Forum Posts

Julie Nieznay
Sep 18, 2019
In Roleplaying
The Order had fought hard to keep the Assanitatem Ligaturam Cucurreris out of the hands of the Guild of the Black Sky, despite the Guild insisting that the artifact be kept by a neutral party. Though when it was assembled, whether by fate or irony, Brennen Farno was the only one present able to attune to the amulet. As Brennen purged the blight from the infected, he saw the awe in their eyes. Inspired by the power of the amulet he knew that others would want to take the power from him. So upon the conclusion of the healings, he absconded to the City of Confluence and hid himself away in his tent. For days he attempted to augur the inner workings of the amulet from the wisdom of Pecune, but his efforts were in vain. A week later, Brennen was still attempting to commune with Pecune. His candles had run out, and the scraps of meals brought by worried guild mates were strewn about his tent. In the darkness, he was tossing assorted coins at a map of the cosmos. In his frustration, he threw them too hard, and they scattered throughout the tent. Then the door to his tent was opened. There stood Artorias, with a disconcerted look on his face. The hunter was concerned for Brennen. Not only as a guildmate, but as a friend. He was used to seeing him pour over work like this, but it was clearly taking a toll on him both physically and mentally. "You've been in here for a week. Figuring out the amulet’s import, but you haven't had any luck and are on the verge of burning yourself out. As the head of the Research Branch, I decided we needed some experts in the different fields of magic. I've gone ahead and invited them, they're in the guest tent." Brennen tried to object, but Artorius shot him a dirty look. They headed out together to the guest tent. Artorias had invited two scholars. Pacing near the entrance was Leya from the Temple of Tharros. She was a prominent mage who drew her magic from both leylines and the moon. She had long studied the arcane arts, and she had even had a chance to decipher the Grimoire. At the far end of the guest tent was Meryn of the Longren, one of the foremost Healers of the realm and Brennen’s mentor. Meryn gave him a long look and said, “You look like a dragon ate you and spit you back out ‘cause it didn’t like the taste. When was the last time you took a bath?” She wrinkled her nose none to delicately. “Had I more warning, I certainly would have had one before this meeting.” Brennen said while trying to keep his composure. “So I assume Artorias invited you all to study the amulet? I guess it would be rude to send you away after you have traveled so far. And how do you intend to be of help?” Meryn rolled her eyes. “Right now you are working with one Being of Power, Pecune. One who isn’t of this realm and has how many acolytes? You...so...one. Meaning He isn’t nearly as powerful here as He is in your world. Let us help. Leya calls upon this moon, a moon that has seen centuries go by on THIS world. I have befriended several elementals...also part of this world. If nothing else, we can help boost your power.” “The ancient power of the moon must have waned, for I have not seen any great feat from her, and you and your elementals pale in comparison to the other forces of nature on this plane. How do you expect them to help us when they can barely help you? Pecune, through his power, has attuned me to the amulet. He is all I need to discern the powers of the amulet.” “Have you learned nothing from me?! Insolent child. I thought better of you. He is NOT all you need. You need us, those who care for you and want you to succeed. You need friends to support you when your own power fails. That is how I heal, how I gather power, and how I have lived my very long life. You can not even begin to understand how you insult me with your accusations.” The snapping anger left Meryn’s eyes as she looked closer at her pupil. “Beings of Power...your god, all gods, elementals too...are capricious at best. They help when it suits them, if they can help at all. You know that. Spurning us and our abilities is not like you.” Meryn approached him with worry evident on her face and her hand extended to him. Brennen jerked away from Meryn’s touch. Artorias then grabbed Brennen by the shirt and jostled him. “People are dying. There is too much at stake for you to act like a child. When it comes to all matters that involve research, my orders are absolute. I don’t want any lip from you, I want your help.” Reluctantly, veeeery reluctantly, Brennen finally agreed to their help. He could not argue Artorias’ reasoning. Nor could he ignore his mentor’s obvious concern. Clutching the amulet close, he led them to his work room and showed them his notes. Leaving them to read and catch up, he moved away from them and made sure to keep a wary eye on their every move. And so, Brennen, Leya and Meryn began their research. At first things progressed as expected...poorly. It took time for the three to attune themselves to each other and find trust. Meryn, having worked with both of them individually before, stood as the keystone in the joining and could mesh with either Brennen or Leya. But whenever they tried to add the last person, the balance broke as Arcane Magic collided with Divine Energy and distrust echoed across the fluctuating energy. This caused their bond to shatter leaving them to deal with some very real and unpleasant physical reactions. Then there was Brennen’s increasing obsession with the amulet. It caused him to lose his temper at odd moments delaying their work even more. Meryn began pulling her hair out at the roots as the other two strained her skills at diplomacy. And everyone knew she was never any good at diplomacy. By the end of a long week full of explosions, noxious smells and migraines, the trio finally saw some advancement in their work. The three sat in a circle all looking like the losers in a bad bar fight, but finally calm and in sync with each other. A Mage Circle inscribed with arcane symbols of the moon and Tharros surrounded them. Candles flickered at the four quarters and a braiser rested in the center with wisps of incense rising from it, burned by a baby salamander sitting in the center of the coals. Brennen placed a coin from his bag to his left between him and Leya, and instructed the others to place a coin of their own in a similar fashion. This was to symbolize how prosperity flows between people, and to strengthen Pecune’s presence. Leya called upon the power of the moon for remembrance. Once she added her power, Meryn began the delicate task of calling an elemental as old as the world, as old as time, to show them what it remembered and what they need to know. The Slyph, Nera, giggled as it appeared dancing through the incense. It touched each of them on the forehead and they found themselves falling into a vision, a memory of the past; Nera’s memory, the moon’s memory, Ostarra’s memory. The vision began with the cries of war. One healer stood above the battlefield frantically searching for a way to save his people. The Mage War raged below him and his sorrow was a tangible thing. The scene shifted blowing away with the smoke of the incense and a disembodied giggle. They found themselves watching as the healer, Malkor, labored over a piece of jewelry. It was an amulet that they instinctively knew belonged to a loved one lost in the senseless Mage War. In it, he imbued all of his sorrow, his longing, and his need to heal so that others would not feel the pain he did. His obsession fixed the power of Divine Healing in place. Once again the scene shifted with the passage of time. The healer changed. The once kind and sorrowful face was now hard and mask-like. Thin lips pull back from an emaciated face, and he held TWO amulets, not just one. Malkor was no longer human, but a liche. The second amulet was as filled with necromantic power as the other amulet was filled with healing. As he descended into the madness created by his obsession with the Healing Amulet Malkor felt an undeniable drive to create a second amulet to balance the first. Not to heal, but to raise the dead. The making of it drove Malkor to perform unspeakable acts and lose sight of his humanity and his god. He turned to the dark arts and became a dead man walking, a liche. Smoke filled the eyes of the watchers and time jumped forward again. Malkor faced off against the Mage overlords with both amulets...and failed. While Malkor severely damaged the Mage Overlords, his bid to replace them came at a price too high to pay and his undead life was finally ended. For once in agreement, the amulets were broken apart by the Overlords and scattered to the four corners of the world. However, in this final battle the three observers learned a great deal about both amulets. They observed the Healing Amulet completely cure any disease received after a 30 second ritual with Malkor holding the amulet high. Those cured were instanously and miraculously affected. Even groups of people could be healed so long as they touched each other and participated in the ritual adding their belief and energy to Malkor’s. In particular, Brennen noticed that it granted Malkor a full extra life. If killed, he was healed by the amulet’s power, and was brought back to full strength. This power could only be used once a day, but it was a powerful aid in Malkor’s battle against the Mage Overlords. With as much compassion as Malkor used the Healing Amulet, he used Amulet of Necromancy with no regard for the souls of his fallen warriors. Once they were beyond healing he called upon them using the foul artifact so that they could serve him once again. He did this at times when he couldn’t be interrupted by enemies with on one to witness him. The Necromantic Amulet returned his warriors to him in full health and under his complete control. It worked much like the Healing Amulet, only perverted in nature’s eye. Meryn shuddered as she watched, glad that that particular abomination had not been found along with the Healing Amulet. As the visions progressed Meryn and Leya shared speaking glances. They watched the growing obsession in Malkor and the battles that followed and came to a silent agreement. They prepared for the spell to be broken as Nera let the visions fade away. Meanwhile, Pecune offered Brennen one last private vision of warning behind his closed his eyes. In return the healer, not completely corrupted yet, opened up his mind and soul to Pecune. He started to see something he never saw before: many golden streams like veins flowing all around him. He was able to see a flowing river between himself and the scholars. The streams seemed to flow back and forth, ebbing and cresting like breath. The amulet, however, seemed to be a pool of black and gold. All of the gold flowed into the amulet in one direction, becoming trapped within the black. While seeming to grant prosperity and healing, Pecune showed Brennen all his wealth and Pecune’s favor being devoured by the amulet as the black of doom devoured the gold of prosperity. This private vision granted to Brennen by Pecune rocked his soul, but the obsession had already taken root and Brennen made his choice. As the shared vision faded away with the tinkling laugh of the Slyph, Brennen, still in his god’s good graces, asked Pecune for one last surge of power. Using his Divine Healing still boosted by Leya and Meryn, he caught their retreating minds and saw their intentions to strip him of the Healing Amulet. Their intention to find a way to destroy the blasted artifact was laid bare to him. In that instant, he made another choice and wiped the knowledge of the obsession and eventual descent into madness from their memory. At that moment, he felt something break within him. His bond to his god shattered, but it didn’t matter. He had his Healing Amulet, and soon he might have another.
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Julie Nieznay
May 05, 2018
In Roleplaying
Sept. 16th - a plot update for those who are lost or need a reminder! Journal of mine...I am weary - in body and soul. It is all I can do to take up the pen and get my thoughts written down after the Summer Wars. I am no longer sure of anything. Trust has been broken. Opposing views are creating division between the Tharossians and the Portal Guard, between the Celestial Divine powers and the Arcane. I was brought to this land to help heal it, and all I see is more destruction. Perhaps the Risa Fae were right in isolating this land and destroying the Arcane Mages, but that feels off to me also. The destruction of all for the transgressions of some is never an answer. Truly, I can not see the answers as clearly as I once did. The lines between friend and foe are beginning to blur. During our Spring meeting the ritual to determine the truth of the orbs revealed that at least one is indeed sentient. A being of great power acts through the smaller orb, the one that was stolen. For good or ill though, I can not say. Its sheer mental presence overwhelmed Reika and Laya causing them to collapse at the same time an orc party raided the ceremony. How convenient that the orb was stolen at the same time. I had my suspicions about that oh so convenient theft, and now they are confirmed - there is a traitor in our midst. More than one. I fear we may be overrun by those who have been corrupted and turned to the Dark in the Everwar. If this is true our group may be eaten from within before we ever really come to grips with the situation we find ourselves in. I am certain I know who the originator of this corruption is, target zero if you will, and he has been busy recruiting. After questioning the skeleton of Shagarash’s general, we learned that the corruption is spread first through the ritual of a willing sacrifice. To bad for the thin general that he didn’t realize he was signing up for an eternity of darkness and cold so deep it burns the flesh from bone in an empty silence broken only by his own mental screams as he descended into insanity. The heart of the sacrifice is used thereafter to begin the infection, the corruption. Those who touch the bones of the sacrifice may be used as a conduit for communication by the damned soul, but corruption only takes place upon contact with the heart. One among our number came in contact with such an artifact. One. I noticed soon after his contact with the artifact that he began avoiding me and anyone who might have the ability to sense the magic being worked upon him. No one has called him out. Maybe no one else has noticed. I have yet to decide what to do with this information so I will keep my own council on this for the time being. It was during the Summer Wars that lines began to be drawn within our group. The leader of the Portal Guard, Sir Ceannric, wishes to close the Portals to prevent any more people from passing through. I feel this is like closing the barn door after the cows have escaped. I also feel he is hiding his true intentions, just like so many others. I do not trust him, so steadfast in his righteousness. No one is that noble. The Tharrosians seem to have only one purpose, gather power. Their leader, Xoticus, attempts to pry open the doors of magic that have been nailed shut on this world for centuries regardless of the natives’ wishes. His lack of willingness to understanding of the Risa Fae causes my hackles to rise. And he is now in possession of an Illithid spell book! I do not need to be a foreseer to know his attempts to decipher the spell book is dangerous. Such disregard for those who are not Tharrosian will lead him, perhaps all of us, to war with the Risa Fae as well as the Everwar Darkness! There are others like me who remain neutral. That blasted elf is one of them. It irks me to think we might actually agree on something. There is another side to this twisted shape forming, one led by Grimble. Though young, he is wise to wait and see. I believe I will cultivate friendship with this one. Our world views on neutrality may mesh quite well. Reika and Laya are mysteries to me. We were thrown together because we all had some magic left to us in a drained land, but I do not really know them or their motivations. I wonder how long our partnership as Sentinels can last. Reika seems troubled, as if seeking something, and Laya I can not read. She is like the face of a granite wall, giving away nothing. So where does that leave us, oh journal mine? Currently, in need of strong drink! I am a healer and a fighter, not a courtier who thrives on twisted political intrigue and lies. So I will do what I can for now. That means I need to teach my students to protect themselves and create a cure for the corruption. It also means we need to get that orb back and speak to the sentience we contacted so ill preparedly once before. There are rumors that a band of orcs have been seen with the orb near our encampment. Several of our number have gone in search of the orcs to wrest back the orb. I can only hope that those who are successful have our best interests in mind. _________________________________________________________________________________________ July 12th Oh damn! A reminder, future reader, that the smudge in the diary is “cherry” juice not blood. Though there is no shortage of blood in this new world. The connection between Orik and the skeleton’s heart was not the same as it was with Kailos who touched a similar heart directly. Within hours Kailos was overcome with fever and a crawling sense of presence within his body but no possession took place. Orik’s symptoms came on faster and the soul trapped within the heart used him as a conduit to speak with us. Orik’s experience was most similar to Grisson’s, however, we do not know how Grisson came to be possessed. Did he also touch a heart during the ritual he spoke about or was it something else? No matter what, this soul could not control Orik’s body as Sicarius did with Grisson. Perhaps there wasn’t enough time to form a complete bond or the soul was too weak? More questions and no answers to be found. I need to talk to Kailos. Orik’s possession began most dramatically as he fell backwards to the ground and began seizing. Once the convulsions stopped, a voice not Orik’s began to speak, begging for release. It asked us to either return it to full life or kill it. The soul said it had known nothing but darkness and pain for centuries. The silence of corruption and the black veil within the heart was all it could talk about. While it could not physically control Orik, it certainly would not let go of the light either. It screamed in terror when we asked it to release our companion. All it wanted was someone to talk with it. The soul refused to relinquish Orik just as Sicarius refused to release Grisson so once again we struck a bargain. I hate our apparent powerlessness in the face of these possessions. Our bargain was this, in two months time we would find a way to release the soul from the dark. We promised nothing more and there are many ways to grant “release”. I can not imagine the soul is sane any longer, but I do not wish to destroy it. We can learn so much from it! There has been an argument in camp about the use of necromancy to bring flesh back to the bones. Is it necromancy if the soul is still present or would this simply be a more advanced type of healing? Also, I wonder about this person held captive in a corrupted heart. How did they get imprisoned in the first place? What arcane ritual was this person involved in? Are they linked with Sicarius? What do they know about the Everwar? My list of questions grows longer by the moment and this trapped soul is our best source of information now that one of the orbs is stolen. Sir Garyth is, of course, in favor of immediately destroying the heart as is Bard Arion, Sir Ceannric and Sir Xoticus. I understand their reasoning. There is no doubt that this is poor soul is also dangerous. I even caught Grayson the necromancer fiddling with the wards around the skeleton, and though what he intended is unclear I trust him as far as I can spit. Commander Kronos McKragg keeps his own council. Do none of them see that this is our opportunity to actually LEARN something? Yes, take precautions, yes plan for the worst, but don’t throw away our only source of information just because it is dangerous! I do not know how we will learn anything if we keep destroying clues without examining them first! If we allow the threat of danger to keep us from taking action we will certainly lose the Everwar. I would be hesitant to ask Orik to connect with this soul one more time. I do not know how it will affect him or even if Orik is someone who can be trusted. But this may be our only chance to learn more about these possessions and the darkness behind the Everwar. A compromise must be struck. I will speak with Commander McKragg. Perhaps we can find a way to learn what we need from the trapped soul without returning flesh to the bones or subjecting one of our number to a mental link. I will ask the rest of the Sentinels, those with power and my allies for help creating a ritual or potion to do just that. We can not keep throwing away sources of information just because they are dangerous. We will never learn anything, which I believe is ultimately the more dangerous option. _________________________________________________________________________________________ July 3rd Oh! Roasted vegetables in a tangy sauce, grains smothered in butter, and this world’s version of cherries baked into a golden crust. My belly grumbles in a sublime joy that can not be expressed in words. Is it time for seconds yet? I almost don’t want return to my writing. It might curdle my dinner. The rest of the tourney was uneventful, and the time for the orb ritual came faster than expected. In our desire to know more about the orbs we did not take proper precautions especially with the happenings of the day. All went well until Layah and Rika began to link with the orbs. I knew I should have been one of the Sentinels to try the link. But once again, the elf got in the way. Her caution and distrust drive me to distraction! Yes, I do have a personal interest in the orbs. No, that doesn’t automatically mean I will try to sway the situation to my own favor! She should know me better than that by now. Or maybe she knows me too well? In any case, Layah was chosen to replace Ra’hel in the ritual at the last minute as Ra’hel was struck down with an unexplained illness on her journey north that I have not had the chance to study. I do not know if that change influenced the ritual, but both Layah and Rika were laid low, struck down in the middle of connecting to the orbs, and perhaps the intelligence behind them. As the energy around them rose, a thunderstorm broke. As the first drops of rain fell, the two let loose long shrieking cries I will not soon forget and collapsed insensible to the ground. In our rush to get to our stricken comrades, Arion and I neglected to secure the orbs. Drained of energy as I was from the possession and the ritual I was useless. There was nothing I could do to help my friends and so needed to rely on others. I hate how weak I was! That weakness meant I needed to break the wards that protected the orbs and allow Lotharian and other healers into the circle. I believe my mistake is to blame for the disappearance of one of the orbs for as I released the wards we were attacked by an orc band. The confusion of healing Layah and Rika and the orc attack gave our enemies, perhaps Sicarius, the opportunity to steal the key orb. Grisson was mysteriously absent from the ritual, though with the revelations of the day I can almost excuse him. But who then? The orcs never came close to the orbs which means the thief is someone we trust. Someone else must either be possessed or be in partnership with the orcs. To make matters worse, I feel these possessions are spreading! I do not know what happened during the search for the orc camp as I was still tending to Layah and Rika, but I was party to the aftermath. The group brought back a chest and a body. I do not recall what was in the chest because I was too distracted by the body, or rather the skeleton. Inside of its ribs untouched by decay lay a heart, a perfectly preserved lump of flesh swarming with darkness. The fact that the heart had not decayed like the rest of the body filled me with a sense of foreboding. The way magic twisted around it reminded me immediately of the heart that struck Kailos. His contact with the heart caused excruciating pain and fever, not possession. No one touched this new heart directly but a recently arrived mage, Orik, was the first to touch the bones. What happened next makes me think that the Overlords of the Everwar are using these artifacts to entrap and corrupt those who come in contact with them. Ah, Layah and Rika call now. They seem to have snuck some of the “cherry tart” away from Liska’s watchful eye. If the elf only knew my true weakness she would never have another argument from me! Bribery by pie, but only cherry will work, or maybe pumpkin. Yum! _________________________________________________________________________________________ June 2nd Duty done. I can’t believe some of the injuries our people are getting! I know we can’t die...so far. But do we really need to test this at every turn? One of our younglings just tried to confront a bastique on their own. A bastique is Osterra’s version of a grizzly bear… on hallucinogens... with a beehive stuck up its...ahem, never mind. I return to the task of committing my memories to paper. Writing has always helped me work through my confusion and distress. Marina, dear loyal Marina. She wavers as I did between being a warrior and a healer. I hope she finds a balance for her own well being. Her encounter with Sicarius in Grisson’s body may help her find her path or destroy her faith in self. We shall see. We debated upon letting her fight this creature clothed in Grisson. If she was to win, she could not hold back for fear of hurting her friend. She needed to attack with all the ferocity of a she-wolf protecting her cubs. A hard thing to do when you face a companion. And if she lost? We had agreed to let it roam the tourney using Grisson’s body as its vehicle. What would it do to Grisson, to our people, if it was given free reign? I do not know how the others felt, but I was prepared to put a blade in its back the moment it left my wards even though I did not know what that would do to Grisson. While it appears that no one can die here I do not trust the rules of life and death in this realm. Marina did not disappoint. She held back nothing as she attacked the creature residing within Grisson. She will become a great healer and warrior if her will remains strong. After trading blows for a short eternity, the creature made a mistake. It could not control Grisson’s body with any finesse and Marina gutted it on the field of battle. Grisson returned to himself, bloodied and confused and gutted. As she had wounded him, so did Marina help to heal him. But as we worked, we heard him muttering, “red Sicarius, crimson Sicarius.” Once he awoke, both Marina and I spoke to him. Grisson is filled with remorse. He calls himself “Kin Killer,” and I fear for his state of mind. He knows he can never return to his home on pain of death to clear his blood debt. I worry he will become reckless in an attempt to redeem himself. Our dealings with Sicarius are also far from over. I do not for one instant believe he is gone or that he will honor his bargain. I will keep a watchful eye over Grisson as I do another of our band. One who seems to be deliberately avoiding me or so I have noticed. This being who knows so much about the Everwar gives a name to one of our enemies, but we are ill prepared to deal with this possession. It casts a shadow over all of us. Who can we really trust? I wish to trust Grisson, but he has already been overtaken once, and it would be foolish to believe that Sicarius does not have claws in others. I can not trust anyone, as I will relate once dinner is over. I smell the most delicious scents coming from Liska’s kitchen. She spoils us! _________________________________________________________________________________________ May 30th Arion did in fact need my help. Now that our inner circle knows about me, there is less need for me to hide my true strength which gives Arion carte blanche to use me as a pack mule whenever she needs to move that bloody great harp! I think she should learn to play the pipes. Much more portable, those are. Now, where did I leave off? Ah, Grisson and his memories. After working with Lotharian using her Remember-me-not potion Grisson learned just enough to become desperate for more, and so he came to me. I was working with a group of healer trainees at the time who also witnessed the proceedings. Marina, one of the trainees, became indispensable. Celestial healers work with elementals, creatures with a capricious nature to be sure. As we needed to call those with great power, Marina and I warded Grisson first. It is a very good thing that we did. Grisson had a few moments of clarity as the healing energy worked within him, and he remembered. Here is what he described - Sir Artus, Grisson’s father and a knight of the realm, was engaged with him, the kingdom’s Magus, and ten servants in a ritual atop the Magus’ tower. He recalled the ritual being, “good for my people,” but not its actual purpose. This opens up a rotten kettle of fish! What were they doing, and how did it go so badly wrong? For some reason during our session Grisson became fixated on the color of his father’s robes...red. That color again! Once this happened, we lost him. He began chanting, “red Sicarius, crimson Sicarius,” in a hollow sepulchure tone. The Grisson we know and love disappeared as another entity took control of his body. Sicarius. I immediately sent two of my apprentices off to fetch Xoticus and Sir Garyth. I may be well versed in bargaining with and befriending elementals and powerful beings, but a mage I am not! This possession was well beyond my ability to deal with alone, and Marina, strong as she is, is only a trainee. Sicarius means no one well. This entity wove a tale of great woe for Grisson and continued to expand on his memory of the tower. Sicarius influenced his host, whispering deceit and seduction into Girsson’s mind. Sicarius claims he persuaded Grisson to do nothing he did not already in the very darkest corners of his heart wish to do - kill his father. Grisson massacred all present at the ritual with Sicarius spurring him to frothing madness. At this point, Xoticus and Sir Garyth arrived. Sicarius left off telling his macabre tale of corruption and began to mock the dark god Tharros in an attempt to raise Xoticus’ ire. However Xoticus remained patient and thoughtful while the entity slung its bile, calling the Black Lion a clawless, toothless kitten. Apparently these two beings have had dealings with each other in the past involving the Everwar. Sicarius implied that Tharros lost their battle, claiming ownership of the chaos and eternal war on Xoticus’ home world. Sicarius did not mock Sir Garyth’s Lords of Light which makes me wonder if the entity had encountered them before for good or ill. No matter the situation with Sir Garyth, it quickly became apparent that Xoticus and Sir Garyth had no more power than I to cast this entity from our friend. I bluffed for as long as I could, but in the end we were forced to make a bargain. Sicarius would leave Grisson if one of us fought him and won, wounding our friend in the process. Marina volunteered to be his adversary. And now Sir Kronos calls! Can I get nothing done today? I must get this down before the details fade! _________________________________________________________________________________________ May 25th This is my first chance to sit down and gather my thoughts since the Rites of Spring tournament hosted by our gracious sovereigns, King Osric and Queen Helena of Nova Regnus. While the tournament itself seemed to serve its purpose in uniting the “Travelers,” those who came through the portals, and the natives of this land, several troubling events occurred. One of the best things was my first meeting with Lotharian the apothecary. We seem to have come to an understanding. She is frightened by anything that smacks of the arcane but is curious as well. While she doesn’t completely trust my work with elementals she is willing to learn more. Her artistry with herbs is also a thing of beauty. As long as her fear does not bind her, I believe we may work well together. Which brings me to Grisson. I had a fascinating conversation with him, Xoticus, Layah, and the fun Tharossian the night before the tournament. It appears that Grisson’s memory loss may not be caused by passage through the portal as with so many other cases. In our discussion, he revealed that he can not stand the color red. It repels him at the same time that it fascinates him. A difficult predicament to be sure with the proliferation of red about the tourney. Upon seeing the color, Grisson falls into a trance chanting the words, “red Sicarius, crimson Sicarius,” and becomes unaware of the world around him. Upon explaining this, Xoticus attempted to bring him into the Tharossian fold along with myself and Layah (as always) by claiming that this was a sure sign of Grisson’s connection to Thaross the Devourer. Grisson was not swayed. His trance is not about connection or acceptance, but rather shame and guilt. The red reminds him of blood...spattered on his face, dripping from his hands. In his need to find answers, Grisson worked with Lotharian to find an herbal cure for his memory loss. From what I understand, they had some small success - just enough to bring him to me with more questions about his past. I can not begin to explain how quickly that healing session devolved into a nightma…(unintelligible squiggles as the pen tears across the paper and the author cringes in shock). Bah! Arion calls. She has kept a closer eye on me than usual since my heritage has been revealed. I do not know if she does it to protect me or to protect the others from me. In either case, it grows wearisome. I will continue my account once I have appeased the arrogant elf. _________________________________________________________________________________________ May 5th It has been a long strange road getting to this new land. This new world. As always, I wonder why I am here, brought to this particular place at this particular time. Portals are not new to me, though I have never had any control of where I am going. I simply end up where I'm needed. That doesn't mean everyone is always happy about it. My...heritage... makes meeting new people problematic at times. I dislike starting over. INTENSELY dislike starting over. I am unsure how to go about revealing myself without causing a riot in the process. Though that may be a moot point during the Rites of Spring. I have noticed that my personal energy gets siphoned off much more quickly than I'm used to when dealing with the orbs. I may not have enough to maintain my avatar for the Orb Ritual. We will see. I worry about the Ritual too. The Dark Fae has read the signs in the heavens. She says she will have access to the most amount of Menel or sky magic from the astral bodies above us the night of the tourney. It must be done then or not at all. Our limited access to leyline energy is making it an absolute necessity to find power elsewhere, hence our dependence on the heavens. Still, a major magical ritual on the same day as the tourney? With strangers wandering around? There is so much that could go wrong. Arion shares my concerns, but there is nothing to be done. We need to make strong bonds with our fellow travelers and this tourney may be the best way to do it. Still, we must all keep a weather eye out for danger.
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Julie Nieznay

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