Reign of Winter

The Battle of Spurhorn Part 1.5: This is How it Happened
A Downtime Tale

This is how it happened.

The sun broke over the sieging army’s innumerable ranks. Fenn and Nobel stood atop the battlement of Spurhorn and looked down upon the host below.

“We can do this”, signed Nobel.

“I can do this”, replied Fenn. “You can watch me.”

“Speak not to the Twilight Prince in such a fashion”, spoke Seph’endrell into Fenn’s mind. “A novice mage such as yourself pales in comparison to his shadowy majesty.”

Fenn began the incantation for a force missile but thought better of it. “You’re doing it wrong”, said Seph draped lazily on the edge of the wall. In response Fenn raised his hands to quickly finish the incantation but was stopped by Nobel’s hand on his wrist.

“Save it”, said Nobel. “It’s time.”

The legion below had begun marching to the wall of Spurhorn. “We can finish this before everyone else wakes up”, said Fenn with a sideways glance at Nobel.

“Are you sure?”, questioned Nobel.

A broad grin spread across Fenn’s devilish face. “Have I ever not been sure?” The plan they discussed was ambitious but sound.

Fenn magically increased Nobel’s strength and size so that he could hold him aloft. Nobel took flight with Fenn on his back. Fenn cast them in darkness such that the enemy saw a orb of darkness launch from the rampart. As the dark globe neared the front lines of the enemy, waves of fire began to spew from it. Wave after wave of enemy soldiers ignited in flame along with the enemy camp. Those soldiers not engulfed in flames found themselves confused, their minds overwhelmed with the darkness with the flying black sphere. The enemy camp erupted in chaos as its strongest fighters turned on their own company. The opposing mages found their wands and staves ripped from their hands and pulled into the orb as if by invisible hands. With each item merged with the sphere of darkness, new magical energies erupted from it. The enemy army was decimated by their own magic weapons turned against them. It looked to be a rout when Baba Yaga herself showed up to rally the enemy.

Fenn and Nobel flew back to the battlement of Spurhorn to make their stand against the Crone. They waited until Baba Yaga and her forces were at the base of the wall. In a surprise maneuver, Fenn conjured a wall of flame behind the enemy force that pinned them in a narrow alley between the wall of fire and the stone wall of Spurhorn. Nobel took the controls of a siege engine he had magically enhanced and used it to spew liquid fire upon the trapped minions below. Meanwhile, Fenn realized he had Ultimate Power within him already this entire time. He dove from the battlement towards Baba Yaga below. He fell in slow motion, a perfect example of bravery and poise despite the maelstrom all around him. He said something witty as he ripped a horn from a nearby unicorn midfall and buried it in Baba Yaga’s eye. As she died, she looked up at Fenn in awe from her one remaining eye and whispered “You are the greatest wizard of all time and Seph’endrell is a goblin turd.”

All this would happen while Taryn licked herself and Selene polished herself.

Nobel was exasperated. “You are such an idiot sometimes. Your plan involves somehow finding a unicorn midair and killing Baba Yaga? I’m going to join Selene and Taryn in reality.”

Fenn turned to look out over the gathered enemy. “Too bad. That definitely would have worked. Maybe.”

The Battle of Spurhorn Part 1: Angel Rise, Angel Fall
An excerpt from the journal of Nobel Black

The battle was so furious that I may have lost some details, but I will recall what I can. The day broke over Spurhorn but the distant sun made for poor visibility for Taryn who could not see in the low light. We made our way to the top of a tower so that we could watch for areas of need. As we made it to the top, a drake and 2 Triaxian warriors in battle paint alighted on the tower as well intending to destroy the seige weapons there. The drake was able to damage one of the larger weapons capable of shooting a stream of fire before being felled by my companions. Taryn took out her anger at being denied ale on the eve of battle on the Triaxians. I made some brief magical repairs before we headed down to the battlement.

At the battlement we could see 2 hydra pushing a 60 foot siege tower toward the wall. Fenn erected a wall of fire which caused some injury to the hydras and 2 drakes accompanying them, but the tower itself proved to be more resistant.

While Fenn and Taryn provided artillery from the wall, Selene and I took flight. This was Selene’s first flight and it was a sight to behold. Her metallic skin and wings shone bright with Selene’s inner light despite the dim illumination of the morning sun. She sped from the battlement like a hawk and collided with one of the drakes in midair as she tried to grapple with it. Her velocity was too great and she bumped past it, but Fenn took the opportunity to magically paralyze the beast at which point it careened into the ground.

I was attempting to break open the shell of the tower with magic so that I might damage the wheels, when the other drake came at me in flight. I narrowly avoided its bite by gaining elevation and was able to retaliate by overwhelming its mind with thoughts of the vast emptiness of the void between the stars. Fenn and Taryn were then able to draw its attention away from me.

Fenn unleashed a fireball like I have never seen before and incinerated one of the hydra. This slowed the seige tower’s progress, but the remaining hydra kept onward. During this entire time Seph had remained on the battlement with Fenn and had been overly criticizing his magery. I think this actually made Fenn better than ever as he sought to show Seph his power.

I had lost track of Selene during my own skirmish with the drake. Suddenly I saw her circle high overhead and then turn abruptly and accelerate toward the ground. Like a celestial cannonball, she put her entire metal frame behind her shield and drove it into the remaining hydra at incredible speed. Both Selene and the hydra toppled to ground, the hydra’s 7 heads whipping wildly at Selene but unable to connect. Then the heads stopped thrashing and the siege tower stopped moving forward.

Fenn dropped the wall of fire revealing Selene coming around the corner of the siege tower, her steel skin tarnished and her shield bloodstained. She had a stern look on her face as if she was just getting started. She had wrestled a hydra and brought wrath from on high like a true member of the angelic host. I stood there with my mouth agape in wonderment. I have never been more goddamned impressed. Selene simply pointed back to the wall. “We’d better get back inside. We’ll be needed.” No grandstanding like Fenn is wont to do or revelry like Taryn. Just business as usual. Majestic!

Retrospective - Top Roleplay Moments Half Way

In no specific order

1) Taryn looks for ale on the eve of battle
- The importance of this event marked a pivotal moment in Jason finding his voice for Taryn. Rather than do something that would make gameplay sense before a large battle, Jason went with what Taryn, a devotee of Cayden Cailean, would reasonably do. Characters often are just a manifestation of the player until they do the unexpected.

2) Fenn enters the Aeon Pit
- Drew made clear the character motivations of Fenn when he decided to seek ultimate power by entering the Aeon Pit. Though Selene would have been more capable of withstanding the pit, Fenn jumped at the chance to gain more power, showing his hand and raising a few eye brows from his comrades. This one has yet to bear all of its fruit so we wait in suspense.

3) Nobel plays the flute
- Just sheer silliness from the Fey member of the group. In an attempt to bluff a guard that we were aristocratic Stilyagi, the deaf oracle miraculously gave a passing performance on the flute. Though not masterful, it secured aided the ruse.

4) Selene has no secrets at the gates of Whitethrone
- it has become very clear over many encounters that Selene is innocent to the point of naïveté. This was no more clear than when Josh had her explain to the guard that we were in fact smuggling contraband. Confused by this brash move, the guard let us pass in disbelief at the entire situation.

5) Fenn meets Seph
- Self confident Fenn is shown to be in error by the newly encountered familiar Seph. Drew gave this interaction just the right amount of haughty exasperation on Fenn’s part to really sell it. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this odd couple.

6) Nobel makes a sandwich
- Nothing sums up the unusual fey nature of Nobel better than the time he made a sandwich from Selene’s rations and feigned he was readying a crossbow for battle. Well maybe that’s second best to the time he actually left battle with skeletons to go make a sandwich in the hunting lodge only to find himself closed in the kitchen by zombies.

7) The clock tower incident.
- not only did we avoid doing an entire “dungeon” by simply scaling the exterior of the tower, but the final act of Fenn causing a commotion in the streets of Whitethrone by hurling the dragon’s horde from the clock tower by way of an unseen servant was pure glory to imagine.

8) Nobel gets charmed, again
- Long on hijinks and short on will saves, Nobel has managed to twice become charmed by beautiful woman who turned out to be monsters. Luckily, neither episode came to blows but it has gone as far as Fenn using his highest level spell at the time just to put Nobel down.

9) Taryn the winter wolf
- the meta game joke that won’t die. Even direct communication with a deity cannot seem to clear up speculation.

10) The deal with Baba Yaga
- this moment defined the trajectory for all character arcs. Fenn made it known for the first time that he wanted power above all else. Nobel questioned everything including the motives of his friends. Selene let go of her innocence for the presumed greater good. After this point she stopped detecting evil with the assumption that it didn’t matter for the overall end goal of she has to work with evil entities to get the job done. A true moral conundrum for a paladin. She eventually would harden externally by developing steel skin and wings, but this was just a reflection of her internal shift. For Taryn this would cause problems. She joined a crew she didn’t know at the request of her superior only to find herself beholden to an evil witch. The rift between Taryns and the rest of the group is only now beginning to close.

Preparing for War
An excerpt from the journal of Nobel Black

I awoke from my vision with a start. The magical aegis I wore cracked open upon my near death and filled me with its healing magic. I came to to see that my companions had finished off our foes. I joked that it was actually seeing Fenn cast an ice spell that really almost did me in, but Fenn seemed unamused. In truth it wasn’t really that funny given my near demise but I find gallows humor particularly apt these days. I hope that should I find my end on this journey someone would find this journal and at least find something to laugh at in our increasingly improbable quest.

While Fenn and Selene dicked around with a fire to distract the guards of Spurhorn and Taryn tried to avoid their crossbow bolts, Seph and I covertly flew up the titanic walls of the fortress and made contact using Seph’s telepathy. Though Seph can be a useful emissary for one handicapped such as I am, he has a penchant for drama and showmanship. Okay, I’ll admit I loved being introduced as “the magnanimous oracle of shadow”, and though it was a bit over the top it did secure our safe entry.

Bescaylie had arranged for us to meet with the war council of Spurhorn, a crowd composed of various dragonkin and native Triaxians. The dragonkin were of all different colors and some seemed to be bonded to certain Triaxians. Their general agreed to give us the double headed eagle we sought if we would help them break the siege. We agreed.

After taking a much needed rest, we each began preparing for battle. Taryn did what one might have expected and sought out ale by which to “anoint” herself “with Cayden Cailean’s blessing”, I believe was how she put it. She was quite distressed to hear that the ale stores were being held until after the battle. At this she begged them to open the gates and start the fighting. Her equal ferocity in battle and revelry is unmatched save for Cayden Cailean himself.

Selene’s protective instincts took over. She walked the battlements to develop a defensive strategy and both she and Taryn trained with the soldiers. She discovered that our group would be tasked with shoring up problem areas as they arose during the battle. This meant we would possibly be in the thickest fighting.

Fenn remained studious and scrawled new spells into his book. He was actually giggling with sinister glee at the thought of being able to try some of these new “achievements in arcana” on the hordes outside the walls. He indicated he is working on some sort of explosive teleportation formula. He also investigated the siege weapons and considered using his magic to increase their might during the pending conflagration.

I was able to gather enough resources from the people of Spurhorn to both finally alleviate Fenn’s sapped strength and to tap into my ability to commune with the divine. I have many times had divine visions thrust upon me, but for the first time I reached out to touch the deities of my own accord. I was able to ask Megdh 12 questions and learned several interesting things but much remained clouded in uncertainty even to Megdh. I do know that the battle will begin tomorrow after daybreak and before nightfall. The general will keep his promise to us and a victory for Spurhorn will aid our quest for the second totemic key.

Issues lacking clarity included whether or not Baba Yaga would keep her word and eventually release us, whether or not she or her daughter were the greater evil, and dubiously whether Taryn was a wolf. It would seem that not even the mother of paradox can understand Taryn’s true nature.

The most concerning bit of information was that someone or something did intervene to lift Fenn’s insanity and that he is hiding something from me. I am unsure what this means so for now I will keep this to myself.

As I write this, the day of battle dawns. May Megdh provide for us, Sarenrae protect us, and Cayden Cailean fight beside us. To battle!

Shadows' Call
An excerpt from the journal of Nobel Black

As I lay dying, a vision overcame me.

My worlded faded to black, but in that black was comfort. I could feel the darkness all around like a blanket, cradling me in endless void and silence. This is how it must have been at the beginning of creation: just endless divine darkness, perfect unity in formlessness. Then I looked and saw my body was composed of light. In all the infinite cosmos there was only this one speck of light. It was me and I was it. Yet still the darkness held me safely as my light grew brighter and brighter. The darkness loved the light for it was unique among the infinite expanse, and so it protected it. Darkness helped give it form by defining its boundaries. The light divided and multiplied to an incalculable sum, yet still could never compare to the volume of limitless black in the void that suspended it, now giving it dimension and with it time.

It is a false division to suppose that light and darkness are truly opposed. In truth, light is the child of darkness and could not exist in its absence. Evil has been associated with the darkness only because evil beings seek limitless power, and nothing is more unlimited and powerful than the eternal, pervasive blackness around the light. Darkness and light are neutral, just as steel has no moral code yet can be forged into a shield to protect or a sword to harm. The instrument only reflects the morality of its user.

The shadows call to me. They wish for a new master. The light is threatened once again and darkness will not allow it.

A Downtime Tale

After Fenn walked away, Nobel turned to his new friend Seph’endrell. He signed, “I apologize for his behavior. It’s been a rough few weeks.”

Seph just tilted his head and squinted his eyes in confusion. He spoke directly into Nobel’s mind. “Why do you do that with your hands? Is it magic? I have never seen a mage make such gestures. It seems very ineffectual.”

Nobel reddened with embarrassment. “No”, he thought back in response to Seph’s telepathy. “It’s how I talk sometimes.”

“How strange. Isn’t that what your mouth is for? Why do humans insist on being so awkward? You have a mouth but you speak with your hands. You have hands but you eat with tools. You have cats but you worship them rather than eat them.” Seph looked utterly perplexed.

“I could teach you to do the signs if you would like”, thought Nobel to Seph. “Fenn and I made it up one summer. Actually it was mostly him, and I think he did it because he was sick of hearing me talk. I guess my voice is kind of off-putting now that I’m deaf.”

“There are many other important things than learning to do things in the hardest ways”, Seph projected. “Just think what you want and I will understand. Much easier. Humans!” Seph shrugged his shoulders then rubbed a wing across his mouth. “At least you have the decency to have wings. Flying and sneaking are good. Better to survive. That metal one (pointing to Selene who was currently talking with a treant) is too loud. Like walking around with bells on.”

Nobel realized that it would take some time to get used to communicating with Seph. At times he communicated as fragmented thoughts and partial sentences rather than how one might speak aloud.

Nobel asked “If you have been following us since Artrosa in secret, why did you make contact with is now?”

Seph’s reply was heartfelt. “You people are good. You have shown kindness to all you encounter. The metal one offers surrender to her foes and is compassionate to a tree for no personal gain. You choose words over swords, but you are also strong when words are not heard. You are good. Seph is good. Seph can help you be better and do more good. I don’t need to hide anymore.”

“No, you don’t. We are friends” signed Nobel. Seph swatted Nobel’s hands with his tail.

Seph continued. “Also, I miss magic. I was once the familiar of a powerful wizard. She and her mate had a daughter, whom I loved. I would teach her things, magic things, that I learned from my master and her mate. She would laugh and entertain me with her tricks. You remind me of her with your funny magic and silly tricks.”

“What happened to them?”

Seph’s response was short. “The girl died. Sickness. My master died of sickness, too. Heartbreak and obsession. Left me alone in Artrosa.” Nobel could feel the pain of Seph’s sadness. An empathic link was already growing between them beyond Seph’s telepathy.

Nobel put out his hand in offering. “I could use a new teacher, Seph. I’m from a long line of arcanists but I never had a chance to formally learn.”

Nobel could feel Seph’s happiness. “Agreed. We will do the most good. We will do the best magic. We will eat the most cats.”

Nobel gritted his teeth. “Maybe not that last thing.”

“Let’s nap on it!” Seph flicked his tail and pierced Nobel’s outstretched hand, the poison immediately putting him to sleep. Seph then curled up to the unconscious body of his new master and pupil and then went to sleep himself.

Calm Before the Storm
An excerpt from the journal of Nobel Black

What an interesting day! The hut had taken us away from Ioboria to a new location, and with the change in scenery came a change in the huts layout. We explored the farmland and woods that now made up the demiplane within the hut’s walls, and we found many exciting things.

First we came across a soul gem containing a planar merchant named Zill who has a penchant for wheeling and dealing. We were able to acquire a few nice items for the trouble of freeing him (and giving him gold in payment – it seems that gold is a currency on every plane).

Next we came across the huts key chamber where all the specific totemic keys were held. If we could figure out how to use it, we could theoretically go anywhere and possibly anywhen. Before we could do so, the chamber showed us several clues to the next keys. A two headed eagle set between an iron spur and a drinking horn; an elephant tusk and hand mirror set upon a bearskin. Having yet again no idea what this cryptic witchcraft meant, we went on our way to find additional information.

The 3 crows from earlier showed up and informed us that Baba Yaga had gone to visit her only son. This little bombshell seemed to get little consideration from my colleagues, but to think that the Crone could have a son is something undreamed of. No one has ever heard of any son before. No one knows what she does with her daughters, but absolutely no one has ever heard of or seen any sons. There must be something special about this boy if she has but one and has kept him secreted away.

We came across a beautiful and rambunctious little tabby cat that had once been the familiar of a former witch queen, one of Baba Yaga’s many daughters. It let known that Baba Yaga killed its former master, a fate that seems to be the rule among former witch queens from what we have discovered thus far.

A treant named Dawnbreak shared with Selene that whatever was wrong with Baba Yaga was also having ramifications on the inhabitants of the hut. Dawnbreak himself was suffering from some kind of psychosis. Selene attempted to provide counsel for him as we did not have the magical aptitude to resolve it. We vowed to return when we had the ability to help cure him.

While Selene provided therapy, I asked Fenn to teach me how to create magical fire as it seemed to the best weapon we had against the seemingly endless adversaries in our way. While he was instructing me, a strange voice came to our minds and corrected errors in Fenn’s instruction. As it turns out, the voice was from a telepathic pseudodragon named Seph’endrell that had been a mage’s familiar before it had become trapped in Artrosa. Our arrival had allowed it to escape so it followed us out and into the hut. I took an immediate liking to the creature but Fenn did not. This probably stemmed from Fenn being slightly embarrassed at Seph’endrell’s erudition as Fenn prefers to be acknowledged as the smartest person in the room at all times. Our bond quickly grew and I took further tutelage in magic from Seph who in turn became my new familiar.

Fenn in anger went off by himself and focused his attention on a set of equipment he had found within the hut. Through sheer will or careful study, he found that he could invest some of his own essence into a staff found among the stash and unlock some of its hidden potential. After Fenn relayed this to the rest of us we did the same. Selene took a shield, Taryn a shortsword, and I a set of first world armor that enhanced my shadow aspect. Though this level of unknown potential power makes at least myself and Taryn nervous, these items will undoubtedly prove useful on our increasingly perilous quest.

On that thought, I come to the turn of the wheel, where our fortune, as always, goes bad. We left the hut to find ourselves under an alien sky that we knew was not Golarion’s. It wasn’t until we met a native, Bescaylie, and her dragonkin that we discovered we had been transported to Triaxus which was currently in its generations-long winter (always winter), and the keys we sought were being held by opposing sides of a war!

Though Selene, Taryn, and Fenn may be fit for such large scale military engagements (Taryn is probably salivating over the thought of the bloodshed and beer of martial living), I have a different skill set. Selene is stalwart and a leader, Fenn is a brilliant tactician and powerful arcanist, and Taryn is a combat veteran and dervish of steel blades sharpened over years of battle across the inner sea region. My strength lies in the shadows that I have claimed as my birthright. Perhaps I can find my uses here, too, if I apply my talents appropriately.

Parting and Departing
A downtime tale

I had been so concerned with Fenn that I had failed to notice Lucky’s physical absence. It shouldn’t be that surprising as due to our empathic link he always feels present even when he is not immediately nearby. However, I came to realize that I had spent many hours analyzing tomes regarding the Aeon Pit and had no idea when the last time was I had seen Lucky.

Being a rabbit he is predisposed to wander a bit but he tends to stick close by, especially in these strange times. I could feel his fear growing in the preceding days, but I had assumed it was the perils of the journey. I had begun to wonder now if it wasn’t me he was coming to fear.

I looked for him in my heart, feeling for our connection. He was still here. Not far. I could sense a strange combination of sadness and hope emanating from him, like how I felt when I left my mother those years ago. After scouring the hut I opened the front door to find him sitting on the ground at the foot of the porch steps. The scene was surreal: a serene white hare sitting somberly amongst the gore of frost giants and the huts former guardian.

“Come on, Lucky”. He turned his head behind him to the east and then looked back at me.

“There’s nothing more for us here. We have to help Fenn and then we can move on to…wherever this thing goes next.” I smiled. Lucky just turned quickly again to the east before returning his gaze to me. For a hare he was quite serious most of the time.

I felt the intermingled feelings of longing, fear, and happiness, but I couldn’t be sure if they were mine or his. “You’re not coming, are you?” He turned again to the east. “You know, the fact that you are a rabbit just pisses me off sometimes. I’m trying to have a conversation here!” Again, a head gesture to the east.

“I cannot go with you.” Lucky bowed his head this time. “How can you leave? You’re supposed to be my guide.” With that he sat up straight and locked eyes with me. A tranquility came over me and I, too, assumed a meditative position on the porch.

A vision came to me. I sat in a wooded grove full of wildflowers and butterflies the size of my palm. Sitting across from me was an old man with long white hair tied into two knots atop his head. A long neatly trimmed white beard hung to his chest and blew gently in the breeze.

“Our time is over”, I heard him speak as if my deafness were gone. “The next leg of your journey will take you somewhere I must not go for I would never return. Already your power grows far beyond my ken. You were meant for the stars, whereas I am of the earth. I will never truly depart from you, though you are not likely to see me again. When you find yourself lost in the spaces between, turn to me in your memory and I will provide the firmament upon which to ground yourself.”

He stood and came toward me so I stood to meet him. He put his left hand upon my head and his right upon my heart. “You have your friends and others will come to you in your time of need. Your light draws them. Do not let it be consumed by your darkness, let it be sheltered by it for it is precious. Lastly, remember that friends can turn out to be wolves and wolves can turn out to be friends.”

With that his hands emanated a warm and piercing light that seemed to permeate my entire body as it spread from my head and chest. I was overcome by brilliance as the world faded away.

I opened my eyes to find I was alone on the hut’s porch. Lucky was gone. I looked to the east where the sun was beginning to rise. I had been out there all night! I stood and broke icicles from my beard. I needed a shave after all that time in Artrosa. As I walked toward the door, I turned back to the east for a brief moment and smiled. It’s a new day for all of us.

Taryn Galanti: Scion of Freedom, Spirit of Adventure
An excerpt from the journal of Nobel Black

These are dark times. Fenn went into the Aeon Pit and returned…different. First he appeared to have lost his sanity, but then inexplicably seemed to regain his senses despite information from Jadrenka and the hut’s arcane library suggesting that the change would be permanent. He seems no worse for wear, but he has been dodging any line of questioning about what happened in the Aeon Pit or how he came by his miraculous recovery. There seems no end to the reasons for distrust these days. Even between old friends.

As I feel the space growing between Fenn and I, I have become closer to my other companions, which provides me some peace of mind. I intend to spend some time later discussing Selene, who in many ways is my polar opposite, but for now I wanted to jot down a few thoughts on Taryn.

Though I was initially very suspicious of Taryn when we first met her in Whitethrone, I have come to know her better over the last 2 weeks. She is a true adventurer, having left her home years ago with the express intent of building her legend just as her revered Cayden Cailean did. While some would see her joining such a morally grey mission as ours a folly, I can respect what she represents. Without bravery, even enthusiasm for danger, the greatest of deeds could never have been done.

Taryn seems to do what she does not out of a sense of duty or morality; she does things for the joy of living life on the edge and taking claim in the authorship of her own story. The rest of us have largely been guided by forces that were either external to us or perceived to be out of our control (my curse, Fenn and Selene’s orphanhood), but everything that has ever happened to Taryn from her initial training as a swordsman to her current quest has been something she has actively pursued. Despite the yoke of our current task and the corrosive power of Baba Yaga, Taryn exudes a sense that she is more free than ever.

I am very pleased to have this new friend. Her wisdom is in action, her example shows the way forward. Freedom is something we give ourselves, not something given by others. Even the shackled can be free if they live as such.

Trust and the Eon Pit

How can you tell if someone is themselves or not?

Can you discern whether they are being a representative of their true self? I fear for our compatriot Fenn. I get ahead of myself in this entry by starting at the end, perhaps to better reflect by viewing these events backward so I may end with the proverbial dawn so to speak wear all things are fresh.

The final day in Artrosa was wrought with much danger and I admit a lack of patience for that place as well. I’m pretty certain all of our semblance of patience and curiosity of this maddening prison was all well and truly spent.

Our troupe happened upon our not easily contrived location of one of the keys we would need to proceed on our “quest” of course we knew as all in similar scenarios knew that tasks however sounding simple are never as easy as one would hope. We found the Eon pit where hopefully this first step on our next leg of this journey lay ahead. The pit itself of course did not go unguarded, a cleric most foul sought god knows what within some slaughterous machinations of recently deceased frost giants with his beastly companion nearby some sort of half frost giant and centaur beastly convergence. The fight was both won and lost by the deeds of our Tiefling compatriot. Great bouts of flame erupted in successive order and the frostly beast and cleric seemed to be an antithesis of activity in their own icy personas. Before I could contribute in the battle that befell us after calling upon the favor of Sarenrae to bolster my defense the battle was already over although I did assist in my own way by freeing Fenn from a temporary icy prison.

This is where the beginning of the questions raised must stem during the battle our newest member seemingly turned on Fenn viciously striking and downing him during battle. Defended by stating a compulsion from the dastard cleric was the explanation given, but mayhap this was a foretelling in the coming future… this will remain to be seen.

After the battle our wizard volunteered to venture to the bottom of the Aeon pit and seek the key we needed. This was the last time we saw the friend we knew to power hungry but in his as right of mind as ever. Upon his ascension from the pit we found him to be dangerously mad. At this time we were visited once again by the warden of the facility. The explanation given that the power of the pit had driven him insane and as such he was compelled into a sleep to ensure relative safety for those of us in his vicinity, or hers, one cannot be entirely sure. Apparently our act of defeating the denizens disgracing the pit was enough to illicit the other key from the warden as well. A part of me would like to have seen this place cleansed of its wickedness but now was definitely not the time. We had a quest to continue and a friend that needed help from a being more powerful than us if we were to see him in control of his faculties and conscious once more.

We were transported to the entrance and essentially told to be on our way. From here we constructed a litter to transport the unconscious Fenn back to the hut so we might begin the process of finding a cure to this insanity. Three arduous days of travel eventually brought us back to the hut and relative “safety”. Once within the walls we set about our task in trying to find any information on the Aeon pit and ritual that caused this malady. Noble found a text containing a great deal of information on the pit and other subjects that failed to pass it’s muster. Once returning to check on Fenn, alarmingly we found him conscious and acting like nothing had happened.

Is this still our friend? Is his madness relegated and controlled? or his the puppet of some other being? Much time will be needed to sort through these events. Perhaps the warden was lying in some attempt to extricate us from her prison. No matter the truth, trust is something that is not certain within this party at the moment for it is a sad day when our mute oracle that deals with shadowy magic and can apparently sprout wings of darkness is my currently most trusted ally.

We have used the keys acquired and left not only our region but our plane as well if we are to believe a manner of blue many eyed humanoid we found in a soul gem… wow that’s a sentence i’m pretty sure I couldn’t fathom writing a month ago. Perhaps we’ve all gone a little mad. Who knows if we will ever return to Golarion but what does it matter as long as the light of Sarenrae fills my life and she continues to hear my adulation.


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