Gentle reader, I sit here writing this entry on a fine warm evening watching the sun dip below the horizon on a pristine beach miles away from anywhere of significance. How I arrived here from a ship at sea to this shore is a tale long in telling, but to my eyes I sit now not upon a beach, but upon a crossroads of fate and consequence such as I have never seen.
In the end it would seem that our alchemist friend has finally snapped. However he did not break down in sobs of tears and quiver flaccid and useless, oh no. He turned his mental break from our companionship into a trap filled death maze of fire and flames of destruction. I must give the man credit in the end. There are few mortals who can survive the process of negotiating with demons. But sell his soul (if he had one to begin with) he did, to the detriment of my friends and allies. I cannot commit to paper the name of this foul fiend from the abyss, but suffice it to say that it was an aspect of a very powerful demon lord whose presence in this new world is frightening to consider and a nightmare to behold in person.
By the alchemists newly bought power, the company was removed from the ship by magic most foul. The captain and her crew are considered dead although we have no way of knowing that for certain. That the alchemist would sacrifice their lives to try and fulfill his twisted quest for vengeance speaks highly to where his mental state is at now. For unfortunately the man yet lives, even after the priest burned him to ashes.
We arrived on a small island with our ship sans crew rotting away beneath our feet. The only structure on the island turned out to be the abode of a demi lich. A deadly creature that considered our arrival a chance for sport with our lives in the balance. I was forced to step forward and lead our band as it seems that I am the only one of our party skilled at trap finding. It is not something I recommend if one wishes a long and healthy lifespan.
At the end of this maze waited our alchemists fearsome new allies. Words were exchanged and I found myself marked by the powers of the Abyss. Such is the price mortals pay for bartering with demons. The gods I follow aren’t very nice ones with promises of endless sweetcakes and never ending ale, but to find myself cut off from their presence was an experience I do not ever wish to repeat. The alchemist for his part attempted to convince the party that I was one who betrayed them all, but when he realized at last that his lies were having no effect he attempted to burn us all in his alchemical hellfire.
The hand of fate lies heavily upon us all. This cannot be questioned at this point. Both the alchemist and the priest died again in this battle. Yet they came back to us as if nothing had happened. Why the gods have chosen us as their instruments and for what purpose remains a mystery.
We endeavor now to finish returning to five ports. We are several days north of the city at the moment and between myself and our warrior friend we should be able to find the way there. Before we go come dawn however, I feel the need of a calling I thought long lost to me from times and rituals of my brothers and sisters from long ago. No matter that this place is not a real crossroads, it is for certain a spiritual crossroads with powers dark and deadly closing in and howling for our parties blood from all sides.
The ritual I choose is the oldest one I know. Buried deep, long forgotten and unsung by my people for generations I’m not even certain now how it came to be my possession so long ago. But I know that it will be in the end more a help than a hindrance to myself and my companions. Even in this the gods I serve cannot give boons without banes.
So be it.
Tonight at the crossroads we shall see what we shall see.