The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

Roux: A Complication of Priorities

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.

Our investigations, though previously seeming to advance, have suffered a setback. We made our way to the funeral boat of Nori Stone-eye, thinking to find the sword and our prospective guide there. Unfortunately, the only thing we found was another undead individual. It seems that Nori Stone-eye came alive again in death, and those with whom he was associated sought to end him by chaining him to his own funeral pyre. Such a thing, however, would not have made an end to him, as fire would not harm him nearly as much as others and he could swim perfectly well.

We were thus obliged to fight him in the lower deck of the boat, which was very cramped. Teak-tzu was the only one among us who could stand upright. He hurt myself, Teak-tzu, and Tallus-tzu quite badly. I still do not feel quite myself, although I received healing afterwards. I hope that I shall feel better in the morning. We finally managed to defeat him. Beneath the eyepatch he was wearing was a nacreous stone. Such an odd artifact…I retained it for further study.

Upon emerging to the upper deck, we discovered that our troubles were not at an end. We were beset by a group of individuals dressed in black, most likely representatives of the adversaries of whom we keep hearing. We defeated some, but before we could defeat them all, Sophie-tzu decided we needed to escape immediately and flung me into a boat. Most vexing. The fire on the ship was not spreading so quickly that we couldn’t have contained it if need be.

Regardless, we made our way back to town in the canoes of our erstwhile assailants with ill news for Uksahkka-tzu, Ulf-tzu’s associate. We attempted to meet her at the appointed place, a temple, but it was in the process of being attacked by an earth elemental! The gods clearly intended to test our skills today.

We rescued a priest of the temple from the elemental, and others who were not yet beyond our assistance. For some reason, Tallus-tzu grew concerned that this fight was too much for us and urged withdrawal, as did Nate-rao. Teak-tzu insisted on staying behind to continue to fight. I was thus presented with a quandary: a strategic retreat is not always a bad thing, but I was unconvinced it was necessary in this case. In any event, it would have been bad form to abandon Teak-tzu to fight the creature alone. I thus retreated out of the elemental’s reach, while still firing a scorching ray spell at it through a wand. Through our combined efforts, we were able to defeat it without further harm.

It remains to find Uksahkka-tzu. The earth elemental was clearly sent for the purpose of finding us, and so I feel responsible for the chaos it caused in this city…chaotic already though it may be. I hope that she has come to no harm, and that we may yet find Ulf-tzu and continue along our way before we draw too much attention.

Until then, I remain,
Your devoted student,
Azelise

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12

Note to self: Some of the people that I travel with aren’t so keen on the whole self-preservation thing.

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Roux: A Conspiracy of Unknowns

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.

I will not in fact be sending this letter out currently, as we have been much troubled with spies of late. I shall simply collect my reports until our location is more secure. Unfortunately, that may not be for some time.

It seems that both the sword we seek and our guide have been spirited away from our grasp, as well as the boy Tallus-tzu and Teak-tzu found to be an informant. He was killed before their appointed meeting time, most likely by those same individuals who hired him in the first place. The sword has been stolen from its current owner, the merchant to whom Rokuro-tzu had sold it. He told us that if we discovered the culprits and enacted a “payment” for the sword’s theft and the murders of several of his servants in the process, it would be ours in payment. (The justice system here is crude, but one cannot deny that it gets results.) He also directed us to a guide, one Ulf Gormunder, who would likely be willing to take us over the Crown of the World. Lastly, he recognized the sigil on the armbands of those who previously attacked us as belonging to one Asvig Longfuse.

When we went in search of this man, his associate informed us that he had gone missing, after an appointment to meet with this same man Longfuse. It was clear that we needed to converse with this individual. We enacted a night raid on the house, hoping to discover the sword and free Ulf-tzu.

We found neither, and Longfuse died before he could give us any information. It was not a fault of ours, but the same spell that killed the last man we attempted to interrogate in this manner. It would seem that someone does not want certain deeds traced back to them. We did capture one of Longfuse’s warriors, who said that the sword had been “moved” (he did not know where) and that Ulf-tzu was being held prisoner on a funeral boat, meant to be set alight today. His associate has kindly lent us the use of some peculiar boats which we shall use to rescue him.

These are not, however, the most notable occurrences of late.

A girl has appeared, perhaps several years older than I. When I say “appeared,” I do not mean she wandered in off the street. She quite literally appeared in my arms. She was understandably quite confused as to how she got here.

Some of the others recognized her…Ameiko-ren, Shal-tzu, Sandru-tzu…but the others of my companions did not, as I did not. Moreover, the ones who recognized her seemed to believe that she had been among us the whole time, which I can attest with certainty that she was not. Si’R-tzu—the girl—remembered Ameiko-ren and the others who remembered her, but as…different individuals, somewhat. She had a different set of traveling companions as well. She summons a strange creature, and seems reasonably well-versed in the arcane arts.

This may sound mad, but certain things have led me to the conclusion that she may not be of our world at all. She remembers going through Brinewall, and doing the things we also did there, but with differences. For example, in her world, the harpy Ziaobe did not turn on them, but instead befriended the party and came along with the caravan! There is also a certain link between the two—I shall say dimensions—that I am not at liberty to discuss. Have you ever heard of other worlds? Not the planes, or worlds of that nature, but other versions of worlds like our own?

This will require a great deal of study. More, I cannot say just now. I hope to have some answers by the next time we meet.

Until then, I remain,
Your devoted student,
Azelise

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11

Note to self: pretty girls deserve pretty dresses and there is really nothing I can do with that much clothing.

Not safe here

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Teak's Journal: Entry (11)

The day has been… interesting to say the least.

We arrived in the city and… I don’t like it. At all. It unnerves me and puts me on-edge and I feel like I’m always being watched or followed or something. I hate it!

Tallus has stuck by my side, though, which I really appreciate. He’s so nice! We also happened to meet a young human boy named Kay, and he was very fun and interesting!

Before that, though, we ran into some barbarians on our way into the city. I think I’ve been spending too much time with Nate and Tallus lately because I was very excited at the opportunity to kill one of the unconscious barbarians.

But I was able to use a spell to make Kaleth super strong! He didn’t make contact too often, but when he did, it was awesome!

Oh! After we got into the city and Tallus and I were exploring, we were being followed by someone (who turned out to be Kay!). So I turned into a dog to track him down. That’s a thing I can do now; it’s really cool!

It turns out Kay was following us under orders of some mysterious hooded men he had been hired by. I decided that it was probably in our best interests to ask him to feed the men false information, and we’d pay him for it. He agreed!

I really hope this doesn’t come back to screw us over.

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Roux: A Scrutiny of Cities

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 have reached the city of Kalsgard. Once we depart, I may not be able to send my letters for some time, but rest assured that I will continue to write them. I must maintain a way of tracking my progress, after all. Once we have obtained Ameiko-ren’s sword, we shall continue over the Crown of the World to Tian Xia. In order to do so, we are also seeking a guide who is familiar with the area.

I have found the house of the merchant in whose possession Ameiko-ren’s honored grandfather left the sword, but I feel it is best to tread carefully. Our actions have already been noticed in the city; Tallus-tzu and Teak-tzu said they were followed by a Tien boy who was hired by mysterious individuals in black to report on us. It would be best to avoid the notice of Ameiko-ren’s enemies until our position is more secure. Fortunately, they had the presence of mind to bait him over to our side instead.

I have discovered several new spells in this city, including one which will allow me to go without rest for a night with no ill effects. This should prove most useful in the course of my studies; I will be able to get much more reading done this way. I have in addition learned several others, all of which shall be useful on the road ahead. I have also started learning from Haugen-tzu, our wainwright, the manner in which to repair the wagons. His expertise far outstrips my own, of course, and shall continue to do so, but it may well be that there will come a time when he and Sandru-tzu have need of another pair of hands. Kelda-tzu has most kindly offered to teach me Skald; I am beginning to pick up the basics.

The city Kalsgard itself is a most intriguing place. From its size, one would assume it to be a civilized place (as indeed it is in some ways; it is pleasant to sleep in a bed again for a little while), but it is very…raucous. Brawls and debauchery appear to be a daily occurrence, so mundane as to not even be remarked upon. Kelda-tzu says that this is the way of things here. It is a wonder that the city does not simply collapse in on itself with so many goings-on, but it seems to remain functioning, albeit in a somewhat haphazard manner. Is it the nature of the people that allows it to be so? Is there something about the place itself that affects them?

Philosophical questions aside, it is proving to be an interesting study.

I remain,
Your devoted student,
Azelise

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Luma: Hell

Well fuck me six different ways and shit ten bricks; we are finally leaving the bitch-ass ruin and getting on with our bitch-ass journey. Fuck, son; I was getting so fucking bored out here! There aint shit for a delicate young flower like myself to do in this hellhole. No fuckin’ place to move my fuckin’ goods, no one is trying to get in my pants, no dumb-asses to fleece; all I’ve done is swindle Bee and Vee outta more coin than I’d have thought their backwoods asses could have managed to part with. Shit, I can’t wait to get back to decent fucking civilization.

I got shit to do, money to make and other needs to attend to. Damn, I’m glad someone woke up the boss lady, she at least keeps it interesting around here. Time to head to a place where I can be worth a damn again.

Fuck.

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Walthus: End Over End

So I learned something while traveling so far. As it turns out, horses are NOT, in fact, very much like snakes. At all.

While this would be normally very concerning to me and Mr. Vipers, it hasn’t been so bad. Sophie brought home a new friend named Bitey. He is so friendly and cuddly; maybe in the next town we could get a few more like him and have them pull our carts instead of horses. I think that’d be a great idea.

Oh. And I guess something happened to Ameiko and then a bunch of stuff happened and now we are traveling with a butterfly, and another big lady. When did all this happen?

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Spivey: Everlong

New scenery at last! And plenty of new faces too! Desna (whoo!) seems to be favoring her favorite little friend today! So far everyone seems like a lot of fun to travel with? Wait…not everyone. The big lady is a little (a lot) intimidating. I better keep an eye on her so I don’t get smished accidentally (or on purpose). But the fun people outweigh the bad anyway. Especially Nate. He is such a cutie (ooh la la)

Oh Mistress, if you could see me now! Off on the road again, righting wrongs, fighting evil, watching destiny unfold: you would have loved it. Alas…hopefully Lady Desna (yeah!) and you are getting along. I hope so, she sure has been treating me fine lately.

This. Trip. Will. Be. So. Much. Fun!

Praise Desna! (Yeah baby!)

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