The Rise and Fall of Glamorfell

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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Date is written, but Smudged
The Diary of Teret Feron

These past few months have truly been trying and some of the most inconceivable of my life. Having lived through these trials, I know them to have happened, but I still question them. At times, it feels as though I am beginning to learn the truth of the world around me. Celestials and Demons, Ancient kingdoms and Long lost oaths. I still feel as though more exists, when we spoke with the celestial, Suiliana, and her fate. She gave us a gift, something she called the Gift of the Gale, Gwale, Ghale, something like this. I’ve found nothing about it in the book, Religons of the inner seas, but perhaps it means nothing.

What does mean something is how I have felt of late. It is different, and yet entirely familiar. Something nascent. I don’t know, sometimes I think it is just paranoia. Demir. Something about his stink seems all over this place these days. Enough of this though. I must recount our latest attack on our base of operations.

We were questioning Jhod, I played silent, but maintained my posture. It seemed a well thought out plan, though I don’t know what truly was gained. The man must be lying. At least, I think that’s what Kaede was saying. I do not know, my head hurts as I think about this all. The night watch, when the call was raised, it was pure chaos. Flaming arrows were flying all about us. More than one caught the buildings. I still don’t know who dealt with those. Each instance where my companions went to the source of trouble, I was too far behind. It is clear the heavy armor is a hinderance. I will have to consider this, perhaps I need something lighter when I sleep. Wearing nothing is of no help. I do remember the eagle though, I saw one above us earlier in the day, I remember it, faintly. As I went to the eastern wall, it was in the air above me, I nearly cleaved it in two, but it took off to flight again. After that, everyone was fleeing the wall, to the west. If it was true we were to be attacked, I was going to take to Silverwind. The advantage has proven too great for a number of our encounters. I will also have to think about this part. It took me too long to get to Silverwind, and free him. By the time I got to the Stable, released it from its stall and took off out of the fort, the fight was nearly finished. Dovan, our once helpful carpenter, was the traitor, and he fled. We found out later that he had murdered Laerrick. He was a good soul, he will be sorely missed. A disciplined man. Kestern seems to be taking it hard. there is some amount of attempt to wipe something off, smeared ink

Dovan though, fled. HIs friend Searos, did not. I would have spitted him where he stood, but the elf leapt upon him and pummeled him unconscious, as I came near. The eagle was felled, I think by Yelenya, but that was the end of it. Archers that fled, Dovan that fled, and a druid like being, who looked like an angry version of Storr, near enough took our fort to the ground. We were ill prepared. The men, our defenses. We cannot withstand too many more of those. Each time, one or more flee, the attacks are getting more sophisticated. Whatever the Stag Lord is or is not, simple banditry is not all we are dealing with. I fear when we find the truth of this.

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Dreaming
Walorin Log

Shortly After our night with Kalkamedes
Nighttime, wilderness campsite

The campfire burns low, crackling and sputtering.
Yelenya emerges from the twisting shadows only briefly to toss another log on before turning to resume her watch, preferably at a distance from the light.

She despised nights like these – too much was in motion.

She knew Mikmek was out there, though she could not see him- the kobold’s gift for stealth rivaled her own. She knew too that the fey creatures that had plagued the party were afoot with benign mischief- she could barely discern the occasional twitter or rustling branch and resultant ‘shush’.

The bumpkin, to make matters worse, had developed the annoying habit of muttering in his sleep as of late; and was doing just that as Yelenya pulled her cloak tight and stalked out of camp, her boots making only the faintest whisper to mark their passing.

The muttering and shifting was noticed by more than Yelenya. Tyg popped her head out from behind a tree, the sharp elven features of her face softened by the moonlight, squinting at the barbarian.
She glanced to her side just in time to see an old boot grunting and muscling its way between her and the tree.

The fey have virtually no use for clothing in general, and that goes double for boots. Mortals, on the other hand, seem to go nowhere without them- so naturally they are a perfect target for attentive pranks. Pervalish, in particular, had a special affinity toward mortal foot ware- the shiny buckles, the dangling laces, the incomprehensible smells- how intoxicating, how mysterious…what fun!

Pervalish had spent almost the better part of a full moon finding the perfect rock for this prank. Just the right size to be too big for the rear end of the boot, but a snug fit for the area near the toes where it widens. His claws, small and sure, would have no problem getting the rock in there – but clumsy, huge mortal hands would surely be confounded trying to get it out!

“Perv, finish up with that, I want to take it back as soon as possible…”, Tyg said turned her gaze back to the human encampment.

Pervalish, elbow deep in boot, looked up at her and followed her gaze to the restless form, continuing the gentle maneuvering of the rock by feel alone. “What, now? You know who he’s talking to, better not to get in the middle of it.” Suddenly, his draconic maw lit up in glee, “Aha! Got it!”, he said presenting the comically oversized boot to the grig.

With two long hops, Tyg bound into the camp with the boot, dropping it with a soft ‘plop’ next to its mate alongside the sleeping man-at-arms, and turning her attention to Walorin. “Perv is wrong.” she thought to herself, “I wonder whats going on in there…it shouldn’t be too hard, I just have to find the threads and follow them.” With that, she placed her hands on both of the human’s temples, closed her eyes and pressed her forehead against his- concentrating.

Almost immediately she sensed an opening and went into Wally’s subconscious- falling into the black dream that currently consumed him. She saw him running frantically through a dark forest, a bright moon shone overhead. His gasps for air and mercy interspersed with fearful looks back, trying to escape whatever monster pursued him. In the distance a lone wolf howl punctuates the stillness and he runs all the harder, scrabbling through the trees and underbrush where necessary. Finally, however, he is caught; and the resultant screams, growling, and tearing of flesh were only half as frightening as the realization that Wally himself was the beast tearing this unfortunate soul apart.

Both woke with a start- Wally sitting bolt upright, and Tyg spilling out on the ground. Before either could react, Yelenya ran into the campfire circle at the disturbance, and when Wally turned to find Tyg again, she was gone.

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Sayd's Diary - A bit of fiction

While I was recovering, my friends had been busy with one Kalkimedes, a fallen paladin who now found himself cursed to sleepwalk every night towards an unknown goal. I caught them just as they arrived at their final destination, the Black Edifice, a structure only known by moonlight. We sent Yel and Mikmek ahead to scout, as has been our practice. The two have formed an amusing and even touching bond. A puzzle awaited in the first chamber, some nonsense left behind by the Thrallkeepers or Thrallmasters of ancient Thassilonia. A statue held a slender golden wand, and the solution was to gasp use it in the magical zone by the door. Such trivialities. After we had defeated a massive skunk who rose to our approach, I began zapping my companions willy nilly with the thing until they opened the door. Child’s play.

I grow weary of recounting in the first person, as modesty prevents me from accurately describing the grandeur of my heroics. I believe I may ditch this diary altogether and instead write a fictionalized account from the omniscient perspective of a god or a wordsmith.

“Sayd did not hesitate before leaping over the pallisade and tumbling fifteen feet to the sodden earth below, where he rolled to break his momentum and came face to face with Searos the Skinchanger, a burly half elf druid who glared at him with menace. With a flick of the druid’s wrist a storm of shubbery and plants arose from the earth, holding Sayd in place. The half elf smiled, no doubt intending to set upon and ravish our gorgeous hero. Sayd sleekly slipped from the impromptu garden first, tho, and crushed the druid’s very sanity with a clashing spray of red and black magic. Searos’ eagle companion, Shredd, landed on Sayd’s shoulder, taken with the presence of its new master—until Kaede, droing librarian, speared it through and through. ‘Shreeddddddddddddd!’ he cried. But it was too late. ‘Now,’ Sayd said in tien, ‘You will pay the price for insulting me. Tiger form!’

Alright, so perhaps I got a bit carried away with my re-imagining. History will not know the difference, though!

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Sleepwalking
Kaede's letter to Emiko Lin

To Emiko Lin:

Greetings, Honored One—

Kalkamedes is safe, though it was a near thing. I think perhaps if we had arrived much later, that this message would have been one filled with regret. To our great fortune, a young man (one whom the group had assisted earlier) was staying with Kalkamedes and doing his best to keep things stable while we were on our way.

I’ll skip to the heart of the matter: Kalkamedes was going on nightly adventures into the wilderness, in his bedclothes, while fully asleep. He always left at the same time, went in the same direction, and could not be roused awake. In fact, any interference with his journey tended to be met with violence! Walorin had a set of manacles with him that we used on Kalkamedes to control him more easily; I never really understood why he DID possess such things, but I am thankful that we had them available.

Since Kalkamedes never deviated from his course, many hazards needed to be overcome in order to assure his safety. We had to get him across running water, over chasms, through razor-sharp fields of thorns, fought off a mother bear and her cubs, and even protected him from a bandit ambush (one led by another of Kressel’s lieutenants — she is truly a thorn in our side here, and I will write more on this in the future) .

Finally, we arrived at the Black Edifice, the place that called to Kalkamedes nightly; alas, this is a story for another missive. I apologize for leaving you in suspense, but I haven’t the time at present to properly describe the events of the Edifice. Know, however, that your servant is safe, and once again sleeping soundly.

In the meantime, I’ve included a sample of the stonework that you requested (my own attempts at harvesting were clumsy, but Mikmek of the Sootscale was eager to assist me, and proved invaluable at the task), as I know the Way would like to start its research sooner rather than later.

As always, I am your faithful servant,

-Kaede

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Dovan's Tale

They had found their mark easily enough. Dovan had taken the group a few days’ ride to the north, and then ordered them to spread out and start looking for prey. “Handsome” Celthric was the first to spot something – a young wolf caught in a toothy metal contraption – and he signaled the rest of the bandits. The lot of them killed and ate the beast while they waited for the trap’s owner to return. When he did come to check on his work, they chased him down, beat him, stripped him, and tied him to a tree. The trapper had become the trapped.

Before any questions were even asked, Dovan got out his special set of knives and had a little “fun.” Then they got to work. Between Dovan’s knives and Auchs’ fists, the unlucky bastard soon spilled everything about himself, about the loose-knit community of hunters and trappers in the Greenbelt, about this trading post to the north… and then he spilled some more… and more, and more, and more. The bandits had all the information that they needed, as far as Falgrim could tell anyway, but still Dovan asked his questions, and still they cut and beat the man’s flesh. The poor fool said what he thought they wanted to hear, said anything to get them to stop, but the two kept at it well past sundown.

The rest of them were gathered around the fire, out of sight but not out of earshot. Topper Red, always the idealist, was clearly not happy with the situation. After a lot of fidgeting and grumbling, the young man finally spoke up. “He’s said all he’s gonna say, right? Can’t they at least gag him? All his hollerin’ is upsettin’ my dinner.”

Without looking up from the fire, Markard the Stitcher muttered, “Why don’t you go ask Dovan to stuff a rag in the guy’s mouth.”

“Or ask Markard to stitch his mouth shut,” Falgrim said with a grin. Markard glared at Falgrim in response. That sort of cruelty was not Markard’s style (his nickname came from his crude healing skills), and neither was a sense of humor.

“Handsome” Celthric stayed silent, although he smiled a little at Falgrim’s little joke, careful not to open his mouth. He didn’t open it often these days unless he absolutely had to, not since the Stag Lord had beaten his good looks and all of his teeth out of him.

“Nine hells, I ain’t dumb,” Topper said with a scowl. “I know well enough to not get between Dovan and his fun.” Topper spit into the fire. “I’m just bellyachin’, I suppose. Don’t see the point of it, is all.”

“The point is that Dovan has the favor of the Stag Lord and you don’t…. or he did, anyway. So keep your aching belly to yourself, And don’t you dare mention that he got sent north to Thorn River, he’s awful sore about that. ” Falgrim said sternly. Dovan was a cruel and vindictive devil-spawn, and Auchs was violent and so dumb that the giant would do whatever Dovan wanted. To make matters worse, Dovan had recently suffered a humiliating demotion, having been sent away to Kressle’s camp. It wasn’t worth it to risk getting on either one’s bad side.

Topper Red breathed an exaggerated sigh of relief when the screaming finally stopped. Soon after, Dovan strode out of the darkness and towards the campfire, with Auchs trailing close behind. Dovan was shirtless, revealing the strange tattoos that snaked across his chest and arms, but was in the process of pulling on the trapper’s tunic as he walked. Once dressed, he asked, “What do you think, gentlemen? Do I look the part?”

“It’ll do,” replied Falgrim, “but that tunic’s too big, and I can see bits o’ your tattoos. Don’t see many trappers with that sort of thing, not in these parts. And then there’s your accent…”

Dovan scoffed. “Minor details,” he said, ridding his voice of its normal foreign lilt and replacing it with something that sounded much more rough, patterned after the strange speech of Galt. “I’ll have the disguise and voice perfected by the time I reach this Oleg’s.”

“Hey!” exclaimed Auchs, who looked down at Dovan with new wonder in his dim eyes. “You sound like that hunter man!”

Dovan shot Auchs a look of pure disgust. “Yes, you lumbering oaf! That’s the whole idea!” He then delivered a savage backhand across Auch’s huge, misshapen face. Everything stopped as the bandits awaited Auchs’ reaction, but the mighty fool only cowered in response. If anyone else had tried that, Auchs would probably have ripped their head off. But the giant was scared of Dovan, as small and slight as the man was in comparison. Nine hells, I don’t blame him, thought Falgrim. The former mercenary had been all around the Inner Sea, and had seldom encountered as nasty a group of characters as the Stag Lord’s lieutenants.

“Get some rest,” Dovan ordered the others. “We ride at first light. That little trading post will soon be a pyre to our glory.”

In his disguise, gaining the trust of the travelling priest was child’s play for Dovan. After setting up a simple ambush, Dovan made sure to rescue the old man before he was slaughtered by the other “bandits”. The old fool was almost pathetically grateful, and invited him to travel with him to the old fort.

The residents were uninspiring. Two merchants; an older man and a pretty woman, married to each other. Four guards and their captain, but only two were on duty. And Dovan himself. He slipped into his best impersonation of a carpenter from Galt who had just come to the trading post to sell his skills, and they all bought it. The old merchant paid him for the work and rented him a room for the night, and the woman chatted him up a bit, but they paid the disguised Dovan no special mind.
===============
Several months later:

In the middle of the night, Dovan slipped out of his bed and crept unnoticed across the yard to the stables. Searos and the others were waiting outside, hopefully out of sight. Once they saw the fire, they would make for the gate, which Dovan would have to get open. As Dovan poured oil along the base of the catapults, he fervently hoped the guard near the gate, that strange-speaking elf, stayed at her post when the blaze started. He expected Searos would have arranged some sort of distraction to help him.

He saw Laerrick in the northwest corner of the fort, where he always ways. He was a predictable watchman, which was a fact he would have to relate to Pharasma in her boneyard. It was simple to sneak up behind him. He realized how much he missed the catch in their breath and the startled look in their eyes, right after the blade slipped into their throat. It had been too long since he had killed.
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Sayd to Quintessa Maray

Dear one,

You have been much on my mind of late. In the grand cities I can slip about as I will, pleasing my own ends, but here in this rugged landscape there are too few shadows to hide in. My lust for dominance is nigh uncontrollable but I can not sate it without destroying the trust of my allies. I fear I can not survive this land on my own, robbed of my sword arm by a brutal venom—though, as it happens, my newfound devotion to the dark magicks of my blood has born fruit of a more thrilling sustenance than ever mere swordplay did.

I have found what you wanted of Kalkimedes. The paladin fell from favor far north in Mendev, where he used such cunning tricks and cowardly schemes as to make me proud, though it did not please his god, apparently. He did himself a favor. What good are the blessings of the gods if they rob us of our very will to choose?

I learned much of myself from a priestess of Calistria who saved my life, though I will hold those secrets as my own for now. It is time you did a service for me—and gods know, past time you serviced me—and what I would have is knowledge from your network. There is a common crux to all the ills of the greenbelt, even this so called Stag Lord. Each foe we’ve overthrown, from the mite King Garbles to the purple skinned kobold summoner to the Stag Lord himself have borne the touch of the First World on their lips.

What do you know of the Queen of Whispers? I have included a starting point: my own sketches of two pages of a children’s book as well as a legend I was told of a drinking contest and an axe as strong as Woman’s Scorn. Find more for me. I expect to be in the court of this fey tyrant e’re many moons have changed, and my sharpest blade will be knowledge.

I dream idle dreams on the road when the blather of my companions turns to a kind of sing-song music drifting into tree and sky. I see a broad and tall metropolis, built upon and sucking the life from these lands, with a name rendered difficult for those without the dark tongue. They will call it only the City of Night. At it’s apex, in the most harrowing looking of towers, I will sit enthroned while the petrified, screaming statues that my enemies have become adorn my walls. You will be there as well, kneeling at my feet, in chains. I know your heart quickens to that day.

Yours in body and soul,

Sayd

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Kaede's letter to Emiko Lin
Awakening

To Emiko Lin:

Greetings, Honored One—

I apologize for my recent silence, and hope to have not caused anyone needless worry. To confirm for you what your other agents have surmised: I have been able to discover within myself a latent talent for the arcane arts.

As such things often go with me, it began after a vision and a dream. I awoke one day — alone and separated from my traveling companions — with a tiny thrush perched upon my chest. To my surprise, it spoke Tien, albeit somewhat haltingly and without any particular artfulness. It calls itself “Yukimura”, and we communed at length about magic, and how to unlock the use of my arcane talents.

I believe that Yukimura is the reincarnated form of my old master. He denies having ever been an “ornery, wrinkly old sourpuss” as he puts it, but also admits to not having a particularly good memory. Regardless, Yukimura has begun to take upon himself the role of a wise mentor, and even seems to delight in it. It’s unclear if this represents the mists of amnesia clearing away, a clever facade on my master’s part, or just playful thrush mimicry. In any case, I find that my master’s soul reaches out to me less frequently, which has certain… social and diplomatic advantages.

These new arcane powers have come with a significant cost. You may have heard of my prowess as a martial artist; I must admit that I no longer possess the agility or strength that I once had. This isn’t to say that I cannot fight — I’ve retained all of my unarmed combat training, and am more than a martial match for a typical spellcaster — but it does mean that I’ve come to rely on Teret and Walorin to provide what I cannot, while I support their efforts. The old Kaede was a flurry of fists and fury, but also couldn’t make her companions over ten feet tall. On balance, I find it to be a favorable trade.

I will seek out Old Beldame, as you suggested. It is with regret that I must inform you that during my absence, my companions destroyed one of her former residences in ignorance, though thankfully it appears that she was not present at the time. Truly, lawfulness requires constant vigilance in this region of the world. I hope that she doesn’t bear any grudges.

Finally, I will see what aid I can lend Kalkamedes. It seems as though I will be able to convince my companions to accompany me without raising any suspicions about my motivations; some of the others have reason to visit him as well. I will inform you of the results, one way or the other.

As always, I am your faithful servant,

-Kaede

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