Like Distant Thunder

Helgragar's Log - A Widdershindig

I should stop being so terse with Cryado; he’s helped me countless times over the years, and remains loyal regardless of the blood on my hands, but pleasantries, in earnest, is something I have yet to master.

Vees met me for the first time – I had tailed him from time to time as I knew he would be my initial contact with Frost – along with a clueless-looking Human and a Dwarf; I have to say, gleaning intelligence from the dull eyes barely seen through the matted fur on their face, has always been difficult for me, however that may be that the race as a whole lacks anything remotely civilized. It will be hard to not simply cause an accident for this one, however I’m certain if I entered within two yards of the beast, the scent would cling to me like na, and profess my blame to anyone with an olfactory sense.

We traveled through the amass of colorful swatches amongst the diminuative Gnomes to the Korranberg Library where I stepped foot in the hallways for the first time in daylight – there is always movement and it’s hard to navigate the area without being seen. Mentally mapping the entirety of our path, this party was introduced to Dr. Gair, and then to Dr. Frost himself. Gair seems competent enough as he has most likely been tending to his primary tasks as well as gnome-sitting the half-mad professor. It is here that we learned why an adventuring party was gathered.

  • Investigate what had happened to the dig.
  • Gather information on the obsidian particulate, an alchemical powder which simulates magic.
  • Bring and protect Dr. Frost, and perhaps he’ll regain some of his sanity.

It was plain to see what would not be completed on my end.

Given platinum and survival gear, we were told to tend to ourselves until we left via airship the next day. I purchased some items to restock my supplies and bided my time, attempting to come up with new strategies which began to factor in the companions I’d be forced to take.

At the air docks, I stepped foot onto my third airship, The Azure Sky, where the captain, who I suppose could have been attractive, if it wasn’t for the filthy human blood and artificial modifications made to her body, identified herself as Audessey d’Lyrandar and stated that a feast would be had in celebration of her guests in the evening. As I had time to kill, I began creating a tool for future use in my cramped cabin, only exiting my quiet space when captivating scents wafted through the ship, overpowering the stench of Dwarf which had unfortunately not left my nostrils in peace.

The dinner was quite nice. The wine was exquisite – I had scarcely had better from nobles who would never be drinking again. One dish in particular stood out to me – I couldn’t place the origin, however the flavors were almost overwhelming – this meal would certainly be a creation I must learn, as it could mask unpleasantness from some additional ingredients with ease. I briefly conversed with the first mate and world-traveled chef, Tibergnosis d’Lyrandar, in which he had agreed to share the makings at a later date.

Dinner was not simply the crew and Frost-sitters, but three others who had a prominent place at the table. The first was a minor noble of little interest by the name of Widdershins – wishing to have his his voice be heard and feigning interest in multiple cultures. Where we were travelling to and the somewhat despondent look I saw in his eyes had told me that he was running, or being maneuvered by another against his will – rich human pups rarely enter dangerous areas for other reasons; the sod had actually forced himself to laugh at a Dwarven joke.

The second individual was a Warforged, which seemed to have a feminine persona. I sent Cryado to gather information from “her”, and although tight-lipped, Squall’s interest in accompanying us, in trade of survivalist skills and knowledge of The Lhazaar Principalities could prove quite useful, however an additional set of unblinking eyes in the night could also prove problematic.

Finally, a man by the name of Drawlight. This man is obviously looking for money to pay off his sire’s gambling debts, and if he’s heard certain rumors, I would need to ensure he did not discover information to sell. The man’s sword arm is well-known and he would most likely have to be dealt with quietly if something needed to be done.

As a parting gift, I was graced with yet another bottle of the wine, most likely before even Varyeng├│le’s natural birth. This will be quite a treasure for later.

Instead of retiring immediately, I checked on Dr. Frost, who was unsurprisingly not invited to the fine feast. It was here which I discovered an insanely complex and thorough recipe for baked goods scratched on near every surface; he also was having discourse with an albatross. I can already tell that my enduring patience will be tried on this mission. I returned to my cabin for another hour or so, and I went to the deck to get an idea of the ship’s night life; seven crew members for watch and manning the vessel – although more than I would have liked given the confines of space, seven is certainly manageable.

In the morning, everyone was brought to the main deck, crew and passenger alike, to discover news of the now late Widdershins. He had been discovered dead, and the manner of death is currently thought to be poison. Things could prove interesting for me over the next few days as another player may be on board.

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Flame, give me strength.

I know that he has done damage to our family’s reputation, but I am really beginning to find out how bad it is. After yet another delivery of yet another pointless message, I thought I had been given a serious assignment. Bishop Turin’s assignment for me was to travel to the Gnomish city of Korranberg, via a house Orion teleportation station, to meet up with a valet named Vees. I met up with Vees the Valet right outside the Orion station, and headed toward the Library of Korranberg. On the way we met up with a dwarf named Ulbright, representative of House Kundarak. After a bit of pointless conversation, we continued toward the Library. There we met up with an elf named Helgragar and his “valet” Cyrado. There we were told of our objective, to travel to the Lhazaar Principalities with the “esteemed” Dr. Frost and discover what it was that happened to him and his expedition. We were to depart Korranberg via the Azure Sky, an elemental bound airship.

More to come later…

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Flame, give me strength... part 2

The first day of our journey was uneventful (unless you count convincing Prof. Frost to use a journal for his notes and not his cabin) and was concluded with dinner in the captain’s cabin. Besides the captain; we (the elf and dwarf) were joined by the first mate Tibergnosis, Mr. Widdershins, and Albus Drawlight. The very man who told my father of the supposed creation forges in Xen’Drik and offered to cut him in on the profits, provided my father fund the expedition. I spent the remainder of the night trying to get a handle on how I felt about Mr. Drawlight. In the morning, the lovely captain Audessey announced to everyone on the ship that Mr. Widdershins had been murdered. This was going to be a long journey.

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Why is the city on fire?

With everyone confined to their cabins until the culprit had been caught, I spent my time keeping myself in shape. I was a bit embarrassed when the Captain Audessey came to search my room, well Mr. Rigger was the one who searched my room. I just stood outside my cabin while Mr. Rigger took delight in tearing through all of my possessions to search for the poison that killed Mr. Widdershins. After finding none, they left my room with Capt. Audessey apologizing for the inconvenience.

A little while later Capt. Audessey, first mate Tibergnosis, and Mr. Rigger came back to my room with Albus Drawlight in tow. Albus accused me of “planting the evidence” in his room. After yet another search of my things, they left my room. While speaking with Capt. Audessey, I may have implied that the culprit wouldn’t have hidden the murder weapon with his possessions. That and something else I may have said got me escorted to the captain’s cabin. It was at this time that some of the crew noticed something approaching the airship.

I was sitting in the captain’s cabin along with Mr. Drawlight and Mr. Rigger. Mr. Drawlight and I talked about the ill fated expedition to Xen’Drik that took the life of everyone except Mr. Drawlight and my father. I told him that I do not blame him, but I put the loss of my sister on my father and his ambition. Just as Mr. Rigger was going to “keep me quiet”, Mr. Drawlight stabbed him through the back. As Mr. Rigger lay there bleeding to death, Albus turned to me and asked if I was going to try to stop him. I told him I would not. He fled the cabin and made his way across the deck awaiting his rescue. A battle with wyverns covered his escape. At the conclusion of the battle, the captain informed me that I was no longer suspected of wrong-doing.

The rest of our journey by airship was uneventful, except for the nauseating smoke that got us our of our cabins. When we sought out the cause, we discovered that our destination of Regal Port was being besieged by loin-clothed barbarians using siege weapons firing bolts that also held the same “obsidian particulate” that Dr. Frost described, which he confirmed a moment later. The captain offered to drop us off or head back with her to Stormhold. We took her up on the former, which resulted in damage to her ship (I will send her monetary compensation when I get a chance). Prince Rygar, ruler of Regal Port, conscripted us to aid in the defense of a wall section. We lasted his requisite ten minutes, as well as saving four soldiers lives; however this came at the cost of Helgragar’s servant Cryado. I know very little of warforged, and less of Cryado, but I hope that the Flame has guided his soul to where it should go.

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Helgragar's Log - Skies of Smoke

I spent the first few hours of our lock down in my room ensuring nothing out of the ordinary could be found. Cryado watched me hide much of it, however even he couldn’t locate everything. I was confident in my placement and began on creating some more mundane alchemical items to pass the time. It didn’t take long to be interrupted.

The captain and the first mate patted my Warforged and I down, finding nothing of interest, as is the case with most who investigate myself. I tolerated the touching simply because it wouldn’t be worth the effort to attempt and stay hidden on this vessel the rest of the voyage, although it would give me time to find out who the murderer was. The half-Orc tossed the room. I was completely unworried by a half-wit attempting to find contraband, however he then began sniffing – I’ve heard of the man-beasts who were able t tap into their mud-for-blood heritage more than others, but it startled me a moment. I believe the items I was working on may have masked enough of the scent to not allow the creature to find much. For the future, Cryado will be frequently bleaching my rooms for “sanitation” purposes to avoid any future awkward encounters such as this.

A commotion out in the hallway of the ship; Drawlight seemed to be stating the silver flame child had something to do with the poisoning. I trusted in the captain enough to see through the obvious misdirection – the young fool would most likely infect himself if he attempted to do anything subtle. The crew searched his cabin again, and again found nothing. The Dwarf-brained Human then started spouting off things he’d do if he were the poisoner. It was at this point I knew that the sole survival of the group protecting Frost rested entirely in my hands, and I went back to my concoction believing this mission would be easier knowing I shan’t rely on the others.

Not long after Kesean was brought away, much ado was raised and a general call to arms was sounded. Cryado led the way, and I knocked on the door to the Dwarf to hopefully rouse him from a most likely ale-fueled stupor. On the decks, near everyone was peering off the starboard edge, attempting to make out something in the distance. Fear washed their faces as wyvren, swooped in carrying unsuspecting crewmen over the side of the ship. Drawlight was dumbly charging one of the creatures, yet instead of hacking at the exposed tail, one of the obvious threats, he mounted the thing; I then noticed blood on the blade, and it certainly wasn’t reptilian.

I nodded to Cryado, and we set off to the first dragonkin, entering our traditional flanking tactic. The beast was made short work of, especially when Squall entered the fray. Once dropping it, I looked back and noticed the Dwarf was having a go at one all by his lonesome; I ordered Cryado to a different beast, leaving the half-man alone. It was this point that Squall did something so stupid, it made me almost joyous to have Cryado’s pseudo-intelligence as a companion – she jumped off of the ship, attempting to dislodge the wyvren from the deck. Cryado and I went to work, and prior to the things death, it snapped the rope holding the Warforged and flew off. Using every muscle in my body, I slowed the fall of the surprisingly light construct enough for my own to pull the metal body up. Squall was promptly informed that she would owe me for this.

Dabbing away a few beads of perspiration, I saw that the Dwarf, unfortunately, had not been ravaged by teeth and tail, and headed over patching up those simply injured. he then, after a discussion with the captain, began skinning the only slain wyvren on the deck – I’m fortunate to have milked an extract from the creature before the uncouth, lice-ridden Dwarf had infested the corpse with more parasites.

I sent Cryado to get some salve for my hands while I contemplated the recent events; Widdershins, a seemingly unimportant noble was assassinated for a reason I didn’t understand by a man who would do damn near anything for the money. Drawlight must also have a significant amount of backing and connections to allow 4 trained wyvren to attack the ship in tandem, and even be ridable. Also, this means we were either being followed, or he knew precisely how far the ship would have traveled before the mark’s body was discovered. This required planning and knowledge on a scale which is rarely done except for very high scale jobs. That, or there is an insider on the take.

The meeting with Squall went well. I learned of Merrix d’Cannith’s interest in the Lhazaar Principalities and the fact that not everyone from Frost’s expedition had perished in the raid as though – Thomas Morrowman, an apprentice to the mad doctor, had contacted the d’Cannith house with additional claims to the powder.

The remainder of the flight was significantly less bloody until Regalport came into view, as the ship cleared a acrid cloud of smoke. Using my spyglass, a siege of this magnitude shouldn’t have been possible looking at the tactics of the simpletons assaulting the city, but sieging they were. Weapons which created cacophonous roars each time they were used often sent stone and mortar fleeing in terror. It’s a rare thing to have a job go relatively smoothly, and I could see the task the Council sent me on this time would not be one of them. After a sigh of despair, I readied my items and told Cryado to take care of the professor. We were handed tokens to slow our fall, as The Azure Sky would not be getting closer than it already had, as, due to the half-man’s idea, she had taken a grievous hit to the hull. We disembarked, trusting in the wooden coins as the ground quickly rushed upon us. It has been quite some time since I had a thrill like this – enjoying the descent, I activated the token moments before the ground would have greeted me in a most unpleasant way.

Upon landing, we were greeted by soldiers who rushed off to retrieve their leader, a man known as Prince Rygar, a hulking brute with enough intelligence and cruelty to get others to follow him. He stated he had a job for us – survive one minute on the parapets and save as many of his injured men as possible; doing this would allow us to begin earning our keep in the city.

The fortifications reminded me of what I’d expect the Abyssal plane to look like – blood splattered and misted upon every surface, brick and stone crumbled and wishing to release itself from remaining a structure and fire, oh so much fire, blossoming upon every material which would provide it fuel. I felt a fear begin to grow inside me. It took a moment to steel myself for the task. We climbed the ladders, and the timer began.

Attempting to remain unseen, we began pushing bodies, most corpses, but some struggling for breath, over the wall to be reclaimed by their compatriots. Blazing rain, buckling walls and shrapnel of varying items assailed us every step until, in a way only barbarians can do, something other than alchemy was launched at us – a were tiger hit the ground, roaring in delight as its claws were extended. Cryado saw me go invisible and knew he needed to get the beast’s attention for a few seconds while I prepared, however the brutality of the lycan was simply too much, and my servant buckled. Squall took the beasts attention next, but did not fare much better, so the Dwarf stepped up and the two creatures attempted to see which one of them was louder. It was enough time, as I was able to find the vital spots of the creature, carving each one up to free as much of its blood as I could. I could also see that my tools were having effect weakening the brute further until finally, it slumped to the ground, no longer moving.

I felt a pair of eyes on me and I turned to see Rygar; arms crossed, watching, as if he was sizing up a dog before a fight. I do not appreciate being made a tool by filth so I met is gaze and held it, while more cracks of thunder sent debris flying and stinging my face, however I did not blink; I did not waiver. I will not allow this prince to begin to think of me as a pawn.

As the time expired, I kicked over Squalls metal body while Ulbright and Kesean did the same for Cryado. Shortly after hitting the ground, Squall’s body changed into that of a Changeling. This only brought more questions when I had thought I was finally learning some answers.

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