Wars of the Threshold

Capt Farwinds Log Entry #6

What day is it?

The last thing I remember was being on the deck of an undead cruiser fighting Abyssals and Dragonblooded alike, watching Saleema sailing off on the Orphan's Revenge.  

When I came to Maybelle (Steve) was there and telling me things have gotten more perilous. 

We walked around for awhile and guess what, I found the remaining members of my circle and they are ALL alive.  I was hoping in all our bad fortune, the Abyssal would have died.

And wouldn't you know it, Tarquinn, the damn Night caste that made off with one of my life boats is here too.  Oh and he's found a "Temple of the Old Ones." Gods I need a drink.

 

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Cathak Drummand's Journal

It's been a few days since we got the news from the north.

I've been doing what I can for my friend in the hopes of keeping the rest of my family out of it.  I'm going to step it up a bit in the hopes of disuading further interference from my family.

We discovered a lead on the dagger that was used to attack my friends in the ally.  It lead us to the docks and a whole distasteful group of undesirables.  I tried to avoid a fight, but…

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Capt Farwind's Log Entry #5

Sept 16 Evening,

It was an eventful morning.  Steve (the Sidereal) has gone missing and there are some rather distressing rumors that required we get underway before the auction of the Saka jaws.  We got a tidy sum for them, but had to sell them short or risk losing everything.  

Surprise, surprise…another day another exalt.  This time a member of our circle.  The one called…well I can't seem to remember what we called her in the past, but in the here and now, she calls herself Sister Bitter Iron.  A cursed Nunn.  Oh and if that weren't bad enough, she is now sworn to the Abyssals.  She has been tainted.  We cannot allow this and must find a awy to free her or kill her.  I do not relish that idea.

But we must make way now.  We must go to the lost city and salvage what we may.  My mates have no idea how to get down there, but I do.  I have discovered a lost ability I previouisly held that allows me to survive in any environment.  I will use this to reach the city and reclaim what once was.

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A Dream ... ?
Adventure Log for Bitter Iron Forged in Cruelty

Something was wrong… but she couldn’t place it.

The sun was high in the sky. Bitter Iron could see it through the skylight in the ceiling of the room. Perhaps that was the problem, the sun shouldn’t shine so brightly on sad days. She had spent the mornings writing letters, reading books, anything to pass the time; but it was nearly noon now. Time to ready herself.

She hadn’t bothered to get dressed this morning, so she was still in her long silk nightgown – virginal and white, made by the finest tailors that the city had to offer. She walked to her walk-in closet, past her large bay windows with a wide view of the sprawling sea. Birds chirped across the ocean. A beautiful kingfisher had perched on the railing of her patio, such was the height of her tower.

Iron’s closet was filled with all manner of clothes – all the finest make the city could offer. The colors and patterns were vibrant and energetic, as were the styles – short, breezy skirts; colorful corsets; and tops with long flowing sleeves. But, they all went ignored today. She’d already laid out today’s outfit at the back. A simple black slipover that hugged her form, but reached all the way to her ankles and covered her skin almost completely. She pulled her magical girdle, magically colored into a simple gilded gold, over the top of the slipover to complete the look, then a simple golden necklace.

“Ma’am?” came a voice at the door, along with a knock. “Miss Iron? Are you ready to depart?”

“Come in. I’ll be ready in just a moment,” Iron called out as she began to tied her hair back into a simple ponytail.

“I’ve readied your carriage, ma’am,” said the giant suit of armor as he stepped into the room. It had to duck to enter through the doorway properly. The faceless hole behind the helmet stared directly at her, but Iron could feel the Silent One’s pity for her. Pity? No, that wasn’t right. Silent Ones don’t feel pity… and were they normally this talkative? She shook her head for clarity… this wasn’t a typical Silent One after all; this was her special bonded one or something. She recognized it by the simple carving of a jackal on its chestpiece.

“There’s no need for formality. It’s not like we haven’t done this before,” Iron said.

“Of course, I’m sorry,” the Silent One said. “Are you ready to leave?”

“Let’s go.”

Iron followed her Silent One out of her room and down the stairs of her tower. She noticed it occasionally looking back to check on her like he was worried she’d snap at any moment. Once they reached the bottom, the Silent One opened the door to her horseless carriage and she stepped inside – keeping her face somber and contemplative.

She could already see the ghosts gathering – no doubt wanting to commiserate with her or share their own grief, but they couldn’t possibly understand. Her vision focused in on a small family… Two parents with a girl of around ten; all of them with that ghostly translucent sheen on their waterlogged and bloated faces. The little girl – what was left her clothes was ragged and topped with the occasional barnacle – had tears in her eyes like she’d lost a personal hero, an idol of some sort. Iron didn’t want to deal with that. She had her own problems to worry about. She nodded tersely at the once-drowned child and closed the blind of the carriage, blocking herself from view.

The carriage rumbled along simply, the rhythm of the paved streets becoming the only sound. The Silent One in the front seat was mercifully quiet for a change, though his concerned looks back didn’t stop. Finally, they stopped and a second later, the Silent One opened the door and Bitter Iron stepped out into the noonday sun – the streets were once again lined with tearful and pitying ghosts, all staring at her as if they were trying to beam their feelings into her.

The building in front of her was one of the most spectacular in the city. Burials were impossible in a floating metropolis, so Iron and the rest of her Circle had created a great mausoleum in the one of the outer sectors of the city. It was a towering structure – viewed from above, it formed a perfect sun shape, round with exactly thirteen rays around the circumference, and at least a dozen stories high. The center of the structure was an open amphitheater – and now, at the perfect moment, the sun shone down the center, lighting the pews and altar on the ground floor which were normally cast over in the shadow of the massive surrounding structure.

As Iron followed her Silent One down the cleared path towards the central amphitheater, she noticed there were several spectral guards keeping the peace – keeping the common ghosts away from the more important attendees.

As she breached the outer wall of the building, she beheld the guests. Lots of ghosts – their clothes were different than the others, extravagant and expensive, bedecked in impressive jewelry; but their faces, just like the ones outside, were waterlogged and bloated. Their hair swayed and bobbed as if they were underwater and their once delicate fingers were inflated and decaying. All of their faces turned to her – their eyes filled with grief.

A man she couldn’t place stood as she approached and nodded at her. His face seemed blurred and unformed, though Iron felt an unexplained spike of envy at his beautiful features. “Iron,” he said in a surprisingly feminine tone, acknowledging her presence. Iron simply smiled sadly in response.

Jingham sat in the next row, regal in his attire – he’d chosen his more subdued crown for the occasion, but it still glittered magnificently in the sunlight. He rose as well and they embraced briefly, kissing each other on both cheeks. “If there’s anything we can do, my dear,” he said. Iron again simply smiled at him.

At the center, near the small altar and the large curtained platform behind it were four Silent Ones, imposing and large, though each subtly different in their demeanor. Iron’s Silent One took one last look back at her before approaching the others of its kind and speaking quietly to them. They quickly dispersed and found their seats. They were so identical to each other, Iron would have struggled to keep track of each of them if it weren’t for the engravings on their chests – a whale, a mouse, an owl, an ape…

She took her place at the front of the room. She stood as everyone sat and fell silent. She heard heavy footsteps behind her, then Gharian was next to her, towering over her form as he always did – his great barbarian beard meeting with the great plate of the dawn that he wore to all of these more formal occasions. Sarnai was there too, escorting him – she reached out and squeezed Iron’s hand affectionately before taking her own seat.

“Are you alright?” said Gharian’s deep voice. His rough coarse hand interlaced its fingers with hers.

“Yeah,” replied Iron. “Some things are inevitable.” Neither of them looked at each other, just straight ahead at the altar and the curtained platform.

“Doesn’t mean they aren’t sad.”

“True,” Iron ceded. “What about you?”

“Worse than I expected,” he admitted. “The twins were special.”

“Yes. They were.”

The curtains withdrew – drawn by two hooded men that made Iron feel uneasy. One was so hooded that his face was invisible; the other was tall and lean and heavily armed. Iron and Gharian approached the platform as they retreated – their hands unlocked as they walked to different sides of the plinth.

Two women lay there; their faces calm and serene, their hands intertwined like Iron and Gharian’s were just moments ago. Near Gharian’s side was a petite woman, with long perfectly-white hair, in her spare hand lay a tome of magicks emblazoned with the symbol of the untempered sun. Her twin, who lay closer to Iron, was young and blonde, decked in the clothes of the Immaculate Order and grasping the holy symbol of their church.

The voice of the priest called out, thick and silky sweet as honey. “We are gathered here today to return Salina and Ana to the Eternal Cycle,” she said aloud. Across from her, Gharian laid his hand on Salina’s shoulder and began to quietly weep. Iron looked back to the crowd – every eye was on her, every eye was slick with tears. They began to quietly hum – a traditional funerary song, she thought, that grew louder with every second until her ears began to hum with the rhythm of it. The sun began to move on – slowly casting a shadow across the proceedings.

The priest stood behind the altar – she stared directly at Iron with eyes full of malice. She was beautiful, far more beautiful than one would have expected, in an outfit that was far from priestly – that revealed an awful lot of milky white flesh and what fabric there was seemed to flow like gently trickling water.

“Are you ready to commit them to Oblivion?” the priest said again. Her words were daggers.

The amphitheater was darkening… The guests were fading to nothing as the shadow passed over them; only their dreary song remained and it continued to grow louder. Her Circle passed under the shower and disappeared into the black – the nameless one, Jingham and Sarnai – their eyes glowed bright as stars before they vanished. The Silent Ones too were consumed by the dark – the engravings on their chest sparked with silver before they too were turned to nothing.

Then, Gharian and his weeping faded too and the funeral song continued to build to a deafening roar. Only the Priest remained, flanked by her hooded attendants who knelt before her and kissed her hands and feet…

“Are you ready to commit them to Oblivion?” she repeated – somehow audible over the blistering noise of the funerary song that echoed around in the dark.

Iron looked down at her twin girls. “Yes,” she whispered.

Then, the dark moved in again… and the girls were gone… and the attendants… then the priest faded from view, leaving behind a glistening, sinister smile for a second longer than the rest of her form…

Finally, mercifully, Iron was alone. The way it was supposed to be. There was no one, no thing… 

Just her and the never-ending dirge. From now… until the end of everything.

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The Monastery
Adventure Log for Bitter Iron Forged in Cruelty

The monastery was bleaker than it was supposed to be. It was normally a dark and dingy place – there were few decorations to hang, only folded strips of orange and white fabric, and the gray stone that the place was built of sometimes seemed to suck in the light – but, today, it was even worse.

As Sister Wendy rushed through the long corridor towards the inner cloisters, she realized that the darkness was because the torches had been extinguished – an odd choice considering the late hour. The only source of light was the flickering candle she held tightly in her hands as she continued onwards.

Congruent with the darkness, there was an oppressive silence that was uncommon in the monastery. The place was normally full of the gentle psalms of worship, the hum of activity, or the soothing notes of music – but now, along with the creeping shadows cast by her little candle, there was a silence so thorough that Wendy could almost hear the blood rushing around her ears.

Fear overtook her – she’d grown up here and in the whole sixteen years of her life, she’d never seen it so eerily quiet and foreboding. Her place of comfort had been reduced to somewhere terrifying. It’s alright, she thought to herself, Sky will know what to do.

“Sky?” she called as she approached the large oaken doors to the inner cloister. He was a kindly monk – enlightened in so many impressive ways. For Wendy, he represented the glory of the Immaculate Order and all that it could be. He was kind, charitable, gentle… he looked at the world and saw the goodness in it and had the moral strength to do everything he could to eliminate the bad. She’d idolized him since she was a child… and he saw her idolatry and tempered it. The first time he invited her into his bed was nothing more than divine. She saw the other sisters whisper about her – sneaking into Sky’s room late at night – they called her names behind the back; said she’d defiled her holy vows. But, they were ignorant of their true purpose together – they were just human after all, how else were they to purge their sin? If Sky would have that explained to them, the way he did to her, then they would be doing the same thing! They were probably just jealous – because of Sky’s special focus on her and their secret sessions in the dead of night, she had so much less sin than the rest of them – she was so much closer to enlightenment!

She tentatively pushed open the doors… There was odd stench in the air, like someone had ever so gently sprayed a foul perfume. There was an eerie red mist clinging to the air and, to Wendy, it looked like someone had dropped a crimson filter over her eyes. The inner cloister was huge, filled with pews leading up to a spartan altar, decorated with a few meager wooden carvings of the gods and their different acts of glory. The room was large enough, that in the dark, Wendy couldn’t see the outer walls, but there was still no sign of the other residents of the monastery.

She stepped up towards the altar, quietly calling Sky’s name as she felt the fear creeping into her skin and making the hair on her arms stand on end. As she got closer, she began to hear a noise – rustling and shifting about. It was coming from Sky’s private meditation room near the back of the main room. Only he was allowed in there! Well, Wendy had been in there during their private sessions, but only with him! It had to be him! A smile broke onto her face and she felt tears of joy well up in her eyes. She sprinted as fast as she could towards the door and burst into it – yelling his name in pure relief.

But, there was no Sky in sight. Just a woman – much older than Wendy, maybe in her forties – dressed in the garb of their order, but with a heavy metal breastplate over her nun’s tabard. On her back was a beautifully crafted shield of gold and black, depicting a beautiful woman being attacked by horrible demons. She was squatting down and pulling out drawers, scouring through Sky’s papers, then discarding them on the floor when she was done. The whole office was now covered in Sky’s personal files.

As soon as Wendy entered, the woman paused what she was doing and looked up at her. They locked eyes for a long moment. The woman’s eyes were shallow and intense – a deep stormy blue – then, she asked, in a simple, uninterested tone: “Can I help you?”

Wendy was taken aback. Did she not notice the monastery’s unnatural state? Even if she was just a visitor, she should know that this wasn’t normal… and where was Sky? Her confusion led the stranger to raise her eyebrows with annoyance.

“Um… Who are you?” stuttered out Wendy.

The woman rolled her eyes. “Iron,” she said.

“Is that a holy name? Like Sky? Wind?”

“Something like that.”

“What are you doing in here? Only Sky is supposed to be in here.”

Iron shook her head as she emptied and searched the last drawer. “I’m looking for something. Obviously. Do you know where this guy kept his research?”

“Um… He sometimes used to keep his notes in the covers of his books.”

Iron made an annoyed grunt as if she disapproved of the practice, then moved to the bookshelves. She picked one book up, rifled through its pages, then threw it to the floor; then picked up another book and repeated herself, again and again.

“What are you looking for?” asked Wendy.

“Met a woman recently – called herself Sarnai. Just trying to find out more about where she came from, how she exalted, that kind of thing.”

“An anathema?”

“Yes. Keep up. She came from a place called Deshan. Help me find it.”

Wendy was still deeply confused. “Um… Can you tell where Sky is first?”

“Why?”

“Uh… Because I’m worried about him.”

Iron looked up at her and locked eyes with her again. She sighed deeply. “Which one’s Sky?”

Wendy perked up. “Orange robes, blue eyes, bald, gray goatee,” her voice filled with hope.

“Oh,” Iron said. “Him. He’s dead.”

Wendy’s heart fell to the floor. “No. When? Where? How?”

Iron turned back to the books. “About fifteen minutes ago. Right outside. I flayed him,” she said, without a hint of emotion in her voice. She sounded more bored than anything else.

Tears returned to Wendy’s face as she backed out of the room and fled back into the cloister. Logic left her and she cried out desperately. “Sky! Sky! Help me!”

She ran to the edge of the massive room – and the smell worsened… and lit by her tiny candle, the mound of fleshless skeletons came into view. Their clothes – perfectly in tact – still clung to their horrific corpses. In the front, holding his quarterstaff and no doubt protecting the others, was the thing that used to be Sky… stripped of his meat… turned into nothing, but bone and dust. With a horrific moment of dark clarity, she realized what that red mist was – and she nearly choked on the air. She wept and fell to her knees, clutching at the robes of the man who had made the world make sense.

A dismissing grunt came from behind her. “You were sleeping with him, weren’t you?”

Wendy looked back, tears in her eyes. Iron was now clutching a brutal-looking longsword in one hand – it made Wendy uncomfortable to even look at the thing – and a handful of torn pages in the other. The young sister tried for words, but none came out.

Iron made a disgusted noise. “You’re what? Fifteen? He was at least fifty, sixty-something? And you’re both supposed to be chaste.”

“We… We were…”

“Oh, let me guess. He was ‘purging your sin,’ wasn’t he?”

Wendy bowed her head – in despair and shame. In response, Iron laughed – a deep ugly laugh that didn’t quite match her face.

She stopped laughing, leaving an ugly, twisted smile on her face. She gestured with the papers and shoved them into her backpack – gods, was there a skull in there? “I was going to kill you,” she said, matter-of-factly. “All of these idiots gave their life to this Order. They deserved their fate. But, you…” she chuckled again. Her sword crumbled away, falling into black dust and disappearing into nothing. “You’re the least holy person I’ve ever met.”

Wendy’s tears dried up, replaced with shock.

“You get to live,” Iron snarled. “You get to live knowing that you were so deeply ignorant that you abandoned all the vows you made so that a sick old man could get his rocks off on you. You get to live knowing that you turned your back on your gods so that a twisted, ancient liar could take your womanhood and make you his whore… and, worse, that you liked it… You probably begged him for it – that’s how deep your shame is.” Iron’s smile widened as Wendy began to shake. “You get to live knowing that every time you pray to your precious gods they look down on you in disgust… in hatred… and that they are never going to forgive you.”

Wendy wept. Iron laughed again. The cruel woman walked forward, wrenching the candle from the shocked sister’s weak fingers. “That is, of course, if you can get out in time,” she crooned right into Wendy’s face as she harshly rubbed a tear off her cheek. She tossed the candle into the pile of corpses behind her, lighting the woolen fabrics of their robes quickly alight.

“Run, little whore,” Iron snarled. “Your gods aren’t kind to those who break their vows.” She smiled again and walked away from the weeping girl.

Wendy’s hands quaked and scuttled away on her hands and knees from the crackling flames of the people she had grown up with. Frightened and alone, she watched the orange tendrils lick and spread from body to body until Sky’s robes caught alight and she saw his skeleton be engulfed in the fire. Tears covered in her face, threatening to drown her in her own sorrow. With the cloister now bathed in the haunting light of the flames, she stood up, wiped her eyes and wandered slowly to the door… Pain and grief surrounded her, but she knew the woman was wrong. She knew it in her heart – Sky was a goodly man; the gods had nothing to forgive; she was free and without sin! She was going to be fine – she would spread the news of the monstrous woman who was falsely wearing their Order’s sacred vestments and soon the whole nation would be safe from her cruelties and her blasphemies. She reached for the door – safe in the knowledge that the gods had saved and protected her once again.

Then… to her horror… she discovered that the door was locked.

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Capt Farwind's Log Entry #4

Aug 19, Evening

I am writing this entry not for record, but for my own sanity…

In the past 48 hours, I lost in poker for the first time in I don't know how long, I found out the wife I had in my former life is still alive, Steve the Pirate is a gorgeous female Sidereal Exalt, and I just got released from prison IN HEAVEN.

I was sober for the first two, drunk enough to drown every member of house Cynis for the third, and hungover fort he fourth.  Kinda pus things into perspective now that I think about it.

I can't keep acting like this won't change anything.  I can't keep thinking along the lines of me and mine.  The second I became a Zenith, my life became more dangerous than I could ever imagine.  The people in it will always be important to me, but I have to be more than what I am to protect them.  I have to become worthy of the mantle I now bear.

I need another drink…

 

  

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House Cathak and Tepet

A family tree of all appearing characters from House Cathak and House Tepet.

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Varish's loss
Garen and Iron Beak are sparring with Varish watching.
 
"So Garen…. Are you going to hit Iron anytime today?" Varish smirks.
 
"No, he looks kind of hot so I'm just going to fan him."
 
"Well, you are doing a horrible job." Iron says.
 
"How do you think Sis is doing training under your old friend" Garen asks Varish.
 
"Tina, well she is smart and charming. She should be fine as long as she praises Raksi enough and doesn't go too crazy being near Raksi for long periods of time." Varish replies.
 
Garen gets swatted. "Hey!" Garen sputters.
 
"Your enemies will not stop and wait for you to finish talking. So why would I?" Iron muses.
 
Iron then stops and both Iron and Varish look to the North. Garen seeing an opening goes for Iron, and hits him only to be pinned under Iron's claw.
 
"Garen, I know you don't like Marik much, but he is in trouble." Varish says looking right at Garen.
 
"I may not like him but he is still like family. Let me up Iron lets go save him!"
 
Looking at Varish Iron speaks, "He is good but I don't think he is ready Varish."
 
Pondering, and in a stern voice, "Garen you must choose to either listen to me an do what I say with no questions or you will stay here and prepare a camp. Marik may be hurt so it would be very useful to have a place we can treat Marik when we return, and also treat ourselves if needed."
 
"I will go with you." Garen replies at once. "You may need help. Marik was mostly a talker but he still kicked my ass most of the time."
 
"Then we go."
 
Varish turns into his giant falcon form and takes flight, as Iron releases Garen and springs into the skies. Giving Varish a disapproving glare as he passes him.
 
"Iron" Varish says quietly, "we can't keep treating him like a child it has been almost 20 years since we rescued him. We have to let him make his own choices eventually"
 
"I know" Iron replies, "but I still see the small child hiding behind his sister too scared to sleep because of the big mean monster. If he gets hurt you get to tell his sister."
 
"That is low Iron." Varish smirks.
 
"Where are we going?" asks Garen as he catches up in a parrot form.
 
"North, about two days flight" Iron replies.
 
"Shit." Garen responds. "Mind if I hitch a ride?" Garen asks with mirth.
 
"Not at all" Varish responds. Then in a spectacular move does a flip and roll catching Garen in his claw at the end. Then Varish speeds up.
 
"I HATE YOU!!!" Garen yells.
 
"Now, now you get what you ask for." Iron replies with a laugh.
 
 
After two days of hard flying Varish, Iron Beak, and Garen make it to where Marik is 100 miles west of Wallport. What they see is disheartening. Marik is being held prisoner in a Dragon army fortified camp. 
 
"Iron go." Varish says
 
"Gone." Iron replies
 
"Garen we will make camp over there in that patch of trees." Pointing at a spot to the north east
of the Dragon camp.
 
When Varish and Garen land they take land animal forms, Varish a deer and Garen a wolf.
 
"What's the plan Varish?" Garen asks.
 
"Based on what I saw you will cause a disturbance outside the camp, DON'T get caught." Iron and I will go get Marik. Once we are out Iron will go get you and we will escape." Varish states.
 
"Sounds easy enough." Garen responds.
 
"It never is," Varish says sadly. "Now sleep we will wait for Iron to return and hear his news before we move.
 
A couple hours later a small falcon shows up.
 
"Iron, find anything?" Varish asks.
 
"Yes," Iron growls, "that idiot tried to "convert" a Dragon town to accept other exalted. apparently he didn't even fight back when the hunt came, he will be executed in two days."
 
"When we free him I will beat him black and blue. Putting himself in danger, and now us." Garen angrily says.
 
"You will have to wait your turn," Iron says.
 
"Garen have you thought of a way to distract the camp?" Varish says steely.
 
"Yes. It will take some time to get it ready though." Garen replies.
 
"Get ready then we will start as soon as you are ready. Do not rush though." Varish says.
 
 
"I am ready, "Garen says four hours later. Just as the sun sets.
 
"A stampede right through the camp, interesting" Varish replies we start when your distraction begins."
 
Varish changes into his falcon form and takes flight with Iron Beak behind him both are in their smaller forms so they don't attract as much attention. Once both are in the air Garen starts his stampede of various animals. As the animals reach the outer patrol circling the camp a shout goes up and the camp awakens too find animals rampaging through the camp. At the point both Varish and Iron Beak dive into the fray. Varish changes into a half man half lion war form as Iron beak takes his true griffin form, and both of them tear into the dragons making their way to where Marik is bound inside one of the sturdier buildings. Just as Varish makes it to the building the dragons start chasing or killing off most of the animals. Inside Marik's prison there are a couple guards which Varish easily kills. Making his way through the building takes longer then Varish anticipated, but he is able to eventually find Marik unconscious in a cell, and carries him out. As Varish exits the building everything falls apart. A squad of elite dragon anathema hunters is waiting outside. Iron beak is holding them back at the main door but the leader of the squad has Garen on his knees in front of him with an enchanted spear on the back of his neck.
 
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" the leader says. "A couple anathema here to save a friend, how adorable," He mocks.
 
"Release him," Varish coldly states.
 
"Now, now, you should be honored to be kill by me. For I am one of the Queens claws, Tak'Goroth." he says with a mocking bow.
 
"A Claw here." Iron stutters
 
"Oh, good you have heard of us." Tak'Goroth smiles, then rams his spear through Garen's neck killing him instantly. "Oops."
All light seems to disappear briefly as Varish's anima flares to its strongest. "Take Marik, Iron." Varish says with an iced voice.
 
"Ok," Iron says meekly and he takes Marik in his claws and takes off as fast as he can.
 
"Oh it wont be that easy now," Tak'Goroth says lazily, and points at the departing griffin.
Multiple archers behind Tak'Goroth take aim, but as they are about to loose Varish rips out their throats. All the dragons are stunned since they didn't even see Varish move. Tak'Goroth recovers first.
 
"KILL HIM," Tak'Goroth shouts.
 
Just as the first warriors start to move massive tentacles of molten fire rise from the ground and attack. While Tak'Goroth's attention is on the tentacle In front of him Varish comes up and back hands him out of his way. Then Varish bends down and tenderly picks up Garen's corpse. Now we wash this stain of a place from the map, and a ball of essence streaks to the sea. As Tak'Goroth reclaims his wits from the strike he sees Varish turn into a giant falcon and carry Garen away. Before Tak'Goroth can do or say anything the tentacles stop moving but a massive crash comes from the direction of the sea. A wave arrives and starts washing a way the camp. Tak'Goroth flees, but gets caught in the wave and washes out to sea. He survives but he loses his spear and his left leg.
 

Two days later, Marik awakens.
 
"I am alive? How?" Marik ask the roof.
 
"Because Garen sacrificed himself to save you." Varish say sadly.
 
"WHAT!?" Why, how, when? Marik stutters confusingly.
 
"Iron and myself noticed you were taken, we left to help you not knowing how you were taken
Garen joined us. You two might not have been the best of friends, but he considered you family and wanted to assist. His help was needed, we might have failed if it wasn't for him."
 
"No." Marik says stunned. "Have you told Tina yet?"
 
"That is who we are meeting." Varish says starring strait at Marik.
 
Sweating, "Ok. How long until we meet to her?" Marik ask quietly.
 
"She will be here tomorrow. I would rest." Varish states and then walks out.
 
"I can't believe it. Garen is dead," Marik whispers to himself then falls into a fitful sleep.
 
The next day Tina arrives at the cabin around noon. Varish, Iron Beak, and Marik (on crutches) meet her outside.
 
"Where's Garen?" Tina asks quizzically looking at the somber crowd.
 
"Inside," Varish says quietly.
 
Tina goes inside the cabin and all that is heard for the next few hours is crying. No one says anything. Once Tina gets control of herself, she stalks outside right up to Varish.
 
"How did this happen? You were with him, he looked up to you." Tina growls
 
"Its my fault." Marik whispered.
 
"I tried to convert a town of dragons and was captured. If it wasn't for Garen, Varish, and Iron Beak I would have died. The cost is too much though I wished i was just killed and not captured." Marik says on the verge of crying.
 
"Stop right there." Tina stalks up to Marik and slaps him. "You don't get to cry. You get to live your worthless life. You live because Garen wished it. So live but make sure I never see you again. And you" turning to Varish. "Just leave. Please." She weeps. I want to be alone with him.
 
Marik stops himself from saying anything and changes his form and flees.
 
"If you need anything just call. I know you know how to." Varish says quietly and then he and Iron take off.
 
"But how can I trust you if that which is most important to me was taken on your watch?" Tina whispers.
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War Journal
The Bull Rises

Deep Winter. Most men have the common sense to know that protracted campaigns dont do well in the snow. It slows men and horses, frost sticks to blades and numbs limbs. Good men freeze and blood is too bright a color for the snow. Unfortunately it doesnt stop the insane from trying. This so called "Bull of the North" rallies allies from all across the north and now pushes into our lands. He will be stopped. This I promise.

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Capt Farwind's Log Entry #3

July 18 Mid-day,

The sun is high and the air is cool, but we seem to have lost the wind for the past few hours.  The men are in good spirits in spite of this and the ship's needs are finally tended.  The Solar fo the night has stolen a row boat and disappeared on us.  I never thought much of him truth to tell, but such selfishness seemed beyond him.

July 22, Morning,

The dreams are coming more frequent and becoming more clear.  There was once a miraculous city that floated above the waves and flew amongst the clouds, and I was it's chief architect.  I worked amongst my circle mates to conceive, plan, construct, manage, and protect it.  The people were happy.  We had found our Lunar companions and happiness for the people of the city.  Garion had Leviathan, his loyal Captain and most trusted soldier.  And I had Lilith, my beautiful wife and dedicated protector. 

Then the uprising occurred…and I sank the city to stop it.  Why didn't i just destroy it?

July 22, Mid-day

The winds have abandoned these cursed waters.  We've not felt the movement of air in almost four days.  The men are growing more and more restless and are beginning to rely on story and superstition rather than their wits.  I must find a way to get us moving again, but we have no oars or enough wood to make them.  We need something new, something not seen since the days of old.  Aha, I have it.  Not something new, something now, something not here.  Something not used on the waves, but in the streams.  A water wheel…

July 22, Evening

I don't know what form of shrill sea hag or bitch reef goddess we have upset on this voyage, but they will find I am not so easily bested.  As the sun reached it's peak this day, the Dawn marked man called Garion was beset with a Saika on his fishing line.  A monster of legendary name and size was pulled from the depths by my new compatriot and set a-flop on my deck.  The beast was enormous, every bit as large as the legends portray.  The crew of the Orphan's Revenge is now the proud owner of 30,000 pounds of Saika flesh, hide, jaws, and wonder.  What a day.  Oh, and the paddle wheel is working.

July 26, Sunset

We have finally made safe harbor, and the men are glad for it.  Not a large place this Logue, but it seems to be filled with all the right authorities, merchants, and distractions to make this a profitable stop.  The ship is being repaired and I've ordered some improvements be made as well.  That water-wheel worked better than i'd hoped.

The crew have been granted shore leave and I'm sure they will be back tomorrow penniless and satisfied.  It turns out Steve has made himself of use and learned some information we could use to our advantage.  The Bull has beaten the Realms legions.  We need information. Lots of information.  Time to impress the locals.

July 28, Evening,

By all the seas, waters, shores, and winds, Leviathan is alive.  He is alive and he's here on my ship.  A man so old he has first hand knowledge of the old world.  We found him on the western shore of the island.  He was keeping watch over the city.  He is a man of immense power, a power that even in my young form can sense.  He is an impressive man of other worldly dedication to his duty and with a loyalty to Garion that even his Tiger can't match.   

  

 

 

 

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