sky, Kauffe fell and his remaining elementals were either killed or left. I took the opportunity to retire and finally seek the rest I had wanted to hours before.
Having not been able to reach my cabin and join Michiko for some rest until dawn, I slept until slightly after the sun had reached its zenith for the day. Eventually, though, the heat began to reach the point that sleep was becoming fitful, so I made my way to the tavern to see if there was any activity amongst the rest of the town. I spent a fair amount of time simply speaking with Shadowmancer and others, as well as speaking with the gypsy merchants who came into town peddling some scrolls and several magical items.
The town was again beset by the sand elementals, this time coming back to punish us as "evil" for aiding the summoner. Shadowmancer stood up to them, and the battle was soon on. As we drove them from the tavern, several people heard cries for help coming from the hole that the elementals were coming out of. Shadowmancer led the way diving into the hole, and a time later he and the others who went down it returned with the summoner, only a little worse for wear. While they were doing this I focused my efforts on the elementals on the surface in order to ensure that those who went below had some place to return safely to.
Following the battle, I returned to my lodging to check on Michiko. She was still resting out of the heat of the Daystar as best she could, and after chatting with her for a bit about the prior night decided that I would follow suit and take some rest so as to have more energy for the night ahead. Unfortunately for me, that rest was short-lived, as Squire Carak and Guildmaster Dominic came around within the hour to gather everyone for an assault on some attercobs in order to prove ourselves worthy of receiving help from the Kirran Tribe of barbarians.
Quickly preparing myself for battle in response to the summons, I reached the tavern in short order and spoke with Travador and Carak to be brought up to speed on the situation. We set out a short time later following a small fox, and soon came across an encampment filled with attercobs. As the rest of the town engaged, I began the fight by unleashing a barrage of eldritch damage at the closest attercobs while also calling forth magics to release those who became entangled by the thrown webbing. It soon became evident that the attercobs were focusing their efforts on the dark elves that were with us, though, as they seemed content to simply drop other adventurers but would pause to deliver a killing blow when either Sereg or Carak fell. In the midst of the fighting, one of the larger attercobs then spoke to me, saying I had the same stench as "them", referring to the dark elves with us, and said I had no honor hiding behind the others. I found this quite amusing, as I looked around to find myself several feet in front of our lines and replied as such to it before attacking and fiercely cutting it down. Soon, however, another large attercob had managed to drop Travador and dragged him off before coccooning him in webbing. I was the first to reach him, but was cut down by the attercob before I could revive Travador. When I came to, I was surprised to be told that the attercob had delivered a killing blow to me, as well. Perhaps Michiko was far more right than I had thought about me...
Following the battle, I immediately sought out dry clothing and a shower before returning to the tavern with Michiko for the evening meal. Sadly, in doing so, I found out that I missed the representatives from the Kirran Tribe who had gifted a number of people with animal spirit totems. I had been quite interested in at least learning more about that from their Shaman after my time with Tiger deDannan, but such was apparently not to be.
Sinai and Du'Kratha also made their way to the tavern at this time, and we spoke at some length. According to Sinai, Du'Kratha had been rescued late the night before, as the fighting had wound down. His time on Havoc had clearly affected him, though, as apparent in his attitudes and actions. He also had a large spirit mark of a spider on his face that he had apparently requested Kauffe place upon him.
Eventually, feast was served, but it was certainly not a fancy affair. The meal was more of typical soldier fare with a dish of sausage, peppers, and onions paired with rice, but it was quite good and suited my taste quite well. Michiko and I shared a table with Sinai, Du'Kratha, Douglas, Crazy Eye Sam, and Kivuli, and the conversation was quite interesting overall.
Following feast, Michiko and I planned to cast a dreamvision to see if I could learn more about my father and the murders happening in Tempest's Folly. I asked Sinai to be there as well, in case the vision was overly disturbing, but she did not think it wise for Du'Kratha to join us in his current state. I was not in disagreement, but when she told him this he assumed that I had said he would not be allowed there and stormed off after throwing insults my direction. While I went to gather the scroll and components, Sinai attempted to find and calm him, and upon my return Du'Kratha apologized for his incorrect assumptions.
Carak learned of what we were doing and offered the use of a magical box they had recently procured which was able to intensify the effects of such rituals, in addition to its other uses. I eventually accepted his offer and he set off to retrieve it while Michiko and I prepared a circle in a corner of the tavern. Following the ritual, I spent quite a good bit of time with Michiko as she attempted to calm the anger over what the vision had shown me.
A short time after this, as the town began to grow restless, several rat scavengers entered the tavern looking extremely nervous. Michiko and Sinai spoke with them at length, but the short version seemed to be that Ralair had convinced them to "acquire" an item for him and they were supposed to meet him shortly to deliver it. They were scared of Ralair, though, and now didn't want to give it to him. Sinai ended up with it, however, and went to secure it as the rest of the town gathered to escort the rat scavengers to "meet" with Ralair.
In hindsight, the choices made regarding this meeting might not have been the best. We stopped at the edge of the treeline and were directed to form a defensive line using the trees to anchor our flanks. Unfortunately, on the right side of our line, the trees were not nearly thick enough to prevent anyone from flanking us. Ralair came forward with a number of undead at his side, as well as a small floating orb. He demanded we turn over the item and threatened us with our destruction, but of course we refused and the fight was on.
The battle was fierce with many people falling under the onslaught of deaths and obliterations. At one point in the fighting, Ralair managed to charm Carak and took him behind their lines to question him. Ralair also introduced us to his new friend, but from the looks I got I only saw something that looked somewhat draconic but also undead, and neither Ralair nor this stranger would give a name... We also noticed that the undead seemed to be reforming out of the strange orb.
About halfway through the battle, a shout went out from the back of our lines. Malshaar was lurking in the darkness and taking advantage of the opportunity to attack our rear. I quickly moved to the rear and began to try and engage him in conversation as I kept my eyes on him, and urged others to focus on the main fight. Try as I might, however, I could not get him to step out of the darkness. As I was dealing with him, Travador came to join me and noted that Sereg, Sinai, and Du'Kratha were still missing. Having lost sight of Malshaar, we decided that there was a need to try and send a runner to find them, so we enlisted Eristhadt to aid us. Making our way slowly back down the trail, our plan was for Travador and I to engage Malshaar if we encountered him so that Eristhadt could escape past him. Luckily, we did not encounter Malshaar, but we had a near disaster as Eristhadt ran off towards town as we encountered a dark form that turned out to be Sereg and Sinai creeping towards the battle; we just did manage to catch him before he got out of earshot.
Returning to the battle, we found that Du'Kratha had made his way out and joined the fight. I ended up at one point lifing and healing him, and then using my magics to refit his armor a number of times as he cut a swath through the enemy lines towards Ralair. Once my spells were expended, I then took the opportunity to slide behind the enemy lines and tried to land a few well placed blows on Ralair, but he simply turned them aside with hardly a shrug.
As the battle wound down, I had quite a scare. Ralair managed to catch me in an imprison as our lines retreated, which then placed him between myself and the rest of the town. I then heard the call for retreat and felt my heart sink, figuring I was about to be left behind and and Ralair's mercy. Moments later, though, I heard Michiko calling for me, followed by Travador asking Ralair if he had me "over there". When Ralair answered in the affirmative, Travador rallied the town enough to rescue and free me so that I could then join the retreat, though I did take time to exchange some more banter with Malshaar as he skulked in the darkness.
Upon returning to town, I excused myself from Michiko so that I could accompany Sinai and Du'Kratha to ensure that the item we had recovered was still secure. This took longer than I expected, as we were trying to do so undetected. Once we were sure the item was still safe, we made our way back to the tavern where I rejoined Michiko and was happy to escort her to bed and retire for the night.