Chasing Shadows

Platinalia is over, and the celebrations have subsided. The merriment did us good. I’d have preferred we got a start on researching the evils plaguing our circumstances, but Gatefall’s archives were closed for the festivities, so we had little option but to partake. I can’t say I regret it that much, though. I think we were all in sore need of some respite.

We took the time to sell off some of the things we collected in Roanvel. We have ample funds now, and I took the opportunity to acquire reagents and new texts of rituals. With all of my years of study, I’ve never actually had the opportunity to so freely acquire such gems of the arcane. I will be sure to put them to good use. We outfitted ourselves a little more as well, with Tearwin acquiring a torch whose flame cannot be doused, and I myself thought some silk rope could prove useful. We gave to Tantos a bottomless pouch of a magical salve that will help should any of us fall, and for each of us a drol.

While engaging in our commerce, Orokai took up a contract from a man named Shepley to find his cousin Piers in the northern village of Deogol. The pay did not seem worth our effort (despite nearly bankrupting the man), and Deogol was well out of our way, but the task proved eventually fortuitous.

Come this morning, we headed to the archives. I headed straight for the librarian’s desk, encountering a young girl, practically a child. Hardly the sort of archivist I would expect, but I didn’t have time for that. Her name was Lora, and she helped us pore over the books. She assisted Orokai, while Rue went with Tantos (A trend I am beginning to see more and more) and Tearwin helped me.

Together we were able to piece together some bits of information about the Kidav Azhra’bak. It was originally written by a supposedly crazed Daremian, Kotheb Menutep, worshipping two separate Azhra, Ghorus, and Adibaph. Originally written in the Forbidden Tongue, it was later translated by Sharn the Dark One to High Mandurian. In the years following his death, it gained following and became known as the Book Of Corruption.

Most of the translated copies were seized by Patriarch Michael in 1279, and summarily burned. It was only later that Klaus Vermuth translated the work from High Mandurian into Low Mandurian. What these men hoped to accomplish in translating is unclear to me. The rituals are only fully potent when spoken and inscribed in the original tongues, whose very syllables are ingrained with magic, and in this case, the foul darkness of the Forbidden Tongue, with whose sordid lexicography I am becoming increasingly adept.

I can only assume that their purpose in translating the works was to more easily disseminate the treacherous work. It would appear that in that much, they have succeeded, for these dark cults still endure. But copies won’t do. The answers we seek lie in the magic and undiluted evil that is the original tome of the Kidav Azhra’bak, once held by the Order.

As the day waned, and we found little information to lead us in any direction, we were finally able to secure the tiniest of leads. We determined from some census records that there was a descendent of Vermuth living in Deogol — the same Deogol in which Orokai had a task. The Wheel turns, and conspires to set things level. But in whose favor will be the balance..?

It looks that our course is set. Tomorrow, we are Deogol-bound. May we find answers there that bring rest to this Vale.

- – -

My sleep last night was not restful. I dreamt of running through dark towers, and opening doors frantically, all leading to nowhere. By the looks on their faces, I could tell that my companions did not sleep much better. Fumus informs me that he slept quite happily.

Our travel to Deogol was largely uneventful, though it was with a twinge of unease that we passed the road to Roanvel. Eventually the vermillion countryside gave way to farms and we could see in the distance a large manor on a plateau. Deogol was in sight and we took no time finding the local inn and tavern, the Lusty Lady. We left our drol with the groom and made our way inside, the sun now beginning to set. The innkeeper, Derwin, was cheerful enough, and we sat ourselves down at a table near the back, able to keep an eye on everyone.

Tearwin and I had a pot of tea, while Orokai took to his customary bloodwine. The waitress informed us that the brandy wasn’t coming in..everyone seemed to be content, though uneasy. They had not heard the news of Azar’s demise, and we informed them that he was in fact assailed and killed by a hardy group from Gatefall who ventured to the prison. We left some choice details out, despite Orokai’s hubris. It did seem to relieve them a little.

Orokai gambled with a Dula’dim in the back and spoke with an Azhlorn who seemed to prefer the company of himself. Rue kept mostly to herself, though meandered about the tavern. Tearwin found out from Derwin that Shepley’s cousin, Piers, lived in a farmhouse just to the west of town.

I noticed an acolyte of Vrokahn at a table by himself. I decided he would be the best person to talk to about our dark task, and moved to speak with him. His name was Gailan, and he said that he didn’t know much but that the priest Aiden at the temple would probably know more.

Since the temple was also to the west of town, it appeared we all had a reason to head in that direction. After telling Derwin we’d be back for rooms, we all headed out on our drol in the direction of the the farmhouse. The general store appeared to be open for business as we left, though I couldn’t discern any patrons inside.

When we arrived at the house, we could tell something was wrong. It was now dark, and there wasn’t a single light coming from the house. Once at the door, it was slightly open…things were not right here.

When we ventured to push open the door, the foulest of odors barrelled over our senses like an olfactory explosion. It overwhelmed Tantos to the extent that he was sick, and had to remain outside. I am now certain that was his redemption, because the sight we saw therein was the most ghastly I have ever witnessed, I am certain. A man—likely Piers—and a woman, and three children had all been slaughtered, their entrails and blood scattered to form a crude shrine to Atmaha. Aghast, we left quickly, and after brief discussion, decided that heading to the priest would be the best course of action, and notify the authorities later.

We rode for the temple at the fastest our drol could manage, but as we left, we noticed a figure standing in the doorway of the general store, looking in our direction, and slamming the door shut as soon as we caught sight of them. We thought it odd at the time, but didn’t have the time to investigate at the moment.

When we arrived at the temple, the place was rather sparse. Aiden was the only occupant, it seemed, and he did not like us disturbing his evening. His mood seemed to change, however, once informed of the situation. He seemed keen to be able to do good again, and to not be bound the altar. He disappeared, and soon reappeared, now donning chainmail and wielding a mace. He had little in the way of friendliness, but had much spirit. We rode out immediately. On the way, I plied him for information about the general store. He said it was run by two traders named Ansaka and Grimian, who moved to town two years ago. Ansaka was supposedly friendly and jovial, while Grimian was dour and cared little for dealing with customers. Aiden had little more information to impart on the two, nothing that would confirm any suspicious that had begun brewing in our minds.

When we got back to the farmhouse, we began cleansing the place, both of the gore that had stained it, and of the evil that plagued it. Rue alerted the authorities, Derwin apparently head of the militia, and Snell and Ormad, a warrior and sorceress who were apparently the local authority. Ormad asked me about what I saw. She seemed very wary of me. Sorcerors usually are. I’ve never met another wizard who wasn’t part of the Order..and now that it’s gone, I may be the only one left, apart from Mourn, which is hardly a good example. So the only thing anyone has to base wizardry on is images from myth and legend.

Most commoners don’t appreciate the difference between a Wizard and another caster. But sorcerors and the like fear us. The scholarly path to magic, the desire to delve deeper, to learn and create more spells, to gain more knowledge, and through it, power, is what drives a wizard. That drive can be good, or evil, or in many cases of the Order, an attempt to curb the two. But to other practictioners, it is something to fear. I do not wish to inspire fear, and my words were soon able to assuage most of that held by Ormad. She said that she had suspicions of dark things going about in town, that maybe cultists had infiltrated the village, and that many shipments had not been arriving recently. She wished us to investigate it. There was no reason not to. If there was any link to Vermuth and the Kidav Azhra’bak in town, investigating cultists was going to be the way to find it.

Given that Ansaka and Grimian were the most recent residents to town, and that someone at the general store clearly did not like what we were up to, it seemed the most obvious place to start. We stole down there while it was still dark and allowed Orokai to sneak in to find out as much information as possible. Passing through the void, he was able to get in unhindered, and snuck past the guard to listen to them upstairs. Fumus insisted on climbing up the drain pipe to help, but there was little he could do without being able to get through a window.

After several tense moments, Orokai returned and explained quickly that he had overheard Ansaka and Grimian talking. They had very clearly said we had discovered the scene at Piers’s house, almost certainly implicating them. They also said they had to go “pick up the next correspondence” tomorrow. That sounded like it may be information or orders from a higher cult operative. Likely a drop-off…we needed to find where.. We asked Aiden if either of them went anywhere regularly. He said there was a small shrine up the road to Andara, north of town, that they often visited and gave offering. It seemed like the best place to go, so we left at once for it. Scouting out the shrine, we decided it was the most likely drop off area, there was plenty of place and opportunity to leave a clandestine missive. With some hesitance, Fumus agreed to stay at the shrine, hidden, and wait for someone to leave a message. He would then bring it to us as soon as they did.

We lay in wait, hoping for Fumus’s swift and safe return, and that we may root out these perpetrators of foul deeds.

Session in Sumamry

Quest Gained Seek out the descendant of Klaus Vermuth in Deogol
Quest Gained Find Shepley’s cousin Piers in Deogol
Quest Gained Root out the conspirators and cultists in Deogol
Returned 4 Drol Party → Maris
Sold 2 rubies Party fund
Sold 6 small pencil drawings on woods Party fund
Sold Vistani Buzuq Party fund
Sold Platinum bracelet set with coral Party fund
Sold Golden chalice Party fund
Sold White chalce with black pearls, (used for siphoning) Party fund
Sold Jacynth, decorated with dula’dim sigils Party fund
Sold Luminous peridot, “divine” Rue
Sold Adamantine Tiara Rue
Sold Dark Idol Allarkin/Party Fund
Bought 4 Drol Party
Bought Everburning Torch Tearwin
Bought 100 ft silk rope Allarkin
Bought Rituals Allarkin
Bought Woundstitch Powder Tantos
Current Party Coinage 1960gp
XP gained per PC 350 XP
Party total per PC 4154 XP



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