Sea of Madness

Talmud's Journal

We have finally abandoned the forsaken homeland of Kun-We. After a few days on that abysmal island, and seeing the horror that had been wrought there, I have found much sympathy for our Mr. We. It seems like his shoulders carry an incredible burden, weighted not only by a life of savagery that was punctuated with slavery, but now with the knowledge that all he had ever known is lost. However, he is a creature of action, and he does not brood, at least, not where he is seen.

Yet, given this understanding of Kun-We, I still have some misgivings about the mighty brute. His inability to function as an intellectual makes his coarse company less-than enviable. I still believe that he will lead us into red ruin if his temper is not checked, and he is certainly to blame for our growing reputation for murderousness. While I have swung my hammer as voraciously as he has swung his axes, I cannot help but think that he doesn’t care who he kills, as long as he is killing someone. His elemental nature is both his boon and bane.

My dislike for Kun-We came to the fore when he was wounded severely during battle. He lay on the ground, dying, and Nod was injured, but not as direly. For a moment, I considered leaving him to his fate and assisting the friend that has stood by me since this adventure began. However, I became acutely aware of my duty. Moradin’s hammer pounds deep within my breast, and such a responsibility cannot be neglected. Drawing on my meager training, I rushed to Kun-We’s aid, spending all of the divine energy I had in reserve in order to liven his spark of life.

His appreciation for the healing made me feel good, and I hope that it brings us closer together. I cannot help but think I could instill some stoicism within the raging tempest of his heart. Perhaps, just perhaps, I will be able to help him find some peace before our adventure is over.

On a separate topic, I need to speak with Nod about his application of spells, particularly those which impede the movement of our melee core. In the last battle we fought, Suldren, Kun-We, Vuden, and myself were all put in a precarious situation where we were unable to advance swiftly through the ice field Nod had created. I will suggest that he attempt to understand what the threat is before he unleashes effects that will slow us.

Being on the ocean again feels good. One might think that a Dwarf, the iconic dweller of caves and mountains, would be ill-at-ease on a boat. Nothing could be further from the truth; our stature enables us to keep our feet when other races are toppling head over heel. Even our natural fortitude, which allows us to survive on what the cook calls “fuzzy food”, enables us to stay at sea and survive on the questionable delicacies which cross a seaman’s path.

That brings to mind the story of the Siege of KaKot. Far away in the East was the Kingdom of Brunhold KaKot. Stocky, even for a Dwarf, King KaKot was frequently thought of as a glutton, and he was due his reputation. He kept hundreds of legs of beef on hand at all times, and prepared grandiose feasts nightly.

When a goblin horde invaded King KaKot’s lands, he sent a rider on a dire boar to the nearest friendly settlement, which was about a week away. King KaKot, rather than risk his Dwarves’ lives in open battle with the goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, let his castle fall under siege, sure that his rider would return with help shortly. After a month, the rider did not return, and many of the fresh supplies were turning rancid.

While not tasty, the squalid supplies allowed the King to feed his people until the siege was broken weeks later. When the King found that his rider was amongst the friendly armies, he inquired as to what happened. The rider explained that his boar mis-stepped and died on the way down the mountain. The rider carried the carcass with him on his long trek, nibbling on it as he traveled.

These events have given birth to the timeless adage, “the hammer is not the only iron weapon a Dwarf might carry,’ as well as the Boar Clan’s motto, “Spoiled food can’t spoil my fighting spirit.”

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Book of Nod
Page Eighteen

Dragons are difficult.

Bargaining with selfish breeds are rather appalling actually. Considering I think we take care of ourselves rather well to begin with, bartering with a greedy dragon for assistance seemed a waste of our time. Granted, I imagine it must be my recent exposure to egotism that makes me think a dragon’s aid paltry, but yet I attempted regardless as The Daggers seemed to be in accordance with gaining an ally. So I had attempted, perhaps half heartedly, and my contempt for the creature shined through.

Well, we’re all aware of how that went.

And when I had written that I had needed someone to keep me in line, I didn’t suspect it would be Suldren, of all creatures. His humiliating me seemed to garner the favor of the dragon, at least temporarily. Perhaps I needed some humility. Lessons are always learned, well, ideally always. So, perhaps I should leave most of the diplomacy to the others while I remain in this state.

So then I must inform you of how glorious it felt when we went back to retrieve our goods and some of our pride from the Nayliprox. I stripped him of his beloved darkness, then secondly, his agility. It felt good as I watched the daggers subdue this bloated parasite as he was reduced to nothing. While we can’t make soup out of him, perhaps I could boil a few uses out of his hide anyway.

And I have a new wand out of the deal. Fancy that.

However, we had finished up only one task and then we had went off to face a nemesis dinner. Two absurdly tough cave bears had given us a fine challenge and I must say, the most alarming thing was actually seeing one of those mammoth creatures roaring up in the air waiting only to plummet.

It was a sight, to say the least.

The men of the boat will surely be more than happy to see some food but it isn’t their canorous thanks that excites me. I think of the undead shape that met us outside the collapsing haven with his foreboding message. It reminds me of my new upcoming project. Ah, to have new toys.

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From the Journal of Cassius Wolfslayer
Page Seventeen

As we continued to plumb the depths of the caverns below the ruined temple, we discovered a green dragon who was protecting his hoard. The dragon’s name is Nayliprox and he, like most everyone else we found, reviled the one named Crav. We talked at length about the dragon’s dealings with Crav, and how we could eliminate Crav permanently. Nayliprox offered his assistance, but at a fairly steep price. Suffice it to say, if we can reenter the cavern complex, I’m all for mounting a raid on Nayliprox’s hoard.

Despite Nod not once, not twice, but thrice angering the dragon, we were able to negotiate an understanding and continued on our way. The highlight of the experience was Suldren tossing Nod in an obvious, and hilarious, attempt to smooth over the trouble Nod had caused during our negotiations.

Further into the depths we plunged. As we neared Crav’s lair the very air we breathed felt like fire in our lungs, it was so hot. Nayliprox had warned us, but it still caught me by surprise just how hot it was.

Finally we found him! We began to fight Crav and some of his minions and as we did, the very mountain itself began to crumble as jets of lava shot up around us. I must say that never in any of the stories I’ve read, nor in my dreams, have I envisioned such an epic fight. We tore through the laboratory Crav had set up. The fighting was chaotic, as Crav summoned fiery skeletons and other minions that he could use to teleport around the chamber. As he died we determined that the cavern was indeed going to collapse in moments, but I couldn’t resist, I had to take the time to grab anything I could that looked interesting. From tomes, to reagents, to crafting supplies, there was just so much! I wish we could have had more time, but perhaps it’s better we didn’t see everything Crav had in that horrid place.

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Book of Nod
Page Sixteen

I am not well.

Rather, speaking, I am too well for my own good.

Right, from the beginning… We were investigating the X on the map we had stolen from the governors mansion and after navigating our way through dead bugbears and tropical and savage woods, we finally came across the point of interest. The place itself is a temple of a particularly ancient variety. If I didn’t know any better I’d say it was older than the island. Certainly older than most of it’s inhabitants. A problem arose shortly after investigating the temple itself. This problem was wearing the guise of an unstoppable juggernaught reptile, a daunting predicament at worst.

However, at this temple there happens to be a location of power. As these things happen, it had a particular affinity with my magic. I stood there and a wave of power crashed over me, willing me to crush my adversaries into frozen wasted fragments. I had quite honestly never felt this way before.

Currently, I find a great deal of difficulty with being able to stop feeling this way. I’m bolder, impetuous, and a terrible risk. I feel like I can conquer anything and this damn collar won’t let me stop feeling that. I like it, it’s a brutal rush and far better than the misery I was growing far too accustomed to. I can understand how this collar could drive any fae mad. I can also understand now how Ninarin could shun her heritage for it.

My power is growing, and I’m going to like using it. I just need someone to keep me in line.

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From th' Log o' Cap'n Angus Lee
Fifth day o' High Star

Been couple o’ days since we became stranded on this ‘ere isle. Nary all o’ th’ crew made th’ ship wi’ food an’ supplies t’ repair Cortadormar. Some came wi’ tales o’ bugbears rottin’ e’en as they walked, tearin’ men limb from limb. A wee few returned wi’ infected wounds. We lost them, only t’ wake an’ find them we had lost attackin’ the crew.

Sam spake it be some kind o’ Necrotic poison that killed an’ reanimated ‘em. Probably th’ creatures on th’ isle suffered th’ same fate. But from whence it came, I know not? I’m beginnin’ t’ think s’nay a coincidence that we were blown ‘ere by th’ wicked storm we sailed into. Me thinks travels wi’ them boys, “The Daggers” as they tookst t’ callin’ they’s selves, will result in few coincidences an’ many lost lives. Despite myself, I can’t help but like th’ lot o’ them.

Speakin’ o’ “The Daggers”, I’ve not heard from the lot in many a day. I be hopin’ they didn’t get killed lookin’ fer th’ booty beneath that X. Many afore ‘ave gone to Davy Jones’ doin much the same, Melora knows. Does she be havin’ some hand in this, wonders I? That compass be actin’ quite odd durin’ th’ storm, ‘fore we crashed. Was it that which took us here? Was it Her?

Time will tell. I only hope we live t’ be seein’.

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From the Mind of the Dragon

Feelin’ Fine

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Suldren's Journal
Entry #15

It has been some time since I have written in regards to my adventures. That’s because I don’t know how I feel about them and I haven’t wanted to give them much thought either. I can’t put them aside forever so here they are. If I can’t even appeal to a fellow dragonborn’s sense of honor, than what kind of leader am I? The answer is nowhere near as good of one as I want to be. Both my fellow Daggers and the things we’ve had to do have bothered me tremendously. In a perfect world I would have different companions and we would never do anything to negatively effect innocents. Unfortunately this world is far from perfect and so am I. However in order to avenge my fallen brethren and atone for my past cowardice I will do whatever is necessary with whoever is willing and capable of helping me. On a positive note at least the entire group isn’t unsavory. Cassius is brave, selfless, and respects the value of life. When Talmud is actually around he exhibits those same qualities as well.

We aren’t resting for long so that will be enough reflection on the virtue of the Daggers and their actions for now. Recently there was a vicious storm that caused us to crash upon shore and it will take some time to fix. The Platinum One managed to bless us so that we managed to wash up on an island we have a map for. A map with a large X on it no less and we were sent to inspect the area surrounding said X. Since leaving the ship we have been plagued by a seemingly unending amount of zombies, swarms of insects, and the general nastiness that accompanies any trek through swampland. For a few moments I feared none of our problems would go away and we’d end up spending our entire day journeying. Thankfully we stumbled upon a long deserted and desecrated place of worship for a malevolent god.

While inspecting the ruins we heard a thundering roar from the woods and then saw a very unique creature. It was like a dragon without wings that walked upright and had very tiny arms. Oh and of course it was a zombie. It seemed completely unbothered by our attacks and what made matters worse was any strike made against it that was less than perfect caused our weapons to get stuck in its hide and to remove them put a tremendous strain on our muscles. While we were engaged with this strange foe Cassius realized the secret to opening our way deeper into the ruins. The process of opening the way also created a barrier of holy energy that we used to repel our foe and his zombie companions. The barrier was erected just in time too, I’m not sure I could have survived another hit.

Once inside we fought several opponents all of whom made reference to a character named Crav and I honestly can’t tell if he’s good or evil. Perhaps we will be able to find out in the future but so far our attempts at diplomacy have not been met well. The last creature we spoke with admitted to luring people to her and eating them. Before I could fully register what she said her and her allies unleashed devastation upon all of the Daggers. It left us all knocking on death’s door. I refuse to die in some forgotten ruin on a zombie infested island. I put every ounce of energy, spirit, and will into a devastating combination that left my enemy injured and off balance. He was easily finished from that point. Feeding off my energy Kun-We and Vuden dismembered the hag. Our remaining opponents either fell apart or fled at that point. Continuing our travel we ended up in the same room we started in and decided to take a rest. Now we continue exploring ruins for no specific reason. It certainly beats raiding merchant vessels, and that is the only thing I can safely be certain of right now.

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From the Journal of Cassius Wolfslayer
Page Fourteen

I’m writing this down as fast as I can, because for all I know another horde of zombie bugbears will come crashing out of the brush and attack us. We’ve found the childhood home of Kun-We, and his homecoming has been far from idyllic. As we journeyed along the coast Kun-We recognized our surroundings and bolted towards the village to the south. We encountered a couple of groups of undead humans and bugbears along the way. When we made it to the village we found it in ruin, and still occupied by the formerly alive bugbears who once called it home. They were like swarming insects. We eventually managed to fight them off thankfully. Now we’re continuing our original plan of heading along the coast and following it to where we can cut straight east to the “X” on the map. Kun-We is pretty quiet. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see one’s former family and friends in that state, and then have to fight them to the death. Let’s hope we can get off this damned island sooner rather than later.

So much for avoiding complications.

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Book of Nod
Page Thirteen

All I can seem to think on is misery as of late, this collar keeping me in this state. This collar will take some adjusting to; some considerable adjusting to. I think part of the magics in this collar keep my moods more consistent, at least, that’s what I hope it is. If it keeps me in this state of misery that certainly wouldn’t bode well for me. I can’t enjoy the breeze, the wood beneath my feet provides no satisfying texture, the sea holds no beauty. I simply sit here and sulk.

It is so very unlike me.

Suldren seems to be under the impression that he knows everything and that vexes me. I had invited him to talk over a game of chess so I could fully explain myself, not being exactly fully allowed with the debacle that had happened. Well, in wonderful tradition Suldren seemed to miss the point yet again, this time departing like a child in a full tantrum. I had warned him to leave his anger at the door, so I can’t help but wonder what did he expect? Does he expect me to coo in his ear? Pat his back when he spits up and then dab his lip? I wished to fully explain myself and the ways of the fey so that he could be more informed. He is certainly an inspiring leader and means well when his temper isn’t flaired, but he still has much to learn.

So it concerns me that as of late he has become more… bloodthirsty? I saw the look in his eye when he had confronted me. He was weighing the pros and cons of my blood on his hands. He had given a goblin more quarter when we were supposed to kill him and now he isn’t even concerned when Kun-We slaughters innocent merchants only trying to protect themselves and their goods. I had told him his near death experience was a mistake, something I did not foresee, I had apologized for my indiscretion, said that I had wished to amend any wrongs I had done at any cost and still he seethes just under the surface at my very presence.

All the things that were said about trust and the oathcircle had proven to be my nemesis. I had told Suldren (in not so many words) that my acts did not speak volumes about my intent. They were like Man’s words, mutable like water. I cannot believe what most of this plane say they will do, they change their minds when it suits them. In the Fey Wild, words ARE action. Just like when they decided it did not suit them to return the compass, it did not suit them to grant me mercy after they had sworn an oath to protect a Dagger.

That is not entirely true, I retract that. I was granted mercy, it was just the murder that I could still see in his eyes. Suldren cannot understand my addiction to irony and doesn’t want to, perhaps he never will. My addiction consumes me like his rage consumes him so I cannot fault him his weakness.

Actually, I should say consumed. This collar prevents any love that I have…

Additionally, Kun-We had disappointed me somewhat. I had asked him why he should allow me to remove my collar and why he had any interest in it. As far as I could read Kun-We ignores everything that he doesn’t understand or enjoy, so his interest could have been only one of 2 things.

As he stated, it certainly wasn’t compassion for me.

Therefore, I imagine at some point he must have been a slave. It’s the only thing I can think of that fits. It reminds him of a time that he loathed.

I am still miserable again. I think I shall have to apologize to Talmud for my demeanor as of late. I’ll ask him if he’d like to play some chess sometime, it’ll help me get my mind off of things for a spell. He has been a good friend to me and I need to repay him more somehow.

Parlor tricks… parlor tricks…Foolish Suldren.

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From the Journal of Cassius Wolfslayer
Page Twelve

We had a well-earned rest as the crew of the Cortadormar waited for its chance at a nighttime raid on Lurd. Afterwards, Suldren and I confronted Nod. He confessed to impersonating Suldren through a seagull and alerting the governor to our plan. He told us that this was because he cannot tell a lie and so he could not deceive the governor. Somehow his behavioral restrictions allow him to deceive the group as a whole, and impersonate someone else, which apparently does not count as a lie to him? I grew frustrated at the situation and decided to inform Kun-We and Vuden why they almost died earlier in the day. They took the news about as well as I thought they would.

When the three of us returned to Nod’s room, Sam was talking to Suldren, and was soon joined by the captain. We went into Nod’s room and did not see him. As we discussed the situation Nod revealed himself to be there, invisible. After a lengthy… LENGTHY… discussion, it was decided that Nod would have to stay. This was because he would die if we expelled him since he had secretly sworn an oath with Talmud to watch over and protect our group. Apparently jeopardizing our lives in a needless fight with the town guard does not mean one is failing to protect the group.

At the captain’s order, Sam forged a Fey Collar and bound it around Nod’s neck. The magic of the charm keeps a fey from acting upon his or her chaotic nature. My problem with the whole thing is that Nod is trying to convince us this is just how fey are, that this is their nature. I fear he’s giving their kind a bad name. Not being able to lie is one thing. If that is something he is incapable of doing that is fine if it is who he is. If the problem was really only that he is a chaotic and completely honest fey, then I would be much more accepting of his actions. But being a fey that cannot lie does not give one the excuse to be a complete idiot. I’ve read a lot about their kind and even know a fey personally, so I, unlike the other Daggers, know how bizarre this is. If honesty was what was compelling him why wasn’t he honest with us? He is a wizard; they are supposed to be educated. An educated person knows perfectly well that a bugbear that runs around with two huge axes and says they will “meet betrayal with death” is going to kill you if you betray the group! Fey are chaotic and quirky, they are not suicidal and ignorant. They often lack social graces and are aloof, but they know what the definition of betrayal is. How could he not expect us to view this as betrayal?

Nod is a puzzle to me. He thinks he is a fey but he is not. He is not fully there yet, more like a slowly developing child. I fear he may have focused on all the wrong parts of the life lessons fey learn when they come of age. Perhaps he was just dropped on his head as an infant, I don’t know. It’s obvious why his kind cast him out though. It’s like being on a crew with a sailor who lights the boat on fire and then tries to tell you that’s what sailors do.

Anyway, we raided Lurd under cover fire from the Cortadormar’s cannons. We made it through the screaming crowds and frantic guards to the governor’s mansion. There we literally made off like bandits. Such wealth and treasures! It was like something from one of my books! And just like one of my books, there was a climactic fight at the end. The governor and another large group of his guards burst in right before we left. Aside from the governor no man was left standing. Technically the governor wasn’t left standing, as he left running before the fight was over. Anyway, we succeeded in our raid and made it back to the ship. On the ship we divvied up the loot we wanted to keep. I got a salve that restores to me a spell I’ve already cast, as well as a skeleton key. It was a very rewarding night.

Captain Lee asked us if we knew of any safe ports we could dock in. We thought it was as good a time as any that the Heroes of Winterhaven make their return. Lord Winthrop welcomed us in town and we had time to sell off our loot. It wasn’t long though before word reached Lord Winthrop that the King’s cousin had his mansion raided. Soldiers were no doubt on their way and would be in town soon. We left and Lord Winthrop promised he wouldn’t tell the King’s soldiers we were there.

We find ourselves back on the sea, waiting for things to die down a bit back on land. Who knows what we’ll find out here. With our luck Nod will shout out a curse at Melora and bring down her wrath upon us all, but not before claiming he didn’t see it as harming the group.

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