Curse of the Crimson Throne 4E

A Logical Conclusion (Draft in Progress)

So there we were – putting fists into the face of nobility and smashing the fine cartilage on their Chelaxian noses into a spraying red mist of snot and blood. Wait – maybe I should back up a bit. Get a little of the foreplay in here. Right – take a drink, settle down a bit. Build up to the good parts.

Marshall wanted us to snatch this suspect, the street artistTrina – a chick I’d known from back in the day of flopping in flop houses and sleeping through hangovers with the rest of the beggars and drunks. Mission itself wasn’t complex – track down the dame, put her in a bag, and deliver her back to the Guard. The problem was in the ethics and intrigue surrounding the mission. See – I know for a good goddamn fact that no way Trina was involved in the King’s assassination. And I can tell Crysidia knew it too, when you get to know a commander you can tell when they’re giving orders they believe in, and when they’re just relaying the party line. The Queen had announced, publicly, that this street artist was wanted for the death of the King – and of course the whole city was up in arms turning over every mansion, house, flat and crate in a back alley to find her. That’s not how you go about things – telling everyone you got a suspect before the fact.

Good thing for Harrows Justice – I knew where this chick slept. No I hadn’t bedded her, but I’d bedded nearby her, if you get my drift. Flop house tenanments like she was in – they didn’t have much of a nightly rate and it was pretty much come and go as you please if you get my drift.

to be continued

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Into the Labyrinth
Harrow's Justice descends into Arkony politics

Fresh from the death of the Emperor, the party makes their way back to the relative safety of the Toy Shop. At the emperor’s haven, they had taken three paintings done by Escrime while he was still having his Visions. Other loot of importance had been slim to none, but the group did manage to spread the word that petty tyrants trying to replace the emperor would be dealt with in similar manner.

At the Toy Shop, the paintings come under tighter scrutiny. The best explanations they can come to seem to indicate that a creature from the hells has manage to reach out and gift a group of artists with visions which elevate each ones art beyond what they were previously capable. All of them are now dead excepting Escrime. Upon the death of King Arabasti, the visions left Escrime.

It is currently theorized that the creature which was granting these abilities to the artists has now made a deal with The Queen, which accounts for her recent supernatural abilities. The exact nature of the pact and it’s participants remains a mystery – indeed, it remains just a theory. Meanwhile, we have discovered that not only was Vincarlo Orsini last seen while investigating the Arkony’s, but Seneschal X is now believed to have been in Arkony “care” since the night of the Regicide.

In the morning, the group arrives at the Arkony household. Lachellis and Larisha wait outside while the rest enter to negotiate.

Bahor Arkony is lounging in his spa when Harrow’s Justice arrive. Asked about the Seneschal and Orsini, he is quick to foist the heroes off in the direction of his sister, Melyia Arkony, whom he claims is heading her own faction of the family. She is currently in possession of the family’s dungeons, known as the Vivified Labyrinth. Arkony gives directions to the entrance, there on the estate grounds, and washes his hands of it. The impression given is one of internal family strife, which we will either clean up, or die within – and Arkony doesn’t really care which end comes first.

Entering the Labyrinth, the party finds a descending pit, with various bridges and little light. Shortly after entering, we confront the first guards of the place, a group of creatures made animate via spores which turn them into a kind of living undead. One escapes us, which will likely vex our progress later…

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Into the Labyrinth Part II
Blind, Bound and Bitten by Maia

After the nasty encounter with the algea/fungus creatures, we followed Bahor Arkony’s direction and take the rope bridge to the right. Luckily Arith Porphyria and I were able to find the entrance to the Labyrinth using the directions and also our perception abilities. The door was well concealed, we would have never found it on our own, but then we have the feeling that Bahor Arkony could care less if we live or die. But we need to find Orsini and perhaps even the Seneschal in this endless maze.

We traverse through many rooms, Arith Porphyria and I take note of grooves in the halls, which indicate where a new wall might emerge at any time. We take care not to be separated when the floors shift and do what we can to maintain our balance.

We manage to set off several arcane symbol traps, the first set off a massive fireburst, doing plenty of damage to Arith Porphyria and Larisha Biora, but Lachellis managed to side-step the blast and I was lucky enough to be out of range. And then another room, another blast. It was getting pretty dicey and we were weary of all the tricks and traps. We discovered a room with 3 chests, each one had writing. On one wall facing the chests is a jewel carved to look like a tiger’s face and Larisha Biora confirmed it had some kind of magic. First chest said something about a caress and the future, I ran my hands over the face – nothing happened. I opened the middle chest that said ‘Life within, Death without’ and a gods-damned cobra jumps out and attacks me. Didn’t see any airholes, how long could it have been in there? I take the hit (first of many gods-damned snake attacks that day) and we score some sweet potions of regeneration, a healing power salve and other healing potions. Worth the bite? Definitely.

Lachellis opens the first chest and gets poisoned for his effort and nada in the chest. Third one says ‘breathe and be saved’ or something and so Arith Porphyria opens it from afar and the thing bursts with dust and still no loot. Worthless. I hate this stupid labyrinth.

Then we head to another dead end, but at least see the symbol on the floor before we enter this time. Then the halls shift again and we hear someone whimpering. We find another trap room (spikes in the floor and walls – sweet) and discover Orsini in a room, all beat to hell. Only it’s not Orsini. It’s this nasty demon and she nets us and blinds us. Pretty tough against trapped blind people eh? Like fish in a barrel! No sport in that really. She didn’t take my taunts well and unloaded about a dozen crossbow arrows into me for my sneers. Wench.

Another lovely discovery – the silver dagger I picked up at Gaidran Lam’s place about a zillion years ago? It’s a spirit spy for the gods-damned Arkony!!! Damn thing has been in my pouch for months spying on us! Must have known I count my gold pretty zealousy and didn’t try to rob me blind (would have definitely detected that). Damn thing turned into a snake and bit the hell out of me for quite some time and it met its maker finally. No more tag alongs.

So we kill the wench and find some magic item on her and now we’re back to the maze. Did I mention I hate this labyrinth? What a bad idea to come down here. There better be some massive reward for saving Orsini.

There we were: the Arkony Labyrinth by Lachellis

So there we were – up to our tits in trouble above ground, and now wandering deeper and deeper into the Arcony Labyrinth. I goddamn knew it. You can’t fucking trust a Chelaxian noble like the Arkony. Not only did it turn out those rat-bastard, coin-hoarding, two-faced, thin skinned sons of bitches were behind [[:Vincarlo Orsini | Orsini’s]] kidnapping, but now we got set up to take the fall for some family pissing match between big-daddy Arcony and big-momma Arcony by the name of [[:Melyia Arkony | Melyia]].

I’m telling you, this is why they have arson. Someone needs to take a torch to this place, and the Arcony Manor while they’re at it. If this is a family “training” ground, they ain’t training Soldiers or judges or decent civil servants – they’re training cut throat assassins and spies. All the rooms and tunnels move around, everything you fucking touched is trapped, and there’s no rhyme or reason to it. You bunch up to keep together so you don’t lose one when all the sudden the tunnels change – and then when a blast-trap goes off all your knickers light on fire together. Or they give you three boxes each with some fucking horse shit puzzle riddle on it, but they’re all just versions of one-touch death. I mean I took something out of a box that said “the life is the death which is the life except for death” or some horse shit like that, I don’t know – as soon as I touched it I dropped to the floor nearly dead. Had [[:35520 | Larisha]not been nearby I’d probably have been goners, telling you this over an ale with Father Caiden.

And of course I’m about as useful as a third tit on a donkey down here – I can’t take the lead because I can’t see the traps, I can’t handle a rear guard action because we have to stay close together, I can’t even take the bulk of the pain – like my normal role in life – because all the traps are set to go off in a wide area. Goddamn traps.

And it’s not just physical traps – they got shit down here aimed to get in your mind, fuck up around inside there. One tunnel looked like a jungle – painted, but painted real well. So as we’re looking around we all see images of ourselves dying – real nice. Nice fucking touch.

So we get along through a bunch of these rooms, are we making progress? I don’t fucking know, we could be no further from the beginning than when we started for all I know. We just figured out how to get past this pin cushion trap, when we find a side fountain and there is [[:Vincarlo Orsini | Vincarlo]] – heavily injured leaning up against a fountain. Soldier to Soldier I went to help him – gave him a thorough once over, and he looked in bad shape. I even checked to make sure it was him, yup – bad thumb and all. So I figured things were looking up. But it turns out it wasn’t Vincarlo because gods know that wold be too goddamn easy, but some demon masquerading as him. I guess Larishafigured it out – she’s smart and squinty-eyed that way, but instead of warning us with a warning like, oh…I don’t know “Pharasma’s nuts! That’s a cocksucking demon who’s going to kill us all!” No instead she bats dreamy eyes at Arith – and of course he’s so busy watching his hair wave in the wind that he misses it. I shouldn’t be too hard on him, hell I thought it was Orsini.

Well this fight breaks out that is everything that’s wrong with this labrynth wrapped up into one badassed demon hellion minx. She manages to snag, blind, stun, daze, drop, damn near just about all of us. I get the bead on her first, and make sure she pays attention to me – but she goddamn moves like shit through a goose and I can barely keep up with her. She’s bouncing all over the goddamn place. And Maiadra “Maia” is fighting with her own short sword or something. Well like the good Soldier I stay on her and try to keep her from getting away – even as she’s pounding the bloody snot out of my hide tell I’m dropped. End was a little fuzzy there, being face down and choking on the last drops of my life blood and all. I’m pretty sure Larisha came through with the healing again, and Arith doing what he does and Maia finally beating her sword so she can join in. Finally we manage to take the hellspawn down – but that was WAY harder than it needs to be.

If we’re going to take on the powers that be we either gotta game up or get outta town. I’m thinking of talking to Maya – it’s time to take my nightly activities to the next gear. Knock over a tax collector or fine assessor or something – use the coin to upgrade what we’re carrying so that we can match the goods being levied at us. And of course – we still gotta find Vincarlo in this hellhole.

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Into the Labyrinth Pt III
There we were: Pulling a Cat out of the Bag

So there we were: we’d just barely managed to scrape enough rest together to get Harrows Justice back to a semblance of working order after that hell-spawn demon lady. But we were stuck on the wrong side of the spike trap room – River used some of his woojoo to open a door on the far side and Arith disabled the trap for a short time again.

On the other side of a door was a bag, when Maia threatened to shoot it the damn thing hopped to a wall – so I guessed something living and smart was in there. Well, not smart enough to avoid getting put in a bag in the middle of a trapped dungeon but smart enough to know that Maia’s aim is pretty damn good. Because our time is short to cross the room we all run across and file into a thin tunnel with iron maidens set in alcoves on either side. I bring up the rear. Well – as if we couldn’t see that coming, that tunnel is trapped to all fuck and gone. I mean damn. They pulled out the stops on this one. The floors tilt back and forth like a pivot trying to dump people in front of the iron maidens – and those iron maidens let out deafening shrieks from one side while spears lanced out from the others. Of course half of our group ended up deaf or skewered, or both. I managed to keep my feet and not fall into the line of fire. I opened up the bag and was surprised to find Thrice, bound up like a holiday turkey with a gag in his mouth.

Talk about luck! No one knows traps better than Thrice – and before you can say “How do we know you’re not a demon-whore-spawn sent to kill us and just illusioned to look like Thrice” I had his hands and feet untied. He stepped right up and right into it, I like his style. Very professional. He was elbows and knees moving up and down that tunnel disarming the traps. It was literally pulling the cat out of the bag – I couldn’t think of a better ally to have in a place like this. If I was the third tit on the donkey – he was the whole fucking stallion when it came to making short work of traps and puzzles.

While Thrice was just finishing up the last trap the dungeon did another one of those tunnel shifting things, fortunately we were all bunched up in this tunnel so none of us got left behind. But the way we had come in and changed – and out of this new room came hell-spawn-whore’s bigger, badder, and madder sister – a demon named Sivit. Body of a centaur, top of a lion, female – I think – but wielding two nasty assed kukris and all draped in chains. This was the demon that had captured Thrice – so we all knew we had a fight on our hands and got our game face on.

to be continued

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The Undead and Friends

After escaping the labyrinth and dropping Orsini off at a safehouse outside of town, we are called upon to look into the disappearance of some locals. More unpaid work. What am I, a charity? I hope word doesn’t get around about all this pro bono work, legit clients will think they can pay us less for all the nasty work we have to do and that is just not happening.

We get to town and sure enough, vampires. A whole town-full of them. Swarming, making me shoot River in the face (which was kinda funny, glad I didn’t kill the kid), and of course leaving a trail of blood and dust along the way. I hate country folk, not enough sense to protect themselves against creatures in the night.

We track the vamp to this building and sure enough, it’s filled with drooling townsfolk (luckily they weren’t vamps) and these ridiculous constructs that could just transport away when we got near them. Then we get to the fun part, more vampires and undead who just keep going and going. Then the floating brain, wraiths, more vampires and this weird little blue troll that said something about Rolfe (really creepy necromancer).

Great, that guy again. Oh and I had to shoot at River again, but mustered as much will power as I could not to hurt him too much. Stupid vampires. Well, at least River realizes how effective I am with a bow.

I hope we can loot this room with the rubies on the sarcophagi, the silver bust, etc. We have to destroy their sleeping places anyhow right? May as well make some money off this job, having not been paid in more than a month! Arrows are not cheap.

River’s Perspective

by River

So now we’re on the run again. This seems to happen to us every now and then. Almost regularly. Luckily for us we can think of at least one errand outside of town that needs doing while the heat in town cools a bit. So we all skip out and head for Orsini’s safe house in a little place a few days away.

“Safe” is a misnomer here, as it turns out there’s a small problem with vampires who’ve started to predate on the locals. Sure enough, we go into town and the bad guys take that moment to attack. It never ends, I tell you! To make matters worse, Maia’s so damn weak willed that the head vamp decides I need to die first and she’s his best tool to do it. So he digs deep into her head and has her fire that fucking bow to deliver two arrows into my chest! Took him all of a quick blink her way to accomplish this monumental task, too. Gods damned Lachellis was little better, succumbing just as quickly. But then, convincing Lachellis to do violence against someone is like asking a fish to swim. Maia, I expect more from. Unless theres’ money involved.

We beat back the minions, but the boss got away and he seemed annoyed at us personally, like he’d seen us before. We’ve run into vampires twice already, once being those little ones in Old Town. I’m wondering if there’s a connection. Anyway, he vows revenge and flees. I figure he’s going for Orsini’s to make it personal, but turns out he went to ground to rebuild. We track him back to his hideout and start into the hellhole.

The whole thing goes relatively well until the end. That last fight’s rough. And of course, again, fucking Maia shoots me! Turns out though, that this whole thing is tied to Rolf. That bastard keeps popping up. The vamp was one thing, but the real brains here appears to have been some critter like the other blueskins we found at Rolf’s last lair. Perhaps he really is the mastermind of our troubles, afterall.

Routing all that out has worked out relatively well, though the party’s now aware of my more recent companion. I’m not ready to chat about the reasons for that yet. Hopefully I can postpone that talk for a bit. There’s still research to be done.

The following story occurs directly following this session River’s Renunciation

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The Anti-Pharasma Temple
A form of religious debate

The Anti-Farasma Temple

Lachellis’s Perspective

So there we were – rolling out of the vampire crypt with all the goodies they’d been taken from travelers and villagers. The threat of the vampire clan had been vanquished by yours truly, Harrows Justice, and yes we are accepting donations and hirings – talk to Maia for details. I think our band is like a big fucking heavy rock. We take a while to get rolling – I mean we only hit every single pissing wrong outlying house before finding the right one and I’m sure the vamps got a few extra kills – but boy, when we start rolling, look out. We will go forward with heartburn and smash everything in our way. Nice to see Larisha take a hit like that too – builds character.

Back at the ranch and sacked out until noon the next day – just in time for lunch – and head down to the chow hall of the ranch. Orsini, Trina and Neolandis are already there. I check in with Trina – since I wasn’t able to the night before really. Find out she’s adjusting just fine to life on the run and in hiding outside the city. Turns out she had quite the adventuring background and is even something of an expert in Schauntee ways. I don’t want to speak for the company – so I let Arith know and leave it at that.

We’re getting good information on the path into the desert, which passes through KaraMagva and about that Derro we just killed. Second time we’ve messed with those three-fingered blue-skinned devil midgets. Orsini confirms that the Derro, like the ones we found with Rolf and the one in the vampire master’s crypt have been a bane on Korvosa for awhile now. Mataya had some insights as well – being the only one able to read that pictograph note – it seems after failing Rolf in some way those Derro have all been kicked out.

All our meals are interrupted when Zilaro’s ghost appears at the end of the table, having swiped Larisha’s Harrow cards. And Zilaro starts good god damn reading – right there on the table. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think Zilaro would harm us, even being a ghost and all. But I don’t like ghosts. And I certainly don’t like people playing with strands of fate. And when it’s a ghost doing the weaving – well I’m out there. So I leave, relieve myself behind a bush and of course it’s just killing me what might be on those cards.

Larisha’s poring over them, like the fact the ghost just dealt herself in to a hand of Towers was no bother at all. Of course Farisma’s Finest is hummana-humman this, and hummana-hummana that. All that Harrow stuff don’t make much sense to me anyways about which card is positioned where. Crazy fucking rules if you ask me. But I can read pictures. And in the row for the past there’s the Courtesan, obviously referring to the Queen of Whores. And then there’s this circled blue lizard. Clear as day. I thought everyone realized but I had to point out that was probably the agent of ZonK’thon, whose teeth are now sitting atop the Whore Queen’s crown. I mean good goddamned – you learn that all the problems of Korvosa, this weird ass demon infestation and manifestation – it all links back to some bad-assed old blue lizard – and there one shows up in the cards dealt by ghost of a dead gypsy princess – I’m not a soothsayer but even I don’t need to consult a book of rules to know that’s an important thing.

So Larisha’s all still hummana-hummana when Zilaro waves her hands over the cards, and I swear it was like I was looking down on the palace, the ziggurat, from very high, the whole thing fit in a space no larger than the cards themselves. But I could see amazing detail of the figures moving in the image. It was some sort of historical lesson – like painted pictures being flipped in front of us but the figures were moving. First it was the Schauntee getting run out of Korvosa just in front of the Chelaxian – but the blue dragon, or some piece of him stayed behind. Then it was us getting run out of Korvosa – and still some aspect of the blue dragon there. Then it showed us traveling along our happy merry-go-fuck-me-way with an army of insect helmeted guys chasing us – Arith and I figure they were the Red Mantis assassins and we hadn’t seen the last of them. Then it appeared there was an agent of ZonK’thon amongst us (I figure this would’ve been whip-chain girl). Of course we all in Harrows Justice see these images, but not Orsini, Neolandis or anyone else – obviously crazy travels in company – but doesn’t take well to strangers. When we look up Zilaro is gone – and both Arith and I are eying the door. It’s time to move on.

Still we had one more time for a harrow reading while we were saddling up the horses so I asked Larisha to deal a hand out – and I asked who was the rightful King or Queen of Korvosa – or who as the rightful power? I figure if we’re fixing to put the regi in regicide with the Queen might not hurt to know who’s next up – and whether we’re just going to have to dance this dance all over again. The long and short of it, and with Larisha’s it’s always more the long than the short (I swear overhearing her prayers are night is just another reason to stay away from organized religion!) we get that yes, there is a monarch in waiting, and that’s a sign of hope, and that they’re actually on their way. On their way where? Oh no fucking clue from the cards there. They could be on their way on a boat, on a horse, or all metaphorical like on their way working through challenges. But the cards indicate there’s a rightful ruler – and I guess I’m good with that. Higher powers working and all that.

We made haste for the exit, Arith made Trina and offer she couldn’t refuse (like any woman with or without a pulse can refuse him) and all seven of us are up in the saddle off on the road to KragMava. Thrice was staying with Orsini, but I have a feeling we’ll run into him again – though hopefully this time not in a bag.

Travel was mostly uneventful. I always enjoy traveling – getting outside of the city. I haven’t been all that many places so each journey is usually heading somewhere new. Got a chance to talk to Mataya a bit. Put a boot in her ass though about all this hand waving and fretting about how cool Harrow’s Justice is, how Harrow’s Justice is the neat, how she’s heard about all we’ve done. Hopefully I got her head straight on the notion that there is no “her” and “us”. Thinking like that gets people killed. She’s part of the group now – for better or worse, which come to think of it could also get her killed. Now it’s just us – she’s part of the team, part of the company. I also told her to find herself within the Harrows Cards – figure out a card that embodies who she is and own that image, that meaning. The people in Korvosa need something iconic to believe in, something that doesn’t have a last name or a personal history – something larger than life. Like Black Jack. That’s how I came on the Rabbit Prince concept. Hopefully it works for her. I also gave her a symbol for Caiden Cailyen – and told her a little bit of father’s history.

I had a good long talk with Arith around the campfire one night. See the way I figure it – battle shapes a person – it’s the crucible to forge your nature. Anyone can blah-blah talk chat-chat about who they are and what they’re for – but until they have to test that in battle it’s just talk. For me – personally – losing everything I ever held dear or valued has probably saved my life more than once. Because when it comes to battle – you have to fight like you have nothing to lose – or everything to lose. Anything less – anything in between, any hesitation or pause will get you, or someone on your side killed. When facing enemies you don’t stop to count numbers, you need to move forward and engage – calculating odds is something you do when the fight is over and you can count how many bodies are lying around you. That’s martial abandon – where everything you have, are and could be rests on that one exchange, that one interplay of thrust and parry, and in all that focus nothing else matters. Not tomorrow, not the day before, not what comes next. That focus on the one enemy you must kill to the exclusion of all else.

That’s the difference between a soldier a warrior and a leader – it’s all about purpose. A soldier is someone who wouldn’t fight normally – but is trained to fight on orders. That’s all the purpose there is for a soldier – the command to be follow. A warrior on the other hand issomeone who fights, purpose or no, because the fight is there. I mean, there is no grand scheme, no master plan – it’s you and the brother or sister next to you in battle, and that’s all that matters. That’s me. Sure I’m a soldier when I was in the Guard I fought on order – and I still would if I found someone besides Arith I’d ever take orders from.

But half the time as a warrior you just start fighting and you find the purpose in the midst of a battle. Pick the biggest, baddest, ugliest, meanest, toughest, most-unlikely-to-succeed-against foe you can – pick ‘em out and charge them because that’s the only place you’ll find a challenge worthy of testing yourself. Maybe that’s why I got such a hard-on for the Queen – for taking her out. Go figure. Maybe there’s something into that. Anyways Arith – he’s different. He’s a leader – he can define the purpose. That’s why he gets to make the calls – though I’m not sure he realizes it yet. He’d make a good Marshall or General – maybe even a King. Though I’d hate to see him become Chelexian by too much exposure to the system. Being on the outside is good for him – makes him realize the consequence of his calls.

Well a few days after that talk we came upon a camp that had been attacked. Looked like some teleporting types, folks who can blink like Arith, well they came up and grabbed some travelers. Me – I’m all for a fight but I defer to Arith here – and he makes the call to go after them. We track them to the entrance of a cave. Inside is a nasty looking set of rocks, coming down from the top of the cave and up from the bottom to meet in the middle like some hideous grin. Larisha spotted a Farasma symbol to the side – fortunately for us. Apparently you have to sacrifice some blood – make it painful, to bypass the trap. Nothing that I haven’t given before so that was easy enough. Just put a knife through the hand, twist a half circle and move on. Everyone else – you thought they were trying to have a contest of “who can spill the least drops”. Bunch of pansies.

Now of course by this point we’ve had a minor theological debate on whether these folks were really Farasmian followers like you find in Korvosa, or some kind of anti-Farasma faction. It’s interesting – I got two answers. Larisha was from the anti-Farasma camp – that this was some sort of heretical offshoot. Arith was more nuanced, which is surprising to hear nuance from a guy who’s cape is always fluttering in the wind like he’s posing. But he pointed out every religion has groups within it to ‘do the dirty work’, indicating he was perhaps just such a person for his God, and that these nutballs may be such a faction. It’s all blah-blah hummana hummana to me – I don’t care of the politics of the lobster before it goes into the pot – and these guys in the cave, they were about to meet the pot.

Having disarmed the trap we still knew it’d be hard going to get through – and chances were high the enemy was waiting on the other side. Naturally I went first. Wasn’t as bad as I thought, what didn’t give way crumbling around the edges I scraped through pretty well – though I put a tear in my cloak and almost lost a pouch. Once I cleared the other side three guys were waiting for me, I barely got a look before the whole world went black. And I’m not talking the black of night, where you still have the light of the moon or the stars, or even the black of a room inside where you can still sense that somewhere – nearby – there is some light. This was pitch fucking dark. Like you’d been shoved inside a bag, the bag put in a barrel, the barrel sealed and put in a box, and the box buried six feet under. And then people started hitting you with weapons.

And here I am – getting pounded on by these three goons and I can’t see a damn thing. So I start hitting back. Do I know what I’m hitting? Fuck no. Does it matter? Not really. Do I know how much damage I’m doing? Fuck no. Does it matter? Again…not really. See I know what my role is – get in the thick of it and hold attention until people above my pay grade can figure out what to do. I could be knocking Arith or Mataya to the ground for all I know but I assumed they had the smarts to get out of the magical darkness. I figure as long as I can keep the three occupied, the three smarter members of the group would figure out a way to lift the darkness. I’m not too worried, I’m pretty damn sure I can outlast any Farasma-worshipping crybaby goth candy-assed fae-weave-wearing wannabe. And you know what? I was fucking right! Sure enough – the darkness lifts – and I’ve got two bodies around my feet. Good gear on them too – like whoever their sugar mommy was paid well – too bad I got blood all over their fancy pants. One guy gets away, disappearing into a wall where Larisha swears is another giant Farasma symbol. We hang long enough to get our breaths back, just enough time for them to set up all the defenses they’ll need, and then we head in to follow them.

We come into a room with a huge encircled space on the far side, surrounded by more of those goon-guys and one evil looking bitch. The anti-Larisha as it were – figurin’ they both worship Farasma. In three of us are three Cyclops – but their powder puffs. Hit hard but go down quick. And this room? The walls – covered in all the nasties you’d expect in a meat cleaning shop and some weird laboratory combined. I’m just beginning to enjoy my newfound ability to see when, of course, it all goes back again. Fortunately I’ve keyed in on my opponent, the anti-Larisha chick – I know she’s the brains of the outfit. Even though I can’t see a thing – I can sense where the enemy is. So I move forward. To engage. I have no doubt this is going to be one hell of a nut-roll. My first move out one of those Cyclops hit me back into a wall pinning me on two hooks. But I’ll get off the hooks – and I’ll move forward. No grand scheme – no master plan – just stick to that witch-bitch and keep hitting until I feel her bones crack and break beneath my polearm. That’s the abandon.

Larisha’s Prayer

Oh, Pharasma, this is very exciting! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to do your work. So, in case you were paying attention to other things that were happening today, and I can’t really imagine that you were, but just in case…. Let me tell you about today’s exciting adventure. Did I already call it exciting? Well, I probably did, but it was very exciting. So…

I’m sure that you were paying attention to what happened this morning because what happened this morning could not possibly have happened without you. There we were at breakfast, planning our next step in our somewhat kinda sideways war against the Queen. We were sitting at breakfast with Orsini (wow, Orsini!) and Trina was there, and as we’re discussing our trip to the Shonti lands. Orsini tells us that Trina knows a lot about the Shonti. How perfect is that? I mean, I know that Orsini knows so much more than we will ever find out. But, oh! I’m sorry, I was talking about Trina. So…

So we start talking about taking Trina with us and I wonder why we even discussed it. It was a foregone conclusion. We are going to the Shonti, Trina knows about the Shonti, Fate happens! Sometimes I wonder why you don’t just strike all of us with some sort of glowing deific hammer. But then I realize that it must be hard to deal with mere mortals. And even the smart ones like River must seem pretty stupid to you.

Anyway, there we were at the table, and of course it’s a great day for fate. Because there is Zolara just sitting there with us at the table as clear as anything. And here’s what’s cool. She’s even visible to Orsini and Neolandis. So of course she deals Harrow for us, and it’s all about our mission and the Queen. And then she does this really cool thing where she shows us… I don’t even know what to call it! A waking vision of forces, moving across Korvosa. There is us, and the Red Mantis, and it’s pretty obvious that they are trailing us and we don’t have much time to find and get help from the Shonti.

But none of this is the really cool part, is it? The really cool part is when we find an abandoned camp, and it leads us to an heretical sect of your religion, who worship you through pain blood and death. I mean, what kind of nonsense is that?! It’s true that you are a god of death, but that’s sort of because you’re against un-death. Not because we should kill people in your name….

So I did a wonderful thing and led Harrow’s justice through their traps and portals until we managed to kill them all in your name. Well, not exactly killing them in your name, not like they were killing people in your name. I mean, it wasn’t really done for worship of you, except that I worship you and I wasn’t going to let them get away with that. I mean, you didn’t like what they were doing, right? So it was good for us to kill them, right? Because if you didn’t want us to kill them, you would not have let us find them. You do control that? Because otherwise I might feel really bad about encouraging my party to kill other worshipers of my God. So I hope that’s what you wanted, okay? And if that’s not what you wanted, then you need to let me know and I’ll be really sorry, but sometimes I’m going to get it wrong. But I think this is what you wanted us to do.

It was pretty hard, though. I suppose that this is just another trial on my way to becoming what you need me to be. Sort of like putting up with Lachellis, drinking all the time and making lewd remarks.

So, after all the fighting was over, I took all of their holy symbols, and I will take them back to the mother Church, where they can be given to real worshipers of your real purpose and your real word, and not some crazy people who think that they have to hurt others in order to please you. If you really want pain as a sacrifice, I would think that you get enough of it in the medicine that we perform and in the terrible chores we have to do in putting down the dead. But you don’t want that, do you?

Do you?

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Into the Bowels of Kaer Maga

So there we were – stinking of stale troll guts and fighting for our lives on the intersection of Chickenshit lane and Horseshit alley in a bad part, of a bad district, of the bad city of Kaer Maga . And things were going badly. Harrows Justice versus the Slaughterhouse gang – outnumbered two to one.

Four seconds earlier Arith and I were holding the front line, the only line, between the gang and the softer members of Harrows who were doing their part to even the odds.

Three seconds ago the Boys swarmed Arith attacking him from all sides and two seconds ago he went down faster than the dress on a two-snip whore on payday with the Guard.

One second ago the Boys queued up on me for an encore performance of the gang-stomp. I was barely hanging on as it was, one working tendon in my knee, an intact collarbone, and the grace of Father Cailean all I had left. As another round of blows started falling I felt the tendon snap and recoil under the grating edge of a blade, my collarbone cracked and crumbeled under an axe strike and Father Cailean left to get a drink.

Right now? My head bouncing off the cobblestone – tasting broken tooth, bloody breath from a punctured lung and the bile of my own mortality – I could see – just as my vision began to darken – the Boys swarm to rain certain-fucking-death on the rest of Harrows Justice and I have just one final, enduring thought.

I love this fucking town.

We came to Kaer Maga for two reasons. Neither of which originally was to get the snot stomped out of us. Our primary reason was as stopover point on our way into the Cinderlands – sell our old shit, buy some new shit, and stock up on some other shit in the last place to understand roofs and a wall for a thousand miles. I’ve heard rumors of the Shoanti] in the Cinderlands, bunch of bloodthirsty savage barbarians. Meeting Thousand-Bones, I don’t know, the old fart had more wisdom than teeth, which wasn’t hard – but his son – what’s his face – would probably skin me alive as soon as look at me twice. Yeah best to stop over in Kaer Maga and gear up before heading into the hell lands.

The other reason kind of fell into our blood-stained laps. The traveler we rescued from the crazy Pharasma -bitch was Piety Winnesten, a high muckity-muck of the Church of Abadar, you know, those banker types who won’t get involved in anything as long as their palms are greased? We must maintain strict neutrality even as people starve on the street and children die from the plague because an ever-loving Whore Queen is calling the shots and declared martial law outlawing everything but saluting the high fucking Cheliaxian flag? Yeah – well to Abadar, the Crown Hag is just another client and they don’t want to get involved in local politics.

Yeah, that, Church of Abadar.

Long story short of it the high-holy fence sitters had been guarding some seriously bad ass artifacts from the Thassalonian age, you know way back when Aroden was a corporal. Something called the Sword of Lust, one of seven artifacts held by these ancient evils called Runelords got burgaled out from Abadar nose by a spell-caster by the name of Tarina. Word had it Tarina was in or heading to Kaer Maga, so Piety Winnesten and her two Grey Guardsmen were traveling to Kaer Maga when they were kidnapped by the Pharasma crazies. Her Guardsmen were turned into dust, and they were working Winnesten over to turn her into…well something else. You want the details? Ask fucking River. The kid understands this fucking stuff, I’m a Soldier, the extent of my knowledge on celestial alignments is how to line up the whitewashed rocks outside the barracks to mark a path from bunk to shithole. All this hummana hummana bullshit realms and magical states of being mojo is way above my paygrade.

Apparently the Runelords created a sword for each vice – though, not to brag, I’ve got all the sword of lust I need right here! The swords are sleeping though, and come to mention it so are the Runelords, and if they’re ever activated in total it will be the end of the world, fire and brimstone, all that. Well somebody’s done a pretty good job of acquiring, and I use that word the same way Thrice would, the artifacts.

Anyways Piety Benchsitter offered us ten-large in gold to get the sword back and I swear Maia got an erection at the offer. Even got some myself. That’s good pay, and the charity work has never been good for her spirits. How hard could it be?

Walking around Kaer Maga is like bedding your girlfriends sister compared to Korvosa. Both cities are full of curves, both can provide you with just about everything you need if you know where to look, but at first glance they’re totally different – and that’s hot – but over time you realize they both fall not too far from the same tree of bat-shit crazy.

Korvosa has a single ruling monarch, who is fucking insane, and Kaer Maga has about a dozen of factions ruling the city – all of which appear equally insane. No I don’t have the goddamn time to tell you all about them, I’ll do it later. Anyways – back to my point, in Korvosa you can get away with a crime if you can pay the sin tax, in Kaer Maga you can get away with a crime if the person you’re criminalizing doesn’t fight back hard enough. In both cities you’ll get knifed if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, it’s just that in Kaer Maga it will be a street thug and in Korvosa it will be a Grey Maiden. Both cities need a good injection of justice – but that’s another matter. To be honest I’m still torn – would I want one crazy over me with all power, or like twenty crazies ruling all over me splitting all the power up. Have to think about that for awhile. Father Cailean willing, we’ll get an opportunity for that kind of change in Korvosa] before this is all over.

This is a city consumed with its own business – and one thing we struggled with – that doesn’t mean they know a lot of what’s going on in the city. But everyone knows what’s going on with money – how much they have, how they’re going to make more, and who’s going to give it to them. It’s a city full of Maias, and I’m pretty sure it’s driving our Maia nuts. We split into two groups, the kid and Maia working one angle and Arith, Larisha and myself working another. Not sure what River and Maia did but we three went around a handful of stalls in different districts.

We spread some gold in some palms to find someone who could introduce us around and help us find people. We also went to the Augurs, one of the factions ruling the city. I’d heard that the Augurs were all Trolls who foretold the future by reading their own intestines – if only Larisha did that with the Harrows Cards I might pay more attention. Since we already needed some intel, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to catch this show. It was worth every gold we paid too – its something you’ve got to see for yourself trust me. Your teeth go on edge, the air gets, heavy, the troll rips open its guts spraying blood all over a linen cloth set before, then starts rooting through. The troll confirmed that the Sword of Lust was in the city, but to tell us where, it’d need a name of who possessed it. Then it stuffed its guts back inside and leaned back, obviously you don’t get too do too many followup questions so we decided to come back the next day.

Maia and River had struck out because they hadn’t realized the golden rule in Kaer Maga, those who spend the gold make the rules. Larisha and I went out so she could visit her Temple and I could make sure she didn’t visit it as a corpse. Turns out there’s a Temple to Father Cailean just across the street from Pharsma so while she was inside hummana-hummana I wandered over. Man – what a fucking place. Drinkers, and brawlers, and brawling while drinking. Some oak of creature over in the corner was running arm-wrestling scams, a scam because he trounced me like I was somebodies kid and I know I used to win most of the Guard bouts. Still – there was something…I don’t fucking know, off you know, with the place. Like I got to go back home, only to find that although home had stayed the same, I hadn’t. I mean everyone there was fucking drinking up a storm and fighting – and don’t get me wrong I’ve done my share of that too. But not lately, at least the drinking part. Somehow, being in there, I felt like a stranger coming back to a familiar place, rather than back home. Fuck me, I don’t fucking know what I mean, forget I brought it up.

We get back to the inn to find that we’d already been visited to set up a meet with someone who could tell us where Tarina was. Long story short –we head out to this stall and there’s a merchant who sells low grade magical goodies, you know the kind – little knicknacky shit that makes life easier – everything from a bridle that turns into a horse to that magic lantern he swiped off the dead guy in the alley. I mean, you don’t go looking too hard at these or you might see the blood stains on them. Well this merchant has a problem, and before he’s going to tell us where Tarina can be found we have to solve his problem. And that problem is the Slaugherhouse Boys – what you thought I’d forgot about that? I was just laying the groundwork you know, how we got to there.

So we schedule a throw down with the Slaughterhouse Boys for a few days from now, and by schedule I mean plan to ambush. That leaves us some more time to finish up our shopping, and get back to the Augurs. This time Maia wants in on the show and Arith waves off. Good choice for his pretty boy image. So long story short, we’re back in front of a troll – with a linen cloth out in front of it, and we ask The name of the person holding the Sword of Lust is Tarina, where is she in town?

The Troll starts his process, ripping out his guts, and then – I’m not fucking kidding – the good god-damned troll explodes. I mean there wasn’t a piece bigger than my finger flying around. All three of us got hazed with blood and guts, I think I saw the trolls jawbone roll around on the floor – and the walls, they were just covered. My first thought was I wonder who they’ll bring in to interpret this prophecy, it must be the mother fuck-all. Then my second thought is Holy shit – Tarina probably did that and she’s got a bead on us! I grab Maia, and Larisha who is sit there blabbering like an idiot – seriously that girl needs to learn the difference between prayer time and a troll-just-fucking-exploded-in-your-face time when it comes to opportunities of casual conversation.

We book out there and take all the back ways and back alleys to the inn – so as not to be followed. Of course Arith and River can’t get enough chuckling out of the whole damn thing. River didn’t seem concerned that Tarina would be beading in on us so perhaps we’re clear on that. But Maia – she’s done with this town, ready to walk away from the 10,000, which I never thought I’d hear her say. Some of the soothsayer buddies, they come by in a bit to collect the bits so the troll can reconstitute itself.

So much for that line of questioning. That leaves us with the merchant and the Slaughterhouse Boys. We set up a day or two later when they come strolling around. I know they’re type, street toughs, used to bullying up the population because their strong and the locals are weak and scared. I never joined a gang during those bad times, I’d had enough of gangs with the Guard, but I sure as hell fought them enough. Since then I’ve nabbed quite a few of their type at nights and left them bleeding or dead doing my Rabbit Prince thing. So I, personally, was actually looking forward to this.

For once – the crew let me do things my way. I’ve always offered but they’ve never accepted, probably thinking I’d always pick a fight at the first opportunity by saying something really insulting. I mean…well…in this case that’s exactly what I was planning. But not everytime. I was a fucking higherup in the good god-dammned Guard after all – I know how to work around a few situations without resorting to cracking heads. But this was one of those times where it made sense to pick a fight, and when it comes to skillsets, this is one where I do excel if I do brag a little.

So that’s how we ended up fighting the Slaughterhouse Boys. Did we lose? Fuck no. Would I be goddamnned here talking to you if we did? Like I said before, we roll like a big fucking rock. Those Boys worked us over while we were still building our momentum up, but they had no idea what kind of rock was gearing up to run them over.

Larisha popped me back up and I was able to get some of my own healing tricks in there, I felt good as new – and that’s when the Boys started dropping like flies. That leader, the one who’d pointed Arith and I for special treatment, I was going to stick a polearm so far up his backside that I’d tip his hat for him. But Larisha beat me to it and dropped him with some crazy Pharasma shit. I mean for all of us – it was on. Those poor Boys, they probably thought they had it licked up when Arith and I dropped. And they fucking get hit by fire, spraying waves of color, and like a gazillon arrows coming from Maia’s bow even as the ones they thought they had down, Arith and I, come fucking back with a vengeance. We’re fucking Harrow’s Justice, don’t fucking mess with us!

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Musings of a Holy Warrior

Much has changed since the seer called our band to her residence that fateful eve. Death and chaos in a province such as Korsova tends to bring out such change. I thought for certain that Keylee’s death would herald the end of my tenure as a paladin of Iomadae, breaking the very vows I held dear for decades in order to claim vengeance. Odds are good that once I claimed vengeance, I would have thrown myself into the maw of death and partaken of the Mendevian Crusades against the horror of the Worldwound. But fate played a strange hand and placed me squarely in Harrow’s Justice. In this “adventuring company’s” presence, oddly, I was able to keep a level head and mete out justice without giving into the vengeful temptations of Dranngvit. So now that I have carved out some time to myself as we lodge upon the cliffs of Kaer Maga, I have finally made the decision to journal my thoughts in a record so that should I fall in battle, perhaps these musings will be of some value to my family, my church or my fellow members of Harrow’s Justice.

First, I wish to chronicle the implications of the regime change in Korsova. When the Queen took over as the sovereign leader of Korvosa, we immediately knew that such a change would be detrimental to the region. While I feel there is more we could have done to help the people of Korvosa during this troubling time, knowing what I know now, I am content with all we accomplished with the riots, the plague and many other issues that arose during this time of uncertainty. While the work in Korvosa is far from done, our efforts are best served addressing the cause of it all—the Queen and her corruption by the ancient, insidious crown on her head. There are other implications of this despot coming to power that are not lost to me. My house, the noble house of Porphyria, has long been banished from Korvosa by House Arabasti. After forty years of banishment from Korvosa, Arabasti rule is no more. The Queen is no scion of House Arabasti. In this regard, there is hope for our noble family to be restored to its former prominence. In order to honor my family, I have made efforts to restore our good name during this trying time when appropriate. Many of the nobles I aided during the riots are aware of my noble affiliation and it is my hope that once a proper ruler is seated on the throne of Korvosa, I will have their support to restore House Porphyria’s presence in Korvosa.

Second, I wish to touch on the effects of the ritual used to convert me to a member of the Daggers of Justice. I was warned by Sword Knight Himlark that the ritual involved in my conversion would be traumatic and that the questionable moral center of some of my ancestors would affect my own outlook on justice and moral judgment. I must say that for the first week, such warnings held true. I seemed to carry a coldness and detachment that was not in my nature. It was an outlook where the will of Iomadae had to be carried out at all costs, without regard for anything or anyone around me. Fortunately, my own personality has proven the strongest of all memories and has driven out any suspect moral dilemmas I once faced in that first week. At this point, I feel I am the same creature I was, only I am not bound by the vows taken by the Iomadae order of paladins. That is not to say that I have changed in my respect of these tenets, on the contrary, I still use the vows I took as a paladin as my moral compass—my guide to see me through the evils of Golarion. Overall, I do not regret my induction into the Daggers of Justice one bit. My prowess with body and blade has taken me to talent I never dreamed I could have achieved. I know now that I am extremely fortunate to have had such skilled warriors hailing from my elven and human ancestry. Their techniques that I am able to recall as my own now are some I never would have received from the masters of today. All this for the glory and honor of The Inheritor, the valorous lady I know and love called Iomadae.

Third, I feel it necessary to speak of my fellow members of Harrow’s Justice. I love them all, akin to one would care for younger sisters and brothers—but the bond is a lot more complicated than that simple comparison. Fate seems to play into interaction between us all, so the bonds between each of them and myself seem to ebb and flow like the tide. Perhaps in time I may come to understand each of them as I have come to understand myself. Until then, I will convey my perception of each of them…

I find it only appropriate to start with Lachellis Caiden. Having known him the longest of Harrow’s Justice, Lachellis is an honorable soul, but he simply doesn’t know it yet. Sometimes men like him take a lifetime to figure out what they were meant to be, but I hope that is not the case for Lachellis…I pray to The Inheritor nightly that he will find that calling sooner. Don’t get me wrong, I do not expect him to walk the path of a paladin or zealot of any sort. I simply foresee him coming to grips with his shortcomings and realizing he can overcome them all..that will be a Lachellis to behold indeed. When I spoke on his behalf many moons ago when he was accused falsely, I did so not only because he was innocent, but because I knew we were kindred souls. I do not fault him for his proclivities for violence nor his penchant of women and ale. If I had been through what he had been through, then perhaps I would be marching on the same self-destructive path. Regardless, he is an ally, a comrade in arms and a friend…

Maia is an enigma to me. Her elven descent is barely noticeable by her mercenary tendencies, but there is something else there. There is a depth to this seemingly shallow creature that she hides well. Since my induction into the Daggers of Justice released countless memories of my elven ancestors, not a single elf in my memories was so focused on coin. However, there were a few that exhibited a guise of such behavior. Perhaps when I get a chance to speak with Maia alone, I will see if there is something else to this elven lass that is buried inside her and see if there is something I can do to help. Iomadae does seem to watch over this archer of such skill, as her prowess in battle is without question—a true tribute to her race. At first glance, the two of us are polar opposites, but I believe we have more in common than both of us could imagine. Time will tell…

I have known many young women such as Larisha in my time, but she is certainly unique. It has been many decades since I can recall possessing such a naive outlook on life, but it is warming to see this young girl grow into womanhood. I cannot deny her dedication to her church and it is inspiring to see such devotion from a woman of her age. There a priests twice her age within Iomadae’s ranks who do not possess a quarter of her dedication and skill. Her infatuations with different men we encounter is harmless for now, but such could be detrimental if such attentions fall on the wrong man. I shall have to at least pay attention to such objects of affection. My respect for the church of Pharasma wanes quickly, especially considering our last encounter, but such is not reflective of Larisha. In the end, she is very much like a younger sister to me and I will protect her to that end. Her parents would truly be proud of what their child has become…

Mattea is the newest member of Harrow’s Justice and has proven to be rather adept in her martial magics. I am not certain where her strong admiration of Harrow’s Justice stems from, but at least it is a pleasant feeling of us in that regard. Her divine magics are a bit of a mystery to me in how she calls upon many gods to work her incantations, but such invocations must be heard by them because she does achieve the prayers she desired. I will have to speak more with Mattea to understand more about her, but the church of Iomadae certainly vouches for her. In the end, that is good enough for me—most of the time. Regardless, her enthusiasm for our undertakings is strangely refreshing…

River…where to start. The wizard has slipped into his heritage easy enough, but has gone from one vice to the next. Now that he has freed himself from his drug habits, he has begun to delve into magics that I care little for. He remains as loyal and determined to our cause as he ever has, which is why I have yet to say anything to him about his questionable arcane practices. He too is very much like a brother to me and as such, I certainly will help him at any point he has need of my aid. It is my hope that he finds his way to a benevolent god so that he does not wallow on a path that will lead to oblivion, but often it takes time for young men to reconcile themselves with events that cannot change, like the demise of Aroden. Regardless, I intend to speak with him more on the road so that I can determine how best to help him, whether it involve his Chelexian family or his newfound arcane powers…we shall see.

I pray at least one hour daily. Rest assured that every member of Harrow’s Justice is remembered in my prayers to The Inheritor. Our recent forays in Kaer Maga made me realize just how dangerous a game we play with the forces of evil aligned against us. But this danger is why we are here. If any member of Harrow’s Justice did not care for each other or the potential for Golarion to take a turn into darkness, they would have left our diverse band long ago. No, we are all in it to see this through. May Iomadae give me the strength to cut down any who would see harm to this land I call my own or these members of Harrow’s Justice I call family…

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Exploding Trolls? Really?

Just when I think I’ve seen it all, we stumble into a backwards city on some impossible mission and I end up with troll all over me.

Sometimes I wonder if our group really has any purpose but to risk our lives to clean up other people’s messes and save the world over and over. We never even get a moment to ourselves to feel a sense of satisfaction before some other retarded mess gets thrown into our path.

We come across a woman who has been imprisoned by some nasties, in some cave on another plane or dimension. What? Some of this magic stuff really throws me for a loop sometimes. Her companions weren’t as lucky and got dusted, so like usual it was really up to us to help her out. Turns out the woman is some important banker who tells us a story about this sorceress who is collection the 7 Swords of Sin. I am instantly intrigued and must know more. These swords are old, really old. They have immense power and if they are reawakened – could bring about the end of the world. And we thought having a zombie queen was bad. This is definitely bigger than local politics.

She offers us 10k gold for recovering the sword. Sweet – sounds simple right? Well, not so much. The town where we’re supposed to uncover this sorceress in is void of any sort of values. Coin is the language of the day and while I myself like to consider myself pretty well-versed in that language, dealing with these locals is baffling to me. At least I earn my money with fair labor and work, risking my life. These people ask for three times what something is worth and you aren’t even sure they will do it. Thieves really. Mercenaries have more honor since they at least do the job. I have no patience for such practices, this city is foul.

After we hit many dead ends, we finally are directed to another worthless shopkeeper who may know the address to the sorceress. The price? We have to rough up the local gang who is collecting money from him. I am really not a fan of this exchange, how does it make us any better than they are? We have been reduced to hired thugs. Makes me ill, but that’s how this city works. We have to wait for them to come by on collection day, so we pass the time selling some of our hard-won loot.

Larisha and Lachellis come back from their wanderings (throwing gold around like it’s water) and blabber about this troll that can divine things by pulling out his guts and reading them. Weird, but intriguing. I figure I’ll watch the side show. He asks for 500 gold and I almost choked when they paid him. We ask where we can find the sorceress and the troll explodes all over us! Oh I got the message all right – this sorceress is not to be messed with!

Hate to say it, but 10k is a paltry amount to be paid for what I can see is going to be a suicide mission. I know we have to save the world, but sometimes I just think it’s pure luck we haven’t lost anyone yet to all the depraved and evil foes we have faced in the past. I hope our luck isn’t running out.

We set up to put a world of hurt on the gang, of course there are more than we think. They rush Arith, though swarm would be a better term. It was pretty tough to watch, so I just concentrated on ending as many of them as possible with my arrows. He went down and then they swarm Lachellis and he goes down. Thank the gods for Larisha and River for healing and blasting.

We win the day, or the afternoon, and will collect the address and head into another more dangerous situation. I am not sure why, but I feel in my soul that it’s my duty to see these swords safely back into hibernation and hidden from the world and those who would use them for evil purposes. It’s probably the first thing I have felt passionately about since Lamm confirmed my brother’s death and the end of my quest.

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