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Journal Entry #56
Dear Journal,

I find myself remaining in good company, and continuing to find myself wrapped up in the most perilous adventures that I could have ever imagined when I set out to find the beast who stole away my cousin...

I know I mentioned our earlier encounters with the Zombies, poor Sir Bran's misfortunes, our surreal and terrifying adventure through the very soul of our companion, Kaldis, and the Ice monster who slaughtered the unfortunates from that caravan cart. And now we find ourselves sidetracked yet again as we move along on our journey to find assistance and shards of the shield that may be the key to ending much of this madness.

I am writing this as I have just been relieved of my watch after a tough fight for my fellows with Vampire Spawn. I know my experience with the undead is limited, and I was not much assistance with the zombies from our earlier travels... So I holed up in the attic of this very cottage, and did my best to help by piercing the fiends with my arrows, anointed with blessed oil, while the rest of my party fought them head-on. We managed to best this round of foes, but I fear the worst is yet to come, as there was a shadowy rider who escaped into the night.

Tomorrow we journey to the Castle of this Count who apparently lures the townsfolk out to their doom because of a thwarted marriage proposal to an unfortunate girl who now lies dead because of his unabating attention and obsession... Anyone who robs a family and a town of their beloved young ones deserves to die, and I will not allow his actions to go unpunished, even as I continue on this ultimately greater quest, and my own hopes of finding the orc who stole Daerulam to exact my own heart's revenge.

The nights in this Northerly land are cold, and I miss Benteriel all the more for it. I remember running through the snow-covered forests of Kyonin at home with him only to collapse together under a pile of warm blankets in front of the fireplace...

Those days seem so far away from where I am now. Though I know I am being helpful and assisting my friends in this great quest, I wonder sometimes if I would have been better off staying home with my family and my lov--my... Ben.

Oh, as we grow older the world grows more complex, and my emotions are mixed as I travel farther and farther from home... and the one person I am starting to realize my heart truly needs.

I anticipate much more trouble on the long road home, but I will come home to you, Dear Ben... And Desna-willing, she will keep me on trackk, and send me home with a living Daerulam as well. I pray the gods have kept him safe against the ever-increasingly impossible odds.

Yours, in Her Honor,
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Day 154 - I MET Someone!
Oh! It's true!
I was at the Two Moons Tavern with my friends, and all of the Bard Guild members were there, so we started to play some cheerful music for the crowd (and we sound so GOOD together). We played to the delight of all, it seemed. Randall the tavernkeep was tapping his toes, all the resting adventurers and new citizens alike were nodding along. It made for a delightful evening!

And then... someone new appeared at the door. A new arrival to Corinthium. Fresh off of the boat, and oh-so-handsome! His name is Yord, and we locked eyes almost at once. I became utterly tongue-tied. It was made worse when Human Jaime stepped in to try to relieve me of my flustered plight, and was mistaken by Yord for my boyfriend!

Once that was cleared up, I played with the girls for a while longer, to clear my mind, and my confidence returned. I joined Yord for a drink, and a walk... and he took me to the beach that he has been working on since he arrived. It will be a lovely place for the residents of Shamaryki to cool off in the summer, or fish, or what-have-you. Wonderful.

We talked and laughed and played underneath the summer stars... and he kissed me. Me! Just a baker's daughter, and a silly little gnome with a gift for the harp... and this half-Elven Adonis seems to dote upon ME! I am still all but speechless. It is why I count on you, dear journal, to keep my thoughts.

Could this be the man I've dreamed of all of my youth? I should not get ahead of myself. For now, it is a delightful flirtation... But the chemistry between us is undenyable. We shall see how this plays out, but for now, my heart is full of hope and possibility!

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Fate be damned! :Davi

That dirty, thieving, little traitor!! Never again will I be so willing to trust strangers again. I watched that dragonborn we picked up, the one calling himself a son of Buhamut, give the Hand of Vecna back to Nevitash; he had stolen it right out from under all our noses! I am not sure what concerns me more, the fact that we all missed it, or that he actually gave it back. I have to ask myself, now that he has disappeared, and the look Nevitash has in his eyes knowing the hand was that close to being lost to him, is why he crossed our paths? There are forces working against us that are too many in number to watch all the time, I must be more careful, if I am to bring honor to my GOD, myself, and those I have aligned with.

Camp was set up in haste, all of us feeling a little more tired then what the days trials had brought before us. I sit here sharing bread with Samel and watch Nevitash and Killwreck. Watching Nevitash "communicate" with Killwreck has always been something that has bothered me, mainly because I had voices that I could never have a "real" conversation with, but now, with the Hand of Vecna so close, the secrecy concerns me. I must find time to speak with Nevitash, to let him know how much trouble that hand can bring. *Sigh* There are those forces that I needed to watch for, just as I think of him, he seems to look over at Samel and I, not really seeing us, as he pulls his glaive and severs his own hand! Killwreck is quick to help him attach the cursed artifact before he slips into shock too far. Damn it all! What are we to do now? I spare a glance at Samel, and see the haunt and disgust in his eyes. Hurrying to avoid what might be a rash decision on his part I whisper to him, "Samel, we must watch him now. Very closely!" I am not satisfied with the response, or lack there of from him, I will have to watch him closely as well. I still don’t understand the fondness for Nevitash I still feel, it grows stronger, if buried deeper under the surface with every passing hour, but this may be part of being human for so long, my soul was corrupted by the humans emotions. I leave Samel to his own thoughts, and help Killwreck to make Nevitash comfortable now that he has fallen unconscious. This is going to be a long night.

The silence is pressing as I help to break camp. The tension is so thick I would have a hard time cutting it with Northwind....Northwind. I let my mind wander to the sword at my side. I feel it weighing me, and I feel that so far it has found my wanting. I know it is intelligent, but it has yet to speak to me, what is it waiting for? Will it ever really become a part of me, and me it? Only time will tell, I must put it from my mind for now, we need to hurry.

I get the party rounded up, a little hard to do, since Nevitash seems to only be concerned with his new hand, but off we set. Just after we venture past the fungus room we fought in yesterday, a strong feeling of unease settles over me. This is not right! Something terribly wrong has happened here. We should be to the portal to the city by now, but its just more of this damned spongy flooring. Wait! What is that? It sounds like chanting coming from down through the tunnels, I can make out from where, but one glance at Samel and I see he has figured it origin. We follow the sound of the chanting, the sound of water running grows stronger with bizarre language we are following. We emerge into a large cavern, or at least what I can tell from the light, with more of those mushroom men, and what looks like prisoners on the far side. We are greeted by a child of the undead. We quickly dispatch the enemy, and are greeted by a priest. Just our luck, another entity to have to keep my watchful eye on, but wait, no make it two. The priest I am not as concerned with as the dark one. I have no other word for her, in all my years, and that has been many, I have never come across the likes of her. She will not be far from my sight, I cannot afford another betrayal, my party is already in upheaval.

Tricks and more tricks. What I could have sworn was the entrance to the city's portal is nothing more than another trap, and one that I had to spring. My better judgment is all mangled to hell! And if I had not injured my pride enough on my own, Mist, the dark one, has to add salt to my wound. Expecting me to wait for her command that things are ok to touch or go near, well I never! Ok, so I admit that if I had taken more precaution with the tapestry that we would not all be stuck in this trap, but it galls me to have to admit it, which I will not! I try to defer to her, reason winning over my pride, but time is so short, we need to be free from here and see what has happened to the city!

Finally, we emerge from the cursed trap! Only to find we are too late. Way too late. They are all dead. Frozen stiff to the ground. The priest, Argyle he calls himself, claims that a dragon was the cause. There is no time for speculation, an apparition appears. Samel seems to know him. He calls him Bejam. Using the creatures assumed name seems to draw him out of his haunting stupor, they converse, and it is by no means a happy tale. Bejam claims that Chillreaver, Tiamat's fallen vessel is responsible for this disaster. It seems that they had foreknowledge that the city would come to the aide of those opposing her, so she removed them from the fight before anyone had seen it fit to ask. This information seems to have enraged Samel, he quickly sets the teleportation circle before we are ambushed and we find ourselves back at the beginning. Or do we?

The crew states we have been gone for months, it only seemed like a few days, a week at most, there are those pesky unforeseen forces working on us again. Time is drawing so thin, we must hurry! But hurry is not to happen yet again. Not only is Samel hell bent on taking on Chillreaver, and Argyle to find his heart of the glacier, Nevitash has disappeared. Bahamut gave me a task, but I will not leave a man behind, I only hope that my Grace will understand my heart choice, I will find Nevitash! .......and kill a dragon of tiamat, and find a heart of the glacier, if only my bones weren’t so sure that they will all be in the same place, and that fate is not on my side. Athis, I will come for you, my only fear is that you are going to have way too much time to prepare for my arrival. I heft Northwind in my hands, look towards the peak so far through the jungle, and damn fate. I will see myself, and those I tend through this, if its the last thing I do.
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Return to a Changed Civilization

From the journal of Roland Kendrick:

Once we dispatched our giant-sized attackers we journeyed Westward by foot for the rest of the day. Larkin promised us that he would prepare his magical horse spell for the morrow.

In the morning I prevailed upon Cecilia to send a magical message to Melina. What I learned is so shocking that I am still struggling to deal with the news. We have been gone for more than a year! In that time, Gylthan Goldenglove has passed and the kingdom has fractured into three warring factions. Civil War. I never thought it would get this bad when we left for the Tower of the Moon. Melina is in hiding and has advised us not to trust anyone but the Woodwatch.

For five days we traveled west. We have already noticed changes in Argalia. The forest where we met the Woodwatch has been burned to the ground in the aftermath of some military action. Larkin asked me about possible heirs to the throne. I told him that the King had a younger brother, Prince Galen, but refused to acknowledge him as heir.

After a time we decided to angle North toward Yancy and ultimately Farlan's Fork so that we can check in with Gena and Gregory. When we finally intercepted the trade road we found it covered with refugees streaming out of Enhkar. I suggested that we dismiss the horse spell and approach by foot so we could gather information.

The first person we spoke to was a farmer who imparted this information:

• Before he died, King Gylthan named an heir, a natural daughter (12yo) that no one knew about.
• Prince Galen rebelled as did Lords Enkhar and Kharkhan.
• Three factions struggling for power - Galen, Enkhar-Kharkhan, People supporting Girl
• The new heir is in hiding

I offered the farmer a gold but he refused, saying that he can't spend it. After we let the farmer go on, Larkin asked same question that has been praying upon my mind....What of mother? I told him that mother was either still a prisoner or she is with Kharkhan. Either way, sending her a message might be dangerous.

Larkin pointed out that my family name might be more trouble than it's worth right now so I resolved to begin using Lucian's ID to hide my identity.

After a time, we noticed a man trailing us so we grabbed him. He name is Rufus and he is a fixer. by which I assumed he meant a thief and thug. But since we needed information we traded him for it. Here's what we learned:

• Daughter of late High King is named Rosgranna
• Faction supporting her is in hiding
• Lunnoc and Tyrell are probably supporting Rosgranna
• Syldan and Mirrmar support Prince Galen

We arrived at Farlan's Fork to find the bridge across the Gilgarim choked with refugees. We resolved to hold up in a rope trick spell so that Cecilia could prepare water walking enchantments to allow us to cross the river. That was accomplished with relative ease and we entered the city through the far less crowded Northern gate. Thankfully, Lucian's ID worked.

There was an unfamiliar person manning the desk at the Sleeping Monk. Perhaps Joanne is no longer there? We headed next door to the Foaming Mug and we quickly sat at a table with Gena, the barbarian hostess. She confirmed some of the information we had already gathered. She said that the Woodwatch has been...busy. I wondered if she can get us in contact with them, but that question would have to wait. When I asked about Mother she responded with a troubling, "You mean our future Queen?"

Later, Cecilia and I went to the local church of Palor to see if any of the other priests have noticed disruptions in their spells. While Cecilia spoke to the priestesses, I sat and thought long about the issue with Mother. Finally I decided to ask Cecilia to prepare another sending spell, this time to Mother. I will risk contacting her, even though I know not what side she is on.

My message was simple. I am alive. Do not ally with Kharkhan. Do you need rescue? But I have not heard any response yet.

When we all returned to the Foaming Mug, we learned that Gregory had stopped by looking for us. We decided to wait here at the Mug for him to return.

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The Ferry Ride
The journey towards Gloomwrought carries you over what appears to be a twisted, polluted bog. The familiar black fog hangs just above the surface of the pitch black depths as the ferry makes its way around broken branches and dead vegetation. You pass one of the sickly green torches and can make out movement below you as something large swim under the ferry.

The ferryman continues to speak out, but he does not turn to you as he navigates. Daav and Jerimiah are seated at the rear of the ferry, Mad Dingo is peering over the edge alongside Grintok and Demoracon. Murg, Krier and Bettis sit on the opposite side. Mad Dingo looks up suddenly as the Dark One continues on:

“We see our share of adventurers sure enough here in the Shadowfell. Most come bearing more impressive gear if they hope to survive. You obviously have stumbled into this situation and for that I am not envious. Life he is short and inconsistent, things shift from place to place and nothing remains as it seems. For the undead that travels these lands it matters not, but for those who dwell within Gloomwrought it can be a challenge and often a frustration for the uninitiated.

The Darkone gestures over his shoulder at the cleric Jerimiah as he shifts the ferry around a large decaying trunk poking out from the bog.

“It is fortunate that you came across a cleric such as this. The order of priests and clerics within Gloomwrought are one of the few constants you can actually turn to for assistance. They have been known to lead help to those either traveling the region on their way to the next, or those like yourselves who have found a ways into Shadowfell but not necessarily a way out.

You arrive soon after before the gates of Gloomwrought. Disembarking the ferry, you pay the Dark One a few gold pieces and make your way to one of the large skull shaped gates. Daav leads the way as Mad Dingo and Jerimiah flank the adventurers. The cleric looks over Grinktok as they await the gate opening, making note of the amulet around his neck. He peers up at the goliath, then back down to the amulet which is starting to glow lightly. Grintok looks down himself but the amulet is no longer glowing. He then looks at the cleric questioning his intent but the cleric turn away quickly as the gate rises.

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