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:

Blink - monk Errol - bard
Kestrel - fighter Malif - wizard
Vaugner - rogue Vernon - cleric/sorcerer

Choose a journal:   Select a session:

DM's Journal, session #11
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April 20

The party arrived back in Pavalar and asked around. Quickly they discovered that indeed the fountain would grant a permanent bonus of constitution.

In Pavalar, Errol checked to see if his advertisement worked. There were several chefs who claimed to be interested. As usual though none of the chefs Errol interviewed so far were worth the 1 gold per day he was paying. Fearing that he would have to spend the rest of his life eating trail rations and bland food, Errol met with the second to last person on the list.

"I know exactly what you're looking for, and I'm your man," Tidus said when Errol introduced himself. "I've worked for the last 3 years with an adventuring crew, and if it moves, I can make it taste good."

Errol took a bite out of Tidus's sample. Though it wasn't presented well, it still tasted delicious! It was easily on par with some restaurants Errol was accustomed to eating at. After finding out that Tidus could work immediately, and had no problems leaving the Pavalar area, Errol gave him a 10 gold advance and told him to buy some supplies and be ready to head out in a couple days.

Errol then went to seek out more information about Sola. He discovered that the fountain was in the center of a park, and that the park was magically warded to prevent undead from entering it. In addition, the park itself served as a ward to prevent the undead in the castle from leaving. He also heard that the park had curative and healing proporties for some people if they spent the night there.

Blink and Kestrel took this time to train, as both felt they had gained a new level of aptitude. Though in theory they were now supposed to pay for training, since they were no longer affiliated with the inner city, both had good relations with many of the trainers, and were able to train for free.

April 26

The party again left their horses with the same farmers, and they left Tidus there as well. Tidus was turning out to be as good as his word. Even on the road he was able to cook meals one would expect at a restaurant.

April 27

The party again neared the ruins, and again saw the zombie father and son "fishing" in the empty ditch. Moving quickly and using their map, the party moved directly towards the park in the center of the city.

The way was littered with bones as before, and the party knew there was a good chance that going this route would eventually lead to skeletons attacking them. They decided that detouring would take too long and decided just to be alert and ready to kill any skeletons that popped up.

Surely enough, a few blocks later, they were jumped by some skeletons. Again the zombies joined in once the skeletons started attacking. They were no match for the party, which had gained a level since the last time they were there, and were quickly dispatched.

The party made its way forward again but soon was attacked by three ghasts. The party set up a defense. Gone was the haphazard and random melee they had exhibited a couple months ago. Though not yet perfected, their tactics were more refined now. Malif had switched over to a longbow, and he and Vaugner stayed back to avoid the stench and fling arrows into the ghasts. Kestrel and Errol held the front line, and Blink moved in to flank with his fists.

Despite the discipline, the party took a few hits, but the ghasts were also quickly dispatched. Kestrel brought out the cauldron. Upon noticing that Malif was hurt, the cauldron started speaking in his language, glowed, and suddenly Malif's wounds began to fade.

The party assessed their situation; they were over halfway there. With luck, they would be able to make it to the park either safely or with one more encounter. As they got closer to the center of town, the zombie density increased. The air seemed colder, and it seemed the walls and other structures were bleeding the sunlight away. The party didn't like that, but there wasn't much they could do, so they just kept pressing forward.

A few minutes another pair of ghasts noticed them. Attracted by the ghouls several zombies also joined in the attack. Kestrel and Errol again made a front line. The ghasts charged, and Kestrel tried to trip one, but he missed. Worse yet, he was almost tripped himself, but was able to drop his guisarme.

It was then that two shadows emerged into view. Coming from another flank, both shadows silently glided over and attempted to touch Errol. Errol was using his combat expertise but one of them managed to get past his defenses. The shadows hand passed right through his armor, and Errol felt strength draining away from him as he felt a cold chill where the shadow's hand has passed through him.

Blink moved in to attack the nearest ghasts. The stentch was overwhelming and Blink nearly gagged. Though he was weakened by the stentch, he was still able to solidly punch the ghast. The ghast turned to him and also connected. Suddenly, Blink was unable to move!

Kestrel moved and drew his greatsword. Malif and Vaugner fired arrows from afar. Between the three they were able to down one of the ghasts. The two shadows again attacked, and Errol was thankful that he was a naturally strong person, as over half of his strength had been sapped. Suddenly he remembered with his bardic knowledge that if he lost all of his strength he would die and become a shadow himself!

Unfortunately he knew he was only one or two hits away from that possibility, and he had nowhere he could move without provoking attacks of opportunity from either the shadows or the ghast. And Blink being paralyzed in his way didn't help matters either.

Kestrel swung again at the ghast which was futily trying to claw Kestrel while Vaugner and Malif kept plinking away. Both shadows attempted to hit Errol again, but amazingly Errol was able to avoid both outstretched arms.

A few more seconds and the ghast was dispatched, but before Errol could move into the spot where the ghast was the shadows swung again. As the shadows attacked Errol knew that one solid hit would kill him, but luckily one of the shadows missed completely, and the other only sapped a little of what remained of his stength.

Errol moved out of the way and Kestrel stepped in to block the shadows from pursing. Blink's paralysis then wore off, and despite many of their blows going through the incorporeal beings, the party was able to finish off the remaining shadows and zombies.

Errol was considerably weakened; he could barely move in his chain shirt, despite it's magical properties. He handed over his sword and arrows to Kestrel to lighten his load, and they moved onwards.

Finally the park was in sight! Lush fruit trees lined the boundary, and healthy green grass marked the park, strongly contrasting with the lifeless ruins without. Another group of ghasts suddenly spied them, but the party took off in a run towards the park. As they neared the park the undead veered away, unwilling to get too close to the hallowed ground.

As the party looked around, several of the trees seemed ripe with fruit. Peach, apple, and orange trees were evident. In the center of the park was a fountain which had a statue depicting Valkon. The fountain was still in working order, and water sprang forth from it. Though there was no wildlife or even insects, a sense of nature and serenity pervaded the park.

Sitting down, Errol declared that he was going to rest here for the night. The rest of the party questioned his sanity, but when Errol said he knew that it would be safe, they shrugged and agreed, though they would still keep a watch.

Kestrel plucked a peach off a tree. It seemed ripe, so he took a bite out of it. It was delicious! Kestrel finished off the peach and felt better than he had in a long time. It also seemed the rumors were true, as Kestrel instantly felt healthier. He then took a drink out of the fountain. It was clear and odorless, and felt refreshing, but Kestrel didn't feel any additional health from it.

The rest of the party similarly ate the fruit or drank from the fountain. Whichever they consumed first made them feel healthier and gave them a peace of mind.

The day wound down and night crept up. Towards dusk, the undead seemed driven into some ritual, leaving the center of town en masse. They reappeared a couple hours later. After dusk, the party also saw what appeared to be wraiths wandering around the ruins. None of the undead would get close to the park though.

April 28

The party had set up watch as normal. Just after midnight, Vaugner was on watch when he spotted an apparition at the fountain! He tried to move silently to creep up and gather more information. The ghost seemed to be ignoring him. As he got closer, he realized that it was a ghost of a Belar. She looked like Tera at a glance, but clearly it was not. He was sure he had seen that face before, but where?

It was Kamila! 4800 years ago, in their dream, Kamila told them that Sola had been overrun with lizardmen, he was sure it was her. Going back to camp, he woke up the rest of them.

Together they went to the fountain. Hesitently Vaugner said, "Kamila?"

"What you can see me? How do you know my name?" she spoke slowly, as if she hadn't spoken in a very long time.

"Yes we can see you... you are Kamila right?" Vaugner repeated.

Kamila spoke slowly, almost in a trace-like state, and initially did not trust the party. She had never heard of them and did not know them; she had died long ago on the day that Sola fell, and did not know anyone who looked like them when she did leave. She also didn't know any human named Argos.

"Oh come on, you said yourself that of all the adventurers that have come to this park, we're the only humans that have been able to see you. Don't you think that means something?" Malif finally asked in exasperation.

Unsurprisingly she did not answer but instead replied, "How do I know you are human?"

"Still," she continued, "I suppose there is no harm in telling you facts of what has occurred, if such a thing interests you. Sola was created as a beacon for human's self-governance, but instead provided an example of human's failures. As you probably know there was a rift between the leaders of the city. The warriors and mages were on one side, and the clerics and paladins were on the other.

"The warriors and mages created a set of magic weapons to combat the outside threats which were besetting the city. Salvin, the general, wielded a highly powerful magical sword that lent him energy with every hit, and with a critical strike drained energy levels. His four top lieutenents received swords which were almost as powerful -- they gave the wielder life force on any hit, but critical strikes did not drain any energy levels from his opponent.

"The clerics and paladins were adamant that the swords not be used. The warriors and mages saw them as the only way to truly protect Sola. When the clerics and paladins could not be convinced, Salvin, the head of the warrior guild, and Verax, the head of the mages guild, staged a rebellion.

"Open fighting broke out in the streets. The civilians fled as they could, but many were cut down in the melee. The mages used magic to animate the dead, knowing both that it would infuriate the clerics as well as occupy their time.

"What the warriors did not know or did not care about was that anyone killed by one of their magic blades would not die a normal death. Instead of their soul going to the afterlife, instead the swords consumed their energy, utterly destroying them forever.

"When the paladins realized this, one of them contacted me and I came as quickly as I could. I saw what was going on and while I do think that humans overestimate their abilities for self-sufficiences, I could not stand by while such atrocities were being committed.

"I am here because of the ultimate sacrifice I made. I called upon Valkon pleading for a miracle. I knew the situation was dire, and in return for answering me, I pledged my life and soul for him to stop the fighting.

"In response, he destroyed all who supported the warrior and mages guild. So great was the evil taint in them, however, that Verax was transformed into a lich, and Salvin and his swordbearers were turned into specters. Many others were turned into wraiths, shadows, and other undead.

"This park, which was one of the first works of Sola, became sacred ground where no undead could tread. Verax and his specters were forced into the castle, and this park serves as a ward to prevent their exit from the castle. The followers of the paladins and clerics could rest here and recover.

"The clerics and paladins could have left, but Bruni rallied them and swore that they would destroy all the undead here or die trying. Unfortunately, many lives were lost during the ensuing battles which took place over several weeks. They were able to destroy the lich of Verax, but all the leaders were eventually killed off fighting the specters. Many of them were buried here.

"What they did not know is that Verax nor any of the undead here can truly be killed. Whatever Valkon has done has cursed them to live out their lives in torment. Killing them brings them temporary relief, but then they are reborn and face even worse horrors. As a result, while the undead now hate their lives, they fear their death even more.

"The last part of curse was that any money taken from Sola would crumble to dust. I do not know why this is the case, but it was part of the retribution Valkon decreed. Those were the final days of Sola.

There was a moment of silence as the party digested the story Kamila told. Eventually Vaugner asked, "Were the magical swords they had destroyed?"

"Yes," Kamila replied, as she nodded.

In the background, Malif mumbled, "That's too bad."

"Um... that's probably a good thing," Kestrel rejoined. "If we ever try to kill the lich and the specters I don't want them used against me!"

The party then told Kamila about their dreams and mentioned that the founders of Sola also had similar group dreams, but Kamila seemed disinterested and had nothing to contribute.

"One of the problems we have," Kestrel said, "is that there are many things we don't know, and also that we don't know what we don't know. So it's hard to find the answers to questions when we don't even know what to ask."

Kamila replied, "That is indeed a problem. From what you have told me, however, I would seek the source of the dreams. I think you may find some answers at the end of your dreams."

The party then asked if she knew if there were any way she could be freed from the park. To that she said, "I do not know of any way. I am content with the choice I made. I suppose if the undead could be truly destroyed my spirit would be freed, but I have no idea how that could occur."

The party talked some more with Kamila, but it was getting late. Errol in particular was having problems reconciling his desire to remember all the details to create a ballad and his desire to get more sleep. Eventually, the party ran out of things and let Kamila go. She seemed content to float above the fountain, in deep thought or perhaps meditation.

When the party woke up in the morning, Errol had gained a small part of his strength but was still severely weakened. Disappointed that he hadn't been cured fully, he asked Kestrel to continue to carry his extra items. The party broke camp, ate some more of the delicious fruit, and headed back out.

From their experiences they had theorized that the closer to the castle the more powerful the undead were. So they breathed a sigh of relief when they managed to make it through the inner ring without encountering anything.

In the next section, another pack of three ghasts found and attacked them, but the party was fresh and gained the initiative. Errol sang a sound burst which stunned two of the ghasts. Arrows flew from Malif and Vaugner, and soon all the ghasts were destroyed. The party encountered more skeletons and zombies as they exited the city, but they proved to be little more than minor annoyances.

As they passed the bridge, Errol waved goodbye to the zombie dad and son still fishing. "I wonder what's up with them?" Errol asked rhetorically as they passed them.

They walked back to the farmer, who was raving about the food Tidas had been able to cook. "'Twas nothing really, stuff always tastes better when it's all fresh," Tidus replied. They thanked the farmer for taking care of their horses while they were gone and rode back to Pavalar.