Throne of Iron, Throne of Blood

RAGNAROK Journal...11
I Haft an Idea

….Captain Soot’s ship.

We were on board the Astral Sea ship, the Queen, captained by Captain Soot, and ebony queen herself, with her dark skin and raven black hair. I had to remind myself not to stare and that I was married and my wife, hopefully, was still out there somewhere… but I had no way of knowinhg…. maybe moving on was for the best? No—Not something to think about at when things are so chaotic… especially with a dimensional traveler. I had enough dimension hopping friends cough Akira cough… that damn ‘Soul Guardian’, up and leaving us.
I know I said it before, but the Nine Hells never would have come back to power if he had been around. He defeated Fate… he could easily defeat Asmodeus with his angelic and devilish heritages combined—the power of a True Archon.

I realized I was staring at Captain Soot once again and this time she looked my direction. I quickly glanced away, feeling my face turn red. She raised her voice and said,

“Remember all of you—the deal for our passage out of and back into Hell—you crazy basatrds—is to search the uncharted island in the Astral Sea that me and me crew have discovered.—”

WHAZAMMM! In a huge burst of white light a familiar armored figure crashed down into the ship getting tangled in the masts ropes which prevented his full force from breaking the deck.
Arfellen, the Deva Paladin stood up and wiped himself.

“What in the damned Nine—!?” Soot cried out.
“It’s okay!” I shouted to her, “This is Arfellen. He does that. I can’t fathom why—but he does.”

Seeming utterly perplexed she shook it off and continued on with her speech,
The island is a shard of Moradin’s domain. When he was destroyed by the means of the Nine Hells, the realm he resided in began to fall apart, and this was part of it what was left. Capatin Soot told us she wanted us to explore and find any kind of magical artifacts and we would split any treasure 50/50.

“Where am I? This place is dark.” I heard a somewhat familiar voice call out from below deck.

Captain Soot rolled her eyes, “MORE of your friends, I trust?”
“Probably…” I replied.

“The door in the floor, led to…” The voice said, then appeared from the stairs, “A….ship?” Fatina the cleric looked around and spotted us and ran over, “I lost track of the big stinky minotaur and his Tieflingb buddy. They got into a fight with some kind of angel and I had to flee. I DID find that Door in the Floor those imps spoke of—but THIS is not where I expetcted it to lead. Glad to see you guys though!”

“Of course. The more the merrier.” I grinned, “We need as many for the army as we can get. Plus we are going back into Hell after his.”
Fatina looked rather uphappy at that statement, but if the Cleric wanted to, I wouldnt be opposed to the loss of a holy person on our team. Gods were what caused the Nine Hells Wars to begind with!

As we sailed closer, Dreth, Artanis, Arfellen, Fatina, Medb and I prepared to disembark and swim the Astral Sea to the shore of the shard of the plane. Devoir elected to stay on board the ship and watch for monsters and pirates.

Then as we got as close as the Astral Sea would allow before pushin us back, I was first to run and jump off, swan diving into the strangely cold & warm space. At first try, moving my arms and legs didn’t work and I felt myself begin to sink. Quickly I realized that the sea was a magical place—Willpower. I imagined myself swimming and sure enough I was propelled forward, and the others were not far behind me afte a few moments and we swam to shore without being attacked by any astral sea sharks. Not sure if those exist—but I wouldn’t doubt it.

When we stepped onto shore, I at least, became very disoriented. It was as if the entire islands level of gravity was permanently tiled to the side. It wasn’t very difficult to stand, but it messed with my head a great deal. Looking up at the sky it appeared to be shattered like glass… blue jagged shards every which way.
We trudged forward and found an archway with Runic writings upon it; Dwarven. Looking around at the confused I realized none of us could read the language. Note to self. It couldn’t be important anyway, right? Probably just said ‘Welcome to Moradin-Land’.
As we passed through the archway a heavy feeling of despair washed over us. The despair of a dead god. We didn’t let it deter us, and we went on ahead anyway. Wasn’t long before the inhabitants made theirselves known to us! Ghoulish duergar looking dwarves burst from the ground ahead. They each stood about 4t all, with spiky hair and beards. The rotting creeps rushed forward and surrounded us, hissing and growling about the dead god Moradin. Clearly, they were not amused.

Artanis quickly threw a spell in the direction of two of them and froze them to the ground with icy shards. The rest of us burst into action and I fired my crossbow at the main target, which was already looking pretty bad—oozing black blood and all that. My shot was less than true, and Dreth charged in following it and with his greatsword, chopped the sickening freak into pieces. The pieces then bubbled and meted into the ground. Arfellen, drew his longsword and with a loud prayer to Bahamut, smited another one to the left of us. Not liking the holy paladin, the ghouls converged on him, slashing at his legs so he couldn’t retreat. Another sank its teeth into his arm and he roared angrily, and another leapt upon him, chomping into his throat, taking the Deva down. Oh god damn it, Arfellen! Fatina and Medb became targets of the ghouls as well, and Fatina summoned a baby Owlbear (from where I dont know). Medb drew her glaive and stabbed at a ghoul who swatted the polearm away.
Artanis started sling more spellsa around, and Fatina prayed to a god who listened—-The undead creepers were blasted black and holy light shot down into their feet, pinning them where they stood. Fatina then prayer aloud and called for Arfellen to get up, and then prayed again, sending a blast of holy fire at the Ghouls surrounding and chomping on the newly re-awakened Paladin. Knowing Arfellen needed help, I ran to him, and summone a large cloud of darkness, extending to at least ten feet in each direction. Arfellen and I were completely invisible to the freaks then—of course that also meant Arfellen couldn’t see. But I could. It was my cloud after all.
I turned to the nearest wounded Ghoul and blasted a crossbow bolt into its skull as it knelt down trying to get its bearing. It quickly hit the ground, quite dead. Arfellen stood up, and blindly charged away, seeking out another ghoul that was on the outskirts of the battle. He did pray and heal himself before hand. The ghoul climbed to his feet as Arfellen swung, and he missed it enitrely due to its sudden jerky movements. The ghouls in the darkness were not done with him. They charged in his direction, probably following his holy scent. I reached out and punched it in the face as it ran past, and I spun and did the same to another, nearly crushing the rotting skulls of them both—leaving black good on my gloved fist. They both tore away at Arfellen, but he was able to deflect the attacks. Medb ordered Arfellen to keep up morale and he was rejuvinated despite the trauma going on against him. She then fired her bow at a ghoul still pinned by holy light, then with a triumphant shoutm ordered Dreth to charge the pinned ghouls, numberint at three. He began to hack away at them.
Artanis began calling down lightig bolts from the sky, striking the ones surrounding our Deva friend. Arfellen, still wounded was healed by a prayer to the heavens cast by Fatina. I remained shrouded in darkness and started taking shots at the ones near Dreth. My first bolt, took ones head clean off, and Dreth, using the the distraction, cleaved anothers skull down the middle, then backed up, and charged at the remaining of the three, hacking into it, causing it to screech and black blood to spray him in the face. Arfellen, finally began to connect with his attacks. He took down a persistant one that was going for his throat, and shield bashed and sliced ones torso asunder, taking his tally up to two. One ghoul remained and it decided to claw Dreth in his legs, stopping him from running after it should it flee. Well that didn’t matter because Medb told Dreth to finish it, and our slayer of evil did just that.

Taking a momentary breather, we surveyed the area. In the distance was an intact mountain. No other land marks took precedence, so that is where went. As we arrived, we found another Dwarven archway with more runic script. I assumed none of us took the time to ask the ghouls how to read runes, so ignoring it, we walked through and into a cavern; or may the gods forgivem, an underground city. It appeared as if it used to be a Dwarven Kingdom. Dwarven arch and all.
Far off in the distance a pinprick of light caught our attention—why not? We headed to it and found a temple. The door was cracked open and a pulsating light shone from within. Dreth opened the doors and walked inside. We followed and there we found an altar, and on it was the haft of a Dwarven weapon. A GLOWING haft. Hey look—treasure. Time to grab it and get out.
Of course it wouldn’t just be that simple. Dwarven skulls (you can tell cuz they are square) littered the rubble covered interior. Slowly we all entered and I stuck to the shadows and along the walls, making sure to be as silent as night. I stopped by a door that looked damaged—too damaged too open,a nd I trained my crossbow around the corner, just waiting for a skull to reform into a skeleton so I could fire at it.
Just as the others approached the altar a spectral image formed above it, then it molded into a winged Dwarf with a blank face. Not expession. I mean face. It had no features. No eyes, nose, mouth, or even ears for that matter. In its hands it held a rather large mallet. A large glowing mallet.
It said nothing until Artanis began to speak to. It cut the Eladrin off and bellowed, “Leave here mortals. There is nothing here for you.”
What a liar.
Then it must have thought it’d be funny to cause a quake and knock us on our asses, because it did just that, and attacked no further. We stood and Fatina yelled to it, “We are here to bring back the Gods.”
Wait, what? Since when was that our plan? We didn’t need the gods help to get rid of the Nine Hells. Dad sure as heck didn’t.
The angel laughed, “Moradin is dead. Once a god is dead—It is dead. They are not like mortals. They CAN NOT come back. It is the way of mortals to seek the power of the gods. Leave here.”
Knowing Captain Soot wants some kind of fragment of power, I could see this angel was gettin in our way. After one of us, geniusly asked it to leave, it roared it would never leave until the power of the fallen deity Moradin was entirely gone. Then the fragmented island would vanish and it would return to the Astral Sea. It clearly stated it had no use of human emotional responses, or opinions when asked by Arfellen who it thought of tea and krumpets. Well, he might as well of said that because it did not care.
Then he said, “Do not cast your faith aside. Moradin will walk the planes again.”
I really must have missed the memo on wanting to bring back the gods. Which, even I knew as impossible task.
“You must prove yourselves if you wish to take this haft.” It said. Arfellen didn’t realize it meant by battle from his response… But im sure he got the picture whent he angel lifted its mallet and holy flames engulfed it.
Oh nice. Special FX.

Medb shot a holy flame at it, and the flame fizzled off of the angelic being. Arfellen, seeing it for how it was, challenged the angel to take him on alone, who responded by smacking him in the chest. Arfellen skidded back, then slashed in retaliation, sending sparks flying off of the celestial armor. Dreth, following his one step plan in battle, slashed at the angel, doing same as it tried to bring its mallet up to parry. Artanis summoned a phantom of shadows and it reached out touching the mind of the angel. I pulled Id Moss Powder from my pouch and blew it at the angel as well—the angel took it into its aura as it came close and it gripped at its head in pain—its mind was being affected. Medb called for the dimensions to open and a clone of her appeared beside her, liftng its shield. Medb then fired, and as per usual, missed. Who could blame her though? Angels are tough bastards.
Just when we thought it was going to be simple…. the angel summoned FOUR more angels. Exact duplicates. Dreth responded by a swing and a miss. Arfellen, up to bat did the same. Time for some poison. I pulled out my Carriron Crawler Brain Juice—mmm yummy— and applied it to my blowgun darts, then I turned and fired at an angel point blank, right in it’s faceless head. It was dead on, and it floated backwards from the force (they dont have legs). Then I threw a bola at it, taking out its wings and collapsing it. I got up and moved close enough to where he couldn’t run…err…float fast at me and attacked. Medb still focused on the lead angel, exploting a weak point in its armor, and Dreth swung at that point and connetced. He turned his blade sideways at the last second to avoid killing it. Oh bless his heart… damnit. The angel I knocked down, rose up, ignored me and went after Dreth. pounding him in the shoulder. Arfellen followed his normal plan, swinging and missing. Perhaps he didnt have it in him to hurt his cousins, but he did pray enough to mend some of Dreth’s bruises. Then he prayed, putting his hands to his own chest, healing himself too.
I shot another angel point blank, and assassinated it quite thoroughly. Medb attacked and teleported behind me—the non-defensive guy, claiming she wanted me to do just that. Then yelled at Arfellen to attack the angel, and he missed.
Suddenly the original angel’s voice boomed throughout the temple, “Brothers, defend the haft!”
Two more angels appeared in the back. I yelled at Arfellen, who was near the altar, “Grab the haft, you fool! This challenge may not be to just kill them all!”
Then as Arfellen grabbed the haft a blast of radiance engulfed him and he seemed to resist it—blessed be the angel—and he raised it above his head, and yelled, “I have it!”
As soon as he did that, all of the angels vanished and all went silent. Having a feeling (as the ground began to rumble) that the haft was the last of Moradin’s power holding the island together, we quickly evacuated. Arfellen was planning on making a replica of the haft… probably not a good idea to give it to Captain Soot—we needed it more likely than not. We could make a weapon and take out maybe a lord of hell with it. But the others decided we should be honest with Soot. I pictured her face and agreed.
So we went back and showed her. She allowed us to keep it for another exploration job. I think she just liked having us around…

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RAGNAROK Journal...10
Equivalent Exchange

After rescuing Hoffat we reconvened with the other group, who were accompanied by TWO imps. Both of which had wings. Which merely proves that Devoir is crazy. Annnd right away Devoir started trying to question these imps and wanting to cut off THEIR wings as well. They obviously werent telling us something and he wanted to know what it was.

The Imps did have some kind of information about a way out of Hell… something called, “The Door in the Floor”. A way out that certainly sounded fishy. We decided not to trust the other imps, as Stu, our Imp offered us a way out of Hell.

So wishing the other group fairwell, and hoping never to see the fools again, we split up. I didn’t enjoy travelling with an evil minotaur to begin with.

So, Stu our friendly resident Imp told us that he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a sailor… how a sailor could be useful… who knows but if it would get us back to the mortal realm (although in the mortal world we couldnt do much damage).

As we travelled the heat affects us once more. I was able to resist it once again, but my friends were quickly becoming exhausted. It was becoming harder to breathe. As we walked we examined the necklace around Hoffat’s neck. It was the source of Hoffat’s drunken stupor, but to remove it could drive him permanently insane. We inquired with Stu about how to get it off.
He asked us if we had a cleric or a wizard… both of which were part of the OTHER group.

As the arguing persisted about what to do with the necklace and to escape first or get the necklace removed first Stu announced we had to head toward the River Styxx. So we headed down to the docks, and passed by another town crier, “Hear ye! Hear ye! The traitor Hoffat has escaped! Anyone who finds Hoffat and turn him in for a reward!”

I quickly removed my dark cloak and put around our ‘drunken’ Tiefling friend. As we passed by some buildings three attractive women whistled and winked at me, trying to lure me over. I resisted the temptations of hell quite easily.

Down the street we spot a chariot heading toward us, we quickly get out of the way after seeing others doing te same. Blackened skeletons with fiery horses called Nightmares were pulling it. It went past us and then came to a halt. I turn and a skeleton points at me slowly,

“You! Are requested by the Mistress!”

In shock, I looked to my friends knowing full well if we tried to fight or flee on the open street like that we would all be dead. I took a deep breath and nodded. I looked to my allies and told them I would catch up with them. I climbed in the carriage despite their protests, and we sped away as the door slammed shut behind me.

A devil princess named Lilit sat beside me. She spoke telling me that I reminded her of a man she knew. She asked if I had any relatives. I told her my father. She then offered me a deal. For the exchange of Hoffay she would locate my father for me. He had disappeared during the war along with Rachel and Ai. It would be a way of getting them back… but… to trade my friend’s life?

I tried to talk my way around the situation. But she held her ground, not willing to give any more information. She handed me a glass of red wine and I took it and drank, not wanting to offend my host. We shortly thereafter arrived at her mansion. It was large and gothic in style.
In the courtyard there were many statues of men and women, one of which was a statue very familiar to me. It looked exactly like my father, Majo Berenson.

She led me into her mansion and asked me to stay for a while as I told her I needed time to think about my decision. She showed me around, further trying to sweeten the deal. She showed me paintings of others, one of which was my mother from when she was 20…. just about the time she would have travelled through Hell with my dad. She then offered a way out of Hell if I traded Hoffat.

I coudn’t figure out a way to deceive her. She was too wise for such a thing. But suddeny a commotion came from downstairs in the mansion. Lilit looked to me and said, “That’ll be your friends.”
I mutter, “Shit.” Knowing regardless of my decision they probably brought Hoffat right to her.
She told me to go down and adress them, so I walked downstairs and they said they were there to rescue me.

I told them they shouldn’t have come. They were all badly injured and burned. Pluck, Medb, Dreth, and Hoffat.

The skeleton guard at the bottom of the stairs looked to me and said, “The offer?”
I asked back if Hoffat’s life would be guarenteed to be kept. They didn’t answer that question. I asked for an audience again for all of us with Lillit, and she refused through her skeleton minions.

I turned, ready to have to fight… to die and said, “I decline.”
The Death Knight skeleton stared at me for a few moments and finally said, “Then you are free to go.”

In shock we quickly left the mansion with Hoffat. As we left I told them of the offer she made me and of my father. They were not so sure they would have chosen the same and been as loyal to Hoffat as I was. But I, myself, could never trade one life for another. It wa equivalent exchange. I felt a deep sorrow wallowing up inside me, but I kept it hidden. Devoir rejoined us outside. It seemed like they had been assaulted by the ferocious guard dogs. Devour was particullary burnt up.

Stu the Imp led us to another Inn, this one called the 11th look. A beholder of all things was the proprietor. He was friendly enough though and only charged us 20gp a person for the night. We accepted and the next morning we went to a bar by the docks and Stu told us to stay in the fron and don’t act suspicious while he went and spoke to his contacts. He came back several minutes later and told us of a Wizard, a woman who could probably sail us out for a fair price. Devoir decided Stu had earned his wings back, with that info, but it had to be explained to the Pixie that wings of Imps did not come back as easily as that.

I thought of my dad. I could sneak back… but then I could never turn Hoffat in.

Before I could think for long said Wizard approached us and introduced herself as Captain Soot. She had black hair, dark skin and mesmrizing eyes. She asked us for payment, but first we wanted to know about the pendant Hoffat had and how we could remove it. She looked at it, and then quickly told us the price would be increased because she would have to harbor a fugitive on board. We could easily pay it off if we explored a newly found island in the Astral Sea. It was uncharted, with no name, or knowledge of what was there, but we were free to come with her should be search it instead of her sending her mens lives into danger.

As that was going on an invisible creature tapped me on the shoulder, he whispered his name was Inkblot the Imp. A map appeared out of thin air and I took it. It was a map of the 5th level of hell Stigia the Frozen Sea. There were directions on it to the city of Tantlin. The imp told me the map was from the Mistress.
Was this some kind of test? Or was it the location of my father? I could not take the chance. I asked about passage to Stigia and the party was perplexed why I would want to go there. I had to explain myself, but the price would be the same. The island for passage to Stigia and then out of Stigia.

I was not happy about the detour, hoping time was not a sensitive matter… and boarded the ship and sailed up the River Styxx though Avernus the first level of Hell. There we witnessed mighty legions of Hell training… All I could think was this was where my father, the great captain Majo Berenson of the army of RAGNAROK, and my mother first saw when they arrived there… and they had survived the entire thing and defeated Takonian, the one who ruled before Asmodeus.
How I could only aspire to be like them and there friends, Jacob and Julia.

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RAGNAROK Journal...9
Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here’

It was quickly apparent that we could not travel the city of Dis in a group so large. We needed to split up as we had more than one objective. Getting out of Hell, and now saving Hoffat from execution.

So, myself, Medb, Dreth, and Devoir, the cloest to our original group went to save Hoffat, whom I had known from the beginning of this mess, while the others… that stinking minotaur, the elf, and the other Tiefling went to secure us an exit. I highly doubted we would ever see them again so getting out of Hell was going to be difficult. I wished we could travel the Nine Levels and take out Asmodeus himself, but is essentially a god. I don’ know how my father was so strong as to make his way so far down… and Akira’s father…. well he was in actuality Beezlebub, the Prince of Hell, so he had the best chance of defeating the leader at that time, Takonian.

So, we walked out of the chamber in different groups, so not to draw attention to ourselves.
As our group walked, trying to look angry and blend in to the devilish denizens, and passerbys we could see a large tower in the distance. But no matter how long we walked, we could get closer… in fact it seemed to get farther away. Medb; she deduced that it was magic of Hell… most likley that was where Dispater, the ruler of this level dwelled…

We began to try and gather info on where Hoffat was being held. Devoir returned having tried to demand information… a Pixie trying to do so in Hell… of course it didn’t work. Dreth tried the same, and it failed. I decided to take a more subtle approach and stealth into an alley and listen. I quickly laerned that Hoffat was going to be tried in the court district. Well that was a start…. and he was currently being held at Mentiri prison, the most famous in the Hells for High-Profile prisoners.. they would be kept, but not outright executed. Their spirits would be broken however.
Devoir said he knew something about the Nine Hells, and the city but he took too long thinking. if I had not trained to resist hellish fire, I would have suffered a hot flash, like my companions. They all were growing weaker.

Dreth found a bar caled the “Snowball’s Chance” with the symbol of a snowman on the sign. He found the same information, the court district. I went outside and decided to climb a wall and check to see if I could spot the Court District. What I saw was disheartening. The streets… tha paths we had all taken had changed. Buildings shifted even before my eyes. This place was a labrynth within itself.

I quickly rejoined with my allies before any more shifting occurred for fear of being split up.
Devoir had foun information in the bar. He told us the jail is located in the center of a labrynth. God damn it. I had just mentioned labrynths…
Devoir flew into the air to spot the labrynth maze and came down saying he had spotted a green area with plantlife and water. Oh hell. Devoir! He flew away to the obvious trap. By the time I made it to the elegant wooden door, Devoir was chittering about it being locked and couldn’t be broken open.
Just at that moment, quite the looker of a woman appeared opening the door. She says, “All you had to do was knock.” and asked us to come in. I was hesitant, for good reason, from the records of my father’s travels here.

Inside Pixies flew around offering us grapes and asking us to stay in the Garden of Delights.
I felt relaxed all of a sudden… it was pleasant there. Much more pleasant than outside….
Devoir asked us if we should leave…. we all disagreed, especially Dreth who was flirting with the handmaiden.
Devoi began to frantically yell at us. Medb and I snapped out of the charm spell and stared at each other in shock. Devoir and Medb swung at Dreth trying to knock sense into him, but it was my fist across his jaw that made him realize we were in a trap.

Dreth still flirted with the woman, and Devoir laughed like only a Pixie could. Dreth wanted to stay and have sex with the ‘pretty’ girl. But from Devoir’s laughter, although I could not see her real appearance, I could tell, it was anything BUT prettty. I grabbed Dreth by the arm and turned to leave and I reliazed the door was gone.

“Shit.”

I spun arround to face the Pixie’s attacking and screaming, “No-no you can’t leave—you can’t leave!”

Dreth turned and ran at one of the Pixies which was actually an Imp, slashing at it, drawing a red line across its chest.
Medb pulled out her longbow and began firing, but the Imps began to turn invisible one by one… but I could hear some of them… one went behind Dreth.
Devoir moved and charged a male servant who had appeared near where the door used to be. The servant drops the silver tray he was holding and pulled a blade out of thin air. His big bat wings extending behind his back, he parried Devoirs attack and countered with a swing of his own. Devoir skidded back a step, still on his Displacer Beast mount.
I took aim at the deviant girl who was trying to seduce Dreth and threw two bolas, she easily spun and grabbed them out of the air, winking at me and blowing a kiss.

Dreth finally decided devil diseases were not worth it and smashed at her, cutting her arm. She growled back, bearing fangs.
Medb summoned a planar ally and tried to shoot the ‘Bouncer’ servant by the door, but she missed yet again. Just as an imp appeared and stabbed Dreth with his poisonous tail. Another appeared behind Devoir, but his armor protected him. A third imp went after Medb and the planar ally took the hit, discintegrating it. The final imp popped into existence beside me and I slapped its tail away and dodged the piercing strike.
Even though I could only see Pixie’s with scorpion tails, I knew their true forms. Dad had told me of them… some of the weakest of the Devils.
I pulled out my Nitharit poison vial and apply them to my blowgun darts. I moved back and shot an Imp with my own poison. It screeched as the dart stuck into its shoulder.

Dreth swung again at the handmaiden now covered in blood, and tried to hit her on the backswing, but he kept missing as her form seemed to shift just enough to avoid the edge of the blade. Medb moved behind a nearby pool of water and fired her longbow into the she-devil and called for Dreth to charge and finish her. He sliced at her so hard, I thought he would cut reality itself, but instead she fell away in two halves.
The Imps vanished, but I could hear three of them around…. In the mean while Devoir was still exchanging blows with the Bouncer. I spun and blew a dart into him, poisoning him too.

Dreth joined Devoir in the fight against our humanoid looking foe. Medb fired an arrow across the pool, but she couldn’t aimm right. The imps came out of hiding stabbing Dreth and Medb. The third came at and I spun around it confusing it as to where I had gone. Devoir stuck out his tongue at the Imp and headbutted with his helmet, knocking the Imps tail spike away. Pur local Pixie Paladin turned back to the Bouncer and thrust his sword into his gut. Drawing gallons of red from him. Then Devoir shouted for the Imps to all come at him. The bouncer followed Devoir who had moved away and tried to swing, but he was too injured, and more blood poured forth. I turned to aidd Medb and fired another dart, poisoning the Imp by her.

Dreth charged past an Imp, getting stabbed in the process and hacked into the bouncer with his greatsword, then sticking his foot into the bouncer’s chest and pulling out his sword with a sickening swish. The Bouncer fell over dead. Medb tried to get away from the Imp and fired at at one by Dreth, but missed, determined she fired again, nearly taking its head off. Three of the damned things vanished and Devoir moved back to back with Dreth as they stood ready. I sensed one in the trees to my left and fired at the invisible target, and a great splash of Imp blood burst out. It screeched in horrid pain, poisoned once again.

Dreth caught his breath, while Medb tried to make her way closer to the battle, shooting the imp I had struck, making it bled more so it was obvious to where it was. Invisible or not.
An imp popped out of thin air and appeared next to Dreth and Devoir, but the Pixie of Righteouness was too fast and slashed the Imp in two, and casting a spell of healing on Dreth.
Another imp appeared behind me and stabbed. I ducked to the side, as another went after Medb mising. Devoir got stabbed at but his armor deflected the wicked tail spike. Devoir thrust his blade into the imps temple, piercing its skull, dropping it like a fly. I took my last poison dart and fired at the Imp which had avoided being hurt the entire fight, trying to assassinate it, I hit into one of its lungs.

Dreth went at the same one, and Medb ordered Dreth to swing a second time, but he missed twice. Devoir tried to stab the Imp as well, but he couldn’t find it once it turned invisible. I though to knock it out of the ai with a Bola, but I was unable to hit the target as well.

Dreth once again, went after the Imp, as did Medb, and one popped up beside Med stabbing her in the leg, and the one I had forgotten about popped in front of me. I wasn’t prepared and took a stab to the side. I instantly felt the burning poison course into my veins. Devir came to my rescue, slashing at it, and drawing a new burst of blood.
I tried to shot with my hand crossbow at point blank, but things were becoming blurry. I didn’t hit my target I was sure.

Dreth saved me by slashing apart the Imp that had poisoned me. Medb shot the final imp in the wing and t crashed to the ground begging for forgiveness. Devoir tried to chop off its wings and the Imp backstepped right into the Displacer Beast. It squealed and Devoir knocked it out.

Upon trying to leave the Garden of Delights we find the door to be locked. We took a five minute breather, but Devoir alerted us to the palm trees. They were really Efreets… It was unsettling that they just watched the entire skirmish and didn’t aid either side. Devoir smacked awake the Imp, after cutting off its wings so it couldnt fly away. The imps first proof that he would help us was by telling us they way out was to knock on the other side of the door. Since one of us had wings, he flew over and knocked on the door freeing us.
The Imp was quickly interrogated, and by threatening its life it agreed to show us to the prison. I bound the Imp with rope, making sure it would not get free. Our next step was for him to lead us to the Labrynth. When we arrived, we decided had best rest first. We still had a day until Hoffat was to be tried. So instead of going into the black hedgemaze labrynth with thorns oozing an unknown liquid, we were led to an Inn by the name, “Inn of the Kindly Ones”.

We walked inside and it was dimly lit. A fire was in the hearth, and relaxing looking filled the room. In the back were a few tables void of patrons. The proprietress approached us. Quite an attractive Succubus. I felt a pang of guilt just then for not having found Rachel. She was half-succubus herself, but I did not ever dare mention that to the group. Anyway, the lady of the inn asked for payment for us to rent rooms. I traded a bottle of wine that Slythe had with his gear that I had taken. Dreth decided he would pay for both himself and Medb, by selling his body (and unbeknownst) his soul. Devoir elected to sleep in the stables with his Displacer Beast and the Imp, whose name turned out to be Stu.

The Next morning… we awoke at an early hour. 5 bells as they called it. A third Succubus ran the inn. One Dreth didn’t sleep with. She offers us breakfast, Deviled Eggs… I was hungry so I took it. I was getting low on rations anyway, and they were so stale and plain it was nice to have a luxury. In all honesty, Rachel would always make deviled eggs…
Devoir and Medb began lecturing Dreth on the fact that the Succubus now has her hooks in his soul… I stayed out of that conversation. We left the Inn and the Imp led us to the maze and into it. It was very creepy and strangely silent. You could almost hear the oozing of the thorns. As we made it to the exit, bells signaled it was 6.
When we came tot he prison buildings, several of which were connected together, I asked Stu if they would keep human prisoners at this prison. Rachel…Ai…Dad… I hoped they were alive and there. But Stu told us that only Tieflings and high-profile devils were kept in Mentiri.

Stu suddenly said,”I’ll make myself useful! Look someone is coming!” Then nodded to the west. Sure enough a group was heading our direction. Three Spine Devils had a Tiefling chained between them, another Devil, a Tiefling and A Duergar were the remainder of the escort. Their prisoner sure enough was Hoffat, who was drugged and dazed.
Our best chance was upon us, so we snuck into the maze and prepared out ambush. We hid around corners and then as they came close we attacked.

Medb lured a Spine Devil to her and ordered Devoir and Dreth to charge and attack. The Pixie Paladin missed, but the Slayer slashed into the unsuspecting devil. I blew my Id Moss Powder at the second Devil. he coughed and began choking, then as the poison took effect he gripped at his head in pain. Dreth slashed his taregt again, drawing first blood, and Devoir swung at the Devil thrice his height, missing.

The Duergar Cleric, ran forward and cried out, “The Power of Asmodeus Compels you!” and Dreth, with a lifeless look in his eyes attacked Devoir. Shit. Mind control. Then the first two Spine Devils swung their spikes tails and slashed Dreth, nearly knocking him over. The third spun and whipped its spines at Medb, Dreth and Devoir bothgot stabbed with fiery spines.
Medb hopped back and ordered Dreth, giving him back control of his mind, to attack the Spine Devil. Hoffat was stumbling around barely dodging attacks from both sides as the other Tiefling, a she-mage of some sort blasted fire, catching Dreth and Devoir in a fiery blaze. When it subsided my allies were stilll burning and trying to put out the flames. I ducked to the side of the inferno and shot a carefully aimed crossbow bolt right through the Spin Devils chest, hitting its heart. Then I added my Nitharit Poison and landed another Assassination strike right into the side of the next Devil.
Dreth in that distraction was able to put out the fire, as Devoir ended the life of another Spine Devil. On a side note, I have to say it felt much better killing a Devil in Hell. Knowing they would be forever destroyed.

The damned evil cleric cried out, “Asmodeus demands your tribute!” Thankfuly Devoir was stronger willed than our friend Dreth and resisted the urge to slash into any one of us.
The third Spine Devil blasted its fiery tail spines at us, and I ducked, and leaned back dodging one that nearly nicked my nose. Medb and Dreth weren’t so lucky. Medb shot the evil Tiefling with her long bow, and then a teleportation occured. I blinked and they had swapped places. I was unsure who triggered it, but I hadn’t seen Medb do such a thing before. The Tiefling bitch was near us now. Medb shot again, but missed and called out with inspiration in her voice for Dreth to keep on fighting. He wasn’t looking so well. The damn Tielfing teleported away again and shot a spell of sparks at Devoir which he seemed to resist. But then she blasted fire again and burnt Devoir and the Displacer Beast.
I stepped up to the she-devil and stuck my crossbow to her side and fired into her, delivering the poison, “Don’t worry Hoffat. We’ve got this!” I told my old ally. He didn’t seem to notice in his drugged up stupor. In the distance Devoir had moved around a corner, chasing the possibly fleeing Duergar, which promptly cried out in pain.

Medb ducked the spine devil’s tail and fired into it with her bow. It screeched and blood splattered Medb’s face. The thick gooey black blood of a deil.
The Tiefling mage was far from down, as she shot fire into Dreth’s face deterring his attack. I ducked behind the mage and fired a dart into the final Spinde Devil, finishing it. It fell to the ground gripping at a dart in its skull and then went limp. I turned to try and corner the Tiefling hoping that her teleportation was only a temporary ability, but it was not. She teleported away and fired a blast of magic at medb who had just returned to the fray with her planar ally, whichh took the hit and vanished. I was hit in the balast, and despite felling a pain in my mind as I moved toward her, I kept going. She would NOT escape.
In the background I saw the Duergar reappear from where Devoir had gone. Oh no. Devoir be alright! I pleaded in my mind.
Our enemy Tiefling then did the unexpected and charged Dreth with his staff knocking him out cold. I fired into her again and moved right up to her, blocking her from moving once again, but she moved away as the Duergar Cleric attacked Devoir’s Displace Beast. I saw he was still alive and sighed with relief.

Medb shot at the Duergar and missed and then words so severe time froze were spoken.
“Drop your weapons or this one dies!” The Tiefling was standing over Dreth, ready to crush his throat. Medb began to speak and I yelled, “Fine. I surrender” and dropped my blowgun. Then when she thought it safe, I dashed up to her drawing my crossbow and put it to her head and cursed, “Bitch.”, firing and blowing her brains out.
Devoir came running forward and put his hands on Dreth’s chest healing his wounds, and the Duergar pointed at me, trying to command me to attack my allies. It futile. I was too angered. I chased down the Duergar, and thrust him into the thorny hedgemaze, impaling him on the poisoned spike. he hung their lifeless, blood seeping out of his mouth.

With that, Hoffat was rescued. We grabbed him and hurried out of the maze, hoping our allies had found a way out of hell… well I secretly hoped they hadn’t. I had an itching to go after Asmodeus himself.

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The Imps Journal
Personal Journal of Gurlap, Yuralap, and Rurlap, imps in service of the Grand Asmodeus

T’was the very morning that the traitorous Hoffa was to be executed did my brothers and I spied upon four hapless new comers who had stumbled into the Mighty Iron City. From their confusion and lack of intellect we surmised they were recent arrivals form the material plane. Already, two of them, the large Minotaur and the robed human were definitely seen as possibility for our business in the corrupting mortals (we are quite forward with that). The other human and elf, however, held close ties to their insidious deities and would prove to be difficult to turn., but not impossible…

As per our usual sales pitch, we offered our services to the four individuals for a modest fee of gold, clearing stating to them that their gold would be quite useless outside of our agreement and in the Iron City. The Mul human was determine to grab our brother Rurlap for some unknown reason and Rurlap simply shifted to another plane, leaving just Yuralap and Gurlap. Though, unknown to the foolish mortals, Rurlap simple maintained his invisibility and followed, causes all sorts of mischief, as per our business model. The four mortals agreed to our services (for a now higher fee) and we brought them to one the one mortal who may help them leave the City.

We brought them to the Den of Quartar, a Neogi slave dealer in the City. Quartar always had a fine taste bud for the flesh of mortal babies, as well, being envious of the Cambion Lordack who cornered the market in hell born babies. Lorack had developed a wonderful machine to increase production of his birthing stock and made his district very wealthy. Quartar, ambious as always, would like nothing more than to see that enterprise his own. Contracts and laws in the city of Iron prevented Quartar from simply taking the machine for himself.; he needed to literally keep his hands clean of any operation that would transfer ownership to him. Hence, our arrival…

Rurlap, our elusive brother, made a deal with Quartar that we would arrange for some “mercenaries” to appear that would handle the situation for him. The four hapless mortals provided the perfect scapegoat for the Neogi should the Iron Tower learn of this contractual breach. The neogi however was not very good at his negotiations with the four mortals, as they spotted his standard hidden clauses and managed to write one of their own. Foolish mortals believed that the neogi would use all in his power to help them escape through the portal he would lead them to. What they failed to understand is that in the Great Iron City, the office of the Iron Tower have the power to purchase and change those contracts at any time. Which is what happen no sooner than the four left Quartar’s tavren..

Through the twisting streets the hapless fools came to the beautiful slum controlled by Lordack. They sampled the wares at the market which consisted of many scrumptious babies for sales as pets, food, garments, and many items for torture. In their attempt to blend in, they tried to purchase a small baby but did not have the appropriate amount of gems to buy (we warn them gold was worthless!). Upon looking through the neighborhood, they caught site of what could possible be Lordack’s machine, hidden in a small tower of metal sheets. As they tried to approach the area, they were deterred by several fierce Legion devils in the service of Lordack. Their pitiful attempts at subterfuge failed and they were attacked by devil legions, a nasty tiefling, a Duregard and Lordack himself, a blade wielding Cambion.

The battle was deliciously fierce; if not for the accursed Pelor blessings the elf placed on his companions, they surely would have perished. By the time they had defeated Lordack and his minions, the market was mess; vendors abandoning their posts and running off with as much wares as they could. The Mortals managed to find some useful treasure in the stalls, including a tally stick which held the names of five mortals in the hell that owe favors to whoever hold the stick.

The four mortals found in the buildings surrounding the machine, a complete harem of pregnant mortal women, some bed ridden with over six to twelve fetus in their bodies. The machine itself was a vast cylinder of arcane, alchemical, and hell wrought technology. Woman suspended from the interior were injected with the strange green liquid into their bodies, impregnating multiple eggs. The foolish elf cleric of Pelor wished to set all of them free but found the woman angry that they have no one to protect them. Rather than deal with the woman, the four said Quartar was in charge of them and promptly left Perhaps there is hope in corrupting that one yet…

Smugly triumphant, the mortals started back to the tavren but were instantly trapped in Agents snare. Agent as you know, is one of colleagues in the city who is quite good at her job. Agent appeared to them in her alley as a seductive she devil and offered to give them earthly delights. At first they refused, but then found that they kept walking down the same street and encountering the she devil. She claimed she could not let them go because one of them secretly desired something she could offer.

The large Minotaur agreed to her offer and entered the alleyway. It was dark save the small light that silhouetted the she devil. She asked him what he desired and he replied “power”. She asked if he wished power in himself or over mortal men, he replied “over mortal men”. She asked if he will welded that power as a king or as a tyrant. He chose a king and saw himself being cheered by people and soldiers in his name. Then she asked, what is the weakness that will bring your down fall. He answers honestly; “arrogance”. He saw a vision of himself being booed by his people and his head being sliced off by an executioner that look exactly like himself. A dark figure on the horizon gleefully announce “Well done my child!”.

The Minotaur emerged from the alleyway; a bit shaken but alive. Our four silly mortals made way back to Quartar’s tavren where they demanded their reward. Quartar begrudgingly gave them the directions to a portal but feigned he still had their contract. Instead, the lovely contract is in hands of the Iron Lord himself, carefully being rewritten…

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RAGNAROK Journal...8
Enter Dys

You never know who will be where when… a wise gnome once said.
Whoo boy.
So as we were sneaking to head to the temple of Pelor, we heard yelling from outside the city walls. We froze and realized whoever was yelling, in the common tongue, would be attacked and killed by the Gargoyles by the front gate. Arty wanted to stay inside and investigate… not the best choice, but left him to his business.
We quickly snuck back out of the city and to the mountain hole where we had come from. To think more adventurers could pass through the trials we had and survive…

Five had emerged from the mountain. Morthis, a Mage Tiefling, Erdan an Elf Cleric, Fatina another Elf Cleric, Artanis the Eladrin, and Django the Mul Avenger, whom I remembered from the ship. He had found us after quite some time. I could only wonder how those poor people were fairing, if they still lived at all.

So as we snuck up to the group we hushed them and explained the situation We found a small cave to rest until the next morning until I could use my Shaowed Legion stealthing powers to get everyone in safely. I watched as some of the group went to merrymaking as if the we were not to do the next day. I stepped out of the cave and sat alone, thinking of Rachel and Ai… where were they? Would I EVER see them again? I decided that if one day we defeated the Aquilan’s I could find them. That was my only hope. A hope that was probably a lie.

The next morning we snuck, under the cover of shadow tot he hole in the wall and as we made it across I noticed the rocks were placed differently. I could not motion to all 9 of them at once, but Artanis spoke up, breaking our stealth that there was a magic in the air right about where we were. Morthis the other Tiefling agreed and identified it as fire magic. A trap!
I started to say “No one move!” But the group foolishly started backwards and KABOOM. FIre exploded all around us. I rolled into the rocks and ducked just in time to evade a wave of fiery doom, and thanks to my training with heat, I was able to resist the burning pain I would have endured.

The trap was not over it seemed as the rubble shifted, and a flaming claw appeared in front of my face. I flipped back to my feet ready to face the new foes. I did not expect ten flaming skeletons to burst. One for each of us… the odds weren’t bad, but with how this new group acted… we were in trouble.

So the head count consisted of, Me (Krayko), Medb, Dreth, Pluck, Artanis, Vondersmache, Django, Morthis, Fatina and Erdan. We would see how many of us would be standing after this assault.

Fatina acted quickly and blasted radiant energies outward hitting four o fthem.
Django took his weapon and smacked the nearest on, sending chunks of flaming bone flying, then pulled back waiting for it to come to him.
I shot at one with my quickshot and misfire, but roll backwards out of the fray.
A skeleton before me swiped but I ducked, feeling the heat right in front of me I covered my face.
Dreth, Von and Pluck were all trapped in the middle of the group of burning helletons.
Artanis shot a magic missile and then a cold ball of ice shot at one, damaging it.
Morthis, the new Teifling, (God we were getting a new one every few weeks.) shoots a fountain of FLAME into the middle of a group by Von. Wait… Flame? Was he serious!? Apparently so because his flames burned hotter and brighte and actually hurt the undead of fire. Note to self: Fight fire with fire.
Dreth swing and took away a good portion of a skeletons ribcage.
Von went into a rage (stupid minotaur these were going down so easily. No need to waste precious energy) and swings, destroying one outright.
Erdan cast a consecrating groud spell that shot radiant light all around.

Fatina used flames too but somehow I doubted hers were as strong. no. They weren’t.
Django attacks a skeleton that was falling to pieces and shattered it.
The Skeletons in the radiance of the consecrated ground screech as the holy light burned up through them.
The skeletons started fighting back, slashing Vondersmache, catching the hairy thing on fire. (Burning minotaur-if he didn’t smell BAD enough).
One hit Pluck and he countered, so fast I couldn’t make out what happened but the foolish skeleton fell.
I got swiped by a claw, leaving minor scratches and I quickly swiped out my burning cloak.
I quckshot the same skeleton point blank, taking his head off, and then I moved and swapped to my blowgun and shot into another, killing it. Half gone.
The clash of battle went on with fire bursting everywhere. It was so bright it was blinding and so hot is was blistering.
Dreth charged a falling to pieces one, making it stand on one leg with one arm.
Medb kept trying to shoot them, but this was not her forte.
Pluck yelled for Von to attack and he smashed yet another with his greatsword.
Vondersmache killed another, and missed the eighth one.
A Kyton (Chain Devil) was around the corner from where Von had moved. I heared him roar in pain and saw chains lashing about.
A succubus flew down from the walls and came at Pluck, whom she leaned in and kissed, taking his mind, I was sure.
Erdan told Fatina how to put out a fire properly, for she was burning like mad, and then Erda healed Vondersmache.

Fatina, shot at the Succubus. Fatina must have been trained by Ranger because she knew of the quarry skill and how to place a wound where it hurts. She hit the Succubbus and a radiant light hung about it.
Django charged and tried with all his might to attack the Succubus but she waved it to the side and went into Pluck.
A remaining skeleton moved up to Medb and I punched it in the jaw as it wennt past. She commanded Dreth to strike, who prompty smahed it.
I shot a blowgun dart precisely at the Succubus, aiming at her skull, to assassinate her with Echoes of Orcus, a strange power I gained from the alter and Wraiths. She still stood but was bleeding badly.
Dreth charged at her, but she simply blocked it with her arm.
Medb then shot her bow and pierced her slutty heart, killing her. And she healed Pluck who was now himself again. He then healed Vondersmache who was busy gettng his ass kicked by a Kyton. As soon as he was healed he charged in and striked to strike it again, but the chains were too strong.
Chains lashed out at Von and Pluck, smacking them both as Erdan healed Von again.
If were not for the Clerics and Warlords that could inspire healing or mend wound, the minotaur would have been minotoast.

Fatina cast sacred fire at the Kyton who laughed and resisted it completely.
Rjango tried to smack the second Kyton that appeared with a vengeful radiant strike, but it slightly moved its head dodging it.
We had to make them easier to hit! So I threw a bola at the new Kyton, and missed. Damnit.
Morthis then tossed a ball of fire toward the same one, and ann explosion larger than the trap went off. Dreth charged up to it and it hopped back. Medb tried to direct how to hit the Kyton, but it heard her and changed its tactic.
Pluck told me to shoot the other one as it wasn’t paying attention. I spun and fired with but a glance and it shot into it, drawing blood. Finally a god damn hit!
Von attacked the same one and his sword was enveloped in black light and he sliced it to pieces.
The other chain devil came after him in retaliation, and whacked him twice. Then tried to run away.

Fatina healed Von the last healing and tried to attack the Kyton but missed. Django attacks and misses twice. I moved through the rubble and threw a bola at long range and knocked the Chain Devil to the ground. Flee now you scum…
Artanis shot fire and it resisted it all. He hadn’t learned. Mrothis shot fire but since he used a creatures natural resistance against it, it dealt a lot of pain.
Dreth charged the prone Kyton, slashing into it, taking off an arm. But two chains still lashed out at him, cracking into his jaw and shoulder like steel whips.
Medb called for Morthis to shoot a magic missile at it, and he did so. Pluck told Dreth to finish it, but the Kyton blocked with its arm wrapped in chains. Just then Von came up and chopped its head clean off.

Knowing the battle was temporarily over, we bandaged our wounds, and took five minuted to breathe, then headed into the town.
This time it was differet. Goliath skeletons lay scattered all around. Apparently a warning since they had discovered we had been there the first time. We headed to the central temple of Pelor, and the Wizards, not the clerics, were able to tell the Divine Energies from the temple wee gone.
The temple had a big stone slab symbolizing the sun.
A grisly scene awaited as we walked up to it and founda Goliath on each side of it hanging by bloody ropes and they had been gutted. Some kind of ritualistic sacrifice.

Vondersmache gut the bodies down and Erdan prayed giving them their last rites. I peered over the cliff of the raised temple and alterted the group devils were running around down below pointing up at us.
Erdan handed Morthis a vial of Holy Water and he splashed it onto the Split in two sun alter. It began to glow, then burst into red flames that spread out from it rolling along the ground burning those who did not resist it, like myself and the Tieflings.
Everything around us went dark and we could feel a sensation of teleporting.
Then all was still.

A light was lit and we found ourselves in a dark chamber with the smell of fire and brimstone wafting from cracks under a shut door on the other side of the room. We examined the door to find it was boarded shut. Artanis tried blasting it with fire and it did nothing.
It was pretty obvious to me, that we were in the Nine hells, but I wanted to make sure…
There was no other way out of th eroom, and we would need to find a portal back.
Wishing I knew how my father, mother, Jacob and Julia ever managed there way through the hells with how powerful devils were, I took the door off of its hinges, and peeked through to see a dark sky with flames shooting acros.
The rest of it was black. I asked Django, who clerified we were in the city of Dys, the Second level of the Nine Hells. It was ruled by a devil called Dispater.

A tiefling walked past and I ducked inside and it called out to no one in particular, “Hearye hearye! Latest news from the mortal plane. Our invasion of the Dawn Peaks goes as planned. It shall be completed soon. And in other news the traitor Hoffat’s trial will be tomorrow!”
I looked down and could only whisper, “Shit.”

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RAGNAROK Journal...7
The Dawn Peaks

Throne of Iron, Throne of Blood…07

The sun was warm and once we had the common sense to look away from the huge inferno in the sky, we saw a goat staring right at us. Not just any goat. A large goat.
Well apparently Arfellan, our Deva Paladin was terrified of said goat because he began to hum and vanished in a flash of light. Or maybe he thought he could do better elsewhere in the world.
At that moment a young Goliath, and by young I mean 6’5” tall, and looking like a young teenager, came running up to us.
He drew a sling, loaded a bullet and began swinging it around and questioned who we were and what we wanted and if we were part of the Aquilan army.
As he was busy spinning it around his head, I decided to test his intelliegence.
“How long can you do that?” pointing at the swinging bullet.
He paused and looked confused. The bullet fell out and he was thus disarmed by mere words.
He looked quite embarrassed.

Thora took it upon herself to step forward then. They began to speak in the language of giants and when translated, he said that there were a ere few hours of daylight left and that we should get inside the city (Stonepeak)
We also learned that the siege on Stonepeak has been going on for a couple months.
As we headed for the city I noticed the large goat following Dreth, being friendly and rubbing his head against his shoulder.

Once inside the city we made the decision to go and speak with the Elders to see how we could be of help and if we could join forces and perhaps find a way to stop the Tiefling opressors.

Heading there Brandis found his Teifling ally. A mentor in all honesty. Brandis decided he would stay and talk around the city to find out information. This Tiefling named Pluck, joined us at the elders hut.

The Elders resided in a large sunken stone building.
The Elders explained to us that there were 10 Goliath cities before the Aquilan’s came knocking. Now 7 remain. Two fell within a few months, and the third lasted a full year. It was obvious the Dawn Peak mountains were enough to hold the Aquilan’s off briefly.

One of the female Elders, was Thora’s mother, the high priestess. The Goliath’s were unhappy to find Thora had returned with only a handful of us to help. It was us or nothing though.
So the Elders asked our council.

I started off by asking what their offensive capabilities were. Turns out… almost none what so ever. A few ballistas at best. The Goliaths were a peaceful people.
We asked what could we do to help?
They had no suggestions, so we continued our strategizing. Each of the cities was a days journey apart. All six cities not under siege had begun preparing for war, and I realized it couldn’t mean more than sharpening sticks to put together makeshift spears.

One option was fortifying the defense in one city and making a stand there. But that was ruled out as evacuation seemed impossible. The few small groups sent away were never hearhed from again. And nothing is more reliable than a Goliath carrier falcon.

A big minotaur in black armor came in just then. His pugnant oder filled the room. The great oaf pulled out his greatsword as Medb, our Eladrin drew her weapon in fear. The Minotaur stuck his sword into the stone, probably damaging it (he didn’t look too smart), and gave a deep laugh. He apparently wanted to help take down the Aquilan’s because they took his ‘power’…whatever that meant.

Another option was fleeing altogether through a teleportation circle. It could only be opened once and not for long. The Aquilan’s had a way of locking down and tracing portal spells. So once a destination was locked, it could never be used again.
I suggested the Dwarves haven’t been locked out yet, but then the Dwarves were hundreds of miles away. Surely they would not make it in time before the city was overthrown.

When asked what the Aquilan’s motives are for attacking the Dawn Peaks, when it was obviously so difficult a task, the Elders gave their belief. The Dawn Peaks are sacred. More so than anything else in the world. This is the first place the light of the sun ever touched, and the first place it touches every morning. Each of the ten peaks holds significant power. IF the Aquilan’s were to control and corrupt that power… they may in fact be able to snap the barrier stopping the more powerful Devils from entering the world. Asmodeus himself could walk the mortal lands. The elders are unsure if they can be corrupted, but it is best not to find out.
During this conversation we were shown the Temple of Pelor, which was built from part of the mountain peak.

My suggestion, was that we check a fallen city for evidence on the true objective of what the Aquilan’s want. And possibly search for survivors. At this point another Tiefling appeared, and joined the conversation. He suggested we take out the Aquilan’s leaders. However the main problem with that is they have countless leaders from the denizens of the Nine Hells. He kept putting forth that idea. I didn’t trust this ‘Arty’. He seemed too eager to take down the Aquialn’s.. almost as if he were going to lead us into a trap.

The Elders told us of underground tunnels leading to the other cities, but they are infested wit monsters and some have not been used in centuries. One such tunnel would lead us to the fallen city of ‘Dawn’s Light’. We decided we will head there and use the tunnels.

Before we left, Thora’s mother, the Highpriestess of Pelor gathered us and she blessed us in the temple. The minotaur stood by idly scoffing.
I was not liking the group that had come together for this mission. Two Tieflings, an obvious asshole…smelly, minotaur, and then therew were Medb, who I barely knew, and Dreth who I had grown acustomed to, being a fellow human.
Thog, Thora, Bruna, Devoir, and Brandis all elected to stay behind as a beckup to defend the town should the Aquialn’s break through while we were gone.

It was not long after, no more than an hour or so, we entered the cave complex than did we smell rotting flesh up ahead and the sickening plops of something being devoured. I recognized the smell before I even saw them. Two Carrion Crawlers, underground centipede beasts of great strength spotted us.
I hid behind a stalagmite as tentacles whipped around the corner from a Crawler. The other came forward from a hall and the first retreated far back, clinging to the wall. Arty started blasting spells, Eldritch Bolt, so it seemed, hitting the close Crawler. He hit it with two and it barely seemed phased. I popped out of hiding and tried to shoot the large target, but I chose a bad spot to aim for. It bounced off a piece of exoskeleton. I spun back around the stalagmite hoping I had not been seen. ‘
Just as I did so, the OTHER stalagmite in the cave began to shudder and came to life, whipping out tentacles of its own. A Roper. This was not our luck day. It instantly lashed out and grabbed Pluck from nearly 50ft away. Pluck fired back in retaliation, but it didn’t even hurt it.

Dreth ran up trying to sever the tentacle with his sharp sword, but it didn’t break the thick flesh. The smelly Minotaur (likely the reason we were spotted to begin with, and apparently its name was Von), went up and slashed the nearest Crawler twice, then spun and struck the Roper’s tentacle. Even his blade could not break the Roper’s grasp.

Medb drew her Eladrin longbow and shot past the lump of flesh that the first Crawler had slumped into after Von’s attack. The second Crawler was it, and Pluck called out to Dreth to ignore the Cralwer and go after the Roper, so Dreth charged the foul abberation, smacking it nce, and then with Pluck’s cry of batle, a second time.

As I hid, preparing for my next strike the Cralwer caught my scent and came around my side, smacking me and sending me skidding back. Arty, the questionable Tiefling came to my aid, cursing it with a Warlock language I did not understand, then blasted it with his dark magic.

I took advantage of this distraction, throwing a Bola at it, knocking it off its many feet, and then shot a blowgun dart precisely into its upper body, causing green blood to spew out. Medb told me to get away from it, it was too powerful. I listened. I had no plans of dying that day.

I stared in horror as Pluck was pulled violently forward and into the mouth of the Roper, that chomped into his armor. Dreth tried to break the Roper’s flesh, but was so tough, then spun around finding its weakpoint and on the backswing cleaved it in two.

Von, the Smell Minotaur chargepast my field of vison, roaring, and then the sickening squishes of my group beating it to a pile of mush. With an order from Medb, Von sliced this Crawler asunder as well.

For the next few days, as it took longer underground, we passed through many perrils.
The first of which was a chasm of 20ft across. I simply threw a Bola tied to a rope, and wrapped it around a Stalactite, and instruced everyone on how to swing across.
The next obstacle was a nest of Hook Horrors. Pluck ingeniously distracted the next with a rock, and we snuck past. But as we were getting through spores from a dangerous hallucination fungi shot into the air. The Minotaur told us of a way to resist it. By holding our breaths, and running as fast as we could. Such simple tactics.
The very same day a quake triggered a cave-in and Arty tried to melt the falling rocks. Obviously he wasn’t as in tune with laws of nature as he was with magic. We all made it through but Arty got conked n the head and we had to pull him away to safety.
Now we faced a fifty foot chasm with no apparent bottom. Vines hung from the ceiling so we used the vines with Dreth’s advice on testing them to make sure they were secure before swiniging this much more dangerous pit.
We ran across an Altar of Orus, the demon prince of undeath, and Medb used her magical abilities to trigger a failsafe within the altar revealing a hidden path.

On the following day we came across a steep and slippery staircase, I missed my footing and tumbled down, landing perfectly fine and telling everyone to avoid the blue moss. It moves under your feet and will try to slip you up.
In the next chamber an underground Thunderstorm shot lighting down toward us. Pluck studied this and told us how to dodge each bolt before it occured.
The storm had filled our next cavern with water that continued to rise. Although the Minotaur definitely needed a bath, I was not against him ramming his head into the wall and destroying it, and draining the water.
No sooner than we dried did a Cultist of Orcus (A kobold mind you), tried to block our path chatterig about an alter that was destroyed somewhere by a Deva. I rolled my eyes as Arty try to slit its throat. The Kobold got a good stab in, but Arty killed it first by stabbing it in the heart. Or next trial was some sort of set-up with magic collumns and a combination of pulling levers at a certain time. It deposited 40gp when Dreth solved this odd puzzle.
The door that opened led to an ancient underground library. Medb was able to direct us what books to read to find the way out of the labrynth-like book chamber.
Medb then found an Iron Golem blockinhg our path. Even though she knew it too strong to fight, she studied its armor, finding a chink in it and knocking it over as we ran past.

The third day was treacherous. A lake of acid blocked our way, and Dreth fashioned a raft of stalagmites that were hollowed out. Once making it across there was a bridge over yet another chasm. I wondered how many chasms there were in the underdark.
On this bridge was a keeper, an almost skeletal old man. He offered us a challenge or would not allow us past.
There were two flagons. One with a poison and one with a cure. Only one person could drink out of each flagon, but both must be drank.
Arty thought about this, and remembering a tactic leaders used in political warfare he mixed both the poison and cure into one flagon and drank it, passing the challenge.
This only led us to a room with Two Portals. One was wrong one ws right. The smelly beast felt up to the challenge of figuring this one out and steped throuh a portal. He chose wrong and fell from the ceiling, 10ft up and smashed facedown into the ground.
Then when our nerves were growing thin we came to a random chest laying in the middle of the path. Beyond it was a door. One the door the words were inscribed, “Those who want the key must look inside.”
Pluck tried to smash the door, but it didn’t budge, but finally smashed open the chest finding the key.
The final trial was a speedbump in the cave floor. It was unnatural looking and despite my insisting, the party pushed me forward and I walked across it. It was just a speedbump.

Finally we emerged from the underground by pushing stones out of the way. Before us laid the once great city of Dawn’s Light, now reduced to ruins. Ahead I spotted two gargoyles sitting amongst the ruinage watching..waiting. I warned everyone and we snuck around with my shadowy stealh skills, passing a dead goat that had been dead for weeks.
All through the town there were signs of dried blood, but no corpses to speak of.
We snuck to the Elder’s chambers and found only the coprses of rotting Goliath’s.. the first sign that they were all slaughtered… which did not bode well. We had one other option… to check the Templeof Pelor.

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RAGNAROK Journal...6
Sacrifice and the Dead

As we were able to get the door open, Hoffat felt a strange painful sensation. The door was radiaiting some kind of holy powere preventing anything with any fiendish blood in them from passing. And although the group often picked on Hoffat for merely being a Tiefling it was grief we said our goodbyes to him. He had bravely sacrificed himself to go and try to hold off the Aquilan’s in some way shape or form, long enough for us to get to the Dawn Peaks and fortify a defense.

We went through the door, and we hoped to see him again. In the next chamber we came across an Eladrin and the Deva Paladin from Gilden’s Hope, Arfellen! How had he gotten here? No doubt a burst of light like he landed in Gilden’s Hope.

The Eladrin, joined our team, With a helmet on, I could not tell if the it was a he or a she, I could just see the blowing eyes, and ears pointing out to the sides. It did not matter. We lost an ally and gained another as seemed to be the normal way of things. We needed to stop losing them though.

As we climbed stairs into a long hallway we came across a pit that went at least 40ft down. Most had success in crossing, but I slipped and nearly fell down but luckily grabbed the rope that the first of us had taken across just in case of someone falling.
I shimmied across and climbed onto the ledge on the other side.

The hall led into a huge room with a bridge that extended nearly 80ft into the room, but stopped suddenly with no way down. Observing the room from above, we were able to see an altar of Orcus down below. Strange to find that in a place where fiends could not tread. A cauldron also was in the corner. Dried blood surrounded the alter and led to the cauldron.

Devoir floated down, and just as he did so, shadows around the alter began to shift. turn and twist violently. Shadow wraiths appeared and one with a sword stabbed Devoir in the shoulder. More wraiths made themselves known.
Then the Eladrin, who I had been told was named Medb, cried out to attack the wraiths. Then took out a bow and fired down, killing a wraith instantly.

Brandis was next to act shoot arrows at the other Wraiths but these seemed more durable. The arrows passed through taking part of the shadow things with them, but not enough to make a huge difference. And then it vanished.
Another wraith rose into the air and slashed its wispy claws at the Ranger. Thora was touched by another, a trail of black rotting air went back toward the wraith.

The Wraiths down below surrounded Devoir ad in a huge splash blood the Pixie nearly dropped. Another wraith picked on Thora. Dreth, hesitated as Bennen fired his crossbow, missing. We would have to get him better training.
Dreth came into action and killed a Wraith with his mighty blade.
A wrait floated up in front of me. I drew my handcrossbow and fired, point blank, missing, so I hopped back and leapt for the pillar beside the bridge in an attempt to get down and hep Devoir.
I once again fumbled and fell, but flipped throught the air, changing my momentum just enough to avoid getting hurt from the 40ft drop. into the room. On my landing, I spun hurling a bola at a wraith. I was so caught up in the fall, my aim was off, and the bola wrapped around the head of Orcus on the altar. I shook my head in frustration.

Arfellen slid down the rope beside me, and clanged loudly to the floor. He stood up, seemingly unphased but then stumbled to a wraith attacking Devoir and swung his sword. Missing. Devoir abandoned the battle on the ground and flew up to the bridge. A wraith he hadn’t noticed in an odd daze swiped at him, swatting him out of the air and I saw him spin and crash into the bridge above.

From up above I heard Thog roar and my allies screaming battle cries. Madb cried an inspiring morale boost, telling Devoir to wake up.

Knowing the battle had moved up above I cursed myself for jumping down. A wraith moved up above me, ignoring me entirely. This one was brownish and different. Mad whispers were coming from it that didn’t make any sense. I whispered madness, a thanks to the gods, that it didn’t see me.

Arfellen was left to tend to the wraiths on the floor, one touched through his armor and into his soul, but repelled the necrotic power instantly. To hurt a divine being with such evil would be a hard pressed thing to do.

Dreth suddenly came crashing from above, landing on his back. I loked up and bola’d the mad wraith out of the air, sending it spinning down, and landing on its spineless back.
Arfellen swung at a wraith, missing and healed himself with a prayer.

An Ogre roar came from above and Thog jumped onto the pillar and swung around, landing with a great thud, and swung his huge club at the Mad Wraith. but then he grabbed his head saying something unintelligable and came stumbling backward. The same Man Wraith then got up and floated up above again, gibbering the whole way.

Arfelled, off to the side was taking blow after blow from the Wraiths and would not hold out long. Dreth recovered, and went to his aid, but the wraiths were so agile the swordsmen couldn’t hit them!

Up above an arrow flew through the Mad Wraith drawing green ectoplasm and then with a yell, Brandis crashed down landed on his side.
I knew the Mad Wraith had to go as it was driving my allies to nearly commit suicide. I focused my attack, whisking another bola at it, sending it down again and it spahsed into a great pool of ectoplasm.

From under the bridge I saw a flying displacer beast—no, Devoir flying and carrying down his Displacer beast. He joined the battle on the ground once again, and in a blast of divine power the ethereal wraith became solid.

Thog recovered from dillerium and charged at the Mad Wraith which just wouldnt go away. He cracked it with his club, adn the Mad Wraith swiped back, with its icey claws. Thog, his eyes glowing blue came running at me and hit with with his club, knocking the wind out of me.
Damned wraith!

On the other side Devoir dodged an attack by bending backwards as two arrows from Brandis shot into it.
From above I heard Bennen scream a death cry. I cursed under my breath and knew I had to get back up there to help, Medb, Thora and hopefully Bennen.

As I began to turn I saw a wraith that had vanished appearing and swiping at Brandis who dodged nimbly. I turned my focus on the Solid Wraith and fired my hand crossbow at it, piercing it in the head. I ducked behind the end of the bridge in hopes it wouldnt come after me since it seemed the most powerful on the field.

Thog charged past, going for the gibbering wraith again. I knew I would have to get out Thog’s reach lest I be bashed again. So I turned to climb the bride’s wall. I made it up and snuck to the edge firing down onto a ectoplasm leaking wraith, surprising him and dazing the bastard.

Tohora and Madb went past me and began to climb down the wall, leaving me with Bennen. I looked off in the disance seeing a Wraith and Bennen’s body twitching beneath it.
Where the hell was the bear!? Bruna was nowhere to be seen.

From the edge I see a wraith appear ad hit Dreth, I edged over, peaking beneath the railing I aimed and assassinated it, sending it into a pool of green gunk.
For some odd reason Arfellen began bashing the statue of Orcus. Hatred toward the demon prince was one thing, but we needed to choose our battles wisely with the Nine Hells tyrannicaly ruling our world.

All went in slow motion as a wraith appeared next to me. I heard my own yell somewhere off in the distance as I was swalloed by darkness.

AIR! Light! I gasped for breath. Devoir floated near me. Saving that Pixie time and time again was one of the best decisions I ever made. We assaulted the wraiths as they popped back in and finished them off.

After catching our breaths we found the locked door out of the room. I picked it easily and we headed out through dark tunnels and into a bright snowy area on the mountainside. The sun seemed to be hanging too close to us and it was bright and warm.

In the distance we could see a large stone city. Yes… we had made it to the Dawn Peaks.

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RAGNAROK Journal...5
Owlbears, and Giants and Aquilan's. Oh my...

RAGNAROK….journal 5…

The valley with the Ogres proved most treacherous. The fight, could have gone either way. Thankfully we bottlenecked the bastards and tricked one into fleeing and another into joining our cause. Thog. Yes, the Ogre who was tired of being bullied.

As we went on, I stealthed ahead, making sure not to be seen by anything. Not even the hawks in the sky. I found a man hiding in the bushes watching the group approach. In case he attempted an ambush, I would be ready. I snuck behind him, and as I did with Brandis, put my hand crossbow to the back of his head and waited to see what he would do. He didn’t notice me at all. It turned out he was eating a leg of mutton. Hardly seeming threatening… unless he was mad.

When the group noticed him, he stood up and said his name was Dreth, and that he is hard to kill. I muttered, ‘Hardly’ and came out from my position and walked past him. He seemed confused that I had been hiding right behind him.
Thog, just to make sure the newcomer was okay went over and sniffed him… must have been an Ogre thing.

Up ahead we saw the Ogre village and Thog told us it was his home.
There didn’t seem to be a way around without the guards seeing us, so we approached as if all were normal. The written note of passage was shown and the Ogre guards denied us entrance to the village but allowed us to go around. So we did.
Thog followed us, and the guards questioned why Thog was going with us, and Thos simpy answered, ‘These Thog friends’. The guards, as dumb as Thog, didn’t care and seemed glad to be rid of them… which made me question their actual intelligence.

As we enter the wooded mountain paths Thog told us of large hairy creatures with claws that roam the area called the ‘lowlands’ which were actually high up in the mountains.
When we entered the next clearing sure enough the creatures Thog descrived come bounding toward us going, ‘HootHoot! GrrGrr!’ Damn it. Owlbears. It had to be Owlbears.

Devoir, tried to speal to them, but of course they weren’t intelligent enough to understand the words coming out of his mouth. So the smaller of the two (which seemed rather young, not boding well) charged, and wrapped its great bear arms around the tiny Pixie and bit him with his hooked beak.

Thog bounded into action, swinging his greatclub in an arch over his head. Hoffat climbed the nearby bluff, and began casting his magely spells, causing the owlbears to bite and claw themselves. Thora took out her sling, and smacked one in the head, causing it cry out. Crying out is never good. Devoir couldn’t escape the grasp of the damn Owlbear. I would have to try and help! Brandis came forward and shot his arows.
I was bringing out my hand crossbow as the other owlbear charged Thog (the bigger of these obvious children). I aimed my shot right into the chest of the bleeding owlbear that had Devoir. It was so surprised it released was let loose.

A roar erupted from the nearby wood and it was time for Mama Owlbear to shw up. She barreled out of the trees heading for Devoir as the smaller Owlbear tured its focus on Thog. Thog swinging wildly seemed to not be able to hit his targets. The Tiefling was up on the rocks still waving his hands around, as Thora healed Thog and Berry, or Bruna as I learned she was called charged and knocked out the bloodied one.

Brandis fired arrows at the other Owlbear, but they did not seek true. Devoir attempted reasoning with the Mama Owlbear, no to effect as he raised his shield to stop the massive impact. More shots of arrows fwipped ou, and the Owlbear Baby that remained shrieked a hoot and Dreth and Thog covered their ears stunned. The baby tried to run and I moved up to him to try and stop him, but before I could he ran around the rocks out of sight.

Mama changed targets and went after Hoffat, right up the hill and clawed into him. It tried to attack again and Hoffat’s magical shield of energy absorbed the blow. Thog went after the Mama and Hoffat commanded her to claw herself in the gut. Thora and Dreth moved in on the mother as Devoir stumbled up the bluff, scramlbing to get at her. Brandis launched an arrow into her shoulder, she screeched and bit at it.

The baby came back to the Mother’s rescue and went at Thog. I came around the rock and threw a bola, knocking it to the ground, as Bruna tried to claw it, but claw met claw. Devoir was torn into by the raging mother. Hoffat slammed the Mama off the bluff with a spell, but she landed on her feet. Hoffat quickly fled, and Devoir blocked the Owlbear’s path. I focused my attention on the baby, trying to help Thog, who in the blur of combat was knocked out. Thog woke up suddely and climbed to his feet.

Brandis continued launching missie like arrows into the baby owlbear and Bruna backed him up. I decided to turn my attention on the Mother who had shrieked, stunning half the group and went aftet Hoffat, taking him down. The Mother then swung at Thora, and the Goliath ducked out of the way. Everyone converged on the mother as Hoffat recovered and pushed her away. Dreth would deal the killing blow to the protective beast, as Brandis and I chased down the last baby owlbear, preventing it from ever… getting…well I wasn’t sure an Owlbear would seek revenge, but regardless. We killed it, backed by Thog.

We decided resting for the night was a good idea and the next morning we went through the woods, taking various paths. We discovered something unsettling. The Aquilan army had lodged itself into the area in various camps of at least sixty soldiers each. As we snuck around Brandis disabled the traps the Aquilan’s had set. Hoffat was casting his mumbo jumbo spells for a better path to take… I never trusted magic. Well except Jazmine’s… I wondered where and how she was at that moment.
I snuck behind a patrol group and grabbed an enemy soldier, a fellow human in the enemy’s armor. I spit in disgust as I dragged him back to our group, where Dreth, still snacking on Owlbear liver scared the living daylights out of him, demanding information on the Aquilan’s doings. Just as we were about to kill the Aquilan, he begged to come with us. We debate it, and I decide he is good, and must prove himself to us in the next battle would likely suffer. His name was Bennen.

Devoir found us a cave… a secret entrance to the locked down village of the Goliaths. Brandis confirmed it would lead us to the village should we take it. Bennen, our new ‘ally’ seemed legitimate enough to where we let him keep his weapons. He was drafted into the military in his Devil controlled land of Xandyr. He had no choice but to fight for the enemy.

As we stuck our heads in the cave we found at a dozen Druegar searching about. Knowing the were alligned with the Aquilan’s we took the chance to get the jump on them. Bruna, Dreth and Devoir upon his displacer beast charged in weapons swinging as Brandis shot in from the outside, taking one down before it knew what hit him. Hoffat once again began his spells as Thora charged past breaking some necks with her mighty staff.

I sprint in and blew a dart at one of the tougher looking armored Duergars, piercing his armor and sticking it to his neck. He grabbed for it and then turned invisibe along with a few others. We all stood there in shock, as another Duergar burst into flames, burning Dreth. Thog whacked the nearest once as Bruna and Dreth made quick qork of another dark dwarf. Brandis finallly moved into the cave, and began fwipping arrows. Just as a Duegar smacked Devoir so hard I thought he would shatter Hoffat’s spell whipped out pushing it away, deviating the blow from being fatal.
I then found out that Duergar can shoot quills out of their spikey beards, spiking Hoffat and backing away like a coward. He seemed to be the leader from the judge of his red armor.

The others unleashed their quills at Devoir and the Displaced Beast, George(?). Brandis was vicitim to this as well, and Bennen moved in and showed his great accuracy with a crossbow, missing horribly. I shook my head, knowing that we may have made a mistake in bringing him along. Hoffat’s mighty spells lashed out and kiled two Duergar outright, and I snuck in and dispathced the third of the thugs.

The invisble Duergar then reappeared, one hit Devoir as he popped up beside him. The guards came back from being pushed away and surrounded Devoir focusing fire. Thog and Bruna would have none of this as they went to help. Devoir was fine as he retaliated. Brandis, the twin missile launcher, took down two different Duergar with one fwip of his bow. Dreth was badly injured but Devoir healed him with his holy touch.
Hoffat killed another two with his magic (remind me to trust the Tiefling from now on) and a zone of grasping magic appeared and Hoffat pushed one into it, killing it.

Bennen tried his luck again and missed again, as Thora and Bruna double teamed the nearest undedark Dwarf. Seeing a chance to hit one of the Scouts before they went invisible again, I launched a Bola, knocking it down, dazing it, and nearly taking him out. Serves him right for not paying attention. He vanished in a pool of blood, but I could sense he was still there.
The battle raged on, blows exchanged, Dreth stood up and took on a guard on his own, missing but slicing him on the backswing, slitting this throat. Devoir charged past and attacked a scout that was invisible, and in a splat of blood killed it.

Hoffat turned his mighty enchanting spells on the leader, making him stab at himself, but he resisted enough to drive the hammer aside. Bennen finallly shoots and kills a target. Hoffat realized all too late that the leader had ordered an invisible scout to go and get the Aquilans. We tried to locate it but it was too late, it snuck past through the water and out of the cave.

My allies converged on the leader, as Brandis shot the head off of the last resistant Duergar. I wanted to go after the fleeing scout, but I knew it to be a fatal mistake if I did. The Aquilan’s would arrive soon. I turned back to see Bruna gnawing on the armor of their leader, who was being kept alive for questioning.
I searched and spotted a door with strange markings on it… Thora knew nothing about it. but it was locked.
If we didn’t get it open soon, the Auilan’s would arrive and we would be doomed.

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RAGNAROK Journal...4
Loss and Gain

2012 06 14 201840The Lizardmen… how many of them were there and would they send more to find us…?

It was decided that I should sneak up to the Lizard camp and survey what was going on, and since I speak and understand their native tongue, Draconic, it was best I go alone. However, Eti decided to come with me, changing himself into a Lizard Man that we killed in our battle. I felt apprehensive of such a plan, but I went along with it… now I wish that I would not have.

As we got near the camp Eti took out a knife and cut his throat to draw blood. I was shocked, but then saw he meant to wrap a bandage around his throat and act as if he couldn’t talk, were he caught by the Lizard Men.

Sure enough when we got there I was hidden and not noticed but Eti was right away. They took him into the camp and all I could do was watch from afar. Minutes ticked by. I desperately tried to find a way to get closer, but there wasn’t any cover anywhere and the guards were watching the woods waiting for my band. Then movement. I saw a big Lizard Guy walk behind the nearest hut with Eti and they were saying he was crazy and were going to put him down. That was it! I had to act! I shot my blowgun at the nearest guard to induce poison, then threw a bola to wrap around his legs. He fell. I was hoping they would all run over there to see what the scream was, but the big chieftain Lizard guy still attacked with his big axe and I saw Eti go down and the axe come down and making a sickening splosh noise. I hid and moved away as quickly as I could. Guilt riddled my very senses… The Tiefling Hoffat would not be happy her servant had died. I felt responsible, but if I had done anymore it would have been my head too…or worse.

I made it back to the party and told them about what happened and that Eti was dead. We would need to move on to the mountains…

Over the next several days we traveled north. We passed such obstacles as a log over a chasm, giant venus fly traps, hellish darkness and trapits, a crazy old hermit yelling unintelligbly, a river of fire… somehow we ended up on a cliff above a Lizard camp and risked knocking rubble down upon them. I think the worst part was the swarm of Hell Bees and the fire geysers, and then the endless quicksand. Don’t ask how we survived all of it, but we did.

As we reached the edge of the Hellwood there was a weak point in the planar barrier, tinging the sky red, and making each star shine with abyssal light. It didn’t seem to be a barrier to the Nine Hells, but the Infinite Abyss… that would be all we would need! Demons on top of Devils.

Finally we made it out and we were on the barrier of the Hellwood and the Dawn Peak Mountains. Thora, our Druid pointed to the peaks high above and warns of giants… and that they be alligning themselves with the Tieflings. So we stopped and tried to figure out what to do next. Utimately we used my Shadow stealthing abilities to get sneak us along the mountain base to find a path up.

As we follow a stream that was coming from up the mountain we made it to a path and began to climb. Devoir soon spotted Ogre tracks and find an outlook over and Ogre camp. Several Ogres were there sleeping because it was day… they were nocturnal bastards I had to guess. There was a ridiculous debate about attacking them so I stated I would not attack a camp when they had done nothing wrong and walked away. The rest of the group finally agreed and followed.

As night fell we moved off the path and made camp off to the side. We could see a campfire off in the distance. Probably the Orges. Brandis decided to take watch and as we slept we were hit with fungi, thrown at us by our expert fungi forager who had climbed a tree to watch from. Jolting awake we heard footsteps; heavy ones coming up the mountain path.

A deep voice fumbled something and Brandis replied in the same unknown language. And suddenly an Ogre Shaman stepped forward from the path and spoke…
“Your friend appears as though he wants blood.”
I turn and look at Devoir who was about to charge. Thankfully i was completely hidden behind a large boulder and would sneak out and attack if I needed. Playing cat and mouse with these guys was the best way to survive.

Hoffat tried to be diplomatic and the Ogres asked if we wanted to hire them. I was for it. But then I was hidden. We could have gained powerful allies. They continued to negotiate and then finally the Ogre asks for Tribute…
Damn it. They were trying to rob us of gold. Hoffat, who had stepped forward to speak to them suddenly smiled and the Ogre smiled back. Knowing the Tiefling he must have charmed him… it didn’t make much sense to me…
Suddenly they hugged and the rest of the Orges looked JUST as confused. Then the Ogre left. Before leaving he had handed Hoffat a letter of passage… the Ogres went back down the mountain so we went up to get as far from them as we could before they realized what had happened.

We continued up a ways and found a flat area with a huge log fence spanning from one side of a valley to the other. A checkpoint… We approached and a Ogre called out in Giant. Then the Ogre walked up to us and Hoffat shoved the letter of passage in his face. He seemed confused but lets us pass. I step through the gate and along with one other and then a roar in comes from behind us. More yelling erupted and all the Ogres looked angry. Then I saw them… the group from earlier.. the ogres take up arms and grow hostile except for the two by the gate who were confused.

And thus a battle ensued. Spells were slung by the Tiefling, putting some of the Ogres to sleep. Brandis tried to confuse them by telling them their leader wasn’t who he really appeared to be. It didn’t work for long and the fight continued. The majority of us burst onto the field exchanging blows with the Ogres ad getting hit by large rocks from afar. I turn to the female ogre behind us and she smiled evily, so I threw a bola at her knocking her down, and caught her offguard dazing her. Thora and Berry fought valiantly, but Berry was slain, he was a fey beast so he would return.
After taking several blows it looked as if we would die in the open field. I backed up behind the fence as Devoir called for a retreat. Hoffat and Thora made it and Brandis was already with me to begin with. We shot at the female Ogre, and Thora goes back out to heal Devoir ad save him from death as his Displacer Beast rushed forward with him on its back.

The girl ogre stood and tried to hit Brandis. Distracted I got pelted in the shoulder by a large rock. I almost fell forward from the force of the blow and turn and fire at the bastard who hit me with a poisoned blowgun dart, dazing him, allowing Devoir to retreat without being attacked again.

As we all made it to the gate, and Thora killed the Ogre female, and the other Ogre looked confused and said suddenly lifted his fists in anger just as Hoffat cast spells that would slow the orgres advanced, and thus we began the bottleneck tactic. The remaining Ogre actually begins helping us and smacking the other ogres, The other ogres instantly turn on the traitor. Devoir then ran back out beyond the fence to attack another one. Thora joined resummoning Berry. Our Ogre burst out in a bloody rage, killing one of his former allies. We all joined in an effort to save our new friend. He was brave enough to help us, so we wouldn’t let him die. We had already lost too many allies.

As the battle raged on I found an opportunity to shoot another Ogre through the skull. It fell in a heap of death and we retreated and held the bottleneck again finishing the rest of them, with Brandis firing the last shot through the heart of the final stupid Ogre.

We looked at each other, bruised, bloodied and battered, but could only smile that we survived…

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RAGNAROK Journal...3
The Sick, The Hellwood, and near death....

On board the ship, newly dubbed the Outlawz Revenge…

It is was a dreary day. The cold rain pelting our faces, to no thanks at all to the wind make it perpetually worse. We shivered above and below, for no one could find a warm place.
It didn’t help matters that half of the prisoners we rescued were sick. Thora, our Golaith Druid reported that the illness was more than just a cold, but a disease. To avoid an outbreak, we let only the stronger of those who could endure make their way to attempt to aid the sick and possibly dying.

On the deck, despite the rain, I knelt before the fallen Slythe’s body. Praying was not something I was accustomed to… not after all of the godly troubles I and my friends had suffered through.
Regardless, I prayed to whatever deity would hear me. With so many of them dead or imprisoned it was hard to say. As I prayed sparkles rose up from Slythe’s body and with a small contained explosion appeared a displace beast. I rolled backwards drawing my hand crossbow, ready to attack—but then I noticed the rider of the beast. It was a Pixie in heavy armor.
The displacer beast growled at me, and then I heard the Pixie’s voice whisper, “There, there George.”

Sensing no imminent threat from the newcomer, I holstered by crossbow. And asked of him who he was and what his purpose would be. The armored Pixie merely asked what happened to Slythe and then for his journal. He introduced himself as Devoir. A warrior from the Feywild, and twin brother to Slythe. The passing of one Pixie’s death must have opened up a rift between the Feywild and the Mortal World long enough to allow the passage of another. Needless to say it did not take much convincing to get Devoir to join our cause.

The night came as we sailed away from the island and finally got a rest. The rain continued, but was falling lightly. I stood on the front of the ship, staring up into the rain… a sort of cleansing ritual. I was remembering my wife, Rachel, and my dear sweet daughter, Ai.

A fiery light in the distance caught our eyes just then. We realized the iron ships of fire were Aquilan owned, and meant Tieflings galore. So we changed our heading and sailed south east, away from Diablo Island where those ships were going.

Eventually we docked our ship off shore of the land directly east of us and decided, we would go with Thora to the Goliath homeland and try to recruit allies in our war against the Hells.
Even from a mile offshore we could hear the screaming of pain and the howling of monkey like beings… the place was living up to its name already. We went south along the coast until we found a river, once the River of Life, now tainted by the River Styxx and souls of the damned.

After making it to the mouth of the river we went on land and made our way into the wood. Our goal was to the north, and we would have to pass the Hellwood in order to get there.
As we went, we came to a clearing of sorts, and I climbed a large set of rocks to scout around. To my dismay I quickly spotted on a nearby bluff, a large black wolf howling, with red streaked fur, and flames licking its lips. Then I spotted the three others. And as a faint wind blew past I realized we had made a possible fatal mistake. We were upwind of the beasts.

Without a moments notice a wolf wan up and breathed a blast of fire, engulfing most of us within its hellish energies, as the others came running up and attacking, snarling and snapping at our allies heels. I went into action, slinging a bola, and drawing blood from the nearby beast.
Devoir seemed just as reckless, if not more so than his brother, as he charged right into the middle of things.

Another blast of fire engulfed us, drawing my blood, and burning the wounds closed just as fast. Then another blast of fire. I was teetering on the edge of consciousness, as I backed up and summoned my strength, then I fell to my knees, hiding from the view of the wolves, and i began the deadly game of popping up and firing my hand crossbow at the Alpha Wolf of the pack. I tried to remain as hidden as I could, but I feared they knew my location. I continued this until Brandis joined in my strategy and finally we slay the foul hell beasts.

We gathered our strength, licking our wounds. We found a pair of Lizard Man tracks leading away into the brusg. Brandis and I noticed this and saw the culprit hiding in a bush. He noticed our gazes landing on him and he took off deeper into the Hellwood. We tracked the reptile humanoid to the village from where it originated. Armed of the folk walked the barriers of the small community. Then we saw that they were leaving their village in squads of armed soldiers.

With my expert shadowy cloaking, we snuck through the woods and found a group of Lizard Men wandering past. Knowing they were out to get us, and most likely hostile, we ambushed them. I blew a poison into the wind right at the leading member, and although he seemed to resist most of it, he still gripped at his head, no doubt under an assault for control of his mind.
We all did our thing, but it seemed we did so to little effect.

Of course at this point we were noticed, and the battle truly began. Hoffat began casting at the big lizard guy, who doubled the size of nearly all of his comrades. A mystic fired lightning at me, zapping me, and I retaliated, by throwing a bola a the leader, and the special razorbladed rope I made took his scaley head right off.

I turned my attention on the big guy but just then the Displacer Beast runs up to me and Devoir is on its back unconscious and bleeding badly. I growled that I would not lose another Pixie! I quickly tied up his wounds and Devoir woke up, trying to get back in the battle instantly. I heard Eti cry out and I turned to see him hit the ground as the same lizard who spied on us earlier reappeared and blasted light hin my direction… cold darkness embraced me.

……………………………………
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My eyes shot open as I recovered some stamina. I climbed to my feet woozily, and aimed for the big lizard guy sending a bolt one eye and out the other.
With the fall of the big guy our battle for the moment was over.

I felt my wear muscles aching, and wondered just how many more years could I handle such intense battles, then I realized, like Gustav, my master, and grandfather, fought well into his second century of life, and I could only hope to do the same.2012 06 07 192654

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