The Fall of Faith

Friends New and Old
Excerpt from the Memoirs of Dorak the Axe Bearer, Thane of Karak Belgrin

The following chronicles a part of one of the more famous quests of a mighty dwarf that once lived in Norska. Though he passed over a millennium ago, his legend lives on…

“Unknown time and date, in the Land of Sun and Sand”
That Evening

That last battle was unpleasant. Being thrown around on a stone platform is one thing. Taking a bath with acid-spitting ooze is completely another. Demons be damned, this place turns viler with every step we take. It is as if some twisted mind created a maze of pointless challenges for its own amusement. Well, we’ll see how much it laughs when Vamut’s sharp blade rests within its chest!

With Fynias’ help I manage to clamber out of the now-frozen pit. A few short blessings later our impressive group looks none worse for wear, and with newfound resolve we continue on our mission. Jaq’n once again displays his great skills and quickly finds a way to disable the whole contraption, allowing us to safely leave the circular room and proceed on our search.

A few corridors later we find ourselves passing through a honeycomb of imp holes, all too frightened or distracted to heed our presence. I’m sure that’s a short-lived relief, but for now a welcome pause. Eventually we hit a crossroad, with two obvious paths leading left and right. I might not have my bearings right in this place and difficulty in finding myself, but my dwarf senses are right and a third choice opens up. I know its there… I can sense it… but it takes Jaq’n’s skills to find the passage leading straight into a massive chamber within the cube.

The ‘place’ is a vision from the most horrid dreams. Dozens of bridges, platforms, and passages intertwine in the air, leading in and out of dark corridors. The entire floor is covered with hundreds of cages filled with the moaning and screaming of the captors. The ceiling is filled with the low rumblings of hordes of imps – all busy with their chaotic tasks and yet oddly sensing our presence. It doesn’t take long before our presence is noticed. The Fallen is here … we spot her in a distance, and as we do she conjures up vile devils in our path. She then proceeds to blink around the chamber, out of the reach of my spells. To make the matter worse, the Imps, as if on command, form large swarms and head straight for us!

Fortunately, we have a few tricks up our sleeves. The mage makes quick work of the Fallen – she clearly underestimated our skills. My holy wards keep the Imp swarms at bay as Sir Cael censures them into oblivion. And the devils, though landing a few blows, are no match for our prowess, and are swiftly disposed of. It was a nasty situation, but by now we’re aware of the dangers and we keep our guard up at all times.

We make our way to the Fallen and recover the Circlet of the Heavens that Thorain’s Messenger told us about. I need no reminder of our oath and my duty. I grab the Circlet and make haste back to the imprisoned Messenger. However, once in her presence I cannot bring it upon myself to don the Circlet. It isn’t my place. It isn’t right. If anyone, anyone at all has any right to don this holy item, it would be Sir Cael, a paladin and royalty. I hand him the circlet with a simple “I dare not” and watch with reverence as he kneels, dons the Circlet, and removes the heavenly sword from the imprisoned Angel. At once she is free, and with a single wave of hand her wounds are healed and health restored. My knees buckle under the weight of the moment, but I compose myself and simply remain speechless as the Angel thanks us. Imagine! An Angel of Thorain thanking US! No Thanks are necessary, and she knows this, for it was my duty, and I’d do it again without hesitation. Still, the Angel grants us a boon before going back into His Presence and awards us a short rest both physically and mentally. When we wake up, though only an hour passes, our memories and blessings are fully restored, and we feel energized into resuming our quest.

Sir Cael was granted the greatest boon, for the Angel left her sword and the circlet in his possession. I feel no jealousy. I feel no envy. He is a Paladin, and he is royalty. If anyone is to wield a mighty weapon of such awesome power it should be him. I am humbled by the presence of such a worthy companion.

We soon find ourselves back in the large chamber. The screams and moans of the captors vibrate throughout the room, but it would take weeks just to free a small subsection, and if we stop to do that we’ll fail in stopping the end of the world. That’s not acceptable, and though it breaks my heart to once-again choose to turn a blind eye to their suffering, we move on. We find one small floating chamber and decide to explore it for additional clues.

The inside is filled with eerie lights, sculptures of tortured man, dwarf, and beast, and a few sets of fast-spinning blades around a central shaft. It is a prison and a trap, and it would be suicide to venture further if it wasn’t for Jaq’n’s skill once again. He climbs up the shaft and skillfully disables the mechanism controlling the spinning blades. We find that this is indeed a very special prison, and inside is none other than my old ‘friend’ Khalid – the same man I was on a boat with only two days ago! Yet this Khalid does not know me, and he is much younger than my companion. He has little to offer other than additional warnings of upcoming doom. He mentions that he is held here because the master of this place thinks that he has some hidden knowledge. I don’t know what to make of it. For now, at least, we cannot free him from the chamber, so all we can do is proceed further and see what other surprises the day will bring. I have a feeling we’ll be coming back to free him soon enough. I remain puzzled though, for now I do not know who, or what, to trust. This place is a place of evil and deception – perhaps it is playing mind tricks too?

Still, the main task remains ahead. We bid Khalid farewell – for now – and make our way back out, chasing the elusive resolution to this horrible nightmare.

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Down the Rabbit Hole
The darker it gets, the harder to see

Journal of Fynias; Master of Cold

You know your lifes taken an odd turn when a lesser being has tried to take residence in your body. Its actually infuriating having an interloper presume to give me help. He has no concept as to what I am and what I am capable of. I gave thought to freezing it out of me but it wasnt worth dirtying my clothes. But Im getting ahead of myself; Lets take a step back shall we

We entered the cube to find a tastefully appointed room with clockwork figures and paintings. These paintings depicted the history of the Cube. It seems it began on the Mechanis plane and then shifted into hell. Hell believes in possession being nine-tenths of the law and now the denizens of the planes have been phase shifting in this thing for at least 2000 years of earth time.

It seems the Cube jumps to a plane and sends out its imps, demons and Harvesters to find as many bodies (and possibly souls) as possible and then makes its next leap. But I think this I time is different; we have learned of a prophesy. On the day when salt is shared no more; demon blood will bring the 2nd son to earth and man will be gone.

Unfortunately, This is the land of salt.Weve also found some of the most ridiculous traps the world has seen. The painting, a simple riddle trap which held no mystery to me. The Moving Room, where the passengers of a seemingly normal transport room are slammed into a wall, poked with spikes and then left to drown. Finally, the shifting floor with phase spider, a giant room that acts as if its on a pivot and slams into the ceiling or dumps you into an underground pool filled with giant oozes. Don?t forget the phase spider lurking in and out of existence.

There was a pay off though, we met something, something special. An Angel: Shel-Rial – Messanger of thorain. The same Thorain, that our Cleric worships, (I could feel the Paladins heart soar and plummet as he desperately hoped this to be a member of the house of Selune.) Shel-Rial had come here to stop a great evil, instead he has been added to the fuel of this place, his body tortured and drain. He lives in limbo now, still pinned to this infernal machine with his own blade. We were asked to carry on his mission and the usual oaths were sworn.

I do find my companions intresting though:

The Hunter – Who hid his teifling origin from us through use of a simple glamour mask. At first, I thought him to be a bit of a bumbler, until I saw him fire his bow. Mastery, takes skill, patience and intelligence, he is a master bowman and for that I will have to respect him.

The Cleric – Who thought to lecture me on the origins of energy. He prays to a deity to a modicum of power; I take it from the weave itself. Negative Energy and Positive energy are both the flipside of the same coin. They are to wield the powers of life and of death. When he wages war on a man; in defense of his own life, he doesnt shed a tear. You’d think at his age he’d understand that, immortality is squandered on the elder races, if I had such a boon. However…His armor is ancient and obviously an item of great power? perhaps a token?

The Believer -A blessed son of a blessed union. I?ve known his story for quite sometime. Hes impressive and a good warrior to boot. I was generally shocked when he decided to not go after the futile screams of a few peasants. Perhaps, a streak of logic clouds the sound of angels singing.

This is our ragtag group running through a maze without any real direction other that the knowledge of the right thing to do. It will be intresting to see how long a moral compass takes to get you lost.

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Gleaning the Cube
The night and second day in the torn lands of the Kuffu

The night burned steadily onward. Having found no recourse to infiltrating the odd cube which is the font of the horrors, the one calling himself Jaq’n settled into a fire-scorched ruin, putting his back to a mostly-solid wall, and examining the strange box which brought him to this land. Hours passed and eventually, the rogue coaxed some of its secrets to light.

There was a name attached to the Will that had done all this now. A name and a telling piece of information. Alien or demon though it might be, it felt love and wonder and fear, all the same. It is a man, or close enough as to make no difference. There would be a pulse, a warmth, and a reason for this madness. Blood drops, three in count, struck the rogue’s misty cloak from far above, as another poor wretch was flown high overhead in the darkness. Soundless, and hopefully dead. The rogue was certain these poor souls were being eaten, being fed to the clockwork and gear-driven devils inside the smoldering cube.

The miniature cube, the box that brought him here, provided names, some thoughts, and a bit of string. This string seethed with the Will of its Maker, the owner of the Cube, as he was certain it would prove useful in more than one way. It was quickly secreted into a fold in the rogue’s glove, and he who is now named Jaq’n Hahhr set off to find the Magus and those who he presumed to be the others in his gathering, the distant figures who had battled the Mantises in the evening’s waning light.

Within an hour, the rogue was quietly forcing his way into a brilliant, pristine domicile which bespoke more of the vast power of the Magus. Clean, defended and entirely whole, it was the only safe structure in the shattered town, and voices could be heard raised in debate within.

The rogue entered and watched, taking the measure of the men assembled by what must be an opposing will to the madman within the Cube. A vast, but lithe knight templar of some faraway world, tremendously regal in bearing and carrying some inner glow that is somehow hard to look at. The rogue has seen people who are as this man is, and things hardly ever end well for the rogue’s kind in such combinations, but at least there is a known quantity here now and one who will be at piece with his lot and purpose. The knight quests for his lord or his God and is clear on where he must go and what must come next.

The Magus smokes his clover and otherwise burns down the world with his eyes. The rogue sees in this man all the power, arrogance, and demeanor of wizards everywhere, particularly in the far east of the rogue’s own home, where wizards are cannibals who will devour any power they encounter. This wizard makes what must be ironic comments of a “War College”, twisting the logic of words that are supposed to represent higher learning and culture, and instead inferring there are places where the gentlemen and the elite of his world go to learn their death-dealing. More’s the horror if this is the truth of the matter. He bears watching.

Then there is the priest. Of the Forged race, and old-yet-not. He carries with him an eon of tradition, and the words of his fathers and grandfathers etched in the stone of his ruddy face. Another oddity is the darkling light that bellows from his recent acquisition, the war-blade named Vamut. This dwarf is steeped in the rites and times of his land, and the rogue quickly realizes that the Forged one hails from some far-off savage Karak from the rogue’s own world, in the lands of Ruus perhaps. The will that bore them all here has a long reach to find and snare this one.

They discuss the horrors of the day and what tomorrow will bring. Jaq’n Hahhr steps neatly into the conversation when the time is full and introduces himself into their august presence. The unreality of the situation intensifies even more. Within a heart’s beat, he is accepted without question into the gathering. This very simple assumption puts the rogue fully on his heels. No one ever, in either of his histories, has so completely, easily, and quickly accepted the itinerant bowman into their company before. The rogue strokes the mask that makes him appear as a simple manling Bedouin and sighs inwardly. At least they share salt, bread and water with him at ease, and that is worth the deception. Any deception.

The day begins with the Magus again ensorcelling more fell imps to their undeath, this time rescuing the Vizier from a well-deserved fate. As the party’s companion, he is a fool, and should watch his life more carefully. His familiar Goff, is a mageling and he analyzes the totems of priest and knight, all the better to help them understand the why’s of their summons. Although the box and his true totem (the string) burns a hole in the secret fold of his belt, the one calling himself Jaq’n Hahhr offers neither for inspection. Secrets and wills manifest themselves in their own time, and what’s more, the rogue lacks the requisite wealth the others have in abundance.

They assault the Cube. The Magus harrowingly transforms the rogue into a baleful, poison-engorged spider, and speaks directly into his mind. The priest protects him from heat (without knowing such is redundant for the eldritch desert dweller) and borrows the rogue’s eyes for himself. Such is the powerful company who is still forced to wait without while the killer scouts ahead. Blast furnace tunnels and dead ends and frustration are the only discoveries. They must dare the Mantis gate.

Again, it is Jaq’n who begins, scurrying himself beyond the Mantises into a clockwork nightmare. Dozens more of the golems hang in storage, quiet in the dark. A huge still place, dank and dark, built of some odd metal. A room at the far end, a devilish cage, the butcher’s table itself. Blood and viscera drench the small room, replete with the supreme oddity: scatters of white feathers. One vanishes into the rogue’s hidden pouches, as does the sacred charm of one of the priest’s fallen battle brothers. There is nothing else here but the gear-shorn maw of the devil below.

They return without and clamber up the side of the Cube itself, rope and gauntlets charring with the intense heat. More of the bastard imps descend and the rogue grins humorlessly to see that this trio of such incredible might can be put off by what amounts to a Djinn’s fleas. The Magus finally loses his patience, grants himself the ability to soar like a falcon, and incinerates the pack of them with his eyes alone. The rogue’s own misty covering burns off as the imps scream their last, and the group finds the second eating hole.

Jaq’n manages to undo the lock and trigger the door, keeping himself from plummeting in, and chuckles at its simplicity, unaware that the Will that has brought him here dislikes such haughtiness. He would pay for that and for the whim he entertained watching his fellows struggle up the charred ropes outside. The universe has no place for hubris, a man must be taught his place.

The rogue finds the abattoir, a horrid, horrid cave-like room filled with the dead and dying of the town, the priest still stealing the light from Jaq’n’s eyes, displaying to all the scope of the evil taking place in the belly of the cube. The way down is only for the doomed, the Will owning this place is elsewhere. He must be found and ended. Soon.

The one calling himself Hahhr returns to the group and attacks one of the gorgeous byzantine doors nearby. This is where his lesson arises, and he is nearly killed by an intricate and somehow horrid but fascinating trap involving metal wires of some strange make. The rogues plummets to the ground bloodied and immediately humbled, and the soothing, grumbling words of the priest are what keeps Jaq’n from finding the solace of unconsciousness. His lesson learned, the rogue promises himself that he will bleed this will, this Xascoratu, whatever form of clockwork horror or man he might be.

And that he will be more respectful around the doors of floors of this nightmare.

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Far From Home

Hours passed as Cael proceeded with the cleansing of the cult’s altar room. The stench of burning flesh was overwhelming as the cultists and their foul summoning were consumed in the summoning circle in the center of the room.

As they were swallowed up by the fire Cael made a prayer of offering to Selune. The silver dust he surrounded the circle with began to glow, and as it faded so did the remains, until there was nothing left. The stone altar suddenly rattled and crumbled to dust revealing a trap door beneath it.

Cael opened it at climbed the ladder to the sublevel below. It was a small cramped area with some storage crates and iron cells no doubt meant for the cult’s less willing sacrifices. Making his way around the room he noticed a cloak on the ground. Cael examined the fabric quickly, it was Father Dariel’s, he was sure of it. The cloak itself raised some questions, but they would have to wait. When he pulled the cloak off the ground it reveal a shimmering “pool” which, thanks to his recent teachings, Cael knew was some kind of portal. Surely Fr. Dariel had gone through, so there was no choice, Cael stepped in.

Cael felt as though he was being pulled across the night sky, and then a sudden stop and he was on one knee in a dark room. After a moment his eyes adjusted to the lack of light and Cael saw that he was in a sort of basement. He found the door leading up, and shoved it aside. To his dismay the body of a slain dwarf rolled away from the door as he did so.

With that realization the sounds of carnage became apparent to the young prince and in an instant a hurried dwarven priest leapt through what was left of the front wall of the house and brandished his waraxe.

His armor and shield were emblazoned with runes and symbols very reminiscent of Clangeddin Silverbeard, the Dwarven Lord of Battle. Cael could sense at once that he had met a friend, if he could convince the good cleric that he was not responsible for the death of his kinsman. Their eyes drifted upward as a cruel and vicious creature clawed its way around the broken rooftop. Cael pointed and indicated that the wounds on the fallen dwarf must have been caused by the treacherous imp.

With that matter settled, they exchanged a hasty introduction, but all of the questions they had for each other would have to wait as the sounds of battle grew louder. They rushed outside to see a huge creature towering above the buildings it was laying waste to.

Without a word Cael and Dorak charged toward the massive spider-like creation. Rushing through the streets Cael remembered reading about dark mages who would construct such creatures to serve their hellish masters on the Prime. They are fearsome things imbued with the power of the lower planes. Cael raised his celestial sword to the sky and called on Selune’s blessing; moments later he was running through a demolished building to confront of the Retriever as huge sphere streaked overhead and exploded around the creature’s head. Whatever aid Selune had sent was certainly effective, as the giant legs of the living machine buckled and fought to hold its massive body aloft. Cael saw the opportunity to end its wrathful attack and charged. As he did so it unleashed a column of hellfire upon him and the force of the flames drove him down to one knee under his shield.

Cael emerged from the fire only to see two of the Retriever’s cleaver-like legs descending on him. They cut across just in front of his face, but Selune’s blessing turned them aside causing them to become stuck in the ground. Spurred by Selune’s favor and Dorak’s prayers of valor, Cael planted his foot in one of the crooks of its chitin-like armor, and as it freed the leg, he used the momentum to lead and slash the creature’s underbelly.

Cael’s sword cut deep, and the creature began to loose control of its weight. Cael ran clear as it came crashing down where he was standing a moment before.

There was no time to celebrate the victory, however, as he and Dorak both saw another Retriever closing on them.

Again he charged at the mighty legs of the huge creature, and again eldritch fire erupted above his head. The fight was quick, and similar to the first as Cael and Dorak finished the second in short order and both seemed none the worse for wear. Cael climbed up the broken wall of the building next to him and thrust his sword in the air as a salute to the sorcerer, who he would come to know as Fynias, who had so spectacularly aided their fight.

Shortly the Vizier of the town, which they would learn was called Maphastu, Orach D’rann came upon them. He was more than appreciative of the efforts made on his town’s behalf, but more danger was looming as their attention was drawn to the colossal cube that lay half buried in the sand just outside the town.

The group came together and decided to rest and gather their strength before investigating the cube. The night brought more imp attacks, and were it not for the sorcerer Orach would have been swept away to a horrible end.

As always, Cael was waiting for moonlight before making his evening prayers. Though he did not know entirely where he was, he was certain that the Lady of Silver was watching over him. In the mean time Cael thought he would take the time to get to know his new companions, see what he could discover about Fr. Dariel’s cloak, and what strange circumstances brought them all together. It could not be coincidence that the three of them were ushered here in the midst of a town under siege by some unholy power. It could not be coincidence either that Father Dariel had come through the same portal who knows how long before.

Cael began taking off his armor and turned to address his newfound friends…

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Xascoratu

It’s been months since Cael’s mentor of many years, Father Dariel of the church of Selune, has been out on assignment. The paladin knows little of what the priest was doing other than seeing him occasionally as he made visits to the church for console from others, always hurried, with a worry in his eyes which Cael has never seen before. He is the source of the humility and compassion, which now fills the soldier’s heart. He has given hope to many and tirelessly helped those in need, no matter what faith they were of. He seemed different now. Much more serious as if hope was waning in his heart.

The last Ceal has heard from his mentor was a month ago and his mind fills with worry. His heart almost stops when Father Oman, the high priest of Selune, comes to his home. His face is somber, yet he does well in keeping most of the emotions in. He speaks: “As you know, Father Dariel has not been around as of late. He has been investigating the recent upsurge of evil cults in our province. Originally we thought that this was a local problem, but he has uncovered a much more grim scene. It seems that cults all over our land are preparing for an arrival of what they call Xascoratu. We know little of what this means. A rough translation from the demonic tongue means “stone of pain”. Dariel has linked it to a time long gone, when the appearance of something in the lands of Anorach far south, has brought dissilience of dread never known before.”

“We haven’t heard from Dariel for over a moon and fear the worst. You my son, have been chosen by the council as one to follow in Dariel’s footsteps and bring him back.” He hands you a medallion. “Where you’re about to go, no man should ever tread. This will bring you home, when all hope is lost.” You’ve never seen this before, but have heard of Selune’s Calling, a medallion which unerringly transports the wearer to their home church.

As Cael traces Dariel’s path, he is struck with recurring signs of the aforementioned danger. To many, it is a vile prophecy, a sign that their god will come to Oerth. The paladin’s journey takes him through the underbelly of one of the local cults, then another, then to Anorach itself. He was not alone, as he took few Sentinels to accompany him, but they have since fallen and as success looks most lacking, he notices Dariel’s Cloak a the cult’s dungeon. He picks it up and notices what looks like a puddle. It shimmers with yellow light and as he looks through it he sees what looks like white sand. Thanks to his recent teachings, he knows this to be a portal. Cael jumps through.

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Wondrous Box

Jaq’r is spending a late evening in one of the local taverns he’s come to favor. He likes this place as rabble tend to avoid it and it is frequented by the more influential lot. It’s a place where much information can be gained in more ways than one. Even the well to do will think twice before making trouble in here.

It has been a rather slow evening and the shadowed man is almost the only one left. Suddenly, a loud bang comes from the door as it opens. A figure of a Halfling man appears, his eyes wide with grief and terror. He spits out blood as Jaq’r notices the business end of an arrow sticking out from the man’s chest. A second later, another arrow appears through his head spilling blood all over the floor. The figure drops, the door being kept ajar by his legs. What appears to be a small square Box falls out of his hand and rolls toward Jaq’r’s leg. No one seems to notice the it aside from him as the carnage is a bit overwhelming.

The bar keep, Russ runs in from the kitchen and runs over to the dead Halfling. The thief knows him by now and knows he’s been around for a long time. He’s seen his share of ugly things, so even this is not beyond his ability to deal with. He motions to one of the servants to go for help, who then disappears. As Jaq’r looks at the wounds he can tell right away that they were done by an expert marksman. Russ looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, but it looks like we are now closed. You can take the back entrance if you wish.” The shadowed man knows this is a courtesy he is extended as a regular customer. The guards will soon show up and it is not a place he want to be in, when people start asking questions. It’s not that he’s guilty, he just doesn’t like that sort of attention.

Jaq’r slips out the back door and makes his way through the cobble streets holding the Box in hand, when suddenly it jerks and falls to the floor. As if the night couldn’t be any stranger, six small legs come out of the box and it starts to scurry away from at a quick pace. The thief runs after it through small dark alleys until it stops at an archway. It’s a big city. He’s never been in this particular area before, so he doesn’t really know exactly where he is right now. The Box shakes and the archway fills with what seems to be a pool of water, shimmering in the moonlight. The box quickly jumps through the water as Jaq’r leaps after it.

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The Calling

The same night that the journey on Kal’s ship stops Dorak is woken by a light hovering over his bed. The light fills him with emotion he cannot explain. The feeling is reminiscent of what happened at Jacob’s dinner, though it is not as strong. He has been questioning everything and struggling with purpose in life. Now this light fills him with direction, fulfillment, and urgency. As his eyes water, the light moves and he instinctively follows, though out of his own volition. The light leads off the ship and into the surrounding area. The priest doesn’t know where he is, but right now he doesn’t care either.

It is night. The stars and the moon light up the surroundings, but the light, like a lantern pointed at his face tends to wash the detail out. As Dorak walks the surrounding get darker and darker until there is nothing but the light in front of him. It is moving fast and one has to make haste to follow it.

Suddenly the light dims and the world seems strange. Everything is covered with shade. The stars are no longer visible and the moon seems much darker. Dorak’s heart is filled with grief as he realizes he has entered the realm of shadow, something thought as but an metaphor in religious teachings. It seems very real now though. Everything is different somehow. Plants are twisted versions of their earthly counterparts, water is black and thick. Whispers send the back crawling, but the light is still there, so the priest follows as fast as he can.

Dorak hastily walks for what seems like two hours when the light stops and he sees a ruined landscape. The shadowy realm is receding behind and before he realizes it he finds himself in a shadow of a crumbled building with a dying dwarf in ornate full plate armor in front of him. As he looks around the land is far different from what he is used to. Sandy streets, clay covered remnants of a town, and oppressive heat strike one right away.

The man looks at Dorak and says “You came”, with struggled for voice. As the priest gazes upon the fallen dwarf he realizes that in the center of the armor is a symbol he thought he would never see anywhere else, the very same ancient symbol of Thorain which has sat on his chest for many years now.

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The Imp

Dark knowledge, like whispers in the night have been taunting Fynias. They are but shadows of possible power, whose realization has been elusive. He has stumbled upon an area of study he never knew of before and it excites and scares him at the same time. This has come to be his latest preoccupation. It has led him to a dealer in books and antiquities known as Cogg. The mage is after a tome he’s come to hear about, though no one seems to have any promising leads.

As Fynias enters Cogg’s store he immediately notices him. He smiles and asks “and what are you looking for good sir?” As Fynias describes the book to the shopkeeper, he scratches his unshaven chin and says “I don’t think I have what you’re looking for.” Fynias is not surprised, but still disappointed as he seems to be getting nowhere. He thanks the man and turns to walk out when Cogg says “But I think I still might have something, which would make your trip out here worthwhile.” Intrigued he turns and looks as the merchant rummages through dusty boxes. He pulls out a small box. It is covered with red hide, though one can’t imagine what kind. “This has come to my possession a few years ago…” He opens the box to reveal a grotesque looking figurine “and I don’t know where it originally come from, but it does have some resemblance to the symbols you have been describing.” As the mage looks at it closely, he realize the man is right. At the base of the figurine are symbols he have come across in his studies. “Look, no one wants this thing because it is so ugly, so if you want it I’ll give you a good deal.”

Fynias makes a deal and takes the figurine home as it is so far his biggest clue. He examines it that night near a candle. It looks like an ugly creature with bat wings and sharp teeth, standing on top of a square, which has writing running all across it. From experience the mage can tell that the writing is magical in nature. As he tries to decipher the text he brings the figurine a little too close to the flame of the candle and to his horror it moves! It grabs his hand and bites in hard, as blood pours from the wounds. Everything turns black, he can’t move and finds it very difficult to breathe.

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