Under a Glass Moon

Eyes in the Forest
Moonday, Gemeth 10, 154 CY

Our tales starts in the quiet, forested halls of Nordeheim Fortress, the main headquarters of the Shield of Paburh. The few who’ve seen Nordeheim in person would confess that the compound looked elven in origin as it was meticulously constructed around the mighty oaks of the Loressean forests so that no plant needed to perish for its creation. The trees standing within Nordeheim all have carved trunks, each depicting a moment of history deemed important by the Shield.

It’s here where El Eloron, an aged and wise druid of the Shield, gathered the recruits for his newest cell. He had spent the last 6 months, including the entirety of winter, traversing Kavan in hopes of finding adventurers with the qualities needed for his task. On Moonday, Gemeth 10, the last of his ragtag band of heroes “finished” their basic orientation and he gathered the five of them into a conference room for briefing.

Sitting in a circle around a stump of a conference table was:

- Sheezy, a wilden whom he met through an old friend in Gelade.
- Dak, a human with Munite tattoos found in Loressea.
- Elzeny, an eccentric human who was also found in Gelade researching the missing Pajari.
- Ghenghaar, an uncooperative dragonborn arcanist recruited by conscription off the streets of Pyrach.
- Mialee, a socially awkward half-elf with noble goals, also from Pyrach.

El Eloron addressed his subordinates for the first time as a group, giving them a few moments to introduce themselves as he went to have a few words with his supervisor. The five strangers spoke with guarded words, not yet trusting one another but at the same time acknowledging that they needed to coordinate with each other. Ghenghaar was less than pleased with his current position, suspicious of El Eloron’s purpose and the reappearance of his childhood friend, Mialee. The party seemed to be able to pull much of anything out of Elzeny and spent most of their time just getting a name out of her. El Eloron, though regrettably, cut the introductions short when he came back with urgent news. A Loressean farmstead north of Nordeheim Fortress was reported razed, the latest in a series of incidents in Loressea. El Eloron was instructed to send his newest cell on reconnaissance as their trial mission, but the old elf had better ideas. He instructed his cell to travel to the farmstead and track the guilty party back to its source, eliminating it if feasible. After a bit of prodding for information, El Eloron admitted that he aimed to command one of the more aggressive Shield cells, and that, as a Loreseean, he may have a personal interest in having the problem dealt with immediately. At which point he provided the group with a local map, noting that the farmstead was less than a day’s hike from Nordeheim, and that they should arrive before dusk if they kept good pace.

The party left and they did. There was little sun left in the sky when they reached the smoldering farmstead, but enough to survey the area and discover a number of clues. Elven corpses lay scattered across the fields, some burnt to a crisp while others still revealed the poisoned arrow wounds from their attackers. Every clue, from the arrows used to the poison to the footprints left behind leading back into the woods told of elven perpetrators but the group couldn’t believe they would attack their own kind. They followed the prints into the Gahilden Woods, quickly discovering the area was actively shifting due to some sort of arcane interference, but Ghenghaar was more than able to counteract the problem. After three hours navigating the woods, the sun had retreated completely, leaving the group in a clearing lit by the moons. Suspicious, they surveyed the surrounding trees and caught motion behind a large bush, instinctively striking out at whatever it was hiding there. It was an elf, and he wasn’t alone; a trio of elves joined him accompanied by a pack of hunting dogs. At first the party regretted their rash decision but they noticed darkness in the elves’ eyes. The fight dragged on until the group reached the tree line, knocking the last of the elves out, including one that looked more handsome than the rest.

They were identified as members of the Blackleaf clan, a Celasaer sect that makes its home in the region. Without the frenzy of the battle keeping their attention, it was more than apparent that the elves were under a spell, a curse that made the reclusive hunters into vicious murderers. After ten to fifteen minutes of effort, the group managed to release the spell on one of the hunters. He verified their suspicions, confirming that there was an entity in the forest, the Voice in the Darkness, that had taken root in the Blackleaf community. The Voice corrupted their souls and intents, turning their dislike for agrarian settlements into a campaign against the Loresseans. He noted that the handsome elf was a prince of their clan, but when the party tried to free him, his body exploded into dark mist.

With the night sky looming above them with wounds to tend to, the newly formed cell of the Shield is forced to decide on their next move in this enchanted forest.

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Source of Corruption
Godsday, Gemeth 11, 154 CY

These humans are impetuous, but though I am wary of them, I am beginning to admire their efficiency in combat. The marked one proved to be a keen observer of the battlefield, holding the elves at bay in our initial encounter with them. The rogue, though her trigger finger is certainly itchy, she certainly struck fear in the hearts of our enemies when the battle was joined. I would normally scowl with disdain at such… cowardly tactics, but perhaps there is much to be said for strategic placement out of sight yet within range to cause harm. I will likely not speak of this to the humans, but my estimation for them has grown.

Shortly after dispelling the compulsion on the elves, we convinced one of them to lead us further into the forest, to where he believed he noted a sense of the darkness that overwhelmed him becoming stronger. The elf took us as far as he dared, then traveled elsewhere. We knew not what faced us ahead, but as some human once said, “that which does not kill you makes you stronger.” Remembering that one must avoid being killed to reap the benefits of this maxim, we five kept our eyes open as we traveled forth, using our skills to avoid the dangers of this mysterious place. Eventually, though, we noted the rapid and deliberate approach of an unknown foe. Girding for battle, we turned about to at last be set upon… a deva?

Given the name of Virgol Firabi, the creature swore to mean us no harm, though we were all baffled as to what such a one could want with us… and how it (or he?) could have traveled through this dark place alone. He claimed to know these lands and these people, but I trusted him little. No one else had strong misgivings, and Mialee had nothing to say whatsoever, so we proceeded. Eventually, with Virgol along, we came across ruins with strange markings scrawled on the walls. A soft glow also emanated from somewhere within, with the ruins surrounding an ominous bog that presented its own dangers shortly thereafter, when we were set upon by elves and bog creatures. After dealing with these foes, we took the time to tend our wounds and search the nearby area, where a monolith of some sort was discovered. I attuned my arcane senses to it and noted that a seal of some sort was in place. I was able to undo the magical portion of this challenge, but still more remained. Seeking to aid me in this endeavor, the… tree-person succeeded only in making things worse, as his clumsy attempts succeeded in waves of dark energy weakening us all. Finally, something changed. After noticing a gem inside of the monolith, we made an attempt for it, the monolith decided it had had enough of our tampering, and the spirit bound within attacked us! An enormous spirit! A ram, protector of the forest. And it wanted us dead. Fat chance! We banded together and after a long fight, we bested it. Those humans are truly something. If only all humans had as much heart as these! Even the tree fought with honor! Mialee came through admirably as well (her powers have truly grown… my old friend has become strong!) and, though I don’t want to admit it, even the deva was a big help. I can almost bring myself to believe that with the help of these companions I’ve been forced to travel with, anything is possible. Time will tell. For now, the nearby cave entrance (and the opportunity it beckons) awaits…

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Those shiny things. Show me them.
Freeday, Gemeth 14, 154 CY

We were sent by Shield to Hybury. I think we met with a council member but as soon as he mentioned valuable ancient artifacts I blanked out. My nether regions quivered. Shiny objects……for the taking? Here? What? Where? How much are they worth? Oh, investigate some people missing? Meh. Goblins were suspected. People didn’t want to talk, I had to break into someone’s home, what else is new? Anyway since we split up, Mialee and I went to gather more information at a pub, I joined in in gambling, drank some mead, and of course some goblins decide to attack the pub. Can’t a girl win some gold and drink in peace? Mialee and I won of course, and I might have risked my life in obtaining the gold left over on the tables.

So we go outside, and because we can never get a break, more goblins, and an ogre are attacking the town. What.The.Fuck.Fine. The rest of the team gets together and we destroyed them by lighting their gasoline containers on fire. Fantastic boom, 10/10, would light on fire again. One of them screamed “FOR THE RAVENS!” or some shit. I was to fixated on the glorious fire to care. Wait, didn’t Dak Tillaboth owe me some gold for the rope that Sheezy tore up? Hm, I’ll deal with it later.

One of my gambling compatriots thought it would have been smart to boast that it was him who saved the town from danger at a brothel. Ghenghaar and I set him straight. Apparently there’s some issues with the people of Hybury and Clan of Xasu. I don’t care for it, these artifacts, where where they again…?

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Losing The Brave
Starday, Gemeth 15, 154 CY

Its been some time now ive been traveling with these companions of mine Just as El Eloron ask of me and ive been observing them for quite sometime. We have been getting into trouble left and right! My first thought about them was There gonna get me killed and that was when a Ram spirit started to charge at me. Im very uneasy about the situations we tend to keep getting put into…i cant believe we’ve run in to such serious problems so fast. First an ogre then we head to Castle and now one of our defenders have gone missing. Dak Tillaboth. i hope hes safe. Dak has stood in the face of danger and protected me many times. Dak has earned my respect.Elzeny has a tendency to be quite reckless Bursting in to peoples homes, pick pocketing…Gambling. But You can tell shes Enjoying life I wish i could be more like her. she has such a love for killing and Shooting people. Sheezy IS just as reckless maybe even more so he just cant seem to shut up his tongue is bound to get us in more trouble one day. Hes spunky and cute like a cat i can see why everyone picks fun at him.He does his job and Lifts everyone’s spirits. Virgol Firabi…is interesting hes strong and Polite i don’t know much about his race but when i met he i instantly gained my trust. andGhenghaar With his funny way of speaking hes still the same at least i think he is…he seems to be shrouded in mystery too. I’m Quite eager to discover a lot more about my companions but Ghenghaar beckons me to come we are going to hear in to the moving Picture which is apparently a portal we are suspending out Quest to Search for Dak…I hope he is safe…

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Nope.Nope.Nope.
Starday, Gemeth 15, 154 CY

I just got hit with a face-full of acid, our sadomasochist who still owes me gold goes missing, and now I’m back in this fucking hellhole. Fuck this bullshit, Elzeny out.

Okay, okay, fine. I’ll give you more than the TL;DR.

As our journey-thing continues, we went through some woods to end up at Castle Rotmoor. Can we like, not? I don’t like this place. It’s cold. The people are mean. There’s nothing to steal. It smells. As we go further into this god forsaken place we get attacked by more Goblins, there are pitfalls with baby dragons in them, a women in the fucking pitfall (Is she blind?), and an enormous lack of party cohesion it of course takes us forever. I start wandering off and am greeted with the sweet sight of a giant screen showcasing that place. OH NO, NO THANK YOU! I do not need to go back. It’s cool like really. You do not need to insist.

If that wasn’t enough insult to injury, a thing appears. A slimey thing. See, this is why I like the Pajari. Beautiful, majestic creatures that radiate beauty. Not shit that THROWS ACID IN YOUR FACE! Of course I scream, Dak Tillaboth comes in. Probably to do some “Knight in shining armor” crap. Silly man. Annnnd, of course he gets knocked out. I bounced. It’s okay, he deserves it for not giving me my gold. #yolo it’s every man for himself. I believe that at this time Kitten and that Deva thing were fighting a few ghosts. Later, when we go to check up on him, he’s disappeared. Was it the portal? See, why I don’t like this place?

Eventually, the rest of us realized that we were far too out powered and ran back to the main room to sleep. Interestingly enough, the morning after they weren’t there.

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Just Past the Painting
Sunday, Gemeth 16, 154 CY

We will all need to double our efforts and be fasten our stead. Myself included.

We decided to brave the remainder of Rotmoor Castle and we did not fare quite as well as we had thought. Save that I wavered in my devotion to taking a leap of faith (I want to make jest of the wings on my armor being vestigial, and Pelor curse that pit and its child-Drakes if not for the mysterious voice asking for our help below …)

Perhaps because I’ve grown a bit more fond of them than I thought I would, I put too much stock in the agents of SHIELD when there were more than a few mistakes we should not have made. I should have warned them instead of assuming that they were more privy to our enemies’ natures.

I also put too much stock in my own abilities. We spread ourselves thin and were successfully… ‘kited’, as is the vernacular I’ve heard these days, ran ourselves ragged fighting a slime being and ghosts simultaneously, and then lost one of our compatriots to sinister machinations from beyond a cursed painting. Dak is a brave and resilient man, and I would prefer we not lose someone that valorous

Of note, there is something faintly reminiscent about the new castle that beckons in front of us. Sometimes I wish that the faint memories of lifetimes past were a tad stronger, but I know better to be weary of want.

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Can we like, not?
Sunday, Gemeth 16, 154 CY

We go back to the portal and end up in hell. Like really, we didn’t need to. But of course we did. We stiillllll didn’t neeeeeeeddd toooo thhhhoouuuuggghhh. The party of course, decides to go into the only castle in the area to investigate it to find Dak. Fine, you’ll will learn the hard way.

Nothing’s change inside. Fine tapestries, gems adored the walls and if I wasn’t as shit scared as I was, I would have stolen many of them. A soldier appeared leading us the way. I never did get a good look at his face. Other soldiers lined up against the walls. Not a single peep, not a single hint of emotion, nothing. We ended up at what looks like the meeting room. Shit, it’s him. I’m fucked. So fucked. Fucked all the way. Goodbye sweet world.

Wait, was Dak the one who messed up Nazzare Qullin‘s face? I would have chuckled out loud if it didn’t bring even more attention to me. The rest of the party discussed with Qullin about releasing Dak. It was agreed that in exchange for Dak, we’d give Qullin the “Grimoire of Summoning” from the tiefling witch. What is he playing at? What happened here? Oh, he’s gonna kill our families if we don’t. Greeeeaaaatttttttttt. Fuck this place.

On our way out I stole a gem. Found out that the pitfall had mushrooms. I ended up going down there, found out that the women was one of the people missing from Hybury. Got out of there just a tiny bit burned. Mialee ended up getting an item from her. Now, back to that “Grimoire of Summoning”….

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At the castle.
Sunday, Gemeth 16, 154 CY

We’s almost lost our damn lives. But I sure as hell did piss off that old man. But we’s gots to find out what the hell is in that damn castle. We took on a couple of drakes who ended up being not that scary n’ shite. We’s gonna explore dat whole castle and find out what dat masked guy was lookin’ fo’. Safe to say, I don’t like dat guy and I don’ like that I gots to do his dirty work. But at least that saved my ass along with da’ rest of ’dem.

At the beginnin’, I was havin’ trouble attackin’ those damn goblins, but eventually, I feel like I’m startin’ to get da hang of it and that woman does make great use of my powers. But I gots to say that the whole tree thing is pretty damn sweet.

Dis El-El-Ron gots some explainin’ to do once I come back!

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Life not wasted.
Moonday, Gemeth 17, 154 CY

Always I am open to new experiences and new understandings. But not if it requires the sacrifice of innocent life. I know I can always return from the dark in some way or other. It is never a pretext to regress to living in shadow, Pelor bless us. It does though give me solace that whatever my personal failures, I may experience successes at another time.

I disregard this logic when it means the demise or torment of others. If I slay or strike at enemies, it is with the blessing of my God and without malice. At the most disdain in their thoughts and actions. The goblin whom I menaced at the stockade some afternoons ago, for example, represents yet another regretful decision in the name of ‘greater good’, bringing me one step closer to some of my more supercilious brothers of Lumene.

And today? What good is there when such self-conflicted actions soon lead to the death of others? The alchemist perished shortly before our intrusion. And the guard captain, hoisted by Ettercaps? I am not so arrogant to believe these deaths have been completely preventable, but could we have tried harder? As a Paladin at the least, I myself need to fortify my resolve. An angel, but no God am I. Yet I channel powers of that God. It would be irresponsible to waver with such responsibility of power.

The realization hit firmest when we ventured into the former throne room of Rotmoor, the reanimated lieges and charges of the castle attacking us. My resilience against their necrotic assaults necessitated I throw myself to the fray and protect my S.H.I.E.L.D compatriots. I respect the remains, the spirits of the dead, but less when such bitterness is involved in their ill-rest. I made sure to invoke Pelor’s blessing and leave them to their crypt. I feel empathy for their cursed existences but wish no one to join them.
The guard captain’s son mourns his father’s death and is healing from a crossbow bolt to his foot courtesy of our resident trigger-exultant Rogue. As for Jalissa, who comforts him…? Like myself she answers to a higher power, but I know better than to seek friendship based solely on this shared fealty to our Gods, especially given her over-reliant behavior. Regardless, I want to see her, the boy, the other hostages we have rescued, and my companions to at least the end of this journey.

Our next step might involve consulting the scrying pool to figure further course of action. I have the sentiment that Nyquillis Dillwad and that Goblin commander are still in collusion.

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New mission
Starday, Gemeth 22, 154 CY

I never thought I would be dealin’ wid some of my old beef back home. I thought that I can put it aside from me. But damn why my kind is gonna gear up fo’ war? We ain’t ready fo dat. But of cos, I ain’t gonna be able to do a damn thing by myself, so i need to get all the help I need to stop em. It ain’t worth it. I kno’ fo sho that S.H.I.E.L.D. can do sumthin bout dat. But anyway, If I’m gonna get dese guys to help me, I need to do all I can to stop em., but fo’ now. I just hope that I’ll be able to make it in time to get back home to stop dis shit.

Shit ain’t pretty and I know dem Karningond boys ain’t playin as well.

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