What Comes Around Goes Around

The end of life as we know it

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”
The tunnel was mercifully short, opening into a smaller chamber than previously. It did, however, house a small, furious inhabitant that was already charging at the group.
This creature took most of Theros’ attention, but a movement out of the corner of his eye drew him to look up, straight at what could only be a sea hag. The tales did not do it justice. It was truly hideous and definitely not covered in enough clothing.

The small creature stopped suddenly, and for lack of a better description, full body vomited some sort of goo over the party. Theros immediately felt less than ideal, but thankfully for the rest of the party, he was able to inspire their actions, along with speeding their reactions.

Barney smote the small creature, even as Theros informed the group of the sea hags threat. A hail of arrows, magic and even a divine teleportation of a barbarian destroyed her utterly. Poor Nugg summoned another large crocodile to help, but the fearsome aura of the hag had slowed it substantially.

The now ritual scavenging of the bodies was quick. Neither of these foul things had anything more worthy than a disgusting shawl. With nothing for it bu to continue further down the tunnels, Theros strode away, a vague sense of unease growing more and more prevalent the further he went towards the centre of the world.
The next chamber had a wonder of mystical proportions. Something that looked like it was right out of Scottish faerie tale. Long-necked and long-tailed, this large, predatory reptile glides through the water on four powerful flippers…or rather, very stumpy legs. Something was very wrong here!
Next to the strange creature was a beautiful, if large sight. She resembled a powerful giant with hairless blue-green skin, deep blue eyes, flamboyant eyebrows, and pearlescent teeth, but was stunning as well. The sight of something so gorgeous down in the depths was a shock to young Theros and it took him a moment to react.

In that time, the weird sea-turned-land creature wobbled forwards quickly, only to be met by a cloud of dense fog summoned by Ashe. This quick piece of thinking allowed the group to recover themselves somewhat and Theros moved cautiously forwards in the direction he had last seen the caves inhabitants.

While moving slowly, Theros cast another spell of haste while singing gently to inspire his party. Unable to see out of the fog, all he could hear was the slightly muffled sounds of spells being cast and yells of anger, most likely from Barney, who was on the verge of exploding in anger at any given moment regardless of the circumstances.

Inching his way out of the fog, the large, long necked creature was close to him, so he scuttle a little further, hoping he was out of reach of the vicious teeth and long reach. Once he was happy with the range, he unleashed several wooden thunderbolts in the form of arrows. The group had already damaged the creature and it fell quickly.

The next thing Theros knew, he was suspended in a violently swirling body of water, where before, there had been none. Struggling to breath and finding it hard to swim, it looked grim for the bard.

Desna, as always, was on hand to help, in the form of her Avatar, Ashe.

His new found blessing that allowed him to teleport short distances proved extremely handy and he simply teleported out of the water and cast a spell that allowed him complete control over the body of water. Blurry as Ashe was, he could be seen extorting the water and gesturing for it to subside, which it did immediately.

The water reformed into the beautiful giant woman and with little else in her arsenal, she was quickly cut down. This Guardian of the orb had a lot to answer for! His control of these beings was a foul perversion and Theros was heartily sick of it.

At last, a way out of the caves and back into the water…

…Theros had to stop himself for a moment. The thought of going back into the water was actually terrifying, so why was that the preferred travel option? The caves had bothered the bard more than he cared to admit.
And immediately came face to face with a massive creature, so large that it could put dragons to shame! The urge to retreat back to the cave was almost overwhelming. A massive lizard, shaped like a giant fish with a powerful, toothed maw bore down on them all.
It was also obscuring a much smaller creature, but little did Theros know, that the smaller creature would prove the greater threat. That said, it was still over twenty five feet long with tentacles on its face longer than a man was tall, and it dwarfed the party.

Barney immediately moved to attack the larger beast and somehow ended up wildly swinging while clenched between it’s massive teeth. Then he was gone. Swallowed in one fell gulp!

Nugg fell to controlling the creature and summoning animals to aid in seeing it off while Arlen focused his considerable magical prowess at it as well, in a desperate attempt to get Barney back.

This left Ashe and Theros, now in the form of a merman, and singing bubbly tunes to inspire his party, to face the giant tentacles of the large, clearly malevolent being in front of them.

This, dear readers, is where Theros developed a well honed fear and intense dislike of tentacles. Sea food would only very rarely grace his table, and never something that had tentacles. The vivid memories still plague him to this day.

It quickly became clear that this thing was not only intelligent, but was casting spells! Fortunately, the party proved strong willed enough to resist the effects because it seemed as though it was attempting to dominate the humans.

And something new…The creatures tentacles brushed against Arlen and then Theros. Both felt their skin transform into a clear slimy membrane, soft and slimy to the touch. Disgusted with the effect, Theros had great difficulty focusing.

Luckily, the massive flippered behemoth was now dead, although Barney was no where to be seen still, and the rest of the party brought their formidable powers to bear on this foul thing. Furious combat ensued and the party was able to stop the creature before anybody else was afflicted with the foul slimy disease.

Ashe was able to cure the issue, but there were cautionary tales of being careful where Theros went in future. Ashe appeared to be enjoying this a little too much.

While Ashe was preparing the cure spells, Barney burst out of the side of the behemoth! Clearly he had been fighting his way free from the moment he was swallowed. It was only his good fortune that he was already deep in water and the goo was washed free from him swiftly.

Another hole appeared beneath the party as they swam ever deeper. Another entrance to another submerged cave system apparently, but following the path Theros needed to take.
The tunnel stretched out ahead and spread out into a moderate sized cave. Well, it would have been moderate had it not been largely filled with a huge body of water, swirling around threateningly. A water elemental!
And barely glimpsed from behind it was a humanoid face framed by a cobra-like hood, which adorned the body of a long, brightly colored serpent. Theros had heard tales of these. A guardian naga. These were supposed to be gracious creatures, aligned with the forces of good.

Barney immediately charged the water elemental. It never really stood a chance. it blocked the naga predominantly, so it became the sole focus of the groups entire attacks and it fell quickly.

The naga, on the other hand, was considerably more trouble. It appeared to have the same spell as Arlen, several bolts of scorching fire, and it focused directly on Arlen, slamming into him, causing him to cry out in pain.

The cave suddenly lost one of its occupants. Invisibility was something the party had seen and used before, so while it was a challenge, they at least knew what was going on. Desna, again, helped Ashe in the preparation of his spells. He cast something that acted like a invisibility void zone, and as he walked forwards, the naga was seen, retreated behind the cover of a rock.

Once it was found, it was isolated and trapped and unable to stave off the violent defeat. Once it was dead, Theros walked over to it and bowed his head in shame. Another good creature that he was forced to kill, simply to survive. All he could do was ensure that the Guardian of the gem was killed and these mind controlled creatures could go back to their own lives, and their deaths would not prove to be in vain.

There was only one way to go unless the party wished to retreat back to the water. This was along tunnel and it led to a huge clear chamber with only one exit, and one occupant. A large bronze dragon.
Theros had recently seen much bigger dragons, but having met them, he knew this was a good dragon, but not as old as those he had been chasing in the past. This didn’t change the level of danger such a creature posed.

“I am sorry great dragon. I am striving to get to the being holding your mind captive, but we must get past you.”

The dragon had a modicum of control of itself and responded, letting Theros know it understood and that they should either kill it or flee, as it was not able to hold itself back any longer.

The feeling of unease in Theros’ gut was churning now and after Barney charged the majestic creature, nearly cleaving it in twain (and possibly should have dear readers, something was amiss in this place) the rest of the party retreated to a patch of created fog. Meanwhile, one by one, anybody who attacked the dragon, simply disappeared.

When Theros shot at the great dragon, he winked out of all existence, only to find himself inside some form of goo, trapped inside a sac or membrane of some kind. Somebody slit the sac and Theros fell ungraciously to the floor, gasping for breath and retching the putrid stuff from his lungs, not even able to take the time to survey his immediate surroundings.

Magic saves the day

bluup bluup blop said Theros. Well that was what the sound that came out of him as the giant fish floated up. I speculated it was to do with his tactic of outwitting the fish but considering the subject matter the sound he made was the most intelligible he could come up with.

No matter the cause or how he reacted conquering that massive tuna thingy was a party saving feat. Hopefully the druid in mono themed fish form would take note that even though he was in huge beat form he was in fact not beastly. All those teeth he now had couldn’t deny he was still a spell caster in reality. My hopes were short of the mark…

Floundering in deep water was proving time and time again that it was not the forte of these land lubber types. Even moving to our destination was proving disorientating

Ten thousand inches beneath the sea...lake

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”

Theros would have breathed a sigh of relief if his lungs weren’t currently filled with water, allowing him to breath underwater.

Somehow understanding the moans of pain from Nugg the friendly Orca to mean that he wanted some healing, Ashe and Theros started doling out cure spells via the wands they both carried. Some large number of charges later, Barney and Nugg were ready to go again, looking no worse for wear.

Concerned that the light was attracting the marine life to them, Theros made what surely sounded like an intelligent suggestion.

“We should lose the bright lights and just have something really dim so we can see, and don’t get spotted so easily by the fish down here.”

It seemed like good idea, so Nugg removed his light spell and Theros cast prestidigitation and made little glowing spots all over the large Orcas body so that the group could at least feel like they had some sort of vision.

With nothing else for it, the group grabbed onto Nuggs large dorsal fin and continued on their merry way, deeper into the very depths of the world itself.

Straight into another fishy ambush!
Yet again, more tentacles erupted from beneath the young bard, encircling Nugg. These looked a little different, but the result was the same. Nugg had his…hands?…full with an almost mirror image of himself however.
Not able to give the other Orca his full attention, Theros searched below him, only to see a tentacle snare him as well. Luckily, by this stage, he had already transformed himself back in the form of a merman, so he could see what was attacking him and did his level best not to panic immediately.

Ashe had clearly grown in the eyes of Desna and using his new found power, an aura exuded from the avatar, allowing Theros to ignore the tentacle, even though it wrapped him tightly.

With no other options, he loosed arrows at the very tentacle he was being grappled by. In fact, this soon became his only target as the squid squirted out a foul black substance and disappear from view.

Help arrived shortly in the form of an Orca, thankfully it was Nugg rather than the less friendly Willy, who had been freed, but from his mortal coil rather than an enclosure (A friendly joke, dear reader, it may become clear in time).

The group focused on the tentacle and soon it was hacked, bleeding and the squid itself was destroyed. It seemed a shame that these majestic creatures would be forced to fight when they might ordinarily stay out of the way and live long, fulfilled lives.

The realisation that the group was a target by anything down here, whether the group could see or not was a shock. Theros hadn’t even considered that there was no light down here ordinarily and therefore, the creatures down here would be able to find them regardless. It was a sobering thought.

A large outcropping of rock was actually a relief at this point as Theros led the group further down, into the inky depths. In fact, the outcropping appeared to have a cave in it. And that cave looked to have air in it!

Hardly able to believe his senses, Theros made for the hole, almost throwing caution to the wind, his head breaking the surface and the light illuminating a cave, with actual semi-dry land inside.

There were three ways out of the cave (including the watery exit from which the group had just arrived), but since nobody wanted to go back into the water so soon, the two tunnels quickly became the only options.

A tunnel was chosen at random and after a short walk (our young hero was extremely glad to be walking again!) they arrived at yet another cave.

This one was hollowed out and had a couple of large rock formations breaking the simple area down, along with two pools of water of undetermined depth. From behind one of the rock formations, a humanoid figure could be seen peering out.

Theros strode forwards and tried to breach the silence in every language he knew, but to no avail. Barney decided a more direct approach was in order and simply walked towards the figure instead.

His arrival as heralded by a loud gasp of shock, a cry of pain and a thump as he went unconscious, bleeding from multiple wounds, clearly in danger of dying from blood loss.

Theros went into action slowly. The shock of seeing his most hardy party member fall prone in such a violent and quick manner stalled his actions as horror curled its snaky tendrils around his heart.
Theros’ first sight of the creature did nothing to alleviate his fears. His mind started to shut down and he couldn’t even dredge up any folk lore on this thing in his shocked state.

A cloud of yellowy, greenish sulphur enveloped the group and most struggled not to vomit on the spot as nausea hit them like a hammer between the eyes. Theros focused on the only thing he could do and moved deeper into the cave to avoid the cloud of gas, hoping the effect would wear off quickly.

Thankfully, Nugg was outside the effects and summoned his nature allies, content to try and distract the foul thing while the others got their heads back in the game.

It took some time, nearly thirty seconds, which in the middle of combat is a lifetime, for Theros to get over the gagging. As he finally managed to look around and see the cave properly, he could see Nuggs’ creatures holding the creature at bay, but only just, and Arlen, moving steadily up towards it, his many images of himself copying his every move.

Summoning his eldritch powers, he blasted the creature with twin rays of fire. The look on his face said it all. This was the single best casting he had ever done with this spell, and he clearly expected little could stand against it, and the triumph on his face said it all. Until it was revealed that it had somehow survived, looking worse for wear, but now VERY angry, and focused completely on Arlen. His eyes grew wide in shock and fear.

With little other options, Theros tried to get over to Barney, co-ordinating with Ashe to attempt to save the barbarian. Ashe called on his favour to Desna yet again, pulling Theros from the threat of his own doom as the creature had moved over to the young bard and almost killed him in three fell swipes.

Theros felt faint and could feel some sort of poison coursing through his body, making him weaker by the second, and it was at this point Ashe disappeared, re-appeared next to Theros and then teleported the both of them out of immediate harms ways. The translocation must have scrambled what little of Theros’ brain there was left at this point as he crumpled, mercifully, into a heap on the ground, the world going dark.

He awoke gingerly, feeling older and more in pain than he could ever remember. His limbs struggled to lift him from the ground, but rise he did, calling on Desna himself to aid him by healing his mortal wounds, much as Ashe must have done to moments ago.

Nugg continued to keep up a tirade of summoned beasts, distracting the creature just enough that Arlen and his magical images were able to stall it long enough for Desna to come to the aid of the party, allowing Theros to heal both himself and Barney, while Ashe attempted to hold the thing in place, but unfortunately, failed.

When all looked lost, Arlen found a reserve of magic from deep in his soul, burst through the creatures formidable magical defenses, and several small bolts of force blasted it in the chest, dropping it to the ground, finally ending the threat.

With time to stop for a moment, Theros got a good look at the creature and finally remembered something of it. It was called a Piscodaemon, and it was indeed a formidable opponent, with defenses against almost anything the group could throw at it.

Nobody in the group felt overly well, or at the very least, had expended their mystical or magical energies and were drained. Rest and healing was called for, and this cave, with a dead Piscodaemon and only two exits, was the best place to be.

A long, anxious, but ultimately, the group was able to rest well enough to be almost fully healed and recuperated by what might be considered the next morning.

Another tunnel beckoned…

How to get water out of your ear

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.3”

It took a week. A week, practically hidden away from the crowds, the family, the light of day, but it was worth it. Theros had been mentally (and where possible, jotting down) cataloging his travels over the past months, starting from the fateful morning where he was forced to leave Digon till returning from the past.

These would be extremely important notes to allow him to ensure his story was immortalised in print and stored in libraries and bard lore the world over.

Theros had spent the week slaving over the first draft of his first book after ensuring he had his events in order. While it certainly wasn’t finished, he had enough to flesh it out when he had more time.

An insistent knock thudded through his brain as he jerked awake, parchment stuck to the side of his face. Sleep deprived, unwashed, piles of plates, cutlery and mugs perched in precarious piles around the room, Theros took stock, looked out the window and saw the sun had come up.

“Get ya arse out here ya bloody great poof! Don’t make me come in there. Neither of us want that!”

Looks like it was Barney’s turn to try and rouse Theros from the room. The less than subtle threat sufficiently motivated the young bard.

“I’m coming! Give me five minutes and I’ll be down.”

Of course! It was time to continue the journey. Theros had lost all track of time while writing his memoirs. He would have to entrust his documents to Andramoon Greenshire and continue his vital writing on his return, and at least they would be safe if he didn’t return.

Making his way downstairs to join his party at breakfast. Sitting down, he barely had time to order when a portal flashed in front of him. Ziggy stepped out and began the first of numerous unfinished conversations, based on different situations, from different timelines, times, or even just moods.

Suffice to say, Theros was barely in the mood to travel, let alone try and focus on a time addled, entirely too intense wizard, continuously hopping through time like he was trying out a pair of boots, popping out of portals like a three-year old playing peek a boo.

As soon as Ziggy re-appeared for the third time, Theros turned, swiped the nearest piece of cutlery (sadly, a spoon) and hurled it at the surprised wizard, the utensil flying a foot to the side of him. Sighing dejectedly as he missed, Theros listened to yet another story from this Ziggy’s timeline.

If you are confused dear reader, you are not alone. Ziggy was a conundrum, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a time-traveler. He confused even Theros.

“Seek out the Crystal Nymphs in the Library. They will lead you to the Crystal Song Pools.”

Some genuinely helpful advice! Theros pulled himself up from the table, grabbing his large bundle of papers and figured this was as good a time as any to deliver his works to the Library anyway. Of course, Arlen was already out of his chair and almost to the door at the mere thought that he could spend more time with his elven lady friend.

The trip to the library was fraught with distractions. Ziggy appeared yet again, closely followed by an arrow appearing from the market, going directly through the space that Ziggy appeared in, and then disappeared from.

Two Time Lords (readers will remember these cultists from the attack on Ziggys shop in volume two, of course) stood in the market place, calmly readying their weapons as they made to attack the group, for simply being known to associate with Ziggy.

Suffice to say, they were less challenge than the group that attacked earlier and were summarily dispatched in brutal and efficient means. Theros sighed in annoyance.

“Ziggy gets us in trouble no matter what time he’s in.”

The library told the group exactly where to go. There was sure that they had researched the location prior to this, but had found precisely, well, nothing. The mixed jumble of memories from contrasting timelines bounced around inside his skull for a few moments before settling like a stone in water.

The trip to the lake was uneventful. The lakes’ past stopped many people from going there, and the suspicion of ghostly related drownings ensured the level of interest was low to begin with.

Setting camp about an hour away from the lake seemed prudent, not least because it would ensure that Barney could offer his suggestion and we could simply agree on it and move on.

The next day Theros was strolling around the area when he heard some of the most beautiful singing he had ever listened to…his own not withstanding…and followed the voices, only to find the rest of the group trailing on his coat tails, some listening as well, others, simply following as sheep do.
Over a slight rise the sight of several gorgeous women, happily swimming, mostly naked, singing deliciously stopped the group in their tracks.

Theros began to sing a counter harmony to the song being sung for two reasons. One, simply to show that he could, and two, to let the beautiful women know he was approaching and that he meant no harm.

Not that he should have worried.

“Come here! Come to me!”

Most of the women retreated a few yards deeper into the lake to cover their modesty, but one in particular beckoned Theros. Almost as though his will was no longer his own, he made his way over to her.

“What are you doing here?”

Theros managed to retain some semblance of control, not giving everything away, but sighed in relief as Arlen simply blurted out the groups goals. Theros didn’t want to hold any information back from this stunning woman.

“We are the keepers of this crystal you seek. Would you like to come with us to attempt the trials?”

She beckoned Theros closer, entwining her arms with his, kissing him deeply. His lungs fill with water, and a moment of panic attacked, until he realised that they had tipped into the lake and Theros was now comfortably breathing the very water around him as though it was air!

The rest of the group slowly followed suit, although Ashe had to spend quite some time coaxing Nugg’s wolf into the lake, as Nugg had already descended deeper.

The swim down was made easy by simply holding onto the women as they carried the group down to their city.
There was a vast assortment of underwater life down here. Theros saw many things that he would not have normally thought lived in fresh water, but it didn’t seem to impede the explosion of life.

The city was both unexpected and beautiful. The city was bubbles of light, which the group was gently deposited into, meeting with the leader of the city straight away. Clearly, visitors were uncommon enough to be noticed immediately.

A long discussion followed, but Theros had trouble focusing on anything but the woman who carried him down into the depths. Nodding in agreement to whatever was said, he only barely heard that the crystal was in the keeping of the very original guardian from several thousand years ago, and he had gotten so possessive that all life was a threat to his hold on the crystal.

Below the the city, everything marine was under his control. Everything was his eyes and ears. Everything was likely to attack the group immediately.

This was all unimportant detail as Theros followed the again beckoning woman into a bed chamber to rest.

A gentleman never shares more than is appropriate dear readers. Suffice to say, our young hero enjoyed his night.

The trip deeper required some extra thought. Travel and combat might prove very troublesome in deep water. Thankfully, Nugg was growing in power all the time and was able to transform himself into something he called an Orca. We grabbed hold of his large fin and he swam us further into the depths.

Except Wolf.

Wolf wasn’t keen to go any further and Nugg agreed to leave him with the Nereids until the group returned.
It wasn’t long before Theros felt the chill of battle. A mammoth shark floated directly in front of the group, just at the end of the light being given off, a mere twenty feet in diameter. A large octopus drifted to one side as well.
Happy to find that he could still talk to some degree of intelligibility, Theros exhorted his companions to greater feats than ever before, while casting a spell of haste, allowing the group faster movement and attacking speeds.

He then transformed himself into a merman, finding that their ability to see in complete darkness of deep water and ability to swim was extremely helpful.

While he was casting, Ashe added a prayer to the mighty Desna to the mix, Nugg swam forward into the veritable jaws of death, attacking the humongous shark by himself while Barney threw (in as literal sense as possible considering he was underwater) into the tentacles of the octopus and Arlen started casting something from behind Theros.

While the others seemed to be finding their feet, as it were, fighting underwater, Theros had reached a terrifying understanding. His archery did actually work, but any shots over ten feet or so were highly unlikely to be effective at all, and to top it off, both these large sea creatures could reach a good distance, ensuring that Theros had little desire to get close enough to use his short sword.

Nugg was starting to look very badly hurt, but Ashe keep imploring with Desna to aid her favourite disciple in healing her favourite Orca. Barney thrashed wildly, with his falchion, combining with the magical attacks from Arlen. A lucky arrow from Theros ended the threat from the octopus, and Ashe saved the most spectacular effort for when it was needed most.

He teleported right next to the shark, gently touched it and uttered some intent words. The shark, if it could, looked surprised as it immediately ascended towards the surface, trying mightily to swim back down, but failing.

Ashe gave a grin as he pointed.


Truth is often stranger than fiction

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.2”

The majority of the assailants dispatched, Theros surveyed the surroundings. His eyes alighted on Ashe, far below, standing by himself. Out of the inky blackness on either side of the tower, two large glass golems approached Desna’s favourite son.
These jagged constructs of glass have a human’s shape, save that one arm ends in a jagged hammer and another in a spike of glass. And at ten foot tall, dwarfed the bakers apprentice. In two swift blows, Ashe dropped to the ground, too fast to even cry out in pain.

“Arlen! Cast featherfall on me at the limit of your range!”

Theros could only hope Arlen was in a magnanimous mood as he rushed to the edge of the one hundred and twenty foot tower and leaped off. A large sigh of relief escaped as he felt himself slowing while in midair. The flashes of dying, splattered on the ground at the base of the tower were painfully clear. Arlen had come through in a big way.

Floating down, Nugg had clearly summoned something else as another animal appeared and attacked one of the golems, only to be brutally smashed into non-existence before it even had the chance to fight. Theros closed his eyes and hoped wildly that the golems wouldn’t notice him, but it was not to be.

Thankfully, Theros has several mirror images of himself floating alongside, and as he landed, three of them dissipated, Theros untouched. Thanking Desna, he called on her healing power and felt her will rush through him as he healed his fallen friend. Ashe gasped to alertness, looking up at the now familiar sight of Theros as a kobold.

“Can you PLEASE cast a spell to get us out of here Ashe?”

Ashe promptly obliged and the two men reappeared at the top of the tower. While this had been occurring, the single remaining guard attempted to move, but Arlen had enough magic left to deal with her, along with some well timed arrows as Theros stood at the top of the tower again.

It was clear that the golems had no way of getting up the tower, so, while it was painfully slow going, Ashe, Barney, Nugg and Theros pelted the magical creations with ranged weapons until they fell, destroyed.

Ashe had the clever idea to float down to the bottom of the tower, and then use Nugg to ferry his ring of feather fall to each of the other party members so they could float down from where they were stranded. Once together, he focused his energies and healed those that were wounded. Primarily Nuggs wolf and Barney…

Once the group was healed, there was only one door left to deal with, so the group stood in front of it, and Theros, putting his new magical cap of disguise to use, knocked, hoping to get an answer. None was forthcoming. Arlen had pilfered a scroll containing the powerful knock spell off one of the expired guards, and as the group was discussing their options, the door swung open, revealing both a smirk sorcerer outside the tower and two people, a large wolf and the head of a dragon through a portal inside the tower.

“You have been a faithful servant, but they will kill you. Do try and take some of them with you.”

The large wolf backed through the portal and it disappeared. The man being spoken to turned and swore. The woman in front of him appeared to be a cleric of some kind, and she started casting as the man charged.

He ran straight into large, formerly drunk, Barney, now very angry indeed, and getting angrier by the blow. The two large men traded powerful blows, while the cleric was quickly taken care of with a few well placed spells from Ashe and Arlen. Nugg summoned yet another animal to stand behind the man in the tower, and Theros, fearing that Barney would get over-run, cast a simple grease spell on the floor of the tower. The luck of Desna was with him as the man slipped and fell to the ground, wearing a few powerful attacks for his troubles.

With no way to retreat because the summoned wolf was blocking the rear, he fought on, even more furiously than before. Barney looked to on his last legs, and only his rage kept him on his feet. Theros stepped forward and called on his healing magics again, resting a hand on Barney’s shoulder, his energy flowing through the large man, restoring a portion of his strength.

Ashe had two of his spinning blades surrounding the man, Nuggs summoned wolf was behind him, Nuggs wolf companion nipping at his legs from the side, magic and arrows flying through…he stood no chance, overwhelmed at the last, his death drawing a sigh of relief from everybody, and a groan of pain from Barney.

The tower cleared, it was searched from top to bottom, but the magical schematics were nowhere to be found. They had most likely been handed to the dragon through the portal. One mission completed, another failed, Theros led the group back to The Voice of Nature to explain what had happened.

Many conversations followed. Some with The Voice of Nature, some with Orthos (those were particularly brusque), some with the Queen herself. A time came for Theros to find a bed and rest, his mind and body exhausted from exerting itself for a great cause.

Morning came, and Arlen looked a little bit sly.

“Hey…we should get down to Circle in a few days. I had some information that might help us get back home.”

He would not say much more, even when pushed for information, so by general consensus, it was decided to make the short journey to the ground and meet with Arlen’s midnight informant. Landing on the ground, they looked up and the Green City flickered…and vanished. This was NOT like the normal teleporting. Something was wrong. Before they could get to the meeting point however and explore further, they almost immediately started to get the familiar feeling of nausea in the pit of the stomach that precluded the time travel…

The world went white…

Theros blinked and looked around, hearing more than seeing. He had been returned to Digon, his home village. And there was noise! People! Horses! Finally trusting his eyes, he could see people he had known his whole life walking around, doing their daily business. Somebody confirmed the date and yes! it was after the village should have been destroyed. Clearly they had been successful after all!

Arlen had one last surprise. He sheepishly pulled out a green stone. Apparently he thought the Green City of Wonder could spare one and “borrowed” it. Perhaps…this might explain the Green City acting strangely right before the group disappeared back to their own time…

It may be time to re-consider your life choices

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.2”

The arrival in Square was quick. Orthos was brusque and his explanation of the upcoming mission was to the point and brooked no tomfoolery. Of course, this led to a number of unnecessary questions from several of the group, proving, that one should never take themselves too seriously if they work with Theros and his band of merry men.

The mission was actually simple. Go and meet The Voice of Nature, assist her in any way necessary and find the magical schematics of the Green City currently under the control of the dark dragon armies.

Orthos gave Theros leave to ride on a flight of his personal dragons, and the young bard graciously accepted the honour. Approaching a bronze dragon, he bowed low, asked in deference if he would be permitted to ride on it and was greeted cordially. Mounting the majestic creature, he was taken by surprise with the sheer velocity of their ascent, and had it not been for the attention of the dragon beneath him, Theros would have fallen to the ground far below.

Flying towards the forests of the The Voice of Nature the group flew over the body of a massive dragon. Asking the group to fly lower and skim past, Theros was saddened to hear from the dragon carrying him that this was a well known dragon and that Orthos would be extremely unhappy to find out it had died.

Landing in a large clearing, Theros dismounted. As soon as the whole group had hopped off the dragons, they leaped into the air again, making their way back home. Theros spied a guide approaching them. A short dialogue indicated that they should leave now as there was a long walk ahead of them.

Arriving at a large tree, possibly the same one they had been taken to two thousand years in the future, the party met a very young Driad. She had just taken over from the previous Voice of Nature and was struggling to stop the ravages of the dark dragon army, fast encroaching on her forest boundaries.

“Help us Theros Vitalstatistix, you’re our only hope.”

It seemed simple enough. A large, deforested clearing with a walled, manned tower was the source of the dark dragon army problems, and conveniently, it seemed this was where the magical schematics were being kept as well.

The Voice of Nature offered two of her most stealthy warriors to accompany the party on their mission. Scouting the area, and using the knowledge of the warriors, many, many plans were discussed, including approaching by the stream, under cover of darkness and may more. It was eventually pointed out by Barney that under moonlight, the group could see well enough and simply teleport once they reached the appropriate distance from the tower.

Plan set, the group sprung into action as night fell. Making their way carefully towards the tower, they used the powerful magics of dimension door (kindly provided on scrolls by Ashe) and the power of flight (also cast by Ashe) on the warriors, the party split into three attack groups and followed the plans.

Theros, Nugg and Arlen teleported directly to the top of the tower in the middle, one hundred and twenty feet in the air, a good sixty feet above the walls of the enclave. One man was up there and he turned in surprise as arrows and magic assailed him. He tried to intercept the casters, but perished doing so.

Once the top of the tower was clear, Theros scanned the battlements for the rest of the attack groups. Barney had charged and was trading blows with a number of guards, Nuggs wolf had run off in the opposite direction and was engaging other guards, the forest warriors were each in the process of disabling a balista and the attached guards, and Ashe was feverishly trying to keep Barney from being overwhelmed and healed at the same time.

Nugg concentrated on sending summon creature after summoned creature over to help his wolf, while Arlen and Theros focused their considerable (and in Arlens case, literal!) firepower on the guards attacking and shooting at Barney.

The ground below went dark at some point, a magical combination of fog and darkness, hiding the remaining combatants and saving those on the walls from having to deal with additional re-enforcements.

Realising that the only way up to the top of this tower was a single rope suspended over a deep drop, Theros cut the rope, trusting that another way down could be found, but preferring not to have any unexpected company join him.

Barney took blow after blow stoically, but was looking very troubled before he retreated into the cover mist created by Ashe. While this was happening, a number of extremely potent fireballs erupted, with Arlen cackling with glee as his magics decimated all who stood before him.

The walls were cleared, but not after substantial hardship. The remaining assailant leaped off the wall rather than face Ashe and Barney, only for Ashe to float behind him, long spear poised for the killing blow as he descended. That foe taken care of, there was only the unknown left in the darkness to deal with…

everything is as it seems
At last we were given pardon to leave. The young dragons of the Mages flight calmly wait while we fumble and scramble onto their majestic backs. Once places were set and feet secured they launch into the air. A brief moment of ungainly awkwardness was followed by a subtle dip of their wings. WE bank and fall past the edge of the green city. Even with ample warning some of us failed to hold on forcing them to bend their serpentine neck and readjust us. They chuckle with draconic mirth at our incompetence. Our muso nods in quiet agreement as if he knows their meaning. That guy knows to much at times… The journey was exhilarating furthering Arlens desire to make flying a default mode of transport. On the backs of dragons however made it all the more enjoyable. All of a sudden one keenly spots a form unnatural in its appearance on the ground. With a single order we maneuver closer to the discovery. An elder regal version of our mounts was lying in the disgraceful state of death. Its wounds were fatally inflicted by a much larger version. The enormity of the threat to this time sinks in even more than before. With a promise to return its existence to a more appropriate state our rides glide us past and on to our destination. Even creatures of the Fey start at an age more attributed to mortal man kind. Our host was quite a relative newcomer to their role over the forest. In an unsurprising floral manner we are urged to plan our strategy over the forthcoming day. In unity we scan the intel on our target and the tactics we would need to over come the challenge. We systematically suggest and reject ideas of an aerial manner added with the reality that our teleportation methods are short door jumps. The brains of our group were pondering over an aquatic idea when all of a sudden Barney steps forward and states something related to our predicament. As one we look to the Bard for translation. Once given our looks of incredulity join his. “what he said makes sense” was followed by “he has a good idea” The enormity of that statement sinks in…



Arlen wonders what laws of time/space were compromised in order to make this happen..

What sacrifices were made by innocent folk to pay the universes price..

Nevertheless we aren’t to proud to look at that gift horse and that night we set off. The night weather suitably masks our approach to the stronghold. The henchmen of the dark dragon had wasted the land in order to serve its macabre purpose. They weren’t prepared for us tho. Once we reach the base of its mirror like walls we take the opportunity to cast our arcane and divine powers. Finally the teams are ready and we bampf in.

Our Fey allies assure us of their ability so we task the Magnum and the PI to take care of an emplacement each. We split into force wall and force tower. We use the element of surprise to push home the sweet taste of success. Team Tower were charged with CC and to inflict pain from range. The lookout is quickly dispatched so we turn our attention in support of our allies. Arlen proudly brandishes his new Rod of Meta and focuses on a group of foes unattended till now. Vitalstatistic glances in anticipation of sweet carnage but nothing is forthcoming. When the audio of a dull thump, like a far way explosion in a cavern, reaches his ears he looks back at the mage. Arlen looks like hes eaten something unsavory when he clips “dont ask” A stream of smoke curls out of his nose and mouth. With a shrug and a whiff of burnt hair he re focuses on the melee’s below.

Arlen seems to sort his short his shit out as in short time fiery beads of death sail threw the air to inflict death and disorder. With arrows and allies summoned from the natural world we cull the numbers from the walls. Meanwhile our friends further down use the benefit of fog and darkness to increase the impact of their assault. Their is a pause while the heroes take in the outcome. Things so far have gone their way. But, dear reader, the golems of glass lumber inexorably on and our success hangs still on the thread of luck.

Will our heroes survive??

Your past? My past? Their past? Hang on...whose past?

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.2”

The chamber shook and Theros fell to the floor. The sight of King Remulas of the Green City looking confused as he stood in the room was a shock for everybody and all held their blows for fear of something going wrong. The King seemed to shimmer suddenly.

Struggling to stand quickly, Theros looked up and saw the massive form of a giant materialise in the corner of the room. With the rest of the party either on the ground or otherwise not in position to deal with this new threat, Theros rose to his feet as fast as possible and nocked an arrow to his bow.

Letting loose arrows as fast as he could fire them, the giant roared in pain and lumbered past the rest of the group, a few wayward attacks causing little damage as it swept past them. As it moved, it shimmered and turned into a thing of nightmares…a PIT FIEND! Theros had nowhere to go as the demon closed in. Its huge claws raised and swinging down towards the young bard caused him to flinch in anticipation of a lot of pain.

Instead, a slight graze made him jump in surprise as he looked up and saw nothing. Searching wildly for his foe, he finally caught sight of a kobold standing in front of him. The giant must have changed in mid swing, allowing the young man a lucky escape! Of course, Arlen decided that couldn’t stand and proceeded to zap the hapless kobold with his wand, secured from the doppelganger in Hexagon, causing it to attack Theros, but with lustful intent rather than weapons.
Thankfully, the door to the chamber slid open and the group hurried their way out, only to find themselves staring down a mass of tangled vines and dripping slime rising on two trunk-like legs, reeking of rot and freshly turned earth. Not having any idea what the thing was, aside from potentially being a plant of some kind, Theros had no answer for Arlen when he cried out for advice on how to kill it.

“I have no idea what this is…burn it!”

However, this didn’t seem to do much as fire cast at it seemed to whisper away before damaging the creature. Fortunately, when all else fails, Barney is there to hit things incredibly hard, and hit the creature he did. Ashe was doing a superb job of stabbing things from just the right range and keeping people alive in the background, and without the aid of Desnas’ chosen, it was likely that all would have fallen.
With the death of the plant-like creature, another appeared at the far end of the hallway. A huge, animated tree walked down the corridor, intent of squashing all in its path. Theros had heard of treants and yelled at Arlen.

“This! It’s susceptible to fire. Burn it and it’ll die quickly”

He knew also that they were normally good creatures, but in a position of kill or be killed, Theros chose to live and let fly a spell. The floor in front of the treant grew slick and as it walked over, the large tree slipped and fell to the ground. Knowing that this creature had the ability to trample on all those underfoot meant that while it was prone provided the best opportunity to attack. Arlen threw fire after fire at it while Theros stuck it with arrows and the treant went down quickly, not even getting a chance to attack before ceasing to be.

Up the stairs to the control room rushed the party and through the door, two assailants could be seen prodding at the statuesque form of the Queen, who currently had a spear thrust through her body and was somehow suspended in time.

Nugg rushed to her side as Barney, Ashe, Theros and Arlen moved to cut down a heavily armed man with a greatsword. Behind him was a catfolk wielding twin daggers, hissing and spitting at the assembled group.

Concentrating on one at a time, the heavily armoured man fell quickly, and with nobody to protect her, the catfolk charged and died even quicker. Meanwhile, Nugg had managed to remove the suspended animation state from the Queen and attempted to revive her. She was not unconscious thankfully and simply required some healing, which Ashe was able to provide.

The group consensus was to remain with the Queen and protect her, led by the loudest voice, Barney, rather than make the way throughout the city trying to stave off an entire invasion. At this point, the Queen stood.

“Congratulations! You have passed the final test. In fact, very few people get as far as my control room and save me.”

Theros blinked and between the moments of his eyelids being shut and opening again, he re-appeared in the testing chamber with the Queen still above, looking down and clapping in appreciation.

The Queen led Theros and his group to meet with the elected leader of Icosahedron, Maxon. He ensured the party were ready to leave and then bade them ready themselves. A flash of something and a feeling of momentary confusion followed as the party were now able to look down on Hexagon as it was still being built. The Green City had teleported to above Hexagon!

Only one set of instructions followed.

“Nominate a Mayor for Digon. I don’t care how you do it, or even who it is. You have seven days so get it done.”

Since it was only a half day ride, the group came to a consensus that a side trip to the mine was worth the time. The short side trip revealed that the mine was yet to be started and was only a very short cave.

Digon was in the throes of being completed as well, and Theros’ party were greeted by a nominated official, who promptly told them they weren’t really wanted there, but listed the three chosen families. When quizzed as to why the hamlet couldn’t elect their own Mayor, it was revealed that they had tried and the three families were locked in a virtual stalemate, requiring a deciding vote to be cast by the Green City to make it official.

The three families were the Vitalstatistix, a barbarian family making the move to more civilised climes. Theros was not particularly surprised since he knew of his families so called glorious history. The Willsens , a noble family from other towns with a pedigree in mayoralty and keen to step up again. Finally, there was somewhat of a surprise as the last family was the Gumbles. A well known family in this day and age, known for their shrewd and honest business dealing, and currently running the local tavern successfully.

Meeting with all three families, it became apparent to Theros that all three could do the job. Theros was somewhat biased as he had no interest in becoming Mayor, so was all in favour of suggesting another family. When forced to choose another family, the most popular choice between the three candidates was in fact the Gumbles, and this was the way Theros intended to lead the vote.

Ashe was able to call on the assistance of Desna and while her answers were vague, the group was able to discern that the Vitalstatistix were still the best choice, and so, guided by his Goddess, Theros cast the vote and by group majority, they were elected into office.

While this deliberation was going on, the town had an issue at one of the outlying farms. Some form of creature was terrorising the populace and forcing them to stay away from valuable farm lands. The description of the beast was lacking, but it did match an old story Theros had heard about the establishment of the village.

“There is an old story about the founding of the village. Apparently when this village was first being built, a deadly creature terrorised the town and a group of heroes, passing through, defeated the beast and saved the farmlands. The old stories tell of a monster that swam through dirt like the ocean and was called a bulette, or land shark. This sounds like the same creature!”
With a a good idea what to expect, the group made their way just out of town and made themselves ready. Desna was called upon, songs of heroism were sung, arcane spells were cast, and finally a pony was summoned by Nugg to draw the beast out.

The trap sprung, Theros unleashed multiple arrows and all three found their mark, but one wedged itself under the neck armour, causing blood to gush from a terrible wound. Dying, it was cut down quickly and the threat was taken care of.

The Mayor chosen, the bulette destroyed, Theros led the group back to Hexagon and prepared to be transported back to the Green City. Square was the next destination.

Mother fucking puzzles on a mother fucking flying city

So we have made it to the Emerald city. It is understandable why it has that name. Lucky i like Green.
Anyway we must be the luckiest bunch of guys on the planet. The Queen sees us and gets us admitted. After a bit of an explore we suddenly find ourselves with an audience with the King and Queen and end up agreeing to become representatives of the city and also advisory types for one of the nobles deciding who will run all the new cities being established namely circle square etc etc.
In return the queen is going to make the crystal we need.
We need to pass some tests.
killing things was easy, so easy in fact I slept through one of the fights. But one of the tests was a puzzle, after looking at it for a whole 5 seconds I realised I was not going to solve it so I decided to scratch my arse as it was more productive.
Our most recent test was riding a dragon and being telepathically in control of it. While most of the others went in hard and fell during the fight against a bigger dragon I kept my distance and fought with tactical prowess and managed to see of the offending dragon.
Now the next test appears to have broken failsafes, that in itself is probably a test, but I guess we will find out.

I'vvveee...haaaddd...the time of my life!

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.2”

The sheer amount of magic and ease of which it could be bought staggered Theros. In the space of a few short weeks he’d bought some googles, a hat, a headband, a belt that aided his manual dexterity, a composite longbow and some bracers that instinctively allowed him to know how to use a composite longbow. He’d found a rod that allowed him to cast spells silently, several wands and a cloak that protected him from some of the twists of fate.

The trip to the Council Chamber was fraught with purchasing decisions, and each of them was its own battle. Finally, Theros was sated and he was able to be pulled away from the glorious shops and led to the chambers.

The trip to the chambers reminded Theros of the shaft in the mines, what seemed like forever ago…which through the vagaries of fate, was now actually a couple thousand years in the future.

The green shaft shot the group up and the Council was still in session. Several factions appeared to be arguing over the best way to deal with the Dark Dragon armies, and no decision was able to reached. Clearly this was an issue that had been debated for quite some time and the opposing factions were no closer to a resolution.

Just as the discussion was turning into an argument, the King and Queen walked in. The council bowed in their presence as they were introduced.

“Their royal highness’, the King Romulus and Queen Ayla.”

The discussions were quickly put on hold as the King declared a change in policy throughout the kingdom. As of immediately, Icosahedron was to be broken in regions and governed by a single leader, reporting directly to the crown. As the regions were announced, the gathered nobles grew more interested, each vying for the choicest region.

The remaining region encompassed Hexagon and Digon, and it was obviously considered a poor choice as there were no volunteers putting their hands up. The King grew frustrated and ended up choosing a leader, announcing that the Queens new friends (indicating Theros and his party, dear readers) would be leaving to go with them and help settle the region.

The Council was bade leave and this left only the royal couple and Theros’ group. The King introduced himself and then begged leave himself, leaving the group to talk with Queen Ayla.

After much discussion, it was obvious that the Queen was very intelligent and had formulated some kind of plan involving the group. To this end, she requested Theros and his party apply to become representatives of the Green City. In return for this, she would craft a stone for the group, identical to the dragon stone powering the Green City, thus allowing Theros access to the second of the stones he required to free Porthos and his lover.

This stone would take time to craft, and while this was happening, Queen Ayla suggested that the group could actually be of help once they passed the tests…IF they passed the tests.

The group was led to a large room, all but bare, except for the entrance they used to get into the room and a large window, some distance above them, where the Queen observed.

“The first test will start in 3…2…1…”
A woman, covered in chains, standing next to something that was familiar to Theros suddenly popped into existence. A large beast with five snakelike heads writhing round snapped its jaws at the party. A hydra!
Nothing in all the years of listening and telling tales at the taverns prepared Theros for the woman with chains covering her body. Those dangerous things flicked in and out at will, looking to snare anybody coming close. A demon? Undead? Hideously ugly human? Regardless, she stood in the road of Theros becoming a representative of the Green City, and along with the Hydra, needed to be defeated.

“Attack the hydra in the body, like last time. Don’t cut off any of the heads.”

Barney appeared to take this advice to heart and instead of drawing out the combat, simply gathered his anger, charged at the fell beast and in two massive swipes of his hammer, dropped the beast to the floor, dead.

The woman in chains proved somewhat more difficult. With no idea what she could do, what she was or how to beat her, the group resorted to the tried and test formula of hitting her with everything they had till she fell over. She dished out a large amount of pain, and Barney looked worse for wear as she died.

“The next round will start in 30 seconds…”

Hurriedly, Theros, Ashe and Arlen threw as many healing spells and protection spells as they could on themselves and the others. Theros ended up with several illusionary copies of himself and managed to heal Barney somewhat as two large orcs appeared, flanking something that could only be a medusa. The hissing snakes for hair gave it away.
The medusa had a terrifying gaze that could turn people to stone, and even though the two orcs look huge and imposing, the medusa needed to be taken out first.
“That’s a medusa. It can turn you to stone with a look. Avert your eyes!”

This proved to be troublesome for everybody, but Theros found his ability to shoot at something was severely hampered. This stopped being an issue very quickly as the medusa stepped forward and Theros was unable to look away fast enough. The horror of feeling your body turn to stone was indescribable, and Theros would have screamed in agony had he not become a statue.

He wasn’t sure, but something didn’t feel right though. He could still think, even though he couldn’t see, hear or feel anything.

Theros lost track of time…

…and suddenly, he was flopped to the floor, flesh and blood again, gasping for air that he hadn’t needed, struggling to find his bearings.

“The next challenge will begin in 24 seconds”

Struggling to his feet, he looked around and could only hope that the next challenge wouldn’t prove so fatal, but he thanked Desna for his apparent return from being a statue.

Numbers began to etch themselves on the floor. Barney said what Theros was thinking.

“Ah for Gods sake! Yeah, I’m done.”

Some form of trap, or puzzle had appeared in front of the group and the Queen informed them they had seven minutes to solve the puzzle. Ashe and Arlen started trying to work through all the possible solutions, be they numerical or a pattern. The seven minutes seemed to come along faster than Theros thought possible, and the Ashe bravely made an attempt at solving the puzzle, to no avail.

The markings disappeared and the next challenge was clearly on its way as the room changed substantially. The floor disappeared and Theros appeared to be standing on the night sky, and rushing towards them were five dragons of various colours.

“Choose one to ride champions.”

Theros looked at the assembled dragons and chose a deep green one. Not knowing much more than they could spit acid, he took his chances as it leaped into flight, alongside the other four.
Fast approaching the now flying group was a massive red dragon. Not as big as the one that destroyed the gnome airship, but far larger than what the party was riding, and terrifying none the less.

It was obvious that the group needed to use the dragons to attack and defeat the singular, more powerful foe. Flying forwards, Theros bade his dragon breath acid at the huge red as the others flew themselves into other positions. before they could all get there, the red unleashed its own breath, catching Theros and his dragon in the flames, causing a phenomenal amount of scorching. Theros was amazed they were still in the air.

Arlen was bold and moved closer, only for the huge red to swipe his dragon, leaving great rents in its flesh. The red looked wounded and Theros decided that fortune clearly favoured the bold and moved to flank the red, opposite Arlen, his dragon raking its claws down the reds side.

Unfortunately, this proved ineffective and the bold move proved to be more foolhardy instead as the red turned its attention to Theros and his mighty mount, tearing them from the sky. Theros fell, screaming to the ground far below, the impact thankfully absorbed by his death.

Again, something miraculous occurred and Theros woke, in a puddle of his own drool, lying on the floor of the challenge chamber, to the sound of the Queen speaking.


Dear reader, it has been mentioned previously that this statement does not normally bode well. This was no exception.

“Something has gone wrong with the chamber! We’re trying to fix it now, but the next challenge might be…a little…more fatal…”

The challenge chamber began to change…


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