RoundTable Adventuring

Nyssa's Journal #2

The absence of wind is starting to get to me. At first, I found myself so caught up in the mystery and excitement of being a part of this group of adventurers, that I barely felt the difference. But now that I’ve gone over a day without it, it has certainly begun to feel unnerving. Earlier this evening, I found myself ambushed by a foe I am sure I would have detected if only the wind was present. This feeling …. it is like I have lost part of my very being. Whatever these strange magical artifacts are that have created this field around town, we must find a way to deal with them quickly.

We. Interesting I find myself already using that terminology when it comes to this group. Although they remain cautious of my involvement, my druidic powers have so far proved useful to the group’s efforts to combat the necromatic presence that has descended upon the town. But what will they think once this crisis is over? Now that I have revealed myself to them, I can hardly go back to casual listening on the winds. One way or another, it appears my future with this group will change.

Carrock's Private Log 7

1 – Today, I had returned to Tomoe’s home as soon as I felt it appropriate; I must say the boys were concerned as I paced the apartment until 10 am. I arrived with a sheath of our reports which I’d been working with and was ushered within to meet with my spherical hostess. She accepted the reports with grace and we quickly returned to conversation; there was a calming ease between us that unmasked me, possibly simply because we were able to converse in the language of our shared homeland instead of Taldane. Indeed, at about noon, after discussing the way things were being run and what the jobs were, I removed my mask, thanking The Lady for the rest this young woman provided a weary mind.

Over tea I would explain everything to my compatriot: the guild doubling as my task force for the Voices, the concern about leadership or initiative, the increasing threat of the Hands of the Mystic Discordia… I realized later that she got pretty much everything I had never mentioned to others in the guild from me. I even mentioned Artanis and her ongoing attempts to gun for my work and files, and a small smile flitted across the halfling woman’s face for a moment. She, too, knew about having to account for another’s clandestine efforts against one’s own actions. It was extremely odd; for the first time since traveling to this continent, I conversed as “Riller”, not “Carrock”.

She, in turn, explained her slave master, her training master, her master’s obvious connection to what she now knows as the Hands, and began to explain about her plans for the future regarding her contracts, but stopped herself suddenly, shaking her fat-encased head and seeming to reprimand herself; “you never know who’s listening”.

Almost appropriately, at that very moment I was suddenly startled out of the extremely relaxed stupor of our conversation by the arrival of Roukan in the room, his hackles raised but his face quizzical. He began to speak, but sounds of someone running across the roof above us said as much for him. I sprung to my feet and had my sword out before the runner gained the window, yet it was only one of the agents I’d recruited for the Voices, a half-elf by the name of Marphazor, and he had his own daggers up, likely just in case of my attack… and yet, his daggers were already bloody. He was taken aback by the size of my companion for a beat, and also the sight of my naked face, before breathlessly telling me that Garric, another of our agents, had reported after several hours of silence that we were “blind” and that “it’s all come apart”. Thus, Marphazor had been told to fetch me to the guildhall posthaste, but had actually been attacked suddenly while en route to find me.

While I knew that Garric had an active imagination, the blood was a vibrant indication of things out of the ordinary. I donned my mask quickly and apologized for cutting the visit short, though my hostess simply sipped her tea and waved me off, saying that it was time for her exercises anyways. As I settled my gear and crossed to the window I asked if I should post a guard, but Roukan gave me a look that said that the question was somewhat off-putting, so I followed Marphazor out the window without another word. The weariness within my bones has weakened my vigilance, but the restful sleep I’d received has reawakened me. I don’t know how much rust I’ll have to work off my muscles, but I am prepared to face the challenges approaching. It would be good to get a bit of blood on my blades once more.

2 – As Marphazor and I traveled to the guildhall, I heard fireworks and saw the beginnings of a magical light show colouring the sky from the centre of town; I was not aware of any particular event happening, but a comment from a passerby filtering up the road toward the noise reminded me of a report that a bard troupe would be visiting; one claiming unforgettable events and setpieces. While pinching coin was the only thing I used to join such crowds for in the past, I had larger concerns and more readily-available money now. =A phrase is written in Tien here which roughly translates as “the wild dog starves and the tamed dog wears a chain”= Nonetheless, it did indeed seem to be drawing a massive crowd, and in the short time it took me to reach the guildhall from Tomoe’s apartment in the dusk light, the streets were nearly empty. Curious.

The guildhall was relatively quiet, and Marphazor left me at the entrance; more runners must be roused and notified. I continued up the stairs in haste; I hate being unaware of what’s happening, and too many things felt just out of reach. Ascending to the Roost, I found my office in chaos. Garric, a young halfling of a somewhat excitable disposition, quickly caught me up on the situation: while researching local event rumors, he had put several reports together which had a theme, seeing the pattern which I had missed in my stress: an event was planned involving this very guild, but the details were light. He needed help digging through the reports to put it together, and right away! I was not about to argue with him.

As we worked, Garric spoke of what he knew so far, and that only one of his pieces of the pattern had mentioned this very day. We began to pull reports, and as we filled in the situation, a sort of tense dread began to fill the room, as though we were already too late. Ice… necromancy… artifact?? While Garric was confused about such details, I was near panic; precious few people knew about the artifact, but pieces were coming together that spoke to the fact that more than I’d hoped were aware of its existence… and its presence within the guildhall.

The jig, as the humans around here say, was up. I jumped to my feet at the first explosion; it wasn’t fireworks anymore… a siege stone had impacted a neighbouring building, and there was screaming. I raced to the door and down the stairs, very nearly bowling over Artanis in the process. She wanted… paperwork? A new guild member…? I hurriedly told her I didn’t have time, and brushed past her and her guest; we needed to get after the current emergency! The woman always had a confusing set of priorities, and it was not the moment to indulge an obsession.

3 – … I suppose that’s pretty much all I’ve got: we’re under attack by mercenaries, likely hired by the Hands or possibly another one of the many enemies we’ve created, and there appears to be some sort of… siege taking place. The guildhall was being bombarded with rocks, and Varro and I found and roundly abused a man trying to break into the vault, who told us, under great pain, of the general details of the plan. We eventually recovered a sort of spotter’s ring from another of our attackers captured by Screech; using it, we were able to convince the siege crews that they were missing the guildhall, but we shortly thereafter discovered ourselves to be trapped within a sort of pyramid of force which now surrounds the town, so it appears that our options are quickly being narrowed down to “fight”. There was a revelation that the event was intended to trick and trap us in particular and that they wanted the orb… and this sylph; some manner of hopeful new recruit who shows up right as we enter what will likely be the greatest trial we (and likely Oregent) has ever faced. She picked a hell of a time to step up, and I don’t trust her.

… The mayor has requested our presence tomorrow, but for now… I am exhausted. We shall see if I can sleep; winding down by writing in my log hasn’t helped me relax, but it’s a different sort of tired than the usual.

Screech #13

This has not been a good night so far. A group of evil spellcaster has sealed to city and started randomly killing people instead of just attacking or sneaking into the guild hall. And all for some artifact that Carrok tricked us into winning for him from that tournament a few months back.

Timoe’s plans also suck. ‘Lets follow this wall until we reach the corner. That will tell us nothing.’ Next time I’m just gonna go off on my own like i was planning. I would ve caught those trebuche asshole if i had.

And now the mayor wants to talk to us. I assume to blame us, asshole. And I’m gonna have a bunch of questions for him that will probably lead to a bunch of yelling (well I plan on yelling. Alot.)

If this becomes annoying i swear I’m gonna get that bird.

Nyssa's Journal

The winds can always change at a moments notice. This is a lesson I should know better than most, but yet I was still un-prepared for the events of today. Then again, I am not sure any amount of foresight or planning could have allowed for me to anticipate a shift of this magnitude. There is powerful magic at work now in the city. A very unnatural magic that is not overly familiar to me.

Although I was forced into a meeting with the members of The RoundTable well ahead of schedule, I do not believe that they are aware of just how long I have been listening to their collective whisper on the winds. If this knowledge were to become known to them, I anticipate that I would have a great deal of explaning to do. Other races never seem to understand the excitiment of listening to the winds.

I will have to keep a close eye on the Tengu. He seemed to be the most unsettled by my prescence and considers himself something of a detective. As for the rest of the group, the events of the day seemed to have forced them to accept me with little to no explanation. In the long run, the way the meeting played out may have been for the best, although I would have prefered more time to prepare a proper introduction. The last thing I need is for any of them to become overly curious about my past.

Screech #12

Well that all wrapped up rather quickly. I just turned my head and the horde of demons was vanquished. Yay us!

And who cares if that demon is still alive? Not me. It just means more demon killing in the future.

And now to clean the guts off my axe and go back to the guild hall for an uneventful drink…

Carrock's Private Log 6

1 – I am spent. Months of a relentless pace have worn me from a honed point to a practice edge, and I am falling apart physically.

It feels like it began to accelerate when I arrived at the guild hall on the morning of Fireday, 16th of Lamashan. Amarro had apparently received an invitation from a representative of Korvosa’s Acadamae the night before; their Breaching Festival was approaching, and our guild apparently had drawn the eye of the world stage. Amarro had then assembled a team from the night regulars (Screech, Varro, Artanis (of course), and… aside from Tomoe, I fear I am forgetting someone…) and passed through the portal offered, and that was that. Why was I not kept appraised of this well-known event’s approach by my informants? We could have planned a party which was assured of victory… Again, the plates are dropping in this performance; there is nobody to keep them spinning.

I have, meanwhile, been recovering from a bout of influenza, and the reports have piled in my absence; possibly that is where the Breaching Festival warnings are buried. I am trying to catch up, but things are obviously being missed. I have awoken at my desk several times in this last month alone; I am operating on, at most, four hours of sleep each night, and restless sleep at that. Artanis is stealing reports no doubt, and I no longer have the energy or focus to counter her efforts.

The three time-dilated months I’d spent within Hao Jin’s vault – which were, in actuality, no more than two weeks – have also taken their toll on me; the vault was not so much “wonderful” (as one would expect) as it was overwhelming and horrifying, in equal parts. Although the oni who managed it were accommodating, their presence and the presence of some of the horrible artifacts within the vault wore at me mentally. Such destructive potential contained within those walls… I wonder at anyone gaining access. I am constantly anxious about such an event now. Our enemies are powerful, we are blind, and even one man possessing even one of such artifacts could wreak untold destruction upon the world… and there are dozens of such artifacts within that vault of horrors. Hundreds!

So, illness struck, and despite the minimal recuperation time I was afforded I was caught surprised by a visit from a wolf as I dragged myself home from today’s work at the temple. Well, it was more a worg, but even in my exhaustion I recognized the hulking beast as the monk Tomoe’s mount and companion. He informed me that the party who’d traveled to the Acadamae had returned, and Tomoe had requested my presence at her home following her arrival. With no further elaboration, he then departed. I had resolved to visit the next day, but I arrived home to find the hedge witch Gretchen within my house. She was going through my mail, of course; Savram said he had tried to stop her, but she just pinched his cheek and told him to fetch something for her to drink. He was still rubbing his cheek in concern.

Gretchen quickly started speaking when I greeted her; she waved off the welcome and sprung into what was likely a prepared conversation: she was leaving for an indeterminate time; she and the druid Marrok Grimnar intended to temporarily return to the Lands of the Linnorm Kings to collect some research materials, and I should probably look in on Tomoe in her absence… then she actually turned and began for the door! She looked extremely short-tempered (even for her) and seemed to be nursing some manner of emotional upset, but that was no surprise; the only time I’d seen her since I’d dispatched a group to Stonespine Island six days ago with her help was when she was treating me for the influenza, and her emotional state was erratic at each meeting, even then. Still, her makeup was running on her face and she avoided looking at me this evening; something was bothering her, but I declined to ask, and she declined to explain. As she passed by, she tersely reminded me to look in on Tomoe a second time, then took the door. I was spun around by the 30-second meeting, but sighed in relief: rest would go uninterrupted; meetings with those women had tended to run long in the past. I realized as I lay down to sleep that she was dressed to travel, but I was unconscious within moments of my head striking the pillow.

2 – Nightmares kept my intermittent dips into unconsciousness restless again, and I found myself remembering the past. I was at a funeral; it wasn’t Kokoro’s as usual, though: rather, her cousin’s, who I’d never met. I recall in the daylight hours her mentioning him offhand as having worked himself to death, and that his funeral was “depressingly sedate”. I wonder about this; is it a warning? I am definitely overworking myself, but to death? Either way, my subconscious has apparently dispensed with subtlety.

I am hesitant to ask for help. The tasks I manage require care and dedication, and I see none of that in any of these guild members. Yes, they are enthusiastic, but they show zero comprehension of what we face, and a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I wonder about their ability to manage clandestine affairs, or a full-blown shadow war, for that matter. I shoulder responsibility because none of my peers here appear able to do so, and none have offered. It is unfortunate; yet still, the self-examination is true: I am working myself to death, and I wonder how much longer I can do this for. Already, I have noted myself slipping.

I attempted to sleep until 10 am this morning, finally giving up the effort and getting after my morning when I was unable to rest. The boys were gone already, and halfway through breakfast I suddenly remembered Gretchen’s request to look in on Tomoe, not to mention the monk’s own delivered message. I was out the door within 5 minutes, though in my self-recrimination for how my mind wanders, I nearly ran over Tomoe’s worg again. Roukan, he said his name was, and he had an appraising, even tone when he reiterated his request that I visit his friend; “sooner is better than later”. I begged his forgiveness at my negligence and promised to follow him that moment.

Arriving at the apartment, I was led within. Roukan was silent, and we quickly arrived at a sort of sitting room where my host was seated; the rooms the women were renting were small, though tastefully appointed. Normally, the same is true for my host… entering the room, she was similar to her state upon our last interaction within my private journals, though I realized quickly why she wasn’t collecting me herself on this occasion: she was enormous; wider than she was tall, and appeared to have gained enough weight at this point that she was unable to even move herself from the couch she rested upon. There were a few food package remains near her – but not near so many as I could recall her formerly consuming during a sitting while within the guild hall – and she was dressed only in a robe which appeared to fit much better several sizes ago. Nonetheless, she was pleasant, and welcomed me, apologizing for the relayed invitation and her grotesque size. I waved such things off; the respite was odd, but welcomed. I normally wish to get to my tasks quickly, but justified the visit as possible guild business; we had just lost a powerful mage and her companion, and appeared to be due for further suffering, judging by the monk’s size. She would possibly provide more answers on Gretchen’s path – but even in my exhausted state, I noted conspicuous spots on the shelves and walls where something had rested, and was now missing… I realize in hindsight that I was very slow in putting the pieces together.

I… something about her presence broke the fugue I was in and chased such thoughts from my mind, though. Despite being immensely obese, she no longer carried the tension she had previously struggled with; she was an oasis of calm. She sipped from her tea and almost immediately explained that she’d returned from her trip to Korvosa with a dangerous gift: tempted by a contract devil, she had immediately buckled and begged the removal of her curse, that which kept her hungry and increasingly fatter. Surprisingly, the contract devil – named “Chyvvom” – acknowledged the apparent curse by immediately meeting her request, though she was left to lose the weight she’d piled on herself, and now suffered from a different, inverted curse. Still, she was disarmingly relaxed; she said that with the removal of the curse of hunger, she was finally able to begin working off the weight… though she was now bound to Chyvvom’s mysterious master, an infernal duke named “Lorthact”. Despite this significant setback, she saw the end result of both as the same thing; losing the weight would surely happen alongside getting stronger in anticipation of a battle with Lorthact, and, more importantly, she had quiet within her soul and mind, something she’d feared lost forever. She considered this a temporary victory in a road likely to contain several.

At this, she held up a single scroll, her pudgy hand barely extending beyond the slope of her immense spherical body, and her expression became concerned. She explained the previously-unknown fate of those in the Breaching Festival, and, despite having accepted a surely terrible deal, had immediately attacked and killed Chyvvom following her release from her torturous curse. Unfortunately for her, when the matter was nearly over and done with, Chyvvom made his reappearance and claimed an unexpected (and temporary) ally found on the demiplane they had escaped, leaving almost immediately after seizing her… and took the second copy of Tomoe’s scroll, ultimately removing from her the power to change her fate through confrontation with Chyvvom. Thus, she remains at peril, according to the final interpretation of the terms of her contract.

Tomoe’s frown deepened at this point, and she went quiet for a short while. I had only been partially listening until this point, and saw my opportunity to ask about the witch, but the small woman had decided to broach that topic herself: she had returned with the grim–yet–hopeful news of the scroll’s solution only to be met with an indignant rage from her (former) roommate. Gretchen told her she was selfish, stating that she should “think of others”, and an argument was quickly joined. Gretchen had reportedly fallen in love with her patient, and there were bitter words exchanged about who was enabling who… and then the witch had apparently removed the spell which had been keeping Tomoe’s size at a manageable level, returning her to the state I was talking to her in.

Tomoe had, at this point in their confrontation, naturally become likewise upset, but stated that she was unable to remember any further points of the confrontation with clarity due to suffering cardiac arrest from her heightened emotional state; apparently at her current size she is in constant danger of this. I will interject here to say I don’t fully believe this, but I feel the situation is a little too close to personal information for my tastes; the private affairs of guild members are their own business. Regardless, Gretchen had apparently revived her from her dying state, then quickly packed her things… where she’d moved to was unknown to the monk, as there was no note, but she suspected the research laboratory at the temple of the Lucky Drunk here in Oregent.

I found my interest in speaking with her growing over several hours of conversation, and I exited the house in the mid-afternoon with a head clear of stress and filled with clarity of purpose. Tomoe requested that I take the contract’s scroll and hide it, and maybe to check up on her every so often to make sure she hadn’t wound up with her head stuck in a chamber-pot or attacked by devils. She had also said that, although she couldn’t walk or even move her arms much, she would be fine: the witch had animated several of the house’s amenities which would care for her in most every way except for conversation, as well as the occasional hiccup in their very specific behavior patterns. That was all, though; if I desired to keep her company for conversation again, the door was open.

I have already decided to return tomorrow; I found myself possibly sharing too much about my recent struggles when she’d asked (the weariness must have lowered my walls; I did say I was slipping), but her advice and responses were carefully considered and sympathetic. She’d also seemed thoughtful when I mentioned the lack of reliable help managing the guild’s affairs. She told me that she understood the desire to not saddle others with that which they may not be able to handle, and requested that I consider her assistance; she could start tomorrow, as she couldn’t really do much else unless rolled there.

This disarmed me, but it was perhaps because of cultural similarity; she knows that a Tian man will never ask for help when he doesn’t know about the capacity of others to provide it, being Tian herself.

=A phrase is written in Tien here which roughly translates as “that night, I slept peacefully”.=

Amarro #19

Whoops, i’m going to owe Artanis drinks for life after that one…. but honestly who would have expected someone to stand right back up after being killed twice before in the previous 10 seconds?!

Ugh Tomoe is giving me the worst look, like I kicked a puppy or something… no one is ever going to let me forget this one i’m sure of it…. aww shit, i’m going to have to reset that stupid counter on that stupid sign…

Tomoe's Journal, 19

=The following has been written on a soot-smeared page in a flowing, elegant hand. While the translation from Tien leaves much to be desired, it is arranged poetically; a meditation of battle and loss=
With the clarity I have finally been granted comes regret.

I don’t know what I’ve promised to do, and I fear that it may (will) take more from me than I ever hoped. If I’m lucky; IF I haven’t created a disaster of my waking life, I shall face the inevitable horrors of my afterlife with the same dedication I devoted to living. I cannot control everything (anything), but I fear having given away more than I could have ever given.

If they kill me, I’m assuming I go to the abyss, to be grilled over a flame for all of eternity… and yet, I will make sure that they must increase their containment measures to contest me, and I don’t mean size: I intend to die at a level of power that will make whoever holds my chain tremble. I fear for the world and my allies, but I don’t fear for myself. I’ve seen hellish life, and I’ve seen what these creatures do.

I would make the decision again. Nobody should live this way. I just hope nobody dies this way, either.

Screech #11

Well i thought i would have a chance to ‘beseech’(?) the queen to get her to arrest the head wizard and we could have a good old fashion inquisition to find devil worshippers, but the devils have saved me time and all appeared on thier own. Yay!

Best cleasing ever!

And i’ll probably have to kill some wizards afterwards. Stupid weak humans. Always trying to gain power the easy way.

Screech #10

So this is actually turningout better than I thought it would. I’m here killing fiends instead of idiot wizards and thier arcane abominations. I love killing fiends.

Plus there ’s the spree when I get out to look forward to. Someone set up this soul harvest and someone has been maintaning it. So that person will get an axe to the face several times.

Probably gonna have to kill this moron wizard we rescued. “Derrr, I sold my soul for the chance to get my spell book back instead of a way off this plane. I’m retarded. Derrr.” Or if the fiend kill him first, destroy his soul.

I wonder how long a halfing can go before he has to save vs cannabalism…


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