Unfortunate Canopic Jarring
That scale covered, mutton-headed, two faced, remorseless, sewer rat infested sociopath! I swear every time I turn around there he is trying to push his influence around like it’s his god given right. I’ve always got to keep an eye open when he’s around. Dear Seranrae, why oh WHY do you allow him the ability to procreate, and have me – ME the “pleasant honor” to be tested with my NUTS in a vault?! Have I been THAT bad?! I’ve been GOOD, haven’t I?! And it doesn’t help that I feel that this is some conspiracy because I think about it all the time. I SWEAR he’s trying to amass an army to enslave us all with his stupid LAWS and RULES. He LITERALLY wants to see the entire world go the Hell. Oh, and the Witch Hunter doesn’t help either.
Aside from the screams of torture, moaning of death on the winds, melancholic atmosphere, and destitute people, it brings the horrible nostalgia to a time prior to the Wardstone destroyed. I mean, I was pretty much doing the same thing I am now… just not in a lone survivor of humanity capacity. BLECH… this gruel tastes awful. Maybe, if I add…eh… and a little… eh… That’s odd… I feel weird.
Who AM I supposed to trust out here anyway? I mean, I’ve got to keep a close hand among these people. They’re all ready, oddly enough, to extinguish a life no matter what it is than to save it. It doesn’t help them that their command structure isn’t even a command structure anymore. It had evolved to whoever wants to play leader. Which, I guess, is their way of things. I could care less about that – as I am tasked with my share of helping. But it’s like these crazies need a title or station to understand their position in life. Help me, because they are all a bit fanatical.
For instance, all this began earlier tonight. There was a moaning outside, like there always is apparently. More people are crucified in front of the Eagle’s Nest that follows Your dawn. It’s driving the people in here to despair, and although I have earplugs, most of the people here don’t. The mindkilling fare keeps some up all night, fatiguing most from the screams of the tortured. Although, to my defense, I could probably sleep fine without the earplugs just the same. So, we’re sitting there sitting around the mess table getting some pastey food, when the Milo Halfling tries to woo us with a lament. Yeah, like that helps the situation. After some badgering, he changed tunes, and sure enough the grumbling people started feeling a little bit better. I saw some tapping of fingers and a little relief. I had no idea music could heal… somewhat.
It almost felt like I was back in my tavern days in Osirion, when there was a little tune and people started passing around horned mugs of fermented goats milks, ales, wines, and brined tortoise. Save for now we were in a boarded up decrepit building on the verge of collapse with the scents of desperation and body odor. Well the only thing we were able to drink from here was that cup of Chaleb’s that would repeatedly refill itself. But, of course, the Witch Hunter had to be a buzzkill when he found out that we weren’t supposed to be drinking because drinking had been “outlawed” by Irabeth and whoever fancied themselves the great dictators. Well, I wasn’t going to let that ale go to waste, so I snuck a few more mugs in before the Asmodean pulled the mug away. Come to think of it, he was really interested in… damnit! He was preaching all over again getting everyone to go the way of that god-thing.
Well, after the Witch Hunter used his death glare of “I-AM-THE-LAW”, the party ended and Artemis, Milo, Aldrick, headed to bunk down and Lucious headed to the passage that I think led to the chapel? Lavatorium? Prison cell? I’m not sure of the arrangement. I do feel sorry for him. Even though he can be a bastard, who I think IS come to think of it… here-nor-there. I had no idea ripping off the mask and healing him would invoke old miseries… I know now why you placed me with him. Just like the Quillitich character, he is misguided and must be shown the future of Light and Redemption. Perhaps he sees himself as those he had mercilessly murdered in the past. Serve’s him right… but that’s not good. Don’t worry, I’ll stick by him… begrudgingly, but I suppose Your ways are all-knowing. Maybe, with my nuts in a vice too, there’s something you want me to do.
Terrible smell those sores on the afflicted. Oh yeah! Forgot, so, while the others bunked down for the night I made my way to the area they “call” the infirmary. It’s awful. Everything isn’t where it should be, but I did see the Renli Halfling down here. And well, another potential candidate to be your follower – which I am hereby putting in a good recommendation even though he is a follower of Iomedae. This Jeremy was a squires age… and here he was, doing just about everything WRONG! What do they even TEACH healers in Iomedae’s church?! How to beat health into the near dead?! I swear…
Well, here was this boy, suited with breastplate (pfft – like that will help him move quickly), “in charge” of the “infirmary”. He went droning on about being part of the Everbright Crusader’s BLAHBLAHBLAH, tutelage under Colbin of Everbright BLAHBLAHBLAH, master chirurgeon. As he kept listing off titles and the nonsensical practice of his supposed betters I saw many afflicted with the sores of Grayscales… wait… no… Gray Pox. Yes, I’ve seen such before… I think. Those goat demons have terrible disease spittle if I remember correctly. Anyway, I certainly couldn’t leave his ineptitude unnoted and thus, in Your name and my extensive experience, took over as his superior. If I recall chirurgeon is a senior medical officer… And what do you know, he moved aside and was RELIEVED! RELIEVED!
So, I put him to work… however he was too busy gawking at the divine gift of Renli… Which is terribly unreliable for long term problems. I swear. Just because you heal the wounds caused by the Grey Pox does NOT mean you’re not possible contagious or will not find yourself back in the same cot you were just in because the disease continues. And the smug shit just lay down among the afflicted. Certainly not smart, as you need masks, like Jeremy had found. But so far, that Halfling luck… or fanatical killing of demons has placed him in some sort of pedestal from the rest of us. And as if spent, he just went to sleep. Better that way anyway as it was time to impart some proper bone setting and wound grafting. So for the better part of the evening, I poured some good practice into Jeremy. I kept going with his inventory lists and salve application when I saw him fallen asleep at a desk with a book open and reagents at the ready. I remember those days… and I was a little hard on the boy. He wasn’t inept – just overwhelmed. Good lad, so I left him a rather lengthy letter. Caught up on some reading myself and fell asleep in the Master’s Chambers. Still, I think I should’ve taken the insomnia powder to finish out the evening.
Captain of the Eagles Watch
After awakening to the dawn… or what I thought was the dawn… well, the late morning anyway, Jeremy was still fast asleep. I, heading up to the mess hall to get that blasted spiceless gruel, hear the whispers of the Asmodean’s name on the lips of survivors… I swear, that man… do I have to stay awake to stave his influence?! Maybe I SHOULD have taken that powder. Seems that the meal wouldn’t be complete without Adjunct requesting us – says the Devil-bringer. Eating the last of the slop, which I did spruce up with a few “spices”, we headed to Irabeth. Congregating outside the war room, I hear some muffled commotion and arguing going on behind the doors. Sure enough some noble types storm past us wearing an odd Stormcloud cloak clasp. Storm clouds, that is an accurate depiction of trying to talk to this lady. Must be people devoted to arguing, or being angry. Well, Irabeth just stands there with fatigue and exasperation set into her lusty mug, gulping down “water”. Water being a precious resource, I think that’s more of a clear liquor. That’s what I would do. But that’s Irabeth, beautiful and spiteful, and apparently and lady lover. Seranrae! I would looove to see those things…. DON’T THINK ABOUT IT! … Cold water… Orcs… Close call.
So she continues on, looking not so viewable through smoked lenses, that she expects the enemy has a design for the city. And BEHOLD she REQUESTS… actually ASKS… well, not “ordering” which is pretty much the same damn thing to her, for us to investigate the Pathfinder Building. Seems that she already “asked” Teer to bring back those left at the Hammer and Keg in the Gate District. I may not feel great about that, but for someone so big he’s really good at keeping a low profile. But now, it’s up to us to get into the Pathfinder Lodge. After some crappy quartermaster gives me guff, and obviously has fallen in love the Asmodean, we gain our requisite supplies and leave through the front door of the Nest.
I don’t know how the building is still standing… must be by Your divine hand, because as we walked out into the moans of the near dead, the wails of the somber winds, and the blackened-red skies, a hemisphere of annihilation was laid out; an engulfing darkness that surrounds the blocks worth of area set forth into the deepest recesses of ground like the Day of Armistice. And what do you know, a single bridged path toward the Hall of Heroes. One path… practically an invitation to terror. The crucified dead vaulted up high into the bleak sky and murders of tainted crows on each didn’t really help our redemptive cause either.
Over the bridge, an array of crucified littered the path. As we got closer, it seems that the 10 bodies were the ones recently moaning… The closer and closer, they were more definitively mutilated with carved writing. Thinking about it, they were most certainly – maybe kind of, set in a pentagram pattern… like some contrived diabolic ritual. Their bodies, carved with the frightful Chellexian words “I AM NOT DEAD”, were those of the fled Tiefling minions of Faxium. No one, Brightness, should ever be subjected to that kind of torture.
Path of Dispair
As Renli steps one foot into the pentagram circle, so hasty that one, one of the Tieflings eyes flies open screaming horrible cacophony. The others snap awake and scream discordant as well. Covering my ears, Artemis looks through the vaulted tortured and spies a hulking mass shifting. Of course, under Your guidance I try to figure out some way to take them down. While my mind works away, Artemis gives the call of the rising enemy through the patterned mutilated mass in the Hall. Lucious steps forward drawing his weapon as the hulking mass stands and clear view, body wrought with the skins and unlife of various creatures, straightening its massive bulk and extending two powerful looking pairs of arms. Oh that? A construct of dead bodies… and from what the Asmodean conveys, its undead too. What joy.
And so the beast roared blood-curdling sounds, silencing those Tieflings magically bound on their crucifixes. The roar of the flesh monster resounded and in trailing away, the Tieflings chanted Chellexian “I am not dead” over and over and over. It’s like this Faxium wants us to know he’s not dead. Yes, Everlight, I am smirking. Only because our small victory the other day. I’ll take the small victory for now – keeps me going. Well, I figure out how to unhinge one of the crucified, but they just fell forward not stopping the infernal chanting. The monster however, charged forward, ripping out a tiefling-stand off the ground and takes another massive claw and rips into Artemis – a really big gouge too. Renli steps into it with a spear calling out to Iomedae, as per normal. Lucious steps in and cuts into it too. Artemis looses a few arrows every few seconds turning into a pincushion.
Just when I think we’re gaining an advantage, the monster is ceaseless. It claws Artemis again… and Aldrick (HA!)… and Lucious, but tears into Renli – BADLY! Nearly rent him limb to limb! The tieflings had to wait, so I tossed a few flammable reagents its way immolating the sewn and strewn together skin. Just… the acrid smell… burnt flesh and hair is NOT a wonderfully nostalgic smell, but the fire burns it down, and Renli makes sure it stays that way.
Which brings me to the whole situation of careless life keeping. You’d think the Tieflings have had enough of a punishment tacked, branded, and mutilated. As I’m trying to save ONE… just one! My “companions” unhinge the crucified stakes one by one, and push them off the cliff. No matter what I do, they just continue their wanton killing sprees. The last Tiefling, of who I almost got off the post, is quickly dispatched by Artemis and sent plummeting still attached to the abyss of darkness.
I’m trying to find the swift justice in their actions, but can’t understand the chaos and evil which changes their hearts to such hatred and savagery. Meanwhile Renli looks upon the Human dead discarded, heaped, and crucified in the Hall of Heroes. Melancholy and crying, the Halfling cleans off what looks (and smells like) feces that the demons most likely smeared over the innocents, especially the children. I help him clean off a few, and give passing rites as I read in one of your holy texts – more or less. But his, and everyone else’s outward lack of veneration for the living is unnerving. The dead have already come to your Hallowed Halls and, your Everlightness; you’d see them to the other side with open fiery wing-arms.
Trekking onward and finally making it to the Pathfinder Building, it looks like two entryways stand before us and the Chemist’s work… which I am greatly enthusiastic for! I mean so far, his work – his GENIUS is only preceded by his… ahem. The windows on the first and second floors are boarded and front door partially open. Just as I smell the faint scent of ferrous beauty that is the black powder of home, Lucious DEMANDS I stop what I’m doing. AGAIN! Just demands it. However, it wasn’t me that was on the disapproving end this time. Seems Artemis and Renli were ready to trigger a trap on the side door. And, although as unpleasant a scolding I heard… I checked the side door and sure enough… the sweet smell of black powder was overpowering on this side. Heaven help us that these killers almost killed us all. A trap in a trap, if they SNEEZED improperly the trap would trigger – and here they were ready to meet their makers. After bypassing the door, which required my brilliance – waterskin and tripwire cutters… as an extension of You of course, we found KEGS of black powder and sulfurous material. Lucious mentions something about Phomet, but I wasn’t listening… I think it was something about his supplies.
Black Powder Keg Trap
With the utmost care, I started collecting the kegs of black powder to store in the portable hole. Four KEGS! I could spruce up my tea – or mutagens – give that gruel and extra kick at least. I hear the sounds of someone finding shelves of Pathfinder Society books. As I find more kegs to collect with Renli, I hear a door open, some type of chittering and buzzing, and Lucious and Artemis yelp. My head perked up, and the strangest thing happened. I watched as the pathfinder area rug is swiftly ripped from its place on the floor and heard some odd scuffling with a sigh of relief from one of the guys. Just another day at the precipice of death I suppose.