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War Camp

Valindra enjoys her time spent in the humans’ war camp, and not just because it offers respite from the travails of battle. She likes to take time, especially in the evenings, and wander away from King Cuthbert’s pavilion at the center of camp. She can spend hours in the wonter dusk, strolling among the tents, wolf’s fur mantle and bearskin cloak drawn tightly about her slender frame. She loves the sights and sounds, the smells even, of the camp and the easy comradery of soldiers that has sprung up among them all. She knows many of them having stood with them in battle from the common farmer summoned to the fyrd by his lord to grizzled veteran of many campaigns.

Certainly, the mood in camp has improved remarkably over the last month. Their astonishing victory over the bugbear horde at the Battle of Tamworthig and then their defeat of the Mother Grushenka, the bugbear’s patron demon, have raised spirits considerably.

As she walks among their tents, the men look up from their dicing games or meager suppers of bread and hard cheese to gaze upon her. They grow hushed or cease their conversations as the elf glides by. It puzzles her, the awe with which the troops regard her and her companions. Of course she understands that they regard her and her mates as heroes, and she imagines that they indeed are. But Valindra has no desire to be revered by anyone, and she is made uncomfortable by the high regard with which the humans in camp hold her.

The camp bustles at this hour. Soldiers are lighting the cook fires. Nearby, a Sergeant dresses down a spearman for some infraction, the warrior’s head hanging low under the withering objurgation of his superior. A bard sings a mournful elegy for the dead from somewhere close. A trio of young women, sloven in appearance, jostle past Valindra mumbling apologies as they go. Camp followers, wanton rampallions most likely, seeking to earn some extra coin among the bedrolls. She smiles at the thought. At their youth.

It’s funny. Not so long ago, Valindra regarded most humans with utmost detachment and disdain, seeing them as clumsy, inelegant boors, short-sighted and vulgar in both temperament and philosophy. But now, walking through their camp in the chilly gloaming, smelling the wood smoke of their cook fires, listening to their songs and rough japes, she feels otherwise.

She has fought beside these humans, stood with them in the shield wall against a terrible foe. She has seen them vomit and shit themselves in fear, and she has seen them stand together in the red madness of battle to kill the enemy with steel and with fire. She has seen them at their worst and at their best.

She hopes the war will end soon so she may return to her forest and her life. Often she yearns for that future. To spend her days in quiet devotion to the Great Oak, tending a sacred grove in the heart of the forest, living a solitary existence but for the company of Helgi, Ursor, and Sasha. And the wind and the trees, and the earth. Yes, that will be a good life someday. But that day is not today. There is much to be done, and in fact, tomorrow they must begin their parlous mission into the hills to the north. But as she walks through the camp, she realizes that for the moment, she is home.
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The fireball blast had nearly blinded poor Rara. Now, the air was heavy with the smell of burnt flesh and smoke hung in a haze that partially obscured the glowing red pentagram on the floor. Another goddamned demon appeared, yearning to sow chaos into this world.

Rara stared at the stretched skin with red vein-like tendrils seeping across the sides of the demon’s swollen belly, reminding her of an eyeball. It pulsated as it grew, mutating and stretching, overhanging the demon’s knees. Thick, ugly scars from previous births, gangrenous and purple with age, stretch to the point of bursting.

As the flesh splits, crimson liquid pops from the fissure and seeps away from the growing rupture. Fingers emerge from the gash spreading across Mother Grushenka’s belly. Thick beads of gore etch red streaks down her belly, between her legs and splatter onto the floor.

Fiends, conceived from filth and carnage, hemorrhage to the ground, the demon’s abdomen squeezing out all its contents. The pentagram is lost to the gush of red. The pool of clotted blood evokes a slaughter house floor.

Eight hairy, feral goblins, soaking in ichor and green gelatinous discharge, uncurl to their full height, towering over Rara at seven feet tall. Slime drips from the sharp points of their claws, each a huge and grotesque mockery of a bear’s.
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Finishing Temple of Sekhmet, on to the Sightless Sphinx
We entered a one-story building that smelled of rancid oil. The scattered goods inside seemed to be about fifty years abandoned. There was a ladder to the roof, and a trapdoor in the floor. Amestri defused the trap on the trapdoor. Below, there was a big room with more old crates and ruined jars and a well.
A (Huge earth elemental) attacked from out of the wall! It fought for a while, then escaped through the walls. The goods in the room appeared to be at least 100 years old, not really preserved by the cool air from a well.
A bigger chamber lay beyond, with a dais at the far end. On it was a statue of a lion-headed woman warrior-- Sekhmet, patroness of fire, healing, and war. Beneath that was an altar, with a symbol: 7 crossed arrows. Here, we were attacked by a stone-skinned woman, who turned out to be a (shaitan genie). She killed Novid-- recovered by Breath of Life-- and shoved Amestri into the stone of a wall. After some minutes, I was able to talk her into just leaving, once she realized she was alone and the other efreets were all slain.
Beyond, there were hieroglyphs that referred to the "Lady of Slaughter" (Sekhmet?) and her blood-soaked dress. Behind the altar, we found a chest with some treasure inside.
Returning to the outside, we searched for more goods. In a corner of the courtyard, we unearthed the hoard of the desert drake. In the tower, there were maps and a box, which turned out to be merely table-settings. The maps showed us a Saerenrae temple and an obelisk, and the Garden of Symmetry.

25th-26th: we returned to the maftet tribe, and told them the coast was clear to their new home. They, in turn, told us about the Sightless Sphinx, where they used to live. They left its insides a lone for decades, until one of their young males, Userib, led others inside to explore. The lone survivor told that the Sphinx had corrupted Userib and 10 of his followers; these eleven drove the whole tribe away. The tribe asked that we try to save the souls of their former tribe members.

27th: we rode towards the Sphinx, finding a ravine with tracks going into it. THere were four more cultists, watining around a shiny metal statue. We defeated them, they again exploded rather than surrender. The statue seemed to have a hatch in it, and we realized that the magical key and control rod that we'd picked up earlier could make it go. Amestri had fun with this (bronze sentinel).

28th: We get near to the Sightless Sphinx, Ostog sends his Arcane Eye ahead to scout. We see that there are lots of mercenary girteblelu in sentry posts around it, and only one post with cultist watchers. Recalling that the girteblelu are honorable and that burial customs are important to them, we set up a covert approach to the guard commander. Showing him the pendant that we'd taken from a girteblelu that we'd buried earlier, we led him to think that the cultists had killed its owner, but we'd recognized the dead one (turned out to be his nephew) and given it proper burial. He agreed to let us make a covert approach to the Sphinx's entry, between its front paws. We were informed that more cultists were already inside.
Amestri recognized the Sphinx as dedicated to Ereshkegal, the demon lord of greed, portals, and riddles. When we got to the entrance, the door's lintel was decorated with images of the planets. Pressing the planets that also represented greed, portals, and riddles, the door unlocked for us.

Session: Game Session 26 - Saturday, Sep 28 2019 from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
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Nothing clever, I'm just tired
When we woke up, we decided to go into town. We didn't see Ezra, which was odd, but Ash wanted to go and just started walking to town, so I followed so that she wouldn't be alone...babysitting again, yay. Kit wasn't with us, so at least I didn't have to worry about both of them getting into trouble. We found some breakfast and saw a fight and I talked her into finding the others because I knew they were planning on coming into town too. So, we walked toward where we thought they might be and we found Daksh and Kit.

We went around to different places, the church and some shops asking about the current events. We went to a magic shop and Kit found the catnip. If there are drugs to be found, she will be the one to find them. I got her out of the store having only gotten a small taste and then Daksh brought out an ounce of the stuff to "control" or "reward" Kit and, so, naturally, she inhaled ALL of it and stared at fish for half an hour before we finally got her to walk back to camp.

Once we were back at camp, we found out Ezra was missing. These people have got to stop running away or getting taken. It's giving me heart palpitations.

I finally got a chance to talk with Arie as well. Apparently someone else had run ins with this piece of scum and I have a pretty good idea of who it is. I just don't know how to approach her about it to see if we have had similar experiences.

We set out to find Ezra, hopefully he's not with bears.
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Pointer-left Daksh_mugshot_thumb

Posted in The Outlanders
#4.2 Man in the Mirror
Finally made some progress on identifying the mirror man. While double checking over Aleatilla's house, found a small silver liquid. Had local shop identify it as something extra-planar. Hadn't considered that, but could explain why traditional means were not necessary.

Asked around and came up with information about a "Soul Sliver".
Depictions I ran across describe a solitary predator. Abilities also include minor illusion magic, ability to change into forms they have studied, and the ability to reside in and teleport through mirrors. That all lines up nicely with our suspect.

Further investigation into the other two victims didn't reveal any sort of suspicious activities. Unlike our "lucky" third victim, the first two seem rather normal. They lived by themselves and had traits that would of made them easy to coerce. Several people in our caravan could fit that description as well, though we sleep relatively close to each other. I don't know if the creature would have a way to conceal the noise from his attack.

Local church had limited information about the creature. Apparently they're a native of the plane of shadow. Wonder how it ended up here. No reason to assume it was summoned here specifically. Could of traveled here on its own accord. It does seem very suspicious that we've run across yet another extra-planar creature running amok. Almost every location we've visited had some form of extra-planar event. I need to find a source of recent events. Are we really just lucky (or blindly lead) across these select places or is the world quite literally going to hell?
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