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It's not bribing, it's promoting conversation with gold.
I finally got to read Tristian's letter. He said they found Dev in his cell, dead. It looked to be a suicide, but he's not so sure that it was. He doesn't think there will be an investigation into it, but I'm wondering if we should maybe go back there. I mean, that's where it seems to have all started. That's when Ezra started having the dreams and when all of this Stygion stuff got so bad. It would also be nice to see Tristian again. We could have dinner and maybe go for a walk and solve a murder together. That would be nice...

Anyway, so the day started off with Daksh asking if we all wanted to go into town to find a band to perform with our show. We all agreed and went into town. When we got there, we saw that a protest was underway and Kit locked onto a white dragon born. She was certain that this was the person who set our stuff on fire. And to be fair, she was right. When we first approached her, she was seemingly willing to talk to us, but Ezra made her uneasy so she bailed. We chased her and she ultimately confessed. Apparently it's because we're outsiders. It would seem that this town doesn't particularly like outsiders.
I coerced (with gold) a guard to tell us some more about this and what is happening in the town. Basically, he said that we should keep to ourselves because a lot of people won't like us and most guards will just ignore anything that happens to us. Presumably, that's what's happening with these murders. All of the survivors from the incident are now being found dead. That's one of the reasons we're in town is to also look for one of the survivors.

After speaking with him a while, we departed and found our way back to Daksh and Ash. We went for pizza a short while later since the three of us were not able to eat breakfast and it was okay. A little bit into our meal, I notice Kit jump up and run out. Ezra had called for help apparently. He was stopping a mugging or mugging someone? I never got the details worked out really, but this was one of the survivors from the incident. He eventually told us where another survivor is too. Thanks to gold. Money always talks, when will everyone learn this?

Then we set off to a temple to find the guy and get some answers. Personally, I think they're just killing them off because the accident "" didn't work. And almost anyone in this town that isn't an outsider is a suspect as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, Kit got distracted by a painting at the temple, she so easily distracted by things. I lost sight of the others for a minute because I didn't want to leave her alone, but I feel weird in here for some reason, I can't really explain it...
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It was the best of times... no, no it most definitely was not.
So you know those days where you wake up from an fantastic dream about beautiful fields and amazing creatures that fill you with peace and warmth, then you go about your day and everything is perfect? Nothing can take the beauty from the sky, or the joy from your heart? Well today was not one of those days.

It started off much like that, I had a great dream where a beautiful blue butterfly landed on me and filled me with peace. I thought it was a sign that today was going to be great. We went into town and witnessed a gathering in what I assume to be the main square. They were protesting outsiders coming in and taking jobs. Having been in the Denari clan, I have witnessed a few people feeling that they were wronged, but I was astounded by the amount of people and the hostility witnessed against someone who just happened to be born in a different part of the world. I mean I could understand it if outsiders were threatening in some way, but this was crazy.

Take the white dragon-born that Kit was talking to. I assume Kit suspected her of the fire that was set, but innocence is assumed until facts and evidence are provided in my opinion so I planned to be nice. But before any niceties could be exchanged, she insults me, telling Kit "You should choose your company more carefully". I was already a little irritated because we were supposed to be staying together and getting breakfast, but Kit always finds a reason to sneak off. But now before even talking to me this lady thinks I am bad company and not worthy of sitting with her for breakfast? Then, while trying to figure out why she had that prejudice against me, she turns around and tries to make me think she is burning me. My gnomish blood obviously helps see through illusions like this, but seriously? Great way to start the day.

Thankfully Daksh saved some breakfast for me, but I needed coffee after that. After getting the coffee and vowing to reset for a great day, we decided we needed to blend in a little better. So we went shopping. I thought I was doing well, finding styles that truly work with my personality. Apparently I was wrong. After hearing multiple people snickering at me and my attire, Daksh finally helped me "dress nicely". I felt like a doll whose owner wanted it as offensively colorful as possible. But apparently that is what thrives in this town. I was hit on numerous times, but all I had to do was mention that I was not wealthy, and they disappeared. I was quickly learning I did not like or fit into this city.

The main reasons we went into town was to find a band for the show tonight, and to look a little further into the mysterious deaths surrounding the flying airship. Well Daksh found the band fairly easy, we went to a jazz type bar in the seedier part of town and they actually sounded really good. Afterwards we were thinking about pursuing the leads we had about the deaths, but I was about done. Anytime we tried to do anything we were shot down for being Outlanders. Well I know of one way to get around prejudice. Gold is the bridge between classes.

I spoke with a "protector of the city" when everyone stopped for lunch. He gave me a few more details about the flying ship and the currently living survivors. There were 3, although he only knew of 2. First was Enaval, who he knew about because he was a regular occupant to the prison. He had thieving problems. Second was a some cleric of a good diety, who I later found out was K'Taro worshiper of Irori. FINALLY we were getting somewhere.

After thanking him with the gold, I headed back to Harper's Pizza Place, which smelled pretty good, and guess who found me? Enaval! Well he wasn't looking for me, but he decided to rob me. Wrong day. Using some tricks I picked up along the way, I disarmed and trapped him. I grabbed the crew and the officer and he confirmed it was Enaval. After some questioning, he provided K'Taro's name and where we could find him for real possible answers.

We are currently waiting in Irori's Temple, in hopes of speaking with him.

Maybe today is turning around!

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What makes a victory? Ninety percent survival? Seventy-five percent? Fifty? Or is it victory if even one survives to tell the tale of complete obliteration of the enemy? Is success measured by performance on the battlefield—feats never before observed? I heard once that there should never have to be a sacrifice, and it made sense when I heard it, but now, I am so confused as to what is right or good. Less than thirty percent of the men, women, and children who walked onto this field survived. Most who survived are wounded—some maimed for life. Certainly all are forever changed. One cannot watch cherished kin die brutally five feet away, and remain unharmed in the heart and mind. It is hard for me to count this as victory. I should find solace in the knowledge that we slowed bugbear advancement, but…I can’t.

The grave is being dug, and the field is being cleared of bodies. Some are quietly weeping as they stroke the cheek of a father, a son, a daughter, a mother, a friend. Others are wailing over the brutalized bodies of their love ones, and being drug from the field themselves. I want to help in the recovery of the bodies, but I am not strong enough to move them. I could move the women and children with my mind, but it seems too disrespectful not to lay my actual hands on their bodies, so I kneel just off the field, resenting my stature, weeping in despair for the killed and in self-loathing for my inability to be of use.

How many victories can a soul bear?
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post from July 20
Metal. There can't be enough swords to account for the air smelling of metal. I stand there stupidly wondering about the unique odors attached to different types of swords, when I realize I'm actually not standing at all. I am on my hands and knees, all four sunken into the red slush of mud, snow, and blood. It's not metal. It's blood I smell. It fills my nostrils. It has seeped into my clothes, my pores, my mind. I retch over and over, and finally my stomach yields what little it held as I shake and cry. The contents of my stomach barely disturb the gruesome muck rising between my fingers.

I become aware of sound and realize that I am sobbing, but that sound fades as I turn my head in the direction of the screams coming from all around me. The veterans I've been fighting alongside are almost all dead or dying around me. Blood flows from wounds made by hateful arrows, protruding from chests, backs, heads, and throats. I hear gasping and gurgling sounds and know there is nothing to be done for these men and women. I shift my gaze to the left and see Rara, still struggling to fight, despite what appear to be mortal wounds of her own. This propels me out of my stupor, and I make a move as if toward her, but she waves me onward. I fix my gaze on the coward at the end of the field holding the orb and gesturing. I hope he suffers the way my fallen brothers and sisters have, once those of us still standing reach him. I hope it's my blast that takes him, and may it burn slowly.
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Posted by the GM
Shadow War
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