War of the Burning Sky

Shey's Diary, Page Ten

Days blur into one another. Though the visions are gone my mind stays clouded, my hands shake, my eyes dart, my tongue and lips mumble. The meaning of my dream was all too clear, but I need to find out the the reasoning behind it. To be quite frank I am too tired to investigate, I have not had a chance to meditate since we arrived in Bresk, and my sleep has been light, and troubled.

It seems that it will not be getting any better any time soon. We lept from the frying pan when we left Gate pass, but since then it seems that the whole kitchen, and then the house has been set ablaze. We will be riding to some of father Gallo’s outposts and towers to make sure that the Ragasians are not currently feet from his doors, while at the same time he awaits his fool king and his bear masked mistress to bring the might of the dassener army down to bear on his fortress.

I am worried. I am not a solider, I am not a killer. And I don’t know how much, if any, help I can be to my comrades.

Waters preserve us.

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Arvin's Travel Logs, Vol. 3

… Honestly, I am enjoying myself.

The flurry of action is significantly more engaging than lengths of time studying, and nearly as thought provoking. Honestly, being fairly out of my element I have not exactly had the wherewithal to prepare spells as of late. However, as we stopped for rest upon entering the lands of Lord Gallo I found opportunity. Perhaps my talents will be of use now that I am slightly more of sound mind.

However comfortable I get the real world still gets the best of me. My level of comprehension of this political intrigue is still significantly lower than it should be for someone of my profession. I can always learn, however much effort it may take.

The health of the party is deteriorating, I feel. Not in terms of relationship, as that was an odd situation previously, to say the least. The amount of sheer travel we’ve done over the past week is astounding, especially to one such as myself who has barely ever traveled half this far. I know these last few days were hard on most of the party, and I am glad safe arrival was had. However, I am exceedingly curious about the fate of the lone rider I heard that night on the river. I cannot be sure of who he had been sent from, or who was pursuing us. I can only hope that the force we left in the Pitchwood was foe, not friend. Or do we hope that? I am never sure of myself anymore. I must get some sleep before I second guess myself anymore. What’s happened has happened and I only try to know what will happen, with less success than I would like.
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The Road to Gallo's Fend

Goal: Escape from Bresk and make it to Gallo’s Fend safely

  • The heroes mounted horses at the north gate that had mysteriously been expecting their arrival
  • They rode north only to discover that they were being followed by riders who seemed intent on maintaining a distance
  • Nearing the border of the Gallo lands, they decided to take a detour through the Pitchwood forest, said to be inhabited by pitchlings.
  • The pitchlings demanded “gold and stuff” in a strange sylvan tongue, but Rand was able to convince them that their “friends,” following them, had much more stuff and gold. The pitchlings dropped tar on the heads of the heroes to signify their safe passage through the forest.
  • Once through, they were hailed by Commander Heritage, a dwarven commander sworn to Lord Gallo, who had been expecting an envoy from Seaquen, though apparently was not expecting Dakers Gallo.
  • They arrived at Gallo’s Fend after a few more days of riding.
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  • Lord Gallo was pleased to see that he had potential allies, although somewhat uncertain to see his son again.
  • After a good rest, Lord Gallo told the heroes that:
    • King Steppengard is marching an army northwards to attack Lord Gallo
    • To make matters worse, the Ragesians are on the far side of the Alydi Gap, ready to invade as soon as the spring thaw
    • Steppengard’s army is too small to successfully take Gallo’s Fend but large enough to cause casualties, and the assault could weaken Gallo’s Fend to the point that it wouldn’t be able to fend off the Ragesians
    • Lord Gallo’s plan is to convince his neighbours, Lady Timor and Lord Dashgoban, to lend their forces to his cause. However, in order to convince them, he needs more than his word that the Ragesians will invade – he needs proof.
    • He needs the heroes to go to his outposts along the Alydi Gap and bring back soldiers from the furthest one to speak to the other nobles.
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Orvas' Journal (Pages 13 and 14)

Okay, so here’s the thing:
I’m pretty handy with a sword or two, but I would actually prefer to talk things out.
Some people, apparently, are of a different school of thought. It used to be that the only thing that ever woke me abruptly were the noon bells of Gate Pass. Now It’s fire. Always with the fire. Well, or angry law officers. I definitely thought I was past angry law officers. Anyway, we’re fugitives again. I hate being a fugitive.

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Shey's Dream
Vipers and Arsonists

Tumbling, turning, no colours, no blackness, just feeling. I feel like wretching but i have no stomach to turn. Everything is clammy and turned around, and then I open my eyes.

Im in the gallo manor, my bed feelings like sand, fleas hop absent mindedly across my legs. There’s an itching in the back of my skull like one of the fleas crawled in through my ears. I get up, trying to shake the damned flea loose. Snow blankets my room, a roaring fireplace blowing snow into my face.

Then it hits me. The adrenaline. And the itching isn’t itching, its burning, burning dread and fear. I brace myself, closing my eyes.

The snow is gone and I’ve found myself back on the bed. It isnt coarse this time, this time it’s smooth and layered, like silk in fat cords spread across a merchant’s desk. The burning never left, I reach back to scratch the base of my skull and I feel my hair sink it’s teeth into my hand. I don’t cry out, its more like a weary sigh that escapes my lips. Then my bed reaches up, it coils around me legs and my arms and it sinks it’s teeth into every inch of me.
I’m lying in a bed of vipers, and I open my mouth to laugh but nothing comes out but a whimper.

Then the adrenaline hits and I’m on my feet. Something is wrong, the floor slanting this way and that, fighting me as I make my way to the door. The doorknob has been swallowed in to a viper’s mouth and I stick my hand into it’s gullet, letting it taste my wrist.

Orva’s room is lavish, with curtains hanging from every corner, hiding his bed behind walls of sheer silk. I’m pushing through them but they’re as heavy as steel, and poison is sapping my strength. Orvas is lying still, still but not asleep. I have to get him out but when i reach for him his slit eyes wink sideways and his clothes shluff off in coils and his neck unravels into a copper snake and he winks at me again, and I’m running.

Dakers doesnt have a bed, he just stand casual and confident in his pool of blood. I feel small hands grab at my ankles as i wade toward him, my skull thrumming, by heart tearing at it’s bone cage. He hold a knife towards me, it’s ruby red eyes boring into me, and he smiles. It’s the knife I gave to Tajen and now he’s sinking it into my breast. The blood has solidified into a writhing mass of snakes.

Rand is hunched over a desk, quill in hand, the ink running from his vein through it’s fangs and down to it’s tail. I look over his shoulder, almost tentative, like a curious child. He’s scratching the same word over and over but I can’t read it. Do I even know how to read? But I’m urgent and I turn him in his chair. His tongue lashes out from his parted lips, snapping it’s powerful reptilian jaws. And the arms of his chair wrap around my wrists.

Arven, his room is empty, completely empty, and he stands in the centre of the vast nothing. He shakes his head as I approch, he’s saying something but all I can hear is maddening hissing, like steam escaping from every pore in my body. He looks about as scared as I feel. I reach him and my hand is on his chest, then my hand is in his chest, then my arm as he swallows me whole.

Vola is on her knees praying, and her room is so thick with incense that i can barely breathe. A kneel down beside her, her prayer rug writhing uncomfortably at my arrival. My hand is on hers, and it’s pressing down on the hilt of a dagger. Now it’s in her hand and mine as well, and she brushes away a tear and slides the blade up her arm, from wrist to elbow and her blood comes out in great red coils thrashing at their bloody birth. I raise my knife my neck and press down.

I’m awake. The feeling is gone, my head is clear but I’m so scared, it was so real and I run my hand over my body and find everything in the right place. Slowly my heart returns to it’s regular pace. The winter air chills my bones, and the shaking of our sled keeps me from real rest. I wrap my woolen blanket around myself tighter and press my body back up against the familiar comfort of Torrent’s warmth.

And then it starts again, and I’m pulled from the sled and through a door and it happens the same way but different each time, and I always think that the sweet release of the knife has brought me back to my world. To the brothel, the rat shed, the Seela village, Crysten’s home, the tower where we slept, the council chambers, the Repository, the inn, the market, and then home, to the smiling face of my aunt.

Each time I think that I am free, and each time I am the fool of this cosmic joke. I lose track of how many times I awaken, and it all blurs together into one nightmare. And it keeps going until I lose myself in the dream.

Im cold, face pressed against the alley floor.

Did I sleep or fall?

There’s a voice in my head, the first clear words that I’ve heard in what feels like my entire life time tripled. I lurch to my feet, and I think that I start running but truthfully I can’t say. The Gallo manor is burning and I watch it tumble and break. I lose track of time but when I regain my senses Im at a gate and I see my fellows. I want to go to them but my feet won’t budge. Then Vloa turns.

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Vola's Journal, page ten

I did not mean to hurt Shey’s feelings. But surely they must realize how untrustworthy they seem. Even looking past them absorbing violent elementals into themselves, they have to understand that when you hear voices and have breakdowns inside your own mind on the regular, your friends come to terms with the fact that you might very well be mad. Mad, or disturbed, or maybe even possessed. I do not know enough on the subject to make that call, but we all discovered long ago that you are not all right, Shey. I don’t know what the fire inside of you is doing to your mind, but I can see the fear in your eyes.
We are your friends. I am, at least. I can’t speak for Rand or Orvas, and certainly not for Dakers. But I know that the only way we can get through this is together.
I don’t trust you, Shey. But I know that you are good of heart, that you grant people the same worth that I do, that you will always do what you think is right.
I don’t trust you, Rand. But I know that you are clever, and wise. You give people hope, even after all your antics and your lying. I’ll never admit it, but you made me understand that sometimes lying is necessary, and maybe sometimes stealing isn’t wrong.
I am losing hope. Maybe I’m even losing my faith. Our path is long, and winding, and less clear with each turn we take.
I need the spirits to help me.
I need Shey to help me keep my faith in the face of suffering and injustice. I need Rand to help me to understand, and to have our backs. I need Orvas to help me be strong and sincere. I need Dakers to help me smile.
I feel like I have lost so many people, and every death I hear of feels like another blow.
I am falling apart, and I don’t know who I am anymore.
I am breaking, and I need my friends to keep me whole.
You’re all that’s keeping me from losing hope.

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Arvin's Travel Logs, Vol. 2

……….

What have I gotten myself into.

This is no place for me, nor Father. This should not be happening!

I honestly tried to see Shey’s point of view, but honestly, having just encountered the group I know very little about anyone’s nuances. But for the life of me I could not detect anything magical about the gnome. Shey, on the other hand, had some sort of enchantment on him, however (and I take full responsibility for this), I could not discover this until later when I could focus more, and after that never found the time to warn him or the party. And for that I am truly sorry.

Father, oh Father. You almost got taken, so close… I could not lose you now. I still have so much to learn…

As for previous ideas about the spy and bodies found, my judgement may have been slightly off, as the group as either no interest or I was simply mistaken. I now look to the future.

As curious as I am about the motives of the attempted kidnapping and possible enchanting nonsense, that is by far the least of my worries. Possible manhunts (for us, the escaped party) are more pressing issues to me.
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An Audience with the King, Part 2
Under House Arrest

Goal: go to Bresk and convince King Steppengard to not let the Ragesians in

  • The group went to court that morning, which began with trials and hearings. On trial was Relder, the assistant to Jinis the proxy at court for Lord Gallo. He was being questioned by the King’s advisor Nina Glimmergleam. It appears that anyone related to Lord Gallo was on trial for either treason or conspiracy. It seems that Lord Gallo has been speaking of war when King Steppengard has made it clear that Dassen was not going to war, and after the King’s family was assassinated, it appeared that the Gallos must have been involved.
  • Dakers Gallo made an impassioned case for his father’s innocence, but ultimately was placed under house arrest until such time as proper evidence was uncovered that would either exonerate or incriminate Lord Gallo. Relder and Jinis were taken to the dungeons.
  • Rand then spoke on behalf of Seaquen and the Lyceum Academy, arguing that Dassen was involved in the war with the Ragesians whether they liked it or not.
  • King Steppengard seemed to be too distraught to consider things rationally, and granted the envoy from Seaquen three days in Seaquen during which the Council of Nine would gather and discuss the matter.
  • While in court, Shey had a break from reality… you should ask Shey about that.
  • Vola, Orvas, and Arvin decided to escort Shey back to the Gallo Estate, since that’s where Dakers had been taken, and Shey didn’t seem to be doing all super well. But on the way, they came across a crazy-looking person who said that they should leave because they were all in danger, and told them they should go north.
  • Later that evening, well after everyone was asleep, there was an attempted assassination or possible kidnapping of Balan Bastom, although Rand was able to put a stop to that.
  • As the assailant escaped through the open window, several members of the Talon police approached the estate. The police were armed with an arrest warrant, naming all members of the party, for interfering with police business and allowing a spy to escape. The charges were clearly trumped up, and Rand was able to convince them of an error in the writ that they needed to correct before they returned in the morning.
  • Upon having things turn so sour so quickly in Dassen, the heroes concocted a scheme to set the Gallo Estate on fire and escape in the commotion, faking their deaths in the process.
  • They headed to the northern gate of town, towards the Gallo holdings, where at the gate were mysteriously waiting eight saddled warhorses. The heroes mounted up and rode north.
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Shey's Diary, Page Nine

And here we are again, another dreary trek through unfamiliar and unfriendly territories. The snow is thick and the ice is clear. I can feel the breath of my benefactor heating my skin and keeping me safe, but he has been silent since we left Innenotdir.

My dreams are silent. Hollow and dark, like one still mass that I am caught in, filling my lungs and eyes and ears until everything is deafness. I almost miss his eyes burning a hole in my very being, boring into me. His deep thrumming voice cracking my skull from within. With him silent my dreams are nothing but self doubt and fear.

Crysten doesn’t seem to have lost her gift, but I never did think that we had the same source. Just a similar one. She told me that she saw a Seela. She said that I would meet one but that I wouldn’t recognize them. And she saw the downfall and death of the voiceman of Dakkers’ father.

This brings me to where we are now in the court of a coward king, stinking of corruption and lies. He makes a spectacle of a false trial in front of the court of bowing and sniveling nobles. I hope that Dakkers has a strong case to try and save his man, and his father and his father’s folk. I trust him that his father is not a traitor but the crime is severe. Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this attempted Regicide and vile Paedocide and…

Is there a word for the murder of a queen?

Reginacide? Monacide?

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Arvin's Travel Logs, Vol. 1

I am taking this opportunity to commit my thoughts to paper. I deemed keeping a journal necessary, as this voyage is quickly turning more interesting than I would have anticipated. No matter what I think, keeping track of thoughts in this manner may become useful in the future. So, this is Volume 1.

First of all, I must admit to feeling fairly overwhelmed with this venture. As my first real voyage outside of Seaquen, I have much to learn, as Father agrees. After having lost my brother years ago, we’ve been on uneasy terms, and I think that he is bringing me along to allow me some experience in the real world, and for that I am grateful.

Therefore, I suppose my goal for this expedition is to learn, and do Father proud. For the time being, however, sitting idly by whilst the others confer will have to do. But I observe, and above all else, I listen. And this listening has been the source of my confusion so far.

Out on the ice, the frozen corpses of soldiers chiled my heart to the core. However, the bodies we discovered could actually be a boon, I’ve come to realize. They were shot with Ragesian arrows, no? Could this not be the evidence we need to sway the Council at Bresk? Anyway, I will have to discuss the matter with Father and the party.

The supposed traitor we found also intrigued me, for once we found out that the Gallo house may be guilty of treason, another idea passed my mind. What if she was just part of the house, maybe a relative? Anyway, I must have faith in the justice system for the Gallo’s sake, especially if we do not succeed in our mission.

Ah, yes. One more concern. I overheard some talk of some visions someone was having, Shey maybe? Yes, I think it’was. I must inquire further. The possibility of this being related to mine own field of magic is too great for me to pass up the opportunity. But that must wait, as we all have more important matters to attend to. I, for one, would like to take a quick respite before the negotiations on the morrow.
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