The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

Teak and Kaleth Meet

The area Teak was currently traveling through was dry and grassy. There were few trees and the ones she did see were small and pale compared to the ones she was used to in the forests she tended to inhabit. It was a bit unnerving to her, but it was also fun and interesting. She liked the new experience, the opportunity to meet new creatures and see new things.

It was while she was walking through the tall grasses that she heard a small yipping noise. It sounded a bit like the foxes she was familiar with, but it wasn’t exactly the same. Curious, she made her way towards the sound. It continued as she got closer, progressing into desperate whines. Her heart ached at the fear and sadness in the calls and she walked faster.

When she finally reached the place in the tall grass where the noise was coming from, she was surprised to find a little creature curled up on the dirt. It looked almost like a puppy, but the ears, snout, and tail were all wrong. The ears were more rounded at the top, almost like a lion’s, and the mouth… Every time it opened its jaw to make a sound, it spread wider than any animal she’d ever seen.

Teak watched in awe for a moment before it noticed her. Its wide little eyes focused in on her with terror. She instantly crouched down to appear smaller and started to make quiet, comforting coos.

It took some time, but the creature gradually calmed down enough for her to get closer. When she did, it slowly got up and wobbled over to her – this was when she noticed the back leg that was at an odd angle –, climbing on her and curling against her warmth. It wasn’t chilly outside by any means, but maybe this animal was used to being even warmer? She took out a large square of ragged cloth and wrapped it around the little one in her lap and it was quick to burrow in.

With a look, Teak was able to determine that this was a male. She had never seen this kind of animal before, but he was definitely cute. His mother must have abandoned him, as his leg appeared to be broken. Filled with sympathy for the little guy, she stood up and cradled the canine-like creature in her arms.

Maybe she could manage to nurse him back to health.


For the time being, Teak had deemed him Kaleth. She felt it fit him for some reason. He was young – probably still considered a baby in his species – and seemed to bounce back from the leg injury rather quickly once he was given the proper care. He jumped around a lot more than he probably should have, but Teak was glad that he was healing.

When the day came that Teak took the final bandages off his leg almost two months later, she gave him a watery smile, a tight hug, and walked off.

That evening, as the sky got darker, she found a small alcove underneath some tree roots to sleep in for the night. Curling up with her ragged makeshift blanket, the same one she’d used for Kaleth, she closed her eyes and began to doze off.

She nearly screamed when she felt a small and warm body wiggle its way in next to her. But when she opened her eyes, they met with dark brown ones that she had grown very familiar with.

A grin came to her lips and she pulled Kaleth closer. He huffed and groaned dramatically, but didn’t pull away. In fact, he snuggled closer and pressed his body against hers.

He was still there when she woke up the next morning, and for every morning after that.

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18

My demons won’t stop chasing me.

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Roux: A Departure of Caravans

Feliu-rhi, it will please you to know that great progress has been made on our journey. We will soon be leaving Kalsgard—just as the place was seeming more inclined to be hospitable.

But I shall start at the beginning.

We continued our explorations of the Ravenscraig castle, reaching a room in which the individual Silverscore was having tea with her associate. She had the temerity to demand our surrender when we entered. Of course, we could not do such a thing for the benefit of someone who had caused such disorder, so we were obliged to fight her. She and her ninja warrior coterie were quite the opponents. I acquitted myself quite well, if I may remark. Suishen-tzu gives me the ability to walk upon the air as though it were solid ground, which is indeed a useful skill to have at times.

She revealed her true form to us during the battle: the oni Kimandatsu, an ogre mage. It was a difficult fight, but our efforts at last prevailed, and we defeated her. Upon her I found several interesting artifacts, chief among them a wand of flame arrow which I retained, and a large tetsubo named Oathtaker, which granted the effect of a blood geass upon those who swore an oath on it, the mark of justice. No wonder all the individuals we attempted to question died before they could give us any information. They had to be willing in order to take the oath, though, which removes any lingering guilt at their deaths.

We continued on to find three individuals. The first goes by the name of Skygni, and he….well, I do not believe he is entirely trustworthy. He is a winter wolf, and though one does not like to judge based on a species…..well. I’m certain you understand my concern. Sophie-tzu seems to have taken to him, though, and has recruited him into our caravan. I cannot help but be uneasy about this; I shall have to ask Shalelu-ren to keep an eye on him.

At last, we located Ulf-tzu and Uksahkka-tzu. Ulf-tzu has graciously consented to lead us over the Crown of the World, although he keeps grumbling about “suicidal idiots.” It will not be easy; there is no doubt about that, but I wouldn’t take quite so dim a view of the situation.

An aside: We were greeted upon our return to town by none other than Svein Bloodeagle-rhesxi himself. He is throwing a feast for our benefit—for which I must prepare soon. I do not currently possess the garments suitable for such an occasion; I shall have to obtain something in town. It would not do to dishonor our host with poor apparel. I would hope the others think of this as well, but…well, their minds may be on other things.

As soon as our preparations are complete, we shall be leaving. I will send this letter out, but you may not receive more for some time. I have the runepaper for emergencies, and Bastien-rao no doubt has some as well. I shall collect my reports until such time as I can send them again.

Until then, I remain,
Your devoted student,

Azelise

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17

Note to self: wow. Wooooow. Wow. This is going to suck but it is also going to be really, really awesome.

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Entry the First

She’s grown. Well, it’s been over a year since I’ve seen her last. It’s only to be expected. She seems…different. Less reserved.

I don’t know what will happen when they expect her to return to that city. Will she readjust? Is that even possible at this point? It’s no wonder they require dispensation or lying tongues to leave; if everyone could see the things I have seen in the wider world…things she has no doubt seen as well…but no, they prefer to remain ensconced in walls.

It is not bitterness.

At least the company here is diverting. Sandru-dai has been teaching me Varisian card games, and Ameiko-xa makes an excellent conversational companion. Attempted to talk to Shalelu-tzu, almost got shot. Ameiko-xa informed me that my company was not actually being discouraged as such, but I’m not so certain.

Come on, Zell, come back safe.

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Roux: An Abundance of Affrays

Our investigations of this castle continue, although we have not yet found Ulf-tzu or the oni that Suishen-tzu warned us of. We did, however, find the most unpleasant corvine druid once more. Tallus-tzu defeated him with one shot; I was most proud of him.

We also encountered the man Goti, whose familiar Wodes took on the semblance of being. He seemed to have some spriggan heritage, although it was exceedingly odd and I could not determine it with any sort of exactness. Regardless, we defeated him as well, and must continue investigating the castle.

In his study, I found a scroll of planar binding, although it was incomplete. I took it to study it further; I have not had occasion to encounter the spell in person before. We also located scrolls containing the spell of a circle against evil, which I also mean to examine further, once we have the leisure.

I hope that we can find the individual whom we seek and leave this town behind, and soon. I hope that Bastien-rao is not getting into much trouble in my absence.

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16

Note to self: for once this ability was really, really handy. Keep in mind that it isn’t always a curse.

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Sophie: I'm cursed, you're cursed, we're all cursed.

So, this place is probably cursed. There was a sword and and a hand and a talking bird. Everyone doesn’t seem worried. Which means they are probably cursed, because Nate is always worried so the curse must have tricked him. We should leave this place before it’s too late. I wonder if I can trade the witch to get rid of the curse. I knew keeping a witch around was bad luck.

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Roux

Dear Feliu-rhi,

I send my kindest felicitations and blessings for you and your kin, and undertake with eagerness the pleasure of writing your honored self.

We continue investigating Ravenscraig. I have been learning to wield Suishen-tzu; although he is heavier in my hand than my rapier, I believe we shall get along quite nicely.

We encountered some trolls, whom we fooled into believing we were simply on business in the castle—which is entirely true. They then let us pass without incident. We were, however, obliged to fight several individuals, including a woman of the sort Suishen-tzu calls a ‘ninja.’ She was a most formidable opponent, but at length we defeated her.

Our investigations have yielded little else thus far, save for some interesting items and a note presumptively from Svein Bloodeagle, the ruler of these parts. It stated that the bearer of the note could command the subjects called housecarls to obey their orders. Upon closer inspection, it proved to be a forgery. Perhaps the guild is not so well supported as they pretend.

I will add to this note when I have time.

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15

Note to self: When you are told that something pusses, don’t stab it. Ever. It’s nasty.

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