Sarenrae… give me strength… or something. Demons and devils… they’re all the same. Save for the ones that I am currently with. You know, sometimes I pray for your guidance… GRANTED I don’t think you hear me. Since my days in the deserts and wastes I have seen horrible things… Who am I kidding I’ve done some horrible things but this is ludicrous. It all started as we were practically hugging each other in the basement.
Aravash was again prattling along BLAH BLAH BLAH wizarding nonsense when it struck me – he was making sense. Lucid in his boorish ramblings he started to explain this secret fraternity called The Adepts. I have absolutely no idea what the man was talking about, but I certainly know a thing about a fraternity… let alone a secret one.
Either way, this man… this Xanthir… he was something of a prodigy within the order of The Adepts – apparently. So much so he began becoming power hungry – thus bringing about a new fraternal order encompassing the mastering of power… the secrets of harnessing the power of the Spheres…. THE SPHERES! By the Sphere’s that man IS a genius. Who in their right mind would harness the power of the Spheres unless they had the power to do so? I doubt the one with such a reputation has such bravado – certainly a touch of arrogance – but… but that man is a thorn in the side of the living. Unfortunately his experiments went awry and he became corrupted by the Abyss. And his protégé, this rambling historical magician saw the great evil that lurked within Xanthir’s inane scheme and fled him and his order. Aravash fled to the Witch Hunters – THE WITCH HUNTERS! Those hate mongers and baby killers would slit throats in broad daylight and get away with it under the pretense of an accursed “oath”. Ah well, Aravash came and he sold that rat bastard Xanthir out for money, a library, and something morally greater – besting the taint of the World Wound. We can at least agree on that and I can’t blame him, I’d stop someone from doing great harm against another if I could…
We’ve found out from yet another captor of ours – that Chaleb fellow – that 4 days since the attack of Kenabres lapsed. The city is in smolders. There is debris everywhere. A giant hole as far down as the 12 Hells and the Rough Beast’s prison was created at the bottom of Gate District. The city is overrun with tainted vermin and miscreants of all shapes and sizes. Like what “my companions” describe as a vrock. But, like the gung-ho rage monsters that I am walking around ruined Kenabres with, it maybe that going deeper into the lion’s den may prevent further calamity – so planning our course into the city IS our course. The story of the now deceased Chaleb, whose premature death is part of the reason I am currently praying for, fell across our attentive ears.
By Chaleb’s account, the Kite and Wardstone had “poofed” in a thunderous sound and force and lightning ripped the sky… HA! Wizards… malcontented old bats… divining their way to god-like… oh yes. Chaleb had flown his crest – a red banner with a blue rooster – The Mighty Cocks that he helped command, into battle. The battle, he mentioned and I believe to sugar coated, was most probably more vicious and visceral. The men ripped apart limb by limb in front of kinsmen. Chaos surrounded everyone here to fight the taint as the demons poured in. Surprising the mountains of guards and security that was in place in Kenabres, blood and gore littered the streets with lifeless bodies. Desertion – laughable – a tactical retreat much more feasable. Oh yes, this veiled controlling Witch Hunter and manipulative Asmodean debutante mocks the morale and lives of men. Hold steadfast to the oath? HA! “The LAW~ is the Law~!” I would laugh, but I too am frightened of those around me.
Chaleb died prematurely. For surviving the hell and torment of 4 days in a land that is now screaming to be renamed the Second Abyss, he was unrighteously murdered for the sake of an oath that no longer hold sway in the hearts of those doing unspeakable acts to survive. I hated that man for his actions and the horrors he caused to the librarians, those poor women. His was a penance that I think you’d agree with Dawnflower, swift justice. However, when confronted with his misdeeds, he cried out redemption. In his pleas, I saw truth. I saw a man at his wits end, overcome with fear of his surroundings, about to break and scream insanity – but found guidance in our light. For his struggles, his life was extinguished – 4 days of unyielding torture. I’ve tried to save him – you know I’ve tried. Manacled as he was on the floor, I tried to free him so he may be able to rally a resistance from the south. My words and action fell muted by the unreasonable laws of men and mortals. Even the Renli Halfling had expressed another way than this bloodthirsty Hunter and encouraging Devil-man. I dove to protect him, locked him as the blade would have to pass me to take him down. But the brutish pillar Teer ripped me from him and down came the sword of “justice” – the sword of “law”. More akin to the sword of chaos from my perspective – what man in their sound mind could not see the fallibility within that stroke? Instead my gaze met with the devilish Aldrick with his parading smile, the anhedonistic blackness of the Witch Hunters’ eyes, and the uncaring of the rest of the armed lot.
Aravash couldn’t see what his ears told him. The librarians were happy to see such a macabre happenstance, even in this time of troubles. The rest were mortified, including me. I couldn’t help but see Milo standing unassumingly near Chaleb as he had when struck at me with the dark imp. I see joviality in his eyes, but unfortunately I don’t trust him. He liable to kill someone for any reason… awful they can be, I suppose, those followers of Pharasma.
Milo and Teer crept away looking for a way to continue through the city. Checking the basement door squeaks and scratching filled the tunnel as they estimated a huge swarm of tainted rats tracked the scent of blood to us. Our new course then would be to head above ground. Needing our rest, many of us used the Vivid Hallucinogenic Mushroom Sedatives we had received prior in Neathholm. I was reluctant to induce myself the pleasure of rest because I no longer feel safe around my companions… except again for Renli, since – oddly enough – I feel a little safer with him nearer to me than when not. OH YES! I forgot, prior to that, Aravash went on another lucid tirade blowing out long overdue information on his mix-up with Xanthir.
Xanthir had been a rather naughty man. He experimented his dark ways on pregnant women. Now, I have done so in the past – and you know this – but it was with consent… I don’t think his was consented… or the same dark ways. ANYWAY! This issue with the Wardstone and wards in general has now been tied to Faxium WHICH is now a man-demon hybrid able to walk within the barriers of the Wardstones and bring them to ruin. Peach… this tastes like peach… why does a mushroom taste like peaches and pork fat… Xanthir for all his worth has his hands as a Templar of the Ivy Labyrinth – whatever the Spheres… that… is. … (Snoring)
… Huh? What a reinvigorating feeling! I feel wonderful – was I praying or thinking? Not sure… now that my mind isn’t addled… It seems we awoke to find the swarm of taint dispersed from the basement doors, the dead body of Chaleb removed from the general vicinity of the more “civilized” people here, and the two scouts continue their reconnaissance. It seems our way is by night even though our fearless leaders or convinced heading out during the evening gives us an advantage. YEAH RIGHT. Our overland flight takes us through crumbled buildings and ruined streets. Ruins within depressions tell a story of a colossal demon that enjoyed rampaging in any city allowed. I believe the Asmodean called it an Ulkrath – follower of the demon lord Xerneron. It could have been the Asmodean who said it I wasn’t paying attention.
As we continued onward Horgus – that slippery Gwerm – began losing balance when our group was crossing atop a wall of debris. With speed I grabbed him. Losing my footing, a librarian grabbed me – not so bad to be grabbed by her – and we regained our balance. But of course as it so happens my walls came crumbling down – and I held on to the two.
As we recovered, we found ourselves unable to get up. A diabolic web covered us. Slashing free with whatever we could, we brought the attention of a spider… a big spider… that turned bigger, and bigger, and bigger. The massive creature laid into me and a few other companions. It seems to have had a potent toxin with its teeth as, when bit, the poison immediately rendered Teer weak. Sounds like a good backup plan to me. After a long and arduous battle, sloughing off the sticky webs, we all recovered our composure and completed our journey to the little Gwerms mansion gates – with uncertainty of what comes next.
Sarenrae, if you’re out there – and really hear the words of your followers, help me… or send an agent to this broken land. I need to get out of here. The men’s minds I’m with are warped and care little for what lives can be redeemed. The banner of Iomadae ought to fly, but is tarnished with layers of black. I am discouraged from my companions and cannot understand why they care so little – but your teachings are what drive me. You’re the Healing Light right?! And by extension, now, I try to continue to heal those that are in need. I am frightened, yes – GOD yes. Though it does make things more interesting than sitting in a stuffy room with dying people all day… But if these people I am with are to relieve this area of the World Wound’s dark madness, I feel I should be here – with them – at the edge of all things good. I hope I don’t die… I’ll survive… no – I WILL SURVIVE! …have so far… But I think they’re more interested in killing me… I hope I don’t die… BUT THEY’RE CRAZY!… not going to die – not going to die. By your beautifully endowed blessing – I will continue to do something greater than the rat fire of 4709… Just, temperance and patients… patience! Here I go…