The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

Teak's Journal: Entry (22)

We’re finally done with this horrible place. I don’t particularly want to leave the forest, but all of those tunnels and caves and monsters… I’m more than fine with leaving those behind.

It’s also time to bring Axeth back.

There’s a sense of foreboding that I can’t get rid of. It’s ominous and puts me on edge. Maybe that’s a good thing? I’ll be taken by surprise less often, I guess. That’s good with how much trouble we always run into.

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Roux: A Whisper of Troubles

Much has happened since last I set down words on these pages, and I don’t know if summarizing all of it is strictly necessary. Shalelu-ren maintains her fast; she is on the last day now. I hope the spirit can be dispatched without too much trouble. Ameiko-ren has been accompanying us down into the prison, and has been most helpful, although I do worry about her.

Sad news: we have lost a dear companion. Teak’s bird, Axeth, fell to some hideous creatures who kept attacking with sound waves. Teak is planning on resurrecting him once we are through with the prison. I hope it works. I am concerned for her. She seems much more withdrawn than before.

Otherwise, we are making progress. We have found some of Munasukaru’s children and dispatched them. One was quite rude and doubted my capabilities. I did not get the chance to prove him wrong, alas, as I was petrified by this gorgon mount for the majority of that fight. Most embarrassing. The next oni decided to challenge me rather than Tallus, which, I confess, was a bit gratifying. Showing off is not my intention, but the road to perfect oneself is difficult and it’s nice to have some confirmation of one’s skills.

I believe my abilities are stronger now than they have ever been. I only hope it will be enough to help us all survive down here, and to help Ameiko-ren retake her family’s throne.

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Roux: A Variety of Escapades

We have obtained a new companion, which Shalelu is not too happy about. In truth, I cannot say I am easy with the situation myself, but it seemed dishonorable to simply kill him after Ameiko dismissed the charm. I hope he will not cause trouble, and I hope Shel will be all right.

We have defeated more oni. I believe we are nearing Munasukaru, if the increasing numbers of her children are anything to go by. I will be glad when we are out of this place. Even the walls seem hostile.

In the course of a fight with some more hobgoblins, Ameiko fell off the cliff we were on and into the water. I was very worried, but fortunately she was able to patch herself up. We then engaged in combat with some giant fish, which resulted in a fair amount of ridiculous antics.

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Roux: A Myriad of Quarrels

Our explorations through the prison continue. We are making good progress, I believe, though we met a great deal of resistance from some hobgoblins. We eventually eliminated their leader, but not before they had caused us a fair amount of trouble. Unaccountably, Teak decided to defend one of the creatures that had fallen unconscious (after her own attacks, no less). I can’t think what had gotten into her. The others were none too happy, particularly Shal-ren.

Two more of our number now have spirits: Bastien-rao and Shalelu-ren. The one with Bastien seems harmless enough, but I am concerned about the one that has taken up within Shalelu. She says it makes her hungry, but no other ill effects are as of yet apparent. Still, I am concerned. Mama Koya can force it out of her, but such an action carries its own risks. It is up to Shal-ren to decide what to do, I suppose.

The hobgoblin leader, a distasteful creature calling himself the Swine Shogun, proved a difficult fight indeed. He nearly struck a very powerful blow to Tallus, but Nate pushed him out of the way and allowed it to hit him instead. He was very upset. I have never seen him like that. I shall have to have a talk with him; it is one thing to use your anger against an opponent, but it is a fine line between that and letting it control you. I am concerned about what might happen in the future.

I have learned two new spells, one of which my new spirit friend will no doubt like. We are all getting stronger with practice, but I fear that our enemies will be stronger still. It is fruitless to worry, yet I cannot help myself sometimes. If we were to lose anyone else…

Enough. We shall just have to prevent it from happening.

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Roux: A Consideration of Knowledge

In addition to the oni locked in the lower levels and the araneas upstairs, there are apparently numerous other creatures that have taken up residence in the prison. We discovered some people who had been enslaved by a hobgoblin tribe down here. After setting them free, they described that the leader of the tribe (the self-proclaimed “swine shogun”) keeps a dire boar as a pet. They were ignorant of what is awaiting us on the lower levels, save that there is at least one more.

The hobgoblins have so far not proved nearly as difficult to deal with as the morghs. And quite pleasantly flammable. Shalelu-ren is a great help down here.

On that topic, it seems that she and Bastien have sorted things very well indeed. They both seem very happy, and I am gladder than I can say that they found one another. They are quite adorable together.

I wonder if I will ever experience such.

I know very well that I am probably being foolish

It is not the time for such thoughts. I have a mission to fulfill and more to learn.

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Six Weeks

Slow, slow me down
Her blood, on my bones
Let go, lay to rest

Alone, I fight these animals
Alone, until I get home

Coming back, I’m coming back
She follows me into the woods
Takes me home

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Teak's Journal: Entry (21)

This forest is beautiful. It’s not quite like the jungles that I prefer, but this place is wonderful anyway. I’m so glad to be back in some place that’s green. It makes me feel so much more optimistic and happy!

I talked to Archibald the other night. I found out that he was framed for the murder of his girlfriend! How awful is that?! I can’t even imagine why someone would do that to him! To anyone!

Either way, I hope it goes well with him and Shalelu. I want them both to be happy.

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Roux: A Conglomeration of Spiders

We have encountered the kami of the forest, and they are quite fascinating. They have tasked us with discovering how certain oni they had imprisoned in the House of Withered Blossoms had escaped, and eliminating those who had. One oni remains in the prison who was tricked into remaining there by the others.

A great number of creatures appear to have taken up residence in the former prison since the oni escaped, among them some araneas who will likely prove a problem sooner or later. For the moment, we retain an uneasy peace.

We also encountered some mohrgs, which were highly unpleasant. I had the embarrassment of being paralyzed by one of them and propped up in a corner like a statue while Sandru-tzu was obliged to look after me. Apologies, Feliu-rhi, I have disappointed. I shall endeavor not to make such errors in the future.

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31

Note to self: be wary in spiritual forests but take a break to stop and actually look around.

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Roux- A Letter

[Addressed to the attention of the Council]

Being in receipt of your recent missive and acknowledging the Council’s intentions, I humbly fear that the presenting issue may yet be unsettled. I am aware of said allegations against Sonam Jun Lajos Andreu Roel Shen Santxo Bastien da Ysanne and have basis for belief that the honored court may have been misled in this instance, purposefully and willfully.

I therefore mount a formal challenge to aforesaid conviction, as is my right as a citizen of the Most Serene City of Xiuvri and a blood member of the house of Ysanne, and request a formal re-opening of the investigation into the murder of Osera Amarante Xiuwei Maela Iseul Cairin Irune Arantxa da Jieha. I regret that said action may prove inconvenient to the Council and the court; however, justice cannot be a principle held to timetables, nor is it always easily found when sought.

Until such time as matters are settled, I will await the Council’s further decision regarding my license and Right of Free Passage.

Yours sincerely,

Danseroux Ainhoa Lien Mireille Iraina Sancia Elixabeta Azelise da Ysanne

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