Add a Journal
Q & A
Welcome to The Chosen's journals. Each character is invited to keep a
journal and write down the thoughts of their characters as they wander
through Nyternia. In addition, the DM has a journal which highlights
each session. The players are:
DM's Journal, session #10
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March 27 & 28, 39772
Making the best speed they could while there was some semblence of light, the party walked back towards the farm and their horses. Eventually, they were forced to stop and made camp. In the middle of night, another pack of ghouls attacked, but there were no ghasts with them, and they were easily dispatched. When they awoke, to their dismay they found the coins and scroll they found in Sola had crumbled to dust.
Having spent the last few days travelling, the party was back in Pavalar. Errol went back to the magic store where he had purchased the wand of cure light wounds. A man Errol did not recognize answered the door and asked if he could help Errol. Errol and the man haggled for a while over the price and availability of an enchanted chain shirt, and twice the man closed the door saying he had to check on something and would be back. Eventually though the deal was made and Eroll received a +1 chain shirt for 1250 gold.
During their trip to the ruins of Sola, the party had reconsidered their plan to invest in the inns. Eroll, the most diplomatic of the party, was sent to break it to Janson that they were pulling out, at least for now. Hanson was a bit miffed, but also relieved, as he was worried that he was stretching himself too thin.
Vaugner had spent some time gathering information about the infamous Nikolai Hel, a supposed assassin and head of a neutral assassin's guild. Vaugner was intrigued about such a concept and wanted to learn more about it. So far he had learned that while there was a rumor that Nikolai was in Pavalar recently, no one has recently been assassinated.
Vaugner also heard a rumor that there was a group of rogues smuggling goods outside of Pavalar to avoid the importation taxes. While it was unlikely that Nikolai would be involved with an operation like that, it was a massing of rogues.
He also heard a rumor that Nikolai didn't like Cressa because the Cressa government was not too keen on assassinations on the whole. As a result, hits for targets in Cressa were more expensive. His residence was supposedly somewhere in Trovantain, where the belar didn't really care about him as long as he didn't make too many waves.
Lastly, Vaugner heard that after a hit, Nikolai usually paid off the local thieves guild to soothe any ruffled feathers.
That night at graduation, they lined up with the rest of their classmates to receive their accolades. Afterwards, Brock came up to them, gloating, "I hear you got kicked out of the program and won't be able to continue your studies." Not rising to the bait, the party simply agreed and walked off.
Knowing that many in the party would soon advance another level, and dreading another encounter in the puzzle dream with no real clue as to how to solve the riddle, the party decided to find the best riddlemaster available in Pavalar and pay him his 125 gold fee to help them.
The party went back to the riddlemaster who had ruminated on all the information the party had provided him. He complained that with so little time to research, he could only offer, "I'm pretty sure that the fact that you get one monster sometimes and two monsters other times is significant. Also the fact that sometimes you get no monsters is significant, of course."
The party pondered this new piece of information but was unable to get anywhere. Disappointed, they sought out another riddlemaster and handed over another 125 gold and waited till the next day to hear his thoughts.
This riddlemaster seemed more competent, but still did not have a solution. He was able to point out that not only were there three sets of three numbers as well as three sets of three words in the three lines of the stanza, that each of the lines in the stanza added up to a number which was also divisible by three.
The party again turned their attention to the numbers they had memorized while in the dream. After several minutes, Errol declared he had figured out the answer. With the apparent solution in hand, the party set off for Chias' residence to train and experience the group dream.
Blink and Kestrel had played cards, dice, and explored the area near Chias' manor before before getting extremely bored, waiting for the others in their party to train. Finally, they were done and the party was ready to go to sleep.
Chias led the party into one of his laboratories. In the lab were several beds which he ushered the party into. Chias then set up the topaz/potion/incense combination and started intoning: "Feel yourself relax. Clear your mind of all thought. Feel your muscles relaxing as you let your mind wander..." Soon the party fell asleep...
The first thing the party saw were two rectangular shapes, perhaps mirrors or windows, each about 10 feet in front of them and also seperated from each other by 10 feet. They next discerned that they were floating in a vast open space. Nothing but the two mirrors could be seen in any direction.
In the left mirror was a picture they were familiar with -- a white door door with a small inset for a palm. They were sure this would lead them back into the puzzle maze they were familiar with. To the right was a flying dragon's view of a castle unfamiliar to the party.
After discussing which path to take, the party linked hands and Blink touched the window with the castle.
August 15, 34940
"Is there anything else you'd like to report?"
Those were the first words Malif was aware of. As he blinked, he found himself standing in a well lit wizard's laboratory. In front of him was a long table, and seated at the table were three wizards. Malif was sure the one in the center was the one who had spoken to him.
"I don't believe I've left anything out," Malif replied uncertainly.
"Very well Dread, when you report in tomorrow you'll have your next assignment. You are dismissed."
Looking around, Malif saw only one obvious exit, a door to the right of him. With a nod, he started walking towards the door. Hearing no objections, he opened the door, walked through it, and closed it behind him.
Now he found himself facing another door. From the stairs spiralling down to his right and up towards the left, he guessed he was on an intermediate floor of a tower. After taking a glance each way, Malif decided to descend. On the steps another wizard was walking up. As their eyes met briefly, the other wizard nodded to Malif, who returned the nod.
Exiting the stairs, he found himself on the ground floor. He was on the edge of a courtyard. He could see double doors leading into the main building in front and to his left. To the right lay a gateway which led out to the street. Again looking around briefly he made his way towards the road.
As the rest of the party gained awareness of their surroundings they found themselves standing at the side of a road in a foreign city. While the people around them were still talking in common, the clothing and fashions of the people around them looked alien.
Malif spied them immediately, as their clothing marked them clearly as unusual, and came along side them. Comparing notes, they quickly realized they had no idea what was going on. While talking about what to do, Vaugner suddenly realized that someone was trying to pick his pocket. Reacting quickly, he grabbed the thief who let out a yelp.
"Hey what are you doing? I'm sorry I bumped into you but you don't have to rip out my arm!" he squealed. Vaugner would have none of his excuses, though, and quickly showed the would be thief who the real thief was in this matter by quickly filching a pouch in the boy's pocket.
"Look, if you answer our questions, we'll let you go and forget about this whole incident. Otherwise, we're going to have to turn you in. Why were you trying to steal from me?" Vaugner asked.
"Well, guards aren't usually that alert, and you just got paid so I knew you had gold," he replied.
Spotting what looked like a tavern, he started guiding the thief to it while the rest of the party followed. A sign atop the tavern proclaimed the name as "The Dog and Pig." It was moderately crowded and a little dirty; people were intent on minding their own business and no one paid them any heed as they entered.
The boy went on to explain that his name was Monkey and he was 16 years old. He had been born in the city and had lived here all of his life. Errol checked the coins being used to pay for drinks and recognized them as having the same depictions as the ones they found in the ruins of Sola. From this they deduced they were in Sola before the destruction of the city.
From the bartender they found out today's date was August 15. From asking Monkey when his birth date was they found out the present year was 34940. From his history lessions, Errol knew that Sola was destroyed on October 5, 34940.
The party turned their attention back to Monkey, who was looking at them in a mixture of bewilderment and fear.
"We're not going to hurt you. We just want to ask you a couple questions and then we'll let you go. First of all, we want to test your observation skills. Without looking at this guy here, describe all you can about him," Vaugner said as he pointed to Blink.
"Um he's about 6'3" dressed in black. He looks like a monk. Dark hair, beard, soft cloth boots. No jewelry," Monkey replied. Vaugner then went around the table and had him describe the rest of the party. In all instances, his description was very different than what the party saw each other as.
"Look I'm real sorry about what I did tonight. If I can help you in any way let me know. I know lots of things and can um help you get hard-to-find items if you need any, just let me know!" Monkey said.
Malif held up a gold piece. "We'd be interested in information for right now. What rumors have you heard?" he said.
"Well, there is a rumor that the increase in lizardmen attacking us means that there is going to be an invasion sooner or later. There is a rumor that a high level magician is being targeted for assassination. There is a rumor that the founders are going to go to Pavalar with hat in hand to beg for protection from the lizardmen. Those are the most important ones I've heard." From there he went on to list several other rumors of minor officials and happenings around the town.
Malif handed over the gold piece and told Monkey to keep his ears open and check in if he heard anything. The party would be back at this tavern on nights where they were free. Nodding vigorously, Monkey snatched the gold piece and quickly ran away.
Alone again, the party compared thoughts. They knew they were in Sola but did not know why. They thought it was probably a dream but couldn't be sure, so they would need to be careful. They knew that Malif went by Dread, but no other names. They thought that they probably were inhabiting other people's lives instead of just appearing, as they attracted no undue attention when they became conscious.
Lacking any better idea, they decided to head to the cathedrel. Finding the cathedral in much better condition than the last time they were there, they walked inside. At this late hour, no one was around. They took the time to remember the layout and look around. It was a large but simple structure. Unsurprisingly, nothing of value lay in plain view, though a locked door near the alter led to the upper floors.
While there, the party sat and pretended to pray. Instead they concentrated on sending a message to Chias. Whether it worked or not they were not sure; regardless there was no answer.
The party started exploring the city more. Vaugner used his hat of disguise to turn into a striking female guard. It succeeded in turning heads, so the party assumed it worked.
August 16, 34940
As the bell tolled midnight, the party was still at a loss as to what specifically they were supposed to do. They stopped by the castle to both get a mental map of the layout as well as to see if they could see the rulers. The outer gates to the castle were open, but they inner gates were locked and two guards stood barring the path. The party found out that they could not be admitted after hours without a permit, but that the castle doors opened at 6:00AM.
Eventually they found the barracks, and Dread found an mailbox slot with a letter for him. The letter read:
After a bit of asking around, the party found out they all belonged to the same company, though they still did not know which named matched which. The names were: Avant, Blade, Dread, Kalagas, Kollos, Menro, Solson, and Spike. Though it was now past 3AM, the party felt well rested, nor did they feel and hunger or thirst. Looking for more information, they explored more of the city but did not find anything interesting.
At 5:30, a deep bell sounded, and soon after guards in uniforms started appearing on the streets. Following the rush of people, the party ended up back at the guard barracks. When they arrived, a voice cried out, "Dread, what news for today?"
Turning around, Malif saw a cleric facing him. "We are to escort someone to Pavalar at 6. Assemble the company!" he barked out.
"Um.. well.. who's not here yet?" the cleric replied.
"I don't know that's why I told you to get everyone here!" Malif snapped back.
"Right, sir, sorry sir. Well I see Avant, Kalagas, Spike, and Blade. I'll go find where Menro and Solson are and make sure they are here pronto sir," he replied, cowed, as he looked in turn to Blink, Kestrel, Vaugner, and Errol. From a process of elimination the party figured out the speaker must be Kollos.
A few minutes later he came back with a paladin and a spellcaster. "All here, sir!" Kollos said.
"Very well, lead on to the stables, Kollos," Malif replied.
Kollos led them to the stables where several companies were gearing up. Upon seeing them, a grey cloaked diplomat spoke out, "Ah Dread, glad that I drew your company to escort me." Turning to a stableboy he shouted out, "Dread's company is hear, get their horses ready so we can be on our way."
Quickly nine horses appeared as stableboys guided a horse to each of Dread's company. Malif silently thanked the gods that he knew the way to Pavalar... or at least he hoped he did. With a flick of his reins he led his company out of the city.
The journey proceeded uneventfully until about midday when to the north they spotted smoke.
"Menro and Kollos, ride in and see what's going on. Blade and Spike take an angle and cover them!" Malif barked out, hoping that Menro was the paladin and not the spellcaster. Luck was with him, and the paladin and cleric rode out to see what was causing the smoke.
A few minutes later they rode and reported their findings: A group of 10 or so lizardmen had killed a farmer and his family and they were looting his horses, cows, sheep, and other livestock. They looked at Malif, waiting for his order.
"If they farmer and his family are already dead, there is nothing we can do to save any lives," Malif started.
Menro spoke out, "Sir, justice demands that we kill the lizardfolk for this atrocity!"
Malif looked to Argos to look for a clue, but Argos sat on his horse indifferently, as if the conversation was not even taking place.
"True," Malif said finally, "but our main mission is to guide Argos to Pavalar, and that is our primary concern. I do not want to lose any men on a side trip."
It was clear Menro was not happy, but the paladin knew better than to talk back to his commander.
That night, they set up watch and the party ate and slept even though they didn't really feel a need to.
August 19, 34940
After three days of travel, Dread's company arrived in Pavalar. Pavalar of old was much smaller than the Pavalar they knew. Most of the population lived inside the inner city; there was no outer wall yet, and most of the land outside the inner city was farmland. Still, the path to the inner city was the same, and Malif led them unerringly to the inner city.
Upon arriving, a tall belar greeted them and then immediately said, "Argos, I'm afraid I have bad news for you. The lizardman have invaded your home city. Though it sounded impossible at first, Sola has been ransacked and mostly razed by the lizardmen in a surprise attack that caught them offguard."
Upon hearing the news, Argos said, "I must get back to Sola immediately and see if there is anything I can do." With that, the party headed back to Sola.
August 22, 34940
Four days had gone by since the quick attack, but it was clear that Sola was still in a state of ruins when the party rode back in. The party found out that the lizardfolk had attacked in the dead of night. They had spellcasters which destroyed much of the castle in the first attack, and hordes of lizardmen swarmed over the posted guard.
The militia looked to find the general or one of his lieutenants to lead the defense of the city, but none of the three men could be found. As a result, the militia was not able to organize and was quickly overrun.
As Argos snapped to a weary survivor, "Take me to whoever is command now!" the party felt the familiar tug of the dream state leaving them...
April 12, 39772
The party awakened to a sunny day, and Chias looking over them.
"Good morning! I was able to study you during the night and indeed your minds exhibit the same patterns and those who I put into a trancelike state. I have some data to go over, but nothing obvious has jumped out so far. Please, tell me of your experiences this last night," Chias said.
The party filled him in on what happened, and Chias agreed that the dream they had did not correspond to the actual noted history of the destruction of Sola. Chias said he would need more time to analyze the data. The party tried to convince Chias to part with some of his equipment (mostly the potion of suggestion), but were unsuccessful.
The party had traveled several days and was just outside Gront, on their way to Tsarkin to buy the uncut topaz needed for their dreaming. On the way was Rillan's estate, and the party decided to pay him a visit.
Vaugner knocked on the gate and about a minute later a small blond child poked his head out, glanced at them, and quickly ducked back in, closing the door. Vaugner knocked again and called out, "Rillan, are you home? We were close by and decided to say hi."
A few minutes later, the door opened again, and Rillan strode out and opened the gate for them. He seemed happy to see them and invited them in, leading them to the stables. As they neared the stables, several unseen servents came by to take care of the horses. The party paused to look at the brushes for a second or two, but they all appeared to be functioning normally.
"It's almost lunch time, have you eaten?" Seeing the party shake their heads, Rillan invited them in to get some lunch. "I don't really expect much company, so all I can offer is sandwiches," he apologized. Once inside he again thanked them for saving his life.
"Pippy! Get down here, stop hiding!" he called out. Eventually Pippy came downstairs and greeted the party, looking embarrassed.
It turned out that Pippy and Rillan had been interrogated together, and had somehow formed a friendship. Pippy was to be sent to the mines to work, but Rillan said he would take responsibility for Pippy and pay some gold to look after the boy in addition to the remuneration he was already paying for the damage he caused the city.
It had turned out to work better than either had expected. Rillan had originally tried to create the animations because he was lonely and wanted sentient servents who were intelligent enough he could talk to when he wanted to, but wouldn't be offended when he wanted to be left alone. Pippy was fiercely independent, but deep in his heart appreciated the true friendship that Rillan offered. When Rillan wanted to chat, Pippy was around. When Rillan was busy, Pippy was able to entertain himself in other ways.
To help pay for the damages, Rillan had started to make potions and scrolls again. Pippy quickly pointed out that he could get top dollar for them in Gront, and very quickly established himself in Gront almost as well as he did in Pavalar. With his boyish good lucks, charm, and intelligence, Pippy made friends quickly and learned his way among the various political circles in Gront.
Over lunch, Rillan asked the party what they were up to. The party said they wer headed up to Tsarkin to buy an uncut topaz to use in a concoction they needed.
"Speaking of which, we need to get a hold of a potion of suggestion," Malif said.
"A potion of suggestion? What... no... nevermind, I don't want to know. After saving my life you can't be that evil, and I still owe you. I'd be happy to make a potion of suggestion for you as a way to say thanks for saving my life," he replied.
The party offered to pay for it, but he was insistant that they take it for free, so greatful he was. He did continue, "If you are interested though, I can spend a couple days to make you some scrolls or potions at cost. Unfortunately, I'm kind of cash poor right now and need to make these items for my livelihoold, but I make you three items at cost if you want."
The party was delighted to hear that, and after some discussion, decided that Rillan would make them a scroll of magic missile, a scroll of invisibility, and a scroll of fireball.
Using a cover story, Malif then said, "The last time we were in Gront we met some dwarves. We overheard them talking something about a gem or gems of power. Have you heard anything about such things?"
Rillan disavowed all knowledge of them, then thought for a second. "Pippy, have you heard of anything of this sort?"
As the party turned towards Pippy, they realized he had turned ashen. Pippy had been uncharacteristically quiet all through lunch but now spoke up. "Umm sort of. First of all, I want to apologize for all the trouble I caused. I didn't think it would go so far. But the event has helped me grow up, and I've decided to be more responsible now.
"I know this will sound incredible and a lie, but it's really true. I had hitched a ride to Asterin to see what it was all about and needed a way back. I knew Jacob was headed to Pavalar so I stowed away on his caravan. Well, Jacob found me about halfway and wasn't too happy with it, but he let me stay.
"Soon afterwards, when we were still outside Gront, a huge gold dragon appeared in the air and came straight towards us. He landed in a field a ways away. Amazingly, Jacob didn't seem surprised or alarmed at this sight.
"The dragon shimmered into a human male and came towards the caravan. He asked Jacob about the exact same thing... about rare gems that were powerful. Jacob didn't know anything about them but said he would keep his eyes out for it. The dragon thanked him, walked back into the field and then flew away. Jacob swore me to secrecy about it... but... well I'm indebted to Rillan now so..."
Piqued by Pippy's apparent street knowledge, the party then asked Pippy if he knew anything about Sola.
"Oh sure, adventurers go there all the time... like a guantlet run to the fountain. It's like a proving ground to seperate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak," he replied.
"What's so special about the fountain?" Vaugner asked.
"Um.. rumor has it that it's supposed to make you healthier or something. I'm not sure exactly what it does but all the people who survive seem to think that it was worth it," Pippy responded.
"How about Nikolai Hel? Do you know anything about him?" Vaugner asked.
Pippy knew something about that too. "Nikolai is sort of a legend. He's very talented and not someone you want to cross. You won't find him unless he wants you to find him though. Very few people have met him and have lived to talk about it.
"Supposedly Nikolai is able to cast some arcane spells. That, along with his instinct and other training, makes him a lethal weapon. His ability to assassinate anyone is legendary, though the rumor is that he is very picky about who he will actually assassinate. Often he will use one of his cadre to assassinate people he thinks is beneath him.
"His cadre is very small, some say between 4 and 10 people only, though no one knows for sure. One other thing, if you were asking about him in Pavalar there is a good chance he is already aware of you. His spy network is quite extensive. This could be bad as he might decide to remove you just for being nosy... so be careful."
The fountain in Sola sounded enticing, and the party turned around to
revisit the ruins.