Age of Daemons

Lux's Journal 3

Gods! That rabbit was vicious! It was souped up on that strange liquid like the rats had been. It was so fast we could hardly hit it, and its bite was nasty. After finally dispatching the thing, Cassian bit its head off and I stomped on the rest of it before kicking its carcass into a far corner. Just to be sure. In another room, we found an invitation to a meeting between this nation's leaders to discuss the coming confrontation with the dark elves. It unsettled us how quickly these had not only been dispatched, but had been intercepted by brigands… Eventually, we ran into more rats. This time they were accompanied by strange rat men. It was a tough fight, but we came through alright. We found some canisters that Merlynn knew to be very explosive. Along with that, we found a note to Damien mentioning a plan and more explosives. I hope Damien hasn't fallen so far that he cannot be saved! We collected the evidence and made for the surface.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 10
Wascally Wabbit

Looks like Dove was right to be concerned about the rabbit. We headed towards the room she had seen the critter in. I drew my short sword, and entered the room. I didn't see the rabbit at first, as I was distracted by multiple chewed up corpses. Then I saw a flash of grey and white fur come rushing at me out of the corner of the room. It latched onto my shoulder, drawing blood. It wasn't too bad, but startling all the same. I grabbed the thing and threw it on the floor. I slashed it as it leapt past me, this time attacking my sister. Bad move, bunny. I triggered my amulet again, as I slipped into the dark rage. Now the spine blades sprouting from my arms were made of iron and radiating intense cold. I slashed the rabbit again, and it still didn't die, this time attacking Merlyn. It was dealing much more dangerous wounds to them, making me think I was just lucky when I got bit. They both hit it with some spells, and I slashed it twice more before it finally fell lifeless. I dismissed the amulets power and grabbed the beast, ripping it's throat out with my teeth. I didn't have to, and it was already dead, but it seemed somehow fitting.

With the rabbit dealt with, we searched the place, gathering any valuables and evidence we could find. We came across a chamber with a winch and a large trap door leading to the surface. Before we could find out more, we were attacked by two more of the large super-rats, accompanied by a pair of rat-men. By this time, Lux, Merlyn and Farnam were running low on spells. Luckily, I still l had plenty of rage to draw on. I triggered my amulet yet again and let the darkness take me. Lux was having a rough time of it, but would have to hold out until I dealt with the rat-man and super-rat that had me flanked. She created a globe of darkness, hoping to blind the creatures. With my ability to see through even magical darkness, I could see that it seemed to affect the rat, but not the rat-man. I watched Dove scramble to the edge of the darkness, drawing the rat-man with her. She landed several telling blows to it. Merlyn was apparently out of combat magic, but created an illusion of me. It drew some of the heat off of Lux. It also seemed to worry the rat-men, as they seemed to think one of me was too many. Dove and I were able to finish our enemies off, and Farnam used the last of his magic to patch everyone up.

Once we were able to search this place, we found an invitation to a meeting between the nations of the area to discuss the threat of Jak's friends the dark elves. Considering we had only told the the Captain a day ago, they were moving fast. That the bandits already had a copy makes me more suspect that the bandits have a spy. Winking guy? Probably. We also found a small barrel filled with a black powdery substance that Merlyn assured us was as dangerous as his most powerful spell, able to create an explosion if set on fire. It was damaged, as if it had been dropped and rolled out of sight. Lastly, we found a note mentioning many more of these explosive devices. These three things found together lead me to an unsettling suspicion.

We gathered everything up and headed straight to the army compound. I am of the opinion that our little group is going to be asked to crash the meeting we just learned of. And probably get blamed for the whole thing going up in smoke, considering how Jak seems to always be at least one step ahead of us. I don't care, as long as I get a chance to go toe to toe with that asshat.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 9
Rats!

We followed Dove into the hideout she had asked us to help her with. First thing we noticed was  some glittery ooze in pools on the floor. The second thing was some rather large rats, headed to the pools to drink. We figured it probably wasn't a good idea to let them, so we killed them. Took some doing as they were tougher than regular rats. I asked Lux to check out the goop. Seemed to have some properties that explained the behavior and toughness of the rats. 

Once the rats were taken care of, we spread out to search the place, as there didn't seem to be anything else around. I had caught a glimpse of a corpse in one of the rooms, so I went to check that out. Looked like they might have died before they had been gnawed on by rats, but it was hard to tell. I searched the room and found a magical trap on a chest of drawers. I removed it and found some small gemstones. Knowing there had been a trap on one drawer, I decided to take my time and carefully check the rest of them. Lux offered to use a spell to open the drawers and save some time, but I was worried the traps I was fairly certain were there might destroy any evidence or valuables present, so I told her no thanks. I can't figure out why she seemed so pissed about it.

About the time I finished my search (I was right, there were more traps), all hell seemed to break loose. I heard shouting, and then Dove went running past babbling something about a killer rabbit? I went to see what was going on, and saw rats swarming all over the place. These were much smaller than the first ones, but seemed to be in a feeding frenzy. I smiled, seeing this as a chance to try out my new amulet. With my fists transformed into freezing cold iron, I waded into the swarm with the intent of drawing them off of my sister, who was positively crawling with rodents. I swung my fists through the swarm of rats, smashing and freezing big swaths of them. I started leading them towards the trapped dresser, figuring I could withstand the trap better than the rats. Turned out my amulet was more effective than I realized and I killed most of them before I got there, and the rest ran off into various cracks and crevices. Many of us had many small bites and scratches all over us, so It would probably be a good idea to have Farnam check us out once we are done. Rats are filthy creatures. 

Dove was still concerned about her killer rabbit. Considering the alchemical spills around the place, and the berzerk giant rats, she might right. Even if she's wrong, she won't be satisfied until it's stew. Either way, looks like it's wabbit season.

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Lux's Journal 2

After a good night's rest, we met Dove in an area full of various unsavory characters. She led us to a hidden door in the floor. We all jumped down and followed her down a corridor that led to an open room filled with dead bodies, blue sparkly pools and rats that had a similarly colored froth dripping from their mouths. They were aggressive and we had to dispatch them. Farnham found some apple liquor with a propensity for blowing up. Cassian found some interesting items in an old chest of drawers that had traps on them. I offered to cast a spell to open them but he told me no. He was afraid of setting off a trap that would destroy any potential loot. I've been trying to make myself useful to everyone, but feel as though sometimes I fall short of the mark. Oh well, time to press on. Dove found a strangely out-of-place rabbit down here…

 

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Lux's Journal 1

I've seen Cassian scribbling away in a journal lately, so the first chance I got, I purchased myself a journal. We arrived in Ghiklah today and sold off the things we had found in the ruins to the dwarven caravan that had stopped there. I picked up a few new trinkets as well, including a magical cloak and a deck of illusions! While shopping, I felt a tug on my coin purse. Without thinking, I swatted whatever was sneaking their mitts onto my person and realized I'd knocked down a child. When I picked them up, I felt several ribs, so I bought them a meal and gave them a few coins. The others teased me saying they were probably part of a pack of homeless children, but it never hurts to be kind to another. While I was shopping, Merlynn, Farnam, and Cassian went to report to the local law enforcement and warn them of Jak and the dark elven threat. They also turned the prisoner we had been dragging around with us in as proof. After we finished gearing up, we had dinner with a woman named Dove, whom we had met during shopping. Apparently, she knew about Cassian and myself, and even had information on Damien! She offered us a job, and even though I'm not sure she's any better than Jak, I'll do anything to find Damien. Merlynn took some convincing though. After dinner, we went to a house Merlynn, Farnham, Roc, and Andrei have in town. Cassian and I also came clean about our age and Damien actually being our little brother (not our uncle). They invited us to stay there with them. It will be nice to have a place to call home after so long on the road.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 8
I finally came clean

We got to the small mountain town that Lux and I had avoided on the way up the mountain and got enough supplies to make it to Ghiklah. We also warned them about the dark elves so they could prepare themselves. We then hurried on to Ghiklah, dragging our prisoner along with us. When we got to town, there was a dwarven merchant caravan that had stopped while passing through. Merlynn sold our loot we had acquired and divvied up the largest sum of coins I'd ever seen in one place. We then explored the caravan, looking for new gear to help us out, since we knew we still had a score to settle with Jak. We nearly forgot we were still dragging this trussed up cave elf, leading him along by a rope like some kind of pet. In hindsight, it explains all the strange looks we were getting. I found an enchanted amulet that attracted my attention. A small fist fashioned of iron, with an unnatural aura of cold. I was told it would freeze opponents of unarmed attacks, or the natural attacks of a beast. I figured it would work with my arm spines as well. If I'm going to be using this new found power, I can't be half-assing it. The sooner I drop a foe and end a fight, the less time there is for me to loose control.

Not long after this, we were met by a Sergeant Ancin of the Algorethi army unit stationed here acting as local law enforcement. Apparently my new friends had been sent by the Sergeant or Captain, I'm not sure on the details, to track down Jak and they wanted a report. This worked out, as we were looking to rid ourselves of our prisoner. Merlynn, Farnam and I were led into the office of one Captain Thelmar. I let Merlynn do most of the talking, as I felt I didn't really belong here, as I wasn't around when they got their mission. Also, I haven't always had a good relationship with the soldiers of Regar's army, as evidenced by my intimate knowledge of their boot tread. I did add a few details here or there that I felt were missing, but otherwise kept silent. Towards the end of the conversation, it looked like the Captain was blaming us for opening the door to the dwarven ruins, allowing the dark elf army easy access to the surface. This rankled me, as this guy sent my friends to find Jak, so they wouldn't have been there in the first place otherwise. Besides, we had know way of knowing we were playing into Jak's plan. Even though Thelmar was over all friendly and his accusations somewhat veiled, I had to choke back the urge to rip his throat out.

On the way out, we passed a group of officers heading in to talk to the Captain. One of them caught my eye. I didn't recognize his face, but his build and and walk reminded me of the man from the ruins I was certain had been Jak. He saw us looking at him, and smiled and winked at us. The backs of my forearms itched, and I yet again had to resist the urge to attack someone. Even if this was Jak, we had no proof and transforming into a monster in the middle of an army and attacking an officer was not conducive to a long life. We did mention our suspicions to Sergeant Ancin, and asked him to look into it. That was the best we could do for now.

On the way out of the camp, we met an attractive elven woman calling herself Dove, who seemed to know Merlynn and Farnam. She also implied she  knew something about Lux and me, which was disconcerting. She set up a dinner meeting with the group for later that night. Turns out she had worked for Jak, but disagreed with his methods. She wanted us to help her search a hideout the had used in the past. It seemed she wanted to be in charge of the crime in the city. Merlynn was reluctant to be used by a criminal organization, and Dove tried to convince him that she was a less bloodthirsty and destructive element than Jak's bandits, the evil you know yada yada. I mentioned that we were already being used by Jak and Captain Thelmar. Dove mentioned that at least she was being up front about using us. And at this point, I was willing to side with anyone against Jak. I really hate that guy. I want to feel his entrails slide through my fingers, hear the snapping of his bones, and taste his blo… uh, anyway. Moving on.

During the trek to Ghiklah, Lux and I had a few private conversations and decided to tell our friends the truth. After dinner with Dove, we went to a manor house on the edge of town that the group had found a deed to and claimed in some of their previous escapades. After settling in, I told them everything. Told them we we weren't really looking for an uncle, but a little brother. I explained that we weren't sure we could trust them at first, and figured it would be easier to claim he was our uncle than to explain the fact that Lux and I look like we are in our early 20's but are actually 64 years old. I told them why I had been so reluctant to fight before. I explained that, when I was younger, I lived in an orphanage and was an outcaste. In addition to my glowing red eyes and horns, I had a tail. Children can be cruel, and I was bullied and teased relentlessly. The headmaster would never defend me, and indeed, I was blamed for any altercations started by the other kids while being reminded constantly how lucky I was to be there. It came to a head one day, when several of the older boys decided to help me "fit in". They cornered me and pinned me down. Using an old rusty hatchet, they chopped my tail off, laughing cruelly the whole time. That was when the darkness first struck. That was the first time my arms sprouted blade like spines. That was the first time I killed. I slaughtered the boys before they knew what was happening, then stalked through the orphanage killing everyone I found until I finally passed out. I awoke later and was chased out of town by I mob of villagers calling me a monster. I had been on my own ever since, until Lux found me.

Merlynn thought that there must have been some kind of supernatural being in our family history, probably many generations ago, though he couldn't guess as to what kind of being. Farnam tried to tell me that even if there was the blood of some evil being in my family's past, that didn't mean that I was evil. I appreciated the sentiment, but I wasn't sure I believed him. I still have the dark thoughts and even though now I seem to have better control of it, I might still loose control one day. It seems inevitable, really.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 7
time to bug out

Well. The last few days have been… interesting. After a night’s rest, we talked about what to do next. My sister and I asked them more about this Jak person, since it looked like our baby brother was working with him. Our new friends had apparently had a few run-ins with his minions before, and had inadvertently disrupted some of his scams, and survived an ambush from his encounter. He left them a note, daring them to come to Holbrough Hollow for another shot at him, with a post script saying “there’s more than one way to start a war”.  It was obvious that this Jak guy is up to more than common thievery. The fact that he wears an army officer’s boots has me wondering. It may be nothing, but my gut tells me this has something to do with Regar. I’m just not sure what yet.

Anyway, it occurred to us that none of these passage ways seemed to be getting us closer to Jak or our brother, and didn’t really make sense considering how sneaky he seems. So, I did a thorough search of the walls of the fountain chamber. Sure enough, I found a secret door leading to a narrow passage way. Roc’s moose couldn’t fit down the passage and the kid wouldn’t leave it behind, so we left them to guard our camp. Probably a good idea anyway, though a little extra combat ability would have been nice. We followed it and found that it led to a chamber of some sort. Peeking through a crack in the door, I saw another band of dark elves preparing food and resting. These guys seem to be well organized. So far, every group we’ve encountered have had two warriors, a mage of some sort, and a leader. Just what we saw here. We ambushed them, but they rallied pretty quickly. Organized, AND well trained. We still beat them, but I was forced to resort to letting the dark rage loose again. The mage had surrendered, and everyone thought I was going to kill him. But we needed to find Jak, and the mage might know where he is. Instead, I just slammed his head into the wall and knocked him senseless. We dragged him back to the fountain chamber, and questioned him. Didn’t get much more from him than we had from the first group we left at the mushroom farm, but we learned that we were right on the edge of their main expeditionary force in these ruins, and that Jak was using the elves to start a war.

We rested for the night, then headed back down the secret passage with the idea of capturing a higher-ranking officer in order to get better intel. I checked the doors leading from the chamber we had fought in the night before. I heard whispering voices behind the southern door. We set up a battle plan and pushed the door open to see… nothing. Well, there was some sort of altar or something set up in there but we didn’t see anyone. Knowing these guys are at least as sneaky as me, I had everyone wait on the other side of the door and checked out the altar. That was when I realized I should have looked up. Two guys dropped off the ceiling to flank me and poked sharp pointy things through my innards. More deviously, two more, along with a leader type, dropped behind the squishy people. We were surrounded, and I was cut off from the mages. Not for long. Between the pain and the fear for my sister and friends, I didn’t hesitate to embrace the rage. To be fair, it wasn’t hard with the dark elves using me as a scabbard, but even with the supernatural toughness I gained along with the rage, I wasn’t sure I’d survive the fight. Luckily, Farnahm was able to use his power to heal us. He did that several times during the battle, closing wounds nearly as quickly as we received them. I tore into the two dark elves finishing them as swiftly as I could. The mages were holding their own, but barely. I came charging in to help. Initially, I didn’t see any sign of Merlyn, but he had apparently used his magic to become invisible. Nice trick. They had managed to stun one of their attackers, and spread an ice slick on the floor to hold the leader and another soldier at bay. It took some doing, but we finished them off. It didn’t occur to me for several minutes that I had dismissed my rage without effort.

We now knew they were considering us a serious threat, and that Jak’s plans were still moving forward. We had found ourselves able to handle the smaller patrols, but they were changing their tactics, and we were liable to encounter more and more patrols. We decided that, as much as we wanted to find Jak and his band, we decided a better course of action was to warn the towns in the area. We were the only ones who knew the dark elves were going to start raiding at Jak’s behest. If we died, they would be caught unaware and slaughtered. As much as I wanted to continue ripping through these vile elves, I knew it was time to leave.

We took the evidence we had found, and the dark elf mage we had captured, and headed to Holbrough Hollow. The first couple of nights were rough, at least on the others. The cold had set in, and Merlyn had the worst time of it. His old bones didn’t take to the cold so well. The others suffered through all right. I felt the chill, but it really didn’t bother me too much. Lux could sleep in the snow in her skivvies and be fine. Apparently, her ice magic enhances our otherworldly resistance to cold. I’d really like to figure out why we are whatever it is that we are. During the three days it took to get to town, I thought about how quickly I had gained control over what I had always believed to be a curse, but now realized was a useful, almost necessary survival tool. I would have to be careful using it though. I still had the dark thoughts, still enjoyed the feel of enemy flesh ripping and bone snapping, reveling in the strength I gained from my darkness.  I would have to be careful indeed.

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Cassian's Journal, Part 6
I'm a sneaky bastard, but so are cave elves.

We rested again after our battle with the enlarged elf, and continued exploring. Earlier, we had found an fountain that had been used to enchant water to grant an enhanced ability to detect enemies, but only if drank from the fountain. I didn't try it, but Farnahm and Lux did. This is why they were able to tell that there was someone behind one of the doors we found. I checked the door for traps, but found none. I then unlocked it as quietly as I could. Opening the door and using my ability to see in the dark, I scanned the room. I didn't see anyone, but Farnahm assured me he had sensed someone in that area. I did see two tents, indicating that someone was camping in this area. I moved as quietly as I could to the first one I saw, and slipped in to have a look. I saw a cot, a small chest, and a bag. I found some potions, gems and a wand in the containers, so I shoved everything into the bag and put that in my pack. That was when I heard the fighting start outside the tent. Apparently, I had slipped right past the dark elves hiding in the corners, with neither me seeing them, nor they seeing me. As I peeked out of the tent, I heard a feminine voice chanting from the other tent, and saw three dark elf warriors attacking Roc, his Moose, and my sister Lux who were standing just inside the doorway on a magically greased patch of floor. Must be a standard dark elf spell. I slipped through the chaos of combat unnoticed and made it to the entrance of the other tent. The voice inside cast another spell and I saw Roc's eyes turn black; I could tell that he could no longer see. The dark elf warriors were ganging up on the kid's moose, which was the only thing between my sister and our other mages. Things were looking grim, and I knew the only way were going to make it out of this alive was for me to give in to the darkness. I did so, feeling my rage build as I slipped into the tent of the caster, growling something threatening at the female dark elf staring at me in shock as I savaged her with the spine-blades once again sprouting from my arms. She staggered back, casting a spell at me. I felt myself unable to move for a second, but as I thought of my sister I felt her strength of will enter my mind stoking my rage until I was able to break through the elf's spell. I stepped up to her, reveling in the fear I saw in her eyes as I ripped her throat out. As I stepped out of the tent, I saw another elven sorcerer slinging spells at my friends. I charged right past the warriors, only one of which had the presence of mind to take a swing at me as I did so, but it never connected. I don't think I'd have felt it if it had. After tearing  the mage appart, I turned around. My companions had managed to defeat the warriors. Farnahm was coming up to check on me, and I raised my arms to cut him down. Somehow, I heard my sisters voice whispering calming words in my ear, even though she was across the room. This gave me some pause, and Farnahm made use of that opportunity. He put his weapon away, reached out and offered me his hand, simply saying "Don't worry, It's going to be alright". Between my sister's calming words, and the priest's unexpected actions, I snapped out of my rage, collapsing to my knees exhausted, with tears streaming down my face in shame at what I had almost done.

I quickly composed myself, and we realized this was just the outskirts of a larger encampent, so we gathered what we could from the campsite and made our way back to the room with the fountain. We had found some food, and now had some breathing room, as far as rations were concerned. I used some climbing pitons to spike one of the doors shut, and emptied my bag of caltrops in one of the two archways that didn't have doors that could be shut. Merlynn used a spell to ward the room that would warn us if someone tried to enter. After exploring the ruins all day and fighting the elves, we were all tired. Also, Farnahm said he could pray for a spell to cure Roc's blindness in the morning. Even though I hadn't even been hurt in the fight, I was emotionally drained, but I still volunteered for the first watch. I had a lot to think about. Maybe it was possible I could control my dark impulses after all? If so, I might be able to harness it to protect my friends without putting them at risk from me. Yes, I definitely have a lot to think about.

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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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