ARDUIN: Chronicles of the Grey Company

A report on things Most Foul.
Research and disturbing discoveries.

With several days of research at both the wizards guild and the great library, Immi and Kalain find out several useful bits of information about what demon sly might be seeking. Kalain delivers the following briefing based on his notes.
“The last reported contact with the imprisoned demon was a mage by the name of Wilshander. He was part of a secret group sent to investigate the rumors of a demon trapped in a well. The party included two warriors, a cleric of an ancient god of law, and a rogue as well as Wilshander. The expedition disappeared. The only word ever heard of them again was from a fragment of manuscript bought from a trader.
The fragment read as follows….

" travelled far, far, to the south through barbarian lands. Unintelligible. through hills, halfway between two hamlets , was a tall bald hill, at its top was an apron of stone surrounding a well. After some discussion brother Wilshander was lowered into the well. I wish we had cast detect evil before we did so, for When we drew him back out he was Dead. He was raised and spoke of a deep well with a mass of mist in a huge room at its end.. seemingly contained by jewels as large as a mans head, embedded in the walls that shone upon the mist..all seemed well till night fell, then in camp brother Wilshander turned on us in a demonic rage, and it was only by the power of the great"

… fragment ends.
A brief foray into the books on gems show many can be used for holding spells and other powers differring based on the type of gem and the purpose.
Trying to find out about where they actually travelled to and from we determined wilshander’s tower is approximately 400 or so miles west of talismonde and now claimed by another wizard.
Further research in the library shows they would have had to cross water to get to the area they sought, and that led us to think it might be an island. In a moment of Ra granted inspiration Taldrin checked the reports from the paladin he had written and copied for the Emperor . The description of the bald hill bore a very, very remarkable resemblance to one seen on the island, seen from one of the teleport pads, the island of the black flame, during our adventure to Baltron’s Tower.

We also after some digging and further investigation, questioning someone who was on the council of mages at that time found out more information regarding the demon.
The demon supposedly trapped within is a Storm demon a greater Storm demon. referred to and Landru, not its true name but what it is called. it was known to always enlist a nerwork of agents and servants and always be searching for magical knowledge, items and Artifacts. Among its own kind it was renowned for its spellcasting abilities. Due to its extreme age it was rumored to be more intelligent and cruel than even is normal for its kind. They have four arms and can attack many times as well as elemental attacks and soul draining attacks.. "
That my friends is all I have for now..

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Rage, Rage against the Falling of the Night
Balance, My Ass!

Nightfall the bringer of darkness. The sword of balance. What a load of drek. After battling with the blade for more than half a day i was finally allowed to sheath it. At least now i did not have to stalk the city worrying about being accosted by the gaurds.

It was clear to myself an ANYone with half a brain who knew me the blade was in control. Oh I was allowed to do in general as I wished but now it could take the reigns at any time. Such is the pattern of my life it seems, outside forces exerting direct control and turning me into a pawn. Leptor. The Fucking Pixie. Ra. At least The Last was Honest about its intentions and goals. This self delusional shitstick claimed it was some force for balance in the universe as if grandiose proclamations could cover its shortcomings and blindness. As if a weapon made by a mage to follow his personal ideals could change how the Gods wished the universe to turn. I am a slave to the blade. For now. Perhaps forever. We shall See just how omnipotent Nightfall really is. I would trade it for The last in a split second.

I distract myself from screaming at it in my head by maing plans for Sly. Ra would perhaps not approve of them but I have not heard his voice in what seems like ages. Alone and under duress I feel I am still good Can still DO good.. but ONE soul is beyond redemption, ONE deserves nothing but the taste of eternity tortured and screaming in the twenty-one Hells. And so I am driven to low life hangouts and pits of sin looking for a trace of the pixie using my charm and wit and occasionally Nightfall if needed trying to find someone who knows Sly someone who can tell me where he might be or where he will be…Because I intend to make SURE he gets his reward for his actions.

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Don't Blink

Once again, she sat Lotus position, a hand wrapped around the warmth of her locket. Typically, she would close her eyes and meditate, let the world go and free her mind for a bit. Not this evening, she couldn’t bring herself to close her eyes tonight. Her thoughts returned once again to the museum, an odd structure in that hell known as New York. It held old things in glass cases, and people paid money to come stare at them. They’d been looking for some clue to a way back home. Immi, had not been much help in that search. Her mind distracted by the children, roaming everywhere. She’d listened quietly to their chatter, the conversation of a little boy and an old man, catching her attention. The little boy had a thousand questions. “What’s that, where’s that from, when did people use those…why don’t we use them anymore? Why do they look so old? The world sure has changed a lot Grandpa.” The old man answered each question with patience, then bent down and patted the boy on the head. “Everything changes little one, don’t blink, before you know it, you’ll change too.”

Everything was changing, just like the old man said, in the blink of an eye. She blinked, her memories were gone. She blinked, her friends were dead. She blinked, and there was a future with uncontrollable magic, a past with none. A friend turned foe. She blinked, she carried the child of her rapist. She blinked, and her desire to terminate that life was replaced with love. Yes, everything changed in a blink.

One moment they were trapped in that time so drastically different from their own, with no idea how to get back. The next, there was Salax with the staff and then poof, they were home. She still didn’t understand how he’d found it, his answer evasive at best. It was mildly unsettling, but not as unsettling as New York and she wasn’t about to question it there, then. Best they get back and see what changes they had wrought. Best they get back and attempt to separate Kalain from that sword. She liked him better when he acted with his mind. A sword with its own purpose was rarely good for anyone in her limited experience. Who knew if what it said regarding Ra and the Myriad was true. Who knew if it wasn’t simply trying to bring about its own change…balance, as it said. Immi didn’t wholly trust Ra, even if he had restored her life on multiple occasions. She certainly didn’t trust that sword either. In her, once again limited experience, everyone had their own motives for what they did. What were Ra’s motives? What were the Myriad’s? What were the sword’s? Did they align? Were they good? Evil? Was there even a difference or was it simply, as she believed, all just a matter of perception? She did not have the answers, nor would she find them this night. One thing was certain however, the moment she closed her eyes, everything would change. Don’t blink….or do…and hope like hell the winds of change blow in your favor.

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Religion vs. the Goodness of Law

“Ra is part of the Myriad” The words echo in my mind as I try to understand the logic and order of it. The evil of the world, er, “worlds”, has manifested in sentient beings, of the man-like variation, with solid black, glossy eyes. Set’s minions. The Cult of the Black Flame. Evil.

Thus, the sword’s declaration of Ra being part of the Myriad as much as the already identified evils of the world logically does not follow based on the known information of Ra. Ra has illuminated paths and helped us in a number of tangible ways. However, what of the unknown? The unknown can only be inferred and speculated. If Ra is somehow evil, then the unknown would necessarily have to be hidden motives with an end result that is similar to the known outcomes of the other identified evils of the Myriad. Then, if true, I am undermining the very foundation of what defines me. Whatever Ra turns out to be, the goal of goodness and law will override the tenants of religion. I believe in Ra, and will continue to do so unless some corroborating evidence indicating He is not worthy of our beliefs.

Then, what is the sword’s motives, or perhaps put more accurately, what were the motives of the sword’s creator? The sword wants “balance”. As evidence, the sword incapacitated me because my existence created an imbalance, presumably unbalancing the equation of law to chaos and, perhaps, good to evil. The sword in and of itself does not represent evil. The action of reviving me once it learned of the Myriad’s strength seems to imply that the other part of the equation, represented by me, was needed to correct the balance.

Given that motivation, is it possible that, for the sword, the Myriad actually represents elements of good/evil and law/chaos that unbalance the equation, but not necessarily that the Myriad’s component parts are all evil or chaotic. If this hypothesis is true, then the sword will want to incapacitate me again as evil elements of the Myriad are defeated.

A balanced equation, however, is not a desirous end. Goodness does not equal Evil, and Law does not equal Chaos. Each would have to be equal for the balanced equation to make sense:

  • Good = Evil
  • Law = Chaos
    These ends are not equal, and thus the effort to create “balance” is inherently flawed. The Goodness of Law will and must triumph for the betterment of the whole. Our effort is not about the betterment of the individual, but the collective. My community.

Thus, the sword will need to be buried in a swamp to be lost in time, or, better yet, dropped into a volcano and destroyed forever. Otherwise, it’s attempt to “balance” the “equation” threatens the collective and the good of all.

Jeffrey slides his Ring of Righteous Resistance onto his carapaced finger alongside his Ring of Protection.

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Back from New York

Freshly returned from the “Big Apple”, Salax has been silent about how the means of the party’s return was acquired, in part because Salax is not entirely sure why he got the staff. We appear opposed to the Myriad’s goals, yet wasn’t it their agents that were the source of the staff, enabling our return, but why? What did they have to gain from it? But are we really opposed? Or do we just not understand? Perhaps there is more to what is going on, and we need to know more about their motives, not just the end result. If they wanted us to return, maybe there are different factions at work. We cannot be blindly opposed to that which we do not know about…

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Musings

Missing party members, loss of life and limb, godly restorations, such strange magics. She had not expected retrieving a Soul to be easy, no easier than her memories for certain. But this, oh yes, this little adventure held more danger and surprises than even that nasty little deck of cards it seemed. Demons and Deities were not to be trifled with, of that she was sure. Immi palmed the locket, taking comfort in its growing warmth.

Ra gained strength as we fought for his cause, pulling her compatriots to his faith like moths to a flame. She felt the pull as well, the tug to be and do his good. Immi was neither good nor bad, at least in her own estimation. But then good vs bad was a matter of perception, was it not. She’d spent many hours pondering these things, faith, her very nature. She did not know the nature of her soul before she woke up in the smoking husk of a wagon. Had she been good, or had she been involved in such evil that her entire caravan, save herself, had perished for their foul deeds? Victim of circumstance or retribution? Had she prayed to some God who did not hear or heed her pleas as the wagons burned? If she was evil before, was her soul damned, no hope of redemption? Perhaps…perhaps not.

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The Adventurer

The Adventurer

I have traveled through the Ebon Gates on the Plateau of Forever, seen the highest
peaks of the Misty Mountains and looked down into the dark swirling mists of The
Devils Footprint.
I have delved deep within foul Skull Tower, wintered on the northern border of far
Ghorfar where the Blue Barbarian Amazons wield their deadly skills and felt the
oppressive heat rising from the jungles of Green Hell far to the south.
I have ridden the trails with brave men and craven, mad men and priests; I have
known warriors, thieves, mages, treasure seekers, glory hounds, fools and wisemen.
I call Deodanths my blood enemies, Dwarves stout hearted, Elves fools and Centaurs
gallant foes. I have seen true honor and nobility in the bug folk called Phraints and
courage unheard of from Halfling bakers.
I know the terrors of the Night of the Black Solstice, the fear that grips men when
Amazons close to battle screaming like Furies from legend and the sweet thrill of
victory when the last foe dies or flees the field.
I’ve seen the deadly ballet of combat between TIE fighter and Dragon played out
with lethal finality over the Mountains of Madness. I’ve fought in the blood games of
Melnibone’, traded skins with a Marmachandian merchant and walked the streets
of Talismonde’ side by side with Vampyr and Paladin companions.
I’ve searched for the Yabander stone, and found the Blood of Sorkar. And
once…Once…I saw Stormbringer, unsheathed,…. and lived to tell the tale!
I welcome home those who’ve been there, and to those who’ve just begun the
trip…Hang on folks, you’re in for the ride of your lives!

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Jeffrey's Prayer

Oh Enlightened One, please hear my prayer.

I live to serve Thee and promote Your Grace upon this Earth.

Please grant my Company the strength and endurance to beat back the jackals of evil, despair, and lawlessness.

May our efforts to destroy these harbingers of death and disorder come as swiftly as Your Favor upon us.

Though I may not understand love, know that I see the results of Your Love upon all of Your Children.

Though I may not understand bravery, know that I will see Your Will completed or leave the mortal world entirely.

Though I may not understand compassion, know that my actions serve to support my company and anyone of our community in need of Your Assistance.

Finally, grant us the accuracy to strike Your Enemies at the base of their skulls as doing such is logically the most advantageous point of weakness. Left of center in the upper part of the chest would lead to a similarly efficient and immediate death, and thus would also be acceptable.

In all these things, we ask humbly in Your Name as Your Children of the Sun.

Amen

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Home or the Long March

It was precarious, to be sure. Dangling from a rope, I worked to pry open the door to the lower level of the vertical shaft. Immi, as she prefers to be called, hovered nearby to catch me should something happen. Or, Immi may escape if she were unable to fight overwhelming opponents.

Finally, the door prys open just a crack so that I can force them open. Before I could do much else, I am ravaged by the energy blasts from the evil forces. Pain engulfs me.

As the pain fades, I recognize my surroundings. An intense, comforting warmth as light suffuses my being.

“Jeffrey”, the now-familiar voice of Ra says. “Do you wish to embrace the eternal, the everlasting peace of the afterlife?”

Standing alone, floating in empty space I respond. “To be one with you, I would gladly leave the realm of the mortals. However, I live to serve. If you have need of me, then I will live on. If my companions require me to aid in their survival, and assisting them is Your will, then the decision is yours.”

“Make your choice my son, there is no shame in defeat, however your entire life has been pain, even if you did not always realize it to be so. Now is no different, your burden is yours alone, and you have been a shining example to the rest of your coterie, you have served as a beacon to light the darkness of their hearts, so much so that your companion Kalain has returned to the light”

Ra’s voice pauses, and allows the words to sink into my consciousness.

Ra continues, “You are the only one who can make the choice to go on, or to rest at last.”

I do not experience shame, fear, or… love. At least not in the traditional sense. The world, and my faith, falls into discrete columns of an equation, some elements adding, others subtracting. All lead to one logical conclusion that comes quickly.

“I should not leave my companions,” I respond stoically. “A life of sacrifice is necessary to carry out Your will. I live not to seek reward, but rather to forward Your cause. Logically, if I believe in Your will and Your law, I must return. Any other course would renounce my beliefs. This temple will be restored. No matter the personal cost in this life or the next.”

“Then return, my son,” Ra answers softly. “Save your companions and demonstrate your devotion, and in furtherance of this I grant to you the full measure of your abilities.”

I return, lying on the floor of the room, my companions, Talyia nearby. My body and mind are restored. The warm, blinding light slowly dissipates leaving me once again in the cold, dark world. The peace and comfort of Ra’s embrace remain only as a memory.
A memory of my reward to come. Surely enough to sustain me.

But I have promises to keep, and many miles to go before I can sleep.

[Conversations with Ra captured in-game chat. All lost levels were restored.]

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Avarice

Once again, the Company devolves into a discussion of how to acquire treasures and trinkets. Normally, I wait patiently as the spoils of our missions enable us to better face future trials, with the vast majority of my share of such treasure simply goes to charitable causes, unless useful tools to further our cause are found. I look upon such “treasures” with a quiet pragmatism, instead of greed. Greed, it seems, is yet another emotion that is lost on me.

In our present quest to find the soul of Kalaine, we search a defiled temple of a god named Ra. Obviously, Ra is not the Sun representing my Lord, but a sacred place is still to be respected. We found a room marred by these followers of Set, apparently a god of particular evil. I was, ah… what is the word emotive races use? Surprised? Members of the Company cleaned and repaired the altar. And then, a secret treasure room was found, obviously a place where the priests of Ra hid the valuables to keep them safe. I knew what would logically follow, and watch as the treasures were looted. Why repair the altar only to raid the temple’s treasures? I suppose if I had a more malleable face, my eyebrows would have furrowed with confusion. Instead, the only facial expression I have, the stony visage of an insect, implied nothing of my thoughts about the matter.

I decided to pray for guidance as the other discussed the loot. Time slipped away, and while my eyes can never shut like the man-like races, my vision blurred showing only a bright white light. In these moments I can feel my Lord’s grace and peace. At first softly, I heard a voice calling to me. It repeated the same message over and over, growing louder each time.

“Lead them on the path of righteousness. Use your unwavering resolve. Command from strength. Do not compromise.”

I heard the words, but I did not truly understand what actions would demonstrate following my Lord’s instructions. The voice would not relent.

LEAD THEM on the path of RIGHTEOUSNESS. USE your unwavering RESOLVE. COMMAND FROM STRENGTH. Do not COMPROMISE.”

Disallow poor behavior by immediate admonishment? Hold the Company to a higher standard? Enforce rules and order? Once again, my Lord’s voice echoed.

LEAD THEM ON THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. USE YOUR UNWAVERING RESOLVE. COMMAND FROM STRENGTH. DO NOT COMPROMISE.”

I was unsure of how much time had passed, but the Sun’s command left little doubt in terms of how to proceed next.

The Company is not a commune, each member working in synchronicity with each other for the betterment of the whole.

The Company is not a democracy where all decisions must be made together with no opinion overruled.

The Company is part His Majesty’s military, and the Company thus has one and only one commander.

Sir Jeffrey Godspeed the White, commander of His Majesty’s Grey Company.

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