Serpent's Skull in Eberron

Limbo
Date: Unknown

I find myself in a strange limbo, as if I can’t move forward from where I am. It seems just a few short moments ago that the path to Saventh-Yi was displayed before me on the stone floor of this zigurrat, but now it seems but a dream. I am rudderless and only see the future before me in brief flashes as if some unknown entity has deigned to consider me. At times I feel like I am being reconstructed and my skills and abilities are being weighed between story and competence.

All I can do is hope that things will soon change… ah, I feel a slight breeze and it is getting stronger. I feel soon, very soon, I will be freed

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Hidden City Found

Mol, the 9th of Vult

With the last gemstone in their possession, Kreshton and Dadak climb into the highest chamber of the ziggurat containing The Pillars Of Light. They place the gems in their respective column and wait for the sun to find the correct position in the sky. A beam of sunlight strikes the first gem and it emits three colored streams of light that strike the others. Where the beams meet, the image of a vine-choked city appears and its location becomes evident. Dadak’s skill in survival are all the party needs to find the hidden valley containing the hidden city of Saventh-Yi.

Pol stays behind to help recent prisoner Chydak to shed his bonds and to interrogate the other prisoners.

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The Hidden City
Race To Ruin

Kreshton’s Epilogue for Racing To Ruin

Mol, the 9th of Vult

I headed towards the last pillar and placed the moonstone in the socket, just like the unspoken directions had shown me, and stepped back. The wonder on Dadak’s face, standing beside me, matched my own as we held our breath to what would come. We waited as the sun began to set over the jungle-claimed city of Tazion.

The sun shone through the southern opening and struck the first stone in the first column. Three beams of light projected by that first stone struck the other three columns in turn and were directed into the air in the center of the chamber. A large hazy image appeared showing an ancient city which in its prime may have been marvelous to see, but now, all it showed was crumbling ziggurats and vine-choked buildings around a central lake. The city lay in some hidden valley and I could not make heads or tails of where it may be. Fortunately, Dadak was busy making notes and committing to memory what we saw. I knew he would be much better than I at navigating this tangled jungle of Xen’Drik so I left him to his work as I began to look back at the short time since we escaped the isle of Smuggler’s Shiv and began his new journey.

Castaways no more, we sailed into the bustling port of Stormreach. Our first stop off the island was to clear the name of our fellow castaway, Jask. The papers we found on one of the poor wrecked ships around Smuggler’s Shiv took care of that easily and the group, minus a suddenly absent Joffa, found lodgings to rest. Soon enough, word of our adventures on that miserable isle brought the other former castaways to visit us, each on behalf of their perspective factions, with requests to see what notes we had found in the hidden Azlanti temple we had raided. In the end, we joined with the Lazar Shackle Princes’ faction to head their caravan into the jungles of Xen’Drik and the quest to find the lost city of Tazion. In need of a guide, we arranged the services of N’Ketchi, a priest of Gozrah, who led us under a wight filled mine, to a village in need of assistance to kill the creatures raiding them, then across a field with hidden dangers below and finally to the town of Kalabuto. After my poor showing, and near death, in Kalabuto, we canoed up a long river and encountered hostile natives, hippos in heat, a shadow demon which had killed those ahead of us, a monkey king on a jungle throne guarding an ancient tomb and the cold-blooded killing of a threat to our survival. More natives, including a group dominated by a succubus, awaited us even before we made it to the walls of Tazion. Tazion held its own challenges; a tribe of monkey men refused us entry, snakes filled an ancient building we discovered as we exited tunnels under Tazion, we encountered several giant bees and a Serpentfolk wizard bent on killing us, and finally we dealt with the threat imposed by the monkey tribe.

Now, a new facet to this adventure waits ahead of us. Now we must enter Saventh-Yi and find the secrets that Yarzoth, the vile Serpentfolk priestess, coveted and make sure whatever nefarious plans she has are thwarted. My companions, Pol, Dadak, and I, along with the help of a reunited Chydak , are up to the task.

From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Final Blows

Sul, the 8th of Vult

While recuperating from the fight against the serpentfolk wizard, the group makes plans for what to do next. They are interrupted by several monkey-men who stealthily arrive to take away the body. Hidden, and in silence, the group watches them slink off with the corpse towards the center of Tazion and possibly their lair. Now certain that the monkey-men and their leader were in cahoots with the serpentfolk wizard and that they most likely hold the last clues to making the Pillars of Light function, the group decides to move and confront them on the new day.

The group finds a large derelict stone building, almost a castle, partially, consumed by the jungle. They find a broken wall to climb and Kreshton leads the way. Kreshton waits for everyone to climb over safely before continuing on into the ruins. Barely twenty feet away from the group, everyone hears the sounds of movement and they hide. A couple monkey-men come into sight and Kreshton, disregarding any plans the group made, charges forward. One monkey-man tries to climb some rubble while another climbs a tree to begin lobbing rocks at the invaders. Pol is the only one who, above the sounds of battle, hears the voice of several people calling for help and he relays that information to Kreshton.

Kreshton moves forward and leaps across a tar pit onto a small island that is connected to a crumbled building by ramshackle wooden bridges. He confronts a monkey-man at the threshold and is assisted in defeating it by a well-timed spell cast by Dadak. Meanwhile, the rest of the group does short work of the remaining monkey-men; Dadak and Kailia fighting the monkey-man in the tree while Pol and N’Ketchi take on the one in the rubble. The group forces their way into the building to find three people, covered in tar, hanging from the ceiling. After dealing with the last two foes, the group lowers the bodies to the ground and does their best to revive and clean them without further harming them. Pol recognizes one of the prisoners as a Pathfinder that kept company with Gelik in Stormreach and Eleder. The second small prisoner looks remarkably like the lost Chydak. Dadak is let down that the third prisoner looks nothing like Joffa, even in its tarred state. Attempts at getting them to talk are unsuccessful.

Eager to be off, Kreshton, N’Ketchi and Dadak reconnoiter the southern part of the ruins but find nothing but more tar pits and crumbling ruins. They double back and continue northward and skirt around some more rubble. While ducking under the trunk of a huge elephant statue, Kreshton encounters two new monkey-men in front of him. A third, larger, monkey-man steps out of a building above them joined by a large snake. The leader speaks and yells, “Attack!” Kreshton takes on the two monkey-men in the choke point of rubble and statue, but is badly beaten; he feels the lead monkey-man’s will trying to overcome his, but surprisingly fends off the magical attack, and retreats. N’Ketchi, drawing on the awesome power of Gozrah, summons a spiritual trident to attack the huge snake. Dadak launches a lance of ice at the leader but misses; he summons a wolf to get the attention of the snake. Kreshton vanishes from sight, but can be heard healing himself with his wand as Pol arrives in the battle. The lead monkey appears on the back of the elephant statue and darkness surrounds everyone as he channels negative energy. Kreshton reappears to chase the monkey leader into the tree and is joined by Dadak; they do battle within the branches and Dadak is rendered unconscious from a particularly strong blow. N’Ketchi races forward and channels positive energy to revive everyone. The monkey leader climbs higher into the tree to escape his foes, but is finally overcome and dies, falling down to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs. Pol deals the killing blow to the snake. The battle is over.

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This Is Not Yarzoth

Sar, the 7th of Vult

A serpentfolk lies dead at our feet, but he is not Yarzoth the priestess we fought on Smuggler’s Shiv six months ago. This disturbs me. I felt sure that we would encounter her here in Tazion. Perhaps she has the fourth stone we need to operate this magical device which will show us where Saventh-Yi is. This guy doesn’t look like he had any luck. Maybe we need to search his belongings more. I was looking forward to defeating Yarzoth’s plans, whatever they were.

This guy was tough to kill and I enjoyed trading blows with him in our contest of arms. Yarzoth was just as tough, although she was able to get away and we didn’t end up killing her. He was quite a strong mage and the spells he flung about were deadly. It looked like he singled me out for a while there and really wanted to kill just me, and no one else. His slitted eyes had an aura of madness and anger. I wonder what he was doing here? Did Yarzoth leave him here to lay in wait for anyone following her? Was he trying to find Saventh-Yi himself? What is his relationship with the apemen infesting Tazion? Hey, nice cloak, I wonder if it will fit me?

Even before the battle, most of us were battered and drained. That floral-plant-creature we fought earlier, not to mention those damn leeches, took quite a bit out of my constitution, leaving me weak and compromising my breathing. Dadak was affected some, as well. And now, after the fight against this latest serpentfolk, even Pol is poisoned. Still, we’re better off than Ja’Redd. N’Ketchi says he will be able to do something for us in the morning once he communes with Gozrah, but even then there is nothing he can do for him. Because of the doubts I have about Ja’Redd, I hesitate to remind Dadak of the resurrection scroll we found as treasure on Smuggler’s Shiv that he keeps in his haversack. Since Ja’Redd joined us in Kalabuto I’ve noticed some things he’s tried hard to keep hidden. He’s tried to keep hidden his use of poison on his crossbow bolts a time or two and their effects match the poison used by those assassins in Kalabuto; the assassins that almost killed me! Although it was dark when I fell, I recall them using punching daggers like the one Ja’Redd used. I may be wrong, but I don’t think so. Also, I worry that he is a spy for another faction.

Be as it may, Saventh-Yi must be close. We need to recover the last stone and make this damn contraption work. There are still battles in front of me, I am ready!

—From the log of Kreshton Rel’Astra

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Six Months Ago

Zol the 3th of Nymm

Place: Trolanport, Zilargo. Ambassador’s Residence

Good, good. I think tonight will be the night. Months of waiting has finally paid off. It looks like my parents will be engrossed with their new elven court bard for the rest of the evening and I can make my getaway. My brother Boliiar and my sister Aluthiel are out at the ball for the new Mror Holds ambassador to Zilargo and they won’t be returning until late. The court wizard has returned briefly to Sharn and is attending some gathering to discuss the expanding Mournland, so I need not fear any arcane searches for a while yet, at least not untile my parents have realized that I have left. I had the servants bring a cask of wine to my rooms and I’ve made it clear to them that I plan to drink it all myself – again. They have been instructed that I am not to be disturbed until early in the afternoon tomorrow. I am saddened at the good wine I’ve been throwing out in my ruse these last few weeks, but I am tired of living my life at the commands of others. Subterfuge is required if I am to make my way out of these walls and become my own man. It is the perfect time to go.

Down the wall, using the vine creepers growing upon them to keep me up, I climb to the gardens (a skill probably not too different than climbing the rigging on a ship at sea). I wrap my dark cloak around myself and the long bundle I carry and move away. Stealthily, I creep through the mansion grounds to the western corner where the mausoleums and tombs that hold my forebearers sit and I stop to pull open the door guarding my uncle’s final resting place. The door opens with barely a squeal and I give a quick smile; it seems that my previous covert trips to lubricate the doors have been fruitful. The lantern I left several months back takes long moments to finally light; the oil seems to have been sitting too long. The alcove where my uncle Salreon lay, clutching his scabbarded blade, materializes as the lantern thrusts the darkness away and I stop to look at his shrouded form.

I hesitate to continue. To bolster my courage I quietly recite to myself all the reasons why I am here; the dead have always given me nightmares, plus, this is my uncle’s body I dare to disturb. I remove a sharp knife from my belt and begin to cut the burial shroud from his hands – I cannot bear to look at his wrapped face for fear of a silent reproach for the deed I am committing. Grave robbing, there is no other word for it. My hands shake. No one will believe my tales of my uncle’s wishes when he died earlier this year; my mother went even as far as to burn the document penned with his own hand stating them, so there is no proof. I must do this alone. The hands clasping the bound blade and scabbard are grey with age, but the cold has made them strong and I am forced to break a finger or two to finally release it from my uncle’s grasp. I dare not look back up at him as I bend down to replace the sword with a wooden replica and try to cover any traces of disturbance. I am the first to come here since he was laid down to his rest and, barring some sudden tragedy to my family, I doubt any others will have reason to come down here as well. The dust of almost a year will accumulate again, so long as no one comes to look closely.

One last look and I quietly make my way to the walls and deftly climb out of the mansion grounds. Heart thumping so that it can almost be heard from out of my chest, I rush my way down into Trolanport to get lost in the crowds, every step I fear to hear my name being called out or to run into someone who knows my face. Citizens of Zilargo are a nosy sort. But, to my relief, that does not happen. A few short minutes and I am standing inside a wine merchant’s shop as he searches in the back of his store for the supplies I’ve stored here. I can tell his business has seen the sudden uptick in clientele because of the nobles, or actually, their servants, I have been directing here. The moneys he has gained from my subtle glowing reviews of his wares will more than offset the small amount of space unused for this trade to hide the items that I have quietly gathered over the last few months and stashed here.

I duck into the back and spend long minutes climbing into the unfamiliar leather armor I purchased months ago and I strap on my gear for my final trip to the docks. My precious map of Xen’Drik goes into my pack along with rope, flint, and the sleeping blanket with my identification papers rolled within them at the bottom. Other odds and ins, the list I gleaned from the stories and books I’ve read that are indispensable to adventurers, goes on top. I buckle a couple of matching throwing axes to my legs (matching because there are appearances that must be kept!). I leave the sword, still wrapped in my cloak, to be donned later when I am away from the shop; the sight of the flashy, expensive sword may make the wine merchant greedy to supplement his income with the news of my presence if they come searching for me. Last, a hat, feather and all, completes my outfit. I look like a dapper young swashbuckler to the hilt.

As I continue onwards towards the docks I am surrounded by the bustling port of Trolanport, Zilargo. Gnomes are everywhere, their dark little eyes watching everyone and everything. Gossip and knowledge are ambrosia to their people and I am sure my presence has been noted by several passerbys. Even the humans, and the fewer dwarves, that make up this country may have noticed me for this society’s foundation is the gathering of knowledge, the making of deals and the ferreting of little webs of deceit. There is nothing to do for that but to continue on through the evening’s cool air towards the smell of salt and the waiting sea.

I stop at the first sight of the bustling port below me. A myriad of ships are docked there and I search for the location where the Jenivere has tied up. Then I see her! My heart races! Although she is just a merchant ship, a Wyvern-class one at that, she is the most beautiful thing I have seen. Ships like her have made claims to have sailed around the southern tip of Argonessen. Although she is not a warship like my uncle described to me, her lines show her seaworthiness; plus, I could never deal with the order and discipline that a military ship would make me fit into. I am to be a passenger aboard her, for when I last spoke to her captain, a man called Kovach, he would not hire me on as crew. That will not stop me from learning every inch of her, of course; my last few coins handed to right crewmen should get me some action pulling ropes, swabbing the decks, and a bit of steering, maybe. Anyways, who has ever heard of a sailor who would not prefer to shirk some of his duties? I am not afraid of getting my hands dirty with their rough sort, though my clothes will be a bit tougher to keep clean.

The Jenivere’s first mate, a man by the name of Alton Devers is waiting to take my coin and move me aboard. I have a few good stories to tell the man in the hopes of getting on his good side. I’m off to live the adventures that my uncle described – adventures that await any brave soul – and I hope to live up to the expectations he would presume of me. On the evening tide, the Jenivere will depart this place. Sharn, then Xen’Drik are ahead of me; my old life of idleness and indolent duties as a third born child will be behind me.

Finally, I buckle my uncle’s sword, no – my, rapier – to my side. I start my walk down to the docks and the Jenivere. I am ready to meet my fate.

Kreshton Rel’Astra’s first log

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A Song of Women
Dadak's Tales

The darkness and stillness is welcome for a change. I sit guard at this slightly ajar door listening, looking, and waiting for trouble in the corridor outside – none is forthcoming. My companions sit about a darkened room and a small campfire, waiting for fatigue to ease them from this world for a few hours. I don’t need much sleep to recover my wits and spells, thank goodness, and my dark vision suits me for this monotonous task. I don’t mind the sentinel’s task, and I don’t mind sitting here alone with Kailia. It is peaceful.

DadaK (gruniting): Yes… it can become boring though, can’t it Kailia.
Kailia: Puuuuurrrrrrr…….

This task does gets the mind to drifting. Hmmmm…. <smile> How did that song go….?

DadaK: “Hhhmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmmmm….” “Hhhmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmm Hmmmmmm….”

Kreshton (quietly): Dadak, what are you humming up there?
Dadak (not so quietly): Just a nonsense song, popular in my tribe.
Kreshton (quietly): Oh, a song? What is it about?
Dadak: It’s a nonsense song used to irritate and attract females.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Reeeeaaally? How does it go?

Kreshton, always interested in relations to women, sits upright to listen better.

Dadak: I need a moment…. It is a chant, to a double beat. Boom, Boom.. Pause.. Boom , boom.. Let me see….

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Arms strong (boom boom), Legs strong, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Dadak (boom boom), See me.. Come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton (not so quietly): Hahaha… that is great! It has a catchy beat.
Dadak (smiling): Ha, we sing it to entice our women. Usually they mock us with playful spite. But when they run they don’t get far.. haha.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Do you know more to this tune?
Dadak: Yes, some. And usually we do a warrior dance to the song.
Kreshton (not so quietly): Reeeeaaally? Show me.
Pol raises an eyebrow.

Dadak performs a quick thumping, stomping, jig, which Kreshton, with his seamen’s skills, quickly jumps up and masters.

Kreshton: Sing more!

Dadak (a powerful orc performing chest thumping, leg slapping, stomping, and jumping in rhythm):

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Arms strong (boom boom), Legs strong, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), See me.. Come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton joins the dance. Pol sits up.

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Tusks large (boom boom), hair long, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), I see you.. I come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton dances vigorously. N’ Ketchi and Ja’Redd clap in unison. Even Pol, ever ready and focused, taps his foot to the song.

Look here (boom, boom), look here, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
Power (boom boom), I take you, with power, graaah! (pause.. boom, boom),
I am Kreshton (boom boom), Join me in fire.. We come! Ha! (pause.. boom, boom)…

Kreshton and Dadak stop and laugh together, along with Pol, N’Ketchi , and Ja’Redd. Five grown men forget their worries and troubles for a short while, happily telling stories of love conquests and heartbreaks through the night until fatigue finally overcomes. Tomorrow soon to come is another of trials to be borne.

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Draining Day

Sar, the 7th of Vult

In the early morning, Kreshton leads the group in exploring the stone structure. He leads them into a dank, water-filled room and they are attacked by thousands of leeches. After spending some time scraping them off, they venture to the other side of the building. They find a partially collapsed stairway and begin climbing it. Dadak’s companion, Kailia is attacked by a plant-creature and the whole group descends to fight it. Kreshton succumbs to the spores and is wracked by terrible coughing and gagging; his constitution is affected. The day is still early so the group decides to continue on, even though Kreshton is severely weakened. They continue up the stairs and find….

More monkey-men! Their foe begin to throw rocks and stones at the group and as the group rushes forward up the outside of the ziggurat, a large six-limbed ape joins the fray. Dadak trades blows with the beast as Pol and Kreshton rush to assist him. Kreshton and Pol fight against their mighty foe and with a spell from Dadak pummel the creature quickly. More monkey-men arrive to surround the group and Pol is critically injured. Suddenly, above them, they hear a sibilant hiss and a serpentfolk appears looking down at them. It shakes a wand at them and Kreshton, N’Ketchi, Dadak and Kailia are entangled. Clinging to the side of the ziggurat, Kreshton casts a spell and turns invisible, then continues to climb up onto the higher level. Pol runs around the outside of the structure trying to find a way to the higher level but only encounters two monkey-men trying to outflank the group. Dadak and N’Ketchi struggle to escape the web and are attacked by monkey-men coming down the stairs. The serpentfolk wizard creates a ball of flame that rolls down igniting the web on fire on its way towards a paralyzed Ja’Redd. Kreshton reaches the top and moves silently through the group of monkey-men and serpentfolk peering over the edge, intent on the battle below. Kreshton lines himself up and with a mighty push, bulrushes the serpentfolk wizard off the side of the ziggurat, leaving himself exposed to two monkey-men and their attacks. While Kreshton fends the monkey-men off, Dadak and N’Ketchi join together and Dadak causes a large gush of wind to carry them up to the higher level. The angry serpentfolk rushes up the stairs and casts a ray that makes Kreshton almost fall to his knees. Pol, having run all the way around the outside of the ziggurat, follows closely behind the serpentfolk.

Pol throws his mind-blade at the wizard as N’Ketchi casts a cure spell and revives Kreshton. Dadak calls out for this companion Kailia to join the battle. Warding himself from two monkey-men attacks, Kreshton reaches into his Handy Haversack and throws a Tanglefoot bag at the angry serpentfolk wizard. Unable to move, it casts a spell at N’Ketchi in an attempt to keep him out of the battle; N’Ketchi is suddenly overcome by a fit of laughing that passes in an instant. Pol once again summons his blade and throws it at the wizard. Both N’Ketchi and Dadak call lightning down on the wizard’s head but it protects itself with a spell. A severely wounded Kreshton continues to attack the last two monkey-men and pulls his wand out of his haversack to toss to N’Ketchi. Kailia rips the throat out of one of the monkey-men while Dadak changes tactics to fry the last. With his allies all dead, the serpentfolk wizard casts a mirror image spell and summons seven figments to protect himself. The group surrounds the serpent folk and pummels him until he tries to retreat from the battle. He is barred from the stairs by N’Ketchi sprouting wicked spikes and brambles. With a loud roar, Kailia jumps onto him and rides him over the edge to land upon him on the lower level. The serpentfolk wizard dies.

The group spends the rest of the day exploring the ziggurat and find that the serpent folk’s possessions include three of the four stones they need to make the Pillars of Light work. The Pillars of Light will show them the location of Saventh-Yhi. Kreshton speculates that they must be somewhere else and perhaps the monkey-men leader may possess them. Their lair is the only location in Tazion they have not searched. Several rooms of the ziggurat are themed to the various stars and elements of nature, including the sun and moon. They recover Ja’Redd’s burnt corpse with mixed emotions for the fellow, and there is nothing that they can do for him except go through his pockets looking for loose change.

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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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