Age of Daemons

Cassian's Journal, Part 5
What is wrong with me?

After capturing the dark elves and finding ourselves safely back with our friend the shroom addict, we rested again. We still hadn’t decided what to do with the elves, when Farnahm started getting worried about Rock and Andrei. We hadn’t seen them in nearly two days, so we went looking for them, and ultimately left the prisoners with the crazy guy. Surely THAT won’t bite us in the ass.

Anyway, I followed the moose’s trail to one of the dwarf tunnels. I should probably mention that this moose is a baby, and not much bigger than Rock. I carefully crawled in looking for more sign of our friends, when I heard the kid talking to his pets, his voice echoing through the floor of the tunnel. I backed out and we looked for a route to that area, eventually finding what looked like a tavern or something. In the kitchen was a fireplace, and we could hear Rock beyond. After establishing communication, we busted through the fireplace and were reunited with him. Rock informed us that Andrei had left for town on personal business, and that he had gone exploring on his own. I really can’t tell if this kid is brilliant but eccentric and naïve, stupid but lucky, playing us, or some kind of idiot savant.

We continued exploring until we ran into another group of elves. The elves retreated when Merlynn used his magic to create a wall of fog to obscure us. I followed to see where they went, not wanting them to circle around and flank us. They kept up a fighting retreat while shooting at us with those sleep bolts. I took one in the shoulder but fought off the drowsiness easily, as my blood was up. It seemed fairly obvious that they were leading us into some kind of trap, but I couldn’t help following them. I’m starting to think I am no longer capable of letting someone go in order to play it safe. First the tavern, then Jakhole, now these guys. Sure enough, when we got to a narrow passage, we found it blocked with a huge elf. I don’t mean he was buff for an elf, I mean he towered over us and filled the passage. Had to be some kind of magic, because he sure didn’t look that big when we first spotted him. I pulled out my captured short sword, not wanting to give in to my bloodlust again, but unwilling to let my friends get hurt either. I held the passage while the moose came up beside me and the mages blasted the elf from a distance. Between the spells and the moose, the guy didn’t last too long, and I couldn’t keep myself from ensuring he was dead by stabbing him in the throat. I grabbed his now-normal sized corpse and drug him back to a safer area so we could search his remains for any information or valuables. While the rest of the party was doing that, I was startled by Lux sharply calling my name and telling me to “knock it off!”. It seems I had unconsciously licked some of the blood off my sword. I really need to get myself under control. The darkness keeps growing, and I find myself drawn to it. I don’t know what I’m going to do.

 

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Cassian's Journal, Part 4
Well, it finally happened. Luckily, I nearly died

Alright, so the mages and I explored some more of the ruins, while Roc and Andrei went back to whatever they were doing. Checking various doors, I found one that was locked and trapped with an arcane trap of some sort. I disabled the trap and got the door open. We found a large room with lots of unusual mushrooms growing all over the place in what appeared to be an old Dwarven fungus farm. We also found a man living in the chamber. He seemed quite insane, but harmless. Extremely mellow. Between talking to him, and some exploration, we were able to determine that the room was indeed a farm. There was a small shack with alchemical equipment stored in it. Merlynn found reference to these mushrooms in his books, and they were used by the dwarves to brew medicinal potions. Pain killers, really. The mushrooms also seemed to be hallucinogenic, from our new friend’s behavior. We gathered that he had been living in here, eating the mushrooms to survive, for a long time, but we couldn’t get a straight answer from him. From looking at the amount of waste and it's apparent age I was able to determine that he had been living here for at least 100 years or more, but I couldn't be sure on the timeline. The man certainly didn’t look more than 30 or so, and we attributed his longevity to the mushrooms. What is the price for immortality? Apparently your sanity and an addiction to mushrooms.

We rested here for a bit while Lux and Merlynn brewed some potions from the mushrooms, and regained their spells. When we settled down to rest, our host ran up to the door we came in, and cast another magical trap on it. So, he’s a mage as well. After that, we continued exploring, choosing another way out of the fungus farm. When I removed the trap and opened this door, I was greeted by the sight of four or so of those dark-skinned elves. So, of course, I immediately slammed the door shut. The leader of these elves then knocked on the door, and my companions insisted on talking to him. The elf seemed to think we were messengers for the brigands our new traveling companions are looking for. He didn’t accept it when I told him we weren’t who he thought we were. He threatened us with torture worse than what a previous messenger the bandits sent had endured. It became apparent we weren’t going to get out of this without a fight. I did my best to keep the elves at bay by blocking the doorway, while the mages blasted them. Unfortunately, two of the elves were archers, while the last was a mage. The latter used magic to make the floor we were on slippery, and the archers shot Farnahm with some sort of sleep arrow. He went down instantly. The loss of your healer is not a good way to start a fight. The leader kept knocking me down easily, as I couldn’t keep my footing on the enchanted ground. We all were getting hurt, and things looked pretty grim. That’s when I snapped. The rage came back, and I couldn’t control it. My horns grew back almost instantly, and the chitinous patches on the backs of my forearms grew into long intertwining spikes, like serrated swords. The leader of these elves seemed shocked with my transformation, but all I could think of was to kill everything. Somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I prioritized the threats, with my friends being low on the list, but on the list nonetheless. I traded blows with the leader of the elves until he went down, but I did not escape unscathed. Bleeding profusely from many deep cuts that I didn’t even feel, I turned on the mage. He fell much more quickly. I cut off the escape of the remaining two elves and cut another down. The last ran past Lux trying to get away. I gave chase, slamming Merlynn into the wall as I ran past. Luckily, it didn’t seem to hurt him. I caught up with the last elf in the fungus farm and dropped him there.

That was when the blood loss caught up to me, and I collapsed exhausted into a pool of my own blood as the rage left. The spines on my arms shrank down to nothing, though the horns stayed. Not sure how THAT works. The others caught up to me, and someone gave me a healing potion. It turns out that none of the elves actually died. I was so set on making sure they didn’t escape, that I hadn't finished them off. On the one hand, I am relieved my loss of control hadn't led to a massacre. On the other, more disturbing hand, I feel cheated of my kills.

The elves were bound and questioned. From the description they gave, it sounds like the messenger they tortured was Lux’s and my missing brother. He was able to get away. I wonder if these guys can’t hold on to any prisoners, our just my family? We also learned that they had a force of 200 or so warriors hiding out here and that the bandit leader, Jak Asshole, was wanting to sell them some valuable relic or some such. We then debated what to do with these guys, while I worked on sawing my horns off. Not sure what we will do. Nor do I know how to answer the inevitable questions that are likely to pop up. And I don't know if I should tell them that I probably wouldn’t have stopped with the elves if I hadn’t nearly bled out. I think I may just have to leave and go live in the wilderness far from any people. It would probably be in everyone’s best interests.

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Cassian's Journal: Part 3
Not my smartest moveā€¦ but at least I looked cool doing it

So… maybe I shouldn’t be so critical of the survival instincts of the group we’ve met up with? After the fight with the degenerate dwarves, some of the group were kind of banged up, particularly Lux and Merlynn (figured out his name now), and our casters had used up a lot of their spells. So we camped out in the temple. That room didn’t have any of the small tunnels the dwarves had used. It also had intact doors that I wedged some ruble into to keep them from being easily opened from the outside. In the morning, Andrei and Roc were doing some stuff on their own, so Merlynn, Lux, Farnam and I checked out some of the passageways we passed by on the way to the temple room. This is where I showed that I apparently belong in this group. I opened a door, and saw a man, apparently fighting some slime monsters. He made some comment on not expecting us so soon, and I realized he must be the guy that snuck past us at the entrance. Then he threw a bag of rotten meat or something in my face and ran away. I almost lost my breakfast. Managed to hold it down, but I kind of lost my head. Started feeling way more angry than I feel comfortable with, and the only thought in my mind was “don’t let that bastard get away!”. So I chased him. Ran right past those slime things, leaving myself wide open. I Ran down the winding passage, with the slimes following. Those things were a LOT faster than expected. To top it all off, I later discovered that I ran right past a secret door, and let the asshole get away. Found myself running in circles trying to avoid the slimes, that apparently decided I smelled delicious with rotten meat all over me. I kept them mostly at bay until the spell casters caught up with me and rained mass quantities of arcane death upon the slime creatures. At least I fulfilled my self-appointed job of meat shield, and kept the critters focused on me instead of them. It was about that time that Andrei and Roc came looking to see what had become of us. Perfect timing. Now it looks like the magicians have spent their arcane power, and may need to rest again to regain it. My impulsive anger may have just cost us another day down here. We only have about four days of food left, so unless we can find more, or one of the magic-users can conjure food from air, that may have been a costly mistake on my part.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 2
The Dwarven Ruins

So, here we are, exploring a pre-cataclysm dwarven city with a bunch of crazy adventurers, looking for some bandits. Lets see, there's that wizard. Merlon? I think that's his name. Then there is the drunken priest Farnam. Next is the giant guy with a big sword, Andy-something? And finally, a crazy kid with a pet moose and a pet squirrel. They call him Rock. I think it's short for "Rocks-for-Brains". Actually, I don't think he's as dumb as he sometimes comes across, maybe just naive? Apparently they were part of a larger group, but some of them left. Those were probably the smart ones. By smart, I mean wise. The wizard and the priest seem fairly well learned, but really. Where is the sense of self-preservation?

Since we think our brother was looking for this same city, and we got captured by dark-skinned elves almost as soon as we got here, Lux thought it was a good idea to combine our searches. Maybe lil' bro got caught by the bandits? Maybe he is a bandit. I don't know. Never met the kid. Heh, I still have this image of a gangly teenager in my head whenever I think of him, but if he was born 8 years after I was, that would make him what? 56? Yeah. He's an old man. One of the few perks of my cursed bloodline: I get to live with the curse for ever. Yay me.

So, let's see. We ran into the cave elves. Then the adventurers, while they were fighting some giant scorpions. Joined them. I tried to keep Lux out of harms way, but got banged up a bit. I'm kinda used to that by now. Me and the moose-and-squirrel kid figured out how to open the doors to the old dwarf ruins. Really, I think it was the kid mostly. To be fair, they had a key, so… Anyway. Got swarmed by some mutant rats. Again tried to keep Lux from getting hurt, and took a few lumps for her, but she managed to get hurt a bit anyway. I wish she wouldn't try to get right into the fray like that. I may not be willing to fight, but I can take a hit a lot better than she can. I digress. We found a looong dead dwarf and some books. Looks like he got caught inside when the city was abandoned and locked up, eventually starved to death.

While the learned ones were translating old dwarvish notebooks, I noticed some tracks in the dust. Followed them back to the entrance, and figured out that whoever it was had followed us in, and snuck right past us. The boot tread looked like the same type issued to officers in the warlord Regar's army. Don't ask me how I know that; it's too long a story. Suffice it to say that it ends with me getting an extremely close view of said tread, and a pounding headache. I managed to convince everyone to NOT follow the tracks into an ambush, so we went the opposite way.

Met a mushroom-man. Turns out, he was a real fun guy. Get it? Fungi? Nevermind. It's pretty bad when you think your own jokes are awful. But yeah. Through a combination of pantomime, and the wizard's magic, we managed to talk to this guy. I'ma call him Mikey. He seemed to really like the idea of trading, so I traded my small cooking pot and a mirror (I don't need a reminder of what I look like, but it came in the kit Lux bought me for this trip) for a cask of oil and some candles. Lux traded him for a bag of metal bits, and asked him if he'd seen our, uh, uncle. Seems like he had, and trades with him on occasion. Interesting. Also, the wizard had a painting of one of those cave elves, and showed it to Mikey. He didn't like the cave elves. Me either. After Mikey left, we found some usable canvas, some small hammers, and a bunch of nails, so I made a bag and gathered a bunch of the nails in it, and took one of the hammers. All that stuff might come in handy at some point.

Moving on, and still avoiding the corridor our invisible friend took, we found some rooms with collapsed walls. I managed to find a way to crawl through to a lower chamber. We found what looked like a temple or chapel or something. Had some more dwarven writing scrawled on the wall and some broken statues. The bookish types puzzled over that, while I scouted around some more. About the time the big guy and the moose kid forced open a door, I had managed to unlock a door to the same room at the other end. Just in time to see some small, degenerate dwarves.  They quickly readied their weapons. I felt my blood start to boil, and the backs of my forearms started aching, so I quickly shut my door, and let the others do the fighting. Merlon almost got killed, but that priest has some useful healing magic, and saved him before I had to pull him out of danger.

Afterwards, I kind of chewed Lux out for getting too close to the fight. She got mad at me for jumping into the doorway to the room to keep the dwarf-things from getting out, and that SHE was trying to keep ME from getting killed. Said I shouldn't be putting myself in danger if I wasn't going to fight back. That kind of pissed me off. I mean if she's going to jump in front of me when I jump in front of her, it kind of undoes what I just tried to accomplish. But she's right though. I really shouldn't let myself get that close to combat. It could end badly.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 1
How it started

How did I get myself into this mess? Oh, yeah. That Tavern. I don’t know why I couldn’t just keep my mouth shut and leave. I guess I have death wish. Of course, the fact that I never took a swing at anyone and ended up looking like I got trampled by an ox didn’t matter to the guards, once they got a good look at me. Bastards. Then that girl Lux came along, claiming to be my sister, and payed my fines. I’m not sure I want to believe her about the sister thing, but somehow, deep down, I know in my bones she's right. Apparently, she's been looking for me for a while. I guess mom felt bad about abandoning me, and told Lux she had a brother. So Sis decides to have a family reunion. Found a survivor of the orphanage. Took that lead and managed track me down, 48 years after the incident.  That’s pretty damned impressive, actually. And now she wants me to come with her and help her find our little brother. Didn’t know I had a twin sister, let alone a little brother. But our parents apparently didn't want to raise a monster, and really, who can blame them? So they got rid of me, but kept her. Then they took a risk and tried again eight years later. That one worked out. Guess little brother lucked out and didn’t manifest any of our family bloodline. He’s pure human apparently. Lux, not so much, and me even less so. Lux passes for human without too much comment, even if she looks a little odd, but there’s a reason I wear a hood and those stupid looking dark goggles. I suppose that's why our parents didn't want to keep me.

So yeah. We came to this place, and promptly got captured by elves. What kind of self-respecting elf has gray skin and lives in a cave? Still, who am I to judge? We got away at least. I can be a pretty sneaky sonofabitch when I wan't to. Then we met up with these people. Looking for a bandit gang? Not the brightest bunch, out looking for trouble, but I think they mean well, at least.  They of course wanted to know what we were doing here. Hard to explain that we're looking for a baby brother that looks old enough to be our father. I didn’t really feel like answering the inevitable questions, so I insisted we say he's our uncle. Almost blew that one, but I don’t think anyone caught it. It’s inevitable they are eventually going to notice my eyes, but there isn’t any way around that short of Lux and I going it alone. That worked out so well before. We still probably shouldn't be traveling with these guys. It's not safe. For them. I don’t know them, but they seem like good people, if a little odd. I’d hate to be responsible for their deaths. Lux knows what happened at the orphanage. Don’t know why she thinks it’s a good idea to bring me to a dangerous place like this, and put these people in danger. Put herself, and our brother in danger too. She knows what happened back then, why I can’t fight.

But if I'm honest with myself, part of me wants to fight. I’m hoping something will happen, and I won’t have a choice, that I’ll have to give in to the darkness and drag everyone kicking and screaming with me. I guess that explains why I didn't shut up and leave at the tavern back then. See, that’s the part that scares me the most; I WANT this to happen. Again.

 

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To the Mine

As we search for the Bandit leader we instead come across two new people that we did not expect. They say that they are brother and sister and they are looking for their uncle. This is indeed a strange place to be looking for people but then again here we are doing the exact same thing. The male, Cassian, looks to be a very sturdy person. Another person that will rush into combat I fear as I have seen so many do before. And his sister, Lux, she is very pail and has strange eyes. I have heard about this type of condition before but I have never seen it with my own eyes. There is no known ill effect of being what is called albino so I wont have to mother her to keep her healthy. Maybe as we stay in this cold I will but that is worry for another time.

 Our dumb luck. Cassian has opened a strange door with the aid of Rock and we found a Dwarf lying dead by a table. I could not discern any of the writing (Seems to be ancient dwarven) but Merlyn was able to translate the content which talked about the old war and old world. I did not ask him all about what was written, I will have to ask later. I will finish this up later, I am too tired right now.

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Cold Mountain

(In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.)…but for real

The long journey to take out these bandits left us fighting the mountain more than the enemies.   Damn it was cold…and bull didn't even flinch.  I was super cold and Carl and Squeex are having a great time if being a bit unprepared for the coldness.  We came across some cancer rats and finally got into the city….oh i guess we did also meet some weirdos talking about kelves which was weird….i wonder if they all tan themselves or it's paint or something. 

 

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