Dark Exodus

At last...
Reni's post #4

Thank the gods for our new friends who were able to guide us to allies who not only aided us, but showed us to the sky again. I will never forget their kindness, though I regrettably doubt we will ever see their like again.

I am overjoyed to see my family again. Poor Papa was nearly out of mind with worry, not to mention any effort to do laundry had apparently been abandoned. To hold my little sisters again and sing them to sleep is greatest joy I could ever ask for, something so simple which I will never take for granted again.

I expected to never want to leave again, but Papa implored me to remember that the only way to improve our lots would be to go out into the world and seek those better fortunes. After all, that’s what he had done. I’ll have to follow his example. With the deaths of my brothers, I must be that support for my family I suspect my brothers would have been had they grown. I must do what I must do.

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Alas poor Fredrick, I knew him well...

Ahh, we are back together again, although we seem to have added a few to our little family. What a glorious and fun filled time that was. Although sadly, there weren’t as many riches as I had hoped for. One would think that being in a mine such as this there would be more pretties for me and Fredrick to share.

Wonderful little Fredrick…my faithful little glowing companion. Without you, our escape would just not have been possible. Your wondrous efforts are second only to RenI. For had Reni not befriended the creature she called by the name of “Mr. Fish”, we would still be stuck in that hole. Well… THEY would still be stuck on that hole. Although, the silly Mr Fish must not have met many of my ilk before. Sacrifice…PFFFT. I had a plan. I knew what I was doing…sort of. But then I know I can always rely on my furry footed luck to get me out of a tight jam.

Two elflings, what an odd little pair they are. The one in my cell was friendly and helpful enough. The other elfling though, seems a bit like a troublemaker. It’s probably because he is more tainted by the elf blood. Or at least that is what I gather from the stories Brother Thain has told me. I don’t get the impression he cares for elves much. I have never met one…until now, so I will just have to wait and see what they are like I guess.

The humans…Ohh the humans…and they say MY curiosity will get me killed. I think it’s listening to humans that will get me killed. “Come with us Vorbis, we have a nice easy job for you”, “Open this door for us Vorbis, and just ignore the ominous glowing purple light behind it.” “Watch, we can run away from that nasty creature faster than you can Vorbis”. “Run Vorbis Run”. At least the one human followed me as I led the creature to our captor’s leaders. Although, looking back, I wonder if he just wanted to see it eat me. The other human, I’m not sure what happened to him. I think he got distracted by a book when we ran through the library.

Then there is the orcish one. What an odd fellow he is. He is quite quiet…for an orc, but he does seem rather handy with an axe. It’s good to have a walking wall around for Reni and Yorgan to hide behind. Although, from what I heard Reni made short work of the creatures blocking our escape. From the sound of it, she might not need the help.

I sure hope Grimnir and otto know where we are going……

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The musings of Sogarr to Ghoti:

Well, we’re finally out. It took us a little while, but we did it. I’m not entirely sure out here is any better, though. at least back in there, we had food every day. I’m not too sure we’ll have the same luck out here. But that’s a problem for the future. We’re taking this one thing at a time.

I’ve gotta tell you, Ghoti, for a while I thought I’d never see you again. When I went off with…. I think Vorbis is his name, I was sure that we’d cut off our only means of escape. Luckily, we were just fast enough to get out of the way of the thing that was following us. You saw it, right? When we passed you and everyone else in the lab? Anyway, after we hid for a bit, that thing took on one of the purple ones and one of the big ones, and they won, but they kept going, and ran into some things that Yorgan, Vorbis, and I released. You know Yorgan, he spent a bit of time in the lab.

In any case, it’s good to be reunited. Hopefully, we can get back topside soon. I don’t particularly like it here in the dark.

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Keep your friends close...and closer still those who are not...

….Finally, Liala is restored to me, and the Nalfling and Vorbis are free. Never did the watered down sheep piss that passes for ale in the Feral Dog loom so enticingly in thought, nor did I expect to be so eager to return to the quiet order and peace of the Twilight Monastary.

Ah Liala, the caress of your smooth wood soothes my scarred memories, and quiets the old ghosts stirred by being kept so long underground (not so different were the few memories I have of youth, though a different type of prison kept me then). It felt good to hear the snap of the her line, the whirring of her deadly offspring leaving their mother’s embrace, only to find a new home in the tender parts of these monstrosities. Even more satisfying was seeing the power surge through the Nalfling and scorch the life from our enemies. It occurs to me that perhaps I have been confused about who was protecting whom on our walks home at night from that sleazy circus where she works.

I know not what brilliant madness gripped my small companion and caused him to lead his fierce pursuers in a deadly game of tag, but surely he has a lucky horshoe embedded in his arse to escape so easily. Luck is a commodity in short supply back in Diamond Lake, so hopefully the horse will not return for his footgear anytime soon.

Now that we are free and somewhat equipped, my thoughts turn to our present situation. We are still deep underground in unknown caverns and our lives could be exterminated by some beast that dwells around the next curve. Hopefully Otto and Grimnir have some familiarity with this region, or our path out of slavery could be grim and bloody.

Also on my mind is the nature of our companions. While most have fought bravely and risked life to aid in our escape, the rest are unknown. I am wary of wizards and spellweavers in general, and their mind gems held their true powers in check until the very last battle. Who knows whether they mean to aid us or become our new masters?

My watchful eyes are also upon those with the blood of elves and orcs in them, for well do I know the vile treachery both of those races are capable of committing in the pursuit of their own goals. They are fierce in battle and quick to strike deadly blows, which speaks to their prowess, but not to their nature. We must hope that their human side overmatches the taint in their blood, else perhaps our party will grow smaller sooner than expected. So far they seemed to enjoy the slaughter of their fellow prisoners a bit too much, but perhaps that is the frustration of a martial mind held too long in restraint rather than an indication of bloodthirst.

Luckily the blood of my ancestors grows in strength now that I am returned to my native terrain, and my sight has grown ever sharper, allowing me to guide our paths through the looming darkness of the caverns outside the slave pens. It appears that Torag, god of my youth has not abandoned me, even if the same cannot be said in reverse. Hopefully the days to come will make clearer the nature of our companions, showing them to be worthy of sharing adventure, or worthy of receiving a visit from Liala’s featherd children. Experience has taught me to assume the worst, and trust no one, and thus far, my teacher has kept me alive in that nest of vipers we know as Diamond Lake…

Excerpt from a ragged little leatherbound journal carried by Brother Thain

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Azeren
Azeren
I’m so happy to be out of that festering prison. Though I must admit my disapiontment to discover we aren’t quite free yet, for we still have to venture out of these dark tunnels. I only hope Oto can get us to the Svirneblin outpost, and that someone there can get us to the surface.
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Yorgan Journal Entry

We have finally escaped. While I didn’t think things could get any worse that Diamond Lake, being a slave was. When we were slaves, we were united, our goal was clear, escape at all cost. Now we are free, will we still be united in our cause? What cause? Return to the surface? To Diamond Lake? I was a nobody in Diamond Lake. I don’t think my companions had any status there either. Now that the “masters” have been deal the place we just left might not be so bad.

I suspect the Gith were only interested in revenge. I wonder if they took their anger out on the other slaves? Once they were done, why would they stick around? We might find the entire place deserted. The Gith probably couldn’t destroy the fields or the mines. Might not have even destroyed the lab or the library…

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A Nomad Before, A Nomad Again.

It…feels very odd, being here under the earth. I enjoy my clear skies and open fields; Plenty to hunt and serenity surrounding me. My brothers say that writing in this little book might help me release…‘stress’…But the pages are small, and this quill does not fit my hand.

I can’t help but wonder if the Beasts would despise my companions, consisting of witches, thieves and priests. I do not enjoy being a part of this motley band of prisoners, but my brothers have chosen to ally themselves with them, and I shall do so as well. And, even through their faults, they’ve proven themselves again and again with steel and spell.

It seems that my time in prison was…rewarding. In the times of near death, my skin hardens and scales grow. I feel like the Beast inside of me has decided against corrupting my mind, and instead boons my body with the power of Dragons.

It has been a long time coming, and we are finally free of those thrice-damned slavers. I am slightly saddened by our quick departure, I wanted to flay their bodies as they’ve flayed the minds of others. In the end, I was forced to make do with the fools who thought they might keep a Beast from freedom.

And the escape itself, it was as thrilling as hunting lions with only my bare hands. The halfling, while his methods are cowardly, is likely the bravest of us all. He threw himself at the heart of the slavers, in hopes of tricking a mutual enemy into defeating them for us. From certain demise, he came back with salvation for us all. Vorbis, I am indebted to you for saving the lives of my brothers, and myself. Perhaps someday, I may teach you the honor of the Beast.

But now, even though we are free of the cages, we are not free to our rightful place under the sun. Soon, we will be searching for a city of gnomes, the silent one has said that it shouldn’t be impossible to find. I do not know when we will leave the bowels of the earth, but I will not allow my family to rot down here.

Soon, Nahuel, you will find your calling.
Soon, Sogarr, you will be accepted.

For the record, no Sogarr is not Gregor’s brother. Greogor has referred to Sogarr as family ever since Sogarr saved what remains of his humanity.

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Typical...
Reni's post #3

I feel like such a fool for thinking things might be different for once. I realize that we were in a hurry, a mad dash to escape with our lives, but still, one would hope that a bond formed by sharing a common horrid adversity would be a bit stronger.

I don’t dare take singular credit for our escape. Dear little Vorbis and those here before us did much crawling through dark and disgusting places, facing great danger. Others did what they could as well, those in the Fields pocketing supplies, watching for opportunities, and those in the Library and Lab doing the same. Despite this, it still stands that I did a great deal as well and my reward is what I should have expected, not simply being ignored, but being ridiculed. When I made contact with Mr. Fish, to whom I didn’t even get to say goodbye, they chuckled like I was some idiot child with an imaginary friend. Yet when they wanted his blessings, they forgot I was even standing right there introducing them. When I guessed that the mysterious purple light was the strange curse Mr. Fish spoke of, the very key to our escape, nothing, not even “good idea,” “glad you though of that,” or heavens forbid “thank you,” not a single word. I even helped destroy that foul creature, our last obstacle to escaping, and still nothing. In that case, I understand expediency over taking the need for praise, and yet it infuriates me that they would call me such hateful things for my gifts and then won’t even show an ounce of appreciation when those same gifts help to save their own lives.

The same hurtful words spoken by townsfolk who’ve known me my whole life are now barbs being turned against me by those whom I would have hoped would see past my strangeness to someone who has tried very hard to be brave and to help. They forget I had to endure this ordeal with an added horror sitting in the pit of stomach, thank the gods that did not, has not yet, come to pass. I doubt they would care even if they remembered. Neither do they have families with children to worry about returning to.

I feel like nothing better than a tool. Cart me out when I’m needed and forget about me when I’m not, nay, even tools are cared for, not kicked and despised for their function until they are needed.

If the others don’t wish to return to Diamond Lake when we reach the surface, then I’ll be glad for the parting. I’m sure Brother Thain will want to see me safely home, I trust in his loyalty. They even ridicule him, the fools, when he could best any of them he chose.

Perhaps the others are simply lashing out under stress, trying to feel control again in a situation in which control over their own fates has been robbed from them. Perhaps they are simply no different than anyone else in Diamond Lake and I’m even more of a fool for trying to find reasons to excuse their behavior. In either event, I’m unsure if I will be able to control my temper or my gifts if I hear such colorful epithets for me used again. Try ignoring me when I draw the very air from your lungs… Help me, Grandmother Embeth, to remember that “sticks and stones” saying… although there are days when I would prefer the sticks and stones. I just want to hold my sisters again…

(OOCC: This is strictly Eirene talking. Lieske might be mildly annoyed, but I’m not seriously ticked off or anything (Thunder Thighs was pretty amusing). I’m simply choosing to explore a slightly darker avenue of character development. She’s feeling torn and this is called “Dark Exodus” after all, emphasis on the Dark part. Though I will say one thing, remember Nualia and Sandpoint? I really don’t think we want a replay of that now do we? With the names changed to Eirene and Diamond Lake?)

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Their Walls Can Hold Us No Longer
From the journal of Sir Nahuel

Their walls are breaking. One can taste the tightness in the air around these “masters”, feel the strain my comrades put on their terrible system. They are becoming sloppy; they are leaving holes in their walls. And through these holes we will escape. These newly found friends must be putting themselves at great risk when they crack into these walls so, but it is working. I have seen them all, and know them all to be unharmed, and the damage they have wrought still stands. It won’t be long now; I can feel it in my heart. Their walls cannot hold us.

The dwarf and the deep gnome have been told; they seem as ready as any of us. But I wonder, what awaits us beyond? The presence of a deep gnome would suggest that this festering wound must be hidden far into the bowels of the earth, and if that is the case, I fear what awaits us outside their walls might be worse than our fates here…

No; I must never tell myself that. Nothing could be worse than chipping ones soul away in the mines, and losing ones self in the abyss of this forever twilight. I will again feel the smooth warmth of the sun; I will again be tickled by the first cool breeze of approaching winter. And if I must suffer through a thousand deaths, It would be worth it for the chance to be on the surface again, and to ride through the hills once more. Do not fear, Rüzgâr, for your master has not abandoned you. They are breaking, and their walls can hold us no longer.

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Failure to Launch...
Inner thoughts of Brother Thain

Well, we got closer to escaping this underdark hellhole, but we are still here. Poor Grimnir and Otto, I can’t imagine being trapped here ten years before escaping. But soon their hell will be ending as well, since we aren’t leaving without taking them out. I don’t think the paladin or halfling would let them stay here either seeing how they have suffered. Now all we need is an escape route and a plan.

The half-orc warrior priest and savage half-breed have become fearsome battle companions in a very short time. Together we have spilled more blood than I ever imagined we could without paying the ultimate price. I feel nothing as we slash goblins faces and shatter bugbear spines, only the warm satisfaction of knowing we are still alive and they are not. We are fighting a war, and there is only survival or death. Soon we will lead our friends out of this dank and dark pit of despair full of villians, even if we have to kill them all.

I have to hand it to our party arcanists, they have begun to come through with their part of the escape plan, and certainly no one can question their bravery or daring. They have maneuvered quite adeptly and we were very close to escaping, if only that last “master” had not stumbled on the scene and complicated matters completely. Now we must wait, at least another day, perhaps longer until our strange new ally is ready and until we have discovered an escape route.

Seems the bizarre creature that Reni calls “Mr. Fish” has been helping the others, and evidently whatever mission they were asked by it, they have completed. Reni assures me that “things are going to start happening soon”, and I hope she’s right. I miss Liala, and she weeps in my dreams every night. Soon I will feel her sweet caress in my hands once more, the place where she belongs. If I have my way, she will soon rain death upon our “masters” and the floor will be slick with their foul blood.

I knew she wasn’t safe and we were being hunted. The monks at the monastary assured me it was after effects of the war, but they were wrong. I know this because we are here, and she was taken from me. Who knows what twisted experiments they have planned for her. Well, they shall complete none of their foul plans. Things are once again right in the world and my mind has never felt clearer. When there are vile beings like brain flayers, mutant guards, and diseased orc bitches tainting our lands, how can we remain serene and detached, meditating on peace? There will be time for meditation and peaceful contemplation afterwards, but for now we wait, while I watch and guard the Nalfling, and Liala composes her songs of death.

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