What Comes Around Goes Around

All for Desna, Desna for all

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

It turns out, the dead don’t like staying dead. Just over a bridge, spanning a rushing torrent of a river, stood a child like creature with what looked like a skull helmet. Something else was behind it, but proved difficult to see.
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Realising quickly that this thing was the decayed hopes of a dead lonely child, Theros cried out that it was an Attic Whisperer. Where he had heard of this foul thing, he couldn’t remember, but something about them caused all sound within a short radius to be cancelled, meaning that the very help he provided the party would be negated if they didn’t destroy this thing either from range or very quickly, preferably both.
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Nuggs’ wolf charged off ahead, along with Barney. The wolf was intercepted by a large, foul, hand that crawled out from under the bridge. Being attacked by that, the Attic Whisperer and seeing another undead creature, clearly a Crypt Thing, from the looks of it, caused the poor beast to cower in fear for the remainder of the fight.
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Barney reached the Hand and smote it mightily with his falchion, globs of pus and ichor spraying from the new wound, causing him some temporary difficulty. Each time he attacked, more pus flew from it, until Barney was covered in it and for some reason, unable to move.

Theros shot arrows at the Attic Whisper and the Hand, trying to whittle away the enemies so that the wolf and Barney would not be killed. Cue Desna to the rescue. Nuggs new found belief in his abilities led him to summoning mighty wolves to aid us, and Ashe called upon Desna’s aid to smite these foul undead things. Between the two, the fight was going quite well.

It was at this point that the Crypt Thing became a substantial issue. The Idiot was quite happily sniping away with magic when the Crypt Thing appeared next to him and sent him fleeing in a (possibly) magically induced terror. It then moved towards Theros and proceed to attack him, vicious talons on its fingers leading the way.

A hurried spell that Theros had been practicing in secret resulted in three illusionary versions of himself appearing and the Crypt Thing attacked them, saving Theros’ life. He kept moving away, firing arrows and hoping he could survive long enough for help to arrive. Luckily, it did as the rest of the party was able to mop up the other two creatures and then finish off the Crypt Thing.

The idiot finally came back…

Reaching Digon finally was a relief. For a few brief moments at any rate, until the Mayor ran roughshod over any respite that might have been gained. Pulling his son away, he told him to finish his adventuring and have a little fun before taking over from him as the Mayor later in life. Apparently the Willsens (Ashe’s ill begotten family) harboured desires to run the town and Theros was the only hope.

After travelling for so long, staying in this poky little hamlet was the last thing Theros wanted, and unable to convince his father otherwise, he agreed, fully intending to ignore the promise and come up with a better plan.

“Little sister? You want to be Mayor right? How’s about we make that happen?

Theros would work on changing laws in Hexagon, while he tasked his sister to start winning the hearts and minds of the townsfolk, so that when the laws did change, she would already be the logical choice. Plan made, Theros skipped town almost immediately, feeling absolutely no guilt whatsoever.

A short trip back to the mines to see Vigeo proved that some good had come of helping those families after all. Some of the group decided to leave their money with the miners, rather than at the village. And they had even managed to get rid of the lone basilisks left in there!

Carrying on from the mines Theros led his group to Hexagon.

Arriving in Hexagon, the party split up and went various ways, but Theros made his way directly to John Rust. The receptionist clearly recognised him and let him walk right on through. The benefit of a little notoriety evident.

“Need to talk to you about the Caverns of Doom, John.”

Rust looked a little distant before asking to be met back in the morning. He cleared his diary of all appointments, so clearly this was going to be an important and in-depth meeting.

With little else to do, Theros made his way back to the Blue Oyster Tavern, noting more and more sick people around. Once at the tavern, it was made very clear that some form of illness was making the rounds, and with communication with the Gods appearing to be in something of a decline, to put it mildly, there was no way to stop the illness spreading.

Naturally, Theros enjoyed the company of the ladies for the evening regardless, trusting that his own healer would be able to look after him should anything go awry…

Ashe was in hot demand from the moment he walked through the city gates, and the following morning was no different. He was led off to the quarantine zone while Theros dealt with the acting leader of the city, getting more information about the Caverns of Doom.

Turned out, clearing an entire mornings worth of appointments was something of an overkill. John had been sent there by some mysterious figure, with very specific instructions to only complete the first four tasks (of five apparently) and how he could beat them. Since he knew what to expect, he stocked up on copious amounts of healing and followed his instructions to the letter, leaving the caverns after completing the first four. This would have been helpful, but unfortunately, after somebody completes a challenge, the challenge will change, and since John went 30 years ago, it was highly likely that at least some of the challenges had been completed.

From there, it was obvious that Theros would lead the group into the relatively unknown and the best option was to ensure that there was a lot of healing available. Theros made a mental note to discuss this with Ashe and stock up on wands, scrolls and potions.

Thanks John, Theros made his way to the quarantine zone to assist Nugg and Ashe. As it turned out, the basic healing was mostly done thanks to Ashe channelling Desna, and anything left was cleaned up by Nugg and where necessary, Theros helped as well. But it was the curing of the diseases that really endeared Ashe to the populous…

…and some well placed words, spoken in the right ears, by Theros…

“If Ashe Willsen is the only one that can still cast healing spells like this, then surely he must be the most favoured of the Gods. Perhaps, this means there is really only ONE God? And since he follows Desna, that must be it.”

The rumours travelled far and wide, faster than many would have deemed possible. Ashe’s renown grew so quickly, he became known as Desna’s avatar, delivering tenents and proving faith will be both tested and rewarded.

Although perhaps developing a mob mentality was not quite what Theros was after, he certainly grew Desna’s reach in Hexagon.

Ashe was so hounded several days later that he ended up fleeing the mobs while invisible and left the city, just to escape. It sounded like this was probably the best time since the bulk of the curing had been dealt with anyway.

Leaving the city, the group made their way to the town of Circle. It was decided that Circle was the stop required to stock up on magic as there was apparently a magic store there. It was a weeks worth of travel, but luckily for Theros, he didn’t have to travel far before his boredom could set in…after all, what good would travel be is some horrible undead thing didn’t attack?

That dear readers, is sarcasm of the highest order.
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A horrible creature, that fitted the description Theros had heard from a tall tavern tale, called a Berbalang waited for the group. While there were a few scary things about this creature, like some sort of ability to split it’s body and soul and attack, the group used a well honed tactic to defeat it.

They rushed it.

Little skill, less finesse, and a violent end was met. Desna must be sick of all the undead creatures roaming around. Regardless, it was onwards to Circle.

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Humble pie never tasted so bitter

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

A time would come where even the lowest point in his life would be a step up from this single, defining moment in Theros’ life.

The moment itself won’t be discussed much, other than to say that it would fit into a gaol, and Theros got to be the unwilling, unconscious, little spoon.

Waking from a blackjack enforced slumber, Theros had trouble remembering what had happened. He remembered the carriage stopping, him firing some arrows, and then hands, violence and blissful darkness.

The overly gleeful description of the resulting scenario from Barney was enough to render even Theros silent. Apparently, a debt was owed to the group however, and Theros vowed he would repay it.

The trip didn’t actually get much better…

The one prisoner the group did manage to capture wasn’t worth holding onto, and through a fairly spectacular lack of planning, skill and foresight, the prisoner simply walked away from the camp at some point in the night, leaving only the echoes of yet another failure haunting the group.

It got worse…

Several days into the extremely long trip, the group was ambushed by what appeared to be a mostly naked man creeping up behind them with nothing but the limited clothes on his back.

“Charge!”

What should have been a fatal war cry from a lone retarded fool became a slightly less clumsy ambush as several other people made their way out from the dense foliage. A dwarf in heavy armour, a man weilding a large two handed axe, a halfling with a bow ensconced up a tree and two others surrounded the carriage, intent on killing all and stealing the ride.

Shots were fired, weapons were swung, spells were cast (primarily those of mobility as the village idiot spent a substantial amount of time fleeing from an enraged, unarmed halfing while taunting him with the very bow that was being used against him) and two of them eventually went the way of the autumn leaves, but not before causing both Barney and Wolf some serious injury.
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One of the bandits got into the carriage (only to be trapped by the quick witted bard tossing a tanglefoot bag at him inside the carriage) and made a discovery.

“Oi! This is the wrong fucking wagon!”

The dwarven walking advert for heavy armour uttered a solid response.

“Shit. Take it anyway.”

And take it they did, kicking the party off the carriage by any means possible, charging weary horses through suddenly overgrown paths (druidic magic at it’s very finest), using violent, bow deprived, enraged halfings to push poor defenseless priests of baking off fast moving carriages, and all the while, enduring magical sniping from a preternaturally fast idiot intent on picking off the bandits one by one, but killing a poor horse instead.

And somehow, it got worse…

It was almost as though the universe decided that Theros, no matter what life he led, in what ever guise he might take, would be forever destined to have any form of vehicle taken from him.
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This particular time was the death of a horse getting cruelly run over while still strapped into the harness attaching it to the carriage, causing the whole thing to flip as though thrown by the hand of a vengeful god, killing the robbing bastard trapped inside (the tanglefoot bag had paid some serious dividends), but allowing two of the bandits to flee for their lives, minus loot, transport and most of their party, all in the search for a different wagon.

Luck was not as harsh a mistress as gravity, and allowed the survival of enough horses for the party to ride on after surveying the wreckage and ensuring the remaining equipment found a suitable home (by Desna, that cloak goes simply perfectly with my eyes…yoink).

Did I mention things continue to get worse?

Some small, weird thing stood in front of the mounted party, something shadowy lurking behind.

…audible sigh…

“Desna? What did I do to deserve this?”

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Sometimes walking is better

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

Days passed. Theros was growing heartily sick of walking. That elf, Imajica, he had the right idea. Teleporting. That’s the way to travel. Instantly where you want to be.

“Sigh.”

The tedium was thankfully broken by the sobbing of a distraught woman. Strange that she was alone, in the wilderness, but a damsel in distress is still a damsel in distress. Especially when she’s being watched by some gigantic bird through the bushes and seemed unaware.

Mentioning the bird to the others, Theros rushed off to help, trusting the others would follow his lead. As he got closer to the woman, he found it hard to pick out her features as she covered herself with her arms while sobbing. Once he was within a few feet, she simply disappeared!
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Then the bird thing charged out of the bushes into the middle of the group and burped, farted or something. No matter, something foul billowed forth from it, luckily not affecting too many of us. In fact, just Nugg’s wolf.

While we were recovering from that, a disgusting creature popped into existence nearby. Old lore told Theros he was looking at an Aranea, a magical, shape changing spider that can cast spells, and still had a poison bite.
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Between the bird and the Aranea, the group fought hard, but they were also lucky. Nugg’s wolf bore the brunt of the poison and the cloud from the bird, but luck only covers part of combat, and Theros rained arrows down on the creatures, ensuring that they would kill any more unsuspecting travelers, ever again.

More long weary days were to follow as the group made their way back to the village finally. The final leg of the trip was interrupted by a man and wife, clearly no longer in a fair and loving relationship, have a fight. He appeared to treat her very badly and she appeared to have done something to deserve it. Neither explained themselves at all well and it was left to them to save their own marriage. Theros was content to know that on this day, just this once, he had aided in stopping a husband assault his wife.

The village welcomed him with open arms.

The first trip was to the local constabulary to inform them of the married couple and the very serious assault accusations. Safe in the knowledge that the sheriff would keep an eye on things, Theros made for the tavern, where he was greeted like a hero. Of course, being a hero helped, so he enjoyed the justly earnt praise.

Ashe and Nugg decided to help the townsfolk sort out their well by sorting out the water in it, and then fixing the well so that the water would no longer be polluted. Of course, in a village that had pioneers, builders, handy people throughout, they got lazy and had the village priest purify the water each day, rather than simply fixing the well. Wonder what would happen if the priest ever lost his spells or decided to leave town? Oh, disaster?

Luckily for the townsfolk, Ashe and Nugg came to the rescue.

Nugg then decided to go and talk to the druid that he met while in town last time. The druid confirmed the same thing the priest said. Their ability to cast spells has gone. They can no longer feel their god.

Turns out, neither can Ashe or Nugg, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped them casting spells. Handy, but very curious. Theros sensed a tale in the making here.

The next day, the group were part way through making preparations to leave when four people strode into town, leading a horse and carriage.

“Vitalstatistix! You’re coming with us! Now!”

Apparently, everything was urgent with these folk. According to them, Theros’ father had hired them to find him and return him to Digon.

“We’re heading back there now. Give us a few minutes and we’ll be ready to go if you want.”

It turns out, this was the point when Theros looked back at his life and it was sizably obvious that these people had absolutely zero interest in being reasonable, and this is where he should have taken a stand, surrounded by he accomplices.

instead, with a quick chat to Ashe, Theros decided that the others would be along right behind him, and he could ride in style all the way back home.

The mercenaries (they were certainly behaving in that manner) showed no inclination to wait and nearly threw Theros in the carriage, when a simple pleasant invitation would have achieved the same result. They then proceeded to lock Theros in the wagon.

“You are seriously damaging my calm!”

With a lot of deep breathes, Theros managed to find his calm and question the mercenaries, finding out that they effectively considered him a prisoner and that they couldn’t be paid if he was killed.

Theros was furious. He’d been nothing but accommodating towards these men and he was treated like a common thief. He would have ridden comfortably with them had they shown even the slightest inclination to be civil. They did not.

Theros played many tricks on the mercenaries, like putting a tanglefoot bag in the wheel of the carriage, attempting to charm one of the group, continuously talking when specifically told not to, setting a fire inside the carriage…

Putting a tanglefoot bag on one side door, Theros cast a subtle spell of heroism on himself and starting singing quietly to himself, waiting, with an arrow nocked on his bowstring, for the door he’d set fire to, to be opened.

“A prisoner you want? Well, a prisoner you’ll get, it actions and words!”

…This could go VERY badly…

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Everybody's a critic

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

Leaving the cave was easier than getting in apparently. Summoning a horse, sending it sprinting out the entrance and running in the opposite direction once the dragons attention was caught seemed the easiest way. Hope that horse didn’t mind to much!

Theros mulled the group goals over while walking slowly towards the little village where they first found out about the death mist. Four pillars, each needing a gem to release the man behind them. The first was apparently somewhere in the Caverns of Doom, where Theros’ good friend, John Rust, had supposedly survived, where nobody else had. Providence? Theros thought not.

If not for Nug however, the trip may have been fairly short. The trip to the village was two weeks from the cave, and gods only knew how long it would take to walk back to Hexagon and Digon from there. Nug and his wolf provided the survival skills to allow Theros’ band of heroes to live off the land while travelling, otherwise, starvation was a serious risk.

The trip to Digon should prove interesting as well. By the time they arrived, Vigeo should have extracted something from the mine that was cleared (mostly) and sent the groups share back home. That alone was worth the trip back. And also, it would be improbable that Franzi would have a better tale to spin then Theros this time, proving that he really IS the better bard…

Theros was pulled from his egotistical musings by the sound of talking. Some fool Halfling was raving, almost frothing at the mouth while his four friends were proving less than tractable when it came to parting peacefully. Theros was about to step in and set everybody straight when one of them boasted he was the best bard in the world, and certainly better than Theros could be.

“Oh, it’s on.”

Theros didn’t even bother correcting him. Scowling, he watched as the man started his own (very poor) version of bardic combat, and immediately proceeded to break into his own, leaving the man looking confused and scared at just how incredible Theros was.

“It’s a dance off bro!”

A subtle spell of heroism on himself to allow his archery to reach even greater heights, and he moved forward into short range and started laying down a veritable hail of arrows over the battlefield.

One enemy was attempting to summon creatures, but two arrows thudding through his flimsy armour put paid to that, disturbing the spell. A second, this one obviously an arcane caster, attempted the same thing. Apparently he hadn’t learnt from his friend, since Theros repeated the action, and got exactly the same result, another disrupted spell.

With the death of the violent halfing to multiple attackers, the other group decided to flee, but only the mage was able to escape. Theros followed the enemy bard as he fled, slipped in the river and was swept closer to Theros, prone, spluttering and helpless.

Theros developed the cold, dead eyes of a killer.

“Better bard than me?”

An arrow swiftly followed, ending any such speculation…

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The fog of undeath lifts

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.1”

The next flight of stairs led to the empty level Theros had seen earlier. Boxes, barrels and the same violent green beam of light bursting through the floor was all there was to see. Theros started making his way towards the next stair case when he was stopped by Ashe, who thought he saw something moving behind one of the boxes.
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Barney rushed over to have a look and found a small, ugly humanoid creature, that Theros was able to recognise as a choker. Between the wolf, Ashe and Barney, the creature had very little chance since it was surrounded and robbed of its greatest weapon, surprise. Well, surprise and fear. So it’s two greatest weapons. Surprise, fear and a ruthless efficiency. Its three greatest weapons…

The next level held no such surprises however.
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A flaming, slightly skeletal, midnight black horse with flames for a mane and tail, and fire breathing out was waiting. And it kept waiting. Until most of the group was at the top of the stairs and then it rushed the group, breathing a foul smelling fog over everybody. Thankfully, the cloud didn’t stay to long after the beast was vanquished, and a short rest later, the party was on the move again.

Already aware of what waited here, Theros was still shocked at just how large this being was.
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Standing over nine foot tall, it rose above everybody in the party. Wielding a massive oversized weapon, it moved forwards, swing it with ease. By now, Barney must be getting used to waking up after ensuing violence. This was close to him doing the same again, Theros feared that should one massive swing get through Barney, the rest of the group, and Theros in particular, were only one swing away from death immediately afterwards.

The cyclops was put down, like the beast it surely was, and the next level beckoned. The others were starting to understand the danger Theros put himself through getting up to the top, just to provide them with information, but it was well used, and possibly sorely needed. Not knowing might have been the death of them.

The page is damaged here. It’s as though a vengeful person has tried to insert an additional battle into the tower somehow, scrawling between the carefully typed paragraphs.

…unknown creature………………difficult battle………..extra level seemed to appear where one was not before……..

The top level was approaching and Theros, still full of compassion, warned the man trapped in the beam that he was making his way up finally, to rescue him, along with his party.
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Hindsight, it turns out, is a wonderful thing.
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The two men were ready and waiting for the party. Spells flew, arrows were shot, blades and staves swung mightily, spears thrust, and in the end, Ashe was unconscious and the man in the beam stopped screaming, just long enough for those watching even a little bit closely, to see his body ripped apart and another body crawl out of the remains and land on the floor.

“I’m free! It’s finally finished!”
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All those watching shuddered in horror. Barney and Theros felt an unnatural compulsion to flee the very sight of such a horrid and powerful creature, and flee they did, unceremoniously leaving their companions to their fates.

A short time later, the supernatural fear ran its course and Theros slowed, stopped, and shook off the lingering effects.

“Oh Desna! Ashe!”

Running back, he came across the rest of the party, minus Ashe, coming back down the stairs, stopped as they encountered Barney sprinting back up them.

“We have to save Ashe!”

Barney was forced to go at the same pace as the rest of the group so that he wasn’t taking on spell casters by himself, swearing all the while.

Reaching the top, Ashe was lying, unconscious, next to the now still body of the remaining sorcerer, the lich, gone.

With the green beam gone and the lich gone, the fog seemed to have disappeared as well. The mystery was solved, but not cleanly wrapped up. Sure as the sun rises, that lich was going to show again. And when he did, Theros vowed to be there to end him.

With nothing else to do, Theros led the group ever onwards towards the cave. A fairly uneventful trip followed. Nearly a fortnight in the wilderness, but the direction was always pulling them in the right way, so there was never a chance to get lost.

A huge mountain was finally spotted, along with the exact cave mouth from the group vision. An unwanted extra was also there. A huge dragon rested at the top of the mountain. Larger than the one that attacked the airship, it inspired a dread in the party, and indecision reigned.

“We should just make a break for it!”

“No, we need to distract it!”

“Just wait for it to fly away and sprint then.”

In the end, waiting proved the best option, if only because the group was busy arguing. Just as they settled on a time to make a break, a high pitched voice could be heard not more than a few hundred yards away, calling to go, run!

Out of the forest and into the clearing ran none other than Fizzle himself! And several others, who were not recognised. Although the dragon saw and heard them, and leapt from the mountain top, flew down and breathed deadly fire over the entire group as they made their way, too slowly, towards the cave entrance.

…not a single person survived…

“Now!”

And with his own yell, Barney sprinted off, hoping the dragon was still making its loop back to the mountain and wouldn’t notice. Spurred to action, the others fled the safety of the forest and prayed to whoever was listening that they could cover the ground between the forest and the cove entrance before the dragon noticed them.

Bursting through the cave mouth, Theros took a moment to catch his breath. A short walk later revealed a scene straight out of the very book they had been following.

A human male was chained up against the far wall, with four pillars in front of him, stopping anybody getting to him to help, and a gnome female wandered helplessly in a large ornate mirror that faced the man.

These must be the cursed lovers, guarded by the jealous dragon!

A long story ensued, but before it had reached its conclusion, Theros and Ashe had promised to help in anyway they could, and the most direct way to help was retrieve four items to shut down the pillars, the first of which was last seen in the Caverns of Doom! Perhaps John Rust, the only known survivor of the Caverns of Doom, might prove to be of assistance in finding them.

Back to Hexagon (with a wee side trip to Digon) it was.

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my little party carrys on
from god

After a somewhat nervous sleep the party carried on twords the strange green light.

After overcoming many obstacles, the in tune one reached the top of the tower to see a man in eminence pain and two others looking on in glee.
Little did he know ’ knock knock knock’ dam it all someone’s at the door just as I’m telling you this important thing . Sigh . Excuse me.

Hello.

Hi how are you today?

I’m fine thanks.

Would you like to read this booklet on God sir? It has many good things for you to follow sir.

Um no thanks I’m quite busy at the moment.

Let us read you this one passage it can be used in your day to day life.

Um you do know who I am right?

Everyone can benefit from this passage sir. Please if you could just look down here . . . THUMP.

Put him in the bag !
You put him in the dam bag! It’s your plan.

Ha he can’t help them now.

…..

..

.

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Rewind

Come with me as we travel back in time.

It was foretold that I Nugg was here in there most darkest times.

Years ago I fought with the trees forebeares against there enemies in the great dragon war with the wonderious city of green.

I do not remember this,
But my name was carved into the tree 2000 years ago.

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Why does everything want to kill us?

So we are travelling through this green fog still but decide we need to rest. Some how we managed not to get killed in our sleep. This wasnt to last though and shortly after we started moving again we got attacked again. These creatures attacking us and getting killed then having to be rekilled is really getting old real quick. We ended up finding a tower which could possibly be the source of all this indicated by the green light eminating from it. So in we go only to be attacked again by some wolf or dog or something. I am really really really tempted to use that cursed sword because I am starting to hate animals.
Well Theros decides to investigate the tower on his own. He quaffs a potion of invisibility and heads up. While he is off doing god knows what we decided to try and block off the green shaft of light but everything we put on it gets destroyed. I have a great idea and get the cursed sword put on it and bingo its destroyed. No more curse there!!!! One down one to go.
Anyway Theros rocks up and tells us what is upstairs and that on the top level is a man in chains who is being held in the middle of the green shaft of light and is not dead. Unfortunately he tried to communicate with the person and tried to free him. He just grabbed hold of the chains tighter. Theros seems to think the guy is a prisoner. I reckon he is the cause and wants to be there. Time will tell… So up the stairs it is. Floor 1 a Golem which is quickly despatched but at the expense of my greatsword. Onto the next floor…..

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Travel Journey Entry 10
Five Guys, One Tower

“All paths converge.” -Desnian farewell.

We moved further through the mist, while again being attacked by crazed wildlife. A particularly nasty wolf that could breath a cone of frigid air nearly took down the entire party in one go but as usual, we prevailed.

Then things got a bit weirder. Instead of crazed animals, we ran into some poor souls that had already entered the unlife. Having never come across such creatures before, I quickly assigned them appropriate names: Sticky Zombie, Smokey, and Don’t Touch Me There.

I’m not quite sure how I ended up fighting the Touchy one, but I soon regretted it. His touch seemed to suck away my ability to think clearly. By the end of the fight I had lost all common sense, and was considering doing something I’d probably regret. Luckily I remembered I had prepared some scrolls of Lesser Restoration for just such an occasion and was able to restore my faculties.

I guess we finally found the centre of this mist (how coincidental that it lay directly in our path from a moving city to a magical cavern.) It was a large tower surrounded by a ring of undead warriors, who were little more than bone. Turns out when you’re just a skeleton, you don’t last too long when you’re being beat upon by a greatsword, or morning star. We dispatched them so easily Theros appeared to take a rest and relax. Nugg’s new pet even managed to bury a few parts for later.

Inside the tower we were attacked by a four-legged ugly hairy beast that proved quite tough to put down. Looking around we were in what appeared to be a kennel with stairs up the only exit. A kennel with multiple stalls…

I really hope his friends don’t come home while we’re still here.

The most interesting feature though, was a thick beam of light shooting up from a hole in the middle of the ground and into a hole in the ceiling.

Realising we were hurt, low on resources, and needing a rest, Theros bravely volunteered to use a potion of invisibility he had found and go scout the tower while the rest of us took a breather.

We watched him drink the potion with a mixture of apprehension and awe, and then tried not to worry about what would happen to him if he was caught.

Using magic to talk to us in our heads (what an amazing trick, he should market himself as the world’s first telecommunications device) he explained that there were multiple levels, each with some horrible creature guarding it. More interesting was what was at the top. Where the beam passed through the top level a chained man was restrained within the beam. He was screaming in agony as two creepy cloaked people loomed over him with steepled fingers and an expression of “excellent.”

I must stop letting Thero’s flowery elaborations work their way into my journal.

Deciding the beam was probably a bad thing we set about trying to disrupt it on the bottom level. Everything we threw in there, be it kennel, pot, or masonry, was simply destroyed by the beam. Despite the fact there is a guy standing in the beam on the top level, we decided not to risk standing in it ourselves.

We had a discussion about what best to do now. After the fight with the beast of the tower we were not in good shape. So bad in fact, that we feared that if we left to find somewhere to rest for the night, we might not survive that trip. Going upstairs seemed even more risky, but perhaps the tower wasn’t as dangerous as it looked, whereas we knew how dangerous the outside was.

A quick check of the room before climbing the stairs revealed the beast had some magical chew toys. One of which was a wand that healed wounds. So we were able to patch up the barbarian and head upstairs with something more like optimism than confidence.

The next floor went much better than the ground floor, as we defeated the golden statue that guarded it without too much trouble. Surely Desna is smiling on us now, and the rest of the tower will go as smoothly.

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The world is a dark and strange place

Excerpt from “My Adventures – The Life of Theros Vitalstatistix, vol.1”

A rest was called for. While the group had been travelling for quite some time, the light never changed. It didn’t get brighter during the height of the day, and it hadn’t gotten darker as night should be falling. Reasoning that it was nearing dusk regardless, Theros suggested a nights rest to recoup some of the groups energy.

Waking up, feeling barely rested, Theros stretched and gradually registered Ashe pottering round the camp, nervous energy burning instead of his normal routine of preparing breakfast, which Theros could really have done with, Nugg and his wolf in various states of grooming, Arlen still sleeping and Barney complaining bitterly about not being drunk enough for this crap.

“It’s frightening how quickly this weird stuff is becoming normal isn’t it?”

Speaking mostly to himself as the others were preoccupied, Theros readied himself for the day ahead. It was a minor miracle nothing had accosted the group during their rest, but Desna didn’t allow one to rest on their laurels for long…something would change.
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Half an hour into the journey and Theros’ suspicion was proved right. A low growling could be heard and some kind of squawking.
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Out of the fog came a large wolf, but something was different. Theros wracked his brain for knowledge from his stories and it came to him. A winter wolf! With a deadly cold breath attack and still able to tear humans apart with tooth and nail as any wolf would do.

And off to the other side, a large flightless bird stalked into view. Standing well over the height of a man, this axe beak looked mean and hungry.

The wolf approached with a fearsome speed and breathed its freezing breath over all of the party apart from Arlen, who had managed to scoot to the side just in time. The unnatural cold stopped the group in their tracks, and it was only through sheer force of will that some didn’t fall into death, and the wolf was dispatched with a mix of fear and the intensity of survival.

The axe beak focused on Barney while the rest attacked the wolf. His durability and will to survive and have another drink won out of the violent bird, and it was beheaded immediately afterwards to stop it raising from the dead, as was the wolf.

Breathing heavily and healing wounded comrades, the party hurriedly moved on. A faint green light could be seen in the distance and some could hear faint screaming as well. Hastening their stride, the group were hardly surprised when something shambled out of the fog to attack.
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What was surprising was it looked like a man. The closer it got, the less it looked like a live man, and more like some form of undead. Knowing little about them, Theros remembered something deep back in the strands of time about something called an adherer. Not true undead at all, but possessing an adhesive skin, much like the mimic.
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The entire group focused on the evil thing, barely noticing as an etheral figure approached from the rear of the group. It started babbling and most of the group, with the exception of Barney who appeared to be out of range, the wolf, standing next to Barney and Theros, who managed to shake off the fascinating effects, recognising it for what it was, a trap.
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With Barney and the wolf concentrating on the adherer (and getting multiple weapons stuck in the process), Theros starting shooting at the new arrival, only to spot another shambling threat making its way towards Nugg, who was off to one side, isolated by himself. Luckily for him, the approaching creature snapped him out of the stupor he was in and his wolf had rushed to his side to defend him. Between those two and Theros’ pin point archery, the undead thing was destroyed quickly, leaving only the insubstantial thing currently caressing Ashe for all it was worth.

Mighty swings of weapons, deadly shots with arrows and even snapping teeth would find the mark, only to pass harmlessly through the apparition. Arlen showed his true worth here, and his magical missiles slammed home time and again, while the occasional attack got through. Finally it dissolved and Ashe sat quickly, looking pale.

Pulling out his scrolls, he looked round quickly.

“Anybody else get hit by that thing?”

Nobody else had, so he cast a couple of spells from the scrolls and stood up, looking much healthier than before, explaining that the thing felt like it was draining away his very will to live.

The green glow could be seen fairly easily now, but more disturbingly, the screaming was loud, and agonising. While the party was struggling to stay on its feet, the fog testing them more than they had ever been in their short careers, the possibility of finding what was causing the fog, stopping it, and rescuing the person in agony was the only way Theros could see going forwards, and Ashe immediately agreed, followed by the others, perhaps a little more circumspect about the end goal.
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A large tower, not far from the bodies of the fallen foes was the obvious target. Approaching it, the base of it was ringed by a small army of skeletons. Having seen these before and knowing how to deal with them, the group dispatched them with ease. Theros nobly allowed the rest of the group their chance to shine…

Making their way to the only entrance that could be found, the large doors were closed and all around was quiet, apart from the terrible screaming continuing unabated. Standing a short distance away, Theros cast his simple cantrip to open the door, allowing the group to move forward after discovering if something had been set off. In this case, the coast appeared to be clear, so Barney took the lead.
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He was immediately charged by a foul canine creature, with hand like appendages rather than simple paws on its front legs. Not knowing what this creature was, the standard tactic of swing and hope was chosen.

While the tactic did work eventually, it proved challenging and only Theros’ arrows appeared to do much damage. Barney went down and only some quick thinking kept him from deaths cold embrace.

The base of the tower had a large green beam of energy erupting upwards from the floor, through the centre of each level above, bursting into the sky. While the group checked the surroundings, it was suggested that Theros make use of the potion of invisibility and do a little scouting ahead.

Before heading up, he cast another simple cantrip that allowed him to message the others while whispering, to allow them to all stay in contact. Not keen, but seeing the value the possible extra knowledge might bring when the party has been as pushed as they are, he quaffed the potion and made his way up the stairs as quietly as he could.

The second level was littered with weapons and boxes, none of which looked particularly valuable. Except for a gold statue by the stairs. Which looked to be animated, but currently not moving. Theros quietly made his way past and up the stairs.

The third level was dominated by a large jet black horse, with flames instead of a mane and fire coming from its mouth as it breathed. Nothing else in the room stood out next to this incredible beast. Again, Theros made his way past the beast and up the stairs.

Luckily, this level had nothing dangerous in it, so he took a moment to whisper back what he had found and carried on up the stairs, hoping that he was coming to the top of the tower.

It wasn’t. The centre of this level had the beam cascading through it, but the other notable figure was a mammoth man, standing nine foot tall, at least. and most strikingly, a large single eye was nestled in the middle of where two eyes would normally be. A fabled cyclops maybe? Theros prayed it didn’t notice him and continued his way up the stairs.

And, finally, to the top he had come. In the middle was the man causing all the screaming (and incidentally, helping to mask Theros’ somewhat clumsy attempts at stealth and his whispered communications back to the group) , chained up, suspended in the green beam, in obvious agony. On either side of him were two robe figures, humanoid in size and shape, rubbing their hands together in wicked glee.

Whispering back to the group what he could see, he found that they hadn’t been idle and had come across a couple of wands and a two potions. One of the wands was a cure light wounds, and was being put to work restoring Barney to full health. The group had tried various methods to stymie the beam, but it destroyed everything that touched it.

“How is this guy still alive then?”

Theros made a bold, and possibly foolhardy decision. He cast his message cantrip on the chained man.

“Don’t acknowledge this discussion. I am here to help. I will do my best to free you. I’m going to cast a spell on you to help you get free of those manacles.”

Theros cast grease on the man, and to his surprise, the man immediately grabbed the chains tightly so he didn’t slip out. The two robed men noticed the film of grease on the man and started looking around. Panicking, Theros cast an illusionary sound the level below hoping to confuse them and let him get in quickly and free the man. They remained resolute and Theros had to retreat.

“It’s up to you now. I’m heading back down to the bottom and rejoining my group. We will try and make our way back up to the top to you if possible.”

Getting back down to the bottom floor, the group discussed their options after working out what Theros had seen. It quickly became obvious there was only one suitable plan.
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Barney led by example and stomped up the stairs, the others close behind. As soon as Barney came into view, the golden statue came alive and started moving. The standard template was to follow, with only a few minor tweaks as the party tried to lure the statue into the beam and failing, and falling back to slashing the automation with weapons. The only casualty was Barney’s greatsword, looking far worse for wear after colliding with the statue a few times.

Only four more levels up the tower to go and the mystery of the fog may finally be solved!

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