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 #9
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March 22

Jay's party was a success with almost the entire class showing up. Ravni came up to thank them for coming, and the party made small talk with many of their classmates.

Vaugner looked over and saw Brock playing dice with Courtney and chuckled to himself. Courtney was renowed at being both very skilled and very lucky, but Brock would never learn to stay away from him. Spotting a weird hand movement, Vaugner all of a sudden realized that Courtney was cheating! And what's more, he probably had been cheating for a long time. Maybe the class wasn't quite so innocent after all.

Kestrel learned that Kestra was continuing her studies in Steepe, the capital of West Mantar. Her area of speciality was international law and relations, and the history of law and customs. Kestrel and Kestra had an animated discussion about various border formations which the rest of the party found boring.

Jay came by and reminisced over the many years they had spent together. Asked why she had to leave so soon, she replied that her father, who was the governor of Tallo and its surrounding area, was ill, and she had to head back to Tallo to help him run the city. She was a little nervous, but maintained a state of equanimity. With her usual poise, she soon had the party laughing and sharing old memories and antics they had shared.

Around 11:00, Jay made her way around the various groups and bid farewell to everyone, saying she still had to pack and had to get going. As she turned to leave, she took Vernon aside and said something to him, then gave him a kiss on the cheek.

The charades game wound down around then, and most of the people started leaving. Brock came by, wanting to start another game of charades with the party (he was sure his side would win), and making a pest of himself. Finally, Kestrel was able to get rid of him, and the party stood around waiting.

A few minutes later, Jay came down and asked what they were still doing down here. After murmuring some lame excuses, Jay said, "Hey as I was packing I found a scrapbook that I had collected. You guys should come up and look at it." Somehow intuiting this was part of the plan, the party quickly assented and followed Jay back to her room.

Jay's room was completely packed already, with several boxes stacked throughout the room. As they entered, Tera greeted them, "Welcome my children. How are you all doing?"

After exchanging hellos and asking the party to sit on one of the couches that were part of the dorm furnishings, Tera sat down as well and said, "Congratulations on finding Rillan, by the way. That was well done."

"I'm not sure how much we actually had to do with that really," Kestrel said demurely.

"On the contrary," Tera replied. "It was you that first raised the alarm that the Cherbas were dangerous. You were the first to find the connection between Rillan and the street urchin. Indeed, he said that you saved his life at his house."

"Rillan? That's not a very common name and I have wizard cousin named Rillan..." Jay interrupted.

"Yes, Rillan is your second cousin my child," Tera replied.

"In any event, thank you for coming and I apologize for staging out meeting here. The reason behind this will become apparent shortly," Tera said. At these words, Jay made an excuse and started to leave the room, but Tera stopped her, saying that it would be rude to send Jay out of her own room, and in any event, Jay knew most of secrets to be revealed already.

"A new power has surfaced in the forms of Gems of Power. We don't know how many there are, how they have come to be, or why they are appearing now, but we know that it's a new form of power we haven't seen before.

"The gems can become attuned to their wearers, granting them various powers. There are many rumors, and we're not sure of the validity of any of them. Some of the rumors include being able to create weather, telekenesis at will, teleport at will et cetera.

"For the first time in the history of Belar, our race has become guarded with this knowledge. In the past, we have always shared all that we know of magic. However, the council's inquiries to the Belar in other regions in regards to the gems have resulted in vague and evasive responses.

"It goes without saying that our council's priority is to discover as much as we can about these gems, and to try and acquire one if at all possible. This includes both using official means as well as employing mercenaries and spies. One problem, however, is that most of the mercenaries and spies we are employing have a history with us already, which can be discovered with a little bit of work.

"What we really need is covert help from a supposedly neutral source. Because of the alliances that seem to be at work here, a group without a Cressan affiliation may have better luck than one with. We're not actually sure, but it certainly would give us more flexibility.

"I had initially discounted asking you guys to help out, but after demonstrating your abilities with finding Rillan, I think that perhaps you all would be well-suited to an idea I have.

"My idea is this: You guys have shown an interest in adventuring. It would not be implausible for you decide that you are no longer interested in academics, to cast aside your Pavalar roots, and go out and seek adventures. This would be the story at least. In reality, you would be trying to find more information about these gems, and reporting your findings discreetly, never showing that you have allegience to Cressa still.

"This project is vital to the council. We think this job will take between one and three years. As an incentive, the council has authorized (as long as you do a good job of course) that when this matter is settled, you will be able to write your own job description when you return, within reason, of course.

The party, with the exception of Errol, was enthused about this prospect. With a lot of grumbling, Errol was eventually convinced to go along with the plan.

"Thank you," Tera said when the party formally agreed to the proposal. "Before you leave this city for good, make sure you talk to Mortenser. While I would like to hear your reports, I will be too busy with the council. Mortenser will have to be your point of contact. Trust him -- I trust him with my life, and you should too.

"While there are many stories of the source of the gems, most of them indicate that the gems are first seen in the north, in either Trovantain or Yogar. Unless you get different information, heading that way may be a good start."

Jay added, "If you stop by Tallo, come and say hi, I would love a chance to see you guys again!"

Tera continued, "Also, Vernon, I have a special assignment for you. Unfortunately, you will have to say farewell to the rest of your group for now, though you may be able to join them later. Go talk to Mortenser tomorrow; he will have more information for you.

"Lastly, it is up to you whether or not to attend your graduation ceremony. However, I think it would look strange if you did not attend. But the decision is yours."

Tera rose from her seat. "Well then, I've kept you long enough. I have a few more things to talk over with Jay..."

Taking their cue to leave, the party filed out of the room after again saying goodbye to Jay and made their plans for the next day.

March 23

The party rose early. Checking the adventurers guild, they found a note from Ostler:


I would have liked to meet you, but my adventuring group has just decided to head out, and I must go with them. Good luck with your adventures!

Disappointed, but undaunted, the party decided to head to Sola later that day anyways.

The party had come up with a plan and wanted to bring it up with Janson. Finding him at his inn, Janson ushered them into his office after greeting them. When asked how his business was going, Janson said, "It's going great. I've decided to try and strike while the iron is hot. I'm taking out a loan and opening up a tavern in Karnos. I had considered Asterin, but Karnos is a bigger city, where Minstreling might be more popular."

The party then laid out their plan: the party had already come upon some money and was planning on acquiring more. They were wondering if Janson would be interested in partnering with them -- they would provide some gold, and Janson would open up taverns in more cities. In return, Janson and a couple of his discreet workers would keep their ears open in case any interesting news was heard.

In essence, the party was interested in setting up a secret spy network within the chain of inns. Janson was a little leary of such a deal, but the party reassured him that any information acquired in this manner would be used for good only. Janson was convinced and promised to scout out more possible locations for inns.

The party then went to Mortenser's office. "Welcome, I've been expecting you," Mortenser said as he closed the door. "Thank you for accepting this mission. I have known you guys for several years now, and I think you guys have what it takes to survive out there. You guys are among the smartest humans I've seen, and I've seen a lot.

"To help you keep in contact with me, I have a book to give you. It appears as a normal leatherbound book with blank pages, and I will keep another book which is in all ways identical with me. If you write on the first available blank page, the first 25 words written will be copied onto the other book much like the spell Sending. Only one message can be sent every 24 hours, however, so it a conversation using these books will be quite slow. However, it will be good enough to set up a meeting or for you to impart any especially important information. Once the message is read and the book closed, the message will disappear forever.

"If anything important comes up, I will be sure to pass it along, and please keep me up to date on what you are up to. One last thing, Mortenser is not a very common name. It would be better if you referred to me by another name, in case your thoughts are being read."

"How about Vigeo?" Vaugner suggested.

It was decided -- Mortenser was now known as Vigeo.

After eating lunch, the party set out for Sola.

March 26

The party had been traveling for several days uneventfully, which was not surprising given the proximity to Pavalar. Pavalar had long ago destroyed most of threats close to the city, and most creatures, through intelligence or instinct, knew to stay away from the city.

Yesterday they had come to the realization that they would have to do something about the horses, since there was no way they horses could be convinced to go into the undead ruins. In the end, they decided to leave the horses with a farmer and his wife and walk the last bit to Sola.

March 27

The night again passed uneventfully, though the party was much more wary now they were so close to the ruins. After setting out for a couple hours, their caution was rewarded when two ghouls sprang from the bushes and attacked them. Though they were quickly dispatched, it reminded the party that killing undead was grim work.

A little after noon, the party came to the ruins. Once a large moat had surrounded the city. Now, only a large ditch remained. The main stone bridge into the city was still intact, however. Spying all of this from a distance, the party also saw a man and boy apparently fishing in the empty moat.

Moving forward cautiously, the party's fears were confirmed. The man and boy were actually zombies. Tattered clothes (obviously not 5000 years old) hung losely from each, as they ignored the party and continued fishing. Malif wanted to dispose of the monstrosities, but the rest of the party voted to ignore the zombies and see if they would be attacked.

Though the zombies reaked of rotting flesh, they continued to ignore the party as they passed the bridge and entered the ruins. Looking at the map they had copied from a history book with an old map of Sola, it was at first hard to determine where they were. Though the roads were still discernable, almost all the buildings had been completely reduced to rubble. A stray wall still stood upright here and there, but all the roofs of the buildings had long since collapsed.

Looking out at the ruins of the city, they party saw many zombies walking around, all seemingly oblivious to the them. Some bones were scattered among the stones and dirt throughout the ground. There was no wind, and it was eerily silent.

The party decided to explore what had been the upscale section of town. Heading clockwise along the edge of the moat, they saw a few more zombies who still paid them no heed. At the next intersection they turned right to headed into the city.

They picked a house at random and walked into it. They searched around and excavated for about 30 minutes, and were rewarded when one of them found a door which led downstairs to a cellar. As they opened it, stale air rushed out. A thick layer of dust in the cellar indicated that nothing had disturbed this place in many years. After searching around the cellar, the party found about 430 gold and 100 silver.

Deciding next to investigate the cathedral, the party started heading in that direction. As the party passed by a set of bones which looked much like all the other bones they had passed, six skeletons suddenly sprang up and attcked. Worse yet, as the battle started, five zombies which had been ignoring the party now turned to attack.

Blink found out quickly that he was much more effective on the skeletons than the zombies. Malif shot the undead with disrupt undead. Errol sang a song to inspire his companions, and stood his ground with expertise, and Kestrel tripped many of the undead. Vaugner realized his arrows were not very effective and switched over to his great sword.

Soon the fight was over and the party was not seriously injured, but they became much more aware of the piles of bones and tried to avoid them as they could.

Eventually they came to the remains of the cathedral. Even after 4800 years, the evidence of magical mayhem still remained. Melted and scorched stone rose grotesquely from the ground. Craters could still be seen from explosions long ago.

The party started searching the cathedral, looking for anything interesting. They had been searching for about 45 minutes, and the time was now around 3:45, when all of a sudden Errol, who had been standing watch, spotted three ghouls leap a partial wall.

The ghouls sprang after Kestrel, the nearest person. "Wow these smell bad," Kestrel thought. These ghouls seemed to be more durable than the ghouls they had encountered outside. Errol would later remember, when he was thinking more clearly and using his bardic knowledge, that two of these were probably not ghouls but instead were ghasts.

The ghasts fought visciously, but only bit into Kestrel and Errol infrequently, and for the most part Kestrel and Errol were able to overcome the various maladies the ghasts engendered. Errol did get paralyzed about halfway through the fight after one of the ghasts had been dispatched, and Kestrel was paralyzed just in time for Blink to finish off the last ghast. Errol did suffer a nasty bite that even a later cure light wounds was unable to fully heal; Errol realized that he would probably be subject to ghoul fever the next day.

Deciding that they would probably have better luck at another random house, they retraced their steps back to the upper class section and picked another house. After searching there for a while, they managed to find another 400 silver and a scroll case. Vaugner checked for traps and then opened the case. A small pop was heard as the airtight seal was broken, and he passed it to Malif as he realized he couldn't read it. Malif knew it was magical, but didn't have a read magic handy, so he put it into his pack for later review.

Around this time, Errol noticed a shadow appear near them. Oddly, there seemed to be no corporeal body making the shadow, and the party quickly realized that the shadow was some sort of undead. As the party engaged it, more nearby zombies joined in the attack.

The shadow managed to hit Kestrel and sap some strength from him, but then was dispatched by the rest of the party. Looking around, there seemed to be more zombies around now. The party quickly realized that the sun would soon set, and that perhaps they should be out of the ruins before sundown.

Walking quickly and trying to avoid the ghouls they spotted in the distance (luckily for them, the ghouls seemed to be concentrating on something else not looking for or smelling fresh flesh). Eventually though, three ghouls they missed saw them and started running towards them.

Knowing that the zombies nearby would soon attack also, Vaugner attacked one of the nearby zombies before it could react. Errol and Kestrel formed a way to meet the charge of the ghouls. Amazingly though, before the ghouls could attack, two other ghouls spotted the melee as well, but instead of attacking the party, they attecked the other ghouls!

Taking advantage of the delay, the party quickly killed the zombies. The two newcomers were making quick work of the other three, and the party quickly deduced they were probably ghasts. The party killed the zombies at the same time as the two ghasts had killed the three ghouls.

The ghasts charged the party, which had been worn down by the day of many encounters. The party knew they would be in trouble if they couldn't get out of the city quickly, though, and redoubled their efforts. A few seconds later the ghasts were dead and the party again sped towards the bridge leading out of the city.

Dodging between the many zombies which were walking along the streets (which still ignored them), the party was able to speed out of town without further encounters. Wanting to get some more distance between the ruins and themselves, the party kept walking away as the sun set.