Spindrift on the Astral Sea

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Part the First: In which the Party is Rudely Awakened
At least no one said it was supposed to be a three-hour tour

Apologies for this not being in-character. I was distracted by drawing stick figures, and sadly most of my notes were about what I was doing. Feel free to add more stuff!

The party has been on the Spelljammer “Oathkeeper” for about a week or so. The Oathkeeper is a modified galleon, and some believe it might have been seaworthy at some point (the layer of barnacles is a pretty good hint). It’s other main distinction is the masthead – a skeleton holding a huge bronze key.

The captain, Belmorn, has only had the ship for a little over a year. He acquired all of our contracts, and we’re in the process of working off our year and a day.

The game opens as we are returning from a salvage operation centered on a ruined spelljammer – and by ruined they meant burned to a crisp. About a tenth of the cargo in the Oathkeeper’s hold was bolts of expensive spidersilk, favored greatly by the [[Feywild: Summer Court | Summer Court]].

In the middle of the night, most of the party was rudely awakened from our hammocks by the skuttling of feet and hushed, guttural language. Peeking into the hold outside of our sleeping area, several people spotted squat, small figures creeping around, breaking into containers.

There was a slight thought of maybe sneaking up on the, but Aquelle, the Swordmage, decided t take measures into her own hands and call them out. As expected, combat broke out.

After several rounds of fighting in the cargo hold, jumping over cannons, slapping people in half, and making a general fiery mess of the place, we emerged victorious over the goblins.

A quick check downstairs revealed that the goblins had broken into almost all the chests, but hadn’t taken anything incredibly valuable. Instead, they focused on things that looked magic (though they were barely visible as being magical).

Melian followed the sounds of continued fighting to the upper deck, where she chanced to see the final two goblins backed up against the mainmast. One was franticaly smashing at a gem in the middle of an amulet while the other stood by. A portal opened, and a hideously ugly, much larger goblinesque being reached through. He smashed one of the goblins with his axe, killing him instantly, then tore the amulet out off the second goblin’s hands. The portal closed behind him. The remaining goblin wisely surrendered.

Two of our fellow crew members were killed in the fray. The decision was made to return to Sigil with all haste to return their bodies to their families.

While the party itself was checking over the bodies of the fallen goblins and determining what was taken, Melian went to make friends with the prisoner. He revealed that he was little more than a lackey, and a poorly treated one at that. When plied with soup, he told her that his big bosses were concerned with only ‘magic’ and the amulet. She left him with his soup to tell the captain how cooperative he was being.

The captain, upon hearing the information gathered from the prisoner, revealed that the amulet came from his private belongings, not the salvage operation. We set sail for Sigil to return the fallen crew members and find out why someone took the Captain’s amulet.

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Part the Third: In which the Party Makes a Narrow Escape and a Good Deal
Fire. Why does it always have to be fire?

With the rooms of the Astral Chateau crumbling around us, the party grabs whatever they could safely carry (Gwenny included) and made a dash for the gangplank of the Oathkeeper. Our previous escape route suddenly blocked, we detour through the kitchens and come to a skidding halt in front of two black ‘trees’ newly planted by the door.

As expected, a fight ensues – with minimal damage to anyone this time, save for some horrific psychic screaming that occurs whenever the trees are struck. Unnerving doesn’t seem to explain the strangeness of it.

Despite their best efforts, the trees are defeated (along with their minions), leaving the gangplank free once more. Melian, with Gwenny on her back, peeks out the door and finds the Oathkeeper in combat with a huge, black-tentacled beast … crushing the very chateau we are inside. This causes the party to begin to panic just a little bit. A tiny bit. The panic was mostly from the gangplank drifting farther and farther away from the door, with a small percentage tentacle-related.

Melian, with Gwenny on her back, takes a running leap and Fey Steps her way onto the ship. Flynn follows, then throws a rope back to the others still in the rapidly sqashing building. Pieter leaps and catches the rope, with Adara doing the same (albeit a little less quickly). Aquelle makes an epic jump…misses the rope…but is saved at the last moment by a quick catch on Adara’s part. Only Odo remains…who eventually jumps for the rope after his insistent pleas for help fall on Melian’s deaf ears.

As the party sprints onboard, we are immediately called up onto the decks. The tentacled ship is attempting to catch and crush the Oathkeeper. The party, directed by the captain, springs into action, aiding the crew and the captain to reconfigure the sails and attempt to divert more power into the Arcane engine.

It is of no use – the black ship continues to gain on us. Finally, Belmorn realizes he has no other choice. Springing down to the main deck, he activates a hidden arcane circle on the decks. The masthead comes alive, turning it’s great key and activating a portal in front of the ship. As the party looks on, the Oathkeeper slips through the portal, the black ship shut out behind. Around them is nothing but darkness and the sound of lapping water.

Belmorn is intrigued by the story that the party tells. He believes that the abomination they were fighting might very well be from the Far Realms, something that the majority of the party is not happy to hear. After checking up on Gwenny, who is shaken but safe belowdecks, the captain inspects the loot they brought back from the manor.

All of the objects seem magically safe, and are distributed throughout the party, except for two. The great leatherbound tome, which Odo is quite interested in, is not only impossible to open, but appears to be magically sealed. He places the Tome in his cabin for safekeeping. The other is a jade statue of a ruffly humanoid figure. When placed in the arcane circle, the runes switch from blue to black, and the ship itself is shaken. Belmorn wisely decides not to investigate the statue further, and it too is tucked safely belowdecks.

Once the items are identified and distributed, Belmorn gives the rest of the bad news. The ship is badly damaged, and must be repaired. He has brought us all to Gloomwrought, the home of the Raven Queen. It is dangerous, depressing, and he warns all of us to be on our best behavior.

The Oathkeeper pulls up and docks in the Drowned Quarter. Belmorn tells the party that there is a merchant friend of his, a skeevy dragonborn named Tramorn, who should have all the supplies we need. He’ll also try to swindle you out of every last copper you have, so be ready. He advances you 250gp to pay for the lumber, and the party heads into Gloomwrought to find the merchant.

Tramorn is indeed skeevy, and does indeed drive a hard bargain, but Melian apparently posesses a silver tongue, and talks the dragonborn into some very VERY good deals. Though, she later wonders if it was because Odo was so irritating that he’d do anything to get them out of the shop. Lumber and other sundries purchased, the party splits up: Pieter and Adara head to the Temple of the Hooden Lantern, while the rest of the party heads back to the docks.

Their leisurely stroll home is interrupted by the general mayhem of the docks erupting into flames. They run back to the ship, and are dismayed to find the Oathkeeper and several surrounding ships on fire. The party leaps into action, helping put the fires out and searching for survivors. Melian finds the captain, gravely wounded, in his cabin. After she heals him, he reveals that someone set fire to the ship, took Gwenny, the gold, the statue and the book. The crew was killed on the way to the firefighting equipment.

The rest of the party finds and kills one of the assassins. He is dressed nondescriptly (and unsurprisingly in black), except for a thin onyx band on his left pinkie. Inscribed on the ring is a runic inscription reading:

We shall see his secrets and bind those that would seek out his power. We are the Eyes of Vecna.

All seems bleak for a moment…until we remember we still have the Tracking Crystal.

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In the Temple of Pelor in Gloomwrought

Gloomwrought is well-named, as I felt a shadow pass across my soul the moment I entered its port. The voices, which I thought had faded, began to speak to me again, whispering to me of fire and blood, telling me to seek vengeance on the man who killed me. I do not like to remember those voices, and so I will say no more of them.

Pelor symbolOnce we had finished the captain’s business, Pieter and I went seeking a place of light in this city of darkness. The light of the Silver Flame has not penetrated the gloom, but Pelor’s sun has managed to cast a ray in the city. Although they have not seen the true light, I appreciate their sense of order and justice, the service they offer to the sick and needy.

Yet, even their temple has been contaminated. The cleric there offered Pieter and I a blessing, and asked his acolyte, Gebwin, to bring the sacred oils of anointing. Gebwin, however, betrayed his high calling, and would have stabbed him in the back with a dagger, had I not seen the weapon. I cried out that he would not defile that place of worship, and quick-thinking Pieter changed places with the cleric and felled his assailant with a single chop to his temple. Pieter is a dangerous man; his blow shattered bone and killed him instantly. As he died, he spoke of an eye that sees all. The cleric believes that he may be a servant of a cult devoted to the Eye of Vecna, a name which seems oddly familiar. Perhaps I knew of this Vecna in a past life.

I have taken the evil, black ring that was on Gebwin’s body, and will investigate this matter further.

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Part 4.1: The Ship Aflame

No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye. – Aristotle
-
We found the Oathkeeper burning when we returned to the docks. It was not the only ship that was on fire. Wherever I looked, sailors were running to and from their boats with buckets of water and sand, trying to douse the flames. I could see Aquelle amongst them, her hair blazing with its own light, desperately trying to hold back the conflagration. Before we could go and help her, however, the crewmen from our own ship hailed us and told us that the captain needed to see us.

The scene below decks was equally grim. Melian was bent over the captain, tending to his wounds. He was naked from the waist upwards, and the pink, puckered seam of a new scar ran across his belly. I had no doubt that the wound would have been fatal if our bard had not been there.

Despite his terrible injury, Belmorn was able to tell us what had happened to him. Apparently, the same House of the Eye of Vecna that had tried to assassinate Malathius at the temple of Pelor had attacked the harbour, setting fire to the ships and killing their crews. He claimed that this sort of overt attack was out of character for them. In the past, they had been known for working in the shadows, like all creatures of the darkness and night. Odo interrupted at this point, his voice as smarmy and ingratiating as a roadside trader attempting to peddle miracle potions. As he had heard from his sources, cults of Vecna were unusually well-entrenched in Gloomwrought. Normally, they were rooted up before they could become established, but this shadowy, mad city apparently provided fertile ground for them to flourish. Here, they sought power through discovering and keeping secrets. (I fear that I cannot fully capture his tone of voice without breaking several holy vows.)

Belmorn had heard even more troubling rumours. Impossible as it seems, the Cult of Orcus – demon prince and lord of the undead, may the light of the Silver Flame protect us all from his grasp – was said to have attacked the Raven Queen herself, and have destroyed her. I do not know how you would kill a god, let alone one who has dominion over death itself. Nonetheless, the tyrant Nerull once fell at her hand many eons again, and she may now have followed him to wherever gods go when they no longer exist.

Rumours are all very well, but we clearly needed more substantial information before we could act. We decided to split up into three parties. Pieter and I would return to Father Malathius and find out what his queries had unearthed; Melian and Flynn would go to the merchant Tramorn Wyrmeye, who seemed well-connected within the city; Odo and Aquelle, when she rejoined us, would go to the Cracked Keel, the tavern near the docks. (I suspect that Odo’s motives for suggesting that line of investigation were not entirely pure.) We agreed to meet back at the ship when the gong for midnight sounded – though midnight does not look too different to high noon in dark Gloomwrought – and went our separate ways into the city.

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Part 4.2: Investigations and their Result

FLYNN AND MELIAN

Flynn and Melian returned to Tramorn, who was less than delighted to see them after their dealings earlier in the day. He was even less pleased when they showed him the Ring of Vecna, and hastily closed the shop so that he could talk with them in private. He told them that they should leave, that the less they had to do with the cult of Vecna the better it would be for them and the longer they would probably live. He told them of a disturbing rumour that the Raven Queen was gone and might never return, and that the captain of her Deathless Guard and his son were missing, along with the alchemist who had owned the store across the street. They left by the back door, not wanting to bring further trouble to him.

ODO AND AQUELLE

Odo and Aquelle went to the Cracked Keel in the hopes that liquor would loosen people’s tongues. The inn looked like it had been formed by multiple ships crashing together, and then never coming apart again. Like all dock-side inns, drinks were flowing freely and whores were plying their trade. Odo and Aquelle decided to buy a round for the house, thinking that it would be the quickest way to make friends. In the ensuing celebrations, Odo found a gnome who was already deep in his cups and plied him for information. He told him that he was worried about the fires on the docks, and mentioned that people had been vanishing around the city. He also showed him his trinket. Surprisingly, this was not a euphemism for a certain body part, but a real amulet that was meant to keep him from drowning in the Astral Sea, real, of course, being a very subjective term. Its maker was one of the people who had gone missing, and it was believed that the cult was behind her disappearance.

Meanwhile, Aquelle was drinking the surrounding sailors beneath the tables, and hearing similar rumours. She noticed that one man was holding back to the side, and asked about him. The sailors told her that his name was Karl, and he’d come back all meh after being hired by some weird guys in robes (the ale had made them eloquent). At that point, Karl got up and made to leave. Aquelle tried to pursue, but was too drunk to get through the crowd and ran into Flynn who had just come through the door. It had much the same effect on her as running into a tree. Fortunately, Odo observed him leaving too, and shapeshifted into a Revenant to follow him. Shadowing Karl down the street, he saw him duck into an alley, reach out and touch the wall, and open up a door where there was no door before. Odo tried to do likewise, but could not work out its secrets.

ADARA AND PIETER

Adara and Pieter returned to Father Melathius in order to see if his inquires had turned up any useful information. Security was high around the Temple of the Hooded Lantern, and the guards were reluctant to let them speak to Father Melathius. Eventually, though, they were able to get through to him, and learnt worrying news from him. The cult was hiring muscle, and had made several citizens disappear over the past few weeks. He also said that there seemed to be some new individual in the House of the Eye, known only as the Eye.

INTO THE HOUSE

When the entire party was back at the ship after its investigations, everyone went to the alley where Odo had seen Karl disappear. After some time and experimentation, they found the hidden button in the wall, and opened up a dark doorway with a staircase leading downwards. Flynn covered the group with undergrowth, and they slowly made their way into the building. Nearby, they could hear the sounds of guttural conversation, and knew that goblins must be ahead. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, they could see two hobgoblins and three goblins having a conversation around a brazier. (Sadly, it was not a brassiere, or else the adventure may have been a lot more sexy.) In the ensuing fight, the braziers turned out to be traps, which would move along rails and spit fire. After a brief scuffle and a couple of minor burns, the party subdued the goblins, and were confronted with a number of doors ahead of them. The middle one was strongly barred, and had deep scrapes on the ground in front of it. They were not sure whether it was intended to keep intruders out, or, worse, to keep something in.

Throwing caution to the wind (and other cliches), they chose to open the door. Inside, the air smelled musty and damp, the floor was covered with mushrooms of various shapes and colours, and they could hear the deep, predatory grunt of animals. . . .

APPENDIX: LIST OF THE MISSING AFTER OUR INVESTIGATIONS

Jalissa – Shrine of Aion – Knowledge
Sartanian – Castellan – House Harskill
Kartenix – Captain of the Deathless Guard
Thurn – Kartenix’s son
Myrtala
Zeriska – Trinket Peddler
Adronsius – Alchemist

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Part The Fifth: In Which the Party Discovers what a Ragedrake is
Less fire, more unexpected hobgoblins!
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A Haunted House

From Adara’s Journal:

After Belmorn rescued us from the falling tower in the Flesh Quarter, he was eager to learn what we had discovered, although he was not pleased when he heard what we had to say. We told him of the strange Genasi, who called Aquelle sister and took Gwenny’s blood by stabbing her through with a dagger. We told him of the deals we had to make with the strange Eladrin woman, Mother Talvi. I gave her a memory from 2000 years ago in exchange for a prophecy, the words of which still echo in my mind:

The abandoned one hunts, the shadows fear the darkness.
The new children open their eyes, the new children are bound and gagged.
The lost ones seek the new way, the eyes of fire pull them into the abyss.
The fulcrum opens the way, the fulcrum closes hope.
The old masters return, ready to flay, ready to burn.
The unseen hands move the pieces, none see the hand that moves all.
The gate beyond the gates opens, the chains are broken.
Blood to bind, blood to open, blood to call.

We also swore to save her daughter within a year. While I am sworn to preserve innocent life, to save those in need and to avenge those I cannot save, I cannot help but feel uneasy about this promise, as if we have agreed to more than we know. Melian seemed displeased with the deal, and she knows her people best of all.

Belmorn was pleased to see that we had rescued Gwenny, but was troubled that we had not found the book that had been stolen from Gellentara’s estate at the same time. He had learnt that it belonged to a wizard who sought to open the outer gates to the Far Realm, and let insanity into our world.

In turn, he had news for us. He told us that a mob had risen up against the Cult of Vekna in Gloomwrought, and had driven them to ground. Thinking back to our time in that city, it still pains me that we were not able to rescue more of the innocents from the Cult’s lair, that we left that angry boy – the son of Karthenix, who burned to avenge his father’s death – to find his own way to safety. At the time, everything seemed to happen so fast: the portal opening, Odo and Flynn stepping through it, the dragon rising from its pile of treasure. If it had not been for Pieter’s brave and foolhardy act, who knows what might have happened to us? I remember him flying to the roof of the cavern and punching the icicle that hung above the dragon, only to be caught between it and the beast. We all thought him dead, but Melian moved quickly to save him, shifting herself to him and standing on the dragon’s back as easily as if it had been solid earth. The ensuing battle was difficult, but we defeated the dragon at last, and Flynn ate its heart. These wildens are a strange, wild race, and I am not yet certain what to make of them.

Still, we may not have made the same choices if we had to do it again. Thus, we strive to perfection by learning from our errors. Thus, like gold, we are purified through the flames.


From Adara’s journal:

When we arrived at Sigil, Lord Gellentara came to meet us with his troop. I escorted Gwenny to meet him, afraid that she might be taken from us again. She leapt into her father’s arms, and he seemed pleased to see her, in his own reserved, cold way. He and Belmorn left for the Eladrin’s manor, having important matters to discuss.

With some free time on our hands, Pieter and I decided to visit the shrine to Dol Arrah and the Silver Flame in the Eberron City. We both felt in need of some spiritual comfort after the events of the past few days. As we walked through the city, we could not help but notice that its streets were more crowded than usual. Many of the people were wearing ragged clothes, and had a lean and hungry look about them. At a fountain, a man was raving about how the failure of regular portals was a sign of the end times, about how we should all repent of our sins and prepare for the coming of the gods.

Later, Aquelle told us that the people on the streets were staring at her, as if afraid. From a hot pie vendor, she learnt that some Genasi had recently trouble in the city; they had tried to assault a stock room in the higher ward. The nobles of Sigil sent a message to their representatives, but got no response.

On our return, Belmorn called us to his cabin, where Odo was already relaxing in his chair and swirling a glass of his finest brandy in one pale hand. Belmorn told us that he had made a further deal with Lord Gellentara. According to the Eladrin, a manor had manifested itself within the city. From the outside, it seemed to be a small house with modest grounds, but anyone who entered through its gates found themselves in an expansive estate with a large manor situated in them. Stranger still, it seemed to leeching all the life and colour from the areas around it, so that anyone who approached it grew melancholy, and the surrounding streets were bleached to grey. Rumour had it that it belonged to a wizard who was experimenting with contact with the outer realm, and that it still contained arcane items that belonged to him. Belmorn had promised that we would investigate it, and retrieve any items of that nature. He also told us that some apprentices had gone into it and had never returned, so we should be on the lookout for them too.

Indentured slaves do not have the option of refusal, and so we headed to the manor without delay. Black iron gates stood in front of it, the metal twisted and moulded to resemble demons. To my knowledge, they did not come from any particular pantheon, but the design did seem to place a great deal of emphasis on a severed hand.

As we passed through the gate, the landscape changed around us. One moment, we were stepping into a neat, small patch of lawn. The next, we were standing in the middle of a huge, overgrown estate. The gardens had returned back to the wild, and miles of wilderness stood between us and the house ahead. A cold wind bit at us, and thin, grey clouds scudded overhead in a pale sky, quite unlike the empty expanse of light above Sigil. A trail led forward, but, as we walked along it, it disappeared and left us stranded in the middle of the tangled woods. Together, we were able to force our way through it, and found ourselves in front of the house itself. Its proportions seemed oddly distorted, as if it were overly tall. The upper stories and the roof had fallen in on themselves, leaving the top jagged and ugly.

When we drew nearer, we smelt the undead before we saw them, that pervasive stench of death that burns your nostrils and clings to your clothes. The fight that ensued was terrible. More than once, I thought that it was my time to return to the Great Wheel and begin anew the search for transcendence. Eventually, though, we managed to defeat them, and gain access to the manor.

Inside, there were more undead, and the fighting was equally bitter and hard. Once again, I almost passed from this body, and Odo almost joined me. I wonder what happens to changeling souls once their bodies perish. . . .

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M'Lady
The Haunted House

From the Journal of Arroan Roj-Aires: Day 1, Late Evening: Laurel and I have joined a party with similar interests to our own. We happened upon this party quite unexpectedly. I have decided to start a new journal specifically to chronicle my time with this party.

Laurel and I were sent to this place by our master to learn what exactly is going on here. As of yet we have no answer. We came with a small group of trained soldiers. All of them were overcome by a sickness that we can’t explain. They became almost corpse-like, and then turned on us. We had to kill each and every one of them.

When we first met the others we were in the courtyard of this place, battling more of the corpse monsters. There seemed to be no end to them. We were the both of us exhausted and wounded, and we seemed to be trapped.

I heard a door to the courtyard open, and a small person completely engulfed in flame peered out. She stared at me for a moment, and then slammed the door shut. A minute or so passed, and she opened the door again. This time, the entire party stepped into the courtyard and joined Laurel and I in battle. With their help, the walking corpses were quickly vanquished.

The party agreed to let us join them. For this I am grateful, and I’m sure Laurel feels the same. Besides the small flaming one, the party consists of a holy man, a strange little fellow who keeps changing his face, and a lovely Eladrin bard named Melian. The names of the others I have not yet learned.

I made sure to properly introduce myself to Melian, unbuttoning my shirt before first approaching her. I showed her my long bow, and made sure that she understood just how long it was. I think she was quite impressed. The little fireball woman made a joke about my long bow being aflame. The others laughed. I did not appreciate this. But because Melian laughed, I did as well. I would hate for her to think I lack a sense of humor.

We are currently at a safe resting place in a comfortable room inside the manor. We have with us now a prisoner. Melian is quite diplomatic it seems, and she insisted we retain one of our more agreeable enemies for questioning. I suppose we shall interrogate him in the morning.

Tomorrow will be a grueling day, I believe, but tonight I shall sleep soundly with pleasant thoughts of the fair maid Melian and her beautiful golden hair and piercing bright blue eyes.

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"Completely in the Nude"
Our Resting Place

From the Journal of Arroan Roj-Aires: Day 3, Midnight: I cannot sleep. I find myself completely distressed by the disappearance of Melian. My thoughts are consumed by my concern for her. As for her strange, shape-shifiting aquaintence, I care not if he lives or if he perishes.

Twilight: I tried again to sleep. I could not get comfortable lying on my left side, so I rolled to my right. As I rolled I saw the monk sleeping near me, completely in the nude, with his front side turned toward me. After seeing this I decided to stay awake for the rest of the night. The behavior of the monk often seems unbecoming of a holy man. I sense in him a disdain for his fellow man.

The small flaming one is still awake, as she is our guard for the night. I eyed her from a distance; she seemed to notice, for she turned away. Across the room is Laurel, curled up with her Ocelot. Such a magnificent creature is that cat.

Early Morning: We are all of us awake now. The monk remained in the nude for most of the morning, only putting on his robes before we left our resting place. I could not help but stare on occasion. He seemed to take some offense to this, though he said nothing of it.

We attempted to decipher Everett’s journal. His style of writing is quite sloppy, but we found multiple references to a ritual involving a particular planar alignment. Also something about defeating death. The final pages of the journal made my blood run cold. Written in a frenzied hand, these pages speak of finding fresh hosts for completing the ritual, and something about “siphoning the raven’s power.” Could Melian be one of the hosts he speaks of? Could we convince him to make a trade? Perhaps we could give him one of the other women in exchange for her. He can keep the shape-shifter.

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