Salvation

The Return to Novus
Home sweet home

[Editor's note: Several pages were missing from Master Freuenberger's journal here. A few remained intact but were so stained with a mixture of what appeared to be ale and vomit that they were rendered unreadable. The contents of this portion of the journal have sadly been lost to what must have been a night of intense carousing. However, from what we can glean, the Pathseekers forged an alliance of the peoples of Goranth and stood against the armies of the dragonborn and the fire genasi and came out the victors.]

Oathday, 14 Greysky, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers are magically teleported back to Novus via the powers of Nadia DuFey. They take along with them Eskandar za-Tavana, Tumbleweed, Arbitrary, Gakpit, Vettorio Barbamachollo, Kundang of the Cloth, and Coventina Cherryblossom, as well as a sizable contingency of warforged. Most are happy to see them returned as they feared them dead. Chumani insists on a full check-up, and Zafar requests a report. Narida finally confesses to Arnold her infidelity with Standing Bear, which Arnold seems unphased by. Narida remains insistent that they maintain an open relationship, feeling unworthy of Arnold's dedication.

Lorday, 15 Greysky, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers begin to plan their next move. They learn that the Green Circle is ready to conduct the Tribunal on the Sand Circle and decide that is their next move. A number of missions are available for investigation in Callandria, and the group wishes to have them explored, but many of the individuals they rely on are absent from Shizuma Castle, searching the world for where the Pathseekers had gone. After some discussion, the Pathseekers agree to wait a few days for these individuals to return.

Arday, 16 Greysky, 6935 EY: Misae receives a letter from Telokete explaining the nature of Nicnevin, the Oiche Baugh, and how she should not use the title Oiche Baugh as it alerts the fey creature every time it is uttered. Misae is then talked into traveling to Belaguardia via Nadia's teleporter to find shark jaw bones with Tomren. Misae and Tomren discover a shope called "Niska's Curiosities," which is filled with bones and necromantic items. Niska himself is a very creepy tiefling with a perverse obsession with the undead—Tomren quickly purchases his shark bones and leaves.

Truday, 17 Greysky, 6935 EY: Haseya is abruptly visited by Archdruid Throg of the Green Circle, who tree strides directly into her grove. He growls about not wanting to wait two and a half weeks and gives her a tree stride scroll specifically attuned for Moras. He tells her she can take her time, but not to take TOO long. Haseya sheepishly apologizes and takes the scroll. After discussing it with her allies, they agree to wait three more days.

Venday, 19 Greysky, 6935 EY: Although the day prior passed uneventfully, Fala of Sipaku returned to the castle on this day. She was happy to see the group and was amused by the name similarities between her and Phala.

Taursday, 20 Greysky, 6935 EY: No longer comfortable with keeping the Archdruid waiting, the group decides to use the tree stride spell to travel to Bratana. Zafar, Eskandar, Sebba, and Moras accompany them on their travel, as well as Beasts for Peace, Chumani of Sipaku, and Berilar, who have business in the southern reaches of the neighboring nation of Dalorene. The Pathseekers now await the beginning of the Tribunal of the Sand Circle.

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Sanctuary
A strange new world.

Norday, 4 Greysky, 6935 EY: The two artificial creatures, which introduce themselves as Tumbleweed and Arbitrary, offer to give Tomren and his companions a ride to "Sanctuary." They power up a futuristic vehicle that moves at speeds thought impossible by the group previously. The rest of the day is spent in travel.

Venday, 5 Greysky, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers arrive in Sanctuary, a dilapidated and ruined futuristic city now inhabited by these robotic creatures. They are taken immediately to the "executors," who turn out being the same type of creatures only their heads have been replaced by preserved human heads in jars. These executors, named Pinch, Best, and Balcony, welcomed Tomren, but questioned him on many of the secrets of the Makers. These were clearly questions Tomren didn't have answers to, but he was successfully able to buy time by hopping on the Tomb of the Makers when it was mentioned, and the executors agreed to allow him and his companions to explore it.

Within the Tomb of the Makers, the Pathseekers found many holographic projections by the hierophants of ages past that spoke the history of the warforged and how long they have waited for humans to return to Paribaia. The group also discovered tanks containing partially-preserved remains of long-dead humans. They surmised that these tanks once held people either in stasis or dead bodies in preservation, but the power source had long ago failed.

Eventually, after fighting a variety of guardians and sentinels, the group discovered something surprising—a simulacrum of Taeron Stareyes, the Shining Zultan. Taegon's grandfather had claimed Lexarfel, the Path of Salvation, and was in charge of the Flaming Scale Horde. Taeron also claimed to have killed the inhabitants of Elm Shaeras, including Taegon's mother, and forced the group to fight their skeletal remains. 

Oathday, 7 Greysky, 6935 EY: The group emerged from the Tomb with more questions than answers, and Tomren had to return to the executors empty-handed. Executor Balcony declared Tomren a 'false Maker' and called for his execution, and Executor Best was inclined to agree. Executor Pinch talked the men down and the three agreed to allow the group to flee in exile.

On their way out, they were approached by Tumbleweed, who made the point that they had no way of returning home. He had an idea and asked them to wait for him. The group agreed, and Tumbleweed showed up with a massive power core and refused to answer questions. He swiftly drove them back to the teleportation shrine, when Haseya noticed that there were warforged pursuing them. As they arrived at the shrine, Tumbleweed begged everyone to go inside as he and Arbitrary plugged in the power core. 

Before Tumbleweed and Arbitrary could do so, however, the executors and warforged army caught up with them. As the executors called for the death of the intruders, the warforged slowly began to disobey the orders of the executors, siding instead with the Pathseekers, claiming that Tomren may not have been what they were expecting out of the Makers, but he was a Maker nonetheless, and they would stand with the Makers. The executors and their few loyal units made a quick retreat, and the several hundred warforged that remained behind pledged their service to Tomren and the Pathseekers. 

As the group used the teleporter to return back to Meren Shaeras, Nadia was horrified to see the number of bodies coming through the portal at once. This manner of teleportation magic was unsuitable for such large numbers, and it caused a massive explosion that killed a great number of the warforged. Those who remained made Tumbleweed and Arbitrary their leaders, and swore to return to the Makers' Realm. 

The Pathseekers spoke to Nadia about the Flaming Scale Horde marching on Casalini, but it was evident she already knew, as she was rousing and rallying her troops. She told the Pathseekers she feared that the might of the eladrin and the shifters wouldn't be enough to stand against the fire genasi and the dragonborn. The aasimar were too lofty and arrogant to come down from on high to help and the genasi would not fight their brethren, so she suggested the Pathseekers help by turning to one of the other potential allies: the goliath of Agravaya, the tiefling of Xylenthine, or the apocra of Virandis. The group agreed to split up to maximize their potential of recruiting allies. Tomren and Phala went to Kel'Shangra, the capital of Agravaya, to meet with the goliath; Arnold and Misae went to Kalanda, capital of Xylenthine, to meet with the tiefling; and Tomren and Haseya went to Alsoon, a nearby apocran settlement, to speak with the waspfolk.

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A New Old World
The Pathseekers discover an ancient secret.

Taursday, 19 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers meet with their advisors and are introduced to the war table, from where they can issue their followers and allies to complete different goals and objectives. For purposes of brevity, the details of these missions will not be outlined in adventure log posts, except where they touch upon or impact the plot of the story.

After delegating tasks to their allies, the Pathseekers decide that returning to Taegon's homeland of Elm Shaeras on the continent of Utar is the high priority. Using their newly-acquired flying mounts, the group sets off for the port city of Itaro.

Taursday, 2 Rosefield, 6935 EY: After four days of travel, the group arrives in Itaro, one of Sarenul's largest port cities. The Pathseekers decide from here to take a ship directly to Amberdeen, the capital of Utar, in lieu of flying their mounts there, which would require them to make stops in the Olvani island chain, which is infamous for its rough-and-tumble pirate population.

Oathday, 24 Rosefield, 6935 EY: The journey to Utar is long and grueling. The Pathseekers spend nearly a month at sea with very little to occupy themselves. The crew they hired are former military and are professional and polite but curt and straight-laced. On the 24th of Rosefield, the ship arrives in Lion's Mouth Bay, but the Pathseekers are disheartened to see Amberdeen in flames.

Quickly, the Pathseekers took the ship's tender to shore, where they found strange, dragonlike humanoids patrolling the burning city streets alongside red-skinned men and women with flame for hairs. These creatures brooked no passage and bandied no words, but instead attacked the Pathseekers, who bested them in battle. Tomren guessed at their species as dragonborn and igna genasi—creatures that were thought to be long extinct.

A trader Taegon recognized emerged from the rubble where he was hiding to explain that the creatures appeared and attacked without warning. He told Taegon they were led by a bronze-skinned elf and that they were headed for Elm Shaeras.

Lorday, 25 Rosefield, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers arrive in Elm Shaeras to find the village shattered and its population decimated. Judging by the number of bodies, Taegon deduces that not everyone is dead. He rushes to his parents' home and finds it empty, with signs of struggle. While rushing to Berilar's home, he encounters the man in the city square—the last surviving mystic elf in Elm Shaeras. Berilar explains that he knows they need to follow these creatures, and that the answers they have sought for so long exist "beyond the storms."

The Pathseekers hijack a biomechanical whale-ship and haphazardly pilot it under the water, moving at breakneck speeds that eventually overload the ship and their biology, leaving them beached, shipwrecked, and at the edge of death.

Norday, 28 Rosefield, 6935 EY: The group awakens in a strange new land being tended to by a strange race of people who appear to be human but have strange, bestial qualities to them. There is no shared language, but the creatures seem to be working diligently to heal the Pathseekers.

The days that followed were days of recovery. Eventually, the Pathseekers were introduced to a porcupine-man who introduced himself as Vettorio Barbamachollo. Vettorio explains that the group is in a city called Belaguardia, in the nation of Casalini, on the continent of Goranth. None of these words or places sound familiar to anyone, not even Tomren, who has studied geography more extensively than the others, or Arnold, who knows a thousand songs and stories. 

Arday, 2 Greysky, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers are led to the Council of Four, the individuals who oversee trade and administration in Belaguardia. They are accompanied by a panel of experts and scientists who begin asking the Pathseekers a variety of questions regarding what they call the "Otherlands" or the "lands beyond the storms." They seem keenly interested in what they call the Flaming Scale Horde. 

After these questions, it is determined that the Pathseekers do not pose a threat and are allowed to travel as they please, as long as Vettorio accompanies them. They immediately seek travel to Virandis to find Berilar and the eladrin. 

Upon arriving in Virandis via teleportation (another surprise to the well-learned Tomren,) they find Meren Shaeras, the capital of Virandis and the home of the eladrin. This enormous tree is populated by thousands of eladrin—more than Taegon has ever seen—and he recognzies none of them but one: Berilar. Berilar escorts them through Meren Shaeras, saying that it's "time to meet Her."

Indeed, Taegon finally comes face to face with his goddess—Tarathiel, the Lady of Light. Taegon is taken aback to learn that Tarathiel is in fact just an eladrin woman named Nadia du Fey who insists on not being called Tarathiel. She is accompanied by many incredibly powerful allies, and tells a story of how they have traveled from another world and sought refuge on Pryme. She also knows the group is searching for the Paths of Salvation and has sensed the presence of one in the country of Paribaia. Nadia can offer teleportation to Paribaia but warns it's a one-way trip. Additionally, she requests that the group take with them a strange individual who is of both dragonborn and aasimar blood—a quiet and lithe cleric named Phala. Nadia explains that Phala doesn't have a place in Goranth and is seeking his place in the world. Having a cleric can be a valuable asset to an adventuring group, and the Pathseekers welcome Phala along in their journies.

Truday, 3 Greysky, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers travel through the one-way portal to Paribaia. They arrive in what looks like a ruined temple made of metal. There are strange metal cables and wires hanging from the ceiling like synthetic vines, and a great fallen pillar of metal and stone separates them from the outside world. They can hear a tinny voice from outside calling into the temple. When they respond, they hear the flare of electricity, and a creature made of stone, wood and metal appears before them—a strange automaton shaped in the image of a man and carrying an electrified quarterstaff. The creature seems ready to engage and kill the Pathseekers until he sees Tomren—at which point he drops his weapon and begins to worship him.

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The Attack on Shizuma Castle
The Battle For A Base Begins

Arday, 18 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers lay siege to Shizuma Castle with the aid of Hiroshi Shizuma, Lily Oxford, Merle Gunnarson, and Chumani of Sipaku. While fighting in the streets of Okura, they battled Noir the sniper, Mack Jorrison the soldier, Sir Roland the paladin, and Lanio, the avar bard. They ended up recruiting Sir Roland, who seemed to know Chumani from a previous organization, and they spoke vaguely of mutual friends who were either "ruling, disappeared, or dead."

In the Temple of the Tenets, the group fought against Thurston, a giant and angry hylo; ZY-TA, a strange man made of metal; Barik Blastbarrel, a dwarven elementalist; and Fala of Sipaku, Chumani's daughter who had been brainwashed by the empire and given a rocket launcher and jetpack. Fala was eventually saved by her mother, and helped the group continue their attack inward.

In Shizuma Castle courtyard, the group faced off against the goblin Duva in a mechanical suit; Dum'Gar of Clan Ferrag, a vicious thragg'ar with a legendary punch; Xue Nushi, a Sarenulian cryomancer; Orisos, a centaur druid from Casturas; and Sonora, an Ordovan spy and manipulator. This proved to be the group's hardest challenge, but won it in the end, and recruited Dum'Gar in the process, who was wooed by the groups' strength.

In Shizuma Castle itself, the group fought against a shadowy figure called Grim; an unhinged vulpini named Havoc; a silent but gruesome ogre named The Hook; and an arrogant Mercenary woman named Perfectra. This battle went very quickly, and they spared Havoc, who joined them for unknown reasons.

In Shizuma Castle Throne Room, the group came face to face with Hiroshi's brother, thought dead—Godo Shizuma. Godo had been horribly mutilated, but saved with Imperial technology, turned into a cyborg ninja. He was accompanied by Child Mercy, a member of the Valorous Family; BS-T0N, an Imperial mech; and Zorya, a hardened dwarven general. This battle was won quickly thanks to the group's efforts and Hiroshi unleashing his spirit dragon powers on his brother.

In the end, the Shizuma brothers were reunited, and agreed to travel the world together, to see what it had become and to learn from each other. As thanks for restoring the castle, they agreed to relinquish the rights of it to the Pathseekers, that they may use it for safe harbor.

What followed was a month of reconstruction, building and development of Shizuma Castle. Taegon grew very restless during this period, anxious to follow the warnings given to him in dreams.

Taursday, 22 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: Shiro Bo Fu and Nobu arrive in Okura and lend their assistance to the Pathseekers, confident that their travels will eventually lead them to Shiro's grandfather.

Taursday, 29 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: Katja Kraus arrives from Molentius, claiming she had been sent by visions of her grandfather's spirit. Katja seemed more grown up, more ready, and said that Krystof had told her she had a great destiny in helping the Pathseekers.

Truday, 2 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: "Jungle" Jym Lestoy showed up on grounds, only now going by the name "Judo" Jym Lestoy. He asked to set up a shop in the castle. Misae was reluctant to trust him, but eventually relented, and Jym joined the group's growing entourage.

Arday, 8 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: Adlyth Bronarth and Herod Eswald, the two young lovers from Dunezar, arrived in Okura with the promised pteranodons—eight of them in total. The Pathseekers each chose a personal mount from this clutch and Adlyth and Herod agreed to stay in Sarenul to help oversee their care and needs. Today is also Haseya's 54th birthday.

Venday, 11 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: Taegon's 251st birthday. Taegon and Misae FINALLY BANG.

Oathday, 13 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: Beasts for Peace arrive in Okura, having heard the news of the Pathseekers building a base. They have decided to finally settle down and want to make Shizuma Castle their venue. The group agrees.

Norday, 17 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: Moras returns from a secret mission accompanied by Haseya's mother, Manaba; her father, Sani; and her sister, Doli. Sani helps Haseya build a druid grove out of bonsai and bamboo, which Sebba asks if she can guard. Moras also brings with him Telokete, MIsae's father, who makes intimidating remarks toward Tomren and grills Taegon, mentioning a group called the "windspeakers" who looked like Taegon, piquing his curiosity.

Venday, 18 Greenleaf, 6935 EY: The family members return to Sipaku. At the end of this day, a final old face reveals itself: Zafar za-Farahani, worn and beaten from travel, arrives in Shizuma Castle with these words on his lips: "It sounds like we have work to do."

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The Dragon Emperor
An infiltration of the world's greatest palace.

Arday, 11 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The Pathseekers successfully infiltrate the Crown of the World. They debate how they are going to infiltrate the wyvern compound until ultimately deciding that a direct break-in is the quickest route. During this frontal assault, using Nobu as a battering ram, Misae fell from the great bear and was dragged behind it. The group quickly made their way inside, hijacking wyverns, which Taegon had difficulty controlling, but Tomren displayed a natural talent with. As they flew upward to the Heavenly Palace, they noticed they were being pursued by Mei Jeimei agents and wyvern riders. The Mei Jeimei were able to hit Misae with tranquilizing needles, knocking her unconscious, which slumped her off of the wyvern, but she was caught midair by the intelligent beast.

Upon arriving at the Heavenly Palace, the group was attacked by Mei Jeimei agents, wyvern riders, and two adult dragons. Before the dragons could lay ruin and devastation upon the group, two individuals arrived; Zhou Dong, the Tiger General, and Li Chao, the minister of Ilias and leader of the Mei Jeimei, who was also the noodle lady supposed dead days before.

After some brief confusion, Shiro was able to talk Zhou Dong into permitting an audience with Dragon Emperor Fang Peng Roc. After a very tense discussion, one of Fang Peng Roc's draconic allies—daughter of Fothratarth, Isrutarth—cast restorative spells on Misae and Zhou Dong, granting them their memories back and revealing Li Chao's deception. Fang Peng Roc exiled Li Chao, but Li Chao took the entirety of the Mei Jeimei with her. Both the korthadrak and the uthadrak left Sarenul temporarily to report to the Dracocouncil in the north.

Fang Peng Roc felt humiliation instead of gratitude after these events. He claimed the Pathseekers had dishonored him, and refused them the help they asked. He said if they wished for help, they would need to help one of his daimyos, a corvo named Hiroshi Shizuma, who had been asking for help to reclaim his ancestral home of Shizuma Castle in Okura. The group agreed, said goodbye to Shiro Bo Fu and Nobu, and were escorted to the base of the mountain.

Truday, 12 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: After traveling the hilly countryside, the group arrived in Ikochumi, an industrious city. Ahiga began acting very strangely here, biting and growling and being a general nuisance. While Haseya tried to figure things out, the rest of the group went to a museum at Tomren's behest. When they returned, they learned Ahiga was going through "growing pains." Taegon remarked that he thought Ahiga was fully grown—Haseya said that "so did she."

The group continued traveling, refusing to stay in town because of the impoliteness of their innkeeper.

Norday, 13 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: A day of travel passes by without incident.

Venday, 14 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The group arrives in Anzamuri, a busy market town. Narida and Arnold are charged with finding out information about Okura while the others find an inn. When the two return, they explain that Okura is primarily corvo and has been evacuated in recent days because of the incident with intruders in Shizuma Castle. It is assumed the intruders are affiliated with the empire of Realm, and many strange mercenaries have been hired to help shore up its defenses.

Taursday, 15 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: A day of travel passes by without incident.

Oathday, 16 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: A day of travel passes by without incident.

Lorday, 17 Earlydawn, 6935 EY; The Day of the Dragons: The Pathseekers arrive in Okura. They find their rendezvous point, an inn called the Double Dragons, amongst the empty and desolate city. Here, they find a whiskey-swilling grizzled old cowboy named Merle Gunnarson. Merle explains that he and two others are hired hands by Hiroshi Shizuma. The other two are Lily Oxford, a bubbly little halfron, and none other than Chumani of Sipaku, Haseya's mentor and dear friend. The two are astonished to see each other here, and Chumani says that she believes her daughter, Fala, may have survived the Razing of the Graywald and her hunt has led her here. The three mercenaries begin bickering, which is interrupted by an arrow in the wall and the sudden arrival of the noble Hiroshi Shizuma, who tells the group a legend his father told him about two warring dragons. He says that he walked the world for many years and has now returned to his home only to find it overran by Imperial scum, and begs for everyone's help. Lily smiles sheepishly and replies, "The world could always use more heroes."

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Bo Fu
An old name; a new friend.

Lorday, 10 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: The group decides to spend the day checking out Zhongtou District. Before they head out, Li Cai suggests they freshen up. When Misae goes to do so, she is abducted by the Mei Jeimei, the secret agents of Illias, and is replaced by a shapeshifting dragon doppelganger. The group is unaware of the change, even Haseya, for the dragon's talents are second to none.

The group visits a museum about the Ophan War—although Tomren had hoped to learn more about "the fall of Realm," the museum dedicated to it wasn't open yet, according to Li Cai.

Meanwhile, Misae was being interrogated by the Mei Jeimei. They used magic to modify her memory, transforming her from her usual rebellious self into a submissive fan of the dragon emperor who believed that Realm had been destroyed.

When the group returned to the manor, the Mei Jeimei agents switched Misae with the impostor, granting her the memories of the day's events. When the brainwashed Misae met with the rest of the group, they were immediately put off by her, but could not pinpoint what had happened to her. 

Tomren and Ilfrek endured an agonizingly long lecture about the origins of the country of Sarenul in the hopes of eventually learning about the fall of Realm. Ilfrek sent Tomren a secret message that said they are wasting time and need to find a way to free themselves of the watchful eyes of their attendants. Ilfrek had a plan and aimed to initiate it the following day.

Arday, 11 Earlydawn, 6935 EY: Although the group had plans to meet dragons this day, Tomren changed plans at the last second to get the group out of the house. The plan was to travel to one of the art galleries. On the way there, Ilfrek created an illusory nightmare that charged the group. In the panic and confusion, the group bolted away from their escorts, who immediately took chase. The large men who served as bodyguards shifted into dragons and began to hunt the group down.

The group ducked and weaved through Zhongtou District, staying under cover to avoid the dragons. They ducked into a covered alleyway only to be ambushed by Mei Jeimei agents, who quickly demonstrated powers beyond what the group had. They were nearly captured, but the battle was interrupted by the samurai they had fed days before. The Mei Jeimei agents scattered when he arrived, and he helped Misae gather her unconscious allies onto his hulking heibai, a creature he called Nobu. The young man introduced himself as Shiro Bo Fu, and explained that the Mei Jeimei are afraid of his name. He knows the group is looking to speak with the Dragon Emperor, and Shiro wishes to speak with him too.

Shiro hurried the group away to a secret place, where he explained his plan to steal wyverns from the Crown of the World and fly up to the Heavenly Palace. He explained they could either go through the monster-infested sewers or risk traveling in the open with the Mei Jeimei looking for them. They decided to try traveling aboveground, but Shiro warned they needed to move quickly before the Mei Jeimei warned the wall guards about them.

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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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