The Rise and Fall of Glamorfell

Dreams within Dreams.
"or what Yelenya has been up to."

It was good to see her companions again, even if she knew that Sayd was going to badger her with questions. The elf might too, but she would likely be more discrete about it. The forest called out to her, like a flame to a moth. She hated the way it felt in there. Sayd was less likely to feel it, and she doubted that the humans or even the elf were aware of just how alive the woods they wandered were. The low voice of life, so pervasive, had filled her mind. She was pretty sure that she had cleaned up thoroughly. For one of the few times in her life she was happy that she had lost her marbles, even if it was temporary. She sat quietly in the grass and watched them for a few minutes, unable to decide if it was a good time to return. She remembered everything that she had done since she had last seen them, and while it didn’t cause her any guilt, they might not see it the same way. She hadn’t killed anybody, not really, but she had killed a few animals… ok, maybe more than a few… and the blood drinking thing probably hadn’t helped her make any friends. She felt better now, it had been years since her last little blowout, 4 dead incidentally, and while her stomach felt a bit queezy, drinking a few gallons of blood that you couldn’t absorb or digest would do that, she mentally felt better than she had since setting foot in that forest. She sighed and tugged at a tuft of grass as she watched the party walk around. Well, no point in putting it off. She remembered the taste of the blood, and the fear, and the sweet smell of death. Yelenya smiled as she slipped into the shadows and made her way down to the party.

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Sentinel of the Skies
The Wisdom of Yukimura

High above the ground, hidden in the canopy of trees, Yukimura fluttered silently from branch to branch.

It took some doing, but Yukimura finally had convinced his master that he was “no fledgling to be coddled”, was “tired of hiding inside a hot, smelly animal skin”, was not a “flying man-torch”, and that he had no intention of “sitting around waiting to be scooped up like a fat, lazy grub”, along with some other bird-themed idioms that don’t quite translate.

So here he was, acting as forward scout. Below, a frog-man crouched behind a wall, with his tusked pets nearby. Hidden to those on the ground, Yukimura thought to himself, but not to the keen eyes of this bird. He took to the air, heading back to the group, and hoped that he had not betrayed a feeling of triumph through the empathic link. No sense spoiling the surprise.


In the quiet of the night, Kaede sat cross-legged in front of the campfire, poring over a book with burn-marks on it. Yukimura hopped over to her and spoke, “This thing again, girl?”

Without looking up, Kaede replied, “Master, I think that I can almost understand it. The writing is similar to the scrolls that I received from the Society, I may be able to do something with it. I just need a focus of some kind, and a little more time”. She sighed, “I wish Aduialon were still here; he’d be able to help.”

Yukimura twittered in an annoyed way, “Pah. Your patron provides you whatever you require, through me”. Nonetheless, he fluttered up to Kaede’s shoulder, and gazed intently at the wording in the tattered spellbook.

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Curious Village of Hollow
Kaede's letter to Emiko Lin

To Emiko Lin:

Greetings, Honored One—

Our investigation of the Narlmarch forest continues apace. There are many things worth reporting, but most interesting of them all is the curious village of Hollow.

The residents of the village follow something that they call the “Old Way”; some sort of remnant of an ancient agreement that a mortal named Mikhail the Woodcutter made with the forest. They are reclusive, isolated, sullen, and superstitious to the point of absurdity — I cannot take anything that they say at face value. Any investigation by the Way is going to require a strong knowledge of local lore, in order to properly interpret what the people of Hollow believe.

The area itself is strongly magical; metal items held within the Narlmarch will quickly rust and degrade. Fey stones or linseed oil act as a (temporary) countermeasure. Hollow itself appears to be immune to this effect, at least within the confines of the ring of scarecrows that surround the village. There are other such wardings in the village, including one that protects against encroachment of wild animals, but as evidenced by the wolf pack assault the eve of our first night’s visit, the protection is either imperfect or otherwise compromised by the events gripping the area.

My companions were able to overcome the horrors of the Hollow Man and the Singing Tree while I was absent on a scouting mission, which appears to have given the people of Hollow some measure of respite for now. Just the same, as outsiders, we were asked to leave, and return no more than once a season, unless we intend to join their community.

Before we moved on, they bade us to keep silent about the existence and location of their village. I was noncommittal, naturally; the aims of the Way shall not be denied.

We leave to explore the rest of the Narlmarch.

As always, I am your faithful servant,

-Kaede

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Sayd's Diary, 10 Erastus

Wake up and dream. I stir in the sheets, waiting for the knock knock knock of the Hollow Man. Anna lays beside me, asleep in pure contentment. She has not had a man in years. I flex my fingers in front of me, watch as the tapered black nails grow and harden into talons, then recede to their original form. I pick up my diary and write these words. The room is nearly black but for a sliver of moonlight sneaking in from the shuttered window. This does not trouble me.

We sent Teret and Kaede out to scout and they have not returned yet. I worry for them. We have truly bonded, in the way that companions do. I would risk any danger on their behalf. It is a security, and a pitfall, that only fighting men know.

I should be more honest here. At first I had planned this diary to accidentally fall into the hands of the bards, that my legend might grow. Lying next to Anna, letting someone in, even just a little, makes that seem a paltry reason for falsehoods.

Arryn Ashe. There is a name I have not uttered or put to print in decades. We keep things secret sometimes to protect them from the world around us. We lived like royalty once, my governess and I, playing hide and seek in gardens so vibrant and real, I can still taste the honeyed air. Later we held court in alleyways, plotting vengeance—but how can you revenge yourself against blind fate?

The only truth worth knowing is this: there is a wall, in this life or the next, that towers above me, and I, with naught but my pride, throw myself at it so long as I breathe, and it will break before I do.

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Bird's Eye View
The Wisdom of Yukimura

Yukimura would have frowned, if he were able.

He could not understand the incessant chattering of the wingless, but there was no mistaking the waves of panic that washed over him from his empathic link with Kaede: trouble. A moment later, he heard the distant howls himself. With resignation, Yukimura quickly snapped up one last berry, and fluttered up from the table to perch upon his master’s shoulder.


As Kaede raced through the starlit village, Yukimura crouched low, to keep from being shaken away. A cluster of poorly-armed figures came into view, and the notes of panic from Kaede dulled, to be replaced by a knot of rage, smoldering like the embers of a lightning-struck tree. Yukimura sighed inwardly. Wolves approached, but rather than flee to the safety of their strange nests, the humans huddled together in the open, like foolish fledglings.

He heard Kaede bark orders at them in the strange language of men. As she hastily tried to scale the side of the nearest nest, Yukimura was nearly flung to the ground when she lost her grip on the (amateurishly laid, in his opinion) thatch on top of it.

Annoyed, the yellow thrush spoke in their shared tongue: “Fool girl, slow down. Anger is weakness. Calm your mind, find your center, try again”. Kaede glared at him over her shoulder, but paused, took a breath, and vaulted herself up the side of the structure with one hand, perching gracefully at the top. Yukimura allowed himself a tiny nod of satisfaction.

Suddenly, Kaede began chanting, and after a moment Yukimura saw his body glowing like a torch; a Light spell.

“Yukimura. Help Walorin. Go!”

Of course. In this light, the barbarian won’t be able to see. Yukimura took a short hop and went airborne, taking quick stock of the situation. It seemed that there were battles going on in three different places. After a moment, he found his mark: Walorin was barreling through the center of the village at full speed, tripping over shadowed rocks and stray planks of wood, but managing to catch himself at the last moment with acrobatic dives and rolls. Yukimura dipped his right wing, and swooped in above the barbarian, keeping pace and lighting his way.


Circling high above the melee, Yukimura watched helplessly as another pair of humans were knocked to the ground. This was going poorly. Just then, he felt a surge of triumph pulse through his bond, and saw Kaede leaping from rooftop to rooftop towards him, disappearing from sight once, but popping back into view a moment later. As she reached the peak of the nearest nest, she shouted to him, “Yukimura! Find Teret and lead him over here!”, before dropping gracefully over the edge and pulling a double-chained kama free from her belt.

Without a moment’s hesitation, he banked, and dove to the east. In the distance, he saw Teret, atop a laboring (but alive) Silverwind, and loudly chirped to get the man’s attention.


In the end, three of the men were killed by wolves, the company’s plain-looking new recruit was still unconscious, and several people were badly wounded. In Yukimura’s estimation, fortune smiled upon them; had the pack truly attacked in force, this strange village likely would have been reclaimed by the forest.

Once again perched upon Kaede’s shoulder, Yukimura twittered to get her attention. Lifting a still-glowing wing, and gesturing with it:

“Would you mind, girl? Your master is happy to be of help, but this is embarrassing.”

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Sayd at Hollow, 9 Erastus 4710 YK

This is it.

When young children gather around the hearth to hear tales of wizards and warriors, of giants and dragons and dark gods, this is the scene. When they crawl under their blankets and picture themselves, swords in hand, facing the looming shadows under the trees, this is where they come. We are on an island full of innocent, wide eyed folk surrounded by an ocean of fucking darkness. It is a microcosm of the the world. This village, Hollow, represents society. The woods are what we fear. And we are right to fear them.

Adventurers, mercenaries, win acclaim because they cross that threshold, they leave society behind and enter the unknown. And what is the unknown, what is the greatest unknown? Death itself. Adventurers are those who step outside the carefully drawn lines of civilization to face death itself, to kill fear itself.

How do I make all the maidens swoon? It’s not my looks, though they help. It’s because I kill death for a living.

I kill death for a living.

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Erastus 9 4710 AR
The Diary of Teret Feron

We have, at last, and with some amount of relief, found Hollow. We’ve been traveling for near a week now.

We left Oleg’s pretty well provisioned I think, but still, with Kaede and Elissa both attending to other things, it does not feel as though we were at full strength. Silverwind seems in good spirits, better than most here I think. There’s a stink to this forest that seems to permeate the metal of my armor, the fabric of our cloaks. So far, none of our party has succumbed to whatever lurks around here, but we all make no mistake, something does.

There is indeed something completely wrong about this place. Hollow appears to be the worst. Everyone looks sullen. Even when we entered, all of us began to simultaneously hum some sort of tune. It’s unsettling. Greater magic than mortal men is at work here. After speaking with the Priest of Gozreh, who calls himself Arkadi, I can’t help but be reminded of how small a being we really are within the larger landscape. Demons and celestials, Planes walkers, these things were all tales to me not so many moons ago. Often, Anternius would speak of these to me, where I gave him little heed, believing them just that, tales. Something seems wrong about this place though, as though one of those stories were playing out. As though we were but a band of puppets, guided by an invisible hand, or hands. It just does not seem natural and I find no comfort in a cursed place like this.

In time, perhaps we will earn the truth. There just seems to be quite a bit we have yet to learn here. What of this Singing Tree? More importantly, do we believe the treant, as it was called. It called itself GnarlRoot, that does not seem a respectable name. Still, something must be acting upon the creatures of the Nalmarch, especially here. When last we journeyed here for the honey-eyed wife of Oleg, we nearly lost half of our provisions.

This time, We encountered carnivorous Squirrels. I don’t recall ever seeing such a thing, it was nearly stomach turning if the truth were to be put to it. I admit to never having travelled this far south, that could be a part here, but none of my companions seem to believe this is normal either. Still so much to know, to learn. I still do not know if I have found my redemption or damnation in these lands.

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Sarenith 20 4710 AR
The Diary of Teret Feron

We’ve done it! We’ve finally done it! We’ve had brush ups with a number of the Stag Lord’s lieutenants, but finally, we’ve struck into their heart. It was costly, the best of us, Kaede, fell during the battle, I myself, nearly had my guts removed from a vicious blow. It was well fought though. Even our newest member, Kinky, proved his valor. He is green, but he has the heart of giant. Kressle though, now lies upon the cold ground, mirroring the ice of her heart.

Though it feels good to have brought justice to so twisted a soul, I still feel off somehow. As though a part of me is missing, or maybe just not understood. It’s elusive. Lately, i’ve found the night not holding the mysteries it once held. I can see a bit clearer on a full moon. Something within me has changed. It must have been that Celestial we met. I’ve always felt something amiss when the divine or demonic are present. It is strange, the demon did not make me feel the same. We had no contact with him. I don’t know. I may never.

Back to the events at hand though. The Shrike river camp lays silent. We have only a few that managed to escape our grasp. I do not doubt that they will be ours before this is all over. If I live to tell the tale of how this all went down, I do not believe I will shy from the truth. I myself am still unsure how I lived through it. Our newest compatriot, Kinky as he is known, held himself in good accounting. He is definitely a wildling of sorts, he knows the way of the woods like no other. His marksmanship could stand a bit of seasoning, but he has a warrior’s heart. I think he will make himself a true asset to our outfit of misfits.

These events with Elissa, the truly faithful of us, are troubling. I do not doubt it was her honor and moral compass that drove her to abandon us with so little to protect her, but I wish she would have trusted us enough, trusted our judgement, that we would see this through. I do fear that Dovan, the fiend that he is, will not uphold his end. I fear for her safety, but as I wish she trusted us, so must we trust her. It is a strange dichotomy, something I do not believe I have felt in a long time. I have come to rely on the men and women that ride with me, and I believe part of it is my never ceasing paranoia, but i’m not entirely sure I wish to be so reliant. It is how it shall be for now though. I must trust that my fate has not been sealed, and that my coffin is not already being crafted for me.

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"Whats happening to my body?" book for little lycanthropes
Journal of Walorin

Shortly after the defeat of Kressle, Walorin jumps up and sits cross-legged on the stump in the middle of the Thorn River Camp with his Banjo in hand, and a chewing on a blade of grass crooked in the corner of his mouth while bodies are looted

With his free hand pulling the arrows protruding from his body, sneering in pain with each pull and staring directly at the bushes the very same archer had made retreat into; with every pull and subsequent gaping hole in his skin, he was reminded how leathery and thick it had become lately. What was probably more noticeable was the light coat of downy fur that had begun to protrude from that leathery skin, and while it might be one to many knocks on the skullbone, he swore it was actually keeping him a little warmer.

He stops chewing, shifts his weight, and tries to focus his attention on the banjo. Spiting out the grass blade with a strange look on his face, looking down he sees it.
One of his teeth… scratch that… a fang has just come out of its socket in his mouth, and now sits bloody and gleaming in the sun on the ground.

“well that cain’t be no good…”

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Sayd to Jamandi Aldori

Greetings, my lady.

It’s my pleasure to inform you that the Black Cats (as we are temporarily calling ourselves) have slain Kressle, a chief among the Stag Lord’s lieutenants. With her death and our recent execution of Searos the Skinchanger, that brings the total of medallions we have collected to four, by my count. In short, things are progressing very well. It saddens me to inform you that Captain Garess has grown estranged and melancholy of late following the cruel murder of his lieutenant, Laerick, by an as-yet-at large member of the Stag Lord’s motley crew.

Our supply chain is intact, for which we have you to thank, and without further care we are pressing our advantage against the bandits, having already made key alliances with both a kobold tribe and some of the fey native to this area. I have been keeping tabs on Lord Drelev’s expedition from afar but would appreciate your input concerning the level of involvement you would like to see in cooperation between our expeditions.

We have been many months afield, but not so many that I forget the harsh glamour of your noble countenance. Would that I could be there to deliver word of our successes in person.

Metaphorically yours,

Sayd Krynn

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