Dark Exodus

Battle Temple of Hextor
hextor

Excerpts from the High Priest of Hextor’s Journal

Praise Be to the Scourge of Battle,
The Faceless One grows increasingly concerned. That addled beast Grallak Kur has yet to provide new insights into the Overgod’s nature. The crude missives he sends speak of the worms, of a slumbering power that must be awoken, but nothing more. I wish he would go back to the black pit that spawned him if he has nothing more to offer.
The Faceless One tells me this ties into an ancient figure, a being of great power. Of course, he tells me little else. He enjoys keeping his secrets, but he forgets that they flourish only behind the protection of Hextor. His latest taunt is a scroll that he tells me contains all the answers I seek. Of course, the fool wrote it in a cipher. Were it not for the dictates of the Ebon Triad, I would lead my troops into their damnable labyrinth and kill every last bird and wizard within it.
Grallak is the key. Thank the Scourge that he trusts me and not the Faceless One. Otherwise, I doubt the Faceless One would bother imparting anything to us. We cannot trust these mages. When the Overgod arises, I think it will be time to settle some old scores.

Under the Herald’s Watchful Eye We Conquer,
Grallak Kur has finally yielded a useful clue. I personally delivered it to the labyrinth, and the Faceless one giggled like a blood addled berserker when he saw the message. Grallak spoke of the worms again, of course. He says that even now they stir and writhe. The world is like an apple infested with them. All seems well for now, but soon they burst through the skin and swarm across the land. Still, part of this vision troubles me. Grallak spoke of a great power behind them, but the Ebon Triad teaches that these worms will awaken the Overgod. Is there some other power at hand here that we cannot see? Is it friend or foe?
The Faceless One knows more, but he of course has little to say. Perhaps Grallak has invented everything. His monstrous kin are few in number and battered after their pilgrimage through the Underdark. If he is an imposter or trickster, we may need to root him out of this place. In that case, our agents must make another supply run. Six coils of rope, and perhaps bows and more arrows, should do the trick. With the petitioners leading the way we can uncover any ambushes they have within the cliffs.

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The Unexpected Twist
Reni's post #7

It’s always something, but at least this is something worth looking into. Laying a ghost’s bones to rest is always a good idea and just the right thing to do. The only problem is when said ghost’s family plot has been robbed. I can’t believe those bastards had the gall to kill that bear cub too, how cruel. The poor mother bear, at least her meat will feed us for a while. Stopping the graverobbing trade will definitely be rewarding.

On another note, I’m concerned about Audrie and a little about Feith. I’ve started noticing some of the same changes in Audrie as in myself. I worry that the Sisters of Mercy might reject her if… certain traits show themselves. If this happens to Audrie, it’s almost a guarantee that Feith’s destiny is sealed as well. Oh gods above, please don’t let us become the crazy White Witch Sisters of Diamond Lake! Even if we all three are fated for this destiny, I pray to any good deity who will hear me that we aren’t driven away or harmed, that we are left in whatever peace we can have. The same goes for dear Pappa too.

Zamandra is giving me the creeps of late. I don’t think she means me any ill intent, but after going what we went through, I’m leery of her trying enslave me. I can’t help it… I really hope I’m just being paranoid, for both my sake and hers. I don’t want to hurt anybody, but won’t let anybody hurt me or mine either.

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The final pieces
Reni's post #6

It seems as if we are closing in on the final pieces to this puzzle. It’ll be interesting to see if we can find anything truly worth while in here. Of course, even if we do, how can we protect our claim? I really am unsure of what to do with what we do find.

I am feeling a bit satisfied with myself. Even with just a light crossbow, I’m making a real contribution in battle. I’m quite happy not to be a damsel in distress. I just hope we can keep this up, a good streak of surviving and finding decent rewards. I suppose only the gods know.

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What a fun filled day....

So this is the Whispering Cairn. So far, it hasn’t been to bad. I mean sure I had a little tussle with a snake, but I could have taken him…I just wanted the other to fell important and needed too. So, I let them help…a little.

Then, brother Thane woke up something..I can’t even tell you what it was. I have never seen anything like it. It’s many eyes make it extremely hard if not impossible to sneak up on. I sure hope we don’t see any more of those. It’s time rest after such a hard day. I think Fredrick and I will sleep for 12 hours.

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Hope is a feathered thing...
Reni's post #5

I once heard a poem read that said “Hope is the feathered thing that sits in the heart and never stops singing, at all.” I might be misremembering the exact words, but I’m feeling it sing for me more and more.

I am overwhelmed with joy for dear sister Audrie, being accepted into the Sisters of Mercy. She has a real chance of having a good life, safe and happy with the Sisters, a real purpose. Not only will she be happy and fulfilled, but she’ll have the safety of the protection of the king’s men. I’m so thrilled that she’s happy. Now if only we can find someplace that’s best for Feith too…

It seems the Whispering Cairn hasn’t yielded all its secrets yet. I’m almost more intrigued by the secrets it has shown than the possibility of treasure. If there are things of value in the Cairn, it would be a great help for my family, but I don’t dare show it too openly. I pray to the gods we find enough to help all of us well enough. It would be so wonderful for Papa not to have to worry. I hope, somehow, that we can all find what we’re looking for.

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To new friends..

Well, Otto is back with his people. I am sure he is overjoyed with that. Such an inventive people and they have an amazingly tasty drink. Sadly, they have made it so I will no longer be able to taste such delights. However, I did get to leave with this wonderfully crafted stein. Maybe someday we will be able to find our way back to our delightful new friends.

Speaking of new friends, I use that term loosely. Fredrick and I did meet a couple of fellows that are a bit rough around the edges, but do know how to get things done. Granted, they are a bit more heavy handed than I like to be. I personally prefer to use finesse rather than brute force, but when in Greyhawk… We will just have to see where these “friends” lead me. It is always good learn about the local competition if nothing else.

Ahh competition, I did meet a fine woman that did know how to handle a blade. Of course I was able to hold my own, but she did have some quite impressive skills. She seems to be a member of the group that is searching the other cairns. It might be good to get to know her better, she could have some useful…..information.

Reni and Brother Thane seem to be happy to be back…especially Reni. I’m not sure what happened to the Barbarian trio, the wizard and the orcish one. I am assuming the wizard went to closest library. Aside from the poor food and lumpy ground, I think he rather enjoyed his stay. Surrounded by books, parchments, runes and such, I bet he was in his personal piece of utopia. I will admit, I do enjoy many of those same items, but for a much better and more profitable reason. But hey, to each their own I guess. And over all he seems like a good fellow.

Fredrick my friend, you must be so happy that we were able to find you some food. We can’t have you withering away to nothingness now can we? Such a heroic little man…err lady….errr…well you get the idea. From what I understand, soon we venture off into more unexplored mysteries, but for now rest up my little friend…hmm, I never thought I would hear myself say those words… because you deserve it.

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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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