Serpent's Skull in Eberron

We are Finally Getting Somewhere
Sar, 7th of Vult

Since entering Tazion, things have been very surreal. This is a place that seems to be created for adventure since that is what we have had in bushels. From the monkey-like people we came across on our first day to elemental creatures to insects and leeches, it has been a constant flow from adventure to adventure.

I think we are finally getting close to figuring out how to get from here to Saventh-Yhi and our finding out what is happening there. We have discovered a map of sorts, it was more a mental picture of what we need to do to find the location of the City so now all we have to concern ourselves with is finding four gems to activate the Pillars of Light. More adventure I am sure.
That Saventh-Yhi harbors Idarthius is more certain for me now. On this quest we came through a complex of rooms that were waist deep in snakes. Also, it seems that Dadak is plagued by dreams of his father and a possessing evil that awaits us. I think that many questions will be answered (for good or ill) once we find the four gem stones and make it to Saventh-Yhi.

In the mean-time we need to keep ourselves alive. Poor Kreshton is in poor health after inhaling some spores exuded from a strange plant/fungus creature we ran into today. He is mobile but not as spry and hale as he normally is and that will be a huge disadvantage for us if he is under-the-weather for long. Perhaps Dadak or Nketche have some idea of remedy for him that is more herbal since their healing magic seems insufficient. Regardless, for now he will need to take it easy and not get himself into any situations that tax him until he is recovered.
Despite all the delays and hindrances we have faced I am getting hopeful and excited that we are nearing the conclusion of this journey. I have less doubt that we will be facing some aspect of evil and when we destroy it, the world will be made better for it.

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Just Not My Day
Race To Ruin

Sar, the 7th of Vult

(Wheeze) Except for not dying in my sleep, the day did not start off well at all. Pol has been stepping up to the front, doing a majority of the exploring of Tazion while I’ve usually kept to rear guard. Logically, rear guard is an important position in an adventuring party – a position that must be filled by a competent person. Looking back, (cough, cough) I’ve been rear guard more often than not; by my choice, really. I like to be aware of what is happening around me and avoiding any dangers sneaking up, but this keeps me away from the real excitement of exploring.

So, today, I decided to take a bit more of an active role and do some reconnoitering. I “reconnoitered” all us into a pool of ravenous leeches. Great! We entered the room through a door that I had discovered the day before; the day we fought those giant wasps. The stairs lead us down into a flooded room, full of dark, dank water that reached up to our thighs. The moment that Pol yelled out, “’Ware! Leeches!” I knew we were in trouble and I rushed out of the water at top speed, but not soon enough to avoid a large mass of leaches stuck to my legs. I would have felt more foolish had not Pol also been injured. (hack, hack!) I don’t know what Dadak was doing while Pol and I began to scrape leaches off of us. I could hear Dadak cast a spell or two, and he exited the room without a single leech, but he also needed N’Ketchi’s healing in the end. (coughing spasm)

That was that. We left the leech room behind and moved to the other side of the structure. Upset with my earlier attempt, I decided to look out into the jungle for more monkey men or a caravan from Eleder arriving while the rest of the group explored further. Suddenly, I heard Dadak’s companion, Kailia, screech loudly. I rushed into the room and saw her on top of a stairway with a large, “plant??”, creature attacking her. The creature looked like a large tulip with stalks growing out of it – something not unlike the purple fungus we encountered on Smuggler’s Shiv – surrounded by a light haze of floating spores. I rushed in to plunge my blade into its side as Pol and Dadak descended from the floor above via the staircase.

Battle was joined, and it was good! In just a short moment the unmoving shape of the plant creature lay on the floor. Unfortunately, (hack!) I was dealt two minor scrapes and must have inhaled some of those spores for I lay on the floor seeming to be hacking my lungs out of my body. Most of the coughing finally passed but each hacking spell seemed to sap the strength out of my body. I can stand now, but I have nowhere near the constitution that I once had. N’Ketchi says that there is nothing he can do about it until he gets new spells from Gozrah in the morning. Until then, I vow to stay an active member of the group, but stay farther in the back than is my want. I will keep Mischief’s Blade in its sheath and keep my axes and whip handy. (cough, cough, cough)

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Hey, Is Statue Or Me

Far, the 6th of Vult

After the battle with the queen bee, N’Ketchi does what healing he can. Most of the group is uninjured so they continue to explore the building. They enter into a room that Kreshton had previously glanced into. At the end of two stairways along the side of the rectangular room, is a lower section. On the wall of this section are four statues of great age. Kreshton moves in to examine them and his will is easily overcome by a suddenly floating statue that begins to attack him. Pol rushes in to protect the unmoving Kreshton and is also rendered immobile and staring into space by a second statue. The other two statues begin to float around the room as N’Ketchi calls down lightning upon them with no effect. Unaware of the lightning’s ineffectual damage, Dadak calls down lightning as well. Ja’Redd keeps one of the statues busy by allowing it to slam into him again and again. With a roar, at her master’s request, Kailia pounces on one of the statues. A short time later, Kreshton stirs and enters the fray, quickly followed by Pol. Together they smash the remaining statues to rubble. As soon as all four statues crumble, everyone’s sight is filled with the vision of four pillars and the knowledge of how to use them. Their use requires four different stones: moonstone, diamond, onyx, and amethyst.

The group decides to end the day and barricade the doors. One door is left open for a watchman to see into the rest of the building while the rest get what sleep they can so that when morning comes, spells and abilities are refreshed.

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A Fine Blade Indeed

Far, the 6th of Vult

Something has occurred in the last couple of days that was unexpected. I pulled my rapier, Mischief’s Blade, from its scabbard and was struck by its brightness. Something floated up from the depths of my mind telling me of the sudden change in the weapon. I see a new ability that was hiding within it, and is now available for my use.

The ability I now possess is an enhancement to my bardic skill of oration. I see that if I were to have my blade in hand and were to flash it about in a display of martial prowess it will add power to my words. My effectiveness in inspiring those around me will increase when I use it to punctuate my words.

I welcome this assistance as the foes we have begun to encounter in our trek through Xen’Drik have become more and more powerful. I am sure that Ileana\Ysidris has not been idle since we chased her from the temple on Smuggler’s Shiv. Most likely she wishes some revenge on us for that dead as strongly as I wish to revenge for the sinking and destruction of the brave ship Jenivere due to her machinations.

—from the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Buzzy As Bees

Far, the 6th of Vult

The group climbs down off the ruined pyramid and rush into the jungle. They follow Tazion’s wall northward and find another stone building. Kreshton and Ja’Redd stealthily circle the structure while Pol gathers dried branches and leaves. As the rest of the group attempt to force open doors on the outside, Kreshton and Dadak enter through a large pillared opening. They attempt to open a door when I loud buzzing sound heralds the arrival of a huge wasp, quickly followed by a second. The party regroups and takes down the three large wasps and continue on deeper into the building, finally finding the hive.

Buzzing within the hive implies another wasp. Bored with waiting for the last wasp to exit, Kreshton explores the interior of the building, uncovering several rooms. He is drawn back to the hive when Dadak is suddenly attacked by the queen herself. She drags him to the top of the hive and despite his thrashing and wildshaping into a rat, Dadak gets pulled into the hive. Pol enters the lower entrance to find his way in, while Kreshton climbs the outside. Within the hive, the queen is met by Kreshton from above and Pol from below. A battle ensues and Pol dispatches the queen with his sword.

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Almost Lost A Friend

Far, the 6th of Vult

From around the corner the buzzing produced a large, man-sized monstrosity; a humongous wasp. Instinctively, I tossed by axe at it and moved back towards the center of the room. I was joined there by Dadak a moment later. I yelled for Pol and the rest to aid us as another shape appeared behind the first, buzzing just as loudly; it went straight for Dadak as I took on the first. Only my skill kept me from being stung, poor Dadak was stung at least once before help arrived. Our band stayed together as a third wasp appeared. It was only a matter of moments before the insects were twitching their last… breath?… on the ground. In moments we found the hive and Dadak took up a position to attack any last wasps that exited.

Damn! That thing was fast! That giant queen bee grasped Dadak before any alarm could be raised. Earlier, I had poked my head into the room containing the large wasp nest and seen its massive shape. The entrance to the room was blocked by Dadak, Pol, Dadak’s companion Kailia, and a summoned hippogryph, all preparing to take on whatever monstrosity exited from that grey shape.

There was little I could do while they stood there, so I explored about the inside of the ruins we were in. I found several dusty rooms, all with stairs to a lower chamber and some with statues along the walls. I was hesitant to go deeper into the ruins and risk not hearing any call for assistance, so all I did was to reconnoiter the area. There was no room that avoided the jungle’s touch, and one room I found only by peering through some massive vines and clearing them away with my axe.

That was when I heard the call.

I rushed into the room just in time to see Dadak being dragged into the upper reaches of the ceiling, on top of the great hive. The room thrummed with the beating of the queen’s wings and the yells from Dadak as he was being pulled away. I climbed upon the outside of the nest to try and grab a hold of Dadak as he wildshaped into a rat. Unfortunately, the queen kept a good hold on him, stinging him again and again. As I climbed the outside, Pol bravely entered the nest through the bottom opening.

Once I reached the top of the hive, Dadak had been already dragged into another opening on the top. I dove in, lighting my watchlamp so I could see within the shrouded interior. The queen had Dadak in a large hexagonal chamber, grappling him to the ground when I entered the cramped quarters; a moment later, Pol entered from another direction. My light and the light of Pol’s glowing swords jumped about as we fell onto the queen bee. My fighting style is more flips, tumbles, and swift movements to confuse my foes so the tight quarters limited my actions and I was less effective against the queen. Fortunately, Pol, and Dadak back to his real shape, were able to thrash her. The battle was held in a balance for a while.

I am glad Dadak was able to survive this encounter with the monstrous wasp. It was a close thing.

—from the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra


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A Curse, A Warning
Dadak's Tales
A Curse, A Warning
For audio version click here





Hack.. Smash.. Smash. Smmaaassshhhhh!!

Ahhh yes, this feels goood!. Hacking that vile winged wasp to pieces. Yeeesss, it is good to destroy abominations such as these. Even Pol stays behind until this abomination becomes a rotting wasted corpse, no longer a threat to natural……

“Pol….” Dadak’s fury is curiously spent, and he seems to be wavering as if in a light breeze.

“Pol…. Something is wrong…. with…”

Dadak’s face becomes expressionless and his eyes seem to dilate, unfocus, darken, and finally look far away.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

The world begins to darken and slowly Pol fades from my sight. I become tired and weak and I don’t feel myself. I don’t feel… myself. I don’t feel… myself. I don’t feel… anything.

Slowly the world lightens again, but it is not lit… It is unlit. It is a world of shadow. Light is vague, bright, stabbing, a painful intrusion. Red-eyed demonic shadows flit about, grasping at my ankles, legs, body, and arms with sharp malicious claws. This world is evil, I feel it flowing all around me, coursing through my veins, beating in my heart. This world is evil, and it slowly permeates throughout my body and mind. I feel it beginning to take control. Though I fight with all my will, I sense it gradually becoming my master. And finally, it does.

Darkest of all in this world is the dagger of malice in my right hand. This is the one which slew my father. It is the blackest black, and malevolent evil emanates from it. I belong to it and know it has become my master.

Before me stands Pol, surrounded by a halo of bright light, goodness incarnate. He sees the danger and summons a weapon of luminous justice. A tower of iron will, a knight of purity and good stand before me. I have no control. Furiously I fight against myself as I lift my dagger and bring it to him. My arm is strong, it is deadly, and it wields an evil of purest blackness and malice. Brave Pol falls before it.

Kreshton responds to the noise and falls as well. I revolt at the joy that surges through my body as his warm blood pours down my arm. The blade inhales his lifeforce too, but is not sated just yet. N’Ketchi runs, but not far; and Ja’Redd’s look of surprise only seems to amuse it.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


The shadows flit around in a frenzy. They know what is about to happen and they violently express their eagerness by swirling in a chaotic vortex. My arm finally lifts the dagger and makes a cutting motion in the air. Slowly a rip becomes to form. A scar in the air before me! Within it is pure and utter blackness. The dagger gleams darkness and continues slicing. Blackness shines from the gaping wound and evil radiates from it.


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


A vortex of dark energy whooshes and swirls about the room. The rip is not discernible though it is the center of the darkness. Small vile shadows come from it and join the vortex already created. Finally, a dark omnipowerful evil begins to radiate as well. I feel my body smile, though I cry out in fear.

With insane evil my body laughs at me at length. Finally it gloats with a hiss, “Son, I am still waiting for you.”


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<


“… me.” Dadak’s face contorts in fear as his eyes suddenly return. He slumps to his knees. Pol doesn’t know what just happened and wavers between concern and caution.

“Pol”, Dadak says. “I think they know we are coming… and I think we haven’t much time. Let me tell you what I saw with my waking eyes. Perhpas I am going mad.”


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I Need to Step Up My Game

Far, the 6th of Vult

Remarkable that it has only been a little over five months since we were all shipwrecked on Smuggler’s Shiv. We were just novices back then, just a group of inexperienced castaways hoping to survive. Then this Serpentfolk conspiracy was dropped on our laps. Ileana/notIleana or Yarzoth, or whatever her damn name is, seems hell bent on finding her way into Saventh-Yhi. What nefarious reasons she has, I’m still not completely sure of. But for what she did to us, especially what she did to the Jenevere and her crew, has gained her us as her enemies. It seems like she wants to bring her kind back into Eberron to reconquer it. Their time has passed, this is our time!

More and more, I’ve become impressed with my group’s martial prowess. Pol’s competence in battle has improved remarkably. His enemies have great reason to fear him. He is becoming a great force for his cause. Even Dadak, with that huge great axe of his, seems to be able to handle himself well in battle. I am confident that we will find his father somewhere ahead of us and free him from the chains that Dadak’s nightmares have shown him in. With the addition of N’Ketchi and his magics, we make a good team. Ja’Redd has kept himself apart from us too much to be included and I’m beginning to wonder his motives. Joffa did recruit him, and where Joffa has run off to, no one knows.

We took more time dealing with those snakes than I wanted to. Kailia, who has until now been such a boon to the group, has let us down some. There was no way she was entering that room with its multitudes of snakes, not to mention, that one large one. I guess if I was worried that I could be eaten whole, I would have hesitated myself. Dadak took some time trying to corral that thing, but in the end, blades are what mattered. A few axes, and Pol’s glowing blades, were enough to dispatch it. Now, I just need to convince everyone that the next temple we visit in Tazion is the one to the north; the one whose passage underground was blocked by rubble. Where else are we to go in our quest to find the Pillars of Light that Yarzoth was searching for? We’ll have explored all the ruins Dadak saw on his flight above Tazion a couple of days ago.

I am eager to come against some flesh and blood foes, and let me prowess with a blade shine. That water elemental was tough to fight with just a sword. The snakes were a threat but also a nuisance. Undead are no fun either; not to mention that they are undead and frightening in their own right! I’d even welcome some serpentman opponents, Yarzoth can’t be the only one about.

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Slip Sliding Away
Snakes.. why did it have to be snakes

Far, the 6th of Vult

After exploring all the tunnels underneath the city of Tazion, the group rests the rest of the day and prepares to climb up a shaft to a possible exit. Kreshton leads the way and discovers a small room filled with a mass of snakes, which leads into a larger chamber filled with even more snakes. Dadak determines that the snakes are harmless but warns other types may not be. Quickly the group discovers a single gigantic snake amongst the hissing horde. Dadak casts a spell to transform himself into a primal form of fire and moves forward to block the large snake from the rest of the party as they explore the building. The building has several windows that are obstructed by massive trees growing in the jungle. There are indeed several poisonous snakes but they are dealt with no problems. Pol finds a way to climb into a higher level, deftly avoiding the hazards around the opening to keep the large snake inside.

Pol and Ja’Redd explore the second level and find a way out into Tazion. Meanwhile, Dadak is successful in herding the large snake away from the party but they are in an impasse; Dadak’s companion, Kailia, does not want to enter the building because of her fear of snakes. Kreshton attempts to fascinate the snake with his bardic abilities but is unsuccessful. Kreshton, using the power of the Zenj Totem Tattoo, attempts to coax Kailia onto climbing onto his back so that he can take her out of there and is once again unsuccessful. A final attempt to fascinate Kailia to help her overcome her fear of the snake fails. Fed up, Kreshton begins to throw his axes at the large snake to kill it. The large snake takes advantage of the confusion of battle to slip away from the corner that Dadak held it in. Swiftly the snake slithers to the exit only to meet Pol and Ja’Redd who dispatch it easily.

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A Conversation While Waiting

Kreshton: Dadak, my friend, I would like a moment of your time while we wait for midnight to arrive and we get to hear the answer from the monkey men’s master. I have an issue I would like to discuss.

Dadak: Yes Kreshton, a moment of my time I can give. But pardon me my full attention, as I am keeping watch into the darkness with Kailia for the sake of everyone in our band. (Kailia head butts Kreshton for some attention).

Kreshton: (Kreshton pets Kailia’s head as he continues weaving a spell to clean the blood off his clothing) Sitting here, waiting, I’ve had time to think over the events of earlier today. We finally entered Tazion and came across the net traps around the entrance. I was able to avoid them with a quick roll into the grass then we decided to safely set them off and see who came to investigate. A short time passed before those monkey men arrived and I stepped forward, blade drawn, to call them down from the trees. I see now that my actions could have seemed aggressive to them and I also see why they immediately attacked me; we had entered their domain, after all.

It was a quick, easy fight. We knew that others would come to investigate the sounds of our battle and we prepared a trap for them. Wisely, they kept their distance from us and parleyed from afar. Pol’s idea of asking permission from their leader was a good one. They promised to return with an answer at midnight if we would withdraw. Which we did.

Now we await their answer. Their answer will be “Yes” or “No”. Either answer can be a trap. A “Yes” answer will require us to re-enter their domain to treat with their leader for safe passage through it and perhaps some information. Hopefully, with some good diplomacy, we may be able to smooth any anger they may have at the loss of their tribesmen and get their aid in Tazion.

What really worries me, is a “No” answer. Will it be accompanied with an attack from them? If it does, then I have no qualms to have them meet my blade and I am sure in my abilities and the abilities of our group to overcome them. But, if the “No” answer is simply “No” then I believe we must accept it and find some other entrance to Tazion.

Would you like to hear my reasoning?

Dadak: Yeah, I would. But first, worry not, you bear no blame more than those who sought to entrap you. With righteous dignity and affronted honor you stood in plain sight for them to ponder. You bore them no malice but simply challenged, yet they choose to join battle. I did not see with my own eyes but I know our band does not look for trouble… glory, perhaps, but not trouble. And they bore down on you. Pity for them. So, be calm and rest at ease.

Now to the answers. In truth, they worry me both. A “yeah” answer is dubious as we are honor-bound to enter the city. Yet, a city perhaps filled with a thousand foes waiting to pounce. You are strong, it is true, and Pol is strong as well. But I am not so much, and KneeCatchy has only so much spell craft. I fear we are lured to our deaths. Does not prey wait to pounce at a watering hole. Does a spider not spin its web in a breeze. “Yeah” I fear most, no matter how given. And how and why would men with honor invite a new foe into their midst. Yeah, a “yeah” is troubling indeed.

And a “no” answer is bad too. For after naught, we must enter into a city with known enemies. Many enemies. Yet enter we must. I must see this quest on. I must see an end to the dream. No matter a “no”, at least a “no” is forthright and honorable. To spare lives perhaps we can steal in at night, I do not know. Perhaps we can prove ourselves to them on a quest of their direction, to atone for the misdeed. Perhaps Pol has an idea, I see him stir.

Kreshton: I feel that if the answer is “No” then we must live with that answer and find another way to enter into Tazion. I have lived my life on my own terms. I feel that all creatures must do the same. What kind of people make decisions for others? There is value in personal freedom, not only for oneself, but for others as well.

These monkey men have chosen this place to live, we are but interlopers into their territory. Back on Smuggler’s Shiv, I have to admit that I had qualms challenging the Thrunefang clan’s claim to the lighthouse, it was theirs by right. It did not matter to me that they were barbaric cannibals, it was their nature. If it were not for the fact that they had taken Sasha, I would have preferred to let them be. As you know, that was not what happened and I was happy to join battle with them and prove victorious.

I do not know what action I will choose if the answer is “No” but the rest of the group says “Yes”. Most likely, I will try to do the least harm and attempt to express that our presence will be a temporary one. You are right, our goal is to find the Pillars of Light and confront that vile snake priestess again. Her plans must not come to fruition.

Dadak: I understand your reluctance my friend. I too see no glory in slaying those living plain lives and defending their homes. We must find some means of sparing their lives, and ours for that matter. But if this simple endeavor turns evil, we must journey on. We must end this blight which is bigger than us all. We must save the world from the stain encroaching and allow nature to resume its normal course. If the city dwellers perish, in the grand design they simply perish a short while before us. Be assured, I too will be slow to anger and quick with restraint. As you, I feel guilt from the day behind. But they are at peace now.

Kreshton: Well, the moons above us show that is is closing on midnight. (Kreshton rises and loosens his sword in his scabbard) Let’s see what our answer is going to be.

Dadak: I am with you. (Kailia starts, looks about at the two men whose conversation seems ended, and meows roughly that the attention to her has ceased. She scans the city walls for something she hasn’t seen yet senses, and twitches her tail agitatedly.) Come Kailia, you can see better than us. Be our eyes.

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