Eldon's Journal - Part 5
(Update from DM)


You hear the tired voice of Holgast calling, yet again. Forgetful and sleepy as ever, during the past month he has been showing an increasing interest in your studies.

“Eldon, my boy, where are you”

“Boy”, you whisper to yourself. One of these days, he will stop addressing me as though I were a whelp just weaned from his mother, and treat me as the mage of power I have earned! I cleared the menace from The Crypt, not him. Me.

You gather your thoughts and take a deep breath. Sighing, you realize he means well, and though irritating as it is, he doesn’t call on you often. You are making good progress on a few new potent spells he demonstrated shortly after you returned from the crypt. You make your way to his study.

“There you are.” He looks at you with red rimmed eyes. “How are those spells coming, Eldon? Not too much for you, hmm?” He chuckles.

Looking down at your twisting hands. “They are coming along perfectly, sir. I am about ready to write them to my books.” Damn, but I wish he wouldn’t belittle me that way.


You look up and with a start you notice, his eyes are no longer red. He is looking at you with a hard penetrating stare.

“Yes sir?” You manage to gulp.

“Things are in motion. Secrets long guarded. The theft of the amulets before we could return them to their resting places, is a terrible tragedy. Terrible in more ways than you can imagine. A great portent has started, one that will end things as you know them.”

He stands quickly. Spryly for one of his age and temperament. He begins to pace. The is unlike him. So serious. So awake. You form a question, but before you can speak it.

“Many years ago, I was sent here as a guardian. I wasn’t allowed to interfere directly, but through the actions of others, I was able to maintain the status quo. I am afraid, with the theft, and possible repercussions of that theft, my time here…all our time here might be done.”

As if waiting for his ominous sentence to finish, you feel an immense sense of vertigo. You find yourself laying on the floor, confused and weary. You look up to see Hogast looking down at you holding out his hand. “It has passed boy, stand up.”

You stand slowly on unsteady feet. You feel different. Everything feels different, though you know not how. The very air smells strange. Cleaner, as if you were breathing out of a box your whole life.

“Our time is passed. What was, was, and shall not be again. You and your friends are in for quite an adventure. They will be seeking you out shortly. Cygnar will point you on your way. Heed his advice, young one.” He smiles a bit whimsically. “I guess, now I get to go home.”

He pats you on your shoulder and turns away. Before he leaves the room, he turns. “Whatever happens Eldon, make the most of it. Do not spend time thinking on how other look upon you. Worry about how you look upon yourself.” He turns back to the door. Stops for a second and turns back. “Your journey is just beginning. Oh, my boy, I envy you. To my depth of my soul, I envy you.” With a last smile, he turns and walks away.

Ah, decisions...
The opportunity for life

The cultists were all around me.

My spinning attacks were not enough to keep them away, my flank exposed. It would have been different, had I had an ally beside me. But Aedon had hung back, despite his words…

Dying was far less painful than fighting. The burning sensations all went numb, warm. The harsh lighting of flickering torches blocked by moving bodies was replaced by a serene, austere glow all around. Cavernous walls gave way to an endless field of neutral nothingness.

Judgement Day.

In no time, or so it seemed, I could see forms in the distance. But if it was no time, then why did so many thoughts go through my mind? Solving the world’s problems would have been simple in the time I spent thinking, yet I concentrated on my own.

My erstwhile father, my unfortunate friends, the ragtag assortment I found myself with now. What fate would await them?

I could feel no pity for my father, no matter his Fate. For my friends, few though they have been, I wished good things. For those around me when I died, only one stood out as accomplished: the janitor. At least he had shown capability, though not of body.

But before me, I watched the scene unfold before me, listening to the debate, though I seemed much too far away to hear.

Two women, untold power oozing from their very essence. They talked of my soul as one would an apple fallen from a tree. The Grey One asked on what grounds the Silver One would claim the right to it.

“Long has he depended on Luck in his life, his fortunes landing him on his feet. All but this last time, when Luck brought him here.” Her eyes flashed with wild excitement, as though she treasured each word.

The Grey One, showing no emotion, responded. “He openly claims worship of the Hand of Fate, my realm. Do you deny this?”

“Those are only the words of a mortal, Lady of Graves. While his understanding of what guides him is shallow, his devotion to it is unquestioned. He stands as a product of pure Luck. I request that his soul come to rest amongst the Eternal Dream.”

The Grey One revealed an hourglass hidden in her left hand, its sand falling rapidly down. “His Fate is not yet determined, for there is time yet for his return to life. But your claim is true. So, should his light extinguish for eternity on the Prime, his soul is yours, Starsong.”

Brutal Decision

I could see that he was an orc. Warrior to the core, and certainly not a pacifist.

“Do you wish to return to your body, human? The cost will be part of your weakness, to be replaced with Orcish Power. Decide quickly, for I will not waste time with you.”

Ah, decisions…

Eldon's Journal - Part 4
Not at all what I expected it would be

I am fortunate, and blessed by Gaea's grace, that I am alive to offer this entry into my journal.  It has been about two weeks since I last scribed.  I do so now as I have returned with my companions to the safety and security of Kassen.

After we descended into the valley that held the entrance to the Crypt of the Everflame we came upon a grisly sight: slaughtered villagers and horses at the entrance of the tomb.  These citizens were people I knew from growing up in Kassen.  Nothing I have done in my life prepared me for seeing them and their dead horses as greeters to this (allegedly) sacred place.

When my companions and I travelled through the Fangwood to get to Kassen's resting place I had some suspicion the combats we had might have been some kind of scam.  After having smelled Holgast's pipe smoke during our battle with the orcs I was wondering if we weren't meant for some kind of test; a test of the town's design.  But then, as I stared at the corpses of my townsfolk, my doubt was erased.  Something was wrong, terribly wrong in Kassen's tomb.

The next week went by like a dream…well, a nightmare might be more appropriate to describe it.  Attached to my journal is a map of Kassen's tomb.  On that map I have made several notes so that my townsfolk (and, someday, my children) can learn specifically of the horrors my companions and I encountered in that place.

It seems a group of tomb robbers invaded Kassen's tomb several months ago and awakened an ancient evil: Asar, Kassen's nemesis, who had been buried in the tomb as a safeguard measure to ensure he would never rise again.  The tomb robbers got more than they bargained for, and were slain by Asar's risen corpse.  A fitting end, if I do say so, myself.  Had they not disturbed the site they would still be alive today.  Some religions refer to this as "karma," I think.

Sadly, Asar was able to gain in necromantic power (I so dislike necromancy!) and raise other corpses to aid in his quest for vengeance upon Kassen's legacy: my townsfolk.  The citizens who had gone ahead of my adventuring party to prepare the tomb with non-lethal challenges found that Asar had also prepared the Crypt of the Everflame.  Asar's preparations, though, were deadly beyond compare.

Through our adventuring we learned that six of our village's residents came to the Crypt for the preparations.  As I write this journal, only Dimira, the cobbler Roldare's sister, is still alive.  The other five were slain by the undead creatues Asar raised in his campaign of revenge.  This included Roldare, who had been driven mad by what he saw in the Crypt.  Perhaps it was a mercy that he was slain.  his life would not have been the same had he survived.  May he rest in Gaea's embrace.

We found The Crypt of the Everflame to be full of traps both deadly and benign, and the living dead there were almost contatantly assaultive upon us.  It took us several days of adventring inside and outside the place in order to reach the final room.  The room where both the Everflame and Asar awaited us.

The battle was lengthy and horriffic.  Asar assailed us with his undead might, and his unholiness had somehow given him the power to shrug off many of my spells.  The sneak-thief (Virgil) fell, and the ranger (Aedon) and druid (Fargin) took grievous wounds.  We were eventually able to defeat Asar and his minions and quench the source of their unlife, but only barely were we able to do so.

After the fight, Kassen's spirit greeted us.  He told us some of his history (again, noted elsewhere in my journal for review by the Town Council) and also gave us some treaure for our troubles.  For my part, the spellbook we found on one of the tomb robbers' corpses was the greatest gift I could receive.  It had many spells new to me, and my continuing studies have made me able to learn all of them.

I feel the power and knowledge of the arcane growing in my mind and soul.  Holgast, also, has been mildly impressed by my abilities.  Perhaps I won't have to be the tower's lackey anymore.  At the very least I may not even be around to do the cleaning as Cygar has approached us and told us he is a "Pathfinder."  He has told of us a need the Pathfinders have.  Maybe this means adventure elsewhere?

For now, however, I am happy to be home with my family.  I have told them all the details of the Crypt of the Everflame.  My mother and father have been very understanding, and my talks with them have been cathartic.  In addition to that, a few of the local maidens have come around the house again, showing interest in me as a potential mate.  I am not uninterested, but the timing is awkward.

I'm not sure where my life is going, but I know Gaea lead me to that spellbook all those years ago for a reason.  I will continue to study and endeavor to learn what that reason may be.

Not What I Expected
Then again, a light would have seemed so cliche...

Fate is fickle, to be sure.

Ascending these steps was ultimately the finale of our quest for the Everflame, though it had proven to be much more challenging than Mayor Uptal was planning. The glow of the light ahead told that we had finally reached our destinations.

Each step was a reminder to keep vigilant for unexpected problems, my body still aching from weathering the assault of the endless arrows that had pummeled me so mercilessly. Roldare had already lost his mind down here, Aedon spoke almost constantly with in his haughty elven tone, the nymphognomiac was protected by his pygmy dinosaur, and the Janitor was proving to be capable of actual feats of magic!

The great misfortune of my club shattering against a door would prove to be detrimental as well…

At the top of these stairs was a great chamber, statues and sarcophagi place all about. Above the greatest of these vessels of the afterlife was the light of the Everflame. The lid of the the sarcophagus below it was tossed aside, the dame Demura’s withered body barely stirring upon it. The light of my torch seemed to fade as the face of Evil came from behind one of the statues.

I know that I fight well, certainly as well as the elf with a sword, likely better than the other two. Fear did not enter into it so much as a sense of foreboding. The vile nature of this skeletal beast was apparent as we went face to face, its great sword against my meager dagger.

Some day I may even pay Eldon a compliment, as he was the first to help me engage this hideous abomination, his magic playing across it as I parried, thrust and danced around it. Yet, without help, the outcome was inevitable. My dagger proved to be fairly ineffective against his boney body, yet his sword found purchase on my flesh a couple of times to great effect.

Within moments, I had to stagger back through the minions the beast had brought forward, looking for help to heal my wounds, finding none. When the others finally joined battle, it was with the minions, and not the most powerful Evil in the room. It was obvious that I would have to buy some time.

Fortune once again fell against me as I attempted to pull it to the ground, this time a solid connection across my chest that left a spray against the floor and a nearby statue that will likely be remembered by the stones of the floor for a long time. My light was fast fading as I collapsed.

There was no great light of judgment as the life drained from me, but rather a missive from a long-dead hero, in addition to a sense of a new path that Fate offered me. Ekat Kassen thanked us for eliminating the risen spirit of his old nemesis, then he bade this world farewell a final time. Some clues were given as to the baubles and riches that some outsiders seem to be intent on obtaining, but even that was insignificant when compared to the enlightenment that I realized even while unconscious.

By Fortune’s hand, I will head forth to my Fate.

Eldon's Journal - Part 3
Over the river and through the woods...

I have had plenty of experience traversing woodlands, and so the "Deep, Dark Fangwood" didn't frighten me, per se.  That being said, what our adventuring party found there was a bit surprising.

We were set upon by orcs and wolves in two separate fights, and each fight was difficult.  My magic was found to be both helpful and surprising to the party.  The sneak-thief accompanying us even commented how "surprised" he was that I could actually wield offensive spells.  Perhaps he will stop referring to me as "Holgast's Janitor."

The disturbing thing about these fights was the enemies seemed to be emaciated, which is not normal for our area.  The orcs are usually well-fed and organized, and the wolves usually have plenty of game to keep them healthy.  I'm not sure why Gaea's bounty is absent, but I'd like to find out.  If the circle of life is damaged in the Fangwood Forest it could impact Kassen.

After making it through the forest we arrived at a placid lake.  Though it was a beautiful scene, it was marred by the finding of a deceased body on the northern shore.  It was so decomposed we weren't exactly sure how it died, and we think maybe it was an elf.  Whatever the reason or person, it didn't bode well.

We left the lake and continued southbound until we came to a high hillside overlooking a crevasse-like valley.  In that valley was the Crypt, and so down the hillside we went.  It was rough-going due to the level of the decline, and a couple of us got some bumps and bruises on the way down, but it didn't deter us from getting to the Crypt entrance.  Nothing I have seen in my life prepared me for what we found there…


Roldare's Mad Musings

“They are trying to be kind, but why do they keep yelling? They say they will rescue poor Dimira, but what can they do? The voice in the darkness, keeps calling me, keeps taunting me. I see her, bloody, broken, surrounded by blood soaked walking bones. Am I losing my mind? Have I ever had a mind? They are in here with me…why don’t they go out and save her? I would go, but the bones with the voice, he frightens me, he frightens me to my very soul. What of brave Dimira? Is she frightened? Is she dead? Oh, why did I fail you!? Why am I not braver, why am I not better. These novices are braver than me, they talk of fighting smoke and shadows. Why would anyone fight smoke and shadows? Are they crazy like me? Am I already dead? I deserve to be dead. Oh poor, poor Dimira. They go to fight the smoke again…they leave the ranger Aedon behind, he is too hurt. Why is he so pale? The talking one is in his head too. That must be it.

Dimira? Is that you? Are you calling me? I will come to you. I will find you. I will be brave. I can’t live like this any more. Are you outside the door? I hear you. I am coming.

You aren’t in the trap room. Are you at the entrance? I hear you closer. This door is left open, I hear you throught he door.

Noooooo! The walking bones. The bones with the voice.

Pain. Too much pain. How can I feel so much pain?

The pain is gone. Dimira is that you? Dimira? Di…mi…ra….

Eldon's Journal - Part 2
Breaking the News

I lamented for several days over how I was going to ask (tell?) my father and mother about my decision to apply to be Holgast's apprentice.  The problem was this: I was a Woodson, and we had been loggers/carpenters since time and memoriam.  I was the eldest son and was expected to fulfill the duty of taking over the family business when my own father became to old.  My father had many more good years left in him, but I had already been taking over some of the financial duties of the business, and father had also been giving me other, adult responsibilities.

Knowing all that, I made up my mind.  I had to be honest with my family; it was how we were all raised, and how we had always gotten along.  The responses were not what I had expected.  My father began chuckling when I started searching for the right words, and my mother looked over at me and smiled.

My father laughed and said, "Did you think all these years your mother and I didn't know you were studying magic in your spare time?  I found the spellbook, the ring, and the wand in the woodshed.  I knew you would never steal, so there must have been another reason you received them.  We'd really like to know the story."

After I recovered from my shock, I told my parents how I had come to possess the items, and how I learned with them afterwards.  My father sighed and said, "It seems Gaea has a purpose for you that is beyond our own.  I am not given to quarrelling with gods, so," and here father sighed heavily, "I give you my leave to pursue magic as a vocation."

I grinned from ear-to-ear, but father did say this: "The only thing we ask is that you remember your family.  If we are ever in need, you must return home and care for kin.  The Woodson family line must go unbroken, and we must prosper."  I, of course, agreed.

Holgast found me to be an apt pupil, and took me into his tower.  For the last two years I have learned things I never expected…like Holgast likes to sleep.  Holgast likes all his tower swept once daily.  He also doesn't like to share a lot of magical knowledge.  The other apprentice is an idiot, and I really learned almost nothing in two years.

My frustration was nearing an absolute end when one day the Mayor of Kassen announced the City was in need of new heroes to go to the Crypt of the Everflame.  It has always been a coming-of-age ceremony, an old tradition in which young adventurers retrieve a piece of the eternal flame burning in the tomb of the town’s founder: Kassen.  Well, I was definitely ready to go!  I was shocked when Holgast agreed to let me.

And so I, and three companions, set-out from Kassen on a cold October day.  We went south into the Fangwood, guided only by a crudely-drawn map, supported with standard supplies from the town, and encouraged by the titilating taste of adventure!

What I got a taste of was not what I was expecting…


Crypt of the Everflame

The young heroes of the town of Kassen are ready for their coming-of-age ceremony, an old tradition in which they retrieve a piece of the eternal flame burning in the tomb of the town’s founder. Yet when they arrive there, they find only the corpses of their fellow townsfolk, dead bandits, and mysterious animated skeletons. The novice heroes must brave the traps and perils of the Crypt of the Everflame, discover the source of the corruption that has awakened an ancient evil, and defeat a menace that seeks vengeance against Kassen and its people.

Crpyt of the Everflame 

Eldon's Journal - Part 1
New Beginnings

My name is Eldon Woodson.  I am 22 years old, and was born and raised in Kassen.  My family for generations have been woodcutters and carpenters for as long as we can remember.  As far as I knew or ever cared to know I was going to keep up that family tradition for all my life.  I was happy to do so.  I was always very good at carpentry.  I liked it, and still do.  I figured I'd find a nice girl to marry, raise children, teach them the way of the Woodsons, and rest someday in Gaea's arms after having lived a long and prosperous life.

Perhaps all of that was not meant to be.  Perhaps Gaea in her wisdom chose another path for me.  One day when I was 16 I was scouting for a copse of trees to thin when I happened upon an abandoned cabin.  Having grown-up in Kassen and logged the Fangwood Forest all my life I was surprised by the sudden appearance of this cabin.  It was never there before.

I approached cautiously, but curiously as I felt something drawing me there.  There was no one inside, and the furniture looked like it hadn't been used in years.  What stood out to me were three items on a dusty old table; a book, a ring, and a long carved stick.  Almost not of my own volition I walked forward and took the items.  I'm not one for thievery, but it appeared no one had used these things in years, and I just wanted to examine them.spellbook

As I grabbed the last of the three items the cabin around me disappeared in a blur, and I found myself back in the copse of trees, but it was now the middle of the night!  I ran home to see my mother awake and waiting for me in our front room.  It was not like me to be out after dark, and everyone knows the Fangwood is not safe at night.

Not knowing how to explain myself, I took the book, the ring, and the stick and hid them in our woodshed.  My mother embraced me when I came in, and then scolded me fiercely for being out so late.  I told her I got lost in the woods (not entirely untrue).  My father came home soon after, more scared than angry, and glad to see me home.  It was a LONG time after that before I was allowed to go back out into the Fangwood alone.

What I didn't know was that day was going to change my life forever.

Over the next four years I studied the book and found it was a book of magic spells.  I am not trying to brag, but I've always been pretty sharp, and quick to learn.  I was able to discern much from the book, but I had to keep it secret.  I didn't think my family would approve of me taking up magic.  Besides, Kassen already had a town mage and an apprentice, and that was plenty for a city of 500 souls.

I was careful that my regular work never suffered.  I was always ready to go logging, and then crafting after we had felled what we needed.  What my parents did notice was that I wasn't interested in spending time with young men my age.  Nor did I seem to be interested in pursuing a wife.  At the age of 20 I was well into my marrying years, but I could only keep juggling so many things at once.  Home and Hearth balanced with my independent magical studies was all I could do and still get enough sleep at night.

Then my chance came to turn a corner and strike-out on my own (sort of).  The town mage, Holgast, had publicly announced he was taking a new apprentice.  He was asking for applicants.  This was my chance to learn more and really start to unravel the secrets of magic.  I had found I had a special talent for magic that evoked power out of nothingness, and I wanted to learn more of that.  Maybe even be an adventurer someday, but this meant I had to tell my parents what I had been hiding from them for so long.

That was not going to be easy…


A Walk In The Park
It doesn't get any easier than this...

And so the Great Farce begins.

Mayor Uptal has given a rousing yet somber soliloquy to the town, and I, along with a few others, have stepped forward. With little more than a supply pack and some “so brave” looks to us, we venture forth.

Eldon, janitor of the Crooked Tower, was the first to come forth. He seems, at best, unsure of himself. I don’t believe he has it in him to act nearly this convincing, so I am inclined to consider his fears real.

The short nymphognomiac has volunteered his services as well and has insisted on bringing the pygmy dinosaur with him as well.

A respectable ranger, Mak, has come out to guide this mockery of an adventure. Hopefully he can at least follow the trail well enough to keep us from becoming completely lost.

Well, I most assuredly do not understand magic, but I believe I have seen it at work! We were attacked, by a small number of orcs. This must have been one of our “challenges” set up for us. They fought rather poorly, and though one slashed right through Mak’s body, I saw no mark upon his body. He found it quite painful, though, and the bodies seemed to fade from sight as soon as our “fight” was over. Perhaps magic DOES actually have some uses.

Wolves disturbed us during the night. As we prepared to bed down, Fargin and Eldon were bickering like an old married couple when I noticed eyes fixed on me in the darkness. After a period of observing these orbs of light in the darkness, I let fly a dart directly into it. The yelping and sounds of scurrying about in the brush spelled the end of that animal, or so I thought.

The young lovers continued their fighting amongst themselves with barely a break to ask what had happened, and so covered the sounds of the wolves coming back, this time three of them. The battle was quick, but more importantly, a discovery was made: Eldon really DOES command some magic! Though he will likely never hear such words escape MY lips… I was impressed! An orb of light flew from his hand and snaked its was into the body of one of the canines. Very interesting…

As a side note, the wolves seemed quite hungry, kind of odd considering the vast supply of game within this lush forest. This was probably just another test for us.

We reached Gray Lake to find a beautiful, pure lake of water with a dead man laying next to it. He has been deceased for some time, and he had some coins and a nice sword with him. Mak is currently utilizing the sword, with the promise that he will teach me more about using it. If we should happen across someone who knows the dead man, unlikely at best, we should ask if someone related to him may need the sword more than we do. Or the coins, for that matter. The coins were from Kamran, but I did not recognize him.

Goodness, this slope will be difficult to traverse with this much rain. Fortunately, we have a vast supply of rope between the four of us, and will descend it using that.

Mak had a pretty serious accident coming down here, twisting up his ankle quite badly. Eldon took a little tumble but managed to use his magic to glide down the slope moving with only his staff. I had no real concerns for myself, but was impressed by the intelligence displayed by Fargin’s “little buddy”, the one he calls Feng. The thing figured out how to grab onto the rope with its claw, though when it inevitably fell, it damned near bit through the rope trying to save itself. If I had fallen because of that, I would have been less than pleased.

Things are not as simple as they once seemed… We approached the crypt to find some of Mayor Uptal’s horses slain at the entrance. To find such a vast fortune killed and discarded is disconcerting, to say the least. Inside, the dead arose to fight use, their vicious skeletal hands grasping, their swords swinging, the evil in their glowing eyes promising us certain doom. We defeated them quickly enough, though not unscathed, as I was struck twice myself. I have found that I seem to have a knack for melee combat, however, as I waded through the enemies quite quickly.

We found the cobbler Roldare holed up in a room in this crypt. He is nigh on madness, but provided us with some valuable information:

It seems that he and some of Mayor Uptal’s men were sent here to make this adventure easier on us (this is no surprise, given what we had heard). However, upon coming back into the crypt, they were set upon and Roldare made his way into this room.

Roldare has made multiple references to a walking dead that speaks. Thus far, I have heard none of the skeletal people speak at all, so this makes me wonder what else we may see. He seemed to think that we were this creature attempting to trick him, so it presumably has some intelligence. To put it in perspective, however, he is fast becoming a madman, if not already there. Every word from his mouth must be taken with a grain of salt.

That leaves the fact, however, that his words must have at least SOME basis in truth…


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