The Rise and Fall of Glamorfell

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

"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…”

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

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.

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.

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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