Salvation

A Perfect City
Is something sinister afoot at the Crown of the World?

Venday, 7 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: At Tomren's encouragement, the group spends a night out having fun. Moras had found a flier that Arnold translated for him for a food and "fireworkers" festival. Tomren, Taegon, Moras, Misae and Haseya attended this festival, enjoying foods from around the world and entertaining the citizens of Illias by turning into animals. Meanwhile, Arnold and Narida spent the evening enjoying the night life, dancing, playing music, and getting drunk. Standing Bear went to a "dragon fight" where he made a great deal of money. Ilfrek chose to go to a used book store, and Sebba walked through one of the parks in the district, and attended a haiku reading there.

Taursday, 8 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: Refreshed from their exploits, the group continues up the mountain. In the next district, they are approached by a young woman who says she is a handmaiden for Sun Wei, She Who Sleeps, an oracle in the area who has been waiting for the group. The group agrees to see this oracle, who gives them all very cryptic foretellings. She ends this meeting with an enigmatic, almost terrifying vision and prophecy that only the five Pathseekers could see and hear.

A little shaken but undeterred, the group continues up the mountain. The atmosphere begins to thin and the horses begin to slow. The group passes through several more districts until finally reaching snowy frozen slopes. The harsh extremeties cause Misae's horse to submit to the weather and die. Frozen at the top of the world, the group finally arrives at a wall made of ice. The wall is opened and they are permitted inside.

On the other side of the wall is paradise. Here, the magic of the dragons has created a fertile valley at the foot of the summit of Mount Jaw-Long Xie. This shangrila is populated by the wealthiest and most elite of the residents of Illias.

The group is met by a woman named Li Cai who introduces herself as an ambassador of the Dragon Emperor himself. She has been instructed to escort them to a manor that has been set aside for the "heroes of Bratana" while they wait for an audience with the Dragon Emperor—which, according to Li Cai, will take approximately six months.

The group is immediately set ill at ease by the surroundings in the manor. Although every one of their needs is seen to and all their desire fulfilled, they can never be without an escort "for their safety." Additionally, it is made abundantly clear that the government of Sarenul knows a great deal about the group—including such fine of details as Misae's parentage and Taegon's homeland. 

While part of the group is oblivious to a perceived danger and part of the group works quietly to subvert the situation, Misae is openly hostile to the situation at hand, causing the staff in the manor to place sturdier guard over her. Taegon is able to talk the matron of the house into allowing him to spend the night in Misae's room, allowing the couple a bit of privacy. Tomren, meanwhile, tests the limits of the staff's ability, and consorts with Ilfrek to formulate a plan in secrecy. Ilfrek gives Tomren a book, suggesting he read the chapter on pegasi. When Tomren opens the book, he finds a note— "We Are In Trouble."

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The Dragon Capital
Welcome to the City-on-the-Mountain.

Norday, 6 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The group leaves Kai, discussing the drama of the night before in isolated groups. Misae and Standing Bear have a verbal confrontation in the stables, and the ride to Illias is awkward. Haseya notices a strange figure watching them from the rice fields. When she alerts her companions, the figure is gone. The group stops for the evening and rests—during this time, Standing Bear confronts Misae again, and it elevates to an argument again, with Standing Bear threatening to leave. Tomren talks Standing Bear down, and he agrees to stay with the group.

Venday, 7 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: In the morning, the group finds an overturned cart and a strange bear-like creature; a yaoguai. The yaoguai attacks the group, who defeat the creature. They discover the mutilated remains of Li Chao, the Noodle Lady, and give her a proper burial.

The group arrives in Illias late in the morning and are taken in by its splendor, gazing in awe at the golden castle in the clouds hovering above the sacred mountain. The mountain is ringed by walls, and it takes several hours of traveling through the farmlands at the foothills to reach the first city district of Illias. It is crowded and dirty, but the group eventually pushes on to the next district, where they encounter a yellow dragon entertaining a crowd. This dragon is quick to laughter, friendly, and gives everyone souvenir scales with their names engraved on them. The dragon also inadvertently terrifies Haseya for wearing dragon scale mail, although he meant it as a joke.

Around evening, the group begins discussing stopping for the night and finding an inn. The smell of food attracts them to a cart selling meat and noodle dishes. There, a young samurai argues with the woman who runs the cart—he apparently does not have the money to cover his bill. Tomren fronts him the cash, and the samurai thanks Tomren with a bit of advice—to be careful in Illias, and to know that even now they are being watched.

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Dancing Mad
The girls take a day off; the boys fight a tower of madness; they both deal with drama in the evening.

Truday, 5 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The girls show up to the temple of indulgence at 10 am while the boys set out to find the tower where Kafka the Mad resides.

The girls enjoyed a mostly peaceful and relaxing day, although Narida did overstep her boundaries and brought up sensitive topics with Haseya and Misae. Narida later tried to help Haseya by telling her to remember to live her life, and to try to move forward from the past that hurt her.

The boys, meanwhile, found the tower and discovered the entire thing had been transformed into a horrific, singular organism through otherworldly magic. After fighting denizens of far-flung planes from beyond the vision of mortal reality, they ascended to the top where they fought and defeated Kafka the Crazy and destroyed the statues that gave him his eldritch power. Tomren took from this place the bones necessary to animate and create sharkjaw skeletal minions.

That evening, Arnold foolishly used the rod of wonder which caused his legs to fuse together, completely killing Narida's desire to be intimate with him. Arnold and Tomren went to get this issue fixed. Moras was taken aback by Haseya's beauty after her spa day and was unable to communicate with her; Standing Bear, on the other hand, was direct with his intentions, telling Haseya she was "hot" and then inviting her into his room for the evening. Haseya declined, and Standing Bear apologized for being so forward.

After Arnold had spent a good deal of his and Tomren's money, the curse was lifted and he rushed back to the inn to be with Narida. Narida told him to give her a moment but he played assertive and demanded her sexual attention, forgetting that she had survived a horrific rape experience not a month ago. Disgusted and hurt, Narida left Arnold alone as he realized his mistake.

Misae and Taegon went on their first official date together, choosing to go to a Sarenulian opera. Misae chose to see "The Eagle's Fall." It ended up being a war drama that had Taegon fully engaged but Misae fell asleep in the middle of it. Meanwhile, Tomren enjoyed the city night life of Kai, cruising through casinoes and enjoying the sights and sounds of the city of indulgence.

Back at the inn, Haseya was wrestling with a decision to take up Standing Bear on his offer. She opened her doorway, throwing the thought back and forth, when she heard the sounds of lovemaking from Standing Bear's room. Her emotional walls fully back up, Haseya shut her door and went to sleep.

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The Dragon Empire
The arrival in Sarenul

Truday, 29 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers find themselves fighting two eel hounds and a strange variation of crawdring that looks like a toad-shark with thick, rubbery skin and lanky limbs. While fighting, a shriek is heard from across the boat—another one of these lanky crawdring have grabbed Sebba and leapt from the deck with her. The other two druids and Standing Bear are quick to leap to action. Misae goes to their aid, helping to save Standing Bear's life from a shark. Taegon and Tomren nearly lay low the toad-shark humanoid, but it has unforeseen regenerative powers and rises from assumed death. Taegon is thrown overboard but rescued by Moras in the form of a dolphin. Eventually, everyone reboards the ship, including a rescued Sebba, and the group finishes off the eel hounds, although the toad-shark crawdrings escape. A headcount is done after and three people are missing, including the sorcerer Vance Waithman.

Norday, 30 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The rain becomes a raging storm, and everyone is advised to keep below decks. The storm brings with it much-needed winds, and the ship makes up lost ground, but the sailing is rough. The storm brings sickness and exhaustion to Misae and Ilfrek.

Venday, 31 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Winds are scarce again this day, but the weather is clear and the temperature is 70 degrees all day. Standing Bear has borrowed a fistful of fishing rods from the crew and challenges Arnold and Tomren specifically to a fishing contest, but says anyone is welcome to join, but he warns the druids that “doing your animal thing and jumping in the water is cheating. Taegon and Moras also join. Standing Bear wins the contest of most fish caught, but the biggest fish is tied between Moras and Standing Bear.

Taursday, 1 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: Another frustrating day of torrential downpour with trace amounts of wind. Heavy banks of fog roll in, leaving traveling to crawl at a snail's pace. Ara Jakata is undeterred and seems convinced the Serpent is nearing Sarenul. Evening's dinner is beef stew and corn on the cob.

Oathday, 2 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: A light smattering of rain this day as well as a healthy wind at last. Again around noon, the ship is suddenly picked up out of the water by a dragon turtle, who bellows a demand of who travels so close to the Sarenulian border and what do they seek. Ara Jakata apologizes profusely for not raising the tradesman's flag and shows the turtle both the flag and a seal. The mighty creature seems suspicious but allows the Jade Serpent passage to Yuhari.

Yuhari is a bustling but friendly port city. Spring seems to have arrived unnaturally early in Sarenul, with cherry blossoms blooming and green grass flourishing on the countryside beyond. The waters are sparkling and blue, the weather is perfect, and the people are friendly. For all intents and purposes, Sarenul seems idyllic, perhaps close to perfect. 

Ilfrek and Tomren are taken to an administrative building to have their justicar credentials checked. Ilfrek is revealed to be a Collector-Loremaster, of which only 27 exist in the entire world. Tomren is told he is allowed within the boundaries of Sarenul and can conduct justicar business, but if he were to seek to apprehend "innocents" he would be hunted by the anti-justicars. While this was happening, Misae was wandering the open air market and was coerced into purchasing fabric in order to learn information about the Sixteen Tenets.

The Pathseekers found a street vendor selling bowls of noodles. They each purchased a bowl and sat to eat. While eating, they noticed a billboard surrounded by offerings. Upon approach, Arnold used comprehend language to read the Sarenulian and learned it was a billboard of hundreds of missing children. The group became concerned, reminded that this had been a recurring problem throughout their travels. They found lodging in the River of Life Inn and began asking around in the shantytowns about the apparent abductions. They were mostly met with indifference or hostility, but one man told them the belief is that an evil and angry spirit has been stealing away the children because of some perceived slight or aggression.

Lorday, 3 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The group travels to the city of Kai. On the way, they encounter a woman selling noodles out of a roadside wagon. She introduces herself as Li Chao, but the locals know her as the Noodle Lady. She also has a range of adventuring supplies to sell to the group. Li Chao rose Misae's suspicion when she noticed Jadeflame and began to ask about it. The Noodle Lady immediately recognized that she was making Misae uncomfortable and apologized, explaining that her husband had been an adventurer and that she collects curiosities that would appeal to adventurers and has always been charmed by the adventuring lifestyle and magical and wondrous items. She tries to refund Misae's money for making her uncomfortable, but Misae refuses.

Arday, 4 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The group arrives in Kai, which is somehow even more warm, friendly and inviting than Yuhari. Clearly a tourist town, Kai is built around the Tenet of indulgence. Spas, beauty parlors, manicurists, acupuncturists, and masseuses lines the streets here, as well as casinoes and even sanctioned brothels. The group is approached by a monk named Gu Shi who convinces the women they deserve a day at the spa. Taegon generously pays for them all to have a day of relaxation. Tomren attends a Sarenulian opera and finds the performance quite good. The group find lodging in The Coral Spire Inn and settle in for the evening.

Truday, 5 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The session ended early this morning, as the women prepared for their day at the spa and Tomren received a new justicar contract.

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Slayer
A new menace emerges; an old friend is lost.

Oathday, 19 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group emerges from the broken elevator to find a derelict level of the library. As they wander to find the stairs that will lead them up to the surface, they see pillars of black smoke rising from a section of the library. They head to investigate and find Imperial soldiers burning down aisles of books with flamethrowers—many of these soldiers are armed with rifles, and some manner of priest is there, standing alongside a knight. The group's new friend, Ilfrek, becomes overtaken with rage, and runs forward, throwing violet lightning in the priest's direction. The knight absorbs this magical attack with their sword. The priest is furious, throwing derogatory words at Ilfrek and commanding the "Slayer" to seize them. As they run, Jadeflame is revealed on Misae's back. This causes the priest to begin frantically shouting to capture them. The "Slayer" then sprouts angelic wings and glowing armaments with floating golden scythes and begins to pursue the group through the library while firing bolts of radiant energy from their bastard sword. The group narrowly makes it to the stairs and begin to make their escape. As they make the rapid ascent, Krystof begins to falter and realizes he won't be able to make it. He can hear the soldiers behind the group. He uses telekinesis to thrust Taegon away from him to prevent him from stopping his last stand, then sends a clockwork owl to Tomren's side. He erects a wall of force and kills a dozen guards before at last his body is shattered and ruined by a hailstorm of bullets from the riflemen. Agonized, horrified, and heartbroken, the group escapes to the surface.

Before they even have a chance to mourn, the priest's voice can be heard all throughout Karna. He identifies himself as "Brother Justice" and asks all Imperial soldiers in Realm to be on the lookout for the Pathseekers, giving detailed descriptions of what they look like. The group begins to move quickly, but are found by Imperial riflemen and crossbowmen.

The group tries to flee, but bullets are fired and the situation looks grim. In the nick of time, an angelic being descends from the sky, reducing all of the Imperial soldiers to unconsciousness. This androgynous, green-skinned elven man is a form of angel called a planetar, sent by Tes-Betat himself at the pleas of Zafar Blackgrace. The angel explains that his contract limits him from intervening directly, but he can create a cover for them to escape the city. The planetar says to meet Zafar in "Zaramath to the north," where Zafar is waiting with some of their companions. The planetar then summons a sandstorm and a plague of locusts, which the group uses to flee the city of Karna.

Lorday, 20 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group travels northward to Zaramath in relative silence.

Arday, 21 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group continues their northward journey to Zaramath.

Truday, 22 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group arrives in Zaramath, the Bratanan city of love. Here they investigate a destitute chapel to Tes-Betat. The priest there is suspicious when they mention Zafar, but after successfully answering test questions, the priest opens up, explaining that Zafar is waiting for them in the docks district and to look for a ship called the Jade Serpent. The group is reunited with Moras, Zafar, Standing Bear, Beasts for Peace, Narida and Sebba, as well as Ara Jakata, captain of the Jade Serpent. Everyone leaves but Zafar, bound for  the Sarenulian port town of Yuhari.

Norday, 23 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The first day of travel is marked by torrential downpour and rocky waves. The captain encourages the group to remain below decks. Evening's dinner is pickled beets and breaded breast of chicken.

Venday, 24 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The rain stops this day, leaving the temperatures a crisp 50 degrees, but the storms take the winds with them, leaving the ship becalmed. Ara Jakata has a sorcerer on retainer, a yellowborn named Vance Waithman, who uses wind magic along with Haseya to move the ship at a snail's pace. Evening's dinner is roasted peppers with a filling of a mix of cheese and cheese rolls with a filling of nuts, honey and vegetables.

Taursday, 25 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Slightly warmer this day, and the rain begins to pour again. This is no storm, however, and the downpour comes with no rain. Still becalmed, the captain asks for any magical assistance again to help get the ship moving. 

Haseya finds Ilfrek and Sebba sick and throwing up overboard. She learns Ilfrek is miserably seasick. Asking Sebba she learns that Sebba is used to boats and went sailing all the time back home, but she can't stand the sight of others getting sick so when she came over to help Ilfrek she got caught barfing with him. Haseya makes a calming tea for Ilfrek that helps ease his stomach.

Evening's dinner is prime roast sirloin and spinach mashed potatoes.

Oathday, 26 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Day four is a beautiful day weather-wise, with the high being 70 degrees, but again the wind is absolutely still. The boat moves but does so incredibly slowly, being propelled only by magical means. Nothing of interest happens on this day otherwise. Evening's dinner is braised oxtails with mushrooms.

Lorday, 27 Newbirth, 6935 EY: There is a light, pleasant rain on this morning, and the ship finally has a favorable wind. In the afternoon, the rain stops, leaving the temperature a pleasant 65 degrees. Narida and B4P strike upon the idea to have a dance party on the deck that evening to try to forget the troubles the group had just endured. Ara Jakata breaks out stores of alcohol and the ship's cook makes a feast of roast duck with apples, roast beef served with cranberry sauce, and a smoked salmon salad. Moras impresses Haseya by knowing how to dance thanks to his noble upbringing; Standing Bear dances with Haseya and is terrible at it but is able to laugh it off. Standing Bear also grows jealous of Moras and is scolded by Misae. Misae and Taegon dance, and finish with a kiss, which they then do again later in the evening. Arnold and Narida high five each other for mission accomplished.

Arday, 28 Newbirth, 6935 EY: nother pleasant day of light, scattered showers and a steady easterly wind. Nothing of note happens on this day. Evening's dinner is leftover smoked salmon salad and beef and vegetable casserole.

Truday, 29 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The rain picks up some, up to a moderate shower, but not quite a storm. The wind is frustratingly sporadic, leaving the ship nearly becalmed. Around noon, an alarm bell is rung on the ship's deck, demanding all hands on deck. The group finds the ship has been overran with crawdring from the ocean depths. The session ends with the group steeling themselves to enter the fray.

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The Library of Sjet
The Paths are Revealed

Truday, 15 Whitefall, 6935 EY – The group spent the day shopping for supplies in preparation to enter the Library of Sjet.

Norday, 16 Whitefall, 6935 EY – The group finally enters the Library of Sjet. Initially, they enter the tower only to find a plain, empty, undecorated room. After consulting with a scribe, however, they are instructed to gather in the center of the room. They are then lowered into a massive library with hundreds of millions of books, tomes, scrolls, and charts. The group begins desperately rifling through all the accumulated knowledge to find anything, but it quickly becomes apparent that the "good" stuff is going to be found on the lower levels called the Archives. The group enters the center of the library—called the Hub—and are lowered into the 696 levels of the Library of Sjet.

Venday, 17 Whitefall, 6935 EY - Oathday, 19 Whitefall, 6935 EY: Time was easy to lose in the depths of the library. Unsure of when it was night or day, the group slept when they were tired and searched the tomes while they were not. They found countless curiosities, including what appeared to be a grassland made of moldy books, a stray tenebra-mela expedition, and a forbidden section filled with unstable magical tomes. Throughout these adventures, the group each unearthed secrets about their own personal mysteries: Tomren learned of Augmar, the demon prince of night; he learned of Lot, the Grim Reaper and harbinger of death; and he learned of the Thollion Prophecies and how they predicted the death of magic. Taegon learned how to kill a mummy lord and a very small snippet about the mystic elves, called 'eladrin,' that pine for something known as "Firatuul." Arnold found a book detailing the exploits of a knight-turned-werewolf named Sir Jaremy. Haseya and Misae found an old Ethovan fairy tale that sounded a lot like what their village was enduring, and were horrified to learn that, if the same plague in the fairy tale was affecting them, that it would result in undead infants.

Eventually, the Pathseekers found a secret alcove. Here, they met Ilfrek Rhosenhart, a fugitive wizard from the violet towers who had abandoned his post when he got lost in the mysteries of the library. In particular, Ilfrek was taken by the rumors of a set of powerful artifacts called the Paths of Salvation. He was shocked to his core when he saw one of these very artifacts strapped to Misae's back. He was quick to show the group the Verse of Salvation and explain that these artifacts MUST be recovered, for Realm, the Empire of Man, is seeking them out as well. Ilfrek doesn't know what Realm wants with the Paths but believes that, should the Empire collect them, it may lead to cataclysmic results. The group offered to take Ilfrek with them, and he agreed, wishing to see where this mystery led.

On the way out, Haseya was magically separated from the group and wandered into the domain of Sjet, the owl-god of wisdom. Sjet introduced himself to Haseya, and explained that the world teetered on the brink of oblivion—a threat beyond the threats the Pathseekers would face, a threat in the future that threaten to swallow existence whole. Sjet believed that the Pathseekers had the power to nurture a contingency plan in case the worst happened. Of all of them, Haseya held the most nurturing power, and so Sjet granted Haseya a seed—a mysterious, giant acorn—and said to fall asleep with it near her and it would reveal its powers.

Haseya was returned to her companions, and they made their way to the hub to leave the Library. However, the elevator came to a grinding halt on floor 124—something had caused the mechanism to fail.

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The Battle of Broken Chains
It all comes down to this.

Lorday, 13 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Before the battle, Moras is scolded by Haseya for strongarming her into believing something that she doesn't. Misae further reprimands Moras for being an "idiot," but agrees to help him get back into Haseya's good graces. After explaining himself to Haseya and apologizing, she cools considerably.

As troops are rallied and begin to move forward into battle, Zafar commands the armies and strengthens their morale with a speech. At the climax of his speech, he is interrupted by obnoxious buzzing noises coming from the frontlines—the Library of Sjet is ready for its visitors.

The Battle of Broken Chains progresses with many losses on both sides, but midway through the battle the tides begin to turn in a devastating way. Zafar, Haseya, Ga Jakadi, Taegon and the Shining Zultan prove to be invaluable assets, while Tomren's justicar prowess completely shut down an entire regiment of mages allowing for a swift victory to be secured. No major allies died, but many were wounded, including Eskandar losing an eye, Ga Jakadi losing a wing, and Kamaria and Standing Bear receiving ghastly scars.

The Pathseekers then infiltrated the Electrum Palace to deal a final blow to the zultanate. They are aided by Krystof, Emanaya and Moras to help defeat Spada Darice il-Kassem, who reveals herself to actually be Daratharna, an adult black dragon. This proves to be the most challenging fight of the day, with the group nearly not surviving it. In the end, it was Moras who slew the dragon, but was disappointed to find out the group was unconscious and did not witness it.

The group pushed on to find Melchoir, the Dervish Spada. They were accompanied by Ga Jakadi, Matilda Greenburrow, and Thunder. This battle ended quickly and poorly for the dervish spada, with Haseya administering the final blow via a scorpion stinger.

The next room held Zafar, Eskandar and Aya Darius recovering from an intense battle. The aya healed the group and then Zafar encouraged them to go on to the final encounter with the zultan.

The final encounter was anticlimactic. In this room they found the zultan along with Standing Bear, Kamaria, and Taeron, the Shining Zultan. Taeron wasted no time and destroyed the zultan in a single crippling blow, reducing the man to a pile of sand. Taeron teased the idea of taking the throne for himself, but eventually disappeared, saying he was "going home."

The battle was then won at last—the Butterfly had taken Bratana.

Arday, 14 Newbirth, 6935 EY – Ceremonies to commemorate the new zultana as well as awards occurred on this day. Kamaria was to be crowned the zultana, but she halted it, instead saying that Mitra deserved the crown. Mitra declined as well, but it was insisted upon her, and Mitra became the new zultana. The Pathseekers were granted noble titles as well as precious heirlooms from the vaults of the zultan to aid them in their future endeavors. 

There was a party where Narida, Arnold, and B4P played celebration music and everyone danced and got drunk. Krystof lost a drinking contest to Matilda. Kamaria attempted to hook up with Taegon but was politely turned away. Eskandar was ignored completely and got annoyed by it. Standing Bear acted like a wallflower but chatted with Misae and explained that he was simply unused to people actually having fun, and he was having his own sort of fun just watching and admiring the fact that these people could smile for the first time. Taegon learned from Darius that there were many more battles to be fought to secure peace in Bratana as a resistance movement had already begun to form against the new zultana. Taegon suggested diplomacy over warfare. Taegon then spoke to Ga Jakadi, who had sobering news—while his troops helped in the Battle of Broken Chains, the Sand Circle attacked Karamezra and killed every gyppa there, and smashed every egg. Ga Jakadi needed calmed down as he blamed the Pathseekers for this, but once he was calmed the group made it clear the Sand Circle would pay. Haseya spoke to Moras about this. She became overwhelmed with emotion, and Moras held her as she expressed herself. Moras promised to speak with Archdruid Throg and that a tribunal would be held to deliver justice onto the Sand Circle.

Finally, Taegon and Misae danced together, and Misae finished it with a kiss on the cheek to Taegon. She explained that she "didn't want to be outdone" by Kamaria, and Taegon replied that, "she didn't need to kiss him to outdo Kamaria." Taken aback and embarassed, Misae quickly left. Narida, Arnold and Haseya converged on Taegon and Haseya let him know that Misae had feelings for him. Arnold and Narida both assurred Taegon that they had his back in this—although Arnold did it in his usual crass sort of way.

The group now plans on finally going to the Library of Sjet to find the answers they originally sought to find.

(The players progressed at this point to level five.)

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Save Tonight
Things get dark for the lady Pathseekers, but a new light is found as the rebellion comes to a head.

Venday, 10 Newbirth, 6935 EY into Taursday, 11 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group split into four teams to rescue slaves from slave compounds. Although the plan went as expected for Tomren, Taegon, and Arnold's teams, Haseya and Misae's team sprung a trap by speaking to a wood elven slave named Little Duck, leaving them caught and at the mercy of Darice il-Kassem, the captain of the cataphracts, and Melchoir za-Khanzar, the dervish general.

Melchoir and Darice led the captured Haseya, Misae and Narida to the Electrum Palace, where they were taken by Mage-Lord Arshad za-Rajafi into the throne room of the zultan himself, Peri ur-Nammuz. Whispering to the mage-lord his instruction, it was revealed that Little Duck would be reassigned as she was "of no use to the zultan," that Narida was considered gutter trash and would be given to the guards as a treat, and that Misae should be prepped for the zultan's harem. The zultan was unsure about "the bear" but said he would take her if she were to be shaved. Haseya stood defiant against this, and Arshad took her into another room.

Here, Arshad attempted to shave Haseya, who still resisted. Arshad brought in Little Duck and Misae. He slit the throat of Little Duck as he calmly explained how he knew ursith were protective of wood elves. He then ripped open Misae's shirt, who was restrained and bound to a stretcher, and produced a whip. Haseya relented, agreeing to be shaved, but Arshad gave Misae one lash anyway.

As Arshad chopped a lock of Haseya's hair off, the door suddenly burst open, leaving Arshad splayed into Haseya's lap. Thinking quickly, Haseya used her powerful thighs to crush the man's head until she heard a crunch and his body went limp. The door had been opened by Narida, who stood free, bloodied and out of breath with a sack containing the belongings of all the women. She unrestrained the two women, and all three of them fled the palace, running into a rescue party made up of Tomren, Taegon, Arnold, Zafar, Eskandar, Moras, and a wood elven man who called himself "Standing Bear." The men questioned the women on what had happened, but none were in the mood to talk, so they walked in silence for several hours until arriving in Falconshrine, the headquarters of the church of Tes-Betat.

That night, the women were wracked by nightmares, and Taegon had a dream of another time and place.

Oathday, 12 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The party was awoken early by Eskandar and Zafar who led them aboveground to a graveyard. It was revealed that Eskandar's brother and Zafar's lover were one in the same— Javad il-Tavana. Zafar relayed his life story to the group, explaining how he and Javad became dissidents and joined the Butterfly, and how his father killed Javad during a slave revolt, and how Eskandar served as a sleeper agent working for the Lord of Servitude.

Although Eskandar had hoped this would clear the confusion between him and Misae, it only served to sour their relationship's potential as Misae did not appreciate the deception, regardless of how 'noble' it was, and furthermore felt insulted that she could not be trusted to keep secrets after the sacrifices and risks she had made in the name of the Butterfly.

More was learned about the mysterious Standing Bear as the day progressed. He was, in fact, the same slave who Haseya had stood up for in Samsandi, who had found his courage after that incident, killed his master, and fled to Falconshrine to become part of the army. He now considered himself Haseya's "sworn man," and said he would die to defend her. Moras also visited Haseya, and cut off part of his hair to show solidarity with his friend/crush.

Kamaria called a final council, wherein she declared it time for the final push and attack on Karna. The armies were assembled and ready to roll out. She suggested everyone take the evening to say whatever they needed to to whoever they needed to, as nobody could be sure what the morning would bring.

The day was filled with conversation, dialogue, and personal drama (NOTE: I'm bound to not remember everything—a lot happened here—so forgive me.) Misae and Moras bond a bit. Arnold resolves a dispute with his old band buddies and has one jam session before the big war. Tomren reassured the women that those who hurt them would die. Taegon and Misae have a moment that borders on romantic, but Taegon still doesn't seem to get the heavy hints that Misae is dropping. Arnold makes himself stupid with the rod of wonder. Haseya and Misae reflect on how far their journey has taken them, and how they never expected to wind up here. Moras asks Tomren for advice on women and receives nothing of value. Taegon receives a vision from Onaiwah that shows him as a warrior-king astride a white stag and leading an army of his own people. Moras visits Haseya, disturbed that she won't admit to her positive qualities. This interaction causes a transformation in Moras, and it is revealed that Moras has werewolf blood in him. He admits he is not Moras Graymoon, but in fact Moras Wolftongue, a noble of Ethova. He tells Haseya that he has control over his shape, and refuses to revert, saying he will stay a werewolf until Haseya admits she is beautiful.

Tomren and Krystof have one final drink and conversation full of backhanded compliments. Misae and Narida swear vengeance upon those who harmed them. Standing Bear asks to sleep in Haseya's quarters to be near her and sleeps on the floor. He undresses partially, completely flustering Haseya. Sebba comes to Arnold to hear songs of her homeland before the battle, but Arnold is too stupid to play music, so she leaves, disappointed. Zafar visits with Haseya and thanks her for everything she has been and done, and teases her about the half-naked, muscular wood elf in her room. Taegon helps to train the gyppa for a while as he is considered a "legendary dragon slayer" amongst them. Eskandar makes one final attempt with Misae that fails. Emanaya asks to sleep with Tomren—not for sex, but to be held. Tomren asks Emanaya if she wishes she could be free from the demon she is bound to. Emanaya explains she didn't tell Tomren everything so he could swoop in and save her. She is okay with her fate and just wants to do as much good as possible before that day comes. Tomren silently commits to slaying the demon, but doesn't say as much. Taegon is visited by his grandfather in the night, who has ominous plans for the future. Finally, Arnold and Narida have a discussion about where their relationship is headed, but Arnold is still too stupid to fully elucidate on his position, simply saying that they are "new" and implying that they have a lot to figure out about each other.

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Walk Through the Fire
Of assassinations and trials.

Truday, 1 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The assassination attempt on Vessi za-Farahani begins. Taegon makes himself look incredibly competent with a series of successful actions, but the group's infiltration plan falls apart fairly quickly once they are inside the house, and many guards are slain. Haseya adopts two new animals forms: giant rattlesnake and dune scorpion. The Pathseekers fight their way to Vessi's personal office, where the accomplished mage begins doling out arcane punishment. Vessi is not a soldier, however, and quickly yields to the groups' martial prowess. Zafar then enters with Falconsong drawn, pronouncing Vessi guilty and that he must pay for his crimes. It is implied that Zafar lost a lover to his fathers' machinations, and then the paladin beheads his father in one strike. Eskandar watches but does not stop it, and kisses Misae on her way out the door. The group flees the za-Farahani estate, taking horses with them.

Norday, 2 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group recovers from their previous adventures. Narida, having sustained major damage in the assassination attempt, sticks to bedrest. Misae pays a handsome amount of electrum for ornate, gorgeous ear jewelry worthy of royalty. She gives Narida one and keeps the other for herself as a symbol of their friendship. Narida is overcome with emotion and weeps; she never knew, as a slave child, that she would one day own such beautiful things, or have such wonderful friends.

Venday, 3 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group begins the arduous and dangerous journey across the desert wastes in search of the Monastery of the Hungry Flame.

Taursday, 4 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group finds the monastery on this day, but discovers it is protected by a mirage illusion. After meditating for six hours and sustaining an extreme level of heat exhaustion, Haseya is able to determine the "true" monastery. They arrive there at one in the morning. Flustered monks quickly awaken to greet their new guests, showing them to their rooms and insisting that they rest up before they begin their trials.

Oathsday, 5 Newbirth, 6935 EY: This is a day of rest at the monastery as Haseya sleeps off her heat exhaustion. 

Lorday, 6 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Another day of rest at the monastery. The seeming leader of the monastery, a handsome sun elf named Sifu Korush sol-Alamaz, investigates everyones' potential to take the trials, and determines neither Tomren nor Taegon are capable, but the other three are.

Arday, 7 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The Trial of Flames. Arnold, Haseya and Misae undergo a series of tests that challenge their strength, constitution, dexterity, wisdom, intelligence, and charisma. In the end, all three of the candidates pass, releasing their "inner fire." Arnold and Misae gain access to new fire-based abilities, but Haseya's flame remains locked away. Sifu Korush suggests speaking with Matilda Greenburrow, the grandmaster of their order. Additionally, each initiate gets parts of their hair shaven in a ritual that makes them official initiates of the hungry flame: Misae gets a side shave, Haseya gets an arm shaved into what looks like a tattoo sleeve, and Arnold gets a mohawk.

Meanwhile, Tomren and Taegon are led to a room of initiates who have yet to fully complete the initiation. Bored and unsure of their future, these initiates have created a number of gambling games and invite Tomren and Taegon to play along. Taegon declines, but Tomren rapidly loses a geat deal of money on the first two games before making it back by betting on a bearded dragon race. He also wins the bearded dragon that won the race, a grumpy, bug-loving reptile named Aswad.

Haseya is led to the grandmaster's room and discovers that Matilda Greenburrow is in fact an elderly halfron woman. The woman is very cordial and sweet to Haseya. She is affectionate toward Ahiga and offers Haseya some tea. Matilda then begins trying to draw out Haseya's anger. She begins by striking Haseya with her cane, but pain does not bring the anger out. Matilda shows Haseya a painting of the Razing of the Graywald, and asks probing, pointed questions abotu Haseya's guilt for her perceived failure. This hurts Haseya but does not draw out her anger. Matilda then begins probing into Haseya's personal history, sensing a pattern of loss. She asks Haseya if perhaps Haseya thinks she lost these things because she simply didn't deserve them. This particular sentence hits Haseya the hardest, and she strikes again at the woman, this time tearing her braid free but not hitting flesh. Finally, as a desperate last resort, Matilda attacks Ahiga, throwing a shuriken that pins the fox's ear to the wall. Fully enraged, Haseya swipes at Matilda. Her claws become pure fire, and her strike leaves a scar across the length of the elderly halfron's face. Matilda is pleased that the inner fire is released and apologizes profusely for what she had said and done to get it to come out—she says her words were "poisoned" and "false" and only meant to bring out Haseya's strengths. But Haseya saw too many truths in Matilda's words, and it left her emotionally drained and ready to leave the monastery.

Truday, 8 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Travel back through the wastes and to Karna occurred on this day.

Norday, 9 Newbirth, 6935 EY: The group arrives in Karna and drinks copiously. They wash away the sweat and grime of desert travel. Misae gets very drunk and ogles Taegon in a wet bathrobe, but Taegon doesn't seem to notice the new attention. The group is summoned by Kamaria, but decide to put it off until the following day. Haseya's dragon scale mail is finally completed, and she dons it, feeling foolish and sure that she looks stupid—the rest of the group is wowed by how striking and intimidating it makes her, however.

Venday, 10 Newbirth, 6935 EY: Kamaria assembles the group for what will be one of the final moves by the Butterfly—a strike force to liberate the slaves of Karna and assemble them in Falconshrine, the secret Butterfly base outside of the city limits of Karna. Taegon, Krystof and Thunder are chosen to infiltrate the za-Ifrit Estate, home to warrior slaves who respond to strength. Narida, Haseya and Misae are chosen to infiltrate the za-Ghara Estate, where pleasure slaves are kept that need to hear from other women who may convince the pampered slaves that freedom is preferable to a life of comfortable servitude. Arnold, Moras, and Kamaria herself will infiltrate the za-Ashtani Estate, where the most broken slaves in the land are housed. These slaves need to be reminded of their humanity, and between Arnold's music, Kamaria's skills as a diplomat and an orator, and Moras's natural empathy, Kamaria believes many lives can be saved. Finally, Tomren, Sebba, and Emanaya are chosen to infiltrate the za-Darvish Estate, where slaves are taught to be tutors and scholars for young nobility. Learned slaves are a rarity and Kamaria believes releasing them from their binds would prove invaluable to the resistance.

Before the group begins this mission, Emanaya confronts Tomren, asking him if he "hates her, fears her, or both," because he always acts distant toward her. Tomren defends himself by pointing out she is a warlock who knew his secret as a blackborn. Emanaya then tells Tomren her life story, about how the felice in the Dead Lands are persecuted by the pious men that live there, how they are often executed, raped, or both, and how a vicious hate crime left her mother acid-burned and blind. Emanaya explained she was abducted by a Bishop who chained her in the basement and used her body in unspeakable ways, and it was at that time that she was confronted by infernal whispers offering her untold power. She took the power to ensure she could protect her mother and killed the bishop.

Tomren wasn't convinced that warlocks weren't trouble, but the conversation opened his eyes more to Emanaya's particular situation. He apologized to the woman, and seemed interested in improving their relationship.

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Love Explosion
Things begin heating up in Karna.

Truday, 25 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The group plans and prepares for their first mission as Butterfly operatives. At 1:30, they enter the markets incognito, while Narida, Misae, and an invisible Blaster work their way behind the scenes to begin placing the explosives. 

While they do this, the other teams mill about in the plaza in front of the slave stages. Tomren buys a mango the size of a basketball and eats the entire thing, and a few electrum pieces are given to a blind man whose parrot says a series of very cryptic "futures."

The behind the scenes portion goes smoothly at first, with Blaster arming the first and second bombs without problems. While at the second tent, Narida and Misae arouse the attention of a guard. Narida attempts to flirt her way out of the problem, but fails, and is backhanded by the guard. Without much time to think, Misae slits the guards throat, assassinating him quickly. They hide the body in a barrel of wine and make their way to the third tent.

At the third tent, the women see two pleasure slaves lounging on pillows, almost entirely nude. Narida enters the tent with the invisible Blaster and tells Misae to come with. Narida begins speaking with the slaves to put them at ease—Misae cannot speak the language but suspects that Narida is flirting. Blaster is taking an abnormally long time, so Misae goes to ask what's taking so long. At that precise moment, Blaster makes a mistake arming the bomb and the device explodes, killing the slaves in the tent and the slaves on the stage and sending the plaza into a panic. The other teams stare in horror and shock, and swiftly move to begin executing the plan early.

Misae finds herself unscathed, but realizes it is because Narida has used herself as a shield to protect her. Narida is badly injured, but mobile—Blaster, however, appears to have been torn nearly in two, his legs barely more than shreds of flesh. Narida says that Misae must arm the final bomb on her own, and that Narida needs to get Blaster back to headquarters immediately for healing.

White team begins to escort innocents out of the area, while violet team begins to construct their message. Emanaya makes a violet butterfly out of eldritch energy, augments Haseya's storms, and writes a message in high elven - "You are free now." Haseya causes stormclouds to gather, grows an abundance of flora that overtakes the flesh markets, and summons forth bees, butterflies, and fireflies to swarm around the plantlife and the symbol. Arnold uses a magic arrow to cause a wall of brambles and roots to surround the symbol, then encapsulates the butterfly in a heart of blue butterflies, and causes music to pour out of Haseya's flowers- a song of salvation and hope.

Misae makes her way to the fourth tent and sets the bomb, but is stopped by a guard—a guard who reveals themselves to be none other than Eskandar za-Tavana. Eskandar seems confused that Misae is here and is part of the Butterfly. He forces her into a swordfight, offering the use of one of his scimitars. It is apparent that Misae is outmatched in hand-to-hand combat, but Eskandar makes no grand attempt to injure Misae. Eventually, a detachment of cataphracts finds the guard captain, and he takes Misae's dagger, injuring himself with a stab wound to the gut and commanding her to run. Unsure what to make of any of this, Misae flees back to the Butterfly headquarters.

Red team staved off the waves of attackers, killing only one of them while putting the rest to sleep (or, in one case, pinning a man under his horse by putting his horse to sleep.) Krystof used the telekinesis spell to create a flying, flaming battering ram, and Taegon slashed through the ranks.

All of the Pathseekers then decided to launch the symbol into the sky and flee, and all made it away safely.

Norday, 26 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The operation was a resounding success who's effects are felt all throughout Bratana. Slave revolts and riots break out and cause a police state lockdown to occur in Karna for the next two days. Enough attention is drawn to the Butterfly that the size of the organization expands rapidly, causing need for two new hideouts to open up—one under the Falcon's Perch and one in the Grey Falcon Inn.

During this day, Tomren goes to check on Sunshine to find that the creatures' extended presence in the stables has caused an aura of corruption that is withering the feed, rotting the wood of the stables, and sapping the life energies from the horses. Tomren tries to move Sunshine to the other side of the stable but is caught by the stable boy who fetches the innkeeper. The innkeeper then gets it out of Tomren that this was the result of Sunshine and demands that Sunshine be removed. Tomren fights back, but eventually relents when the innkeeper agrees to have the Butterfly act as an intermediary in the dispute. Butterfly agents arrive and move Sunshine to the sewers of Karna.

Tomren surveys the death and rot left by Sunshine and gathers that it is an infusion of black weave. He uses his arcane ability to extract the Weave and pull it into himself, which nearly kills him. Quickly, he is rushed inside, where Krystof explains that it will take about a week of bed rest for Tomren to recover from this, during which Tomren will suffer excruciating pain the entire time and will be barely able to eat, drink or sleep.

That night, while trying to find sleep, Tomren has a fever dream of climbing an icy mountain of bones while the raven Lot mocks his attempts.

Venday, 27 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The streets of Karna are still unsafe this day. In the evening, Haseya has a dream where she sees a large bear who takes her to a tropical island. She sees some ruins and senses frustration from the entity that communication is difficult.

Taursday, 28 Whitefall, 6934 EY: The streets are finally cleared on this day. Misae awakens to the innkeeper knocking on her door and telling her she has a visitor. Misae goes downstairs to find Eskandar waiting for her, wanting to take her on the promised date. Misae consults with Haseya, and Taegon threatens Eskandar. Eskandar laughs off Taegon's threats, saying he is not intimidated by him. Haseya allows Misae two hours, and also threatens Eskandar—Eskandar tells Haseya as well that he does not intimidate. Zafar also encounters Eskandar—Eskandar calls Zafar 'Zaffi' and seems to know him. Zafar does not seem happy to see him.

What follows is half a pleasant date, half an extremely awkward date. Eskandar is a gentleman, pays for lunch, takes Misae somewhere romantic, and stays engaged and interested in who Misae is, where she came from, and what makes her Misae. Misae in turn is confused because they definitely fought each other a few days ago and she can't reconcile dating someone who works for the Lord of Servitude. Eskandar explains that his brother, Javad, was killed during a slave revolt, and since then he has sworn to ensure that the status quo be kept. While walking around the Cascading Fountains, Misae does allow a small amount of affection to be shown despite her misgivings, allowing Eskandar to take her hand as they walk.

True to his word, Eskandar returns Misae to the Falcon's Perch Inn before the two hours are up, unscathed and unharmed. Misae is left wholly confused about the events of the past few days.

Oathday, 29 Whitefall, 6934 EY: Tomren continues to recover. Taegon goes to a jeweler with Arnold following as a translator and has a few items commissioned. The jewelers tell Taegon and Arnold to return the following day. Haseya and Misae both speak with Zafar about Eskandar. He remains evasive as ever, saying only that Eskandar is incorrugible, and is a trouble maker. 

Lorday, 30 Whitefall, 6934 EY: Taegon has crafted a cloak pin for Tomren that is blessed in holy water and prayers to Tarathiel to shield Tomren from undeath. Tomren explains that undeath is kind of his thing, and Taegon points out that every time Tomren meddles with it it almost kills him. Taegon also presents Misae with a medallion to wear around her neck, blessed with the protection of Tarathiel, in the hopes that it will keep the demon Ruzazel out of her head. Misae expresses interest in Tarathiel, explaining that sun symbology has been following her quite a bit the past few days.

Arnold then reveals he had a silver cock-and-balls secretly commissioned for Taegon and finds it extremely hilarious. Haseya offers some suggestions of where Arnold can shove it, which gives him a few ideas, and he goes to find Narida.

Arday, 31 Whitefall, 6935 EY: With Tomren hale at last, the group decides they are ready to begin the second mission for the Butterfly. This time, they learn from Kamaria, blood must be spilled. The message has been sent but they have not bared their teeth. Kamaria wants the head of Vessa za-Farahani—the Lord of Servitude. Tomren and Haseya seem to balk at the idea of assassination, but Kamaria is insistent. To further complicate the matter, Haseya reveals a secret told to her days ago by Zafar: that Vessi za-Farahani is not only the Lord of Servitude, but also Zafar's father.

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