Piety and Poison

A Chronicle of Events

Wherein all evidence leads to the same impossible conclusion.

The Story So Far…

“I thought I’d managed to start a new life, wipe the slate clean. But when Amelie walked through the gate of Winterhaven, her light step trampled my foolish notions and her sweet, sad smile sent a chill down my spine. There is no escaping a past like mine.” – From the diary of Sedgeley Bleake

The year is 11 AE, the dawn of a new empire under a new god. The grand city of Bastion stands at the center of a proud new regime, promising hope and prosperity to the surrounding lands which have wallowed too long in the mire of a Dark Age. The Sanctified Council has swept away the last remnants of the stagnant and corrupt Nerathian Empire, and bring hope in the form of the Covenant of Erathis.

On the northern fringes of this new empire, in the small town of Winterhaven, a young woman is accused of a crime she did not commit. The town’s leader, Lord Padraig, is to have her hanged. But at the last moment, the town’s resident wizard, Valthrun, advocates the release of the accused. Amelie has her death sentence suspended, and is sent to deliver a message to Bastion.

The message, addressed to the Erathian Church authorities, speaks of a mysterious cult and other evils brewing in the region. Unexpectedly, the message is answered by none other than High Inquisitor Balthazar himself. He sends his promising new initiate Aldris Mortlock to investigate. Accompanying the young inquisitor is a small contingent of temple guard, a rowdy and reckless young paladin named Keridyea and Amelie who is to return with them to Winterhaven as their guide.

Dethroned

“My rescue was a hazy affair, and the fact that I’d been stuffed inside a hessian sack did not help my clarity on the matter. I do know the fight was over swiftly. There was some clash of steel and the shriek of drakes, but what ended the fight was the chilling voice of Inquisitor Mortlock, instructing Agrid to lay down arms. The gnome knew what was good for him – he obeyed.” – From the diary of Sedgeley Bleake

Upon return to the Nentir Vale, they find that the area is under increased threat from kobolds, goblins and other undesireables. Inquisitor Mortlock immediately sets out to uncover the corruption and evil that plague the lands around Winterhaven.

Amelie discovers that her mentor, Douven Staul, has gone missing under mysterious circumstances. With Mortlock’s help, she is able to rescue him from Agrid, a petty gnomish criminal. It is here that Amelie discovers one of the Gems of Accord, excavated from the grave of a long-dead dragon.

With the help of Douven Staul, the captured Agrid and the wizard Valthrun, the Inquisitor and his entourage track down one of the main sources of the town’s ills. This source is Irontooth, a hobgoblin, who they defeat in a horrifyingly close battle.

Within the lair, they discover a statue which turns out to be a petrified tiefling named Lamp. Lamp is a member of the Sisterhood of the Silent Veil, an organization which vanished over 2 centuries ago. Thanks to Staul’s magics, they restore her to life. Despite being overwhelmed by the enormity of time that has passed, she agrees to accompany them in the hope that she might still complete the mission she was assigned 216 years ago.

Barely have they left the lair of the hobgoblin when they are confronted by Lord Padraig and 20 of his men. They are told to lay down arms and surrender, though Padraig has no intention of leaving any of them alive. Seeing through this, Inquisitor Mortlock leads his allies into battle against Padraig, and they prevail against the corrupt Lord. Before he dies, Padraig reveals to them that he is a member of the Viridian League, and promises that his murderers will be hunted down and eliminated.

Into the Waiting Maw

“I could not accompany them into the keep, but when they did not return after the first night, the next thing I expected to see coming over that hill was legions of the hungering dead.” – From the diary of Sedgeley Bleake

Returning to town, the party learns more of the evil cult and their plan to re-open a rift into the Shadowfell, bringing legions of undead into the world of the living. Furthermore, confirmation is found that the leader of the cult is in fact Kalarel, a former Inquisitor, who had undergone exactly the same training as Mortlock. Without further delay, the party presses on towards the ruined keep to the north, hoping to foil the cult’s plan and avert catastrophe.

Venturing deep below the ruins, Amelie, Lamp, Keridyea and the Inquisitor find that their arrival has been anticipated…

Comments

It was late into the night… or was it day? That Lamp found the time to write in her journal, enjoying a moment of peace while the people she accompanied slept.

_First of all, let me just write here and now that the men who were helping me were less then helpful, and that no matter how sweet an old woman might seem you should never, ever accept her baked goods if she is not your grandmother.

It has come to my attention that a lot of time has passed since I first pressed ink to these pages. I fear much of our world has changed since I last wrote. My Sisterhood, the women who raised me since I had memories, has fallen. Raven Goddess forgive me, but I long for them so. What I knew of the world and what little I had discovered, has changed. All I can see now are spectres, lingering remenants of my life, now considered a bygone time. Lady Ravenden’s decendant, The ghost of Sir Keegan, the ruins of the once great Nerathian Empire, the forces that held everyone together against the darkness that threatened to swallow us whole, gone, or changed like the Auric Order…

Yet, out of all of this some things never change. Below my very feet; the rift I had sworn to close remains as a reminder of my failure. However, I doubt they see me coming now. 216 years late, but never let it be said that I shirked my duties! I will fullfill the last wishes of the sisterhood. Ioun help me, it is going to be difficult going.

In all of this, I have allies. A curious, confusing bunch to say the least. A paladin who has no need for faith, the great, great, great, great grand-daughter of Harkelle, and the Inquisitor. He worries me greatly and seems quite insistant on flinging himself into battle.

By the gods I wish Niame were here. Even that bitch Zirithian would have been useful. I wonder if she is still alive? Knowing my luck it is very likely. Wouldn’t she be surprised to see me? I could just tell her I am a great sorceror, and found a spell for immortality. That’d shut her old snaggle toothed long eared trap.

I suppose it is something to think on. For now, I will rest._

A Chronicle of Events
 

Heh. Inspired by Sam’s effort I did one for Brun:

[It appears that one my new companions, the barbarian, is a curious sort. He has seen me writing in my journal and he asked me what I was doing. Naturally I explained I was writing in my journal. Then I explained what writing was. Then I explained what a journal was. THEN I explained why I was writing in my journal. He very nearly threw my journal into the fire when I said I was simply ‘putting my thoughts down’ interpreting the offhand comment to mean the book was stealing my thoughts. I explained that it was rather a way of telling stories about my life, my feelings and my adventures so that even when I’ve gone to the Raven Goddess others will still know of our attempt to close the rift. So now he wants to have a go at it as well. As you might expect I’m writing this on his behalf and I’m doing my best not to edit in any way. – Lamp]

This is Brun of the Redstagg Clan and my thoughts are in this book now. I have seen the wisest of our Elders looking at books and now I understand that they were seeing other peoples stories. Very old stories. So Elders if you look then you will see this book has lots of blood and glory in it now.

I left almost a whole season ago when the three wise women told me I had to go south. They made me remember the rhyme they told me so I say it to the book now:

We ancient sisters three, Lay this quest before thee. Travel south through hordes of green, Seek the oak that doth lean. Battle great next to bended tree, Awake to thwart dread prophecy.

They are weird and I don’t like them. The young one is very pretty and fun to be with but she tells lies. The plump middle-aged one is a good cook and she is very kind but she tells half-truths and half-lies. The old crone is funny and nasty but she always tells the truth and that is confusing. Also I don’t think they could really be sisters. I think they use the first bit of that rhyme with everyone – even if they are only asking you to get fresh water like they did to Hagram! Poor Hagram had no idea what they wanted from him and spent the whole summer in the mountains fighting orcs and when he got back Lita had married Svorn instead! He came back with some good stuff though.

[At this point I’ve decided to break off writing as Brun is now telling me all about how Hagram ended up marrying some other blonde braided bimbo and they have lots of strong sons. He is also talking about the rest of the tribe and how they were involved in organizing this happy union. Interestingly he also mentioned his own wife and children in passing which is amazing because this boy is barely a man himself. He couldn’t be much older than 17 or 18. You also might be interested to know that he is talking directly at the book and not to me. I’m guessing he saw my bad habit of muttering the words as I write and he’s assumed that he needs to talk to the book too. Interesting. I’ll now bring him back on topic. – Lamp]

OK sorry book I don’t want to say too much so you’ll forget. I traveled a long way south. Longer than anyone else I’ve ever heard of traveling. One day I saw a very old Oak tree that was hanging over the edge of a cliff. There was an ogre there too. So we fought. I pushed him off the cliff but he grabbed my head as he fell and I fell too. I think I fell on him at the end.

When I wake up I’m hurting a lot and goblins had put me in a jail. I kill a goblin with my hands but his friends run away and keep away from me. I yell a lot at them but they still don’t let me go. They don’t feed me so I eat the goblin I killed. Then I eat a rat. Then I eat bugs and stuff. I still yell at goblins but they don’t let me go. After many days elf lady lets me out of cell and we kill all the goblins! Then I meet these new people. More elves. This elf Lamp is nice and is helping me put all talking into the book. There are humans here as well but they are not of the Tribe and I’m confused by this.

Lamp says there is a big demon who wants to open a door to let in more big demons and he needs blood to open the door. This is why Goblins didn’t kill me. I’m going to kill this demon and I’ll kill all its demon friends if it opens the gate.

I’ve stopped talking now Lamp.

[He thinks I’m an ELF?!? – Lamp]

A Chronicle of Events
Entropicana

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