Land of the False Star

Darius Farrilis Travel Log - Exploring Raventaal

I’ve had to give voice to my shame.

I am not enough alone to serve my Lady’s interests. I’ve been force to explain to her that we need the other adventurers or at least companions at my current level of skill and training. I will work to change this, but there is little else I can do.

She has in her kindness and regard for my well being opted to curtail her ambitions and keep her opinions more closely guarded so that I do not have to stand between her and those that would not understand her. I can only be thankful she did this. Though I was stung to be banished from our room, I can not say I’m surprised given how I was forced to speak to her.

Her pride so often abused in the past did not need to weather blows from me. If anything I should be her one unwavering source of support. I simply can’t allow her to be harmed, and for that I will bare her upset.

She now owes a favor to unknowns, she contracted the halfling to steal for her, and she’s gained the ire of the Ranger and what passes for suspicion from the Paladin. Both these men have my respect for what they can do and the sacrifices they are willing to make. I would hate to have to face them, no matter the outcome which would most likely be my death, it would be a sad turn of events. I hope only that they can be brought to see the benefit of my Lady rather then the fear her destiny inspires.

The Halfling continues to vex me. She was turned into a rabbit for her theft. Her companions whom would die to save her, seem content to leave her in this shape. They know not what spell was cast upon her, or what it does to her mind. Yet they are content to let her suffer, at the same time they seem deeply invested in her future. The Paradox of their actions towards her and her towards them; I simply don’t understand them.

However, I start to wonder if their ways aren’t lesser simply different. If the slow plodding pace of Elvish relationships and the devotion I feel for the Lady are as baffling to them. I have no doubt they consider us strange. I begin to wonder if they even recall our names. I can not recall them ever addressing us except directly without title or name, or as a group known as “The elves.” I do not know if it troubles me, or comes as some relief that given the danger they possibly represent they do not perhaps even feel strongly for us. If this is the case perhaps their feelings can be changed. I can win them over. Though perhaps worse, the strong views and judgements they make on strangers are completely untroubled by the possibility they are lacking critical information.

I know not, all I do know is that this city is perhaps as dangerous as any tower. And all the dangers more well hidden. I can only hope to be up to the task of protecting my Lady. I can hope to find some allies to do this, but I do not yet know how. Where to start, among my companions? or perhaps the city itself?

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Frustrations —

Damn these insufferable humans, these self-entitled, simple-minded little specks. Gods forbid that one of them actually place practicality ahead of their precious, hypocritically mercenary sense of morality — oh, they can let their lives be led by the promise of gold, they can allow coin to decide what “wrongs” to right and what “evil” to vanquish, they can spend it to dress themselves up like pseudo-heroes for the next “righteous (and profitable, of course) adventure,” but when it comes to allowing me to do nothing more than attempt to copy barely a handful of spells from a book that will be undamaged for it and be returned, regardless, and accompanied by apologies galore, a small bit of magic that could enable me to serve and safeguard the whole of us more efficiently and better assist them in their trite tasks, it is unacceptable.

After all, why be pragmatic when we can be honorable! As if any particular human’s individual’s abstract (and so very often circumstantial) concept of “honor” ever managed to stop them from bleeding out the sword of someone more interested in reality than moral superiority.

And to endure the sanctimonious high-handedness of that half-talented manling, that hairy little ape whose time on this world likely serves as a mere quarter of my own; a creature so devoid of meaning in his wretchedly curt life that he would waste it on being an aimless errand boy for the rich and idle, with no meaningful direction save for where men better than he would point him, as banally servile as a dog and seemingly content to leave nothing in the wake of his existence — no lasting achievement, no pertinent accomplishment, no legacy save for the puffed-up bee’s drone of his flawed logic, forgettable amidst the dust of his bones. Given that I will be basking in my prime while his death is being overlooked, it’s almost pitiable… save that I can feeling nothing but contempt for such dedication to mediocrity.

Besides, he has surpassed the paladin in sheer terms of wearing on my nerves.

However, serving as a much-needed balm to the this seething frustration and serving his role as not merely protector but adviser, Darius has once more felt compelled to caution me and while it admittedly chafes to acknowledge the sense of his words, I would be both disrespectful and a fool were I not to; if he felt them worth saying, thus they deserve being heeded. His perspective is one apart from my own, logic disconnected from the drive of ambition. And he is correct. Though I have no particular reason to like nor trust these “companions,” I cannot afford to earn their ire. It is an unfortunate truth that we have no alternative avenue open to us at the moment, that we require their accompaniment to achieve our goals — although I do not share Darius’ optimism that they simply won’t turn on us like rabid animals regardless of how “agreeably well-behaved” I act for them if (or possibly when) they come to know me. They seem barely capable of tolerating the idea of something as paltry as a stolen book; what will their superstitious ignorance prompt them to do should they observe my control of the undead? I can hardly imagine it will matter if I am assisting them or not. They do not seem open to the esoteric concept of space existing between “black and white”.

Laughable. Repressive. Pathetic.
This place will destroy them if they’re unwilling to evolve.

I also find myself doubting whether they have the bravery, ambition and independent wherewithal necessary to venture beyond the walls of Ravental and explore the awaiting mysteries without being hired and paid to do it. Again, so very much like dogs. Well, I’ve thrown a bone in the general direction of the Crimson Tower. Now I suppose I wait to see if they end up trying to fetch it.

I suppose I simply expected more progress by now. Chained by the limitations imposed upon me by Mist Veil, restricted by the simple lack of resources and like-minds there, stymied by the quiet but palpable disapproval of the Magisters, and now I have managed to venture beyond their restrictive towers, now I am finally here in a world that is supposed be more fast-paced, more daring, full of possibilities — only to discover my scholarly pursuits once again shackled by the hyper-conservatism of others. Exasperating.

But Darius is right and, as promised, I will strive to temper my impatience. I will let him guide me; I will allow him to protect me by reminding me that I must protect myself. And I suppose I can make some attempt to not remind the humans of their natural inferiorities as often as I apparently do.

I will still be pursuing the invitation left to me by Lady Almond, however. I absolutely refuse to turn away from every path that promises advancement purely to indulge the childish naivety of these companions. What they don’t know is unlikely to offend their delicate sensibilities.

And, at the very least, the day wasn’t a complete waste. I will need to fashion this pearl into something practical to wear. Everyone else, in the midst of their disapproval, appears to have forgotten that it was the ranger that originally suggested a favor for a favor, not I; but rather share in their useless fretting, I look forward to my future dealings with this Azure Brotherhood with intellectual curiosity. They do sound interesting.

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Encouraging —

As it turns out, the human lord’s dinner party was — surprisingly — productive.

Darius and I were seated by the Lady Almond, an intriguing noblewoman who, if one was to judge by her choice of accessory, may be involved or at least entertain an interest in the magical arts. In addition, if one was to judge by the uniquely — and fascinatingly — colorful history of her house, she might also favor additional interests that I can only dare hope might align with my own.

We were also invited to a banquet at the tower of the Red Lord, another exciting prospect. It’s obvious that these lords practice some enigmatic craft or another — what other explanation but some form of powerful magic for turning away a league of undead? Some of the city are obviously wary of them and their secrets; like the paladin, they distrust what they do not understand, what they cannot control. Nevermind that these “dark lords” they now quaver in fear and distaste over are the same that kept them from being slaughtered.

Frustratingly, even Darius is expressing worries in relation to my studies now, like a bad trait borrowed from the paladin, though I must remind myself that in spite of his experience with wizards, he cannot necessarily think like us. His mind is that of a soldier, his instincts directed first toward my safety rather than my success in my pursuits. I have to practice patience when handling his concerns, whether they feel constraining or no. He deserves no less.

For now, I will await word from the Lady Almond.
Then I will decide how these companions should be managed.

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Darius Farrilis Travel Log - The Grand Ball

It seems that events escalate quickly. The rat creatures likely hunt us, the jester is still out there, and we’ve been thrust into the intrigue of Raventaal.

My Lady has taken an interesting in the words of one Lady Amon, servant of the Red Lord. I have voiced my fears, far more harshly then I have a right to. However, Lady Seriade has ever been kind and treated me with more familiarity then that of a simple sworn guardian and aid. However, this time her will is firmly set and I can do not but be prepared to protect her in any way I can.

The human’s here are strange, there is no visible indicator of power. They vary, and their import seems not to be based on one clearly visible or common characteristic. This makes their society so much less uniform and orderly then that of Mist Veil. However, I must admit it is much more intriguing and frightening. My Lady’s tastes are becoming more visible. I fear that the Paladin whom tolerates fifi will not be so tolerant of my Lady’s studies.

He can not know as I do, that her devotion and will are fixed on knowledge. That she is not corrupted by power but simply a vessel for it. I will endeavor to earn their favor, my Lady will not pander to them. I will however do whatever I must. Perhaps the Paladin and others will be swayed by me where logic and long sightedness fail them.

Emotion, it seems to drive them more keenly then those of my experience. Perhaps another aspect of their short lives. However they also inspire it, despite my desire to teach Fifi a lesson for hurting my Lady and robbing her when she was truly weak I found myself driven to aid her rather then harm her. I was perhaps rougher then I needed to be and that was in its own a satisfaction but not nearly as brutal as I had planned.

Its all the better, my lady would likely have scolded me for allowing my desire to muddle a path to further knowledge, even to protect her person and dignity.

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The Magnificent and Glorious Adventures of Ser Leoneiros
Part 1

This land is far more terrible than it was described to me. Far more terrible than I could have imagined. It is filled with unimaginable horrors and confusing sights. Perhaps I should have trained a little longer as Master Gleironos had suggested. But alas, that is one of my weaknesses (as Master Gleironos pointed out often), acting often without thinking. It has gotten me in trouble a number of times here already.

Iomedae guides me though. Protects me. I feel her presence ironically even stronger in this dead cursed land. I do not imagine there are many worshippers here, and so perhaps I attain more of her gaze. It is difficult though. I see darkness and evil everywhere, but am unable to stop it. The others think me a joke, I know, except in those times my sword is destroying their enemies, and I am less of a joke. Fifi has a sickness inside of her. I suppose I have known that for a while. But she has a good heart. Albrecht is much the same as he ever is, the voice of reasoning pragmatism. I must listen to him more often.

The elves are strange. I have never met elves properly before. They are about as one might imagine, I suppose. Darius is an okay sort. Trustworthy I believe, devoted to his charge the Lady Seriade.

A wizard. A very odd, quiet wizard.

I must temper my desire to right even the smallest of wrongs, and concentrate on the larger wrongs at play. We saved the children for example. Saving two children from certain death…or worse, well. That is a better use of my time than trying to stop bartenders from being roughed up. I will work harder to set a threshold of intervention, and concentrate on leading by example. People in this place need a beacon of hope. Others may mock me, deride me, but that shall not stop me.

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Again in Ravental —

:: the journal entry is broken into segments, as if added when possible or on a whim, differentiated by the fluctuating & implied mood of the handwriting. ::

Back behind the stifling enclosure of stone walls & dubious safety. Our companions celebrate having managed to not only complete but ultimately survive our ‘heroic quest.’ The human lord does us the practical courtesy of tending to our injuries before ‘rewarding’ us with the opportunity to become lax & complacent, to become fat on meat, ale & the inflated pride of this underwhelming victory. At least I get a bath out of it, I suppose — that & my missing property back, as the questionably sensible little halfling had a spontaneous fit of remorse after attempting to pilfer from her paladin ‘friend’ & returned it all. Bemusing.

I hold some hope that the lord might be capable of providing information regarding the mysteries that awaiting being investigated beyond Ravental — more information on this ‘Jester’ & who it might serve, stories of Forbandheim & the strongholds that simple folk dare speak of in superstitious whisper, hopefully even of the structure, that nearly beckoning tower, that this group seems content enough to overlook in their ‘adventures’ — or even of Ravental, given how this place seems to hold a precious stock in secrets. Simply to have an opportunity to discuss what I’ve, until now, only been capable of knowing through distant study would be thrilling… although I doubt that those who have spent their lives hiding behind walls from the terrors lurking outside are the sort of reasonable & intellectual voices that I ultimately crave. The human lord didn’t even seem capable of speaking of the mere concept of magic without fearful ignorance lending a sneer to it.

Still, it may be that if the conversation inspires his fear, if he can paint a compelling enough portrait of the boogeymen merely waiting to pounce on the ‘hapless innocents’ of this ‘grand city,’ the paladin will feel recklessly inspired enough to investigate. Although I am left continually puzzling over him, uncertain of whether I should be wary or no; this paladin is the same man who will leap to violent resolution when witnessing a bartender being harassed, but turn around & pet the halfling thief on the head as indulgently as a wayward child when she is caught having stolen from him & the rest of her companions. I find myself incapable of determining where the line of his tolerance exists. It is unpleasant, having to wonder if he’ll attempt to one day destroy me or not depending on precisely what mood he is in.

We must hold court over dinner. Tedious. Darius & I have left our ‘luxuries’ in Mist Veil. Perhaps the human lord will know it’s honor enough to share a table with elves, useless fripperies aside.

:: break. ::

The ‘adventurers’ squabble over gold. I suppose when the measure of one’s worth is in one’s material belongings, such riches hold some degree of weight. More wine for me, then, while they debate who’ll get what & how much more significant it will make them feel, since studying it out of the question.

I feel the poison still circulating; it’s sluggish, wearisome. Inconvenient. Intriguing. Like a whisper of death residing in me, so weak as to be inconsequential, yet nonetheless possessing the potential to become if properly nourished — & I wish I could feed it, that I knew enough, were powerful enough to strengthen it, to direct it, to host it like a child inside of me, to discover what I could make of it, what it could make of me.

Some would label it a ‘suicidal’ notion, I’m sure.
Others would know better. Others would understand.

:: break. ::

It is Darius’ ill-fortune to serve me. The Magocracy of Mist Veil does not swerve from its traditions, even if it all but curses a guardian to swear his life to protect a wizard whose passion exists in death. It’s exquisitely manipulative. They will not — cannot — refuse me my learning, but they can disapprove of it &, through their ‘laws’, effectively attempt to rein in my potential with Darius. He is as much my responsibility as I am his — is it not our obligations to others that serve to curb the selfishness of too much self-discovery?

It pains him whenever I am injured, whenever I come to harm while in his charge; he takes it as a personal blow, a failing on his part, evidence that he is not performing his duties as adamantly as our culture demands. Nevermind that it’s so often my own fault. No, I could try to endlessly convince him that he isn’t to blame for my actions, but he, being trained, being conditioned as he was, would never (possibly could never) accept it. He cannot allow ‘excuses’ for his supposed flaws; he never could, not even as a boy.

Yet I cannot explain it to him. I cannot explain that death is an acquaintance, that it & I have known one another for a while now, but that it still remains, frustratingly, enigmatic. That to master something, one must know something, one must touch it, gaze into it, wear it like an embrace or another skin. That for all some view death as an ending, it needn’t be so, it absolutely isn’t so, that impossibilities are the realm of the unimaginative. That there’s more to it, that there’s substance buried in the shadow, all within reach if one is brave enough to grasp for it. I can master nothing if I cower at the prospect of death — if I do, a simple acquaintance is all it will ever be. A life of ruined, stunted potential: that is a grim fate.

He would not understand. I cannot explain, am weary of trying to explain. It doesn’t matter. It isn’t his duty to understand & for all that it is continually selfish, the possibility of frightening him away — my childhood companion, my solitary friend — is not something I’d ever want to actually consider.

At least my now having a bow will provide him some small relief. Temporarily, at least.

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Darius Farrilis Travel Log - Returns to Raventall

Since coming to these lands I’ve been faced with stark examples of my weaknesses. There is nothing for it but to work to correct these. The world of the shorter lived races moves at a different less forgiving pace. Perhaps this is why my mentor warned me to not allow their short lives to impact my perception of there skills.

Could it be that living in constant struggle and with such frailty causes them to advance that much more quickly. It is said that the weakest flame burns brightest, but until this point I considered it a turn of phrase to be used by the frail and infirm to comfort themselves with. My companions trusted me to stand watch, as did my Lady. Again my Lady felt driven to step into harms way to aid me. Its shaming to see her injured because I am not strong enough, to watch the paladin fall again under the fangs of our enemies. I was able to tend his wounds but it was a small repayment. Even the injured ranger and halfing were forced to rouse and take action.

I must find a way to become stronger, if only to repay the services of these ‘adventurers’. They continuously aid me, and more importantly my Lady. And while they are the cause of our situation, they are often our solace. We have received a reward, and while it would greatly help my Lady in her quest I can’t help but feel that they that have suffered so much, and will live so little time should take the lions share to shore up their defenses and capitalize on their strengths. My lady seems to agree, though she has forced me to accept some of her travel funds to compensate for what I’ve spent on us. I try to refuse but, she will have none of it. And I have no doubt she would put herself in danger to prove her point as she threatens.

Her willpower is inspiring, that she can face danger with such conviction isn’t surprising after watching her endure isolation for so long, and facing an ageless eternity of it. I only hope that my devoted company can offer her some solace.

on that subject, it seems the halfling was robbing us all. Even the paladin that has so protected her. I simply do not understand, she will risk her life for children for a nebulous reward. But with the promise of riches, and fine lodging she takes from those whom she seems to cherish, or at least seem to cherish her. I will watch her. She must sleep, they all must sleep. And if this is an example of companionship then I will fight to pay back their kindness, but never forget the risk they could pose to my Lady. We are to attend a ball, I fear that we will soon become victims to the politics of this city. I fear too my lady will see this as a means to an ends to gain access to the magics here and nearby. I will follow her choices, but intrigue is a dangerous game in which I’m less equipped to defend her.

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Fifi Grim-Dark--The Accounting III

::A date scribbled onto the top::

Worst day ever.

+ Nothing
-A lot of health

Profit 0.

:(

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In consideration —

I am frustrated. Impatient, I would dare say — although it’s certain that my unimaginative kin wouldn’t be astonished to hear the word when used in relation to me, being that my ‘strangely rash’ temperament was merely one more aspect that kept me isolated from them.

I’d hoped for more progress by now. Having finally escaped the limitations and expectations of Mist Veil, having finally arrived here, where I imagine I can almost literally feel the restlessness and raw potential of the magic underfoot, in the very ground and air, I am nonetheless stymied… held at bay by the very same group of dubious ‘adventurers’ that Darius and I were fortunate enough to be taken in by, and with such blindly trusting ease.

Unsurprisingly, their focus is on the petty and superficial: wealth, riches, short-lived glory. Nethys forbid they consider the concept of making their own fortune by venturing out independently to comb through the dark wilderness that so likely few have dared plumb the potentially abandoned treasures of. No, no. Far easier, far safer to rely on others to hand them neatly dictated tasks, accompanied by the promise of a pittance of reward.

We waste our time and resources (two things you would suppose would be far more meaningful to them rather than one such as I, considering their short supply of both) in meaningless battles, we bunker down with miscreants, and when we, at long last, leave behind the walls of the city, the only direction they seem interested in following is the one set by their moral compass, by their ironically gold-driven sense of ‘duty.’ There is so much to be explored, so much to be studied, so much to experience — and all they can concentrate on is playing savior.

And they could barely even do that right.

At the very least, I was afforded an intriguing glimpse into this ‘Jester’ creature and the ritual we interrupted it in the midst of, most compellingly woven in the (rather clumsily articulated) tongue of demons. I can’t help but wonder as to which dark entity might be willing to turn an ear this way, should it be coated liberally enough with blood. I’m somewhat disappointed I was incapable of hearing more, even somewhat disappointed the ‘Jester’ fled, taking its mysteries with it. But, in hopefully advantageous addition, having fought alongside these ‘adventurers,’ having bled and fallen in their aid, having assisted in rescuing their children, they should logically have no reason to view me in an enemy’s light when they eventually come to know more of me. Unfortunately, the paladin, at least, seems unsettlingly intolerant to such a meager and dismissible concept as ‘logic.’

It doesn’t matter. If they are unwilling to accept us, if they are too narrow-minded to see beyond their own superstition and terrors, Darius and I will go our own way, though it would not please me to once more force him into yet another situation that is neither to his liking nor comfort, as I must admit to having done since making him leave our his home behind. It cannot be helped, however; his duty, a thing of genuine conviction that this motley and greedy group could hardly begin to fathom, prevents him from allowing me to set him free from the tradition that shackles him to me. Would that I could console myself by saying it was his choice, except that it never truly was. But he was raised with me, knows what I am, knows I will not be dissuaded. I must respect that he knows, with equal if not greater clarity, his own mind.

We return to the city now. Let us hope we aren’t long for its comforts.

Addendum #1 —
The godly human has gone. I’d hoped to have more of an opportunity to study him, but perhaps it is for the best. The deities of humans seem to be as dangerously whimsical in their moods as the race that worship them.

Addendum #2 —
If I catch that little packrat thieving from me, I’ll let her bleed out next time.

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Darius Farrilis Travel Log - The Jester

The children were found and liberated.

I find myself in awe of these shorter lived races. Despite great danger they drive forward. Fifi was discovered while attempting to rescue the children. Rather then flee or draw her weapons she valiantly continued on towards the children. It is with some shame I admit we could not break through fast enough to spare her, and she ultimately was forced to defend herself and eventually fell unaided.

Albrecht also demonstrated great courage drawing the vile jester to attack him seemingly willing to sacrifice his own life. Even the Paladin waded into fists worth of foes and stood his ground till he fell. Why when they are afford so little life, do the so willingly offer it up for strangers? I would die for my Lady, but this is my honor. I have been raised and trained from birth to do so, from the moment she showed the spark of Magic I have been there to protect and aid her. Before her familiar even. Yet they have not these bonds. These children, eachother, even us…They’ve barely known each other.

My lady however seems touched by their rashness, while I am proud of her for vanquishing her first foe with her own hand. It was a nightmare to watch, that she felt driven to risk herself. I must become stronger.

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