Shadows of Madness

Bard's Journal - Page Three

Page Three: Mists of Madness

After venturing into the secret pass, we discovered a trove of treasure! Unfortunately, the room also had ten portals, each spawning a creature of undeath… We fought valiantly, yet our dwarven friend, Sir Brognan, fell in battle. Thankfully, the body was still intact, and after picking up the treasure (with a rather large ruby orb and a greatsword of fire) we departed to Punjar, in hopes that saving him isn’t too late.

Once the stalwart Sir Brognan awoke, having an early brush with death, we shopped around for a bit with the newly acquired funds and left for the ruins once more. The curse has not progressed, thankfully, and perhaps may even fade. Looking back on it now, I suppose it might have been wise to ask for the priest to take a look, but even so, I doubt they could help. The ruins is our only hope, I fear.

No attacks or muggings of the sort occurred until we returned to Sir Brognan’s former resting place. Sir Arathi and Lord Jonus once again dashed ahead into the cavern and got jumped. No real surprise there, until we discovered that their attackers were… well… themselves.

It only took a few seconds of careful study to realize they were mere copies of the original, yet Sir Crossbones was clearly confused. Understandable, really, until a copy of myself appeared down the way. Fearing I was one of these frauds, he attacked me! Rather than dispute this with the crazy brute, I fled, hoping that he would see the truth.

Well, the battle might have gone a bit smoother had we not been outnumbered, what with Sir Crossbones attacking anything in sight, not even paying heed to my advice. Even so, we managed to crush the phonies and press on. Perhaps I should find another adventuring group that doesn’t want to kill me…

One thing is for certain though: I really hate this curse. It’s brought nothing but trouble.

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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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Bard's Journal

Page One: The Party Sets Out!

Today I began my adventures with the warriors from Punjar. They don’t seem prejudiced to tieflings, and look like a fair bunch. Oh. Right…

I am Glenn. Merely a bard looking for tales of adventure to tell, this group of warriors look like the stuff of legend. Sir Crossbones Skulltaker (A nickname for reasons obvious, perhaps?) the tall warrior with a dark past and an axe as heavy as his burdens and Sir Brognan, the dwarven warrior looking for revenge on the orcs that ruined his merchanting trade. Certainly dark and brooding, I hope that they don’t take their frustration out on me. Sir Arathi Azshara II is an expert marksmen, learned from his father and seeks for adventure, as Lord Jonus Tharet seeks power arcane and magical instead of being coddled in nobility. They seemed willing to band together and take evil head on, taking me along for their tales.

That’s when we decided to go to Punjar. They say that the inn is supposedly good luck for adventurers, as most adventures begin in a tavern. A little hackneyed, but I suppose I could take artistic license.

Unfortunately, before we could reach the tavern, we were waylaid by a large brute and his pair of wolves. Instead of letting us pass amiably, he demanded gold for safe passage. Before I could reply, the others reached for their weapons and struck. These adventurers are rather eager to start a fight, but I think it would have led to blood one way or another. The brute’s thugs emerged from the shadows and attempted to rob and murder us, but we proved mightier than the rabble, with Sir Crossbones slicing their leader in twain while Lord Jonus broiled the hirelings in a fiery blaze.

Taking what was theirs (What irony, killing and plundering bandits) we found a mysterious idol upon the lout that confronted us. Obviously, we wanted it for ourselves and eventually gambled for it. With a little luck, I proved victorious and won the idol for myself (For safekeeping, of course). We then retired at the inn, reveling in our victory over the thugs. Only then did I discover luck had two sides…

I dreamed of a strange tower in a swamp that night. It exuded evil from its very self, yet tempted me with treasure and power. Peering further into the mist, I could feel that the answer to my problems would lie within, although what problems I could only guess. Awakening with a rather splitting headache, I found that I had grown webbing between my fingers. This would not be a good day…

This idol was cursed. The others knew it as plain as day, but I can’t throw it away just yet. If my dream was not just a dream, but a premonition, it could be the key to freeing me from this curse. So we left heading for the tower, guided only by my dreams. Certainly has a rather hokey feeling, I know, but it’s better than being stuck with froggish hands for life.

Once we approached the swamp, we found that the terrain would be difficult. Rather doubtful about my dream, the others urged me to lead the way across a fell tree, being a rather handy makeshift bridge over the swamp water. Stepping forward, I was soon attacked by a crocodile looking to make me his lunch. Definitely not a good day, as three other crocs approached the others and nearly killed me. The others quickly fended off the crocodiles, with Sir Arathi striking each of the crocodiles with powerful speed while I fainted for a brief moment. I probably should write that part out once I compile everything together, but Sir Brognan saved me where the light looked bleakest.

So, before we go off into the swamp, we decided to rest and enjoy crocodile stew. Even though Lord Jonus’ culinary creation was wonderful, I certainly hope that we don’t eat everything we kill.

I hope I get rid of this damned webbing.

- Glenn

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