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Down under the Observatory, part 2
(Day 23)
We returned to the Observatory and began looking into the room adjacent to the "Catalogue of Days", which was the "Catalogue of Nights", a repository of deaths of ancient Wati.
A room across the hallway from that was full of sarcophagi and mummified animals, including an elephant.

Down the stairs, we found a room with blue tiles laid across the whole floor. These were a magical trap that flung the tiles with great force across the room. Amestri disabled the magic, and we moved on.
Beyond that, large doors led to an almost-octagonal room, very large, dominated by a 15'-tall statue of Pharasma as Matron. It had hieroglyphs on the walls, interrupted by floor-to ceiling curtains. Most of the curtains hid alcoves which contained shrines to different aspects of Pharasma.
One curtain led to a dormitory area. In two of the beds were deceased women, well dressed and not mummified. Magical and medical examination showed them to be young priestesses of Calistria, dead from exposure to the desert. Their corpses were preserved by magic, but they were not undead. Since Nebta-khufre had recently come from Tefu, perhaps they came through the desert from there? One large bed in this area had been slept in recently, and had many notes in his hand.
Another alcove hid a crypt thing, an undead guardian who told us to leave. He magicked away Khismia and Amestri, fortunately they did not go far, and then began to battle with us.
Khismia only went as far as the unoccupied dormitory. Amestri ended up in a long room occupied by a ghastly half-orc. She fled, and luckily ended up in the same room as everyone else.
Ostog held the ghast while the others dealt with the crypt thing, then Khismia moved to cast upon the ghast. Unfortunately, everyone's timing was off, and the ghast ripped Khismia apart before Sallah, Jes, and Novid could kill it.
We took her body with us, and returned to the Pharasman temple to request her return. Ostog sold off most of the magical cloaks and other items we'd collected to pay for the spell's components. We all rested for the night.

Day 24
When we returned to the room we had just left, the bodies of the undead had not been altered, and the tile-floor-trap had not only restarted, but had replaced the tiles destroyed in yesterday's attack.
Beyond this, and down more steps, was a silent room that had deep pits along both walls. These had once been fire pits, it seemed. A bubbly fountain lay in the center of the room, in front of a large statue of Anubis. This Graven Guardian fought us for a long time before I was able to finish it with a Ray of Acid.
After that was a Really Big Round Room with a pyramidal platform in its center, a walkway high around the outside of the room held up by statues of Pharasma. Bodies lay all around the room, but two mummies flanked the steps up the platform.
Atop that stood Nebta-Khufre, wearing a very magical golden mask. We fought. It was a LONG Fight. My spells kept him at bay most of the time, while the others fought two mummies and 6 zombies that he raised from among the many corpses on the floor.

After finally defeating him and his protectors, we took all of the magic items from the room and returned to inform the Pharasmins of our efforts. The mask was indeed that of the Forgotten Pharaoh, and was highly magical.

Days 25-26 We rested, and then escorted an eager Amestri (hopefully fully recovered from mummy rot?) into the Observatory's several genealogical libraries. There were no more monsters remaining in the lower levels.
There was an interesting room, with a miniature representation of Wati laid out on the floor, complete with running water, miniature people, animals, and buildings. The only difference is that a large obelisk (representing Pharasma's Judgement) arose from the site of the current Mausoleum.
Ostog busied himself with the spellbook of Nebta-Khufre, as well as any plans or other information he may have left in his papers.

Seti the Crocodile was busy with a 2-day-long ritual, intended to lay to rest the remaining undead who rose in response to Nebta's actions.

The Pharasmins had almost no information on the Sky Pharaoh, Forgotten as he was. They suggest the libraries of Tefu for future research.

We shall head there, but after a week or so of preparations and recovery from our labors here in Wati.
Session: Game Session 15 - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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Poppy
Posted by the GM
Sword Coast and Beyond
The Second Assault
22nd - 24th of Flamerule

After fending off a small pack of giant badgers and becoming fulling rested, the group decides to infiltrate the large cave again. They watched the traffic in and out of the cave for the two/three days of recovery and they were confident whoever was inside wasn't going to come out soon.

They repelled down the side of the plateau, again. Once inside, they were confronted with another two cultist soldiers. There number swelled as others further in the cave were alerted to the attack. Fortunately, the others were not as well trained as the elite soldiers. Although their numbers were overwhelming, their skills failed them. Not to mention, Tolly utilized his connection with the weave to his advantage. Large numbers of the guards fell asleep at the command of the small halfling.

Tolly and Cappy merciously killed the sleeping cultist, at the dismay of the honorable Elissa and Dray. Draak seemed unfazed. They questioned the last remaining cultist. True to a fanatics mentality, he refused to give them any valuable information. Elissa stepped in when the group was going to kill the prisoner. "At least give him the honor of death in battle." Although diffcult to slay at first. He eventually fell to the onslaught of the group.



Elissa searched the room while the others were tending to the last cultist. Spread open on one of the tables is a simple map of the Greenfields area showing the villages the cult attacked and looted. An arrow is sketched in from the Greenfields toward the west and the town of Beregost on the Trade Way, where the arrow turns north. A separate sheet of paper that is covered with numerals in columns contains the note, "Everything must be freighted north to Naerytar. Rezmir allowed us to keep some pearls, a ring, and a handful of small stones."

Satisfied these areas were cleared, the group decides to return the the main entrance and follow the cave deeper. Cautiously, they pressed forward. Looking for any evidence of more cultist. Captain Black hopped down the small escarpment and made his way through some thick fungi. The other moved down the steps. To their dismay, the steps were rigged to cause the uninformed to slip into a batch of Violet Fungus. This triggered four or five of these rotten creatures to attack. Their tentacles waving and attacking everyone.



During his attempt to silently move past these creatures, Captain Blackheart inadvertently ran into one of the vile fungi. It lashed out at the infamous pirate grabbing his hand. It sent a surge of decaying, necrotic power through the appendage. The hand immediately seized up, curling into a paralyzed claw.
...
Session: The Return to the Game - Tuesday, Jul 03 2018 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM
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Tags: GM , Recap
Despair
With Bard Randal's confirmation and being unable to do my own for several months still most likely, it seems I must face that my past: where I lived almost all my life, my friends, my mentors, are all gone now with the destruction of the Collegium. I guess there is few things more symbolic of the change from boy to adult than the complete physical destruction of ones past.

So here I am, in a land I don't know or even speak the language of, with both known and unknown dangers lurking all around, having to debate between possible lesser evils, racing against time with the possible fate of the world in the balance and with companions I am uncertain what I can trust with when the stakes are so high.

I'm also wondering now, even if I abandoned this all to go hide somewhere, have I marked myself for death by the allies of this great evil for spreading knowledge of them?

I should do something... for those at home, all those lost... I just don't know what anymore...
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Taiphen Backstory Extensions
In dreams, Taiphen sees.

A boy, crying at the loss of his family. Grandparents, dead. Siblings, dead. Parents, dead. Friends, dead or gone.

A man, standing in front of the boy, hand outstretched. “Boy, what do you desire most?” The man inquires. He radiates darkness, but it is akin to a gentle, protective embrace that brings calm and peace, rather than a menacing, suffocating existence.

“I want to defend the innocent. I want to strike fear into the hearts of monsters – make them fear the night. I want to make it so what happened to me never happens to anyone else ever again.” The boy says through the tears, his heart starting out uncertain but growing more resolute by the day. Taiphen doesn’t recognize the voice, or the face of the boy – and yet, he seems familiar somehow. The boy takes the man’s hand, and they leave, disappearing into the night.

Years pass. The boy trains. The boy becomes a man. The symbol of a Night caste radiates from his forehead. An accomplished martial artist, a sharp and perceptive sentinel, he is the ideal terror of the night. None notice him without his permission, and few understand what he does.

In time, the man heals.

The smiling face of a woman – here, Taiphen feels that same familiarity, though he can’t quite place her – as she turns into a mouse and scurries away, the faint sound of laughter emanating as the man merely sighs in both affection and exasperation. He chases after her, indulges in their cat and mouse game.

The deliberation of the man’s peers, skilled in ways similar yet different from the man. Though they argue, fret, and deliberate over the lives of those they protect, there is a faint sense of understanding among all of them. Together, they build wonder after wonder, create impossibility after impossibility, defeat foe after foe. And though the man misses those he has lost, he finds himself happy again among his peers, his friends. His family.

In time, everything goes wrong.

It is as if a plague has struck the strongest of them. One by one, each of them succumbs to the madness. Their great power is turned against those they were sworn to protect, and one by one they are killed to prevent more damage. More suffering. More pain.

The man watches in horror, silent from the shadows, as the screaming begins. It haunts him constantly – the screams of those he wasn’t able to help – wasn’t capable of helping. The innocent men, women, and children crying out in pain as they die a slow, agonizing death without a master of the medicinal arts to ease their pain or a leader to bring them hope, to show them the way to salvation. The man is not a doctor or a leader – he is a combatant, a warrior. An assassin.
So he does what he does best, to end their suffering. To silence the crying.

Taiphen sees the man beside himself with grief and guilt. The man does not resist as the Exalted of the Dragons take him away, doesn’t use any of his skill and power to resist as they chain him and bring him to his sentence.

In his dreams, Taiphen sees his predecessor die full of regret and pain.


____________________________________


In dreams, Taiphen remembers.

Taiphen sees himself, fresh out of training with Lewong, wandering Creation without a real goal for himself beyond helping those he comes across. His travels go past as if on an ancient airship soaring through the sky at incredible speeds. He sees himself walking, running, lifting, whatever is necessary to help those he comes across, however mundane or fantastic the task may be.

Finally, he remembers the day he came to a village and heard of children being stolen away by bandits. Children, who have been taken as sacrifices for the bandit leader, a sorcerer of impressive might and stature. A sorcerer who has taken many of the villagers in the past, none of whom have returned.

Taiphen remembers Lewong’s teachings. He remembers being pulled away as his parents faced their deaths. He decides the death must stop – and it will be stopped that day.

It is child’s play for Taiphen to track the bandits to their hideout – the grunts are so sloppy, so sure of their might that they don’t bother to be careful anymore. They regret their complacency when they are summarily knocked unconscious and hidden in a nearby bush, unaware of Taiphen’s presence the entire time. He continues making his way through the hideout in a similar fashion, systematically disabling and incapacitating every pig who dared to prey on the weak, to profit off of their pain. One room becomes ten rooms, and soon Taiphen has cleared out almost every room in the hideout. No one has seen him. Taiphen made sure of it. “Measure twice, strike once.” Lewong always said, and it paid off that day.

Taiphen remembers the cries and the stench. He remembers the plan.

It was supposed to be as simple as the rest of the hideout. Get in, free the captives, fight the sorcerer before demons showed up, get out. Easy. Taiphen lacked the years of experience he’d need to see how such a simple plan could easily go wrong.

He’d taken too long in the hideout. The sorcerer had finished his ritual, a demon already in the room, and was offering the captive children in exchange for power and servitude. The sorcerer had been sloppy, hadn’t used the proper safeguards, and hadn’t foreseen the demon refusing the offer in favor of murdering everyone there. Taiphen threw his plan out the metaphorical window. No time to quietly escape – only to strike.

The battle had been longer than Taiphen would’ve cared for it to be. The demon had been able to resist Taiphen’s first strike – in part due to its magic, in part due to Taiphen’s haste. They’d fought each other in single combat, the sorcerer too stunned and terrified to interfere. They traded countless blows, and light grew within the room until it seemed as if the sun itself was watching, awaiting the outcome of the battle.

Finally, Taiphen saw the opening he needed, and struck with his finishing blow. With strength he didn’t realize he had, he leapt through the air, bouncing off of a wall and striking the demon at the back of its neck. It fell to the ground dead, Taiphen breathing heavily as he turned to the fallen sorcerer.

“ReLeAsE tHe ChIlDrEn. NeVeR tRoUbLe ThE vIlLaGe AgAiN, nEvEr HaRm ThE iNnOcEnT aGaIn. Or YoU aNsWeR tO mE.” He intones. The adrenaline from the fight prevented Taiphen from realizing anything was wrong with his voice – from noticing the light bathing the room had died away, or how his form became shrouded in the hues of evening and resembled the figure of a bat. The sorcerer cowered and ran away, never to be heard from again, and the children could only look on in wonder as the dark, powerful man with an empty golden circle on his forehead shattered their bindings, escorted them back to their homes, and disappeared without any trace of his existence.

Taiphen remembers the stories of a man the villagers whispered tales of – one who singlehandedly ripped apart a group of bandits cloaked in the colors of the Night. Though many called him anathema from then on, they called him a hero – though he had simply done his duty. The smiles of the villagers as their families were reunited were more than enough of a reward for him.

In dreams, Taiphen remembers the day, sees his memories and his mission. Taiphen remembers the promise of more to come.


____________________________________


Though Taiphen couldn’t hear or understand the words that day, they’d still been spoken.

“Strong. Brave. Idealistic. Perceptive. Hopeful. A worthy successor. May you succeed where I once failed, recipient of my power. May you redeem this legacy.”
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Somos a esperança desse povo
(MÚSICA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K637tgzECOM)
(AMBIENTAÇÃO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yYkcvC38cM)
OUÇAM SIMULTANEAMENTE OS DOIS VÍDEOS, de preferência abaixando o volume da ambientação para não afogar a música.
----------------------------------------------

"Despin, ó grandioso Despin! Por favor ajude esse nobre mortal!"
Um anão ajoelhava-se perante Despin Hobbes. Tinha cabelos tão grandes quanto a barba, roupas sujas de fuligem e uma idade avançada. Suas mãos fechavam-se em clamor, escurecidas pela sujeira. Despin hesitou - por um tempo, pensou em continuar falando que não era um Primordial e não tinha nada a ver com aquilo, mas sabia que não adiantaria de nada. Não trocaria de nome agora, como Reynald, ou para os íntimos, Grieldo; e não passaria todo o seu tempo naquela cidade falando que não era a esperança que buscavam há tantos anos. Mas não esperava o anão chegar do nada depois de toda a onda de pessoas ir embora depois do discurso absurdamente imprudente de Cornelius.

"É... as saudações não são necessárias, meu caro" disse ao senhor à sua frente. Definitivamente não estava acostumado a ser tratado de tal forma. O anão levantou-se sem a ajuda das mãos, pois ainda estavam entrelaçadas na altura do peito em prece. "Qual é seu nome?" perguntou Despin.
"Ah, grandioso Despin Hobbes..."
"Só 'Despin' está bom, querido" disse o halfling.
"Oh. Bem... Despin" disse o anão com um certo espantar "meu nome é Alfthur, e gostaria de humildemente pedir sua ajuda divina..."
Despin se perguntou se não deveria de fato ajudar as pessoas de Black Hold, especialmente agora que a presença de seu grupo não era segredo para, literalmente, ninguém dentro do posto e além dele. "Acho que um pequeno favor não faria mal, não é mesmo?" disse para si mesmo - "Diga, Alfthur!".
"Bem... é minha filha... ela é muito nova, possui apenas dezesseis anos, e tendo o sangue da anã que tem, ela é muito teimosa..."
"Só isso?" disse Despin. "Ora, me aponte onde é que eu logo--"
"Não, não" disse o anão. "Queria que fosse apenas isso"
As palavras de Alfthur saíram já um tanto embargadas em choro. Lágrimas começaram a cair de seus olhos, e limpá-las com as grandes e calosas mãos apenas fizeram seu rosto manchado de fuligem escura. Despin nunca tinha visto um anão chorar - na verdade nunca tinha nem lido sobre um anão chorar eu toda sua vida. Alfthur soluçou um pouco e fez uma expressão de esforço tremendo como se quisesse sugar todas as lágrimas para dentro de seu corpo outra vez. Olhou para os olhos do halfling, um pouco mais abaixo dos seus, e engoliu um seco com dificuldade, dizendo as próximas palavras de forma séria e direta.
"Ela saiu de casa uma vez, tinhamos brigado feio. Ela jogou uma caneca de cerveja em mim e não acertou, mas quando eu percebi, ela tinha fugido de casa... e bem, encontramos ela depois".
Alfthur parou por um tempo sem dizer nada. "Bem, encontrar a menina talvez não seja fácil, mas posso tentar", pensou o halfling. Enquanto pensamentos pairavam por sua mente, o anão disse uma última frase.
"Ela foi atacada por um dragão. Metade de seu corpo está queimado e... não sabemos se ela vai sobreviver"

Por um tempo, soou apenas o barulho do comércio de Black Hold no ambiente. Despin olhava para o anão em silêncio, os olhos quase tomados pelas lágrimas do velho pai. Não esperava um pedido que não pudesse cumprir - uma aventura que já tinha se passado, e terminado terrivelmente mal. Percebeu o tempo que havia se passado em silêncio quando o rosto do velho lentamente passou a ser tomado por uma mistura sutil de confusão e desespero.
"...Isso é um infortúnio tremendo", finalmente disse Despin. Não tinha mais o que falar, a não ser explicar sua própria incapacidade no assunto. Segurou as mãos do velho, já pendendo de cansaço de tanto estarem apertadas juntas, e abaixou-as gentilmente.
"Isso não é minha área de atuação, meu caro, sou apenas um Primordial da Agilidade... Mas acho que sei quem pode te ajudar". Dizendo isso, o anão abriu o semblante de tal forma que pela primeira vez foi possível ver seus olhos por completo, descobertos pelas grossas sobrancelhas. "Vá até a praça, os outros Primordiais estão lá, e você vai encontrar uma elfa chamada Trice Bubut. Ela possui os dons da Vida; fale com ela e sua filha poderá viver outra vez".
O anão falhou em conter sua esperança, apoiando as grandes mãos nos ombros de Despin, e instantes depois retirando-as aparentemente por receio de poder macular um ser tão divino com sua mortalidade.
"Ó, grandioso Despin Hobbes, divino seja por eras e que seja louvado por todos! Muito, muito, muito obrigado! Minha casa está aberta para você para todo sempre, por todas as gerações que se seguirão à minha!!" disse Alfthur tropeçando em suas palavras, enquanto tropeçava no caminho até a praça para encontrar a elfa Trice.
"E ei, não deixe ela quebrar mais nenhuma caneca, elas valem mais do que isso!" disse Despin, mas o velho já estava longe demais. Suspirou fundo, e olhou para o teto da grande caverna. "Pela Grande Mãe...o que fizemos?"

Cornelius estava certo afinal, os pobres coitados daquele lugar tinham fé em alguma coisa: no fundo, todos alimentavam a esperança de que, um dia, os grandiosos e infalíveis Primordiais chegariam e lhes salvariam as vidas e se livrariam de todos os problemas que assolavam suas almas. O fato é que eles haviam chegado, e Despin estava longe de ter certeza de que ele e seu grupo inteiro seria capaz de acabar com todos os dragões daquele plano, e seja lá quem fosse a Imperatriz da qual tanto falavam. E agora, não era capaz nem de dar quinze passos sem ouvir seu nome sendo chamado em um canto das cavernas.

Aquilo era fama, grandeza? Parecia que sim, mas Despin sentia mais forte do que todos os sentimentos em seu peito a ironia de não querer toda aquela atenção depois de tanto tempo a desejando. Não fazia sentido ser lembrado agora - não tinham feito nada de significância desde que haviam sido abençoados pela força dos Salões da Criação. Por ora, seus maiores feitos consistiam em soltar Vahamoug para o plano material, que poderia causar algum desastre antes de voltar para o Abismo; e espalhar em alto e bom som o fato de que os Primordiais haviam voltado para restaurar a paz e derrubar a tirania dracônica - inclusive para o próprios dragões. Celebraria a fama e a glória para quando ela merecesse existir, mas por ora, não aceitaria que os sonhos de grandeza de sua vida inteira tivessem sido realizados. Honraria a promessa ao guardião da Forja de Sigil: seria antes de tudo, algo grandioso, para depois ser digno de ter qualquer grandiosidade atribuída por outros.

Não havia o que fazer: suas presenças já não eram segredo, e não seriam para mais ninguém naquelas terras em questão de dias. Restava apenas fazer dessa presença algo duradouro e benéfico na vida do que viviam como Alfthur e sua filha: presos e amedrontados por aqueles que os oprimiam. Sabia que, apesar de não aceitar a glória atribuída pelos habitantes de Black Hold a si mesmo, não seria capaz de apagar a esperança radiante que ele e seus companheiros trouxeram àquele lugar. Talvez se pudesse levar os indefesos para longe do Hold, ou levar os dragões para longe de lá... poderia começar a fazer uma diferença positiva e corrigir os futuros perigos causados desde que chegaram. A partir daí, partiriam para algo mais significativo, buscar as Palavras da Criação lá presentes e ir atrás dos dragões de alguma forma que pudessem os derrotar. Seriam a esperança daquele lugar, mas só seriam dignos da fé depositada em suas capacidades quando fizessem algo verdadeiramente bom àquelas pessoas. Aí sim, só então que se sentiria no direito de ser grandioso - mas não antes disso.
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Epic × 2!