Cauln

Game 7
Cutter

Mid meal, there's a knock on Estis' door.  Entering the hermit's home is a tall, grey skinned warrior, a Goliath, named Grog.  Estis takes him into a back room for a few moments, and then reemerges to speak with the party.  Grog has told Estis, who tells the party, that the Magisterium has access to the Ways, the Rook that the party so narrowly missed was more than likely them, only moments ahead of the party.

Estis tells the party that they need to take care of the situation.  The party is to confront the magisterium, take what pieces they may have acquired, and end them.  The party comes up with a plan, to ambush this person inside the Ways at one of the junctions.  

Xander asks Estis how he can know when the Ways are opened, to which he responds with "I can just feel it".  Like old bones warning of rain or cold weather, Cutter imagined.  Ashryn asks what these people can do with their abilities.  Estis responds with "they can create floods, forest fires, gales and any other manner of disaster".  These people seem to just "do" magic, so Cutter coins "magic doer" as a bit of a joke.

On another note, the diagram etched onto the glass tower's roof has no correlation to the map of the Ways the party drew out, there are no overlapping lines between the two.

Ashryn wants to spend how ever long it takes to learn magic from Estis.  She's so enraptured by it's mystery, and the history her parents have with it, that she seems to take learning it almost as if she is learning of her own family history.  Xander sits by and watches, unable to learn as of yet, but determined to do magic one way or another.

Gormogon, Grog and Cutter head off to nearby Nivarah, to visit the Gravestone Manor, as well as to pick up a few things and pay off some of Gormogon's loan to a master smith back in Cauln.  Before the three depart, Estis gives Gormogon a sack of coin, and says that it should pay off Gormogon's loan of 400GP.  Gormogon opens the coin pouch to find a few dozen platinum pieces inside.  Nothing really happens in Nivarah, Gormogon asks a weapon smith to forge him a bastard sword, which would take three days to complete.  So Gormogon, Cutter and Grog stay in the Graveston Manor for the time being.

One week after the party met back with Estis, while the party eats breakfast in his home, there's a knock at Estis' door.  A messenger, pale and drenched in sweat, warns Estis of the Magisterium's approach.  The Messenger dies then and there, and the party is told to flee, somewhere far via the Ways.  The party, Grog included, head off into the Ways and back to the location where they had found a white pawn, which Grog tells the party has dropped them off only two days South of Cauln.

The party ride North towards Cauln, but as it's already night time here, they stop after two hours, enough time to give them space away from the door to the Ways they came out of.  As the party rests, they are awakened by five halflings on horseback.  Gormogon and Grog standsat the ready and confront them, while Ashryn, Xander and Cutter hide.   The head halfling can tell there are others hiding, and commands they show themselves, all while Gormogon intimidates and challenges the five halflings into passing us by without any trouble.  

The halflings appear to be with the Magisterium, and they know who the party is.  A fight breaks out, which sees the small combatants easily knocking down the much larger Gormogon and Grog prone, and then sending them skipping across the ground like stones on a lake with a kick.  Cutter can't get anyone to help him out in combat- the party knows he needs someone to take the enemies attention off him but nobody would give him a decent shot, until Ashryn opens up on one of the halflings so Cutter can run in and finish it off.  The party take down three of the halflings, but two of them manage to turn invisible and flee.

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rest combat and a dead messenger?
the deal with the devil

After completing our journey through the ways, myself, cutter, Gormagon Ashryn and a goliath named Grogg all sat back and enjoyed some peace and quiet.  After a good meal and talk of people that must surely know that we were in the ways, Grogg, cutter and Gormagon decided they wanted to visit Navarah whilst Ashryn and I trained with Estis.  I genuinely have no idea why Gormagon needed to go to Navarah but it surely must have been important because he was pretty insistent on going.  While the group was gone Ashryn learned a few tricks in the realm of Magic that I just could not understand.  Being the better student and bent on revenge for my clan I tried the best I could and just could not learn anything. 

I couldn’t do it…. I have the spark and could not learn Magic….. I would give anything… anything to be able to use such power…..

After the week of relative calm, we are all back at Estis’s house enjoying a meal when there is a frantic bang on the door.  As Estis opens the door, a messenger looking all banged up as if he had clearly been running for his life warns that they are on to us and know where we are staying.  Just then the messenger takes his last breath and dies at the door as Estis shouts for us to head east to the tower and back to the ways.  So we go in a hurry back to Cauln and decided to make camp.  As Gormagon was on watch he heard riders approaching and cutter and I decided to hide.  There were five riders and they knew we were there.  The leader, or who we thought was the leader made it plainly obvious that he knew where we were so Gormagon decided to charge him.  Right as Gormagon gets within range of attacking the ambusher disappears!  I have never seen such things.  People disappearing and reappearing in other places…. This is amazing…Oh yea back to fighting, we decide to go ahead and fight the enemy riders with us subduing three of the five attackers before the other two decide it is time for them to go.  During the course of the fight I saw things that could only be called magic. People fighting from a distance, no bows no arrows just things created out of air.  I want this….. I NEEED this…. Melora why have you forsaken me?  Why can I not learn the arts of Magic?  I will do anything to have such power.  I will steal, destroy and do anything to have Magic.  Asmodeus if you are real I will give anything to become one with magic.  I will give my soul to wield power such as what I saw today.  Please for my clan, for my family, Asmodeus if you can hear me show me a sign.  As I sit back waiting for my sign and nothing is happening I hear a voice…. For power you will sell your soul?  As I sit back confused I answer anything for power.  As soon as I reply I feel a strange yet powerful feeling creepy all over my body as a voice says “and it is done” 

Sitting back in caution I am not sure exactly what it is, but hopefully this will help with my lust for revenge. 

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Recapping on another week
And recapping the recap?

These ways… If we aren't careful, they could get to us. It almost got to me… 


We have been collecting these pieces for about two or three days straight, it gives me shivers walking through here. I didn't want to believe anything bad could happen in here, other than getting lost, I didn't want to believe that Cutters concerns could be more real than we all realize. I want this job completed, and I'm not sure I want to stay in here any longer than what is needed… piece collecting was going fine. We wondered in the dark for a while after we ran out of torches, so we grabbed our horse reins and walked along the hand rails. About this time I came up with a theory- as long as you keep moving, running your hands along the rails, you will always find an exit. Regardless of light, regardless if you know the 'way' an exit is always right down the road if you will. We walked in the darkness, attempting to follow familiar paths, but we came across a turn that wasn't there before. It was definitely time to test my theory. Xander likes to speak to me in our tongue a lot, not sure if he is just trying to get a single view point without the others or if he is trying to sway me with tactics or whatever he is doing but he spoke to me again with these Ways so I switched quickly to a language I knew we all clearly spoke and explained my theory. Cutter wasn't originally along with the idea of me going down the path, though I suggested going down the new path alone, so he asked if anyone would go with me. Gormogon piped up, so did Xander, though Cutter thought it would be better for Gormogon to go with. So I handed the white knight piece to Xander (as best I could mind you it was really dark…. wow, like I'm talking to someone else here, I must be going a bit crazy..)
We split off, planning to meet back in a day and a half. That piece led to another door, correct my theory is! (reminds me of this oddly short Elf I met walking home a long time ago, always looked a bit sickly, but he talked rather funny hee hee) We went through the door and saw a whole lot of people… which, heh, isn't good at all. One we were just seen walking through a solid statue so that could make us a target again, here's hopping not. Two all those poor people… I don't want them to be in danger of something, though so many saw us maybe the Magi can't do anything about it. Maybe they never noticed. Heh, heh, yeahhh that's being a bit TOO optimistic. We caused a pretty large scene people were whispering and staring, the guards even approached us and asked us questions. "How did you do that?" they asked, well we answered the best way possible. Do what? Yeah, no, that wasn't the best answer but they replied back with "Walk through the wall?" The conversation mostly went back and forth with us playing the no idea card, which wasn't a lie. We don't actually know how it works it just kind of does. We weren't lying. To make it look like they were handling the situation they took us to the guard house, not against our will however. Gormogon was quite concerned about our horses, but the guards told us they were going to be put in the stables and we can go back anytime to get them. Gormogon pretty much instantly left when he could, I however stayed in the guard house to write a letter for my mother. The guard glanced at me a lot, at first I thought he was being nosey so I VERY smoothly blocked his view of the note, but then I realized that's not at all what he was doing. Silly me! The young man was attracted to me, so I started with a bit of small talk. His name, Jeramy, if he travels, just a bit of basic stuff. I finished my letter, but just as I was about to walk out I turned half my body around toward him, and told him my full name… with a bit of charm behind it. (No, I do not like him I was being polite! Okay maybe he was sorta nice, but I was only being sweet that's all… NOTHING ELSE! ….okay who am I talking too…) I walked out and saw Gormogon, just saying it's easy for a Dragonborn to get your attention but dang it is hard to get a Dragonborn's attention, but he was talking with this other Dragonborn who introduced himself as Balasar Shadowbane. It seems though Gormogon trusts him, so I will trust Gormogon. He filled in Balasar and the two of them helped me get back in the ways. Our plan; start a commotion so I could slip back to the statue, place the piece, and go through. While I told the rest of the group that Gormogon was on his way and with another party, the two Dragon Warriors shall travel on foot towards the Glass Tower. Of course the statue had to have a tall base, and of course the freaking chess board had to be ON TOP of the base, AND I just had to be short… but I'm nimble and strong so I guess it wasn't that big a deal. Pop, slipped right through, no one saw me, I took the piece, and headed back….


….things got really weird, I don't know what I saw but …when I was walking those ways… I heard voices, Cutter's, Gormogon's, Xander's, and very weirdly my own… I was scared, very, very scared. It was just like… like… this horrible nightmare…. I had no control of what was going on, of my own voice, it was horrible…. scary…. I-I can't bare this thought…. not again, I'm done……
When I popped out… I was lucky Cutter and Xander didn't see me right away. I had enough time to wipe away my tears…


I told them of Gormogon and Balasar. (I still feel bad…. his name slipped my mind at the worst of times) Xander seemed to be fine and Cutter was ever so slightly concerned, I told him what I knew of course. Oh! I had to go into town to mail my letter of course. Xander had me buy him two battle axes, I asked if he had the money for it and he gave it to me pretty quickly, I guess he was going to give me it anyway. Cutter actually gave me a good idea to buy a lantern and him and Xander can make oil for it. Though Xander went ahead and made torches…. about 70 of them… Gormogon returned, and so did Balasar, so that's good he didn't kill him or anything. I trust him much more now actually. Cutter asked questions, and Balasar answered them. (Xander started calling them Meatball and Meatwad, I don't even know but, It's sort of funny)
We decided to rest a day, I had just got back, the Dragonborn had just got back. The next day we actually decided to check out the tower one last time before we left for the ways, while we were checking it out Cutter pointed out something interesting, that the tower was missing 30 full feet inside. So we check out the walls, and Gormogon just sort of poofs behind the wall then tells us to follow the walls across. So of course we do, except Cutter… Now Cutter, I actually didn't see this coming, he goes outside and grabs Xander (who is STILL making torches) and yells "XANDER!! THEY'RE GONE!!" Yep that's right. Cutter tricked the poor man into thinking we had all disappeared in the tower, then walked across the wall like we did and started this little number… "Something got my leg!" then dove in. He just fell to the floor laughing, it was funny I admit and I honestly couldn't keep myself from giggling. Xander went in bow drawn, to see us all laughing but he took it well and shrugged it off. After the laugh fest, we found a flight of stairs and began climbing them… I- Was- Worn- OUT. I would rather not do that again, no thank you… Yes I collapsed on the stairs, but Balasar actually came to my aid all gentleman like. Carried me the rest of the up the stairs, I was tired when we got up there still so you know… he put me down, I slept. Right on that hard stone floor, I have never felt such comfortable stone. Everyone else did their thing. Conclusion; this tower is really tall, Gormogon spoke about 45 thousand feet or something like that… grass and yada yada… can see really far really well, du du da…. the floor was inlayed with some fancy metals that made some cool diagram… blah blah, yeah no I was out of it. But yes sure cool! maybe the circle means something about this lady loo seeing far away all detailed and what not. Whatever, I was tired… but everyone wanted to go back down to get better rest. HA HA HA nope… carry me please… and wouldn't you know it Balasar carried me all the way down, I woke just about the start of it. But I wanted to be lazy, and he was being a gentleman so why not be a lady an accept his offer of carrying me all the way down. I think he did it because I was asleep though, but he didn't drop me! So bonus points for the new guy! Man he sure knows how to gain someone's trust. Though it's quite funny, Xander isn't too fond of the idea of him carrying me down so he did a bit of, well I would go as far to call it complaining. (Hmmm….? I'm going on a hunch for this one, I think Xander may be jealous of Mr. Meatwad, heh heh, maybe I'll make some bet about Xander and Balasar fighting over me with Cutter and Gormogon, something like 12 silver pieces nothing too fancy)
Dang it… back in the ways we go, man I feel there should be a song about this place…. "No light will shine. No life will grow. Only pain and regret. In this place of shadow." Yeah that sounds about right. We split off this time to cover as much as possible and just to get this job finished quicker. It was a really long walk again… hours and hours, I hate to complain more… I mean at least we weren't walking we had our horses but that doesn't make it any more comfortable. Maybe I'll just hum some more words for the song…. "It may take you a far. Traversing the paths. But it may warp your minds. More than the bar." Heh, maybe I should sing at an in…. (I think Gormogon gave me an odd look, I might have said some of it out loud or maybe it was just the light who knows)
After all the pieces were gathered and we met back up at one of the cross roads, we headed back through the "White Knight's Crossing" (Cutter used it first, I like it though) then straight to Estis. A few days and we were there. We knocked, he answered. And was straight up "who's the extra?" Just wow man. Very creepy sometimes, just saying. But we gave him the pieces, talked with him for a bit, Xander asked about training him. Quickly I piped and said me too. Estis agreed, Xander didn't actually seem that into it when we started. But I am determined to learn this! I will master magic! I'm ready to learn and Estis better be ready to teach!

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Game 6- securing the ways
Gormogon

Where do I begin? The Ways is becoming a very taxing, and annoying excursion, but it has to be done. Once more we enter the Ways, this time it's after we met Estis Glimmering. We continue to gather th3 chess keys, along with running out of torches and traversing the darkness. We don't find any pieces to take this time, but we do find a black rook that disappears right before our eyes!!!

Out Of torches. Who knew? Back to Knights crossing we go. I suggest to follow th3 railing with our hands since it's pretty much a straight shot back. But before we get to entrance another branch of this pathway pops up. Ashryn has a theory, that all cut offs like this one lead to a door, and she wanted to see if she was right or not. Cutte4, being th3 boss, didn't want to go down there, but ashryn was set. So I went with her, for protection, while cutter and Xander went to Knights crossing. So down the path we go, and come to a new doorway. We decide to go through the door, and we are met with dozens of eyes starring at us, bright lights and what once was music, has now stopped. This is bizarre, where we find ourselves. W3 see two gourds coming 5o us, friendly looking for now, and ask us to follow them to the guard house.  

Our horses get taken to th3 stables while ashryn and myself are questioned by the guardsmen. I answer vaguely as possible, before I go get our horses while ashryn stays behind to write some letter or something. Whil3 I'm outside waiting for her, the last thing I expect is a fellow dragonborn to approach me. He says his name is Balasar Shadowbane, good clan. He says he saw us pop out of the statue and asks us what we're doing here and how we did that. I, deciding to see if he'll do it, have him swear an oath, by life and clan to secrecy if I tell him anything. He does, so I divulge some of what I've been doing. Ashryn trusts me, so he comes along. We attempt to go back through the portal but realize that it is under scrutiny by everyone in the bazaar. So, balasar and I com3 up with a plan fo4 distraction that doesn't involve burning down stables. We decide to fight each other and let ashryn slip through the portal, on top of th3 statue of all places, when she is finally through we stop fighting, and proceed the long 4 day journey to the glass tower.

During those 4 days, we get beset upon by wolves, and balasar handles himself rather well. We arrived to meet the others, and wouldn't you know, cutter and Xander decide to drill my new friend and question him as if I hadn't already done that. However once I told them that he swore an oath to secrecy they were good with it. And to my utte4, and shocking surprise, cutter hands leadership off to me. Go me! 

So we enter the glass tower for the day, to rest and such when cutter discovers the room with the fountain is not as big as it should be. He yells out for a hand and I go to help, when I disappear behind d the wall and the others follow suite. Cutter decides to be a wise ass and tricks Xander into think that we all have been taken, and he believes it, rushes in bow drawn to find cutter 'grabbed' by something. To our amusement xande4 takes it rather well, and up the tower we go.

 

Hours later, we reach the top, ashryn has fallen out, so balasar carries her. On the top of the tower, we can see clearly for 20 miles. I 5ake caution and crawl to th3 edge where I can see a blade of grass 42,712 feet up in the air!!! By larmaxles breath that's high!!! And there appears to be some precious metal and marble inlaid in the floor of the roof, some design I have no clue of. We sleep here, since it's sunris3, and begin our 8 mile walk down 5he stairs. We drink from the fountain, where things happen to all of us for some reason. And into the ways again we go, all 5 of us. We split up this time, balasar, ashryn and I go one way, gathering some more keys, finding a doorway to humans land, and then heading back to meet with cutter and Xander who found another piece or two. So for th3 last time maby, we exit the ways and make our way down to Estis Glimmerings house, where we eat good food, tell him of balasar and give him the keys

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Game 6
Cutter

The morning after killing the Dire Bear, the party heads back into the Way, using up too many torches, spending too much time running back and forth between doorways.  On the path back to the White Knight doorway, the party run out of torches and have to make the trek back in total darkness, now walking their horses back while following the guard rail on the bridge.  Astonishingly enough, on their way back to the White Knight, they notice an extra break in the railing, one that hadn't been there before, meaning that the Ways change, adding or taking away pathways.  Ashryn wants to investigate this new path, but Cutter doesn't want to split the party up, though he'll do it if someone goes with Ashryn.  Cutter sends Gormogon with her, Ashryn may not need the help but having a dragonborn have her back would prove more than enough peace of mind for Cuter and protection for Ashryn should she need it.  Cutter splits off with Xander, he could use the ranger's expertise in hunting and building torches for the inevitable return into the Way.

While Gormogon and Ashryn set off on their adventure, Cutter telling them to meet back at the White Knight entrance in a day and a half, Xander and himself get busy hunting and building torches.  The two manage to make a stupid amount of torches, like 78 of em (mostly thanks to Xander.  Cutter helped hunt, but torch making mainly fell to Xander.)  Ashryn pops out of the Way, sans Gormogon, but says he'll be back in four or five days and that he's traveling with another dragonborn.  Xander and Cutter are immediately suspicious, given the circumstances of what they're having to deal with, trying to keep their knowledge of the Way hush hush and now expecting an outside to play along and not spill the proverbial beans.  But Gormon shows up in five days, Ashryn takes off to Nivarah to buy some things on the fourth day so she'll rendezvoused with everyone back at camp around the same time Gormogon shows up.  Cutter and Xander grill the new dragonborn, named Balasar, and trust Gormogon that he's already made a pact with Balasar, that knowledge spilled about the Way will be treated on pain of death. Cutter, still unsure, lets Gormogon handle things and relinquishes leadership back to Gormogn, hoping it's the right time to do so.

The party camp in the glass tower for the night.  While everyone searches the inside of the tower, Xander sits outside doing his own thing.  Cutter can't help but think that the inside of the tower is smaller than the outside, almost like there's thirty feet of space missing from the inside of the room at the circumference of the tower.  Gormogon starts walking around the edge of the room, patting the wall, and suddenly disappears, followed by Balasar and Ashryn.  Turns out there is a secret to this tower, a hidden wall that hides a stair well.  Cutter, not wanting to miss an opportunity, promptly rushes outside to exclaim to Xander "Everyone's gone!"  Xander, of course, doesn't know what's going on, so he investigates with Cutter, who starts walking and patting the wall like Gormogon did.  As Cutter get to the spot where everyone disappeared, he shouts to Xander "Something got my leg!" and vanishes behind the illusory curtain.  Xander rushes in to find Cutter clutching his sides in laughter, and the rest of his party climbing a stair well.

The stair well is massive.  The party couldn't even count the number of steps it took to get to the top of the tower, but when they final reached the roof, the sun had set, and the sky was full of stars, more star than anyone in the party had ever seen before, even Cutter who lived out in the desert for a year with minimal light most times.  However, as the party had begun to climb the tower as the sun began to set, they found that as they reached the top, the sun had begun to rise!  Somehow (by shear force of will) the party had climber all fourty-two thousand, seven hundred and twelve feet of the tower from ground to roof.  Over seven miles they walked, all through the night.  But as they crest the top of the tower, they notice the roof is made of perfectly carved white marble, with precious metals engraved within.  A circular pattern of arrays carved in like some occult diagram chiseled in the floor.  Gormogon knew exactly how many feet they had climbed to reach the top, because he somehow knew the exact location of the closest blade of grass far below him.  Xander could see, with perfect detail, every leaf on every tree.  The party even came to find out that they could clearly see a distance of nearly twenty miles out in all directions, nearly a whole day's walk out from the tower.  in their amazement, they forgot they had climbed the tower, literally all night (a seven hour long trip up a stair well) just to walk right back down as they sun began to rise.  Back at the base of the tower, they rested, and prepared to journey back into the Way the next day.

The party re-enter the Way, and find a few more chess pieces, but also some dead ends that didn't have a piece.  When the party reaches a doorway with a black rook, the piece vanishes before Ashryn can even reach for it.  Everyone thinks it's odd, and Xander and Cutter think maybe there was someone else inside the Way, just ahead of the party, and that person took the rook after leaving through the doorway.  Puzzled, the party finds that they have mapped the entirety of the Way, at least from everything that connected to the White knight's entrance, so they return to Estus.  Estus knows that someone else was in the Way, but he can't tell us who, he can only sense when the Way is opened, not who opens it.  He feeds the party stew, to which Cutter and Balasar devour with delight.  The Way remains a mystery, but the party has found out some things; The doorways lead to locations all over the land, Cutter and Xander even found an exit near the mountains where the Dwarves live, and Gormogon and Ashryn found an exit right in the middle of a bazzar.  They also learned that the sign posts in the Way were all written in Gnomish.

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Bad dreams in a peaceful time
Xander

After some negotiating back and forth between the group with myself mostly silent, the group decides we should split up to search the ways since it is taking entirely too long to find individual chess pieces and we are burning through entirely to many torches.  (this is my idea from the start but im a jerk so noone listens to me.) So the group splits and myself and cutter head into the ways going our direction and Gormagon and Ashryn headed their own direction.  Cutter and I find two roads, one leading to Antigona, and the other leading to Hafta where there is one piece found.  We eventually make it back to the center piece and wait for Ashryn and Gormagon and they come back to the meeting spot to find us.  The plan beyond this is to meet back at the white knight, “AKA” the glass house after a day and a half if they don’t come back myself and cutter are going in after them.  In the mean time I decide to go ahead and prep some more torches in the event we have to go back in since I am only good at two things, making torches and killing things and I get to do both in the process so this could be fun.  Well in all my fun I must have forgotten to sleep because I had a dream where Gormagon and cutter go into some sort of argument and Gormagon commence to murdering cutter.  Ashryn appears through the ways and says that Gormagon is making his way back another Dragonborn .This is crap…. So for the next four days, I do what I do best…. I kill things and I make torches.  Eventually Gormagon shows up with another Meatball (which is his new name,).  Cutter and Gormagon have a talk which is borderline nuts and Cutter tells Gormagon he is the new leader of the group.  There had to be some sort of Divine intervention to cause this to happen because the fighting was so real and I swear I had to save Cutter from death. I never would have thought that cutter would relinquish power voluntarily.  Then everyone but me makes their way inside to get some rest.  Well after a little while Cutter comes flying outside talking about everyone disappeared so I run in guns a blazing and as we are looking for them Cutter yells that something has his leg and he disappears.  I go on the search and find cutter and everyone else laughing hysterically because I believed him, but even after all of this, we walk up these stairs which seems like forever and after we get to the top we have traveled miles and looking from the top you could see everything in amazing detail.  It’s unreal.  After we have our fun on the tower we get some rest and decide we need to return the pieces to where they go.  So we saddle up to return the pieces to their original owner and at this point in time I am still trying to figure out Meatball because he has been hitting on Ashryn and I don’t like it.  I don’t like it at all.  Well I will continue to keep my Diary up to date as the travels continue…..

Oh and P.S. I asked Estus to help me with my new specialty…. Not to positive if I want to take him up on it right now that stuff is freaky.

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The Letter

Dear Mother,

I have so much to tell you… and so much to ask. The past few weeks have been rather confusing, In fact even further than that, I don't understand at all. Please, mom, let me understand…

Well… first, let me start of with what happened just a few days after we left. We came across a scene of battle, these poor people where attacked by these goblins and some huge wolf. Gormagon and Xander charged in right away, and honestly I may have done the same… but Cutter stayed back to assess the situation by gaining information from a woman who managed to escape from the fray to get help. I waited for Cutter to ask his questions and gather much needed details, but even then we still weren't as prepared for the fight. 

It seems that our group is struggling slightly, Cutter is trying hard to keep us all together… I don't know if it's getting to him though. After a few talks we managed to sort out some problems, we got most of everything out in the open which should help. Gormagon came to me first oddly enough, he asked of my opinion and only gave the best answer I could. Cutter wasn't wrong to be concerned, but no one was really on the same tree branch. Though I'm just beating on the bush now, and I'm using ink too. Oh, did I write that down, oops!

Anyway, Cutter took a walk for a while and came back in the morning after cooling off. We continued on till suddenly Cutter made an odd excuse to go East. I got curious, of course, and just let it happen. After a while I tried to get a better explanation but all he said was he had this feeling, pulling out a random marble Knight chess piece? Gormagon asked him where he got the piece. I however asked him if he played chess, sad that was my first question huh? Cutter explained that he just found it when he woke up after walking of to camp elsewhere, then handed it to Gormagon who swiftly agreed to going East. He originally was begging to be against it so it was getting even weirder. We all agreed to keep going East after Cutter got his chess piece back, later finding a clearing and made camp. Xander made a point on camping directly in the center to have better view of the area, which is pretty smart actually. And wouldn't you know? Gormagon points out this tower in the distance just further East after gathering some firewood, so we agree to head toward it in the morning. Before we went to bed though, I told them that story you told to me about the time you got lost and stayed at a glass tower. They seemed interested in it, I hope I told as well as you did!

You won't believe this at all but that tower we were going to, well we got to it and it was made of GLASS! Just like that one in your story! My curiosity was really urging me on, but caution took over rather quickly. Sadly we walked around and didn't find much it was rather empty with a few rooms on the first floor plus a cabinet with some clothing in it. One room was very large with a fountain in it's center displaying four creatures on it. Does this mean anything to you? Is this the same tower, or even sound remotely familiar?

I don't have much more to write, so don't worry I'll have more letters coming later. And I'll try to not use all the ink. There wasn't a way up to the rest of the floors so we decided to leave it be… plus Cutter felt like we weren't there yet. The 'there' was a stone tablet that looked much like a chess board. It's better if I sum this up… though maybe you understand this more than I originally may have thought… It opened a doorway to a place that Estus called the Ways. Oh yeah, we met up with him cause he was looking for a disturbance. Which turned out to be us opening the paths and traversing through them.

And now I require more answers, you can't hide this any longer… not from me. Estus told me and Xander we had the 'Spark.' The ability to do… things that cannot be reasonably explained. He also mentioned you having that same power, and my father…….

My dad……..

He did too……

You, never told me about him…. only briefly…. I need to know… please? Can't you tell your own daughter? I need to know…..

By the time you receive this, I may still be in Navarah… I asked Estus if he could teach me how to use this, uh, gift. Since I am already down here, first though we are doing a job in the Ways. Estus gave us something to do for the time being, collecting pieces… I'm sure you know what I mean anyway… 

I know I don't ever send letters using the seal, but it was the only way I knew this would arrive safely and quickly. Maybe… you could write me back soon? There's to much I don't understand and feel that I need to understand….

Sincerely your loving daughter,

Ashryn Kain Phirel

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Game 5
Cutter

After awaking in camp, the party move out on their last few days of travel before reaching Nivarih.  That night, after the party's run in with the bugbears, Cutter had slept away from the group's camp (for reasons explained in the "Game 4" entry).  On his personal retreat Cutter had found a curious bobble, a chess piece made of perfect marble.  He took the piece, the Knight, and returned to the party before heading off to their destination.

A day outside of Nivarih, and one chat with his party later, Cutter starts to lead the party off the road.  Curious, as the party knew they needed to head into town first before setting of to find this hermit, Estus, but nobody seemed to really notice, least of all Cutter.  When the party questioned why Cutter had led them into the woods and in the complete wrong direction (East), Cutter merely replied that he was leading the party to where they needed to go, but Cutter himself couldn't think of where that would be.  He knew they needed to go to town and then head North, and didn't know why he had lead the party out this way, he just had a feeling.

He showed the group the marble knight piece he had found, and even handed it off to Gormogon for closer inspection, to which Cutter's need to travel East receded and now Gormogon wanted to push East.  Handing the piece back to Cutter, the group thought they should at least see what was out there, seeing as how two party members had been pulled this way by just holding the knight piece.

The party traveled for an hour, cutting their way through the woods, when they came upon a clearing.  They decided to make camp here for the night, but had spied a large stone tower in the distance.  In the morning, they would investigate.  And so they did, when the party awoke the next morning they set out for the tower, but upon arriving found it to not be stone, but glass.  Ashryn had a memory of one of her mother's stories, of the one time she had gotten lost in this forest surrounding her home.  Ashryn's mother had found such a "stone" tower and had stayed for the night before traveling back home.  The party investigate the tower, but find it to be empty, save for an old bedroom and a large glass room with a fountain.  The party leave, still feeling as though they should travel East.  As the part leave the clearing surrounding the tower, cutter feels as though he has reached as far East as he's needed, and looks at his feet.

The party had stumbled upon a slab of stone, cut out to resemble a large chess board but held in the ground as if to look like a stone cellar entrance.  Cutter places the knight piece he found on the board, which then ripples like water.  As the party talk amongst themselves about what this could be, Cutter correctly deduces that it's a door, and that doors should be entered, for whatever is on the other side usually holds some amount of value.  As he walks in, the rest of the party panics and follows after.

Inside the chess board was dark.  Pitch black.  Lighting a torch, the party found themselves on a ten-foot wide stone path, akin to a bridge with railings and all spanning over a vast nothingness.  Xander lights an arrow on fire and drops it into the void, expecting to see or hear a bottom, but there's nothing.  What's more, the air didn't smell of earth, nor was there a breeze anywhere.  Cutter felt like he wasn't even underground, but somewhere else entirely.  

To their side, on the railing, is another chess board, this time small, and with a miniature knight piece sitting on the board relative to where the original piece sat outside.  Ashryn takes the piece off the board and the part find that the way back is sealed.  Returning the knight piece to the board reopens the passage. The party investigate further, coming to a few cross roads and choosing directions- Cutter and Gormogon even making maps of their travels as to not get lost.  The party come to another small chess board at a dead end, this time with a marble white Bishop.  The path ahead is open, rippling like water like the passage before, and the party exit only to find themselves in a clearing in the woods.

Was it the same clearing?  Ashryn used her Elven awareness to find out that the party had traveled more than two weeks journey away from where they had originally been.  The passages "underground" had lead them further away than the mere three hours they had actually traveled.  The party leave the clearing and return to the passages, following their tracks back to the knight piece.  They exit, and camp for the night at the entrance of the pathway they had cut back when the party first started traveling East.  That night, a stranger approached their camp.

The stranger claims to be Estus Glimmerring, and he has been looking for someone.  Xander questions him, telling him that the party was looking for him and asking why he's out so far from where we were to meet him, but Estus wont say much else, only asking if the party had experienced anything strange as of late.  Cutter tells Estus about the chess piece, to which he replies that it is us he is looking for.  The party looks confused.  They tell him that we have seen some weird things, beginning with the sponge and working our story towards the tower and the passages.  Estus tells them that the passages are known as the "Way", and that they haven't been disturbed in a long time.  Estus tells the group of the Way, how it works, and of other oddities the party has come accross.  Namely why Ashryn and Xander had both been knocked out and had lumps on the back of their necks at the exact same time way back when they got their first job with Bootlum.  Turns out they were attacked and had small crystal implanted in their necks, because they both show signs of having the "spark".  Estus says this spark means they can do magic.  The party looks confused further.  Estus explains what magic is, and reveals to Ashryn that her mother can do it.  Ashryn finds this odd, as she had read every adventure that her mother had gone on, and every journal entry she had ever written, Ashryn would have known.  The reason Ashryn may not have know however, is that to even say the word brings bad omens that the Magisterium would listen.  These people apparently take magic so seriously as to silence anyone that knows about it other than themselves.

Estus tells the group that the Way is too important to let it stay open unguarded.  He shares with the party, a way to close it off for good.  in good faith, he also extracts the crystals implanted in Ashryn and Xander's necks.  Estus says that anything that goes over the railing and into the void surrounding the Way is as good as had never existed.  Cutter takes that to mean it would be a good way to dispose of the chess pieces, and the crystals that were once in his friend's necks, for these crystals are said to feed off of the spark within its host, and act as a beacon for the Magiserium to follow and keep an eye on potential victims.  As the party declares their next move to close off the Way, Estus tells them that they need to dispose of the chess pieces, all thirty-two of them.  Surely some will be gone by now just through the passage of time, but the party has a daunting task ahead of them, to travel the entirety of the Way, or most of it, and throw all but one chess piece into the void.

The party sets out, gathering food and torches for an extended stay in the Way.  They gather a few new pieces, and after all but a few torches burn out and with not much food left, they decide they need to exit to camp and hunt.  Cutter leaves the portal first, depending on stealth to take a look on what may be on the other side.  The party wouldn't even know what time of day it is outside.  As he leaves however, it's still pitch black, but Cutter can hear something large shuffling around.  He retreats to the party, telling them that there's something big on the other side, but Xander wants to see.  He wants to get the meat of whatever it is so we can continue on.  Xander leaves first in stealth, followed by Cutter, who can hear and make a guess as to what the creature is- a bear.  Ashryn follows behind, and Cutter tries to warnd her and Xander.  Gormogon exits the Way with torch in tow, as planned, and the bear notices the party.  It's size is massive, with bonny protrusions coming from its spine and shoulders, a Dire Bear.

The fight goes about as much as you'd expect it to go between a dire bear and a party of kids who are only just figuring out their group dynamic.  Gormogon rushes in with Ashryn, taking most of the blows like a champ and shrugging them off.  Xander stays at a distance, until he doesn't, and move into melee after dropping his bow thirty feet back.  Cutter rushes in, taking advantage as the bear now focuses on Xander, the easier target.  Xander gets hurt pretty bad, Gormogon took most of the bear's claw attacks but came out ok, that armor and shield we got for him paid off, and Ashryn and Cutter both came out unscathed.  Xander took to carving the beast up, and even stripped it of its coat to hand off to Gormogon, who needed a new blanket.

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Baddies We have fought and survived
Gormogon- continued by Bek

Bandits. First and foremost I despise is the Blue Falcon. He's smart, quick, and apparently good at gaining allies. He has gotten away once, and bested us the second time. 

Goblins. I really hate goblins. Not only are they small, and annoying, they have tried to eat/kill my Charlie, twice, along with the other horses. I despise them with a burning passion.

Hobgoblin, bugbear. Goblinoid beings, still pretty nasty and more dangerous then the Blue falcon maby. they hit hard, and are tactful with a hobgoblin, bugbears are.

Bear. not just a bear, but a Dire Bear apparantly. bones sticking out its back, tall as i am on all fours. really tough hide. But bear meat is tasty i hope.

The magesterium-gnomes, humans, treasure trolls (spriggans)

De Rollo, cutters father.More magesterium. Magick doers and evil things summoned from the dark.

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The Spark
Gormogon

we rescued Phrasias Gravestone, the elf warrior and his family. Maria, his wife, and his two daughters, Anna and Adela, were incredibly grateful for our timely arrival, to which they gave us the key to their house in Navarah to stay at when we arrive there. Moving onward, we traveled the Arendia woods for a few more days, suprisingly in a easternly direction, because Cutter thinks that we should go that way. Come to find out he had found a chess piece, a white knight made of pure marble. I inspected the piece, and then i to felt that we should head east. we did so, coming upon a clearing, strangly a perfect circle in the woods, from where i can see a tower, made of stone. cutter and my feelings of heading east lead us to the tower, that upon closer inspection is not made of stone, but of solid glass, with a stone backround on the inside of the glass. this tower, ashryn tells us, is one where her mother stayed at THE ONE TIME, that she got lost in the woods. we arrive to investigate, find it empty of life, but not of signs of someone living there. furnishings, books, clothes, and a room with a fountain. this fountain has 4 heads on it, much like a totem pole, a dragon, a lion, a bird of prey, and an ox. what they mean i dont know at the moment. we end up leaving this magnificent, and confusing tower, still heading eastward. however, it isnt very far at all that we stumble upon a piece of rock, with a chess board design on it. Cutter inserts the white knight on it, it clicks into place, and the stone does nothing upon first glance. we look closer at it and realise that it has become quick sand like, we are able to pass through it. we do so, and arrive in a place of complete darkness. a stone bridge greets us, over a chasm of nothingness. i light a torch and lead the way, coming upon a Y in the trail, cutter flips a coin and we go right. we come upon a T in the way, with a sign that has some strange words on it, that i can read in Draconic and everyone else can read in their own language. the words are Quailo, Thessault, and Viconia. we travel straight in the thessault direction and come upon another chess board door, this one with a white bishop on it. we pass through, woods meet our sights, however we remember the horses, our supplies, and return to go get them. upon exiting the knights crossing as we came to call it we camp for the night, and to gather more torch material. During my watch for the night, lo and behold, here comes a figure in the dark, and to my suprise it is non other the Estis Glimmering himself. he was looking for something strange that had happened, and asked us about it. we told him of the chess doorway, and he said that he had been looking for us. He felt the doors opening, to what he described as The Ways. A passage from another time, that takes you to another place, for quicker travel to destinations. He then tells us of the SPARK, or what he callse, MAGICK!!! I have no idea what he is talking about, no one does. he mentions the magisterium does Magick, that anything unexplainable, or magick wise, is under their gaze. He then tells us that, Ashryn and Xander both have this Spark of Magick. Ashryns mother has it also, although she told no one about this. Estis then asks if anything strange happend to any of us, i mentioned how we signed our names for the Rite of Choosing, using a crystal pen, light green in color. it had reacted differently with Ashryn and Xander then myself and Cutter. we also mentioned that ashryn and xander had been knocked out, but with all their stuff inplace, to which Estis then says that the Magisterium was tracking them by a crystal implant in the back of their necks. he removes them, tells us that The Ways locations must not fall into the Magesteriums hands. We decided to go and collect as many pieces of the chess keys that we can find. we start with the W.knight piece, travel into The Ways collect the W.bishop, a W.pawn, and a Bl.queen, which we start to run low on torches so cutter peeks out and hears something BIG moving around outside. Xander of course, wants to go and fight it, i suggest we turn around and go out another door, but limited supplies and the horses, and xanders insistence bend me to going out the queen door. the three of them sneak out, ready to fight, i exit last, holding the torch, let out a bellowing roar, and we all come face to face with the biggest, ugliest, boneiest bear we have ever seen!!! Needless to say, this bear is strong, and tough. it almost takes me out, however xander comes into close and the bear goes after him instead. we manage to kill it, i aquired a Dire Bear cloack, as we came to call it. a neckalce of bear claws. and alot of meat to last us a while. i then scolded Xander on his rashness, and foolhardiness of his plan, even if it was nessecary to exit and resupply, more thought and caution shouldve been used. i know what cutter goes through with the rest of us as leader.

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