Shadows of Madness

Bard's Journal - Page Two

Page Two: Tales of the Swamp and Ruins

We left towards the north, where I sensed the end of my troubles would be. A large ruins appeared rather eerily, with the spire I had seen in my dreams taking prominence and drums beating in the distance.

Getting in proved rather easy, with only a spring trap guarding the entry way. Sir Arathi’s deft fingers worked their magic and opened the way. I could do it myself, but I’d rather him spring the trap than me. It only fuels the tiefling hate machine further if I do, anyways. That and he seems better at it. As we proceeded, the drumbeat got louder as we saw a ritual of sacrifice taking place! Loads of people dancing about, a huge half-ogre beating the drums and a figure in dark robes about to slay an innocent eladrin woman! You can’t ask for better timing, from a theatrical sense.

We dove into the fray! Sirs Crossbones and Brognan held the front with axes bloody from their foes while Lord Jonus blasted the underlings with his spells once again. I fought bravely too (albeit with some discretion) while Sir Arathi sought to get the robed figure’s attention with his arrows. Worse came to worse when an arrow struck the woman, nearly ending her life. We might have saved her if the ritual leader didn’t finish her off. Perhaps we weren’t meant to save her… As the fight quickly ended with Sir Crossbones slaying the giant brute, we took toll of the damages. The curse seems to have progressed, as both Sir Arathi and I have rather… mottled skin now. We should be fine as long as we cover up, although I have no idea why he would be cursed too. Maybe it was the witch from the fight?

The spoils of war were threadbare at best. The only thing really of interest was the ceremonial dagger, fashioned to look snakelike in appearance, and fresh of blood from the woman we… nearly saved. Sir Arathi took it for his own. Perhaps he likes daggers? After setting a small cairn for the girl, we plodded onward, inside a cave. The cavern was lit with a censer of blue light. The lights must have played with my eyes or something, but at least I’m not alone in this illusion. Sir Arathi seems to confirm my suspicions but the others merely shake their heads, Lord Jonus most of all.

As we found a dark passageway, we found a pit filled with spikes and bones. Sir Arathi, with keen eyes of a ranger, saw that it was probably better to avoid the trap, as well as the false floor beyond it, and just take the secret passageway to safety. Certainly is handy to have him around, even if he is a lady killer. We took the stairs downward, taking a small satchel we found in the cave along with us.

The satchel held nothing of great use, except for a scroll of dark pretenses. The scroll seemed to suggest that the idol is really a phylactery, yet I don’t really sense anything in it. If it had magic, it’s gone now. Even so, I’d rather keep this thing here with me in case it can help break this curse.

As we reach the bottom of the stairwell, we found a rather… cramped area ahead. The roof seems ready to collapse, with nothing but us to crush. The far wall was emblazoned with the letters SKOULOS, which I recalled as part of the dream… Yet if that was true, the scroll we found makes little sense. After poking around in this room, Sir Brognan found another secret door in the stairwell. Figuring that secret doors so far have been kind to us, we took the path and adventured on.



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