Good Mythical Morning

Arden's Written Account #3

Spiders, ettercaps, apparent and inevitable betrayal: the adventure continues.

At the very least I’m coming away with new weapons- fantastic work, these. I reckon I’ll bring them better use than the mainlander they once belonged to. The new pommels without the noble house insignias will eensure no one attempts to claim them back. They would be wasted on another of these soft mainlander nobles.

I’m not comfortable in this place, it reeks of old magic and failure, and the most valuable things we’ve found were scavenged from the corpses of those we were supposed to have been looking for, I suppose. No matter, the blades alone are worthwhile.

I half expected the sword-mage to either reveal what she knows about me or to at least confront me in private. So far she shows no inclination, though I imagine her little “episode” with the ettercap is keeping her mind occupied.

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Arden's Written Account #2

I’m starting to really dislike spiders.

Also I think the swordmage has figured out who I am. I’m not sure that’s entirely a good thing- I reckon most mainlanders wouldn’t knowingly enjoy traveling with a “cannibal.” Foolish, soft sensibilities.

Oh well, we’ll see.

At the very least i’m not planning on leaving until I get something out of this journey.

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Xavier's Musings: The Forest of Spiders
Creepy, crawly, far too little alcohol.

It’s been a fair trek today with all but our cleric in tow; He stayed behind to look after our spider-vomiting friend which, if I know something about vomiting, isn’t a normal thing, was a wise and good hearted response.

Everyone seemed to be in good nature, even as we pressed in to this place that seems to be growing darker and more ominous by the second. So ominous in fact that our friendly little druid happened to spot a pair of ‘spider bears’ to which I thought couldn’t exist.

Well, thankfully for me I was correct in assuming they weren’t literal crosses between spiders and bears, and unfortunately for me they were filled with thousands of little arachnid bastards. In some joke of Cayden’s, my best way of dealing with the small army was to roll around in them which has given my fabulous cloak a rather amusing dye to it. It looks pretty decent, but I could use a drink.

Oh. Right. I forgot to bring ale or wine.

Following our encounter we took a bit of a rest and found were the poor sods before us had been assailed. It’s truly a shame that many of these warriors never got the chance to truly live. I wish I could have at least taught this one to oil his blade frequently. Nevertheless, a small prayer was said and the location was marked upon our map.

Upon waking, we pressed deeper. We passed by what looked to be remnants of the Second Great Human Empire, which truth be told? Told us that something old and possibly dark was at work considering the way the spiders were laid out, and how they’d been ending up inside of other creatures. It wasn’t natural. The trees full of giant spiders however would have seemed natural were it not for the spear trap our lovely gnomish guide set off.

Whatever was here really didn’t want us going deeper.

After dispatching a band of rather acrobatic arachnids, we patched up and pressed onward, deeper in to the woods and found a cave.

Something tells me we’ll find what we’re looking for here.

Note to self: Buy more booze.

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Letters to a Lost Love - Issue 2
Wherein Peyton extols the rather remarkable experience of being crushed by a diseased bear

Dearest Bryce,

My apologies in advance for the brevity of this missive. I am still recovering from my most recent encounter. It is not one I would recommend. Nor was it one that I had intended to try for myself. However, when you aren’t given any choice, the fates, nay the Gods, deal with you as they will, and sometimes, this results in finding yourself under a very large, very heavy and very smelly bear.

Perhaps I should further explain? When I’d last written, we had been set to the task of investigating what had brought back the expedition team with a belly full of spiders. Having headed in that direction, and found a forest full of webs and spiders, it seemed rather evident as to how it may have happened. Likely some sort of new spider parasite, or perhaps some magic infestation of some sort.

In either case, as we made our way further into the forest, built more of spider webs than trees or leaves, we encountered some larger spiders which attacked us. We defeated them without too much struggle, though the next encounter was more worrisome.

We’d spotted some rather large, and worrisome bears. Even from a distance, we could spot parts of their pelts which looked diseased, puss ridden and they gave off such an odour it would turn our stomach.

Adventuring isn’t always as glamourous as the stories would have you believe! Those bards, liars all of them!

We were attempting to sneak past them, but another member of our party caught their attention, and unfortunately, I was spotted near one of them as a result. My companions made quick work of the one beside me, but the bear, which had turned and attacked me, collapsed directly on top of me in a vile stench ridden gas which seemed to explode from the corpse as it hit the ground, breaking open the corpuscles of puss, and releasing small spiders as well.

As much pain as it was to feel the incredible weight of the bear pressed upon me, with all my strength I struggled out from under it, to find the battle had been all but resolved. Just a few small spiders remained to deal with.

Afterwards, we made our way further through the forest, and now, it appears we’ve found the entrance way. We made camp out in front of it, and after we rest tonight, we’ll be making our way inside.

I’ll need to be well rested, I’ve already discovered one trap on our way towards the ruins, and I expect I’ll be heavily relied upon as we explore the ruins to discover the remaining traps there.

As always, yours,

Petyon

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Day 1
I hate waiting.

Time is fluid, at least our perception of it is. To move and to act causes time to flow like a river, the ebbing tide of the day flowing from morning to afternoon to evening as easy as as leaves float down a stream.

Waiting? Waiting makes time freeze, a single minute feeling like an agonizing hour.

I hate waiting.

We have our task, and in this case they want to wait, to be cautious. They want to let something that is undoubtedly dangerous roam. So what if it won’t be when we arrive. At least the trail will be warmer than waiting for an addled fool who just vomited spiders to recover.

He’ll probably be catatonic.

Combine that with my former student, and this has bad idea written all over it.

Maybe though…I can get a return on the wedding gift I left for her….

I hate waiting.

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Zi's Meanderings
A diary of a normal gnome

Spiders!

At first I was almost as excited as Rock. After all, one doesn’t often come across a person spontaneously regurgitating spiders of all things! But then the horse had spiders, and two other people had a case of The Spiders.

Yes, that’s what I’ll call it, The Spiders.

Goodness, I hope I don’t get The Spiders. Imagine them crawling up your throat if one got left behind. Though, I wonder why the bile in the stomach didn’t kill them…. Acid resistant spiders?

Not flame resistant though. And not stomping resistant or crushing. Yes, crushing. That had to be what the big guy did to them. Bodily crush them. So brave, how did he know that he wouldn’t get a case of The Spiders by one jumping down his throat.

But then Rock ate some and he didn’t get The Spiders. Not yet anyway. Maybe I won’t let him do clean up next time… Do you think it’s contagious? Or that it could get caught on the wind? That would be horrible. The wind should carry messages not death.

Ugh, death on the wind. Maybe I should rethink… No! That would simply be another flavor of the wind. After all it was only tall people and animals that got The Spiders. Clearly as a gnome I’m immune.

Now we chase the spiders to stop them. It feels like an abomination of nature and well, that’s what I’m here to do. Begone The Spiders!

BEGONE!

Scribbles follow of musical notes and various catchy phrases about being rid of spiders. Clearly Zi has a song in mind for the journey.

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Arden's Written Account

I can’t help but think it all a sign from the gods.

And I mistrust signs from the gods.

Perhaps the confluence of events that led this strange, rag-tag group together and left me covered in spider guts and with an apparent mission to retrieve some magical artifacts is all just one huge coincidence.

But somehow I doubt it, and as much as I mistrust these signs, I will follow along for the journey.

My people teach to follow not signs from fickle gods, but to make one’s own choices, to live and die by them.

And it’s my choice to follow this path where it leads.

I’ll probably hate myself for it, but in the end, what else am I to do except return to the arena? That life holds little interest to me anymore.

So, we’ll see.

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Xavier's Musings

Footfall after footfall brought me here. Night after night, drink after drink.

The road has been ever so quiet; ever so boring upon this excursion.

It was only after I arrived in town that I learned I was on the heels of the mage train, of course. All a bit stuck up for my taste, but at least they bring good spirit where they go, well, that and good spirits.

This town’s ale was just as good as anywhere elses, the people seemed more or less like your typical townsfolk. All with dreams, good hearts and smiles. Perhaps that’s why I decided to keep around. It most certainly wasn’t just for the festivities, though that is a good reason to stick about.

Truth be told though, it may have been Cayden sticking his fingers in my cup. The morning after arriving of course there would be some sort of commotion.

Spiders here, spiders there. Erupting out of men’s mouths. It’s all rather grisly and frankly, unacceptable. Gods know I couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing. Thankfully, neither could a fair number of the tavern goers.

Even without being implored by some bigshot magistrate, I would have solved this problem. Even without the assistance of all of these people, but I do have to say: The idea of camaraderie is a rather nice one.

At any rate, tonight’s another night worthy of booze; but what night isn’t, let’s be serious. Isn’t that right, Gods above?

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Letters to a Lost Love - Issue 1
Wherein Peyton tries to explain her hasty departure

Dearest Bryce,

I do understand if you cannot find it within your heart to forgive me. I know I would be furious had you been the one not to show up that morning upon which our patriarchs had agreed upon for our vows. It is my fervent hope now that you will read this letter, and perhaps understand my reasons.

Please know that it is not any lack of admiration on my part which caused me to depart. My heart remains as always, yours, if you should still so wish. It is only that which we have discussed many times in the past; an opportunity to see the world, to explore the many possibilities which are out there. You and I both know that with our marriage that chance would be gone. Great Uncle Alten would favour you with some post in the city, and I would remain nestled at home to provide for the future generations of our familial lines.

And while we’ve not spoken of this, I do ardently hope that you agree that for both of us, that fate would come much too soon. Had it been possible, I would have sought you out, and eagerly requested you join me for this adventure, but given that foolhardy superstition about brides and grooms seeing each other before the wedding, it was all quite impossible to arrange.

I cannot tell you where I am. I know Uncle Alten has likely already let loose his hounds looking for me. He is not a man to be made a fool, and I fear that this time I have vexed him beyond even that time, when in our younger years, we’d managed to break a priceless vase the Countess Wickham had on display – you know the one I mean, that ugly monstrosity in red and puce she so adored for it having been centuries old and a hideous symbol of her wealth? For this isn’t about money, but his lack of ability to chasten an errant child to accept her position in the family, in the world, and in his plans.

I rode out of the city upon the coattails of those gone to do the Testing this year. It was easy enough to accomplish once I was able to sneak out of my own house and away from my guards.

In the village we first stopped in, I was fortuitous enough to make acquaintance with Elina Koubek. I hadn’t realized the good instructor was travelling herself, but at present, we will be working together, so perhaps the gods still favour me. Surely, with all that she has seen and the adventures from which she has returned, I’ll be able to make it home myself in due time.

The strangest thing happened while we were observing the ceremony. A man rode into town, having ridden the poor beast to death, and upon his collapse (having first run directly over the current peasant being tested), he began to spew spiders from his mouth. Such a sight, the memory of it still has me shiver. I never would have thought such a thing possible.

Then an even larger spider appeared. Those around me began to act. For my part, I’d always wanted to test the capability of a fire potion, and I’m pleased to report that while I was only able to breath fire once having quaffed it, it did handily destroy many of the small spiders the man continued to vomit upon the village square.

Upon vanquishing all the spiders, and I’ll reluctantly admit after my first foray of fire throwing, my later actions were rather unremarkable, we spoke with leaders, and they have pressed upon us a mission to go and investigate the very area these men had been adventuring, and discover if a plague of spiders will be marching across the land.

Knowing the magus leading the company was withholding information, I showed her my signet ring to attempt to have her further explain, however that action only had her state that I could inquire with my father for more information. It was a foolish risk on my part, and I’ll likely be forced to deal with the consequences of the effort at a later time.

I will continue to write, and as I’m able, will send these letters to you. I hope you they will reach you well, if also outraged by the offense I have caused. I do care for you Bryce. I always have, and I always will.

Yours,

Petyon

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Amryn's Journal - 3
The Rambling Ramblings of Teenage Girl

I open my mouth and my father comes out.

Not prefectly, he was certainly more passionate and practiced with his lecturing than I am, but he is there none the less. They started early, as soon as it became clear that I was gifted. Such a small thing, to call light into the darkness, but as a child I was delighted by it and did so at every opportunity. In retrospect it is a good thing that I had no friends for I would have been beastly in lording my newfound ability over them. Father’s reaction was … mixed. He was proud of me and helped me to master the gift so that it came reliably, but he also seemed … sad, or perhaps worried? And the ‘discussions’ began.

Just because we CAN do something doesn’t mean we SHOULD.

That was the first, a lesson which grew in complexity over the years. Having the ability does not equal having the right. I learned to temper my use of magic. I used it, and frequently, spending many nights reading by a steadier magical light rather than by candle, it was both more convenient and safer. It was used with a purpose. With conscious thought instead of on a whim.

Our actions have consequences, and power always comes with a price.

Most would separate those into two points, but I feel they are so intertwined so as to be almost indistinguishable.

Nothing is free. There is always a price attached and it is best to pay the cost of things up front rather than borrow trouble for tomorrow. I couldn’t fully appreciate this one until now. I guess in the past I’d always associated cost with money, and currency and I are still not very good friends (I’m almost certain we have it worked out now though, go team).

He attempted lessons of short term gain vrs long term payment, but nothing ever stuck, but as I watched my companions pry gems from the runed walls of this long forgotten outpost something clicked int place.

This.

This is what he meant.

That they are valuable is undeniable. Any gem merchant would trade good money for them, any mage or arcanist even more. Their sale will no doubt bring my companions much-coveted weaponry and armaments… but at what future cost. We have meddled with powers and forces that we cannot define let alone understand or reason with. What ripples will be caused by reintroducing these things to the world? Do they bother to ask themselves these questions? And if so do they just not care about the answer? I’m not sure which option I prefer actually, either makes me doubt the solvency of this tentative accord we’d found ourselves in.

It is actually a fair even split. Myself and the cleric seem far more cautious, while the human male and the other arcane magic wielder show almost reckless abandon when it comes to gathering spoils and power. The monk and the dwarf are somewhere in the middle … which to be honest surprises me. I’d thought that monks set themselves apart from worldly wealth? Perhaps it is only some of them? Or maybe that’s a thing that only happens in stories. But surely the dwarves above all others have learned the lesson about the consequences of greed and ambition? It is possible the accounts I’d been given were wrong, or perhaps these tendencies are innate and he cannot help himself?

The cycle of humans rising and being corrupted by their greed is also a prevalent one through history. The ruin that we stand in is a testament to that. Admittedly I know little about Thassilon, it was so very long ago. Stray mentions by my father (in the midst of previously mentioned lectures mostly), that they were humans whos ambition consumed them, twisting what they’d built into something dangerous and ruinous, leading to some great uprising … Maybe? I should have pushed harder for details I guess, or been more interested in the very ancient history that he seems to have studied somewhere. I can only hope that at some point I am in a position to ask him these new questions …

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