A week ago off the coast of the Northron Kingdoms, pirates took your ship, The Agatha. You now find yourselves chained in the hold of their vessel, The Bloodstained Bitched, presumably waiting to be sold into slavery. You have no idea where you are bound for and have only been given water and moldy bread to eat. The cramped hold offers only four feet of space between decks, and you are shackled to ring bolts in the floor by your wrists and ankles. Perhaps to torment you, the keys to your chains hangs hang just out of reach on a peg beside the stairs leading to the upper deck. The crew, a mixed lot of humans, orcs, hobgoblins and bugbears, obeys the command of Red Olin, a lean vicious red bearded fellow clad in scarlet robes. You do not see much of him.

Suddenly one night, a terrible storm arises. The timbers groan and crack as towering waves buffet the ship. You can hear screams above as the raging sea washes pirates overboard. A thunderous crack resounds as the mainmast splinters. Then a horrible impact shakes you as the ship collides with something. Screams, the sound of splintering timber, salt water filling the hold submerging you. All goes black.

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The bottom
Mirilda stared over the edge into the rift searching for the bottom, but there appeared to be none. She was mesmerized.

"How can there be no bottom? There had to be a bottom." She became fixated on the thought. "It could not go on forever."

Mirilda had uncontrollable urge to find the bottom of the rift. But it was so huge, it would take forever to climb down using the stairs and edges. Maybe she could scale the walls. No, that would take too long too. She would just have to jump, that would be the quickest way.

She walked to the edge as if something was calling her there. She just simply jumped off. She was falling. What a sensation! It felt amazing. Then suddenly she stopped. The jerk from the sudden change in inertia was like a slap to the face, like that you would give to calm a hysterical person.

She was just floating there now. What the hell had she just done? Had she lost her mind? Why did she jump? But yet, the urge to find the bottom still tugged at her.

Thanks to Boudica, She made it back safely to the edge and the Unchained continued with their journey. However, for the remainder of their trip, Mirilda had to fight off the urge to jump over the edge again as "you need to find the bottom," continually repeated in her mind.
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Yes, but how evil is she really?
The measure of a creature. I consider the notion of measurement as I quietly survey my companions. The word, the idea suggests some corporeal, definite element, but this is a paltry understanding. Before coming to the Abyss, I might have, in my ignorance, attempted to classify my friends: Boudica, the courageous, impetuous, lusty one! Meena, the loyal and lonely. Leon, mischievous and gutsy. Mirilda, strong and guarded. Blaze, pious and unyielding. Myself, a regretful coward. Now, in this place where nothing is as reason would demand, I am forced into an awareness that none of us is what we thought ourselves or each other to be. The fact that we have let Meena and Boudica live, at least among us, is a testament to this. We all know that they have succumbed to this place, to some degree, and if they were strangers, we would certainly not be breaking bread and sleeping quartered with them. And yet here we are. They are not what they were when we arrived here, and obviously neither are we, or we likely would have killed them.

If they are... evil, and we simply leave them to it, are we not then flirting with evil ourselves? I mean, we’re supposed to be good, yes? Heroes and rescuers and all that business. How can we now abide such? Or have we perhaps been wrong all along with our childlike understanding of notions as slippery as good and evil? Who are we to decide who is too evil to live and not evil enough to kill? We’ve been led to believe that evil is evil, and we’ve killed plenty, based on that simple belief. Perhaps we have not been as just as previously thought.

Was I wrong before, and now I’m awakening to reality, or am I too, now simply compromising? Slowly losing myself to someone I would have called enemy not long ago? I want to do that which is right, that which aligns with nature, but I have no bearing here.
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staring into the Rift
We were crossing a staircase bridging a chasm when the fiendish minotaur appeared. We were not precisely caught off guard--we were in the Rift, after all, and we were expecting to be attacked by all manner of infernal beasts--but the minotaur's intrusion was most certainly unwelcome. We steeled ourselves for a fight as the monster appeared to charge us, but stopped just short of bowling us all over, opting instead to strike at me, for I was defending our rear flank. Its claws connected, but though the battle would be dire it appeared to be typical, with our only concern being the beast's massive claws and hideously grinning maw. I'll see your smile, I remember thinking, and raise you mine! I grinned. In my mind I had already gleefully trounced the beast, and I was imagining us making our way to the next stage of our apparently endless trek in search of the Mercane merchant. I moved to the beast's side so that I was on a level with it and in a position to flank it... and suddenly I was flying out towards the abyss lying just beyond the edge of the bridge.

My reflexes saved my life; as the edge of the bridge flew past me I grasped for it and managed to catch a tiny crack in the almost-sheer face. It took my mind a few beats to process what had just happened, but the battle continued as the minotaur (perhaps lacking a sense of object permanence?) ignored me to turn on the rest of the party. After a moment of stunned silence (and really, I don’t know why we were all so shocked; we’re in hell) the rest of the party flew into action and Mirilda, Boudica, and Blaze speedily dispatched the monster. As I dragged myself sideways inch by white-knuckled inch, the events of the battle replayed almost dreamily in my head. The reality of how close I’d come to death—or oblivion, or something—only truly sank in once I’d scrambled up the side of the bridge and was sitting securely on the stone steps.

I don’t know what lies at the bottom of the Rift (if there even is a bottom); according to Count Orazzio, no one does. Looking down at that empty expanse, I was bothered by the persistent thought that there is no floor to that chasm, and I would have fallen forever if I had not chanced upon the crack in the edge of the staircase.

Somewhat against my own volition, I considered this fate. As everyone knows, the fall itself is not the fatal part of falling, and having endless time to ponder might be somewhat pleasant for a little while, but I feel certain I would quickly lose my mind in endless solitude with nothing to do. And then, of course, you never would know if you were going to hit the ground.

As my comrades gathered around me, I was sincerely struck by their concern. Earlier today Blaze had actually shielded me physically with his own body, and just now Mirilda had called out in consternation and encouragement as I dangled over the edge. And I’ve heard nothing from my patron lord.

I do not resent Dagon or his other servant, the giant watery spider that accosted us on the River Styx, for their pressing me into the service of that demonic lord. However, at the same time I recognize intricacies in my own nature that will perhaps allow me to both serve my dark lord and honor my duty to my companions. I am sure they know by now that lean toward a darker nature, and as I sit her in the keep lately of the Jarl of the frost giants, I am certain Blaze has discussed my nature with Commander Alwyn, the leader of the contingent of White Cloaks of Pelor that are our unexpected hosts. Alwyn did after all give me a curious look, but since he’s come back from his private meeting with Blaze he’s not said or done anything against me.

Maybe I can honor my lord Dagon and be loyal to my companions at the same time. For I feel compelled to act honorably towards the rest of the party, and even grateful to do it. Maybe I can be who I now am and still keep parts of who I was.
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Soliloquy with a Succubus
When Boudica saw the fire blazing in the keep, she first wondered why the soldiers of Pelor had chosen to situate their fire on the open floor of the great room and not in a hearth, but then she realized that frost giants had no need of hearths. In fact, they dreaded the very thought of fire. She wondered too how the soldiers had found firewood here in the Iron Wastes, and why the hall was not choked with smoke, for she could make out no chimney hole in the ceiling. Only then did she realize that it was magical fire, a glimmer of Pelor’s own light that the clerics had guided through a fissure in the very fabric of this cold, accursed place.

Boudica stood by the fire, slipped the fur cloak from her shoulders. There was no fuel at all, simply curled fingers of flame burning weightlessly above the stone floor. Unlike the heavy, dirty heat of natural fires, this flame seemed lighter than the air itself, and its warmth was softer than anything she had ever felt. She could feel her body beginning to relax, and a shiver of delicious warmth rippled up her spine.

The light of the fire was also unusual, illuminating the room in such a bright, shadowless way that Boudica’s own magical light, which was much brighter than the smoky light of natural flame, seemed dim by comparison to this divine blaze. She closed her eyes, opened her arms to embrace the warmth and the light as a sudden joy whelmed up from within her. But there was also pain. A rising shriek of torment and rage, like a wounded animal lashing out with its teeth and claws at anything within reach. She wondered for a moment how this was, then realized it was not her.

It was Thelyra.

You told me that you would only stay with me for a time, Boudica thought to Thelyra, that you would protect me and give me power while I was here in the Abyss, and I was so drunk with excitement that I believed you wanted nothing more than to be a voyeur to my experience here. But I have felt you inside of me and I know your true intentions now. I felt your glee when I ensorcelled Rashida to fight the undead crawling from the River Styx, your ecstasy when I teleported her beneath the giant. Your writhing orgasms those nights we were together were nothing beside the pleasure you felt at my corruption. You always meant to seduce me into evil, to turn me into another shadow haunting this broken, meaningless place, for no other reason than to revel in your own power.

You almost succeeded, Boudica thought to Thelyra. I had nearly stepped off the precipice, but my companions pulled me back, and I am further from it now than I was that night we first coupled. You know this, for I can feel your rage, your frustration.

Know this too, Thelyra. I will not just exorcise you. I will destroy you. This I promise.

Unlike you, I keep my promises.
Session: Game Session 30 - Sunday, Nov 26 2017 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
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Brothers Found
Commander Olwyn nervously stroked his white beard. He had led Blaze to the chapel deep within the Jarl’s captured keep to speak alone. Although they had just met, the Commander couldn’t hide the creases of concern on his weathered face. “Two of your traveling companions have the evil within them. And a lycanthrope to boot! As a Son of Pelor, how can you tolerate this?” he asked cautiously. Blaze felt a pang of illness in his stomach. All he could think of was to tell the truth. “But there is good in them as well. I believe the evil is temporary, a tool, if you will, to use while we travel through the Abyss. Fear not Commander, I will not let them play host to evil forever,” Blaze said trying to placate the Commander. For he had seen a trace of the Light in both Boudica and Meena just a few short hours ago…

It almost came as no surprise when he saw it. Their path had been a labyrinth of ledges, bridges and staircases with darkness always below. What Blaze couldn’t believe was the size of the minotaur, its hooves thundering down the flight of steps at the party, with shoulders as wide as the staircase and horns the size of elephant tusks. The steps dangled over the black endless maw that is the Rift. This is not going to go well. Meena, at the back of the line, turns steadfast to meet the charging horror head-on. The beast barrels into the formation. Meena is hurled over the edge to certain death. Having watched Mirilda jump to her doom earlier had brought a tug of despondency about Blaze that made him consider joining her. But Boudica had saved the day with a levitate spell. Would she be able to do so again?

Blaze plants his feet and braces himself, not for impact with the beast, but for the burst of light that erupts from his Shield of the Dawn. The radiance is a cannonade completely annihilating the bull-headed monster, its carcass plunging into the oblivion below. “Even here, evil cannot hide from Pelor’s light!” Blaze shrills from the top of his lungs.

And what of Meena? He looked over the edge into the gloom expecting to see nothing but the void. Hope surged in his chest as he saw her fingers gripping the crumbling stone tread. Blaze’s taught biceps swelled as he lifted her to safety. “Praise the Sun, you are alright.”

The Commander nods slowly, seeming to understand, stuck in the Abyss, far from home, you use the resources you have. And although the Commander had 3,000 Sons of Pelor at his disposal, another weapon stood before him. “Aye, I need your help. The giants are returning, the battle is at hand. Would your outfit help defend the Keep and your Brothers?” With faithful resolution Blaze set his chiseled jaw and uttered, “You have my word Commander, we will not yield.”
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