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Lost Days - Chapter One
The cold water hit his face like a wall of ice, jolting the man from unconsciousness back into the unforgiving light of reality in an instant. He coughed and sputtered, hacking and sniffling to try and clear his mouth and nose of the liquid. Instinctively, he tried to move his hands up to wipe the remaining moisture away...

... only to find that his arms were bound.

"Good, I only need to fill the bucket once." In front of the bound man a half-elf placed a stool on the floor, taking a seat in it just after. "You can lock the door now."

Behind him a man in worn leather armor and clothing closed the door, sliding the bolt into place and turning his gaze back to the half-elf. Taking the sound of the sliding bolt as confirmation, Dornan turned his attention back to his prisoner. "Tell me your name."

A surge of emotions crossed the face of the prisoner, surprise and confusion giving way to rage, vindication, and searing hate. Saying nothing, the prisoner shook his head.

"You understand Common. That isn't a defense you can try here. I know you understand the words I'm saying to you now just as much as you do." Mitch leaned forward, letting his hands come to rest on his knees. In front of him the prisoner was trying without success to force his wrists to budge. All the while he stared angrily back at Mitch, shaking his head with admirable fervor.

"They're not coming."

These words caused the prisoner's motions to stop, almost on a dime. For a brief second naked shock showed on his face, swallowed up by the anger again just as quickly. The half-elf leaned back, considering the man in silence. He didn't talk, he didn't move, he didn't so much as blink for nearly a minute... and would have continued to do so if the prisoner hadn't tried to spit a wad of mucus and saliva at him.

"The men and women you associated with, the ones you are now expecting to come and rescue you from this imprisonment are all dead." There was no emotion present on the half-elf's face and his tone remained level, almost soft for the moment. If he felt anything for this supposed loss of life, it didn't show.

"I have watched them as I watched you. I learned their habits, comings and goings, what have you. And when I knew enough of both their routines and their roles in your plans I overtook and disposed of each and every one of them." The half-elf's eyes were a cold and dispassionate gray as the words were spoken, looking so fixedly at the prisoner that they almost seemed to bore through him.

"I know how you enlisted them, how you threatened their lives and the lives of their loved ones, their families." Without ceremony Mitch crossed his right leg over the left, letting his hands come to rest atop the knee. "You used fear to gain their cooperation, making them believe that should they disobey or refuse that you would appear at the doorsteps of their loved ones in the night like some fairy tale creature made up to scare children. They believed that you would hurt, even kill their loved ones to ensure cooperation. They believed it, as do I." His eyes refocused, marking something on the man's neck before continuing. "As do you."

Another wad of spit flew from the prisoner's lips towards the half-elf, though this time he did nothing to dodge it. The snot-slick substance hit him squarely on the right cheek.

Mitch didn't react, didn't so much as flinch. He acted as if the event had never happened, continuing to consider the prisoner without passion in his features.

"I do not doubt for one moment that you would have killed everyone they held dear to achieve your goals. What I doubt, and rightly so, is your ability to do so." Almost in response to this the prisoner strained against the bonds, the muscles in his forearms sweating with the effort as his fingers tensed and pointed towards the half-elf like accusatory knives.

"That isn't the ability I'm talking about, though in your current state it is true that you cannot kill so much as a housefly, let alone me." Mitch half-turned to one side, pulling a worn and leather-bound book from the satchel that rested against the stool. The prisoner quieted instantly, watching the half-elf with eyes that now understood a piece of the larger picture.

Resting the spell book gently on his lap, Mitch turned his eyes back towards the prisoner before continuing. "You do not have the resources, is the point I am trying to illustrate." His eyes turned downward as he opened the book, thumbing idly through it while speaking.

"You knew one or two of their relations by circumstance, enough to threaten them with. However, you lack the connections or coin to learn the extent of their living families, their in-laws and associates." Apparently satisfied with his perusal, Mitch closed the book quietly and looked up once again. "That isn't a question. You know the truth of it just as plainly as I do."

"I however, have both of those items." A slight tilt of his head punctuated the statement, the half-elf apparently content to let it hang in the empty air between them for a moment.

The prisoner cleared his throat angrily, sounding like a Goblin trying to swallow a mouthful of rocks in the process. "Bfddwmuz."* The single word was spat just as angrily as the dripping substance on the half-elf's face, and accompanied by a newly defiant glance back from the prisoner.

He had rallied, believing that his captor was merely trying to use his own trick against him. Mitch considered him without comment, letting the man stare back at him in silence for almost two minutes.

"I believe the word you are fumbling for-" The half-elf leaned forward, speaking gently as the prisoner's face was now mere inches from his own. "-is palwzyr."**

He paled.

"You believe that if you stall me long enough someone will come for you. You believe that others will come to save you, that your black and terrible god will send emissaries to retrieve you." Mitch kept his tone level, conversational. "You are going to tell me everything I want to know. You won't remain silent. You won't be rescued."

"And why is that, filth?" The jump from Abyssal to Common was sudden, but not so much so that it took Mitch unaware.

"Because I have the two assets you lack." He sounded almost bored as he spoke to the prisoner, folding his hands together atop the weathered book in his lap. "I have and have used my contacts to learn the locations and identities of the people close to you, and I have used considerable coin to have those individuals taken into custody."

The prisoner stared daggers back at him, clenching his teeth in anger.

"You are here acting on orders from someone, someone willing to let you threaten bystanders and innocent families for the sake of earning cooperation. Perhaps someone who is willing to do these types of things themselves to get what they want. In this sense they are practical, but very much still monsters."

His hands opened in a self-indicating gesture. "Just as I myself am a monster, by the same definition. You can start talking to me now and they will leave my custody in safety. I'll even put a little coin in their pockets in exchange for their time." The half-elf's eyes fixed him to the spot, reflecting the icy determination behind them.

"Or I'll leave this room, and start working on them. I'll interrogate them, torture them, break their bodies and minds until they tell me anything I want to know. Your mother, your father, your wife and child. Every living relative you have is in that room. To find out what you refuse to tell me?"

Mitch paused, letting the words hang in the air between them for a moment.

"I will kill every last one of them. Then, I will come back in this room and you are still going to tell me what I want to know. The only difference is you will do so knowing that your actions cost the lives of your entire bloodline. And after I've gotten as much out of you as I can, you'll die as well." The half-elf leaned forward once again, gently lifting the prisoner's head with one hand on a sweat-soaked cheek. He was mere inches away, looking at the man with the eyes of someone truly committed and ready for the horrors to come.

"I am prepared to erase you from this world, or any other. Any relation or trace of who you were will be gone. And your benefactor will not care. It will not come for you." His hand receded as the half-elf leaned back on the stool.

The prisoner continued to stare madly, making it clear that his bonds were the only thing stopping him from flying into a blind rage and laying waste to the room. For his own part, Mitch merely sat silently, considering him under a weighted gaze.

A number of minutes passed, with the idle shuffling of the doorman serving as the only sounds in the room. By his own internal count, the man had taken nearly eleven minutes to break. Impressive, but not a record.

"Fine." His prisoner practically vomited the word out, apparently trying to choke back the brunt of his emotions behind it. "I will tell you, once my family is freed. If you let them go-"

"No." The reply was flat, not bothering to wait until the man was finished speaking to interject.

The prisoner looked back in shock, letting the anger and indignation bring some color back to his features. "No? No?! I will do what you want, didn't you hear me? Just free-"

"No. This is not a negotiation, and if it were you would have nothing to offer." Mitch folded his fingers together as his words cut the man short once again.

"'re fucking dead. Dead, do you hear?! I have power, power beyond anything you have seen before!" The prisoner was getting his hackles up, reenergized as the rage within him was stoked. "The old one has given me a gift. A gift! You will burn to ashes, you will scream in agony and beg me for death! The power I command is unl-"

The half-elf said nothing, instead letting his hands separate and hold a churning black flame within them. Upon seeing this the prisoner's words died in his throat, deprived of the breath they needed.

Mitch let the flame sputter and die after a quiet moment, then rejoined his hands together before speaking. "You know what it is that I just did. You're a smart man, after all. If you choose not to talk to me now I will use that power on your loved ones. You know that if I do that, you have no hope of ever seeing them again. You know that no healer will be able to restore them."

The half-elf seemed to scratch a fingernail against some unseen burr on the surface of the spell book, looking down as he continued to hide the smile that was creeping onto his face.

"You're a smart man, after all."

"You FUCK! You GODLESS FUCKING ANIMAL! You had better kill me! You had better kill me! If I get out of this chair I am going to-" The prisoner was rocking back and forth violently in the chair, trying to tip it, trying to knock it over, trying to do anything.

"I am not going to use that power on you."

"Fucking monster, fucking bullshit monster, fucking-" His momentum increased, almost getting three of the four legs off of the floor before it clattered back to stability.

"I have told you that I will not shy from torture, and I meant it." The half-elf's words remained calm, as if the prisoner wasn't about to tear free of his bonds and go berserk. "I have tools, chemicals, and more than one apparatus dedicated to that singular purpose."

Without warning the prisoner managed to get onto his feet, still hobbled by the bonds of the chair but able to move about by means of a ridiculous jumping motion. He hopped towards Mitch with murder in his eyes, and behind the half-elf the doorman could be heard reaching for steel.

Saying nothing, Mitch merely raised one foot and pressed it firmly against the seat of the chair between the prisoner's legs. The sudden jolt of force sent both the chair and the man bound to it directly to the floor. The prisoner's face hit the floorboards with a meaty thud and fell still.

Behind him, the doorman cleared his throat. After a moment of consideration, Mitch nodded and made an upward circular motion with his right hand. Wordlessly, the doorman came around and picked up both the prisoner and chair with relative ease. He set them back in the correct position and stepped away, returning to his post.

"Your benefactor is willing to torture, kidnap, and murder innocent people to accomplish their goals." The half-elf started talking before the prisoner could continue his tantrum. "I am willing to do all of those things and more in order to stop them."

Mitch continued to look keenly through the prisoner, watching as the last dregs of resistance were bled out of him. "I will start with your family, and I will not spare anyone on the basis of them being a woman or child. They will die because of your refusal to speak to me. And unlike you, I will not take steps to see that they are brought back. They will be erased, and their souls will be beyond the reach of any priest of any deity. They will cease to exist."

The prisoner was spent. He tried to put the same measure of anger behind his eyes, but it had been all but gutted. Mitch resumed, sensing that the moment had tipped heavily in his favor.

"You are not going to anger me into using that power on you. If I have to torture you, I will. If I kill you while doing so, I have a priest in one of these adjoining rooms on hand to bring you back. I will torture you, kill you, and bring you back. I will complete this cycle as many times as I need to. I will get the information I want out of you." The half-elf let his tone take on a softness that was wholly at odds with the words he was using.

"I have studied torture. I know the sciences of fear and duress. I have an unfortunate aptitude for it, and the end is always the same." If his eyes were icy before, they now teetered on the verge of being glacial. "Everyone talks. Every. One."

"Look at me." Despite their severity the words remained soft. The prisoner turned his eyes upward, meeting the half-elf's gaze.

"You are going to talk, just as everyone else has. You will not escape. You will not die until I allow it. Death will not save you from this conversation." Mitch let his head tilt ever so slightly to one side.

"It will not save you from me." He propped his elbows on the book, knotting his fingers together and waiting. To his great credit, the prisoner still held fast to his silence for nearly four whole minutes.

The stillness of the room was broken when the prisoner managed a weak nod, keeping his eyes downcast and saying nothing.

Mitch smiled inside, knowing that the battle was over.

"I will begin again." The tone snapped from the prior softness to the businesslike demeanor that the interrogation had started in. He leaned in, lifting the man's chin once again.

"Tell me... your name."

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Session 14 (03-10-2018) - Mistmi's Musings
I've got to keep this short. I need all the time I can to make modified ammo and figure out a few new designs. I'm tempted to let Roshim and Ori drive the wagon all the time, but I doubt either one of them really pay much attention to our surroundings while they chat it up. It's good that they get along, but that doesn't leave many others to get us where we need to go in one piece. Maybe Mitch or Orn would like to try. I'll ask them in the morning. I need more time to get these ideas out of my head and into my hands.

Züke decided to join us again as we headed out of Waterdeep. I am glad he's with us. I've missed him.

Amphail was not what I expected. More giant attacks. At this point I should expect it. At least we got a better payout for helping a city this time. We fought more like a team than I've ever seen. I hope this is a good sign and not just some fluke.

Crap. The moon is already past the treeline. Out of time and I still need sleep.

Next stop, Crypt Garden...
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Mar 10 2018 from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Traveling Journal - Waterdeep to... Dickless Horse Town?
There has got to be an easier way to bring giants down.

I say this, or rather write this and yet its still no clearer to me than when we fought our first pair of bumbling Hill Giants. If you do enough damage to them they will drop (Thankfully), but its hard to inflict that much damage and not get hit with fucking boulders and make sure anyone else gets killed in the process.

Well, anyone in this traveling group anyways. If people wanna step out of the woods and treat public roads like their own private toll path then you get what you get. If I hadn't turned them into charcoal someone would have eventually. I understand wanting to better your lot in life but pick your damn targets with a little care.

Or they could have been killed by giants, since they seem to be following us wherever we fucking go.

This town has the private estates or summer homes or fucking whatever of the cream of the Waterdeep crop, complete with Waterdeep guards... but they aren't ready to defend against giants?

Maybe I'm being overly harsh. Maybe seeing these men and women I travel with being brought to the brink of death and back again is starting to affect me. Leofire alone should have died five times over today, but didn't. Whether that means he's lucky or stubborn or both I don't know, but damn all if he doesn't have a set of stones on him.

They all do, even the women it seems. Roshim went toe to toe with giants and orcs to safeguard his friends or family or however Gnome socioeconomics works, Orn and Mistmi more than pulled their weight without getting cut to ribbons or smashed to paste in the process, Pearl...

[This section is covered in crossed out half-starts and fragments]

I don't know why I did what I did. No. No, I do know why. I can't describe it, but something in me knew that if I didn't go up and try to do something that thing was going to kill her. There wasn't time to get her away from it safely. This isn't some misguided chivalry or a gentleman's duty or any such nonsense. I don't know how I knew what I did, I just did. And I wasn't going to stand there and watch it happen. Who does that leave...

Oh yeah, the Dwarf left. Not sure why. But Zuke tagged along with his cohorts in exchange, so numbers evened out.

Zuke did...something? I don't know. It seems like his time away allowed him to get an owl or something, and gave him a couple spells to throw around to try and control the battlefield. I know my playbook is a lot more limited than his, but it just doesn't make sense to try and control beings that are chaotic in nature and it just doesn't work. These are beings of violence and brutality and all they seem to respond to is violence and brutality right back. That's something you learn by fighting them, not out of some dusty old book in a library.

But on that subject, we need to know more about these things. I'm going to talk to him and see if he brought any books on giantkind with him from Waterdeep (Since that's what he was there for to begin with) and if so we're going to need to divvy up labor. Having just one person who knows about these things is dangerous, suicidal even. I'll talk to Mistmi since she's basically the boss of this merry band and see about distributing the reading. It can be done while the wagon is traveling, and we have enough people that everyone can focus on one species of giant without overlapping.

Considering we're going to talk to a dragon about giants, knowing our bookwork couldn't hurt.

Here's hoping we don't need to bring that thing down too.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Mar 10 2018 from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Care Journal 1: Week 2
It occurs to me that I should record something along these lines, lest the other members of the party accuse me of animal cruelty.

Sadie McCluckins - Overview
Breed: Can't be 100% sure, but she appears to be a Sussex
Age: Undetermined, judging by egg laying intervals I'd guess 4-5 years

Health: Sadie seems in good enough health. Her feet don't show any signs of bumble, her eggs don't seem brittle or filmy and she has yet to have any binding.

Diet: Mostly grains and oatmeal. I give her corn when I can, and any time we stop (and aren't being attacked) I take her outside to stretch her legs and peck around. She's getting fond of my ration biscuits, and its gotten so bad that as soon as I open one I can feel her little eyes watching me.

I'll need to pick up some cracked feed next time we're in town, and see if I can track down any shells I can break up for her.

Social: I'm not making any attempt to stop her from wandering about the inside of the wagon when it's in motion, and so far she's approached everyone at least once or twice. The only one who has brought up her potential as a food source is Orn, but it seems like he knows better. As long as I offer her eggs to the party for breakfast and the like I'm fairly confident she's safe.

I've fashioned a couple of fake eggs for her to brood on and keep her happy. It's always made me sad to take the first egg a chicken lays, and they don't make it any easier the way they look at you when you do it.

Sadie's mildly affectionate, and so far hasn't fought me scratching her neck and upper back. Most of the time she appears content to just sit in her box and watch the people mill about inside the wagon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we pass a farm or find another chicken in a dead giant's bag, because I want her to have at least one friend that is also a chicken. I suppose I could ask the Druid to help, but going up to someone I barely know and asking them to turn into a chicken so my chicken isn't lonely just feels... weird.

[End of Care Journal 1]
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Tags: Chicken
Session 13 (02-17-2018) - Mistmi's Musings
The more I travel this world, the more treacherous it seems to be getting. Little jobs here and there that should be simple, never are anymore. Delivering a message to Oren's sister Lily in Daggerford turned into a pre-engagement with a stone giant. Only to arrive at Daggerford to see the walls in states of repair due to what I assume were probably hill giants. Upon delivering what should have been a simple letter to this Lily, we get asked to help them out of a sticky situation with the Zhentarim. Seriously, there was no way to help them but to get them to see they needed to be the ones to bow out.

Politics is definitely not my forte (thank the stars for Mitch right now...I cannot believe I'm thinking this), but it's a game I'm being forced into playing more and more as we travel. I fear I'll never be great at it, but I do think my diplomacy has improved a bit (with the guidance of Mitch's pamphlet).

I must say that we did end out coming out on top of this fiasco for once. While I'm sure the Fortified Tower in Orlbar that overlooks the Delimbry River is full of monsters and other unpleasant inhabitants, it's ours. The Doom Fish hold the deed to a tower where resources are ample. It could be to our future benefit...if we ever get our shit together enough to settle down after helping to address this dragon (and apparently now giant) issue.

Züke was more himself upon our return to Waterdeep, moreso than I've seen since his short brush with death. I think he may even want to come with us now. He almost seemed bored last time I dropped by. If he does come, it might be a good thing. Roshim has been acting more and more chaotic and less predictable with every adventure. It's like he channeled the worst parts of Mitch and is now embracing those qualities on top of his normal curiosity, all in the name of his goddess. Hell, Mitch is almost normal by comparison right now. Roshim means well, though. Maybe this is just part of his growth in his closeness with his goddess. I don't know. But I could definitely use another set of eyes on him.

Mitch has his ring back, and he appears to be calmer around us. I hope this side of Mitch is not the farce, I almost like this side of him. Perhaps he'll let me in on what's bothering him so much one day. I'm not sure what I could do to help, but he's done quite a lot for our rag-tag group lately, so I have this nagging urge to help him in return. I must be going soft!

Ah, well. A few more side jobs are ahead of us. I should see to the new horses and the wagon before we go. More time for musing another night.
Session: Game Session - Saturday, Feb 17 2018 from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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