Curse of the Crimson Throne

A night out (Karne)
Karne returns to the temple of Irori

Leaving the room was simple, Irori had granted me the wisdom to see the way to walk between worlds by focusing my ki. With a moment’s concentration, I was on the roof, hiding in the shadows. The others slept below me, and even though Edulwulf’s senses were keen (when he wasn’t raging) but I could move silently when I chose; wrapped feet made far less clatter than boots along the tiled rooftops. I planned to be back before dawn, but just in case things went poorly, I left a note with my destination. Irori admonishes pride before wisdom. With luck, they would never know I was gone. Scanning the sky overhead for danger, I was once again almost overwhelmed by the multitudes of colors and shapes since my vision had returned. I had learned to deal with the setback, as any loyal servant of Irori would, but I was glad to have my sight back. Satisfied that I was not about to be swarmed by angry imps, I I moved through the midnight gloom and leapt down to the street below. Pulling my robe closed, I ventured out onto the streets. Just another peasant.

This city was…changed. A cancerous blight had grown over my home. The riots were bad, an illness of the mind; the blood plague was worse, an illness of the body; but this was the decimation of Korvosa’s very soul. The Grey Maidens patrolled the streets, but these humans had torches which ruined what passed for their pitiful night vision. Ducking into doorways or hiding on rooftops was easy enough. Cautiously, I made my way back to the temple district. I had to know. If things were….bad…I did not want the others to see. Comrades in arms, I would give my life for them, but this was a matter of the faith.

In the temple district, I passed many boarded up buildings, temporary fortifications against the storm. Apparently, some churches had tried to wall themselves in, turning inward as the tragedy loomed around them. Some churches had tried to protect the weak, I could see their skeletal remains as the weak and terrified had stripped them of their resources. Their pious images defaced; their shrines, toppled. These were desperate people. They needed our help. There were a few two legged scavengers about. People willing to prey on the weak and the lost. The crackle of lightning around my fists scattered them into the sewers like the rats they were. Even alone, I was far too much trouble for the likes of them and they knew it. They would wait for much easier prey.

Finally, I came upon the home of Irori. There had been no hiding here. There had been no overrun by the needy. This had been a battle! Glorious battle was met here! The priests of may have Irori fallen in honorable combat, but they made the bastards work for it. Discarded pieces of armor were strewn about the disarray of floor; cracked helmets, broken swords, discarded arrows, stray pieces of plate mail. This was not the doing of the rabble Grey Maidens. Surely, this was some of the Devil Queen’s own guard at work here. Sabina’s personal warriors had a play in this. They saw righteous resistance and they attempted to stamp it out with overwhelming force of arms. The people of Irori would not sit idly as this menace overtook the city. They had spoken right and true! They had died for their righteousness. But, they had died with their spirits intact.

Wiping away eyes suddenly wet with tears, I turned and there, on the back of the door, fresh paint with the open palm. Some of them had made it! The faith had not been extinguished by the monstrous Queen and her devils! There were fighters left. Not here, probably scattered throughout the populace. Like me, they would be fighting. I will go back to my friends. I will play whatever part that Irori had made for me in this conflict. I was elevated from the street urchins for a reason. Irori had seen purpose in me. Now, it was my turn to repay Korvosa for saving my life. Placing my hand within the symbol, I made a silent prayer.

In the darkness, a thrown dagger barely missed my bowed head. Sensing my distraction, the scavengers had returned. Perhaps they think to find me overcome with despair. Instead, they find me filled with indignant purpose! These street rats will trouble no others in this city.

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There's No Place Like Home... (Reka)

I am home, finally home. While Queen Ileosa has done an admirable job of lessening the population stress on the area, there is an unnatural taint to the air, so I’m pretty sure she’s not doing it for the environment. I’m worried because the river has not even greeted me, and we have been back for days. If she’s permanently harmed Jeggare, I’ll turn into a ferret and eat her face.

The group seems to be a never-ending parade of adventurers. Not only have we lost Aubron and Droskar, but now Sial, Laori, and Blackmoon. We seem to have acquired a very enthusiastic young woman who stands out even more than I do! Probably because she’s so very shiny… and loud. As soon as we were able to get into the city, we made our way to the Grey to meet with our contacts in the Resistance. It was good to see Kressida, Neolandus, and Vencarlo again, but man were they downers with all that bad news, not to mention the giant list of things we’re expected to accomplish!

I mean, we managed to check one thing off, exposing that fraud Blackjack-wannabe for what he is (a genie?!). Still, I don’t know how we’re going to break into the palace to get at the fraud seneschal and Sabine (who Kressida thinks needs to die, despite what Vencarlo and Neolandus believe). Well, I know how I would break in, easily, but with Edelwulf and that Amelia in the group, the rest of the party doesn’t stand a chance [of sneaking in- ed].

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Encroaching Darkness
Scarwall - Karne

The evil of this place is nearly palpable. Here, in this foul place, we are faced with a powerful servant of Zon Kuthon, the thin tapestry of trust we had formed became unraveled. Laori Vaus has been our ally in the past. She helped us against the Emperor of Old Korvosa, she saved Aubron from the otyugh, and she took care of the artist and got him out of Old Korvosa. On the other hand, Sial provided us with shelter in the Shadowlands. In that balance, my trust is with Laori. The struggle we all knew was coming finally came about. I made my choice.

I avoided Sial’s foul magics as I attempted to remove him from the fray. His chain demon was the primary threat, but she would back off if Sial was in danger. Watching her deadly chains, I missed the foul touch of the death priest. I fought the vile magic coursing through my body. As the darkness encroached around my vision like tenebrous, tendrils the last thing I saw was Sial’s sneering face; and then, darkness.

“No! Irori! Why have you forsaken me!!?!?” I cried out in despair. I thought the sound echoed in the chamber, but it wasn’t my voice. Laori was sacrificing herself to become the new caretaker of the Star Tower. How did we get here?


Escaping the shadow dragon, we entered the actual crypt of the Zon Kutha hold. There were ghosts of the dead priests wandering the halls. We ventured down into the base of the structure and found an ancient, dead creature of power. Sial engaged the creature and they spoke in the guttural tongue of the creatures of the dark. I don’t know what Sial discussed, but we were granted passage to continue. We entered the deep crypt and found the Star Tower caretaker. He barred our passage until one of us agreed to take on the mantle of caretaker.

In a moment of strong character, Edelwulf, volunteered to become the caretaker for all time if he could be reunited with his daughter. I am touched by his willingness to sacrifice and his love for family. I am proud to be one of his many companions. But the caretaker refused. And that is when the dark priests went to war. The chain demon tricked noble Edelwulf into attacking Laori, Reka became a giant beast, and Aidan faded into the shadows. Laori’s fell powers were no match for Edelwulf’s steel and she fell first. Fleeing to accept the caretaker’s offer.


In the aftermath of Laori’s sacrifice, we prepare to move deeper into Scarwall. I sit on the floor, meditating; trying to keep myself from wallowing in despair. A white tiger appeared to me in the darkness. Shining brightly the tiger only looked at me. I pleaded with it for my sight. I begged to be whole again. The tiger just stared. And that was when it occurred to me. I was marred for failing to be perfect. This is my penance for failing to keep my faith strong in the face of a test. I nodded in understanding. The tiger nodded and padded off into the darkness. I could feel the power of Irori washing over me. I will take this test and I will pass it with pride.

Hopping back up to my feet, I nodded to my companions and prepared to proceed. The curse of this place will not defeat me. Irori is my guide now. I will trust in his strength.

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A crumpled note that looks like it's been eaten... (Aidan)

Journal entry 96

The keep continues to provide new macabre horrors. As we trudge forward (the rest of the page is damp, torn, and – if one inspects closely – appears to be eaten… as if by a half-wit barbarian or savage…

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I Grow Tired of Death and Pain... (Eldwulf)

Once again…the dead rise…

The pile of bones in the corner…another tormented creature. This castle is never ending both in size and the magnitude of its evil. Every room stinks of rot and death…and nothing….nothing is as it seems.

Karne made the mistake of moving too close to an oven…only to have the entire room engulfed in flames…

We go up a set of stairs and we are met by skeletal Minotaurs…and at least these creatures are solid…my blade and flail can strike something real…the apparitions, specters, ghosts of the dead are on every hallway, in every corner, and constantly watching us…always watching…

Aidan is visibly shaken, it would appear that his magic has little effect here. Aubron has been lost to the shadow realm…and now…NOW while we are knee deep in bones, and ghasts, and ghouls…it appears that Sial does not trust Laori and she does not trust him.

Sial says Laori is a traitor…so he confided with me, Karne said Laori confided in her and told her as much about Sial…so perhaps…perhaps there will be more new corpses in this tomb of the dead before we make our way back to Korvosa.

And as we trudge forward, still the image of my daughter haunts me…I continue to see her…once again I heard the cry of that little girl…I knew it could not be her…but she seemed to be in so much pain…never ending pain…I fought my desire to go into that room, I fought the desire to rush in and save her…I knew better…but I could not help myself…I had to help her.

Again…another pile of bones…another tormented soul…I grow tired of this pain and death!

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WORST.DUNGEON.EVER (Reka)
Seriously... the worst.

While I welcome the chance to fight alongside my companions again, I fear for the safety of Jeggare, and feel a sense of urgency to finish this and return to Korvosa. Together though, I believed we could defeat the blight of evil and rescue our fair city.

Unfortunately, I had not accounted for the blight to be quite so… blight-y.

From our first steps into the Scarwall, across the bridge, we were set upon by an army of undead. Corpses marched across, led by an even stronger undead, mounted upon what must have in its day been a magnificent horse, though it was constrained under the yoke of oppression. The skeletons were faster and stronger than we expected, quickly surrounding Karne, Edelwulf, and Black Moon. My spells, while appearing to work, had little effect. I worry that it is the miasma of undeath that pervades this place, perverting the natural order of things and weakening my magic. Honestly though, the creepy dude seemed to have little luck, and even Edelwulf wasn’t able to hit enough of them to contain the onslaught, driven forward by their infernal leader. It was only through judicial channeling of his god that Black Moon was able to kill the majority of the undead while the rest of us attempted to unhorse the leader. It wasn’t until Karne was able to knock the lance from his hand that we were able to subdue him and release the poor horse from its unnatural life.

From there it was a frantic run through what seemed a killing chute – running through corridors full of arrow slits as Edelwulf, Karne, and Black Moon attempted to break down or lift door after portcullis after door.

When we finally made our way out of the killing chute, we entered a room of death. It was full of corpses – fleshy, recent corpses – though those corpses bore a layer of dust. Extremely unsettling, the others began to note that the corpses were moving! Before I could get a sense of what was happening, the pile of corpses reached out and grabbed both me and Black Moon and began dragging us in, apparently to consume us and add us to the pile. It was disgusting, anathema to everything I am. I did the only thing I could think to do, and call upon the power of nature to grant me the form of a fire elemental. The corpse pile did not like that, but it was not as damaging to it as I had hoped. It was a near thing, but we managed to kill (? again?) the pile and escape the room.

This whole place needs to be set on fire and cleansed by a storm.

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The Journey to Scarwaul Begins (Karne)
Into the Shadowrealm

Following an evening of insightful dreams and shared experiences, the party sets out on their journey to the Belkzen to find Scarwaul. Aidan was somewhat more, put out by the harrowing experiences, and needed some extra time to recover. Black Moon Stands Against the Tide has joined our group. He is a Shoanti warrior with a mighty hammer of power. I look forward to having him join us.
~
" Irori spoke to me! I had a vision! I am on the right path! The Master of Masters approves of what I am doing and is guiding my hand! I will not fail!"
~
Aidan brings us all into the Shadowrealm and we cross leagues in moments! In the actual shadow realm, we come across some denizens of the Shadowrealm. Edelwulf is somewhat upset by the unusual scenario and we engage the beasts. They are insubstantial and we decide it is best to flee. Edelwulf , on the brink of rage, is not reasoning well. I save him from himself. Tying him in a lock of limbs, I bring him along. We flee across the dark plane until we find a tower. It is the home of the worshippers of Zon-Kuthon. Their goals are similar to ours. The two gods are on the same path! Surely, our success is guaranteed! Sial is somewhat mysterious, but Laori is as generous as always. They give us some advice, which is mostly similar to what Reka already told us. It is good to have allies in the struggle against the Fel Queen!

We continue along our path and arrive at the edge of Skarwaul. Immediately on arrival, our position is given away by the human’s need for light. BAH! Glorious battle is joined! Arrows rain down on us from the ruins. Orcs are upon us! We engage them and the arcane powers begin to mix. A thick fog appears in the middle of the battlefield. This is the cover we need to turn the tide! Then, there is a second cloud of fog, but this cloud is full of noxious fumes! Surely these orcs have a shaman among them! We flee to a secluded section of the building and continue the struggle. The mighty Edelwulf was laid low by the fumes! He will be cleaning that armor for many hours to come. The orcs were dispatched, I didn’t identify which of them was the shaman. Surely, the shaman perished in the acid pit. Foolish shaman undermining his very own companions with such fel magics! I am so glad we have Magisters as talented as Aidan!
~
The area was clear of orcs. Their face paint is unfamiliar to me. I am of mixed emotion, being around villain orcs. I have lived in Korvosa my entire life, this is….different. These orcs are definitely villainous, and I feel no fault in slaying these orc savages. I will meditate on this as I center myself for the trials ahead. I have to calm myself and think clearly if we are to discover what has happened to Aubron. He failed to return with us from the Shadowrealm. I suspect his dealings with the shadows have finally brought him a comeuppance, but we must pursue our friend to know for sure.

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Shoanti legend (DM)

Hundreds of years ago, a Shonti warrior returned from a great battle with a relic of evil. The foe, a dragon, would not die, even when struck down by a holy sword and burned in a pyre for days. The bones of this beast rattled on with a vile life still. There were split up and taken to the ends of the earth so that they could never be reunited again. The Shoanti were trusted with the fangs of the great serpent. Taking them to the southern tip of their land and entombing them in a great pyramid that rose on the shore since time immemorial, the broken fangs were interned for all time. Or so it was thought. 500 years ago the Cheliax came from across the sea and with conquest in their eyes and bloody thoughts in mind; they seized the lands from the Shoanti and raised the city of Korvosa on the very spot – constructing their seat of power, castle Korvosa, atop the ziggurat. The Shoanti failed to take back their sacred place and feared the day would come when the evil with in would be unearthed. That day has come now, unleashed by the Queen Ileosa of Korvosa.

To Belkzen we must now travel, to find the citadel of Scarwall and hopeful the sword Sitheral, that we may cut the crown of fangs from the queen and stop this doom before it spreads.

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Celebrations and Omens (Edelwulf)
What a Party!!

After finally passing all of the trials and tribulations that were necessary to become Shoanti and later on members of the Skarclaw clan, the time finally came to throw one hell of a party and to finally eat and drink…hell with the last three days holding up ridiculously large pillars and minimal rest it was good to sit, enjoy the fire, and drink.

And what drinks they were…I swear after staring at that pyre for what seemed to be an eternity, I began to see figures dancing in the flames…almost like a vision of things to come…a darkness that will come across the land from the north, dragons rising to the south, and a three eyed raven saying something about winter is coming…which is a good thing as far as I am concerned…it is scorching here in the cinderlands...we could use a cooling down…but as I said…there must have been something in those drinks because before long I swear I saw my daughter dancing amongst the throngs of Shoanti.

But it could not be…I saw her cut down by that butcher, however, I have seen enough wonders and magics to know that this life is not the final stop but merely a beginning, so I looked for her…then I ran after her…then I finally saw her enter a tent and upon stepping in…I was back in Old Town, on the docks by the warehouse…the ware house where the riots first started, where I had lost my joy. There I was finally able to speak to her again…but she was not at the great gilded hall with my ancestors. No…she was trapped in that wretched sess pool of a city, Korvosa, trapped on this plane by thequeen, or more likely, by that ancient evil dragon which she now serves and seems to control more and more each passing day. She was scared and alone. As if taking her from me was not punishment enough, as if making her suffer at the hands of that mad man was not enough, no…the gods have truly spit upon me and my daughter…

So, I will spit in the face of their plans…on the spirits and by the strength of my ancestors, I vow to release my daughter from this plane, and I swear upon her soul that my sword will cleave the head off the queen to get it done!

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Kravan McShittles (Droskar)

Deep into the Cinderlands, a hard ride from the last Shoanti camp where a Truthspeaker agreed to accompany us we found the feeding grounds of Cindermaw – the mountain that moves! Along the way we faced the dangers of area as well as finding the remains of the ever determined red mantis assassins who were not up to the challenges presented by the Cinderlands.

Although Cindermaw was truly a magnificent beast of terrifying proportion it was a beast none the less and was no match for Eldwulf’s brawn, Karne’s agility, and a healthy dose of magic to supplement them. After literally emerging from the belly of the beast our party made way to the Sklar-Quah tribe to have our claim made to be worthy to join the Shoanti.

The word of our Truthspeaker was accepted we were welcomed into the People. However, the tribal elders felt that even after the feats performed by Karne Blackfist and Eldwulf the Inedible (the Truthspeaker told the tale of Karne being eaten, satisfying the mighty worm, until Eldwulf dove into the beast and was shortly spat forth with a half digested Karne holding tight to him- Truly the mightiest of heroes!) . It was decided we would have to join the Sklar-Quah as well to gain that which we sought. A challenge far lesser than the one we had just accomplished, and not even the interruption from a mob of land sharks could sway us (although Aidan decided it was not worth his while and went about seeking the knowledge thought arcane means)

Now we are Shoanti, We are Sklar-Quah, and we are entitled to the secrets to undoing the cruse laid upon our queen.

Oh yeah, and Karne eye fucked Kro-Jun; she eye fucked the shit out of him….not really sure why?

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