Cyrus Journal Entry #338

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?  That is something that I shall have to ask Keldon if I ever see him face to face again.  A once trusted comrade, now an unreliable foe.  It is becoming quite apparent to me that Lord Neverember’s reign is one of corruption and deceit masked with the allure of charisma and glamour.  A mask that has claimed the allegiance of this formidable Paladin under the pretense of “The Law”.  Only those faithful to Neverember have received any of his favor as he turns the other way to protect or provide for all citizens of Neverwinter.  No wonder so many factions have formed in this once great city.  How many of them truly stand against Neverwinter?  How many of them are just in doing so? 

As our party came across Neverember’s guards bullying a free speech rally, Erathil and I attempted to break it up.  Despite all that we have already done for this city, those guards would not hear the logic of our words and quickly accused us of being just as guilty as the rest of them.  Cautiously warning those guards that they should walk away, they insisted on pressing the matter forward.  I told the guard to remove his hands from my robes not once, not twice, but thrice.  If only you could have seen the look on the other men standing behind him as I removed his hand for him by placing my foot to his right cheek with just the right amount of force.  It was that moment of which the betrayal of Sir Keldon began.  Without communication or allegiance to his fellow men, his friends, he ran off to get reinforcements in order to stand against Erathil and myself.  With a minor sweat, Erathil and I quickly dispatched of this bullies and took as many as we could alive.  It was then that Sir Keldon arrived with those reinforcements.  It was obvious to me that Erathil would not back down from this cause.  It was obvious to him that I would not let my friend fight alone; a concept Keldon apparently didn’t learn in Paladin school.  Though we fought valiantly, their numbers were just too much for our skills and we were taken captive in one of Neverember’s dungeons. 

As I woke up in the dungeon, the soreness of the battle had encompassed my entire body.  It had been quite some time since I had a beating like that.  I couldn’t help but grin as the pain was like an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  My grin opened even more as I noticed not only my fists chained to the wall but my feet as well.  I guess my roundhouse kicks are getting a reputation of their own.  Seeing Erathil lying on the ground, I waited for him to rise before addressing our situation.  It was apparent that we needed to escape, and escape soon.  We were being held captive but for how long before we were sent to the gallows.  With his help I was able to break my bonds.  Together, we baited the guards into opening the door to attack us.  Foolishly, they thought two of them were capable of putting the two of us down.  Guess that roundhouse reputation didn’t spread as far as I thought.  We fought our way out of the cell and knew we had to flee fast.  As more guards came we hastily began to run up the stairs only to be greeted by a couple familiar faces and one unfamiliar one that referred to himself as Xun.  They threw us our gear and told us to hurry.  Who was I to argue in that situation?  Together we fought our way past guards and skillfully passed the traps along the way through sewers.  As we finally arrived to a clearing, one more familiar face arrived but this one I was not so happy to see for it was Keldon.  As the anger began to arise in myself I could see rage emanating from Erathil.  Keldon had brought what appeared to be an army of men behind him.  As much as I wanted to fight, escape was our only option.  I placed my hand on Erathil’s shoulder and said, “Our vengeance will have to wait for another day.”  He nodded quietly and we both followed Xun down what appeared to be a sewage waterfall.  It was quite a drop but we survived and safely arrived at the city docks without any danger in sight.

Having some time in jail to reflect on these past events only leads me to more questions.  It is quite apparent that I can trust Erathil but what of the other members.  Balasar stood against us in the skirmish that led to our arrest as Esben quietly stood by and merely watched.  However, both of them came back to our aid.  Did they help us escape because of our allegiance as allies on the battlefield or is there more to it than that.  And who is this Xun figure?  Is he somebody we can trust?  Why would he help break out two individuals he had never met.  I have a feeling that many moves are being made behind closed doors in this city and Erathil and I have found ourselves right in the middle of it.  Two things are clear, however.  Neverwinter needs some change, praise Avandra, as Neverember needs to be relieved of duty and Keldon must face the consequences of his actions. 

Sir Keldon- 23 Eleasis, Year of the Ageless One
Logbook of Sir Keldon of Waterdeep, Heir to House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun

It is with a heavy heart that I write this entry from my room at the Moonstone Mask. Two of my now former companions are imprisoned in the Castle Never dungeon, a result of their not only taking part in a riotous skirmish against the city’s peacekeepers, but also resisting arrest and violently assaulting the city watch when they sought only to take them into custody peacefully.

It all started when we accepted a task from General Nabine, leader of Lord Neverember’s forces, to uncover those chiefly responsible for a slavery operation that had recently taken hold in the city. With little information with which to work, we decided to make our way to one of the least patrolled districts of the city in order to acquire more information. After continuing on our walk, we came upon a protest being led by the Nashors gang, their leaders advocating full-scale rebellion and the violent upheaval of the existing leadership of the city by any means necessary. Hundreds were in attendance, the majority of whom were simply poor and disillusioned ordinary citizens, visibly lacking the enthusiasm of the Nashor gang members.

When city guards finally arrived in an attempt to disperse the crowd and preemptively quell a potential riot, I knew the situation was going to escalate, particularly given the violent undertones of the Nashors previous orations. Not wanting to get involved in a street war between rival factions , most of the ordinary citizens had already made their way back to their homes, and all that remained were the armed hooligans of the Nashors gang. They clearly had expected a fight before any of this had even started, and they were well prepared for it.

I immediately left with the intent of summoning more guards to avoid a potential conflict, but not before seeing Cyrus make his way towards the forefront of the Nashors gang, whose members were clearly poised to resist the guard’s orders. Erathil’s disposition also seemed to indicate that he would side against the guards as well if violence ensued.

No sooner than I had made my way through a few city blocks, the sounds of combat echoed from behind me. Fortunately, I soon after stumbled upon a group of guardsman escorting a supply wagon to an eastern wall-field hospital, and I was able to rally them in assisting me in stopping the bloodshed. When we returned to the scene, the battle was over, and the bodies of dozens of guardsman and Nashor’s gang members littered the ground. Covered in blood, Cyrus and Erathil had clearly participated in the conflict, while Esben and Balasar were nowhere to be seen.

When questions by the guards as to their involvement in the skirmish, both stated that they did nothing but attempt to break up the fight. However, the Nashors prisoners clearly felt betrayed by this denial, and it soon became clear that Cyrus and Erathil had indeed taken an active role in fighting against the guards. Erathil’s brutal retaliation against the unarmed and defenseless prisoner for speaking against him served only to validate this point.

I was disheartened to finally learn that what I had initially expected of them was actually true, and I had no choice but to inform the guards of what I had witnessed earlier. However, I still held onto hope that their actions could be explained once tempers had cooled. After all, the situation was chaotic, and it would have been entirely possible that they did not see the situation as clearly as I did in their haste to action. Given my relationship with General Sabine and the rest of the guards, I certainly would have been able to exert at least some of my influence in securing them leniency under the law.

That all changed the moment the guards peacefully tried to take them into custody for further questioning. Inexplicably, Cyrus unleashed a flurry of blows against all of the guards around him, and Erathil soon followed suit. The unsuspecting guards were caught completely by surprise, and many of them sustained significant injuries before they even had the opportunity to draw their swords. These men had played no part in the previous conflict and were simply following orders. Yet here they were being attacked completely without provocation. Even though I had no desire to harm Erathil and Cyrus, my civic duty required that I assist the guardsman in subduing the attackers.

What will happen next for the two of them I cannot be sure. What could have otherwise been a simple fine or a warning issued by a court of law, could now result in them facing justice for assaulting keepers of the peace, inciting rebellion, resisting arrest, and Amaunator forbid…treason. I hope that they will be shown mercy and granted a fair hearing, but I am not sure they are deserving of much more. Either way, I cannot let myself be distracted by the situation further. I have a duty to the people of Neverwinter to root out the slavery that has taken hold here, and I hope that my loyal companions Balasar and Esben will continue to assist me in this endeavor.

Cyrus Journal Entry #337
Tearful Reminder

Avandra be praised!  We have already discovered and taken possession of all three tears.  Though each tear required a challenge to obtain, my companions and I are quickly building chemistry to succeed in such tasks.  Lady Jasmine will be pleased at the haste to which we have accomplished our goal.  Though I was skeptic before about the power of the tears, I am starting to believe these tears have the magic to open the sealed door in the Temple.  And together, they only increase each other’s potential.  They quickly sealed a portal when placed together around it; what great power.  They must have been blessed by Selune herself.  Even if the tears can’t open the door, perhaps they can guide us to other options to absorb knowledge and wisdom of this world.  Perhaps this trip to Neverwinter was not a waste of time at all.

Cyrus Journal Entry #336
Excitement, Disappointment, and Hope

I have crossed many rivers and climbed many mountains on my quest to walk through the gates of Neverwinter.  Finally this day has come and I will not allow any more detours along the way.  After resting for a few moments and grabbing some information on the logistics of the city, my companions joined me to the Temple of Oghma.  As we approached this house of knowledge, my anticipation and excitement were making my hands shake.  Finally, a real chance to find the answers to the way of the world.  I have always had so many questions.  Where did these psychic abilities come from?  Why was I chosen to wield them? How many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop?  And many more?  All these answers, the answers that drive my quest for knowledge, might lie within the restoration of this great temple.  As we approached the temple, I noticed worn down tents and worn down residents.  There is no traffic of scholars or intellects around this building.  After I inquire to a nearby resident, he informs me that the restoration of the temple is underway however merely for shelter.  All knowledge that was once held within these walls no longer remains.  Immediately, the wind is taken from my lungs.  My hands still shaking but this time from the disappointment and confusion that replaced my anticipation and excitement. 

I continued to ascend into the building only to see empty book shelves and broken pews.  I see a guarded staircase and ask the guards if there is any books or records up there.  They smirk and reassure that any knowledge once in these walls is no longer here.  The staircase merely leads to the guard tower which is used to scout out any attacks on the walls of the Protector’s Enclave.  At any sign of distress, the bell is rang and the guards are alerted.  BLASPHEMY!  How can a temple of wisdom and knowledge be replaced with a mere barracks and viewpoint?  Have I come all this way for nothing?  I feel that my anguish is manifesting into a visible form.  Sir Keldon, in a softer tone than usual, insists that we should head to the city wall and see if there is any work for us since our monetary means are quickly dwindling.  I slowly nod my head into acceptance. 

As we are about to leave, I notice out of the corner of my eyes two massive doors.  I am drawn to them, perhaps holding onto the one last thread of hope that there is some knowledge that can establish my purpose in this world.  These doors are definitely locked and have not been opened in years, perhaps centuries.  My extensive knowledge of picking locks and disabling traps assures me that the sealing of these doors is not of a mechanical nature.  Balasar affirms me that he can sense a magic within the doors; a type of magic that is beyond his knowledge.  Excitement turns to disappointment.  Disappointment to hope.  I may not get my answers today but somehow, someway, perhaps I can open those doors and see what lies beneath.  For now I oblige my companions request to look for work and we begin to leave the building. 

On our way out we are approached by a woman in priestess robes.  She introduces herself as Lady Jasmine of the Order of Selune.  She recognizes our ability to successfully accomplish the adventures we seek out on.  It is that ability that she requests we use for her.  For last night three meteorites fell in town last night and she would like us to retrieve them.  These meteorites are actually not meteorites at all, but three Tears of Selune, as to which she would be very grateful in us returning them.  Seeing that she is from a religious and sapient background, I inquire what she knows about the Temple of Oghma and its books and records. 

She says to me, “The books may be gone for good, however the knowledge might not be lost forever.  After the Cataclysm, a man named Brother Anthus continued the research of the house.  He became obsessed with the spellplague and chasm of the city.  Though none of his records are around today he was known to have an apprentice, a prophet whose identity is unknown.  That apprentice left Neverwinter and headed Southeast to the city of Helm’s Head.  Perhaps the answers you seek are still there.”   After I thank her she says, “One more thing.  The last known Lord Master of the Temple of Oghma, Athavas, is believed to have sealed himself within the inner chamber of the Temple.  No record has been seen of him since and he is believed to be dead.  However, he may still have knowledge or records that you seek if you can find the inner chamber.”

Inner Chamber?  Perhaps that is what lies beyond those doors.  I tell Lady Jasmine of the doors and she tells me that she does not have the means to open them but insinuates if we bring her the Tears of Selune, she might just have the power.  These tears might be the key to the maze that life keeps throwing at me.  If we find them, I can continue to take steps forward on the questions I seek.  I do not know how the rest of my companions want to use these artifacts but I feel they must go back to their rightful place for me and for the Order of Selune.  It appears that Lord Neverember has heard of our arrival in town and requests our attendance.  I do prefer to stay under the radar in big cities like this, however it would be difficult to ignore this request.  Sir Keldon does seem anxious to respect the authority and nobility of the Lord of Neverwinter and he seems well versed in the political ring so I will follow his lead.  Perhaps I can have a little fun with the Lord while I’m there.

Sir Keldon- 20 Eleasis, Year of the Ageless One
Logbook of Sir Keldon of Waterdeep, Heir to House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun

My hopes for an uneventful and secretive arrival in Neverwinter were short lived. Not long after my companions had agreed to accompany me to the Neverwinter Hollow, we were greeted by an emissary of Dagult Neverember himself, and our presence was requested before the Lord Protector immediately. I knew that it was unlikely that I would be able to escape his notice for long after departing Waterdeep. Undoubtedly his spies have kept him well apprised of our dealings along the Neverwinter road, and it is no surprise that he would take an interest in our arrival in the city.

My companions are unfamiliar with the ways of the noble houses of Waterdeep- their incessant vying for political power and influence at each others expense, the deceitful nature of their empty promises , and the betrayal at first opportunity for gain. It is a game that I have little penchant for, but fortunately one my father taught me well. I had hoped to remain neutral in my dealings with the various factions I expected to find here, but the lure of the game of thrones is strong, and I feel that I may be forced to choose sides whether I like it or not. My new-found companions will face similar choices as well.

Perhaps Lord Neverember views me and my companions as a proxy through which he can extend his influence further over the city. Frankly, despite the insidious nature of the majority of Waterdeep’s noble houses, he has given us little reason to ignore his offers of hospitality and employment. The city may be under the iron curtain of martial law, but the Lord-Protector has at least brought peace to this war-torn landscape.

Dangerously enough, we have already entertained the company of those who would oppose his rule openly. After defending the eastern wall from an invasion of spell-plagued ghouls, we were approached by this group of dissidents called the Sons of Alagondar and invited to one of their establishments in a seedier part of the city. Normally I would scoff at the prospect of meeting with a revolutionary-minded organization bent on overthrowing an established Lord, but I learned that they seek only to install a rightful ruler to power in the city. They couldn’t substantiate this cause further without a symbolic gesture of good faith on our part, but this was a commitment we were unwilling to make. Until the Sons of Alagondar can prove to us why it would be worth subjecting the people of Neverwinter to a full-scale rebellion, I imagine our relationship with them will remain tenuous at best.

Cyrus Journal Entry #335
Another Twist in the Story

As I had begun to prepare for our journey to Neverwinter, a troublesome cry came from the rest of the group.  Sir Keldon was inspecting the Bard, who had failed to relay the extent of his injuries.  As the paladin stepped away, his hands covered in the dragonborn’s green blood.  After consulting with Erathil, he insisted that we must make haste to the next town for the Bard would not make it to sunrise if we did not get him medical attention.  Without question, Esben threw the song performer over his shoulder and we all continued down the road at our fastest pace possible. 

We were very fortunate for it was not long until we reached a nearby town, that’s main purpose was to provide food and lodging to those passing by.  We quickly acquired a room and bed for Balasar to rest, however rest would not heal this mortal wound.  The tavern owner informed us that the courtyard currently held the attendance of three merchants who might be able to insist us.  Esben stayed in to attempt to gather information inside the tavern and perhaps scope out the friendliness of the barmaids.  Sir Keldon and Erathil approached a shady looking merchant for his stock of goods while I caught eye of the gorgeous, half-elf Iona.  After inspecting the wounds of our comrade, it was apparent that healing means necessary to close the wound were outside of her knowledge and her stock.  She graciously volunteered to make the potion if we could find a way to get the ingredients and the recipe the appropriate tonic.  I bid her farewell and reconvened with the rest of my companions.  They had found the ingredients, three to be exact,  necessary to make the remedy that would heal Balasar, however only had information on two of them.  The shady merchant, Jafar, had the first ingredient, moon berry, but required quite a few for it.  Though, you can’t put a price on the life of a friend.  The second ingredient was Baker’s yeast, hopefully held by the Tavern owner.  The third was a white mushroom with blue spots, that we could only pray to find in the trees nearby. 

Jafar had offered to give us the moon berry for free if we were to sabotage his competition, Iona.  Against this plan, I began to form an idea to steal the moon berry from him.  My hand would be swift enough to take such an item, however the price of getting caught would be steep with the courtyard covered in security form both the merchant and the tavern keeper.  Putting our heads together, we were able to form a plan with the assistance of Iona.  We would pretend to sabotage her goods and perform a rouse that would trick Jafar into giving us the moon berry.  Though Sir Keldon refused this idea, it was the best way to save some cash and con the con man. 

As the rest of the group went in to the tavern to discuss the Baker’s yeast with Sleepy Pete, I ran into a seasoned adventurer.  On my travels, you learn to spot a man who was familiar with taking care of himself and traveling the roads.  And with great luck, PRAISE AVANDRA!  This ranger, Robin, was familiar with the location of the mushrooms we would require.  He only asked for our assistance in taking down a nearby dire wolf he had his sights on.  After convening with the group, it appears the tavern owner had a request of his own.  He wanted us to kill and bring back proof of the nearby bandit leader who had been stealing the tavern owner’s goods and livestock.  Making it difficult for them to eat and survive.  We all looked at each other and agreed.  We decided to hunt the dire wolf first and ask the tracker to lead us to the bandit’s hideout after.  Unfortunately, despite my persistence, he would not assist us in battle with the bandits for he could not take a human life.  We swiftly headed out to the dire wolf location and made quick work of that beast and his cubs.  As part of the deal, Robin detected the appropriate mushroom and lead us to the tracks of the nearby bandits. 

Still traveling with haste, we barged into the bandits camp.  Sir Keldon demanded surrender and insisted that we took the leader Jezebel alive.  She and her henchmen just laughed at us.  Sir Keldon responded with a one on one battle of strongest warrior versus strongest warrior.  Jezebel agreed announcing herself as the strongest warrior.  I started taking a step forward as Esben placed his giant hand on my chest and accepted the challenge.  The battle could have gone either way, but it was Esben who stroke the victorious blow bringing Jezebel to her knees begging for us to spare her.  We insisted that she come with us, as the deal was agreed upon prior to combat.  She refused.  Afraid for her life at the hands of the tavern keeper she instructed her henchmen to fight.  Still weak from his battle, Esben went down quickly at the first attack.  I quickly jumped in using the flow of my punches and kicks to push the first wave back.  After the rest of my party joined the fight those orcs and hobgoblins didn’t stand a chance.  Furious with her dishonesty, Erathil fumed with rage to hash onto Jezebel but Sir Keldon was able to talk him down from taking a defensiveless life. 

We escorted Jezebel back to the town and made good on all our promises.  As Sleepy Pete gave us the yeast we now had all the components we needed.  Iona quickly concocted the healing potion and applied it to our wounded ally.  Immediately, it’s healing properties were noticed and I was assured that after a quiet night’s rest Balasar would be on the road to recovery.  Only time can tell but at least this is one more knife we have dodged on our journey to Neverwinter.  What else awaits us on that long road there?

Sir Keldon- 17 Eleasis, Year of the Ageless One
Logbook of Sir Keldon of Waterdeep, Heir to House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun

The four of us made an expeditious march north until we saw the comforting glow of an inn only a few miles in the distance. Esben still had the unconcious Balasar slung over his shoulder, his endurance seemingly unwavering despite the hastened pace I set for the party. Upon arriving, we immediately put the injured dragonborn to rest and sought to procure the necessary components for an alchemical concoction that would prevent his physical condition from worsening.

Fortunately, our close proximity to the well-traveled Neverwinter road meant that there was a host of traveling merchants plying their wares, and we were quickly able to locate an apothecary capable of brewing a suitable curative. He was a dubious looking fellow, and my instincts immediately led me to believe that he would attempt to take advantage of our desperate situation. Sure enough, he agreed to sell us a rare ingredient for an exorbitant sum, an amount that would have surely bankrupted all of us and left our party destitute prior to even reaching Neverwinter. I considered threatening the unscrupulous fellow for his extortionate tactics, but my companions quickly recognized my growing discontent and ushered me away before I escalated the situation. I decided to keep watch over Balasar as the rest of the party concluded the negotiation and discerned the location of the remaining ingredients.

In addition to the rare ingredient offered by the apothecary, we needed a very specific form of baker’s yeast of which the innkeeper had precious little, as well as a mushroom known only to hunters familiar with the surrounding landscape. The innkeeper of the establishment agreed to part with his yeast if we were able to capture or kill a particular bandit leader that had been terrorizing the nearby roads. We readily agreed. Before departing, we were able to join forces with a ranger who could not only recognize the mushroom strain that we needed, but also lead us in the direction of the bandit encampment if we agreed to help him kill a dire wolf in the area.

After slaying the dire wolf, the ranger pointed us in the direction of where he suspected many of the bandits were congregating. Soon after, we walked brazenly into the bandit encampment, the untrained half-orc rabble completely unaware of our presence until we were almost on top of them. The fools hadn’t even posted sentries to alert the rest of the band of highwaymen of our approach. Normally I would have led the men into an immediate charge and cut down the unsuspecting miscreants before they had the opportunity to react (such lowly brigands would hardly have been worthy of an honorable fight after all) but I realized that the bandit leader would be more valuable to us alive.

Just as swords were about to be drawn, I immediately issued a challenge to the female leader, one that I knew she could not refuse without losing the respect of her subordinates- Our best fighter against theirs, the terms being that she had to come with us willingly if her champion were defeated. Naturally, as the strongest one-on-one fighter, the goliath Esben was the logical choice to represent us, and the female leader herself stepped forward to face him in this test of arms. After a flurry of axe blows by Esben, the female leader was quickly brought to her knees, but she reneged on our agreement and combat ensued. I should have expected as much to begin with. Nevertheless, their leader already significantly injured, the remainder of the orc rabble were swiftly dispatched, and we were able to capture the bandit leader alive.

After returning with our prisoner, the gracious innkeeper agreed to part with his precious baker’s yeast as well as provide us with free room and board for the duration of our stay, but there was still the matter of acquiring the last ingredient from the mischievous apothecary.

By the Light, the bastard had the audacity to attempt to entice us to poison his competitors stock of wares in lieu of full payment. I was very near assailing the man for even pondering such a proposal, but once more my companions pulled me aside and reminded me that Balasar’s life was still hanging in the balance, and we had no other options to consider. Discretion, as they say, was the better part of valor in this instance, and we cleverly crafted a plan to dupe the ne’er-do-well into thinking we had actually completed the task. Normally the codex would compel me to combat the misdeeds of lawbreakers directly, but I believe that Amaunator will sanction the necessity of my clandestine actions this day.

Shortly after, we had the restorative potion in hand, and administered it to the injured Balasar with due haste. He has already begun to show improvement, and I believe that he will be in a condition to travel in a few days. With any luck, this will be the last obstacle we overcome on our way to Neverwinter.

Cyrus - Journal Entry 334
Unanswered Prayers

How blessed Avandra has made me. As I crave for more knowledge and wisdom, this past encounter would be more than I am capable of consuming. Despite my prayers for answers, She shielded me from them only to protect my well being. Though I am filled with disappointment, the trade off is well worth it

The day started with my new companions, as one of a hundred typical treasure hunts I have done before. I walked into a room full of Demon heads that’s bark was worse than its bite. This room was full of traps that were so noticeable, a blind man could have avoided them. I quickly held my allies up and disarmed this simple contraption before any alarm was set. Unfortunately, our only reward was a dead end. As we backtracked to set forth on a different path through the Mere, the most unusual thing happened. Five shadow creatures confronted us with such great power and ability. And stranger yet, each one resembled each one of us. Knowing the true power of my fists and feet, as this shade’s ability to recreate my own techniques, I immediately aimed to dispatch my dark clone of mine. This encounter tested each one of us to the brink of our abilities. These combatants matched us in skill and if not for our teamwork, might have dispatched each and every one of us.

After tending our wounds we continued down our path to find an illusion not easily seen by the human eye. Our paladin quickly reached for this sword only to be sucked down this black void. Fearful of his safety, I quickly leaped after him hoping to grab him but was doomed to the same fate. Once again Avandra, smiled upon me. Though the source of my ki was taken from me, I remained unscathed from the fall. As soon as I was aware of my presence, I noticed that my other allies had also come through the void. All without armor and weapons, fortunate for me, I never relied on such trivial things to survive.

It was here that the answer to the power of the Mere was held. I could sense it immediately. It was a power that I had never felt. It was a power that intrigued me. However, it was a power that I feared. No matter what essence thrived in this room, on top of that tall pyramid; no matter what answers it could give me; nothing good would come of it. And in what time had we arrived, for a ritual to summon this power was still taking place. It had not yet been completed. There was time to stop it and I knew immediately that’s what I had to do. Identifying the caster holding the ceremony, I quickly rushed to confront him. As I launched off the cliff, it was almost as if I floated down to the ground. Never breaking my stride I continued up the pyramid and quickly swiped the source of the ritual from the caster, a clay phylactory throbbing with power. As I continued to confront the caster in hand to hand combat, I could tell he was summoning undead creatures around the pyramid. And without hesitation, without the weapons and armor they were accustomed, my allies took on these horrific creatures defeating each and every one. As more rose, more were destroyed. The battle continued to go on, but without their source of power, they were no match for our experience and power. Taking the phylactory to the Paladin he identified it as a source to resurrect Skroulus. Not only could he be resurrected, but with the power of a Lich, it was good to know that I wouldn’t be confronted with that answer I sought. For that answer would most definitely come with the price of my soul.

Attempting to rid the world of this Lich forever, we shattered the phlactory. But as the clay statue hit the ground, the curse on Sir Keldon was lifted but the power that held the Mere together faded. We quickly had to escape this place before it crushed us under it’s weight and escape we did. We were fortunate to leave with our lives but with more answers as well. What happened to Skroulus? Would this be the last of him? Have we unleashed him on the world? And at what cost of breaking the curse of the Lich have on the world? I must stand guard. But for now Avandra has led me back to the road to Neverwinter; the road to safety. I can now follow it to my original quest, to the Temple of Oghma. Though my questions of power were not answered today, one question was. These men that stood by me in the Mere were no longer considered threats to me but allies. Each one prevented me from making the days in the Mere my last and for that I am grateful. Perhaps now I can trust them with my true purpose. Perhaps now, they might aid me. We shall see as we rest on this road to the next step in our lives.

Sir Keldon- 16 Eleasis, Year of the Ageless One
Logbook of Sir Keldon of Waterdeep, Heir to House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun

Weary from our foray into the Mere of Dead Men, we decided to make camp early along the road leading to Neverwinter. In the fading light, the crumbling mass of the spire is no longer visible above the treetops, but dusty fallout from its destruction still lingers in the sky. The ruined stronghold is now nothing more than a heaping mass of stones, and will no longer serve as a bastion for the corrupted cultists that had previous inhabited it. Even with Amauntator’s guidance, we barely made it out of that accursed place alive.

After last night’s brief rest within the spire, we made our way deeper inside the labyrinth of tunnels. With each step I felt an increasing lust for blood that was almost insatiable, and I knew immediately that it was the effects of the curse consuming me further. For a moment, I thought I might be completely overwhelmed by the urges, but the thrill of battle was sufficient to clear my mind of foul thoughts and allow me to put intent towards dispatching enemies of the Light. The dark magic of this place had conspired to form unholy shadow creatures that mimicked our own abilities, and we were forced to conquer our own inner demons before we could continue our journey.

Illusionary phantoms whispered promises of untold wealth to me at every turn, and I am unsure whether or not the rest of the party was also subjected to their temptations. When I reached out to examine a most exotic looking scimitar, I was immediately transported to an underground cavern and magically stripped of all of my belongings. It was a most dishonorable device to be sure, the mark of a truly ignoble and unworthy foe. Bereft of all my weapons, I was forced to meet the undead threat that soon assailed us in that underground cavern with nothing but my bare hands. A prayer and Amaunator’s grace alone would provide for my protection. Fortunately, I was able to scavenge a rusted long sword after a few minutes and bring the true death to the undead creatures.

After the first wave of undead had been cut down, we spotted the necromancer responsible for raising the undead creatures, and immediately sought to bring our arms to bear against him. It was soon apparent that he intended to imbue himself with the soul and power of Skoulos, and needed only a few undisturbed minutes to complete the ritual. I knew at that moment that this was the man responsible for my family’s misfortune, and Orcus himself would not stop me from sending this man to the Maker. He was an elusive foe, but our monk managed to steal the key component of the dark ritual, preventing him from completing the task. Without his legion of undead to protect him, he was quickly dispatched.

The battle over, I took a moment to examine the artifact the monk had procured for us- a clay phylactery containing the blood of the one called Skoulos. Destroying it, we surmised, would dispel the magic trapping us in the stronghold, but could also have unintended consequences. Left with little choice, I smashed the phylactery into the ground, and immediately felt an immense discharge of magical energy, as well as a release from the bloodlust and transformation that had taken hold of me. Have I finally rid myself and my family of the curse? I cannot say, but the effects of seem to have finally subsided. Perhaps now I can finally find redemption, even if I am the only one left of my family to experience it. Nonetheless, I am left with lingering doubts as to whether or not this evil has truly been vanquished, and will remain ever-vigilant in the future.

I am unsure of my family’s role in the scheme of all of this dark magic, but I intend to find the answers. Was this a promise made by one of my ancestors? An ancient oath that demanded fulfillment? By the will of the Gods, perhaps my family’s continued suffering was the only means of keeping this evil at bay- a debt paid by a few to serve the needs of the many. If that is the case, than by breaking the curse I fear that I may have inadvertently unleashed this threat upon the world.

I cannot change what has happened here, but if this is true, then I shall declare myself the unyielding instrument of Amaunator’s divine justice, and ensure that this evil is never allowed to resurface again. I will travel the length of Faerun and to the planes and beyond if required of me, forsaking all other obligations and material pursuits in pursuit of this goal. This I vow, until the last breath has left my body, and I have not a drop of blood left to spill in His name. I, Sir Keldon, last surviving member of House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun, do solemnly swear it.

Sir Keldon- 15 Eleasis, Year of the Ageless One
Logbook of Sir Keldon of Waterdeep, Heir to House Manthar, Knight-Errant of the Brotherhood of the Glorious Sun

Again I find myself in precarious circumstances, trapped underground in a crumbling fortress near the Mere of Dead Men with a motley band of travelers who have hardly a modicum of formalized military training between them. At least they know how to defend themselves in battle, albeit in unconventional ways.

I am…unaccustomed to fighting alongside a man wearing nothing but robes and wielding a child’s play toy unfit for even a squire, and yet I have not seen such alacrity in combat ever before. It is as though he had the ability to bend the space around him to his will, landing blow after blow against our enemies simultaneously with the gracefulness of a Calimshan ballerina.

I laughed mockingly as the bard strummed his lyre while I spilled the blood around me, and yet I could not help but feel oddly reassured by his presence. Is this some sort of magic I have not felt before? Either way, it is comforting to know that my prowess in battle has already inspired the creative mind of the minstrels, and I look forward to bringing more praise to Amaunator’s name.

The presence of a cleric is a familiar and welcome site for any paladin during times of conflict, and this one is no different. He is uncharacteristically aggressive in combat, and yet not without poise and awareness under duress. Graced by Selune’s power, his luminescent beams of radiance add a welcome vibrance to this dark place. However, I must say, I find his voracious sexual appetite rather unsettling. I am not one to pry into the private affairs of others, but it seems as though he shares the same affinity for women as he does for men. Light be praised, I hope that I do not have to bear witness to such debauchery in the future.

What’s more- There was even a shape-changer amongst the group who transformed from a Dragonborn to a Goliath before my very eyes- A strange sight to behold indeed!

I had originally thought to make this journey alone, but even I could not have expected the taint of this land to be so perverse, and I must admit, my divine strength would have been pushed to the absolute limit were it not for their assistance. Perhaps fate has intervened and brought us together for some greater purpose.

It may be difficult for me to get this group to accept my leadership, but if they continue to charge into battle wantonly, I feel more lives will succumb to the greater threats of this place. I can’t help but feel partially responsible for their presence, despite my initial insistence to press onward without them. With Amaunator’s grace, light will guide them peacefully from this forsaken place, and carry me one step further towards salvation.

Earlier in the day, I had hoped to slip away from the caravan unnoticed before the effects of the curse became more noticeable, but the road’s delay left me with little choice but to travel further in the company of others as we sought an alternative route through the Mere of Dead Men. The group thought that I had led them into some sort of ambush after catching a glimpse of my afflicted features in the swamp, and even sought to press me on the matter after I professed my uninvolvement. It is fortunate that the altercation did not come to blows, as I am uncertain how the codex would judge the slaying of innocents, even in self-defense.

To think that a Paladin of the Light would ever lead an unexpecting group of enemies into an ambush under false pretenses and the guise of peace for the sake of gaining advantage- the mere thought disgusts me. I would rather stand openly as one man against a thousand in glorious battle than experience such dishonor.

The writing is scribbled here, as though someone had written something and then angrily crossed it out.

The Curse is growing stronger. I can feel it- more now than ever before, and I sense that each step is carrying me closer and closer to the source. To what end, I cannot be sure, but I can no longer hide the deformities as well as I could in the past. My gauntlets grow more cumbersome with each passing hour, and it won’t be long before I have to remove them entirely. My boots have swollen to the breaking point, and I hesitate to even inspect them. Now that I reflect on the matter, it is truly a wonder that I managed to hide my features from the rest of The Order for all these years. Perhaps plate armor is as much a friend in battle as it is in keeping secrets.

It all matters very little now, so long as I am still able to grip my sword. Let the curse take me, or let me be damned for eternity- I no longer care. Give me the opportunity to dispense justice to those responsible with my last act of defiance. By Amaunator’s light I swear that I will endure this suffering for a thousand lifetimes if it means honoring my pledge to my father and restoring our family’s honor. One way or another, this ends tonight.


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