Sea of Madness

Unsavory business

We entered a tower in the Shadowfell and battled it’s inhabitants as we made our way upward. We reached a room where I heard something speaking in Draconic and it asked a question as to who would be able to stop it’s master. I answered by saying “The Platinum One has sent us.”

When I saw the skeleton of a large dragon round the corner to speak to us, I expected a fight. Thankfully it was more interested in conversation than combat. Vistin and I catered to the monster’s ego enough that it was willing to accept our help in freeing him. We had to destroy its master and return its phylactery and in return he would spare the life of his elven captive and leave the tower without harassing us. As much as it burned me to make a deal with such a monster, I had to think of what was best for my men.

The fight with the dragon’s master was brutal indeed, I narrowly avoided an attack that I was certain would have been the end of me. After what seemed like hours, we had defeated all of our enemies. We were all exhausted and I silently congratulated myself for my tact earlier knowing that we all might not have survived this fight if we fought the dracolich beforehand.

I take additional solace in the fact that he lives in the shadowfell. Someday he may journey into our realm and start causing trouble. If that happens I have faith the Platinum One will make sure our paths cross again, and the next time we meet there will be no need for conversation.

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Conversations in Nod's Noggin

“…Which is why I’ve put so much consideration into these gifts.”

“So why are you bothering to tell me?” Sartine retorted saltily.

Nod was still unused to mental conversations and wondered how to sigh telepathically. He settled on an image of himself doing just that and continued to polish the canine teeth in his hands, imbuing them with his wintery essence.

“You seem to be very hung up on being an object; being ‘wielded’ and all that.” Nod let the silence hang for a moment before continuing, “I too have spent time as a plaything. It wasn’t something I particularly relished. I was simply a vessel from which information could be scraped. I had lost my identity and become a thing. I was tortured I’d had secrets pried loose and struggled to keep a semblance of who I was. The only thing that could keep me together was buying the crew more time. I told him if they were killed, I would never tell him anything. Knowing I can speak no falsehoods he took me at my word and looked towards other ways to bait me.”

Nod stood and straightened his back. He had aligned the teeth in front of him, “I am not interested in a slave or a tool. What I am looking for is more of an associate, or a partner. I could wield you with impunity, but why? Simply because I can? No, I respect your intelligence too much for that. I ask if you don’t mind being handled by the corpse of a dragon because I know you worship the Raven Queen and she has her vendetta against the undead. “Scathing is her visage!”

“My skies, do I know how you worship the Raven Queen… “

“Yes! All hail…”

“…Yes! I get it! We’re all aware!” Nod shot back.

“We?”

“The royal variety—- We’re off topic. When I was tortured I had undergone a series of blackouts that have been coming more readily. The curious thing is that something has been taking over my mind while I’m encountering these blackouts. You can speak to minds. I would like for you to find out about this alternate persona.”

“The one that is partially joined with you already?”

“What?! What do you mean?”

“There is another that resides in you, not separate, but part of the same.”

“How can this be?”

“Would you like to talk to It?”

“I…but…um…Yes! Yes I would!”

Hello Nod, we have much to discuss—-
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The dead can rest and so can we

Things are going well for me and my crew. We found a fence for our stolen goods and we have earned some goodwill among the locals. We stopped a cult from opening a gate to the underdark and have returned the keystone they stole to its rightful place. The dead rising won’t be a problem for these people anymore.

As the gate was closing, I felt a pull to go through it. Evil creatures were there to be vanquished and treasures were to be had, I knew it. Most of all I knew my men would follow me without complaint. What I didn’t know is how we would return or how long it would take to find a way back. I’ve had my fill of being stranded in other dimensions for now. So we stayed behind as the gate closed and accepted the praise of the locals.

A report documenting what happened will have to be filed, and when it is we will have to find another place to stay. We were told we’d have a month of save haven before that was to happen, and I couldn’t be gladder for it. I’m still not accustomed to not having one of my hands. Maybe in this time off Sam, Cassius, or Nod can figure something out about how to replace it. If not, I’ll still enjoy the respite, the gods know we’ve earned it.

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Book of Nod Vol II Entry 4

It seems that having Cassius keep an eye on me has exacerbated the problem, or at least distanced Cassius from myself. Out of the people that I can at least vaguely trust, it seems he can no longer be a part of them. I remember him coming into my cabin saying he had something really important to tell me, then nothing. The vacuum hit me for could have been a day’s worth of time for all I know. I was back in my room, confused. I had gone back to find Cassius and he was nowhere to be found. I had later discovered he had some sort of seizure.
I do not know what is going on with me and I have no clue what happened. I’d wished to ask him later and Cassius has since been avoiding me. I have to wonder if it was me who put him into a seizure. That thought terrifies me. Quite frankly, I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid of what Cassius would say. What happens if the Prince has possession of me? What happens if he gains complete control? What if the best course of action would be for me to die?
While the current dilemma with the dead rising, I feel it ironic that it’s a pleasant distraction. It gives me a reason to not think about my problem and its possible repercussions. Hopefully time will allow everything to work out. I am too closely involved to look at this objectively.
I think for once, perhaps I’ll just wait and hope things work out.

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A New Beginning

My life has been so surreal these past few months, I can hardly believe it’s all actually happened. It has been a long time since I have felt this good. I still have some the occasional nightmare about my time in captivity, I thank the Platinum One for I know through my faith and service to him he has sped up my recovery. I’m still getting used to not having my left hand. I occasionally go to pick something up or pat one of the men on the back with it, I must eventually find a suitable replacement. Yet despite all of this I awake with a smile for what’s in store.

We have a new ship with most of the old crew and we’ve started to recover the artifacts. We have killed Synelle’s right hand man, there may be more to that situation but isn’t there always when Fey are involved? Although Nod’s behavior has become more crew friendly, and I worry about him very little these days. That may have more to do with Cassius and him becoming friends than his behavior.

Cassius, I have been blessed to have him for all my travels. Trustworthy, intelligent, cunning, powerful, and most importantly loyal. My hope for the future wouldn’t be as strong without him by my side. My hope is tempered by my knowledge that there will be more dark times ahead for the crew of the Cortadormar, and our strength of spirit may be all that helps us get through it. I will inspire my men and become a better leader, I will not allow us to fail.

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From the Journal of Cassius Wolfslayer, Book Two: Page 3

We have been through a lot in the last couple of weeks. We escaped Baba Yaga’s hut. We found the room where the hut could be controlled from and Nod used it to bring us back to the mortal realm. Our ship was there, fully restored, but missing the Meloran artifacts we had collected.

The ship was empty, but in good repair, so we sailed it to Lurd where we hired a new crew. We were able to find one of our old crew-mates, who pointed us in the direction of Sam. Sam was working as an apprentice of sorts for a scholar.

With our crew waiting for us at the ship, we trekked to the tower where we found Sam. He was aiding in the research on an old arcane book; a book that had fallen into the hands of some dark elves deep in the Underdark. In order for Sam to be freed of his service, we needed to get the book.

Once again we found ourselves in the Underdark battling drow and other terrible monsters. After a couple of harrowing fights, we found ourselves up against the leader of that particularly unwelcoming group. She was a haughty bitch, standing high above us on a tall platform. She sent her minions after us: spiders and a fire elemental. We destroyed them and she quickly followed them to oblivion. With the book in hand we returned to the tower and Sam was finally back with us.

Next, we learned of Linny’s whereabouts. Turns out he was in prison (can’t say we were surprised). He was in some small, out-of-the-way town in the country of Connery. With the help of a teleportation ritual, we were in Connery on Linny’s trail.

The prison was obscenely devious, like nothing I’ve ever seen or read about. It’s built in an old wizard’s tower. We spent several days carefully trying to learn about the place. We knew it was a favorite for the people of Connery to imprison pirates. It sat on a cliff, linked to the mainland only by a single bridge.

During the time we spent trying to learn more we tried concocting various plans, and there was some disagreement among the group with how to proceed. While I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with him, Nod and I were in agreement with how we wanted to proceed on this issue. Suldren may be the captain, but I was apprehensive about following his course of action, as it seemed to put me at too much risk. In our many battles, I’ve always done my best to avoid being caught in the fray, rather, I skirt around it. My ability to stay mobile is one of my greatest advantages, and I am starkly aware of it. Going into that tower under the guise of a court official felt like walking into a trap. It felt like those walls would close up around me. I know my apprehension is in part a lingering effect of our internment in the Feywild. I’ve never felt so vulnerable, so trapped, as when I was caught there. It was suffocating. I couldn’t even scream out in pain. I didn’t want to walk into that prison.

The court official that stayed in town while we were there, I’m quite certain he’s a vampire. His visage and his behavior made me suspicious of this, but then when Nod tried to follow him he moved with supernatural speed and agility. We’re leaving Connery, so I don’t expect to see him again, but stranger things have happened. I’ll have to remember his face.

Nod and I decided on using animal messenger rituals and my own ability to turn into a swarm of bats to learn of Linny’s location in the tower. We succeeded, but there was a rub. Linny, and everyone else in the tower, was invisible. It would seem that they salvaged some of the old wizard’s magic when renovating the place into a prison.

Nod and I were able to manufacture some stone-eater acid. That, along with Nod’s mantis charm, we packaged into a little gift for Linny. With my ability to transform into bats, and my ability to cling to walls, I was able to get the care-package to Linny through his cell’s window. The tower’s defenses activated, but we were all able to get away. Linny was not looking his best after the mantis was destroyed during the escape attempt and he took a fall, but he lived.

Our next course of action is to get back to the ship and hunt down the artifacts that were stolen from us. I can’t feel them the way I could when they were on the ship. When we attuned ourselves to them we had to “give up” a piece of ourselves. And that’s what it really felt like, it felt like something punctured me inside, and there was this hole there. But when the ritual completed, a new “piece” was placed and I felt complete. Without the artifacts there’s this nagging feeling of being somehow incomplete.

We will find them. We must.

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Our heroes arrive

Seizing control of Baba Yaga’s hut, Nod speaks aloud a single word:
“Cortadormar”
With that everyone experiences a lurch in their stomach as The Hut leaps through the planes and sets itself down out Winterhaven. Looking out the “window”, everyone can see the sparkling waters of Glimmerblue and the sleek form of the Cortadormar gently rocking in the lakes’ calm waters.A door opens where there was no door, just as Nod thinks to himself “We need a door.”
Stepping out of the hut, a warm Summer breeze brings the smells of woodsmoke and curing meat from the town. Walking towards it, a fump is heard behind as The Hut leaps into the sky and disappears. Heads turn as you walk down Main Street and whispers of “The heroes of Winterhaven!” can be heard from many lips. As you approach Lord Winthrope’s home he emerges, smiling warmly.
“My friends, I was hoping we would see you soon! Your ship arrived of it’s own accord a fortnight ago. A few of the bravest men searched it, worried that you were injured below deck, but they disappeared and no further attempts have been made to board.”

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Book of Nod Vol II Entry 3

I should have honestly seen that coming, easily. In the hut of Baba Yaga a harmless old man being more than he seems? Well played old man, or exarch, I should say more properly. You have certainly done your homework. Might I add that I’m almost not mad to be tied to Vecna, in simple appreciation of cleverness. Well, lesson learned there, at the very least, our new volunteer has achieved our goal of information. He has already proven himself a valuable asset. I hope for our benefit, this continues for the duration of our stay at the hut. We shall need it dearly. Suldren has already lost too much.

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Rock N Roll High School

So this chicken hut is a ridiculous maze. Hopefully we’ll get out of here before the mother of all witches shows up. This place is for real; I was so close to death, i had to back out of the battle. Doesn’t make me look good to the rest of the group, but I do more good alive than dead.
Also, I put something on the line to play some cards against an old man to get information. I was regretting it before we played but thanks to me we won and will get our information. Sadly, I was the only one who won. Everyone one lost something. Suldren lost his hand. I would have hated to see what the old man would have taken from me. I shudder to think. But the very least, we are getting our info and we are getting out of here soon…hopefully. We need to rest. The very least i would need to rest. I’ve been back for less than a day, and I’ve almost died a few times and could have lost a limb or body part. Totally gets the blood pumping doesn’t it?

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Vistin's Journal

Since I last wrote, reader, we have done battle with a number of spectral creatures, two medusas, two flying monstrosities of some sort, and a floor. I should not need to mention that we are still in the feywild.

We may be one step closer to finding Suldren, having made a bargain with a disgruntled hag. She is a creature of the feywild, however, so I am not entirely convinced that making any bargain with her was a good idea. A beholder tried to fool us into helping him instead, so there were worse options on the table, but it’s possible there were better ones as well. Unfortunately, we are pressed for time, as none of us wish to be here when the mother of all witches returns to her hut to find it ransacked by adventurers, so some normally inadvisable courses of action may now be necessary.

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