Sea of Madness

Ithyk: Musings of a Murderous Mind pt 2

The sun was red today, I’ve never seen it do that. It makes me wonder what else I’ve never seen. Like a dragon. They didn’t want to see the dragon. We saw it later and we killed it, though, so that was good. I’ve seen dragons and red suns now.

I saw Tzolek kill plenty, it makes me dizzy with laughing. He’s strong though I think we should see who’s stronger. Hayheyheheh.

I din’t kill the halfling though, his blood has secrets and wanted to come out, but I bash his skull. It spoke a little, but I didn’t let it talk too much.

Scar Lady made his blood talk over 3 days, so me and Tzolek fight, hahaymyeheheheh…

Bird makes me use new name, I think Scar.

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Mutterings of the Master, Part One

Deep below Ishar, deep in the darkness, Glut is pulled and prodded forward. The wounds he endured from the prison escape are still fresh. His handlers, a mob of Bugbears, treat him without respect. He was once a great Chief amongst the Bear Tribe of Orcs, but now he is thrown to the floor like a slave, forced to bow before the Master of the Coliseum. Seated on his throne, flanked by blankly staring creatures, the Master speaks and Glut listens.

“You allowed it. I can see it on your face. There are bruises where there should be cuts, cuts where there should be killing blows. Those five specimens were valuable, much more so than your Orcish hide. Why should I let you live?”

Glut remembers his glory. He remembers being the grandson of Mugluth the Mighty, who made peace with Elves and Humans. He remembers being the son of Klus the Brave, who slayed dragons. He remembers being Glut the Destroyer, who led his people when the Humans broke the Treaty. He remembers being amongst his people, he remembers his pride. He also remembers that he is no longer that orc.

He considers his children, who are held by the Master. Glut believes that if he were a better leader, they would be safe. He reaches for a reason why he should be allowed to live. He cannot find one. All he can find is the sweet voice of Patior that guided him to free the gladiators that promised to kill the Master. The voice promises Glut freedom.

“I grow impatient. I know thinking is not kin to the Orcish mindset, so I will make this clear: You will find the gladiators and you will bring them back alive. You will do this or I will kill your sons.” The Master laughs with his malevolent cackle.

“No,” responds Glut. “I won’t do this.”

“Then your children shall die.”

“They are dead all ready. I can read it on your face. They died long ago, didn’t they?” accuses Glut, “You needed me, but not them. I kept the Orcs in the Pits in line. I was the only one that could do it. That’s why you took me.” Glut rises to his feet, strides towards the Master. “I haven’t seen my sons in ten years! Even if their bodie live, you have likely made them slaves just like these,” bellows Glut, pointing at the mindless creatures that stand around the throne.

The Bugbears pummel Glut, kicking him in the side, stomping on his face, knocking him back down. He struggles in a bloody heap on the ground, pushing himself to stand again, spitting out a tooth. His eyes lock with the Master’s. Glut pulls together the last of his strength. He can hear the horns of battle blowing through his memory. He can hear the shouting of his people. Glut launches himself at the Master, murder filling his mind.

The rest is silence.

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Tzolek's Tzales, Part One

The day started off with a fight in the arena, which was not an exceptional fight. Unless you count the fact that the bird man fighting on my side convinced our opponent to kill himself, I’ve never seen that happen before and hopefully will not see it again. The pleasure of the killing blow should have been mine or Ithyk’s, damn the coward for stealing that from us! I place no anger at the bird man, he did what he thought was right, I can’t be upset with him for being so wrong.

Glut helped us escape, and for that I am eternally grateful. A shame that we had to reward his service by beating him to make our escape look unhelped. I tried to break free of my shackles using nothing but strength and was unable to do so until the bird man helped me. Then the guards came by and thought they were safe outside of our cell, it pleased me greatly to prove them wrong. My rage gave me strength and the door and my body crashing down upon one of them gave me pleasure. Ithyk ran down the other before he could call for help. We fought a group of orcs and regained our equipment before leaving the cells.

As we left we noticed there was a show going on and we had to pass through it before our escape would be complete. I tried to hide and be nimble as my training had taught me to weave through the crowd. Maybe I was too nervous, maybe it’s a skill too long unused, or maybe it’s hard for giant black Goliaths to go unnoticed in any crowd. Whatever the reason I was spotted and if not for my fellow slaves helping to draw attention away from me I may have ruined it for all of us. Once we escaped we went to stay at an Inn Glut had told us about.

We arrived to find a beautiful and scarred woman waiting for us. She said that Patior had saved us and she removed our brands. She also gave us food, shelter, and comforts that only a woman can provide. It all felt so good and at the same time hard to believe. In return for what she provided she ask that we bring a slaver alive to her. I seemed wary of it at first but given where we are, the way Ithyk and I look, and the silver tongues of the bird man and the half elf there seems to be little risk of trouble on our way back. Ithyk scoffed at the idea of the god helping us, and while I don’t believe in Patior I certainly don’t disbelieve either.

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Vistin's Chronicle, Page One

Greetings, gentle reader, and welcome to the chronicle of my life. I have ink and paper for the first time in many years, and I write tonight in a temple of Patior, in the city of Ishar, having recently escaped from the slave-pits of that same city.

I will elide the details of my time there, as you, gentle reader, must already well know that the pits of the gladiator-slaves beneath the Colosseum at Ishar are a horrible place. There is, at any rate, very little to say of my time there save this: I fought often, and did not die.

For many years I knew only anguish and agony, until one night a kindly jailer granted us the means to escape. I was placed, with several other gladiators, in a cell barred only by a rusty door, and in manacles which were too large for some of us, and too weak for the others. He also gave us a key, which was a sure sign that he was either aiding us at great personal risk or tricking us into destroying ourselves. I am, gentle reader, an optimist at heart, and so shrugged off my manacles with great haste.

One of my fellow-slaves, Tzolek, an enormous Goliath, made short work of the cell door (and the guard behind it), and we made good our escape.

There were two small impediments before us: Impediment the First: We were unarmed and clad only in rags. Impediment the Second: We had no idea where we were in the complex.

The second matter was far less grave than the first, as we were a band of stalwart warriors, well-accustomed to battle, and could spend as much time as was needed slaying guards and searching halls to find a way out. In fact, we would have relished the opportunity! However, with no armor and no weapons, and deprived of the various magical trinkets we had each acquired during our previous lives, slaying guards would be a tricky matter at best.

Luck, or perhaps some god or goddess, was with us, as we found the first guard patrol at the same moment that we found the chest containing our effects, a chest to which our kindly jailer, Glut, had provided us a key. Swords were taken up, axes hefted, bows nocked, etc., etc., and the hapless guardsorcs were hastily dispatched. Sadly, the only other orc we encountered before we discovered an exit was Glut, whose mercy and goodness we repaid in kind.

We emerged into the festival crowd during the evening’s festivities and we all, each with more or less daring and panache, finally escaped from the colosseum.

My stalwart companions and I were met, upon our escape, by a priestess of Patior. It would be unfair to say that she was the most beautiful woman I had spoken to in years, but it would be fair to say that she was the most beautiful woman that I had spoken to in years who was not trying to kill me. If this sounds like faint praise, gentle reader, then you should be grateful that you have never been a gladiator-slave.

She has asked us to bring her a certain man. We may damage him if necessary, but she would like him alive. This is a great change from the work I had been accustomed to before being enslaved, but as she has sheltered us, and fed us, and… kept some of us company, the task seems like no more than a small and well-deserved favor.

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The Tales and Caperings of Erondor Quinn - Chapter One

The Tales and Caperings of Erondor Quinn – Chapter One

My life begins today. For today is the day that I escaped from the Slave Pits of Ishar.

The day began with a fight in the arena, which, besides my cell walls, is all I have known for the past several years. There were others fighting alongside me, the same that have fought beside me countless times before. There was the savage goliath, who tore into his foes like a tempest. There was the kenku, who wielded potent elemental magics and has quite a dark side. We were also joined by a descendent of the shadow realm who specializes in the silent, killing of targets from the shadows. Lastly there was the gnoll. I am both very amused and very terrified of this thing called Ithyk. He is as stupid as he is dangerous. While it is painful to listen to him trying to talk it is also a delight to see him destroy whomever is unfortunate enough to be in front of him.

In this instance, the unfortunate one in front of Ithyk was a lizardman. He had been fighting the arena himself for years, and while he was no laughingstock, he was also sorely outnumbered. There was a wooden tower in the middle of the arena that he was perched on top of when we were brought in. I ran around pricking him with insults and distracting him with shouts and song. Skyrp, the disturbing kenku, stayed back with me and blasted the lizardman with his magic while Ithyk, Tzolek, the goliath, and Vistin, the assassin, closed in on our target.

The battle raged atop the tower, until the lizardman was knocked off of it, then the battle raged on the arena floor. Skryp had the honor of convincing the lizardman to end his own life in a feeble attempt to retain some dignity.

We were put back in our cells where Glut, an orc guard, approached us and spoke of the whisperings of hope that the goddess, Patior, had been putting into the minds of the pit slaves. He asked if a rebellion was planned. There was none planned, and as we told Glut of this, I could sense that he was almost trying to get us to rebel. I knew for sure when he left and dropped a key just barely within our reach. What followed was a scramble to get out of our shackles before any other guards approached. We were nearly successful, but Skyrp and I were still bound when two guards appeared. They laughed at and threatened us, but failed to account for the strength of an enraged gnoll. Ithyk barreled into the cell door, freeing it from its hinges and driving it straight into one of the guards, knocking him out, while also catching the other guard off balance, sending him to the floor. The floored, but conscious, guard was quickly surrounded by the more physically imposing of our group. His associate was knocked out and he was facing some mean looking individuals. I took the opportunity to use some choice words to convince him to free Skyrp and myself from our shackles. One of the others tried to convince him to hand over his weapons and clothes and so he ran. All hopes of a stealthy escape were dashed as we ourselves dashed down the hall after him.

We came upon a group of the guards who were protecting our belongings, which were locked in a chest. Glut’s key was to the chest full of our belongings! We fought our way through the guards and I ran to the chest to unlock it and lo and behold, all of our weapons, armor, and other possessions were contained within. That was when Glut himself approached us. He told us what he knew of the master of the arena, and how the master had taken Glut’s children as leverage. As a “thank you” for helping us escape, we beat the tar out of Glut so it would not appear that he aided us.

With that finished the only thing left was to escape the arena without being killed. We took the only route we knew, the way to the arena floor. There was a festival going on, with a stage show as the centerpiece. I lost track of most of the others as I wound up in the show itself! I disguised myself with some of the costuming and then took the stage. I actually recalled the story and was able to improvise a fitting monologue. Under the guise of an actor, I was able to get to the other side of the stage and find an exit. Meanwhile I could hear Glut’s voice from the crowd yelling that tigers had escaped. Knowing how thoroughly we had beaten Glut, I could only assume that Skyrp was using his ability to perfectly emulate the voice of others. Panic filled most of the people in the crowd and the rest of the group was able to find a way out of the arena amidst the fleeing public. We regrouped and made for the seedier part of town to hide.

We found a priestess of Patior. She herself had obviously been a slave and had endured many beatings. The scars were all over her. She welcomed us, and fed us. She explained to us that we had a purpose. Patior needed us. Perhaps due to the mind-shattering joy that comes with freedom, or perhaps because she was a woman, or maybe even due to Patior herself swaying our minds, we agreed. We now find ourselves getting ready to experience what it is to truly be alive. It’s like being born again. I have a strong feeling that this new life however, will also be one bathed in blood.

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Ithyk: Musings of a Murderous Mind

I feel my axe in my hand again, I feel my arms pulse again, I hear my blood again, I am all of me. My things are mine, my blood is mine, my people are mine, they are not the others’ anymore. I had one brother, now I have more. I like my brothers but do not know their names. They are F’agresht to me.

I ate of the lizard, his blood warms me, it makes me laugh.

I cut into a man, he was fast, faster than I’ve seen. He put me to darkness. I have not been to this darkness before. F’agresht brought me here again and so I will stay here. I will keep them. I will keep them from that darkness.

There was a girl, she had good scars. Brothers liked her. She gave me food, I liked her too. It was most food I ate ever, it was so good. She told us we had to do something for her, but it was dumb. Brothers liked her though, so F’agresht will do it, even though she makes no sense. I think her blood hums. It sounds good.

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Talmud's Journal

Walking the great hewn halls of this old, forgotten Drow stronghold, I am filled with awe. With its walls as thick as a man, great blocks of cut stone that fit seamlessly together, and a flawless mixture of hand made interior and natural features, this fortress is a marvel. At times, it reminds me of home. The long passages bring a pang of homesickness to my heart, as there are moments when I expect to pass one of my uncles or cousins.

The alien silence of this place is one of the few aspects which remind me that I am not home. In the halls of my youth, you could hear the thundering crash of the ocean while in the upper levels. The lower levels were always ringing with hammer strikes and clattering with pick axes. Here, the only sound is the soft lapping of an acid pool or the click and whir of a deadly trap.

The warforged that have made this their home must have delighted in adding to the place’s deadly traps. I have never met a Drow, but I doubt that their technical prowess could build such intricate machines dedicated to keeping Dwarves out. Twice I have been set on fire. Once, I believed two of my comrades had died from acid. And yet another time, we were almost sent plummeting into a deadly forest of mushrooms.

While I don’t know that it was deadly, I feel that the assumption is a safe one to make.

In this place of deadly shadows, there is still a light. Here, deep below the earth, Moradin’s power has found me. After finding a magical well and drinking from it, Moradin blessed me with the fire of his forge! The light of His fire burns within me, illuminating the darkness. With each step I take, I feel that I am coming closer and closer to Moradin. Through the months of adventure, I have gained more and more favor of my God. I truly am walking my path.

By accepting my weakness, I have found strength.

I had considered continuing my training as a fighter. My position as a defender of my comrades could easily be fulfilled if I studied the techniques of the Dwarven Defenders. I remember the stories of the great warriors that could hold a mountain pass against an army singlehandedly. However, this is not to be my way. I intend to continue devoting much of my time to prayer. Perhaps, if I continue on this road, Moradin will continue to bestow His blessings on me.

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Book of Nod
Page Twenty-Two

I do have some growing concern as we continue to assail this fortress. First and foremost, it being a fortress to begin with. Second, that we are underground where the Drow live. Granted, this place is supposedly abandoned of drow, but still, unsettling. Thirdly, that I will begin to be targeted, I imagine. As the person to cast light in a place of darkness, well, I can’t imagine it turning out well.

I have to say, those machines are relatively ingenious. These constructs have been given such clever tactical instructions the mind behind these beings must be machinal as well. I am certainly interested in meeting this man behind the curtain, perhaps after retreiving our comrade we can come to some sort of accord with him. I can’t imagine him being terribly happy with us, certainly, but I find these metallic creatures mystifying and can’t help but desire more knowledge about them.

Additionally, Kun-We’s smell had a weird tang to it today. Vulgar.

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From the Journal of Cassius Wolfslayer
Page Twenty One

The drow ship and the Cortadormar exchanged volleys back and forth quite a bit. We played a game of cat and mouse for a while, although I’m not sure who was the cat in this case. Finally they came up alongside us only to let several shipmates board us and attack. They were probably just attempting to slow us down, which worked. The drow were able to sail off while we dealt with the interlopers. It did not work well enough however, since we had already figured out the most likely place they were going.

As we sailed up to the island we discovered a tall, narrow cave large enough for a ship. We assumed this was the point of entry into the Underdark and sailed inside. Things did not go too well after that. As we sailed into the cave a large, magical net came up around the boat. The ship was flanked by two creatures who were perched on outcroppings. They blasted us with thunderous bolts of sonic energy while arcs of electricity coursed through those of us on deck. It was a desperate situation. After quickly looking over the net I made the assumption that a sharp blade could cut through it, like any other net. Suldren was already one step ahead of me and charging at side of the ship to try his hand at slicing through the net. I took out my dagger, which aside from peeling fruit hasn’t seen much use in a long while, and started for the net on the other side of the ship.

Between all of us working at it, we were able to free the ship from the net, although it claimed the lives of several crewmembers. Meanwhile between blasts from Nod and myself, and Kun-We running, swimming, and climbing all over the place, we were able to dispatch the two creatures flanking us.

With our “grand entrance” completed we continued further into the dark. We came upon a huge stone stronghold that was literally carved out of the mountain. It stretched up into the blackness of the cavern, how tall it was we could not know. The captain decided that the Six Daggers would be making the rescue attempt while the ship sailed around to the other side of the fortress to provide a distraction. We were dropped into the water in a rowboat and waited for the ship to sail into view on the far side so there would not be that much attention on us.

As we made it onto dry land near the base of the stronghold we found ourselves fighting small groups, distracting others, and avoiding other groups entirely. Finally we were at the gate that would allow us entrance into the massive stone structure. After a failed attempt to slip by the sentries, we took them head on and overpowered them.

After getting inside we fought another couple of groups of Sam’s mechanical kin. We now are preparing to plunge further into this place in hopes that we can save Sam and get out of here before it’s too late for him… or for us.

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Suldren's Journal
Entry #20

We made our way onto the merchant vessel and I could not stop myself from being impressed. Between the size of the ship and it’s layout it was basically like a floating city. After we bought and sold some equipment a few of the other Daggers and myself played an interesting gambling game. We all lost twenty gold and it occurred to me that if money was all I cared about then running that game would be an ideal job. I was intrigued by the various games of chance that were offered and was enjoying trying them all out when something caught my eye outside.

I saw a group of cloaked men carrying another man wrapped in a different cloak with them. After a few seconds I recognized the man being carried was Sam, thankfully the other Daggers all noticed as well. Unfortunately we were all several stories up inside of a packed casino. Through a combination of convincing people there were better times to be had elsewhere or by scaring them out of our way Cassius, Kun-We, and myself dwindled the immediate number of patrons. Vuden decided to take a more direct approach and began swinging from chandelier to chandelier with Nod helping to guide him. Not only did it help him get through the crowd faster but a decent amount of the remaining people stopped and watched in awe, which made it all the easier to run by them. Once down the first flight of stairs we encountered several traps had been laid out to stop us. Cassius, Nod, and Vuden helped us avoid most of the traps. Realizing that we were losing ground Cassius teleported ahead to delay our foes, fearing how he would fare by himself I did the only thing I could to keep up with him. I put my shield in front of me and charged through the window and stuck my sword into the side of the ship to slow my descent. Despite all of our efforts we still arrived at the dock too late to stop their ship from sailing away with Sam.

Luckily a portion of the ship’s crew had showed up too late as well. They were defeated rather easily and we left one alive to question. The strange thing was they didn’t appear as living creatures, more like animated suits of armor. They could bleed however, which we found out when we had to remove his arm because his blade was attached to it. Upon awaking and realizing he was missing an arm he started to scream. Kun-We, never being one to show much restraint, promptly knocked him back out. When he regained consciousness for the second time he referred to himself by a number and had a very strange way of talking. It’s hard to fully explain but all I can say is every question was answered as literally as possible and with amazing amounts of detail. He could not be intimidated to give us the information we needed but was very easily tricked. All we had to do was phrase our questions differently and he answered without any resistance. We learned that he and Sam once belonged to the same community which is where Sam is being returned to. Sam will then have the choice to take back his old place or be killed. This community is led by one being and everyone apparently follows his orders without question. After learning where they were taking Sam and realizing that our captive would never stop following his orders we decided to kill him. Before we could he started a process of killing himself and we threw him overboard before he could finish.

Captain Lee pulled us aside and told us that Sam was a Warforged, and the area he was being taken to was in the underdark. It would be a very dangerous trip and the Captain just wanted to make sure we were all willing to take it. Naturally we all agreed, not only was Sam part of the crew but he had done a lot to help us in the past. We immediately set sail for our destination with hopes of catching up to Sam’s captors. The sailing was not easy and few on the ship received a good night’s sleep but we eventually caught up to them. A battle ensued but due to the speed and maneuverability of their ship we were not able to board them. Talmud and I were loading cannonballs while Kun-We and Vuden were aiming and shooting them. While this was happening Cassius and Nod were using their magic to battle our enemies. I was blinded at one point but refused to let that stop me from loading my cannon. However all of our determination could only make up for our lack of training so much. The battle went on for what felt like forever and at its end we fared little better than a draw.

They have since sailed away and have continued random skirmishes throughout the night. I was barely able to get more than a few minutes sleep and pray my fatigue doesn’t affect my performance in battle. With the other Daggers and the Platinum One by my side I feel no true need to worry however.

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