23rd November 2002
A crow alights on Seriya's window ledge. Attached to its leg is a note.
"Seriya, I found a very disturbing note in the chest at Hawk's Hollow. It's almost certainly written by Reggie, although it sounds like the ravings of a mad man. I am very concerned. You and the others on the list must be on guard at all times. I don't believe he is in his right mind.
It reads thus:
DeadCal - The undead do not have feelings, the undead do not love, the undead have no need of a heart, therefore I will take your heart.
Seriya - Talk, talk, talk, talk. So many words for so little things said. Time for you to stop talking. I will take your tongue.
Ruadnit - Sneak, look, snoop, interfere, sneak, look, snoop, interfere. How you like looking into other people's business. I will take your eyes.
Night - Once our enemy, always our enemy. You use your bow well. After I visit you, will you be as good? I will take your right hand.
Malechi - You mock whilst thinking yourself superior. How good will you be if you can't hold your spear? I will take your thumbs.
Very troubling I'm sure you'll agree. We must find Reggie before it's too late.
23rd November 2002
DeadCal enters the log cabin and opens the chest in search of a new warfork. Something catches her eye as she scans the contents of the chest. A note, crumpled and stained with green splashes. Frowning, she straightens it out and begins to read. The writing grows increasingly jagged with each word, as if scrawled by a madman. Her eyes widen. Gingerly, she brings the note towards her face and sniffs. The aroma of nightshade is unmistakable. Reggie...
Cursing, she pockets the note and sets off in search of the others.
23rd November 2002
JR hurried along clutching the crumpled note he found on the floor of the tower, looking nervously over his shoulder. "Where was Reggie, what was he up to, why is it so quiet?" he muttered. "I must find Deadcal or Seriya or anyone before its too late".
JR arrived at the Darkcloak HQ, "Damn, no ones around. Typical, when you want one of them, they're never about. Wasn't that long ago you couldn't walk the valley without bumping in to that pesky ranger Night, but now when I need one of them…. I can't hang around, what if Reggie comes along, I'm not sure I could face him. I know. I'll leave the note in the secure chest and hope someone finds it."
JR places Reggie's crumpled in the chest. "I think I'll pay a visit to Britain, and spend the day browsing the shops." He smiles to himself. "No way anyone will find me there"
JR chanted for a few seconds and disappeared.
All was quiet around the Darkcloak HQ.
23rd November 2002
Lenar used his Mind's Eye to scan over Hawk's Hollow before going to bed. Lenar's Eye cannot enter buildings, or traverse dense objects, but he sensed Seriya in her sleep, safe. He knew she would be: the bracelet on his wrist lay cool and the ruby embedded within it did not shine. Lenar couldn't help but check that she was still safe. He knew that no mortal danger threatened her, but still he felt he had to sense her, sense she was safe.
Did he feel he had to do it? It seemed illogical, perhaps obsessive. As Lenar drew his Mind's Eye back, he felt somehow... Comforted; in the knowledge that Seriya was safe.
Did he feel he had to do it? One last time, he opened his mind to Seriya. He felt the comfort again.
Lenar descended the stairs to his room, and lay meditating for a while, before falling into a restful sleep.
Seriya stirred in her sleep. She did not quite wake up, but whereas before she had slept quietly she was now tossing and turning, as if some conflict was taking place in her dreams.
22nd November 2002
After talking to Dead cal and Night and warning them, Ruadnit starts to watch over her shoulder for signs of Reggie.
22nd November 2002
JR arose later than normal.
"Well its nice to have a lay in every now and then," he smiled to himself. "Oh well time to do some work I suppose," and he headed downstairs to the workshop.
"By a gnomes hammer, what has gone on here? Has Reggie been inviting that Orc back for a party?!?"
JR looked around the workshop, hundreds of empty bottles were strewn about the floor, and the workshop stank though JR couldn't place the smell. A sort of coppery smell. Shaking his head, JR started to clear up. "I must have a word with Reggie when he gets back, this is not on," he muttered.
In amongst the bottles JR saw a scrap of paper. Picking it up, he was just about to through it in the rubbish bin when he saw some scribbles on it. Opening up the piece of paper he recognised Reggie's scrawl. "Oh dear, I don't like the look of this, oh dear, oh dear." JR looked around suddenly worried. "Oh dear, oh dear I need to speak to someone, anyone, I just hope I'm not too late."
JR grabbed his cloak and rushed out of the tower, outside all was quiet and still.
22nd November 2002
Reggie opened his eyes, the sound of birds singing outside filtered through the shuttered windows, and looked around confused. Where was he? What was he doing lying on the floor still dressed in his armour and holding his war fork? Slowly his senses came back to him and he recognised his surroundings. He was slumped in the corner of the tower workshop surrounded by what looked like empty potion bottles. Slowly he bent forward and picked up one of the bottles, around the edge was a smear of some green substance. He then realised they were his poison potions used for training, but there were hundreds strewn around the floor. He didn't remember doing any training, in fact Reggie realised he couldn't remember much of the previous day. He remembered talking to Seriya, if you could call it that and he remembers the mage Ant dressed in bright yellow but after that nothing.
Reggie stood up and looked at himself. His armour was filthy covered in dirt, rust starting to appear and what looked to be dried blood all over the armour, his war fork looked in similar condition. What had he done yesterday and whose blood was it? The birds outside continued to sing; though it seemed louder than before and more intrusive.
Reggie walked over to the water barrel and scooped up a handful of water and washed his face. Jerking away his hands from his face, he exclaimed "By the gods!"
He gently felt the right side of his face, 3 long deep gashes scarred his right cheek. "What the? How did these get there?" Reggie looked around the tower. "What is going on?"
Outside the birds carried on singing, though it seemed louder than before, much louder.
Reggie staggered, the noise outside seemed louder than ever, and his head hurt. Holding his head, Reggie staggered towards the corner where his war fork lay. Grasping his war fork Reggie went towards the front door of the Tower, giggling to himself and muttering. "Kill the birds, shut them up, kill the birds, shut them up."
He opened the door and went outside.
Outside everything went quiet….
21st November 2002
Ruadnit comes on to the road leading to Minoc. She has just been taking notes in Vesper and is heading back to Minoc.
As she walks the road she sees signs of fighting and blood shed. Pulling out her bow, she crouches down and follows the tracks. She comes across the body of a farm girl. She sees the marks of a war fork on the body.
Ruadnit backs away and goes back to the road. Moving down the road alert and watching for possible bandits or monsters, she sees another sign of blood and this time the body is next to the road. Another girl dead.
Ruadnit starts to slowly inspecting the road closer. As she travels to Minoc , she finds a young man and a girl dead and more bodies.
She gets to the bridge that leads to the miners area and sees smeared blood and war fork marks in the wood. Whoever took killed those people took out the rest of their frustrations on the bridge.
Then it hits her, the young women and young men looked familar. The victims all resembled Night, Deadcal and Seriya and herself. Ruadnit is suddenly chilled and looks around, even with the sun beating down on her she is cold.
21st November 2002
Seriya was weary. First she'd been angry, then confused; now all she wanted to do was sleep and hope that somehow, tomorrow things would be different.
Why did men have to be so horribly possessive? It seemed to her like you only had to look at them the wrong way, and they felt entitled to claim some kind of ownership. It was strange, only a few days ago she'd felt jealous of the attention Night was lavishing on DeadCal. Now she thought she could very well do without that sort of thing.
First there was Ant. Ant had been trying to catch her eye ever since she's been to Albion's leaving party a few days earlier, where she'd traded a few smiles and perhaps a hug in the middle of the general revelry. Seriya had enjoyed the evening and thought nothing more of it, but Ant had pestered her to go out with him for a drink ever since. Even though she wouldn't seriously consider a romantic encounter with a mere student, Seriya couldn't deny she enjoyed the attention.
But the next time they had an opportunity to talk at any length, during the third night of the Templars' tournament, Ant was strangely quiet.
"What's up, Ant?" Seriya asked. "Given up on going to the tavern?"
"Errmmm…." He stammered. "I spoke to Reggie last night, and he told me to back off, and that you were with him…" Ant trailed off, at a loss what to say.
"He WHAT??!?" Seriya exploded. "That is not true. Absolutely not true. What gives him the right to pass off his fantasies as the truth? What gives him the right to decide who I spend my time with?"
She stormed off. Reggie was not far away, no better time to settle this matter than here and now.
"Reggie!" she shouted. "Come here, I want words with you."
Reggie approached cautiously.
"What did you tell Ant last night? About you and me?" Reggie looked at her blankly.
Ant was quick at hand to recount his story, but still Reggie refused to admit what he had said.
"I said nothing of that sort - I think," he said, not very convincingly.
Then he suddenly grew angry, berating Seriya for believing a Guard over one of her own, and for spending too much time getting friendly with "the enemy" instead of doing the Master's business.
Seriya did not know how to respond to this. Was there perhaps some truth in Reggie's words? Was she neglecting her duties? But, was it not part of her duties to spend time with outsiders, to get to know them and to steer their actions in the direction her Master wished?
DeadCal, as always, did not give a fig about such considerations. Instead she barged her way in and asked if she could punish Reggie for his insolence. Seriya only just managed to hold her off.
Reggie sensed the opportunity and left in a huff, a glint in his eye that bordered almost on insanity. But surely that had just been her imagination.
Seriya followed a little time later. Walking past the entrance of Reggie's small tower, she noticed the dark stains on the stones. Gorbash, no doubt. She'd have to tell Reggie that Gorbash had taken to using his house to relieve himself in, after Cal had told him off for using Hawk's Hollow.
But there'd be plenty of time to tell him that in the morning. For now, all she wanted to do was sleep.
21st November 2002
Why had Seriya spoken to him like that, what had he said the night before to Ant that had caused such anger in Seriya? The previous night was a blur; he couldn't remember much after being defeated in the tournament. The last thing he remembered was pulling out a poison pot to re-poison his favourite war fork, after that all seemed to be lost in a red mist.
And now he has yet again been accused and then humbled in front of others. First it was DeadCal who with her lover Night, had humiliated him and then continued to flaunt themselves at every opportunity. Then it was the Ranger Captain Ruadnit who for reasons unknown had decided to ridicule him, and lastly Seriya decided to address him in front of everyone and humiliate him yet again.
Reggie sat down on the step of the tower, trying to remember what Seriya had said to him, why couldn't he remember. All he could remember was Seriya accusing him of saying things about him and her and then asking that fool mage Ant over, after that yet again things became blurred. He remembers the open pot of poison in his hand, as he was about to apply it to his war fork when Seriya started speaking to him. Then all he remembers were the voices in his head urging him to take his war fork and plunge it in to Seriya's body over and over again. He didn't remember what was said after that for a few minutes until the red mist cleared and Seriya was giving her permission for him to leave.
What had happened, why couldn't he remember…?
Whilst sitting there thinking about events, Reggie absentmindedly opened a poison pot to apply to his war fork.
"IT'S NOT YOU REGGIE, IT'S THOSE WOMEN", a voice echoed around the tower. "THEY HATE YOU, THEY MOCK YOU, THEY SPEAK ABOUT YOU TO OTHERS BEHIND YOUR BACK".
Reggie stood up and looked around. "Who's there," he asked.
Holding his war fork in both hands, he went through the open door in to his tower. "Is that you Night? If it is, Deadcal wont save you this time."
"HOW PETTY YOU HAVE BECOME, HOW SMALL MINDED, THEY ALL HATE YOU REGGIE, THEY ALL LAUGH AT YOU, THEY MAKE COMMENTS ABOUT YOU, THEY RIDICULE YOU, THOSE WOMEN DRIVE THEM ON, YOU ARE A PATHETIC. YOU SIT HEAR WALLOWING IN YOUR PITY, STAND UP TO THEM, DEFY THEM ."
Reggie dropped the war fork, holding his hands to his head, his eyes glazed over, the red mist descended, the voice wasn't Night's or anyone else's, the voice was his own.
Reggie staggered around the floor, wild eyed and laughing, shouting "No more, no more, no more, they will pay for this, they will all pay for this."
Looking around, Reggie saw a piece of jagged metal, he picked it up and held it in his bare hand.
"They laugh at me, they find it funny to ridicule me, call me smelly would they, talk behind my back would they? Well, no more!"
With that Reggie plunged the metal in to the open forge, ignoring the burning pains shooting up his arm.
Taking the burning metal from the forge Reggie held it up to his face.
"This will remind me of you, DeadCal, so I never forget what you have done and things you have said."
With that, Reggie slashed the right side of his face from the cheekbone to the upper lip, leaving a jagged deep gash.
"This one is for you, Ruadnit, so I will never forget what you have done and the things you have said," and Reggie repeated the action leaving a second gash parallel to the first but lower.
"Finally one for you, Seriya, so I will never forget what you have done and things you have said," and a third gash appeared on Reggie's face again parallel to the other two.
Reggie bent over the water bucket and looked at his reflection in the surface…..... and smiled to himself at his ruined face
"Perfect, just perfect, now I feel the urge to kill someone, preferable someone pure and innocent"
Reggie stooped to pick up his war fork and turned towards the door, he felt better than he had in ages, he knew that he would feel better once he had killed.
A while later, the door to the tower opened again, and in stepped Reggie, his eyes still wild with blood lusts. The smell of dried blood surrounded him, as he looked down at his blood stained armour.
"Smelly, am I," he cackled. "Let them smell the blood of my defeated enemies!"
"Let them laugh at me now, I care not, as they will all pay one day!"
Reggie sits down in a dark corner, he takes out a poison pot and starts to apply it to his war fork in a manner one could almost describe as loving.
21st November 2002
Rabin felt like they'd been waiting forever. He was parched, sober and bored.
"When's this thing ga'n tae start?"
"I think they're waiting for the other team to arrive."
Seriya glanced around the room. Rabin grumbled and loooked at the other two teams. The Guards and Templars seemed to have mainly mages on their teams. Rabin got his magic scimitar out and tested the edge.
"Put that away."
"Huh? Ah thocht it wis a ficht?"
"No magic weapons!"
"Ach! Next ye'll be tellin' us that we're no allowed tae hide either."
Seriya looked at him, pityingly. "Rabin - did you read the rules?"
He shuffled his feet and looked at the floor. "Well, no exactly read... no..."
Seriya sighed and briefly explained how the tourney would work.
Rabin listened in silence, looking more depressed as he heard about the further restrictions placed on warriors. "So they get tae use all their fancy spells an' we get tae stand and take it, eh?"
"That's about the size of it Rabin." She laughed.
"Is there ony prize money?"
"No - no prize money. We fight for our honour"
"Honour? Pfffft! Like that stupid ficht earlier wi Mal, Night an' Gorbash? There's nae profit in 'honour'."
Choma grinned and then nudged the others, pointing to Ant.
"Look who's here, Seriya. Maybe he wants a date?" They chuckled.
Ant was squabbling with someone, as usual. "That laddie needs tae grow up a bit," Rabin observed to no-one in particular.
Time passed and it became clear that the other team was a no-show so they moved off to the arena on the roof of a dungeon. A few problems ensued when the mage organisers discovered that some of the warriors couldn't even teleport up to a ledge out of the way.
The tourney was confusing for Rabin since no-one seemed to know what was going on, then suddenly he heard they were in the first fight against the Britannia Guards.
"Whae's on oor team then?"Rabin asked, looking at all the assembled 'Cloaks.
"You, Choma, Cyric, Talon and Night."
"Fair enough. Let's ga'n kick some mages, lads..."
The gates were opened and both teams rushed through into the arena. Rabin and his partner immediately chased down Wildcat as they'd been instructed to do, the other two concentrated on another mage, while Night got out his trusty crossbow and shot at anyone who stood still too long.
After a furious battle, WildCat went down and Rabin switched to chasing Noxin. It seemed like the 'cloaks were in with a chance, then spells started flying from Moses and Ant as they targetted the warriors one at a time and the tables turned.
Afterwards the group agreed that they'd fought well. The whole battle had lasted several minutes and Rabin realised he'd used every Healing Potion he'd been carrying.
Night offered to go get more while they all rested and waited for the next bout to start...
Ant got into some kind of disagreement with Talon.
"Ye a' right there Talon - need a hand maybe?" Rabin grinned.
"I'm fine, thanks Rab. Nothing I can't cope with." Talon chuckled.
Ant went through a gate to the arena floor.
"Maybe we need tae have a wee 'chat' wi that Ant later, eh?" Talon smiled.
"Maybe we do at that, if Seriya doesn't mind."
"He is getting rather annoying. That might be nice..." Seriya said and grinned at the two of them.
Time dragged once more and no-one seemed to have an explanation why, then the next battle was on.
The Guards' team made short work of the templars, it has to be said. It was all over very quickly.
Rabin stood ready to leave. "Richt - we aff fer a pint then?"
"What about the final battle?" Seriya asked.
"Eh? We ga'n tae ficht fer second place? Naebody cares whae came second."
Seriya gave him one of 'those' looks.
"Rabin - get your sorry backside down into that arena, right now!"
"Och - Ah've got nae magic, Seriya - how'm Ah supposed tae dae that?" Just then a gate miraculously opened behind them, and Rabin reluctantly entered it.
The teams lined up once more and the gates opened.
Unfortunately, the 'cloaks gate (opened by Noxin) was a couple of seconds behind the other - through no fault of anyone in particular - and they ran into a line of Poison Fields on the roof.
It was messy. Everyone was poisoned. Rabin tried to put his shield away to drink a potion and suddenly found himself face down on the arena floor.
The judges decreed that contest void and called the teams back to the staging area.
"That wisnae very sportin' o' them wis it?" Asked Rabin.
"Aye - same tactic the murderers use in the Star Room..."
The other 'cloaks agreed.It seemed that the Templars did care who came second. It seemed they cared a great deal.
"Funny that the Guards didnae use they nasty poison field things against wi, eh? Ye'd think this Templar goodie-goodie bunch wid be jist as fair, but no..."
The second contest was similar to their first. The same poison fields hampered the warriors, but they fought on bravely. Finally all of them had fallen, except Rabin who continued to hunt Berek down until the remaining Templars threw spells at him together, and that was that.
Afterwards the 'cloaks stood together proudly.
"Well, we did our best, and we were no walkover either." Seriya looked round at them all. "Nobody held back here. We showed them we fight to the bitter end, and that's what counts."
"Aye, wi had some bonnie wee fichts." Rabin agreed. "Now, Ah have a bottle in a Tavern wi' am name on it. Any objections tae us ga'n and gettin' familiar wi'd?"
"No - no objections at all, Rabin."
20th November 2002
An open window, a steady breeze, a marble house by the sea. Lenar Isawa stands atop his home, and looks over towards Hawk's Hollow. His Mind's Eye reaches out across Sosaria to a log cabin, and inside, Seriya DeLacey. Lenar's Eye draws back.
Lenar absent-mindedly touched the bracelet on his arm, hidden beneath his leather sleeves. It was made of Kaldorian verrite, with a ruby embedded within it. The inverse one the one he had given Seriya a week ago. Cold. That was a good sign.
A bond of mortality. Seriya and Cal had saved his soul from the Void just a week ago, and had created a bond between themselves and Lenar. The emerald in Cal's bracelet did not shine with the radiance of Seriya's; the bond could not be made with a host who is already dead.
A bond of mortality. Lenar knew that if ever Seriya was in mortal danger, the bracelet around his wrist would burn bright red. A Kaldorian never forgets those who have aided them. As Kaldor protect the City of Vesper, so Lenar would protect Seriya in her hour of need. A debt so great, it could not be repayed.
Lenar pulled his sleeve back over his bracelet and walked downstairs. He recalled to Kaldor Tower to see his men, ever aware of the bracelet around his wrist.
18th November 2002
A profitable Tourney, well for Rabin anyway...
Ah went tae thon Templar's Tourney last nicht so Ah could be there tae support wir guild members.
It took a wee while tae get started an', since Seriya said wi wis "on duty", Ah wis gettin' awfy parched by the end o'd. *sighs*
Mind you, her an' Cal provide ma beer money so it's no' a' bad...
First knocked oot frae wir fichters wis Cyric. It wis a guid brawl, but that wis that.
Gorbash, Cal an' Choma made it through tae the next roond. Gorbash wis chuckin' they explodin' flasks o' his aboot a' ower the place. Richt funny tae watch.
Cal made her opponents look easy, tae be honest. The duels wis ower awfy quick.
Choma stood up well, but him and Gorbash baith went doon no lang after.
In the end, only Cal made it tae the last 4.
Unfortunately, frae her point o' view, she wis up against that 'Sweet' fellah frae the Guards. He's a michty tough wee mage and it wis a hell o' a guid ficht. It went richt doon tae the wire. It was sae close that a'body wis hauldin' their breath at the end. The next ane tae hit would win!
That ane turned oot tae be Sweet whae had jist enough magic left fer a wee spell tae knock Cal doon before she hit him ane last time. A' the spectators wis applaudin - hell o' a ficht Ah tell ye...
Ah wis up 28,000 gold at this point - a'richt, maist o'd wis in paper notes, but Ah kent the notes wis guid.
The Final wis Vaga an' Sweet. Now, logically Ah ken Ah should hae bet on Sweet, but Ah'd just won 5,000 on Vaga in the last ficht an' fancied ma luck, ye ken. Cal took ma bet since she figured if Sweet could beat her, hie could beat Vaga.
|Again, the ficht went the distance but it wis Sweet that played it richt. Savin' his magic fer that 'NO HEALING' call wis a richt clever move. Vaga wis knocked oot and Ah had tae pay 5,000 tae Cal *grins* but it wis a bonnie wee tourney, an' comin' awa' wi an extra 23,000 wis a richt nice bonus.|
Afterwards wi a' went tae a local tavern an' got rollin' drunk, since Seriya said wi wis aff duty now. (Actually, Ah started afore wi got tae the tavern, had a wee flask in ma shirt *winks*)
Night came in tae give Cal a kiss, fer luck or somethin' before ga'n huntin', then hie gave Seriya a peck on the cheek. Ah'm tellin' ye, Ah leaned richt awa' frae Night at this point, ye never ken what ideas hie might get after a few drinks, eh?
He kinda looked at me, an' leaned closer sayin' ma name but Ah jist shouted "Get oot o' here, Night!" and then hie laughed an' took Cal away oot fer *coughs* a chat.
That's aboot a' there is tae tell. Ah dinnae remember how Ah got hame, but it wis a grand evenin' so it was. Richt lookin' forward tae anither ane like that...
*wanders off chuckling*
16th November 2002
A page from the secret diary of Shazam
Everything is working out nicely... Even better than I had it planned.
The Cloaks believe that I am dead and I am free to do as I please, without them and their master watching my every move.
Originally I only intended to stay away for as long as it took me to find the Horn of Retreat, but thanks to Draelin I can stay away for as long as I need.
I was a fool to think Draelin could be reasoned with and also to underestimate him as much as I did...
When I returned to talk to him, he immediately set his little pet on me and while I was trying to fend it off, he cast some kind of spell that completely immobilized me.
He wanted my staff, but I think he got a bit surprised when he couldn' t just take it from my hand... He then proceeded to strip me of all my other possesions, probably to find some way to get me to let go of the staff.
By then his pet was a bit impatient, because it had been looking at me as a snack until I was frozen. It must have been pretty hungry, because it didn't even chew him a single time when it swallowed Draelin. He probably forgot to feed it... Not a wise thing to forget with a White Wyrm.
Well, there I was standing frozen and with no clothes, in front of a Wyrm. I thought my time had come, but apparently Draelin was enough for the Wyrm, because it just turned around and walked to its little hideout to take a nap...
I could now feel the spell holding starting to weaken as a result of the caster being dead and soon I was free again. Now I could of course have searched the lair for signs of the map, but since all my clothes and even my journal was now lying in the belly of a Wyrm, why not use that opportunity to extend my time away from the Cloaks?
It gets pretty hard to identify a body once it has been through the bowels of a Wyrm, so it should be easy enough for the Cloaks to mistake Draelin's body for mine. Given enough time I was sure they would come looking for me. And so they did...
Watching from the safety of my tower I saw them fighting their way through the Juka, how they disposed of the Wyrm and found the remains that were supposed to be mine. They also found the map safely locked away in a chest and figured out that they could summon Fluffy to decode it using my bracelet...
That was a slight oversight in my plan. I fear Fluffy will never forgive me for the shock it was to find out that I was dead. Hopefully a few carrots will help make it up to her though...
Well, with the help of Fluffy they managed to find the Horn. They are in for a small surprise when they try to use it in battle and it has no effect at all...
What I neglected to tell in the message I sent them, was that the book also mentioned that the Horn had a limited amount of charges and that those were used up many centuries ago...
Now, before I return I must come up with a good excuse for being away and of course for letting them believe that I was dead. But that shouldn't be too much of a problem...
14th November 2002
The Hunt for Shazam
What's that ye say, ye wanted tae ken aboot wir hunt fer Shazam?
It wis right lucky that the cracks in thon pavement were nae ony bigger eh?
Och - gettin' ahead o' masel'...
When Ah heard Shazam wis missin' Ah kinda thocht wi should look for him. Fortunately, Miss Seriya an' the ithers had decided tae dae this a'ready. Ye cannae have wizards jist wand'rin' aff an' gettin' tae whae kens where now can ye?
Wi tried the Mage's hoose, but hie wisnae there. Ah had tae gan' deliver a package then, so Ah wis awa' fer the first part o' the hunt, but Ah'd a'ready heard that they wis gan' tae look in Wrong.
When Ah got back tae the valley, the ithers kindly arranged tae pick mi up wi a gate an' Ah discovered wi wis lookin' fer a key tae a chest.
Shazam had set up a whole gamut o' things right doon the bottom level o' the dungeon. There was loads o' research stuff, an some right bonnie lookin' glass stuff.
They also found some bones, apparently o' a mage, and a kind o' book ca'd a 'To Do List'.
The book mentioned a map in a chest and that's why wi wis lookin' fer a key.
Now, back tae where Ah started this story!
The key wis missin' an' when wi eventualy found it, it wis stuck in a crack in the pavement in the dungeon! Wid ye believe it? Wi searched every table an' cupboard an' that, but wi never thocht o' lookin' in cracks in the pavement at first *chuckles*
Ance wi had the key, we got this strange map an' went tae find Shazam.
There wis a big chest buried at the 'X' on the map an' it wis guarded by huge demons an' things. Wi focht them aff and, ance they wis a' deed, wi looked in the chest and found... well... nithin' that useful really.
The gold wis nice, but Miss Seriya said that wis earmarked fer somethin' else an' wi had tae hand it a' ower at the Valley *sighs*
There wis some other thing that Miss Cal found, but Ah'm no sure Ah should say whit it was, so Ah'll jist keep quiet aboot that.
Wi finished at Shazam's hoose again, an' that librarian o' his didnae have ony ideas tae help his master.
Now, Ah dinnae like Witches much masel', but maybe wi should be thinkin' o' showin' they bones tae ane o' them an' see if they can look intae their magic ball an' tell wi what happened?
Jist a thocht.
Well, that's the whole tale as far as Ah ken it. Ah'm awa' fer a drink. Guidnicht tae ye a'....
13th November 2002
I was in Minoc to meet Night about some minor business when Snake accosted me at the bank. "It must be my lucky day," he said, and followed it up with a gross, lip-smacking sound. I ignored it as best I could, though a couple of other Guards, notably He Who Dares and Phlebas, seemed to be finding the who spectacle rather amusing.
I was not best pleased with Snake's attentions, since he had been harassing me verbally for a week, and two days ago had forced a kiss upon me only to run off before I could react. Fortunately, Night then turned up and my mind turned to more pleasant thoughts. As we were chatting, Snake went off to patrol with He Who Dares. As he passed by, he reached out and grabbed my posterior, quite hard I might add.
I yelped in surprise and then Night, who had seen the whole thing, ran after him. When we caught up with the two guards, I informed Night that I would like to press full charges against Snake for indecent assault. Night nodded and began to arrest Snake, but Snake resisted and began to argue that he had done nothing. He Who Dares then said he had seen nothing, though I could tell from the rattling of his visor that he was giggling away to himself.
Phlebas then joined and told Night that he couldn't arrest Snake if no one had witnessed anything. I was fuming, since Snake's perverted attentions had gone on for long enough, and Night was furious that the guards would rather take Snake's side than his, though Snake was clearly in the wrong.
Unfortunately, this turned into an argument, and then into a brawl, as Snake and Night slugged it out with their fists. Phlebas then ordered Night be arrested for assault, since he had thrown the first punch.
I couldn't believe this, and nor could Night. As Night was dragged off to the cells, Phlebas told me not to follow, or there'd be trouble. I was absolutely furious. Since Night had recently received five lashes for assault of a guard (he had pushed Ruadnit Troi during an argument, back when he'd refused to arrest me on sight during my time as a fugitive), I wondered what sort of punishment he'd receive for a second offence.
After awhile, Phlebas returned and told me that I could talk to Night for five minutes. I followed him to the hut where he was chained, and saw him glaring at Snake and He Who Dares. I asked if he was all right and checked for bruises but it seemed Snake had had the worst of the fight, since he was bleeding from the nose and a cut lip.
Then Moses arrived and wanted to know what was going on. I did my best to inform him and fortunately he took it slightly more seriously than the other guards had. He ordered Night unchained, but he and Snake continued to argue and had to be separated once again.
Moses then asked Snake to apologise to me, but his apology was said with no sincerity whatsoever. Moses then told him to apologise properly or clean the stables for a week. Snake insisted he'd done nothing wrong and so was sent to clean the stables, much to his disgust. Night, however, was not satisfied, believing Snake should at least have got a flogging for his behaviour. The others were not convinced. Despite the fact I'd been pardoned of Neo's murder, and had then gone out of my way to help them retrieve that blasted daemon book, it seems that the insults levelled at me by Evil Moses during his trial had somehow stuck.
Though he had been freed, Night removed his sash and kilt and then tore off his ranger badge in disgust and threw it at Moses. We left the cell and headed for the tavern where Night ordered a pitcher of wine. He was pained and disgusted by all that had happened. He could not believe that the Britannia Guards, his home and family for so long, had sunk so low as to allow perverts in their ranks.
"What will you do now?" I asked.
He shook his head and gazed at the jug of wine morosely.
"Well," I said, "I have a proposition for you. Hear me out…"
After hearing Deadcal's proposal and after further discussion on the matter Night left the tavern. He wandered far, the irony of what he was about to do made him smile but deep down he had always known it would come to this.
Often of late the scar on his shoulder from his previous encounter with "The Master" had bothered him, almost like an itch that would not be scratched. Almost without thinking he reached for the shoulder and rubbed at it. He walked far, journeying through the blue portal he encountered, seeking someone.
Gorchak's mind control was well known to Night. It had almost consumed him once before but he had resisted, barely. Though he would now serve this new master it would not be as a puppet. He needed something, a talisman of sorts, to protect against Gorchak taking full control of his mind and he knew where to look for a man who might possess such a thing.
He soon arrived at his destination, a lonely small tower, appearing at first deserted. After some persistance the occupant showed himself. Night looked carefully, the man did indeed fit the description he had been given and after carefully ascertaining this was indeed the one he sought the two of them spoke at length. Finally the man passed a small gleaming object to Night and with a final sad look at the tower, departed.
The final test was now before him. Moving silently through the valley Night came once more to the log cabin. Taking a deep breath he slipped out of the shadows and waited before the door. It seemed an eternity had passed before he heard the footsteps, followed by a powerful voice, "So you have come !". Kneeling, Night bowed his head and remained silent "I knew you would Night. It is......fortunate........for you, that you have come to your senses". Remaining quite still and staring at the ground Night replied simply, "I have come to serve.......Master"
"Stand before me Night". He rose and moved to stand before Gorchak who said nothing further. Was he probing Night's mind ? He couldn't be sure and tried to push the thought from his mind.After a while the master stepped back, "Deadcal will be here shortly to instruct you in your duties. Heed them well and do not fail me", he turned and moved back inside leaving Night alone on the porch.
It was done and he still had control of his mind. Removing his gloves he gently touched the gleaming object on his finger and said a quick oath of thanks, then moved towards Deadcal who had now appeared and beckoned him forward.
He was a Darkcloak.
12th November 2002
I received a pigeon from the Kaldorians inviting us to go and train alongside them. One part of the note caught my eye. "Due to the untimely demise of our Commander, Lenar, Ryaul Darkstorm will be taking the training." I blinked. Untimely demise? He was dead? Surely this could not be!
I thought that our new recruit, and erstwhile Viper Captain Talon, would be best placed to find out more information so I sent him to discover the truth. He returned with disturbing news. Lenar had enslaved a drow girl named Lann'al and had tortured her severely. Once she had been freed, she challenged him to a duel of honour. Chucky, pirate king of the Vesper Trading Company, had been watching the duel from the sidelines, and was surreptitiously using his magic to keep the girl alive. When she finally knocked Lenar down, Chucky had run up to Lenar and driven a dagger through his heart.
Was Lenar truly dead, then? A while later, I received a message from the Master to visit Kaldor Keep, for he had sensed a disturbance in the ether which seemed to emanate from that location. On arriving there, I saw that Seriya had also been summoned. Once inside the Keep we were met by Paladis and Zool, and more worryingly, a ghostly figure that flitted back and forth across the ground floor of the tower. I had a strong feeling that I might know who this shade was, so I offered to attempt a resurrection. Sure enough, when the spirit was restored, the deathly pale and unconscious form of Lenar slumped at my feet. After healing the wounds as best we could, Zool and I carried him upstairs and carefully placed him on a bed. For a moment, he seemed to come around, and attempted to whisper something before his eyes rolled back in his head and he slumped unconscious once again.
I'd known for a while that Lenar was a Void-walker, and it seems that he had managed to escape there after the duel, but was unable to return to his body due to the grievous nature of the injuries he'd received. However, I feared he had spent too long there this time, and his soul had not aligned itself properly within his body upon his return.
An idea came to me then. Due to my nature, and the fact that my own soul no longer resides in my body, I am able to partially drain the souls of those who have fallen unconscious. It is something I rarely do now, since I was starting to inherit the emotions of those whose souls I was draining, but I have experimented with this ability and found it might have other applications. It occurred to me that, instead of draining Lenar's soul, I could change the process to enable me to manipulate it so that it would realign itself fully. Lenar, however, was extremely weak, and I was not sure if he could survive this process without being fortified first. I have seen healers use their own life force to fortify that of their patient, but since I am undead, I had no life force to give. Instead, I am kept animate through an internal magic that was bestowed upon me by the liches who cursed me with undeath. Since it stops me from decaying and also allows me to heal even the most grievous of wounds, I knew it would be potent enough. However, I had no idea what effect it would have upon Lenar. Still, his need was urgent so, with permission from Zool, I went ahead.
Placing one hand on Lenar's forehead and the other over his heart, I let the magic flow into him. Some colour began to return to his cheeks and his eyelids fluttered, so I knew it was working. The next stage would be harder. Concentrating hard, I used my mind to reach within him and began to drain his soul, only to release it quickly before I had absorbed any of it. I felt it snap back into him and his eyes opened fully. The realignment had worked!
"Honour….satisfied" he whispered. He had lost the duel, that much was true, but he had not cheated, and so the honour was his. Lenar was back.
I felt drained and unwell, so I excused myself and returned home to rest. Lenar appeared recovered when I left, but what side effects my magic will have upon him, I don't know. I daresay we shall see, in time.
11th November 2002
A futile attempt to retrieve the book
We paid a visit to the Knights Templars in another attempt to retrieve Brother Londo's book. After some searching the Dark Cloaks located Bah-reeh at the Beaufort. They initially met with Reggie, but were then called away for some internal event, which at least gave the rest of the 'Cloaks the time to arrive and take in some more or less friendly drinks with a couple of Templars that had stayed behind. After a little while, Bah-reeh returned, together with the rest of the Templar commanders. Ah well, at least there were plenty of witnesses to what followed…
I had little hope that Bah-reeh would do the decent thing and return the book, but I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. So, I asked him, very pleasantly and courteously. He refused, claiming that he didn't have the book anymore. He would not tell me where it was now, or who he had given it to.
I then asked Londo to ask him himself…. But even though Bah-reeh recognised him as the person who'd given him the thing, he would not return it.
I ask you - is this behaviour befitting a supposedly virtuous knight? Whatever happened to truth and honesty? Have the Templars lost their way so much that they have turned into common thieves?
But I digress.
It is obvious that they will not return this item to us. Worse still, it seems that Bah-reeh at least has read it. He may be seeking to spread the information it contains. He may even plan to share the information with our enemies.
We must not let this happen.
All Dark Cloaks are herewith ordered to seek out the Templars - any Templars - and to question them. Ask them for any information they may have about the book and its whereabouts. Search their belongings. Follow their tracks. If they resist, you may use whatever means necessary to subdue them.
Templars, be warned. We are watching you, and we will not rest until you return to us what is rightfully ours.
9th November 2002
*A small white bird flies quickly through the air above Hawk's Hollow, suddenly when it is right above the steps of the Dark Cloaks guildhouse it stops in mid air and after hanging there for a few seconds, it disappears in a puff of smoke and a scroll drops to the ground.*
The scroll reads:
My apologies for not delivering this message in person, but I had to move fast or someone might make the same discoveries as I did.
Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself here...
A few days ago I found a very interesting ancient book in one of the many libraries in the city of Wind. The book was apparently a volume describing various magical items from the distant past of Britannia. Unfortunately most of it was written in some obscure language that is long forgotten, and to make matters worse it looked like a dragon or something like that had been chewing on it...
Well after a lot of work with restoring some of the pages, I finally managed to translate them. The first little bit was a very vague description of how the magical weapons we know, like power and vanquishing, were enchanted. It would have been more useful if it hadn't been so vague, but that is probably a result of those enchantments being considered cheap and relatively easy at that time.
The next part was a lot harder to translate, but a lot more interesting. It described a powerful artifact called "The Horn of Retreat". According to my translation this horn would, when blown on the battlefield, make a sound that would cause so much fear in the heart of the enemy of the blower, that they would turn around and run away, no matter how big their numbers were.
This Horn of Retreat sounded like an artifact, which could be very useful to the Master. Just think about all the times where we have been greatly outnumbered and outright slaughtered by the enemy. Then imagine having and blowing that horn and then watching the enemy tremble in fear before us and then run away like scared little children...
Knowing what I was looking for, I quickly found another book that gave me a few clues about how to recover the Horn, but I won't mention those here, because you never know who might be reading over your shoulders... No offence, but the Hollow is about as private as The Bank in Britain...
I will be away for the next few days, investigating those clues, some in more safe places than others, so if I am not back soon it might be an idea to go look for me. I will keep in touch with Forsythe, the librarian of my personal library, he will probably be able to tell you a thing or two about where I might be, and worry not, he is completely trustworthy.
May the Master's fortune smile upon us all.
Minion of Gorchak
*As you finish reading the message the ink on the scroll starts to dissolve and the message becomes unreadable, but after a few moments the ink reappears showing something different. Now the scroll shows a map leading to the home of Shazam, just a short way south of Yew Moongate.*
6th November 2002
The Hunt for the Daemon Book
For several weeks now, the Knights and Mages of Kha have had possession of a most powerful artefact: a book that makes it possible to summon daemons so that they might aid an army in battle. These daemons were used at the trial of the evil Brown Moses, thus allowing him to escape, and later at subsequent battles for the possession of the daemon book itself.
The Britannia Guards did not want the book for themselves, but instead intended to destroy it so that it could not be misused again. Now at this point, I should point out that I have already acquired a copy, and know that others may also exist. At this point I do not know whether the destruction of the original will render the copies useless. If it doesn’t, then the value of our copy increases. If it does, well, it levels the playing field again and, whilst we might lose our copy, at least no one else will have one, which is worth considering given that we have few mages and organisations like Kha have many. Consequently, I’d already decided to help the Guards. Last week I went to Kha to try and take the book, which my erstwhile slave, Ant, was holding. Though I managed to render him unconscious, I was unable to find the book amongst his belongings and we were forced to leave empty-handed.
Yesterday, however, I’d heard two rumours. Firstly, that Kha would be taking the book to a mage in Magincia so that they might find out more about it, and secondly that the Britannia Guards would be travelling there to try and take the book from Kha.
I decided to help the Guards once again, and Seriya came along to watch the proceedings. I decided to go ahead of the Guards and check on just how many Kha were present. When I arrived at the mage shop, I was told I may not enter. “Can’t I shop?” I asked innocently. Naturally I had no intention of shopping for reagents, but they were fooled and let me go inside. There I saw Ant talking with a lady mage, and she then took him upstairs. Carefully, I hid in the shadows and drew my spear. At this point the Guards arrived and, after a brief standoff at the door of the shop, a battle began. Leaving the shadows, I joined in, helping to fell several of the hapless Kha warriors and mages. We then ran upstairs to find Ant, but he had teleported onto the roof, where we surrounded him. After some persuasion from Noxin and a bit of a poking from my spear, he finally gave up the book, which Noxin pocketed. He then turned to go but I did not trust him, for I’d seen him adjusting something beneath his robe, and I followed, along with Seriya and Skowronek. Once we’d cornered him, we searched him but could find no other copies of the book. I then thought it prudent to gate him to Minoc where he might be able to provide some useful information on other copies that Kha may, or may not, possess.
Once there, I found Captain Andrew of the Guards, who handed me a bunch of keys and told me to take Ant to the prison huts. Once there, I shackled him to the bed while Andrew sought to remove any items he had that might have aided his escape. Andrew had mentioned that he had not been well recently, and evidently he was not entirely on the ball for Ant somehow managed to overpower him and escape just after Seriya and I left. Of course, I must remember to return Andrew’s keys at some point…
Now I have learned that Noxin intends to study the daemon book rather than destroy it straight away. Hopefully he will not grow attached to it, as Pekka of Kha did, for that could cause a few problems. Still, at least we have our own copy for the time being, should the worst happen.
Yours in Darkness,
4th November 2002
Knights Templars in league with the enemy!
The “good and honourable” Knights Templars have been found to be in league with our greatest enemy, the traitors and criminals of the Clan DeLacey. *spits*
I have long suspected that the Templars are blind and misguided in their rigid adherence to the so-called virtues. Last night, that suspicion was sadly confirmed, when a group of Dark Cloaks found one of their number, Bah-reeh, commander of the Templars’ Vesper garrison, giving aid to Londo DeLacey of the Clan DeLacey.
They now have in their possession an item of utmost importance – a book containing information vital to the Dark Cloaks. It is of the utmost importance that this book is handed over to the Master. All Dark Cloaks are to make all efforts to find out the whereabouts of this book, and to bring it to the Master. The Dark Cloaks are hereby authorised to stop, question and search any Templars they may find wandering the lands. We need to find that book as soon as possible, and also uncover any other evidence on how the Templars may have been aiding the enemy.
Be careful when challenging the Templars, their ranks contain well-trained warriors and masters of the arcane arts – do not underestimate their capabilities!
But let me tell the story from the start. Last night, when we ventured to Minoc to check on the health and sanity of the Guards’ cardinal, Brown Moses, we chanced upon Londo DeLacey, my older brother and the most seasoned warrior of the Clan DeLacey.
Londo was hiding in the bushes away from the road, trying his best not to be seen. But it was no use, Londo had been seen. As we approached Londo, we noticed that he was not alone – he was talking to a Knights Templar! I could not overhear what they were saying, but I thought I saw Londo pass a small object to the Templar, looking very nervous as he watched us approaching. The Templar made a hasty retreat as we came near, and escaped while we surrounded Londo.
An initial exchange of pleasantries with my brother soon turned sour when Londo began to insult the Dark Cloaks, and called on me to leave the fold of the Master and return to the DeLaceys. I did not wish to hear of such foolishness, I very well remember the drudgery and oppression I left behind and the freedom and power the Master has granted me.
I asked Londo in turn to come with us to the Master’s valley, but he refused. Knowing how much the Master wished to question him, I ordered the Dark Cloaks to seize him. Londo, stubborn as ever, resisted and lunged at Gorbash. But he was no match for Gorbash, DeadCal and Reggie, and soon he was knocked unconscious and bundled through a portal to Hawk’s Hollow, where DeadCal securely tied him to a chair and left him.
Meanwhile, Nydaen had picked up the tracks of the Templar and followed him out of town, where he found him hiding in the healer’s hut with two accomplices. One of the accomplices, a woman, was recognised by Nydaen as Rowena. I had previously met the other, Philkaos, the Grand Marshall of the Templars. The one that had been talking to Londo introduced himself as Bah-reeh, the Commander of the Vesper Garrison.
I questioned Bah-reeh about the item that Londo had given him, but he refused to tell us what it was – he did not even admit having received anything. He also insisted that he had merely exchange some pleasantries with Londo – given that he did not know Londo and that he was far from the beaten track in Minoc, I found this hard to believe.
As our conversation was going nowhere, I decided to return to Hawk’s Hollow and ask Londo instead. Londo, showing himself for the “sweet” brother that he is, greeted me by spitting in my face. I tried to rein in my anger and be patient, and kept asking him about the item that he had given the Templars, but to no avail. Even a bit of tickling with Cal’s dagger did not make him talk – it seems that he has grown too fat to notice the cuts of the dagger on his belly.
In the end, I decided to call on the Master to make my wretched brother talk. As we well know, there are few minds that are a match for the Master, and he has ways of making people do his bidding. In truth, I did not much like the idea of turning Londo into a mindless slave, but I did not wish to see him senselessly tortured – he is my brother after all.
Londo was determined not to look on the face of the Master, but Gorbash did not give him a choice, and soon after gazing into the eyes of the Master Londo slumped over, his will broken.
He then finally began to talk freely and told us the truth about what had come to pass in Minoc. Londo confirmed that he had given a book of great importance to the Templars, in order to keep it out of our hands. I cannot talk about the precise contents of this book lest the knowledge fall into the wrong hands, but I assure you it is of a very sensitive nature.
The Master told us that it is of the utmost importance that we recover this book. For the moment, I believe the Templar’s Vesper garrison is holding the book, although it may be moved in time. We must keep a close watch on the movements of this garrison to determine where the book is.
Therefore, the Dark Cloaks are ordered to stop and search any Knights Templars they may find, particularly in the Minoc and Vesper area. They may have important information, or could even be carrying the book on them. The Templars are obviously collaborating with the DeLaceys, we will treat them with the contempt such self-righteous fools deserve.