Fate Comes to Call

Death Denied

Well I wars correct, Duck had betrayed us. When we entered the room Duck was next to a large demon king and tried to convince us to do some idiotic thing I can’t recall as i was only half paying attention. I was instead doing mental probing of undead near me that had alerted me of the trap. I was careful to categorize them in terms of power and if they were intelligent. Once I was done I took control of one and was about to start on the second, but Antonio then started a big speech that seemed to be an attempt to bargain us to the demon… to turn on Duck? Whatever the reason he was denied by the demon declaring a contract must be kept but he did reach out and touch Antonios arm which then turned black. Duck went back to trying to convince us to join him but luckily my companions were smart enough to deny him.
The fight broke out right as I got control of the second undead, unfortunately the fight started with a large demon approaching while invisible and stabbing me. I quickly informed the others of my possession of the two undead, started on a third and made distance between myself and my attacker.
Through either a streak of terribly luck or a surprisingly well thought plan from the duck I seemed to be the main target of nearly all of the attacks through the fight. Although Duck went back to his fumbling when he threw a smoke bomb at us, yes it made it difficult for us to fight the demons but it wasn’t too bad. My greatest fear was for him to throw his bombs at us while we were all stuck together in a small group and it appears he did not even entertain that idea.
I took refuge in the smoke, hiding towards one corner as I instructed my new undead to keep the demons in check, at this point Axe had already used the berserking ring and fallen from the sound of it. I attempted to lay a curse upon Duck, he was able to resist it however. Knowing his location I sent one of the undead to put its halberd in his back.
Explosions rang out but I couldn’t see what happened. Now that things were more or less under control I went to aid Antonio in his attempt to put down the 3rd demon that had been making chants and doing a large amount of damage to us. I dispelled the magic surrounding it but only broke one spell. screams from Duck rang out and then the large demon king reappeared. Duck began pleading with it and wanted to escape, I attempted to have my minion strangle Duck so his words would be blocked in his throat but the clumsy thing missed. This gave Duck his chance to go through a portal that was opened.
The Lich began yelling about fun times and I attempted to bargain a reward for the entertainment but was refused.
There was an odd pool of water referring to the ferryman and river Styx, I told my friends to toss two coins in and step through. Antonio went through fine but Jolias made the mistake of throwing in a five gold piece thinking it would suffice and sounded pained as he retrieved it. I was able to get myself and one of the remaining undead through… only to have it destroyed on the other side. Jolias sent out his healing area spell and thus caused it to collapse. This irritated me greatly, finally a strong companion under my control to see it destroyed. I had to remind myself that Jolias likely didn’t know better and I would have to explain to him how he needs to be careful with his healing when I have undead around.

What is it with us and birds?
AKA Axe's Ruminations part whatever

Mallard has turned on us. In truth, I almost could see this coming, but I did not see him sinking to the degree that he has.

Mallard formed a pact with some kind of powerful demon— Antonio called it a “Lord of Chaos” or something like it. The very thought of its visage fills me with dread. In doing so, he forced us into some death gauntlet— whether it was constructed for us or already extant I do not know. Antonio lead the way and managed to avoid many traps, though several times I decided to simply move forward and take what damage I had to so as to speed up the group, as we were under a time limit. Good thing too… we were almost out of time when I reached the door to the final chamber. There, we entered (after an accident with one last trap) only to find Mallard speaking with a huge bird-headed man.

Duck greeted us, claiming that the being was some demon who was discussing a reward for us. Though some of what he said rung true, I suspect this was simply because I could not sense his lies for what they were. Antonio made a huge production of claiming to be willing to sell us to the demon as servants, but he later told us that this was a lie. Not that I knew this during the combat that followed. All things said, it’s probably a good thing he kept away from me. Especially since I used the ring.

The ring… what an odd experience. On one hand, the power that flowed through me was enormous. I was swinging my axe with such strength that I’m surprised I did not break it, and I was significantly sturdier as well. However, I was filled with such rage that I consider myself lucky that I did not kill one of my allies. I don’t have much memory of what happened. I’m told I brought down one giant beast and continued to attack it until it was dead several times over. Still, I have learned one thing— it is much easier to cancel the rage than it would seem. Also, deactivating the ring can cause one’s wounds to catch up with them. I passed out after using it, and as such I have little knowledge of what happened for the rest of the fight. Evidently Jolias died again, as did Mallard, and he fled with the aid of his demonic patron.

We exited the room by means of some magic pool, and arrived on the beach. I am saddened by the apparent loss of the Screaming Gull— they were good to us through our trials and tribulations on the way to Five Ports and if they are dead they will be missed. I hold out some hope, though I see no reason for Mallard to have spared them when he pulled us into that nightmare realm. We set up a memorial for them, using one of my javelins and some items the others gave me, and Antonio threw some liquor out to sea for them. Now we make our way to Five Ports, by land.

I kind of wish I hadn’t used my bedroll on that poison trap now.

The crossroads
Duck Flambe

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.

Darkness falls
You take 10,587 damage, no save.

Personal entry, do not send to the RES
Well against our better judgement, we have allowed the alchemist to return to our party. The priest has once more apologized for not staying dead when the alchemist murdered him, and his sister has “forgiven him” of all things. Although I believe personally that this might be a ruse to eventually push him overboard some night after second watch.

The thought has crossed my mind as well. It might be much simpler if he just disappeared one night if we chance into a sudden squall upon the seas. Still my god advises me to stay my hand for now and only a fool or a madman crosses the traveler. His activities of late concern me greatly though. The alchemist has seemed unusually focused for a change since his return, even going so far as to be polite to everyone so far. That concerns me more than anything else really.

I need more time to marshal my thoughts as how to best proceed in this matter but even now the lookout has called out a warning of something dangerous in our path. sigh The hand of fate lies heavily upon us all still it would seem.

not so calm before the storm
It's on bitch

Well, I have finally apologized to Antonio and he in turn apologized for hitting me, but his tone makes me unsure if he actually meant it. Regardless we shook hands and agreed to leave it in the past. As we waited to set sail I sparred with Julhiana and although I highly suspect she was going easy on me I am pleasantly surprised at how well I did.
We were not long on the open ocean until I spotted a dark fog in the distance… and it looked suspiciously like ducks smoke. There is no way he could have done it though as it was far in the distance and somehow moved and expanded on it’s own to engulf us. I was below deck when it happened but apparently as we entered the fog the entire crew and any belongings that weren’t are vanished. We heard a large bang and split the treasure in a hurry so we didn’t loose it. In a somewhat joyous note I believe I got more than my fair share as I got a few large coins but I have no way of knowing if the gems the others got overshadow my coins.
We emerged on a beach that was declared to be pure evil , as we approached the entrance of a tunnel, the only dwelling on the dessert island, something odd happened. A skull shot out of the sand suddenly and began speaking about not having visitors and having fun. Another surprise is that i didn’t even sense it until it was in front of me. It is my belief that it is a demi-lich, very bad news for us. I spoke as it flew away in our language and it seemed surprised and agreed to give us a small advantage… a sand timer. It is now my belief that we would likely be timed no longer what but with that we at least knew how much we had left.
We made it through the treacherous maze filled with vague puzzles and deadly traps. unfortunately due to my magical ability I was chosen to undo any and all magical traps while Antonio took care on the mundane ones. I even had to undo a rune of death, it is likely that the lich made the rune easy to dismantle as he could have easily made one so complex I would have no way to undo it.
In the end we got to a chamber to find Duck standing on a platform next to some kind of demon and emitting that grating laugh of his that signals he is up to no good and intends to harm anybody for whatever reason. This is likely conformation of every doubt, every plot, and every plan I made against him. If only the others had taken my advice of removing him from our presence. But no, they were adamant on giving him another chance, let him travel with us to five ports, but he saved us that one time, Even a broken sun dial is right twice a day. Recent evidence shows duck has somehow greatly improved the strength of his bombs, hopefully we find a way to avoid them or they may lay us low. As a final stroke of bad luck I find myself low on magical energy right now, having used a good deal to dispel traps or casting defensive spells as we entered the unknown… I suppose at least those are still active. If only I had some undead to aid us in this fight, I would enjoy watching them rip duck limb from limb, but unfortunately while I may enjoy these inner thoughts I would not stoop to actually act on them out of a moral sense of right and wrong. Even so, I sincerely hope my visage is the last thing he sees before I end his life and allow Thalratas to toss him to the hellish pit he deserves.

The duck's final diary entry?

I’ve come this far, and have suffered the company of fools long enough. The shadow has given me money, power, and promises me more. What I thought was the Austere Wench was something else… something far more powerful. I have played my role, and now he has given me my stage.

For all the indignities they have dealt to me… well, they shall finally know what occurs to those that besmirch me! Possessing this much power, I can’t quite decide what I want to do. Half of me wants to slay them slow and torturous, and the other half of me wishes to humiliate them, toy with them, and force them to live with the horror! Regardless of what happens, I want all of the treasure that they seem to have rudely split without so much as consulting me first.

I cannot help but fantasize about their punishments.

Since I last lamented my obsession with Julianah… I’ve nearly all but given up. I’ll never possess her so long as her brother lives. When he was poisoned weeks ago, I should have allowed him to die. Pity he survived the sea scones as well. For a priest who claims to know tactics and austerity, I see him as little else than… what is the word the guttersnipes say these days? Ah, right. He is what they would call a “Fuck boy” or “A weak as bitch that ain’t about shit.” He hides behind the skirts of dearest Julianah. I wish she would show him true austerity, and slay him. He drags her down, he is a prison, he is a rival… I’d like to kill him.

Julianah may again hate me, curse my name, and attempt to murder me, but I shall free her from the fuck boy! And then perhaps only then shall I be able to possess her. If she lives. I hope she lives, I don’t actually wish to hurt her… she has been good to me. I hope she listens to reason. Well, if enough of her remains, perhaps there is alchemy that can repair her well enough after I sample her flesh. If not, well, I suppose she is not the first woman I disposed of for spurning me! Perk up Mallard! There is plenty of fish in the sea! Fish that you actually can eat!

As for the gypsy… well, they say back in Tescana that the only good gypsy is a dead one. And while I am inclined to agree, they make fine tools. If I need violence done, they’re cheap. If I need a test subject, their children are cheap. They are simple creatures. However this one is different from all the rest, unusually bookish, and long winded. The filthy upstart has been a thorn in my side this entire time, what with him sneaking around my back with Dakras plotting unknown things and likely touching each other in places most tender. I think death would be too easy for a gypsy like him. I’d like to beat him within an inch of his life, and then watch him squirm from my experiments. Regardless of what happens to the others, I shall enjoy humiliating him and allowing him to immortalize his horrors in that little journal of his.

Strange as it sounds, although I hate the gypsy and Jolias most… Dakras perhaps possesses the most troublesome powers. His powers worry me more than whichever drivel he attempts to slander or question me with. If he can speak into my head, can he see my thoughts? I fear him nearly as much as that mage Hawg-something or other… I will need to be careful of him. However, he seems to be a coward, I can use this.

And Axe? Well, since he seems mostly capable of only tripping over his own axe… He should have taken my offer of employment. Poor fool, if he sees his death, it is well deserved from his utter stupidity.

But alas! I dally too much, I must go back to making plans as to how I can best ensnare the fools.

Fun and Good Times in Hammer's Point
OR Why we should never listen to Duck

“So, what’s this potion again?”

Axe was eyeing the flask that Duck had handed him with suspicion. It glowed with a verdant green light, and looked entirely unappetising. Jolias stood beside him, looking at his own vial with a much less focused gaze. Since he was currently on his fourth mug of ale, this was to be expected. Axe’s own head was slightly swimmy, which was odd since he could usually hold his ale quite well, and he had only had two mugs.

“Well, you remember the potion that shopkeeper gave you? The one that had the… interesting effects?” Duck responded.

Axe glared at him. “The one that caused me to hallucinate Juliana as a rabbit. Yes.”

Duck elaborated. “Well, this is a refined version of that potion. I discovered in my examination of the remnants that it was indeed meant to be a cure for intoxication, but instead it enhanced and warped the effects of the alcohol to produce hallucinations. This version should do what the original potion was intended to do.”

Jolias slurred his way into the conversation. “Are you schure it will work?”

“Yes. Entirely sure.” said Duck, with a 40 on his bluff check.

Axe and Jolias looked at each other. They looked back at Duck.

“Well… if you’re schure” mumbled Jolias. They uncorked the vials, and each took a sip.

Axe immediately collapsed into a boneless heap. Jolias leaned against a hammock, it being the only thing keeping his body from contact with the floor.

“Ah. An unexpected result, but one I can work from.” Duck walked over to Jolias, who was swaying unsteadily with glazed eyes.

Duck adopted his signature bedside manner. “So, Jolias! How are you feeling?”

Immediately, Jolias surged forward with surprising speed and dexterity for a man who was previously standing only with the assistance of a hammock. Duck flinched backwards, but he was unable to dodge as Jolias’ arm snaked around his neck.

Jolias pulled Duck to his side and leaned on him, slurring into his ear.

“Hey Dave! I’m feeling pretty good, man. I feel like I’ve been drinkin’ all night! Hey, what are you doing in Hammer’s… err… this place?”

“Oh… yes… hello, Jolias. It’s me. Dave. Your friend.”

“Yeah, we’re friends!”

Jolias grinned at the universe. He was not perturbed when the universe grinned back.

“Jolias, do you think you can tell me more about how you’re feeling?”

“Oh, pretty good right now, but thing haven’t been right since you’ve been gone. Juliana’s been all protective of me! She told me I couldn’t go see my buddy Duck just ‘cause he’d killed me, but I snuck out and saw him, and we drank alllll night. Man, I should intro… intro… introdicate you two. You’d like him, he’s a cool guy.”

“I’m… I’m sure I would.” Duck responded, taken aback. What was this feeling in his chest? It was… warm.

“Yeah… Hey, Axe! Dave is here! You remember Dave right?” Jolias exclaimed.

“Wha… Dave? Oh, that’s nice. I can’t really see right now though. Everything’s all… Purplegreen.” Axe slurred from his place on the floor.

Duck shook the odd warm feeling away. No time for unexplainably pleasant feelings, now was time for science!

“And how would you describe this… purple-green color?” He queried Axe, crouching down next to crumpled companion.
“No, not purple-green. Purplegreen. It’s like… it’s like purple and green. But not separate. United as one. ‘s all I can see.

“Well… that must be… difficult.” Duck responded.

“No, it’s okay. I’m a radish right now, so there’s no use getting worked up.”

“Hmm…” Duck stood up, and moved over to his pouch. He pulled out a glowing green vial, opened it, and took a sniff.

Then he took a sip.

He collapsed, mumbling incoherently about the nature of the universe and how it related to dice games.

Juliana entered the cabin, and took in what she saw before her.

Vulgar yet flowery words rang out through the ship, and when Duck awoke he had several more bruises than he had before.

Dazed and confused
Duck didn't use fire this time!

Gentle reader, it occurs to me that my traveling companions may be a hazard both to themselves, others, local wildlife, small children, free standing wooden structures, and life in general. Why the harsh criticism my friends? Because so far in our adventures together we have (and please note I do not stand apart from this as I have my own part to play in our little tradegy) done our best to negatively affect the lives of everyone around us to little or no personal gain.

To follow up on a link from my last note, it would appear that no one cares about the secret I revealed about one of our traveling companions. Not one man or woman sitting at the table so much as blinked when I broke the news. The secret itself is dark and terrifying to most common folk and I found myself thinking that I might have to defend the poor man. Especially from the priest and holy warrior in our company. But nope. Not at all. Just a casual “That’s nice.” and it was stuffed back under the rug from whence it came. I still harbor doubts about this man however, and i will continue to keep an eye on him if no one else wants to bother with it.

To be honest a larger problem has surfaced, and this one may cause some more deaths before it is all over. Our alchemist is a drug addicted fool with a mercurial temper, dangerous affinity for fire breathing potions, and a love of poisonous oysters. The oysters are a new thing evidently. Something he picked up recently and wanted the party to experiment with for him.
I cannot describe how badly this went for all of us.

Still the priest, who claims to have died from this misadventure may have unwittingly announced the presence of a far greater presence in all of our lives. His story has an uncanny similarity to that of another companion who felt the hand of death come to claim him. Combine this with the warnings and bits of odd conversations with powerful beings in this new world and it adds up to a feeling that the hand of fate lies very heavily upon us all.

Perhaps this is why we are all acting so damn strangely.

Note to self: This journal entry is never going to be believed by the Society. Do not send this back until heavily edited with something more realistic..

Jolias died
Get rekt son.



Who cares about a little necromancy

I am thoroughly surprised by the lack of interest garnered when my secret was finally brought to light by Antonio. It has now been several days since my powers were announced and I expected a loss of trust, suspicion and a great deal of attitude changing but none of that has come. Perhaps the new world truly is that open… or my friends are just that careless.
Anyway we made it to Hammerspoint and it is not at all what I expected. I thought it to be a simple rock formation on the coast that would bring amusement to the long days at sea but instead, it was a hollow in a sea cliff that housed a city. Despite Ducks typical whining and veiled attempts at manipulation we elected to stay on the ship for the night. The next morning we got up for a trip to the city, but oddly enough Duck instead wanted to sleep in. Not trusting this I rounded up all the contents of the chest and cataloged them so any theft would be noticed. Once that was done we headed into the city. Jolias found a stand of etched rocks and offered the clerk a gold piece, which he took, flipped the stall, and rand. Jolias took two rocks and returned to the ship.
Myself, Axe, And Joliana continued our roaming and found a forge they wanted to try. The metal had an odd shine to it that the smith claimed was from the process he uses. Needing nothing else they both grabbed daggers and bought them for exhorbinate prices without even asking why they cost so much. Next we went into a store with great stained windows and saw it was ran by an odd fellow. this trip ended when Axe drank a small vial that caused him to become intoxicated immediately, I bough the rest to give Jolias and we left.
Duck returned with an armful of oysters and offered one to Jolias who ate it and then two more before becoming deathly sick. Accusations were thrown before Johliana came running up and started to beat on Duck.
The night ended with Duck going to the city for the night, us making plans on what to do with him and Jolias saying he now believes we should keep him for some odd reason.


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