From the Journal of Elrick (Ryan):
Have you ever had one of those days where you just don’t know what the day may bring? Ever drink so much that you completely forget where you are? What about remembering where your pants are? Have you ever had all three of these happen at once? Well, that’s just another day in the life of Elrick The Orange!
If you’re reading this, I’ve either found a way to magically transcribe this and spread tales of my feats across the globe, or I am deceased. I do hope it is the former. Ah yes, I’ve become distracted with my destiny. Let me start again.
My eyes opened to a strange fluid surrounding me in a glass coffin. My head throbbed with a lack of memories of the previous days, a poison of some sort I imagine. With a wave of my hands, and a gentle tone, I ask for my would be captors to free me. This request, however, would be granted by a Deva Paladin named Ronen. He too suffered from the amnesia affliction. With a glance around, I notice that there are others emerging from their pods. Of the Eight pods that were in this room, only 7 people emerged. These men would join me for what would be best described as…
The Day That Dwarves Stood Still!
Joining me would be people you will be hearing me speak about many times in the future. The Half Orc man of the wilderness, Fangrim. He is a man of great strength and perseverance. Next is our stalwart Warlord, Fane. His leadership skills have pushed us to our very limits, while keeping our eyes on our prize. I’ve already mentioned our devout paladin of the Silver Flame, Ronen. Although he is of the Deva race, I know him to be kind and dedicated to his God. I will get into my feelings on the Silver Flame later on. Next is our master artificer, Batalash. His knowledge of the inner working of the arcane structures that power all civilized life is impressive. I wager that even though we both work with the arcane, his knowledge is more practical, where as mine is more abstract and theoretical. Last, but not least, is the Half-Elf wind sorcerer Kal Elis. He has used his command over the primal elements to down even the most mighty of foes.
Well, that’s not entirely it. There was one more. While his name is known, I simply refuse to give him credit in my writings. Needless to say, this dwarf is currently on my hitlist. The final pod, sadly, was filled with a Half-Elven woman. She did not survive, but she would be with us always. She will always have my gratitude for her selfless act. More on her later as well.
We emerge dazed, confused, and wet. Fane, Fangrim, and Ronen break up some chairs strewn about the room to make some make shift clubs to defend themselves, but I need no such armaments. A master of the forces that command this world is only limited by his soul. With a quick check of the door that locked us in, I open it with ease. The next room however, was shrouded in darkness. The only thing visible were the red eyes of kobolds. These kobolds launched themselves at us with ferocity, but with a few quick spells and the clubs of Fane and Fangrim we managed to drive them back. Although many of their brothers were felled, a few were smart enough to tell us what they knew. They didn’t know much, however. Apparently, a tall man and a short man informed them to kill whoever emerged from our room. Apparently, these malnourished kobolds were in no condition to perform that task.
The next room looked like a torture room, with the exception of a brain shaped lump of metal that stood out amongst the rooms items. This gave us pause. Were these kobolds subjected to torture to see how they lived, or how they thought? We armed ourselves with some nearby actual weapons as we advanced through our captor’s domain. We progressed as carefully as a group of naked men armed with a couple knives possible could. After a firebomb trap exploded hurting little more than our pride (although Fane might say differently) we wandered into an area that looked like a giant terrarium. Swarms of what can only be described as needles charged us, as a shambling entity of forest foliage accosted us with the bounty of the forest. We managed to avoid defeat due mostly to the brave action of Fane. Upon spotting the Shambling Horror, he charged without any regard for his personal safety and struck true. Upon his defeat though, we discovered he was merely a pawn for a psychic avian creature met it’s end, once Kal Elis and Batalash alerted us to it’s presence.
All of this without any clothing for any of us. I plead with my mates to get them to get a fig leaf or something, but they decline saying things like “A hero is not the clothes he wears” and “I doubt that fig leaf will protect us from even a stiff wind.” It’s when we opened a door to what looked like a spa that I saw the highlight of our adventure. A single cloth robe hang upon a rack. I snatched it without a second though, and with a single flick of the wrist, I colored it with the very Orange I am known for. The rest of the group rolled their eyes, but with my faith renewed by my new acquisition, we pressed forward.
He led us into a trap. He commented that “You have gotten much farther this time than before!” before dashing off leaving us trapped with a baby blue dragon. Enraged with his betrayal, my vision blurred as I raged threw Elrick Missiles and Freezing Clouds with every ounce of strength I had. With Fane and Ronen holding the beast back, we were able to put the beast down. Fangrim noticed there were a few unusual things about this dragon as well… It seems that his heart was partially mechanical! This is fascinating, and it’s ramifications are simply fascinating! Imagine being able to preserve the greatest minds and leaders of our world with these advances in science!
The dwarven betrayer left us to die, thinking his dragon pet would finish us off. It would seem his calculations were off. With a flip of my hands, I manage to release us from our dragon infested prison, and off to find our captor. This is when things went weird. On our way to confront him, several entities, which I can only describe as simulacrums, stood in our path. Each of them looked like the dwarven betrayer. Blasting, slicing, and bashing each of them felt nice, but their numbers were extraordinary. It seemed that for every one we attacked, two more would emerge in it’s place. For a moment, it even looked like we may overcome this obstacle too. That is when our true foe stepped back into sight. Be brought with him an incendiary device that washed over us with flames. Our naked bodies scorched, Ronen fell broken to the ground. His body began emitting light and a voice eminated from him. “Fear not death. Let it wash over you.”
When you see a Deva fall in battle, and it’s possessed body tells you that you’re about to die… It’s unsettling. When his body began to turn to dust at an accelerated rate…. I just figured that’s how the Deva people passed on into the netherworld. However, when Fangrim fell and started to turn to dust, it was a shock. Was everyone I’m with a simulacrum, and this is a battle test for their readiness? Was I only around to be the control to the experiment? I took a few steps back as Fane and Batalash fell before the swarm of dwarven homunculi. Kel Elis ran past me in terror as they crashed into my body with hammers.
My consciousness slipped and the wave of memories came back. I was sent here by the Church Of The Silver Flame, as well as my fellow Wizard Of The Prismatic Spire, The Yellow. We were to investigate a mad artificer who hoped to make the next breed of warforged. Ones that could infiltrate cities as the general populous.
Was this death? Was my only reward from getting this far to know why I had been led into this trap? Well, you couldn’t read this had I not had the hand of fate intervene.
I awoke to the sounds of battle, strapped to a table. Fane, Fangrim, and Ronen were standing in their full armor and weapons taking down more of our dwarven captors, while Batalash and Kal Elis remained restrained. Ronen fell back to release Batalash, as Kal Elis wriggled from his restraints. I used my considerable talents to release myself with little effort. The alarm was raised, and our dwarven betrayer dashed past us into a secret room. I ran into the room after him, but it was too late. A teleportation circle had been activated in his room, and he was gone. He did, however, leave us with a little parting gift… A series of explosive devices. The voice that emanated from Ronen’s body before sprang to life before us, taking the guise of the poor Half-Elf girl who had come with us. The one who had not survived. She spoke to us that we had not the time to dawdle, and we were to follow her out. I could have sworn I saw a silver flame speak to us… or was it to me? “Escape, and aid me again in the future.” As we followed, a great pressure filled the hallways that threatened to collapse us just as easily as an empty leather pouch. We dashed into the bright sun that lay before us and turned to find her etheral form turn towards the doorway with her hands raised. Then, a bright flash of light and an enormous explosion that shook the mountain to it’s core erupted from within. She gave with all her might and existence to save us, by sacrificing her own in the Silver Flame’s service.
The day is over now, and while we may be worse for wear, the loss here today is just terrible. When I find him though, I’m going to avenge her and everyone else this sick bastard has put through these trials. This could not have been his first experiments with the progress he had made, and until we find him, I know it won’t be his last.
From the Journal of Fane (Nate):
We were so close… but the little bearded bastard slipped right by me. We went to hunt down Alcanane and were met by some of his guards. The funny thing is all the dwarves looked just like him. That guy has serious self-esteem issues. We fought them off one by one, but they kept coming. It was as if he kept making copies of himself, over and over again. Something was not right, for any of us. First I led a charge, only to stop short and go on the defensive. Then I left an opening for the dwarves to pin my companion Batalash. Despite a few good blows, I was certainly not myself. It was like I was in someone else’s body and did not have the usual clarity of mind and battle instinct I usually possess. Then I fell. Like Ronen’s, I can only assume my body crumbled into dust. But that’s just it… It wasn’t my body. It was an abomination; one of that twisted alchemist’s creations. I was relieved to find my true self strapped to a stone slab; I was horrified to see more of Alcanane’s foul magic at play. All of us were trapped, but where had we been? And then the memories came flooding back. My cottage in Aruldusk… the Silver Flame’s request to seek out a new evil… my new companions… Cardinal Patoria… our travels on the lightning rail and through the mountains… Lady Eliura… Lady Eliura… I hardly knew her, but I felt a very strong connection between us. I saw her body, strapped down as well, but just like in the watery tomb she was as cold as ice. Who knows how long ago she passed or why for that matter? Alcanane will pay for her murder. I’ll see to that. Ronen let me loose, but before I could help the others I had to take on the guards and by us some time. Then more came, and finally Alcanane showed his cowardly face. Eventually we finished off his guards, but we couldn’t stop him from fleeing. Not even Elrick knew how to use his teleportation circle and we didn’t have much time. Alcanane left a present for us – some sort of explosive device. There was no longer any doubt whatsoever: this was one psychotic dwarf. Our main objective to bring evidence of his evil plot back to the Silver Flame in Aruldusk was nearly thwarted; luckily I was able to grab the metallic brain-orb as we ran out of the compound just before it exploded. Now what? Back to Aruldusk I suppose, but it won’t be that easy. The explosion surely grabbed the attention of the kobolds that inhabit these mountains. No doubt they will want to offer us up as dinner to their dragon god. Like before we’ll be ready. I’ll be sure of it. My companions and I have fought well thus far. They have surprised me with their battle readiness even though they are not trained soldiers. All seem ready to attack at my command; I will try even harder to make their strikes hit home. They have seemed to take well to my leadership, which is a boon. I have to rely on them to stay strong physically and mentally; should their courage falter I will do all I can to inspire them. … Perhaps Barnes was right. Maybe the military doesn’t have a need for me any longer, but I am loath to give up the sword so easily. If the Silver Flame is my new patron, so be it… I just hope Cardinal Patoria doesn’t expect to see me at the weekly services. I don’t know why, but I also feel I owe something to Lady Eliura. Her death is an ill omen indeed.