Happy Ending

The Noble Fragments, having returned from Blightshore with yet another bag of horribly corrupt artifacts, is going to take some time off. The High Priestess is extremely grateful. It has been quite a lot of work dealing with all the evil they have brought back to the Dynasty and her temple.

Don’t get me wrong, they did well. My son tells me that they defeated a demigod this time – Ceratos. The Many, crawling far beneath Blightshore. Hopefully their stirring doesn’t mean that the Crawling King is pushing, too, from beyond the gate. Or at least, not any more than usual.

They also brought back quite a handful of citizens of the Dynasty. The temples in Asarius report quite a number of folks, including some children, who have come to them for powerful restoration magics, having been under the sway of mind-altering effects for far too long. A few Ceratos Zealots have been found amongst these refugees, and they are being dealt with with as much empathy as the temple and Aurora Hold can manage.

House Duendalos has gained several members, including one of the gnomes, and I hear, and my nephew has rejoined Den Olios. It is good that the dens continue to grow and flourish.

I wish them all well in their endeavors, perhaps one day the Dynasty will call upon them again.

~ Skysybil Abrianna Mirimm

Madness Incarnate

We feel them. They are coming. A few are tricked, talking to friends who are not there, family they don’t even really like. Talking. Then Questioning. The Balhannoth’s don’t like questions and they don’t like the Balhannoths. Gone. All gone. The Catonoctrix come, come flying in taking minds, but too late. Too slow. Powerful these new minds. They will come to us next. They will listen. They all listen to Them. Hear Them.

Into the hive. They come to us. Slowly. Confused. Pliant. They come.

“Come, come. Time is nigh. Hurry. Come, come.” And they come. We will protect them. Protect them from the worms below. The burrowing ever deeper worms. Eat right through you if you’re not protected. They resist our protect, but they come with us. The others are waiting, but The Holy One is almost done. Almost done.

They still come, the Neothelids and our beloved Core Spawn Worms. Good pets. They listen. Won’t attack us. Not when we bring minds to The Many. Brilliant minds, careful minds, tasty minds.

Down and down and down we go. They hide below. Far below. Minds scattered, but body below. Bring the body first, the minds will follow. Down into the temple. Temple to Ceratos, The Many, destruction and rebirth shall come.

Join the Circle!

They are hesitant.

Join the Circle!

They go, slowly around the circle. Stopping finally and joining the circle. Kneeling to The Many as he feasts and Rises!

Retreat, but not far. Don’t disturb the ceremony. See through the others. Watch.

The new minds attack! Upset by Their rise! Attack The Holy One and her Acolyte! The Many will take them, will eat them, take them, eat them! They shall be reunited with the Many. Their minds to bring together. Reunification for Rebirth! The Holy One falls, the Reunification incomplete! The Many eats, but They wane. Retreat!

Must retreat, They fall, but will rise again. They will lead us Home one day. Falling is not the end, still scattered. Scattered still.

~Core Spawn Seer Hive Minds

Candy and Cultists

They were gone such a long time, I should have followed them. Hard to do when your quarry is literally hunting. Just be patient, she tells me, it’s just a hunt, can’t follow them in the wastes, can I? But they all made it back, the whole blasted pack of them.

Shopping again. What IS their fascination with that strange little man and his junk shop? I was in there once, and he has a ring that will literally Kill You if you get knocked out. Ilse thinks it’s a good idea, but No Way, I’m not dying just because I trip and hit my head after a night out drinking in this godsforsaken waste.

The little traitors are really on a shopping roll today, but everyone else is arguing about taking a group name! For Hours! They argued about it All Over Town! Seven Seekers, WOLVERINE, Folly’s Hammer, The Bold and the Beautiful??? The littlest traitor keeps shooting down every idea they have. The tall fancy drow wants something his mother would be proud to hear. Ugh! Jonas seems stuck on WOLVERINE for some reason. It’s definitely capitalized by the way he’s saying it. No one else likes it though, thank the gods. Noble Fragments? Well they certainly have a fragmenting noble with them. That’ll make writing reports easier at least.

Finally back in for the night, wish I could get inside. Oh, the littlest traitor is out to the stables, maybe she’ll have something interesting. No, just some sick little gobbo. Good! She’s getting the metal one, can automatons be traitors? They usually just have programming. Maybe we could fix it. Kid seems better though, off and running, and everyone’s in for the night. Or not. The local boy’s off to his brothers’ for the night, asks them about sick kids – poison. Well, now that’s interesting.

The little traitors are up and out early today, best wait for Jonas. He’s with the drow and the waste girl today. They go to talk to the priests and some healers, asking about the kid, or is it kids? Poison again, visions of horrible tentacle monsters. Well, that’s just creepy. Down to the Creets and now they’re talking to children. Taking candy from strangers? Who Does that? Now they’re talking to an old Hag fortune teller. I can’t really hear her, thick mud walls and all. The rest of the folk arrive and he fills them in – an old gnoll preacher who is here on weekends. Well, I guess that’s why they take it. Local boy wants to go to the guard and heads off, but everyone else just goes back home. Well, except the littlest traitor – she’s down with the Crazy Harpy. Not really a harpy, I think she’s a Draconian survivor, actually.

So boring over the next few days. They stay home and train or read or whatever the hell they do inside there. Until it’s finally the weekend. I almost missed them Saturday. Up so early and heading right back for the Luxon’s Favor. Hiding around the space. The little traitors turning into gobbo folk, the autognome heading in to have his fortune read. Jonas and the Drow wait in a side street while the other locals hide up in the alleys.

Here comes their target – a ragged old gnoll, tattered robed, sundered chain shirt, a drooling mess. “A Vision to Change the World, A Purpose for Everyone” and “Destruction is coming, stand safe with Them” “Through Unification we can live forever” and “Some who wander, Are lost. We can help you find your way.” You can tell this is the extent of his common, clearly memorized sounds not words. Jonas and the Drow approach him and he hands them flyers. The silly sot tries to talk to him, but he has no clue what he’s saying. Seems to understand the preacher at least, if not able to speak his language. Looks like a lot of growling and spittle from here, but he stands it. Jonas just stares uncomprehending. Why am I even following this simpleton? “No, I don’t want to eat the children.” Wait, what? What are they talking about. Oh, he’s trying to figure out how to join this guy’s cult. It doesn’t seem to be going well. The gnoll gives him a bunch of candy, though, and they walk away.

Guards? They were waiting on guards? This guy is poisoning kids and recruiting to some weird cult and they’re talking to guards? Ugh! I’d kill him myself if we were home. Look, see, he’s running now. What did you think was going to happen? Jonas is FLYING? What? How? OH! Ouch! Headfirst into a mud hut. Moron, I tell you. Oh, well, the locals caught him at least, beat him up good, but he looks like he’s still breathing. Shame. They’ll probably kill him anyway, all legal like.

Oh! What’s this? The littlest traitor has a price on her head? 100g? Eh, not really worth it unless she goes wandering down to the Harpy on her own again. Easy money. Damn, the drow noticed, now they’ll probably keep a closer eye on her. Oh well, stay on mission. Watch the traitor and Report.