The Forest of Spirits (Alpha Group)

24

Note to self: look in to poisons more. They are really handy.

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Sophie: Go big or go home and get something bigger.

I’ll tell you how it went down. Nate and I convinced a village we could solve all their problems by fighting their dragon. Naturally, they understood we were just that awesome. But, there was one that didn’t believe. So he died a fiery death; Cortez also knocked over his rocks. There was some tragic collateral damage however, he somehow managed to turn Teak into a giant bat. It was moderately alarming, but she got better. Then we returned to camp to reassure them we are still the best dragon hunters this side of Varisia. Now I will train them for war! The machines will come forth and crush our enemies, for I am a mighty, mighty, fortress!

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Roux: An Imminence of Dragons

We have freed the village of Tanuuq’s deceitful influence, though it was a most challenging struggle. Tallus-tzu was greatly injured during the fight. More than ever I was grateful for Suishen-tzu’s aid, as the terrain was most icy and it would have been difficult to maintain my footing had I been obliged to stay on the ground.

We discovered a number of shattered shells in Tanuuaq’s hideaway—eggshells. The sort of eggshells laid by a white dragon. It seems that he, in an attempt to secure more influence for himself perhaps, destroyed the dragon’s eggs himself and thus evoked its anger. Also in his possession was an unholy symbol of Sithhud, the demi-demon lord. Clearly, he was not serving any decent gods in his aims. I would be curious to know what aim, precisely, he was attempting to accomplish, but as we were obliged to do away with him, it seems that such answers will not be forthcoming in the immediate future.

We also discovered a staff of journeys, which should be most useful in our future endeavors.

Unfortunately, it seems that an explanation to the dragon and an assurance we have punished the one responsible for the loss of their offspring is unlikely to suffice, according to Sonavut-rhes. Still, it is a thing worth attempting.

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23

Note to self: make peace with whatever it is you mean to do because you might die soon. On a positive note, I might be able to say I killed a dragon.

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Roux: An Escalation of Escapades

We have entered a town that we should not have.

It is being threatened by a dragon, and their shaman appears to be up to no good, but that is not our affair and we should not be here. Outsiders are not permitted.

Ulf-tzu believed that it would be all right, as he had done the village a favor in the past, but it seems that this does not grant us freedom of the city. The shaman wished to sacrifice one of us to make up for the slight, like a barbarian. I wished to talk him into simply letting us leave and continue on our way, with the promise never to return, but other promises were made, and now we’re expected to deal with the dragon. At least their elder, Sonavut-rhes, does not seem to mind our presence.

It’s not as though the encounters we have had here are uninteresting, but I fear they are a distraction from our objective. I suppose we must make the most of them, and learn what we can.

This shaman, an individual by the name of Tanuaq-tzu, called a demon into a man by the name of Naquun-tzu. We were thus obliged to free him from his possession. I am not certain what Tanuaq-tzu expects to gain by this activity, but I suppose we must continue to investigate.

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22

Note to self: possession is actually a thing that happens in real life and isn’t just a campfire story.

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21

Note to self: Keep your guard up but generally mysterious non-human pirates are kind of interesting.

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Teak's Journal: Entry (18)

There’s a reason I don’t follow any gods. It’s because nature is absolute. Gods have domains, things they rule over and specialize in, but nature is everywhere and everywhen. No matter what happens, nature is always there and it always will be.

Plants have a life of their own. Most people don’t pay attention, aren’t attuned to it, but I notice. I can feel their life force and their power. They feel in a way that most of us can’t understand, but they do feel. It’s in sensations and temperatures. They always feel when something cuts or breaks off a branch, when a leaf is pulled off.

But they’re resilient. They grow new leaves, new branches, new roots. Even after a long winter, plants grow back, come back to life from dormancy.

They survive.

Even lands ravaged by forest fires or volcano eruptions have new sprouts after a few years; those plants end up being even healthier than in other places!

It’s awe-inspiring, the never-ending cycle of nature. That’s why I’ve stayed in the wilderness for so long: I’m not alone, but I don’t have to worry about people. I always have company in the plants and the animals. As long as you respect the cycle of life and the plants and animals themselves, they respect you.

Besides, plants make for surprisingly good company.

… I’m not looking forward to the trip into these barren lands at all.

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Roux: A Variety of Adventures

Our journeys continue.

The date of my birth has come and gone; I am now thirteen years of age, one step closer to being a woman. I do not feel any different, but I suppose time will tell.

I had not expected any sort of notice due to the occasion, but I should have known that Bastien-rao would not let it pass unremarked. He informed the others—-although he seems to have attempted to give them the impression that the day was a civic holiday of some sort—and they set out a most amusing celebration. They all even made me gifts! I was quite touched. Truly, it is an honor to have such loyal friends, even if they can be trouble on occasion.

We came across a witch, whom we defeated—really, I do wish Sophie-sei would not venture into strange places so much. We find enough danger without going to look for it.

We also encountered a most peculiar individual with a ship, who challenged us to a game. At first I was wary, suspecting that it may be the sort of game to steal one’s soul like the tales of Xiu-ai and her thousand silken arrows, but upon his reassurance that he simply wished to be entertained, with no stakes, we acquiesced. It really was quite an interesting game; I shall have to teach it to you when I return, Feliu-rhi. Though it was quite a struggle, we managed to beat him, and in return he gave us a most interesting artifact. It is a cane that can cast several different spells, all of which will be quite useful, I am sure. As I am the only one with the capability or inclination to wield it, it was left in my keeping.

After another fight, we continued on our way. We are making progress, although we still have a long road ahead of us.

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Roux: A Cataclysm of Bears

Bears are most unpleasant creatures.

Our journeys north continue. It is difficult to tell whether we are making progress, as everything in this icy landscape looks the same. But Ulf-tzu assures us that we are moving in the right direction.

I am very glad for Suishen-tzu. He keeps off the cold most excellently.

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