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Confessions of Ishketh Gloryheart - Whispers in the Dark
Kelemvor keep my soul, for I have now seen the darkness that lies beyond the stars, and what awaits me upon my death should I fail...

My Lord's Alliance brother, Revekeus, and I had a simple task: travel to Fort Beluarian to acquire our Charter of Expedition and to connect with my contact, Liara Portyr. It proved to be anything but simple, and has shaken even my stalwart faith.

Where to begin? I know that you, Judge of the Dead, watched over me in my travels and witnessed my deeds. I will not waste your time, Wise Kelemvor, with the details of that 5-day trek through the wet grasslands guided by the good-hearted Qawasha. We saw many strange creatures, a giant snail, some gentle dinosaurs, and some not-so-gentle, enormous insects. None of these challenges, both of my temperament and my steel, proved difficult for two men of faith in a strange land. Not even the grizzly remains of a man butchered and tortured by indigenous goblins could phase us.

The plants and animals of this place make me wonder which gods had their hand in their design. Plants that can eat a man, wasps the size of a wolf, curious sprites that play games and dislike metal. I shall consult the high priests in Baldur's Gate should I ever see that glorious city again.

Arriving at the keep was a blessing, and I thanked not only you, Keeper of the Gates, but also Helm for his protection. To have a dry bed and a roof over my head was such a boon. The ordered nature of the fort reminded me of home, and the mission that I am on. All the world should be so housed, safe and secure.

Commander Portyr was able to provide us with our Charter, free of charge, in exchange for taking care of the local undead threat. As if I needed payment to partake in such a quest! We gladly accepted, bringing Qawasha and 6 fine soldiers - some Chultan, some from Baldur's Gate like myself. We are lead by a strange, and treasonous little frog-person named Wadumu. The little worm - I hope your judging hands find him soon.

Our small company is lead into the jungle and toward the ruins of an ancient city, Bulobo. It was easy enough to find - our guides were quite skilled. The center of the ruin had an obelisk and several small pillars, each with a panel and symbol. We were provided a riddle, a series of descriptions informing us the sequence we must press. Fortunately, the puzzle was simple enough that even someone of mental ability...could solve it.

While investigating the ruin, Revekeus discovered remains of several dead men, which came to life! These were not ordinary dead - a sinister plant creature had animated them. We struggled against these monsters, and the intoxicating pollen of the sinister plant, all while trying to press the sequence to complete the puzzle.

The noble soldiers we brought fought well. The numbers of the dead seemed endless. I held the faith, I brought the light. Revekeus and his Omega Squad proved deadly and vital - while fending off many dead, they started enacting the puzzle sequence. It fell to myself and Bo'ana, a former coconut tree climber turned warrior, to press the last buttons.

We did our duty. But Bo'ana and one of Omega squad fell to the dead. They sacrificed themselves so the rest of us could make it into the fain below the ruin.

The fain was a den of evil. A vile sorceress and servant of Dendar the Night Serpent, Shasskatar, had made it her lair. Her evil magics had been animating the dead nearby, making them aggressive. She attempted to turn me against my allies, to confuse my mind - but my faith was stronger. While Revekeus attempted to distract her and rob her of her power by stealing gems from the nearby edifice, I stood toe-to-toe with the creature, along with our noble allies.

We eventually won the day, but at a terrible price. The sorceress claimed the lives of all but myself, Revekeus, Qawasha, and one soldier, using her terrible dark magic. She also gave me a horrific vision - a consuming sight of Dendar the Night Serpent's coming. His power was overwhelming, his victory all-encompassing.

It was in that moment, Kelemvor save me, that my faith faltered. The darkness that I saw sits with me even now. It's like a chilling fog twisting its way through the early morning streets of Baldur's Gate.

I must not let this darkness crush me. We are all the mortar that strengthens the bricks of the Walled Garden. The soldiers that died thwarting the sorceress, and any others that die on this journey, and even myself - it cannot be for nothing, it cannot all end in darkness and madness. I fear that I will toil my whole life to build the Walled Garden, just to watch it topple and burn.

Kelemvor, Helm, Torm - watch over me, and us all. Dark times are upon us.
Session: Off to Fort Beluarian - Friday, Dec 08 2017 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Epic × 2!
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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What we know from Tysha (spymaster, hired us)
City in Iron Hills: Etir

We're currently in Akkan.

We've gotta find and free the garden of Deliverance. Tellius is in fuckin shambles, Drasek is a free for all and we're trying to stop that shit.

Once we get to Deliverance, talk to Evet. She's been reporting undead things which is, as the DM says, super weird.

Got about 5 months.

Build strength, explore region, see what you can find.
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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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