The Age of Reason

FWP: None of These Idiots Can Handle the Truth

We went to meet Telerden at the train station. It arrived on time, and we saw him get off, though his hands were in manacles. I knew him well enough to know that there had probably been a misunderstanding and that any fault rested with the man next to him, who was also in manacles. This would of course complicate things, which was a little irritating. Then someone went and shot them. The other fellow went down immediately, having received a bullet to the chest. Telerden’s wound was more of a graze, and he pulled the other fellow back into the train with him so that the rest of us could deal with his problem – one of his problems, I should say. To be specific, we were to deal with the two gunmen. Dealing with legal matters would come at a later time.

One gunman was killed in the fight, and the other one was injured severely enough that the local guards could take him into custody. I wonder how many times we will be doing other people’s jobs for them. We investigated kidnappings, killed or captured the kidnapper kobolds, rescued the children, and now we’re defending a town from raiding parties and gunmen. Did the world suddenly fall into a state of anarchy without me hearing the news of it? Or have people been devolving into monkeys and leaving me behind?

Whatever the case, Telerden was taken into custody, despite having been quite well-behaved and choosing not to stab any guards in the back while they were distracted with not killing the two gunmen and instead watching the rest of us do so. Flirt was nowhere to be found, which I can only assume he was flirting with someone – or perhaps, had finished flirting and had move on to… other activities that may or may not begin with an f. This of course meant that I was stuck with legal duty. I suppose it was for the best, though; no one else seems quite as capable when it comes to the intellectual prowess necessary to deal with legal issues.

I discussed the matter with Telerden, who reported that he was not certain why he was currently in jail. The person who would need to press charges was currently deceased. I suppose I could have offered to animate his corpse, but that would not have been very useful, being that we want the witnesses to remain silent in such instances. Regardless of what may have been the case, the fact of the matter was that, legally, the town could not hold Telerden or his client, Leonard. Due to the lack of any sort of evidence or any sort of actual charges against them, they had to be released.

I went to see the man in charge. Naturally, it was the man who was dead, and the rest of the fellows present didn’t know who was to be in charge in his place. Whether they were actually that stupid or merely intimidated by my obvious intellectual advantage I can only guess – and by guess, I mean I know for a fact that no one wanted to be made into a fool after having dealt with me. Unfortunately for his pride and dignity, I know enough to know to ask who was second-in-command. Everyone else knew enough to know they had better point someone else if they didn’t want me to thrash their entire institution to the ground with my tongue. Aka, without anyone in charge, I could do whatever I pleased without any legal ramifications to worry about. So now I finally had a man in charge to speak with. How pleasant?

I explained the situation and requested that Telerden and Leonard be released. He refused, muttering some excuse that essentially amounted to little more than “I have no idea what I’m doing, please stop it with the big words.” Clearly, he needed a crash course in how to do his job. I quoted the exact law, along with the section and subsection it could be found in. I explained the meaning along with how it applied. I then proceeded to explain how he would be figuratively crucified in court were he to refuse to release them from their illegal imprisonment. He seemed to understand that I had him under my thumb and that he had no option other than releasing Telerden and Leonard both. I just find it unfortunate that, essentially, I had to resort to such measures to release them. I would have hoped that the people in charge of this backwards town would have had sense enough to listen to reason, regardless of whether it came from a honeyed tongue and batted eyelashes or a harsh voice and a stern gaze. Were Flirt to invite them to hell with him, they would go in a second; but if I were to request their attendance in heaven, they would refuse. I am surrounded by idiots.

Laments regarding the intellectual inferiority of the rest of my species aside, this is where things to an unfortunately interesting twist. The gunman that had been arrested apparently spontaneously combusted. Why were the only witnesses Telerden and his client? I believe I covered the reason previous to this, but I will simply point to the last sentence of the preceding paragraph.

There was demonic magic at work. Furthermore, he had an unholy symbol. I recognized it, of course; it belonged to a demon lord, and I knew exactly which one.

The town yet again was attacked by goblins. In all honesty, this is getting quite old. We dispatched them, again without assistance from the people who are supposed to deal with this problem.

I suspected that there was a sinister connection between the gunmen and the goblins. Sure enough, the goblins had the same sort of unholy symbol, meaning that there was some sort of actual method to the madness (more than I can say for the people I, unfortunately, work for). I did not reveal everything. I strongly doubt my co-workers would want to know anything about demons. If they did, I still doubt that they would appreciate learning that I have studied about demons and know more than I should. I do not need any questions being asked. I explained that the same mastermind was behind the raids and the gunmen, which was sufficient. I also reported that the raids may have been part of a foolish religious ritual that demanded they be killed in battle. We weren’t dealing with idiots. Well, we were, but that applied to the humans. The goblins, though stupid, were more importantly religious zealots. Furthermore, what they worked for was something clearly not unintelligent.

It was revealed that the goblins were attacking again the following day – but not in a raiding party. They were attacking with their full force. It undoubtedly related to Leonard’s gems. That was not a pun. With the way he acts, I doubt he has any “gems” of his own. I refer to the actual gems that he had, apparently from a Vaeric temple.

I will take this moment to explain that demon lords are not interested in antiques or religious paraphernalia. Demon lords care more about power, which meant that it was highly likely that these gems were somehow powerful. Even without that knowledge, the fact that the events were linked would imply that there is more to these gems than Leonard was telling us. We asked if they were magical, and he said that they were not. We asked if he was sure. He said he had used spells to determine that they were, in fact mundane. I used my own magic to confirm this.

They were, in fact, quite magical.

I informed Leonard that he is a fool. He needs to know that.

So, now it is the morning of the day that an army is supposed to attack us. I suppose I will again summarize; we are being attacked by an army under the direction of, I suspect, a servant or perhaps even Scion of a demon lord. We are supposed to keep a town protected, when this is also the town that cannot defend against raiding parties. Reinforcements have arrived, though it’s small consolation, being that they are all, as previously discussed, idiots and fools, and so the stealthy fellows and I are in charge of the strategy. We are also busy protecting an inept wannabe mage with magical gems he knows nothing about. The train is several hours late, which can only mean that something terrible has happened. I suspect treacherous acts by some force under the influence of the same demon lord. Naturally, if I were to attack a city with an army, I would first cut them off from any outside help. Without the railroad, we are on our own. I suppose that would be check. And now it’s our move, which would be fine if we had anything other than pawns to direct.

I hate my job.

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Goblins and things

I guess I’m back home again? I’ve lived in Greenwood forest, and to a lesser extent in Roran, for most of my life. It’s strange that it doesn’t feel like home. Maybe it’s because the forest is full of goblins. But it’s more than that. It’s as if the forest has become to small for me. That sound ridiculous. The forest is very big and I am very small.

It looks like the goblins are preparing to attack the town. We’re getting the town ready to defend against an attack. It’s all very exciting.

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What was that dream?
Kestren

What was that dream?

So last night I had a crazy dream. It started out in the deserts like I read about in the book last night. I couldn’t see anything clearly because of the sand but I heard voices. I heard voices that rang out to me as very important people. I don’t recall why they were important, only that they were. It ended in a very different place however. There was fire, and lightning, and the whole world was spinning. Objects, and devices that clutter of all kinds were flying passed me. The very last thing I remember was being pulled by my right arm. The scars I have felt fresh and raw, like I was in that forest again. I woke up screaming but it was at the same time as some loud commotion outside. so I don’t think anyone was bothered by me.

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What am I going to have for lunch?
Kestren

So I’m from the north huh? That sand walker guy looks a lot like me. The desert doesn’t sound like a very friendly place. I wonder if some inn in this region has northern dishes. maybe if I get a chance to try some food from my home I might remember something. I should stop by the library before bed tonight to try and study up a bit on those deserts.

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Raniel's Journal - Home Again

As a Delver I have oft found myself travelling, and the fact that we are based away from home has often left me mailing what I can to my mother and sister, but this latest job has brought me home. At least to my hometown – a place of many memories.

And now, a place that placed me in internal conflict to the peril of others in my own shame. We had been cornered by some men posing as officers, I failed to recognize them as fakes and inadvertently brought them on the trail of my fellow delvers. I have since seen their wanted posters…

among other things…impersonating as women? I am not sure I want to know…

I have since informed the real authorities of the move, I can only hope that is enough to assist my comrades elsewhere, as word travels faster than I could to get there to help in person.

More fighting, today, unlike last time to protect, today was in search of treasure, and if not for our summoned swarm of rats we may have lost… It came very close there. I’ll need to be more careful, even if children are in danger again, though that particular move worked out well then, a similar forward movement today may have caused my death against the strange denizens of the ruins, and also of a cat that I accidentally stepped on…

Not the best of days, but not the worst – I particularly liked hearing from a local dragon expert about what was going on, though Levrim seems to think his intentions were ill when he wanted the location of the obelisk. He didn’t seem off to me, but given my earlier failing in judgement on that sort of matter, I’ll deffer to him on that one.

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Arwen's Journal- I'm going to be a Father

Ngaio, the Dryad of Greenwood, is dying. The taint creeping into her woods from the wastes is too strong. As the last of the Sylvan in the forest, when she dies there will be nothing left to watch over the woods. I asked her if there was anything I could do. She told me there was.

Give her a daughter.

Apparently Frathuel, princess of the elemental plane of water and my direct ancestor, gave us more than water in our veins. Something about that bloodline can help Ngaio, and if I were to give her a child that fused our bloodlines, it would be a boon to Ngaio’s efforts to save, or at least help, the wood. Not to mention it would allow at least one Fey to still exist in Greenwood after Ngaio is gone.

I’ve slept with women before. I even had one I was convinced I would marry, once. But this, this is the first time anyone has asked me for a child. I only just met Ngaio, and yet she asks this of me- but how could I, in good conscience, refuse her? The desperation of her situation, the uniqueness of my position to help her; It’s a strange, life-altering decision and yet… why do I feel so calm and set about this?

I told her I only had a few conditions. The chance to know the child when she grows up. The chance to learn of Ngaio and the Fey and the life this child would have. I refuse to give a woman a child and then simply walk away.

Soft Paw informed me that if anything happens to Ngaio the child would be my responsibility. I told him he had nothing to worry about. Part of me feels swept up in events, but the other part of me, the part that studied the stories of my ancestors, knows it isn’t the events that sweep you up, but the way you respond to them that determines the man you are. I’m glad I learned those lessons well.

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Friends
Celine

I’m not positive I trust everyone yet. Their actions seem friendly enough, but I have to be very careful how much of my past I reveal. I know that my family is still searching for me and I have can not leave any trace of my current whereabouts. I would rather die than to be forced into matrimony with that heathen they were forcing me to marry. I just need to focus on the task at hand. Stay alive and keep hidden. Everyone here knows me as Celine. I think that I will leave it at that for now.

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Levrim's Journal- 2nd Session

Jerrik, the leader of the Delvers I now found myself a part of, grouped me with several others from the large group that helped save those children from the kobolds. I now found myself traveling with a blue, somewhat mischievous gnome named Theoro and his pet pseudo-dragon that he insists isn’t a pet, a woman named Celine that seems to be constantly walking on her toes, a man by the name of Kenshin who seems oddly interested in studying the faces of each person we pass, another man named Kestren who is heavily scarred and heavily interested in his purse and finally the man named Raniel who had charged the kobolds first, heedless or possibly oblivious to the danger. Such a strange group and not a single one had been a Delver until Jerrik had offered all of us this job.

At least from what I could observe during the battle in the cave, they seemed at least capable of handling themselves. I can only hope that I was not mistaken, as I have had to place my life in their hands at least a few times since we began and will doubtlessly do so again.

We were appointed to take written accounts of the strange obelisk we had found in the kobold cave to the capitol city of Hamil. There, we were to meet up with a Delver gnome contact by the name of Felix (his name is actually quite longer, but thankfully he answers to Felix as well) and see about finding a scholar that could give us more information regarding the obelisk. We traveled by train, accompanied part of the way by another Delver named Telerden, but he disembarked along the way at a smaller town for a different task. We continued on until we reached our destination, then disembarked and began to search for our contact. After asking around a bit, we found that many knew Felix, but he seemed to be not too popular with anyone. Most growled out that he owed money, or various other maligns to his character, and I felt myself, between bouts of anger when people began pointing out my slow speech, growing apprehensive about meeting and working with such a gnome.

However, we finally found him holed up in the cellar of a local (and apparently inept) alchemist. We introduced ourselves, explained our task and received his orders. We were to find a man that often frequented the Royal Library and consult with him regarding the accounts we had brought. Also, Felix told us of an open job with the Mages’ Guild that could line our pockets with some coin.

We soon found the scholar before he became too inebriated at a local tavern, and showed him certain parts of the accounts. He became quite interested and told us many things regarding the obelisk, but his overall manner and the look in his eye spoke of greed. Greed for what, I didn’t know, but I began to worry what such a man would do with such an item. Kestren agreed to reveal the location of the obelisk for a price, but I hastily intervened and began giving the man false directions, so that he’d have a hard time finding the cave. I made a mental note to send Jerrik a letter informing him that this scholar, should he come looking for the artifact, may not be trustworthy and may need to be watched.

However, what he revealed was that this obelisk acted as a form of instant communication device with dragons and, in addition to having the whole of Draconic history etched onto its surface in magically hidden runes, it was an item that the Elder Council of Dragons would be very interested in obtaining. I made another mental note to see if I could verify any of this should I come across the necessary resources.

After leaving the tavern, we were accosted by a pair of strange men who identified themselves somewhat reluctantly as members of the Imperial Guard and were looking for someone. I honestly had never heard of the man that they named and described, but the others recognized the name as the man that Telerden, our Delver friend, had been ordered to meet at his destination. They hesitated in revealing this, but ultimately did so. The men thanked us and left, but we soon discovered wanted posters of the very same men. We had been tricked and had pointed criminals in the direction of our associate.

By that time they’d undoubtedly left Hamil on the train, but I contemplated following, if just for the satisfaction of beating them senseless for deceiving me in such a way. However, I decided to remain and hope that Telerden had already finished his job and would be out of harm’s way, as any letter would only reach him too late to do any good.

At the Mages’ Guild, we learned that they had discovered old ruins that they wished explored. The next day they magically sent us to these ruins which were deep under a lake, but had been magically cleared out so that we could explore without swimming. The ruins themselves were strange, covered in an unrusted metal and lined in strange places with lighter strips of something that had to have been metal as well, but why they bothered to insert metal in metal, I did not know. During our exploration, we encountered two pairs of metal men that moved to attack when they noticed us. Whatever they were, the craftsmanship must have been superb for them to still function after who knows how long underwater. Superb as well was their ability to fight, as we soon found ourselves reeling from their blows and struggling just to survive their onslaught. Celine and I used everything at our disposal to heal and aid the others, but what truly saved us was Kestren, who summoned swarms of rats. These overwhelmed our opponents and we found ourselves tired, blood-spattered, but alive each and every one of us.

After such an grueling battle, we decided to return to the Guild with what we had retrieved so far and rest, regathering our strength to either return or turn our attention to something else.

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Where am I from
Kestren

So yesterday I thought I saw someone who looked like me out of the corner of my eye. He had my dark skin so I may be able to learn something of where I am from if I can find him. If anything he may at least recognize the my native tongue. Oh how I wish I knew more about myself. There are so many possibilities. Yesterday when we were doing a job for the mage guild I was able to make a good contribution to our battle. I summoned six rats which essentially accomplished much of the brunt work in taking down some strange clock monsters. It had the unfortunate side effect of earning me the name of “Rat King” but if I hadn’t done it we would have been in a very tough spot. I am questioning the strength of eidelons. Kasana fell with just one hit from these machines but my rats seemed to survive much better.

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Arwen's Journal- Greenwood

It’s said all adventurers should keep a journal to inform future generations of their exploits. Less optimistic souls say adventurers should keep a journal to help identify their remains.

Mercenaries aren’t adventurers technically, but enough has happened lately that a journal seems the only appropriate response. But… where to start?

My work in the Regal Gnome will now be supplemented by work for the Delvers. It promises to make me a bit more money than I currently do, albeit by gambling with my life. Good thing I like to gamble.

Wait, I should probably back up even further, and explain about the dragon.

Someone found an unexpected lead on a run of missing children. They’d gone missing one at a time for a few weeks now, and when tracks were found the Delvers decided not to wait, rounding up anyone they could find on short notice who could wield a sword or (in my case) shoot a bow.

For something the guard couldn’t solve for weeks, it was surprisingly straight-forward: A cult of Kobolds worshipping dragons without their permission, making sacrifices in front of nothing else but the obelisk of the dragons itself. We rushed in, killed many, captured more, and rescued children, but that latent schoolboy in me couldn’t help but take notice. THE obelisk, here? Kobolds praying to Tetri, of all people? Every Windswallow knows those stories, and on my first job as a Delver, here they were right in front of me.

I had to touch it.

Writing rushed up the stone at my touch- a history of the dragons if I recall, although I couldn’t read it. When my hand left the stone, I blacked out, only to reawaken to find myself facing a solar dragon, in what I must assume was a mindscape. She was just as confused as I was, but she was still very polite. She said she’d ask Nadab (another name I recognize!) about it. Her name was Cera, and I have a standing invitation to visit her at her cave, which I will definitely take her up on. Dangerous? Yes, but again I’m a gambler. I can’t miss the opportunity.

Our next job? Battling Hobgoblins in Greenwood. On the way there we met the Lady Cantor after accidentally stealing her ring (strange turn of events, that) and were provided a house from her. After that, it turned out one of our group knew the Dryad Ngaio, who was in trouble. We destroyed the invaders to her grove, reported numbers back to the guard captain, and are now waiting for the next contract to arrive to flush out the rest of the invaders.

Contacts to maintain: Big and Scratch, some tunnel runners who know their business. The Lady Cantor and her son: old family acquaintances with influence. Ngaio and Soft Paw, the Dryad and her half-elven companion. That one should be easy, since she asked me to return to her grove this evening. It’s a long walk, but she said it was important. I wonder what it’s about?

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