The Journal of Markus Thatcher

Campaign: Tues Night Gaming

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Prayer to Gorum
**The light in his rented room is dim as Markus falls into a well practiced routine of cleaning his armor and weapon. His many scars stand out against the flickering candles as he meticulously maintains his gear, a careful zealotry in every movement, no matter how small. He finds himself chanting a haphazard prayer as he works**

Lord of Iron, your servant calls your name
Thirsting for battle, in accordance with Thine will
War comes for this land - I implore you spur the strong to battle;
I implore you chase the craven, weak, and cowardly to their holes,
That I might spill the blood of heroes in Thine holy name.

Lord of Iron, I request your blessing for the sorceror Neith
He is ignorant of your will, but hungry for scorched flesh.
When war comes for this land, I implore you grant him clarity;
I implore you grant him his own will, that he might wage his 2 wars,
That he might shed blood with me, as a brother in war.

Lord of Iron, I request your blessing for the warrior Faelyn
He is ignorant of your will, but eager to spill blood for kin and faith.
When war comes for this land, I implore you grant him wisdom,
Aye, the chance to pass the wisdom on, reforging a warrior caste -
That he, a sire of warriors, might shed blood with me, as a brother in war.

Lord of Iron, I request your blessing for the druidic mage Risabet
She is ignorant of your will, yet will fight to protect kin and faith.
When war comes for this land, I implore you grant her clear sight;
That she know the enemy before her, strikes to kill that foe,
And most important, retains the loyalty of friends she holds so dear.

Lord of Iron, I request your blessing for our cause
We who court and deal death, ask You watch over us
While your paradise calls, I implore you keep it far away
I pray you grant us steel in our duty, that we return home in time -
To kill for whatever "home" may mean.

**Markus sheathes his black blade, bundles his armor, and walks from his room**
Session: Game Session 28th - Tuesday, Aug 28 2018 from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM
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Epic × 2!
Fleeting Thoughts While Casting Vote...
Markus' fist clenches around the stone handed to him by Risabet...

What kind of decision is this? It will be in our power to destroy this grotesque magical Dreamstone, that it might never be used in this cowardly fashion again...yet, at the risk of utter oblivion, as the dimension within the stone could well erase us completely. We could take the safe route and merely hide the stone, but of course at the risk of its future abuse. What kind of decision is this? Risking death with no glorious battle, or risking leaving a job half done. And yet....

His fist clenches the stone further, knuckles bone white...

I remember Sargent Georg back in the war - so well liked by us all - had a position on this type of situation. Admittedly, his position was simple enough that I must admit I am ashamed I did not default to it, considering the dogmatic way he repeated it.

Markus whispers under his breath.
"Evil laughs in the dark;
For those not willing to answer
With steel and resolve...
Shall be cursed with no peace
Shall be cursed with no rest...
Their torment shall never end."

The answer was simple. This was their battle - their chosen duty. It had to be done correctly and more importantly, completely. No oblivion can take victory from them, once they had finally achieved it, of course.

Besides...Many would bleed out, punctured by finely fletched Elven arrows fired by our crackshot ranger. Many would taste the pure wrath of nature so scorned, channeled forth by Risabet. Many would burn in infernal conflagration, brought from the pit itself by its unwilling client. And arguably most importantly, I fell many will fall to pieces by my bladed Thirst. May we Fight and Die well.

Markus hands in his stone, casting his vote.
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Tags: cult , Deity , Desna , dreams , evil , spider , thoughts , vote
The End of All hope?
Several times now, we have engaged the enemy on their terms - smugglers in their hideouts, sea devils in their purloined and watery fortress, cultists in their god forsaken den...this time, I part of me fears different results.

We attempt to find a sacred tome, allowing us to traverse the dream realm and combat the old leader of the spider cult - He Who gives Nightmares. I crave war, but also glory; who will know of our death worlds away? Will Gorum find pleasure in my death with such a duplicitous opponent? I know not for serves me not in this endeavor besides the obvious comfort of battle force. Might Neith have some insight into fighting horrific enemies within dreams? Might Risa have insight into fighting the unnatural evils of the world? I know not either way.

The battle slides along the edge of the blade - defeat upon a foreign plane bodes me ill, but it is one we MUST complete, else we spend the rest of our lives in nightmares.
Session: Game Session July 12th - Tuesday, Jul 12 2016 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: cult , Deity , Desna , dreams , evil , spider , tome
Final Assault on the Spider Cult
After our victory feast thrown by the king, we made the decision to speak long and loud about how we would further serve the king. I must admit I have no skill in this pitiful courtier business…but I suppose it will earn us riches, glory and potentially more. We were chosen to undertake a quest given by the Magistrate Druwen; truly a blunt and demanding sort of man. Neith, Risabet and the others did not say as much, but I imagine they held the same dislike for this bureaucrat that I did. We were tasked with discovering details behind the death of….some son of a noble that part took of a lot of drugs, including linking his death to said drugs. The resulting intrigue is…interesting I guess (???) but certainly not what I want to speak of in this entry.

We found out straight away that the drug this noble was taking, shiver, was intimately linked to a freakish cult that worshipped some kind of spider god. Through a series of shill drug purchases (some moderately more successful than others), we managed to find the base of this spider cult – snuck into a derelict temple accessed through a hollow wall in the city. We snuck in through a combination of disgusting insect repellant (note, Faelyn has something nasty coming), my trusty adamantine lock pick and more than a little bit of enchanted persuasion. We struck the cult and struck it hard, killed 5 members and 2 spider-like proto humans right away casting trifling illusion magic. The grotesque beasts we dared fight against defied explanation – a DIFFERENT spider like human using snares and traps, alchemists wearing masks to protect them while they handled and perfected the vile drug, a newborn infant insect (and its mother) that were birthed from the still living bodies of humans….those were particularly horrific. What a way to die. Various other enemies threw themselves at us, only to be destroyed utterly…except one. From a little bit more magical coercion, we found out about the enemy below, and more importantly, their intent.
As I mentioned previously, their base was in an old derelict temple, but it was one once dedicated (ironically) to the god of freedoms and dreams, Desna. It seems they had found an artifact they intended to use to somehow bring their god to our world. When quizzed more on this, the cultist we captured answered simply that they were not bringing their god to this world, as he was already here. We feared a tough fight ahead – after all, the last time I fought a nascent god, it did not work out so well. In searching this base, we all withstood a trial of the mind – a nightmare from the spider god. Me? Disgraced by Gorum, and murdered by him as well. I rapidly pushed trepidation from my mind, and blessed our party and myself with holy magics as we descended below. While still shaking from the fearful vision, the knowledge that my Lord in Iron still gifted me with his magic granted me comfort.

The basement area seemed to be dedicated to a separate god, Gozreh. I know little about what this might mean, but felt it important to mention. We attempted to fool the cult members we knew to be inside…against my advice might I add…but predictably we were unable to do so with any effectiveness. Inside this chamber was a wide, circular temple with stone pews arranged on either side of a main thoroughfare – on the far side of the room was a woman who appeared to be the leader. On the ceiling of the chamber there hung a massive stone chunk; it contained the fossil of a spider, presumably the false spider god. Around the fossil hung various web wrapped, strung up bodies. The moment we realized our ruse was a bust, we kicked in the doors. I quickly cast a magic weapon to follow the one I deemed to be the leader, while Tolindra let loose a screaming pea sized purple ball that exploded into fiery wrath, decimating those within. I must say, she actually gave Neith a run for his money in terms of raw fire power…but make no mistake: he was still QUITE capable of evoking destruction. Our cult leader foe retaliated with an insidious black flame. This, strangely enough, did little damage to me, but significant damage to everyone else. Ironically enough, because of a protective spell I cast on Risabet, I suffered half her pain for her, nearly going unconscious. As Neith fell to his knees, Tolindra and I infused the very air with healing might, snatching most from death’s jaws. It was Faelyn, in a spectacular display of martial talent, who sprung from one of the stone pews, sending a single arrow spiraling in a majestic ark through the chest of the cult leader, but ONLY after ghosting its way past a dozen lesser priority targets – I’ve never seen a shot quite like it, though with Faelyn, I doubt it will be long before I see it again. Risabet herself stabbed left and right with her holy spear and I swung my blade through their ranks, both spreading devastating damage to the remaining cultists. The last cultist fell as the fossil dropped onto it; we congratulated ourselves, dipped into the spoils and attempted to free the prisoners that still lived…until the spider’s leg moved.

I had summoned a dire bat moments before to help free the hanging prisoners we suspected to still be alive, which proved to our immediate advantage. I rapidly moved the bat around the spider god (which suffered grievous injury in the process), to flank the monster and keep pressure up. The creature’s stony hide proved resistant to many attacks, but faltered to the might of my thirsting greatsword. Fueled by the holy fury of Gorum, I struck the beast across what (I thought?) ought to have been its belly, letting loose a shower of pebbles. The spider shifted in angry retaliation, the roof cracking and shifting – letting in water. Risabet surmised quickly that we were UNDERNEATH the river to Niole Dra. Time was now short. Even with the stunning blow from my sword, this creature was proving especially resilient – Risa’s lance and Faelyn’s arrows struck the beast soundly, but to no overly noticeable effect. With the beast directly above, and the nightmare of Gorum’s disgrace still fresh in mind, I reached deep and struck again while still beneath it despite the danger of the beast falling, fitting my sword into where its brain might have been…if it weren’t a rock of course. The monster made what I (and we) hoped was its death throes, further crumbling the ceiling and letting in more water, which now came in gushing torrents. Risabet committed herself to saving the two hanging bodies while we made ready to flee. I suppose that Risa’s nightmare had SOMETHING to do with her recent casualty – I pity that she could not disconnect from a life lost, but simultaneously applaud her courage in the face of a watery grave. To help her, I committed the dire bat to help gnaw the bodies to the ground, and they finished just in time too; Risa almost did not make it back to the elevator…though in hindsight, with Faelyn watching her, I doubt there was any true danger….though I am scarce one to rely on chance, and thus cut a hole in the top of the elevator for us to swim out if need be. In hindsight, it was good that we moved when we did…that pain sharing spell was still active after all.

Our party returned to the surface, vying to kick out the barricaded front door of the temple instead of using the secret entrance. We sent Tolindra with our many wounded and sick to the temple of Sarenrae for healing, and left our solitary prisoner with the local guards as a nice morning wake-up gift for Magister Druwen. We retired for a night of recovery, a tempered feast, boasting, dividing of loot and other such magnificent past times. Sleep proved difficult for me though, due to protective magic wearing off and allowing a few doses of shiver to hit me at once. I STILL wonder who had the sense to hide my weapons and armor from me in my delirium, and further wonder who was smart enough to tie my blankets to the bed frame. Message received – stick to the drink.

Though much less exciting than the actual battle, winning glory has an excitement value all its own – we were promised a bonus if we destroyed the cult and we just so happened to have found a complete ledger of their members. It is a good thing I’ve had so much exercise, otherwise I might pull my back from the weight of my purse. Next up? Now we hunt for Neith’s answers…or mine.

Session: Game Session May 31st - Tuesday, May 31 2016 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Level 2 Dungeons Crawl
Having stopped a fleeing Sahuagin that would have raised an alarm, we stood at the entrance to the watery abyss. I knew my sword would be near useless here - thirst for blood was near impossible to quench underwater. In its stead, I am using a spear. Feels flimsy and insubstantial compared to my blade, but I shall make due.

Entering the water, I must make due, it was VERY disconcerting to watch one's companion transmutate into a gigantic aquatic creature. We promptly found what we believe to be a vacant officer's quarters, we inspected it, but promptly left. Risabet's transformation has shown itself to be a boon; she quickly and quietly scoped out another room - potentially a barracks or dinning hall.

Proceeding the other way, we came across an OCCUPIED officer's chamber. We attempted to strike in turn - Sslather delivers a touch with his trident, and I managed to gore the Devil. Risabet continued to surprise, using a magical artifact we found in a treasure room above, took pretty well all the fight out of the cursed thing.

We continued on, attempting to be stealthy despite the ringle tingle of my new armor. Eventually, we came to a room filled with four of the Devils. Sslathar and I took several out of the fight almost instantly - these beasts are so stupid they do not even know to be dead when they're poked full of holes. One attempted to flee; instead he found Risa's spear, which obliterated the pitiful creature. The last of the beasts took a massive beating from nearly the entire host, finally being brought down by me. A strike to the base of its head made so fiercely that it squelched down well into its body.

We've been lucky so far - it only takes one to sound the alarm, and from what we've seen, there are a LOT of Sahuagin in this compound...who knows how long that shall last.
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