Journey to Recovery

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Ardal's Journal - Entry 1
For Glory, Adventure, Fortune and Friendship!

Well that's what I am expected to say. Anyone with any sense knows otherwise. For Gold, Land and Empire would be far more accurate. Although I am being rather harsh, after all no one expected anyone to actually be alive out here. The discovery of yet surviving settlements will no doubt come as a shock to those at home. More importantly for me is there is indeed a surviving kobold presence on the island! Admittedly they are being ruled by a tyrant, a man a shudder to think of. However if the wizard is correct about the presence of illusion magic there is certainly more to that chief than meets the eye. In either case I have plans for some “regime change”. Then I can finally get on with my important work. A census, land surveys, establishing military tactics, knowledge exchange, the list goes on!


But enough of the fun stuff. As for the work I'm actually being paid to do, things have been rather successful. Lots of strange technology has been recovered and with any luck we should be able to get them repaired and perhaps even take a look at their inner workings. Who knows, we might even be able to get them patented back home! That would certainly be a boon worthy of the danger we have faced here thus far. I nearly died twice! The most curious thing thus far has been the strange contraption we used to navigate the tunnels we found in the local mines. We plan to return for some further investigation of those tunnels.


As for those that I am working with, they are a pleasant enough lot I suppose. Competent as well, we cleared out the undead in the mine with ease. I get the feeling that I'm not really respected however. Especially from Nisha who I think simply despises me. The survivors in the city were not much better. The Governor's son in particular couldn't hide his shock that I was in fact a lawyer. I should be used to it by now but it still gnaws at me. Which is good. It helps drive me. They said that I would never become an accomplished bard, all kobolds are good for is irritating their betters. I learned from my masters, put in my all and now I can bring hope to my allies and madness to my enemies. They said I could never afford to go to law school. I broke myself upon the anvil of labour working numerous jobs and looking after my tribe. With sheer perseverance I got enough gold. They said I wasn't smart enough to enrol. I showed competence in numerous field until they had no recourse but to enrol me. “Take the bar? Ha! You couldn't even reach the bar” they said. I graduated with honours. You'll die penniless if you specialise in defending kobolds they said. I'm still here and I recently secured planning permission to develop a cave system. They said I'd die if I ventured out in those devastated lands. I'm still here. Throughout it all I'm still here.


They'll say that my dream are impossible, that I'll never succeed. But I've overcome every obstacle and I don't intend to ever stop. Even if the gods themselves stand in my way I will overcome. You might call it arrogance, I call it determination and my defiance can be summed up in a simple sentence.


I'm still here.

Nisha Journal

These new lands offer little in terms of new knowledge, most of the planet life is similar and wargs, owl bears and kobold are hardly revolutionary in terms of their intellectual merit. One of the most outstanding discovers is this land based cannon which would be a great addition to the empires stocks both militaristic and achievable.  The survival of the people here represents an interesting change of events; it was expected that some would survive but so close to the empire is interesting.  Their location if brought under the guidance of the empire would make them a valuable outpost for future travel and exploration.  On closer inspection of the town the two wizards may have some value but not much and the towns peoples irrational fear of demons that have no direct influence on them is amusing. Perhaps they will relax when more tifelings colonise this land we shall see.

The discovery of necromancy in this area was most peculiar and a welcome change from the casual forests and frankly drab peasantry. The fact that such a small artefact had the ability to do this to them speaks wonders of the villages defense and manpower. The group performed spectacularly tactically creating exactly a situation which would work out favorable even the kobold did his bit it was quite remarkable to see the little guy try. The discovery of these demons and their lord are quite intriguing a war in hell would certainly be an interesting documentation event.  However, I will have to study this in more detail when at a suitable location. The fact that the fools decided to destroy the artifact before further study could be undertaken is foolish to the extreme if I had been in charge I would have had them executed for preventing and hurting the understanding of the empires people.

The device at the end of the tunnel was another remarkable event its ability to move at speeds far greater than a carriage or boat what it would do for the people of the empire would be revolutionary the ability to travel so speedily with little chance for interruption or delay would allow for a system of response and action unprecedented by the current empire. Of course it would not compare to the vast superiority of magic however there of course those with such gifts or training that must be considered. It would be interesting to see how it could be implemented. One of the less interesting but not less researchable events was the discovery of the hydra this beast could defiantly be used in some medicine or protection service for the people of the empire I would have to study it in greater detail especially its regenerative powers.The end of the tunnel was unfortunate but hardly unexpected.

The fact that the group decided to go back to that village astounds me most of the time kobold make good servants and sometimes good dungeon keepers. However, upon discovery of the demon in charge it immediately became a hunting expedition.  With the knowledge this demon has we could learn much, the truth about this war, the events outside the empire during the fall, more about the fall in general. So much I was glad when in my slight moment of weakness, the fools did not execute this valuable source of knowledge.  

I shall look forward to studying him and this blade he has given me in great detail.

Ardal's Journal - Entry 2
Regime Change

Well after a fun night of drinks and merriment (most of which I don't remember) we returned to the tunnels for some more exploration. Unfortunately all we found was a collapsed tunnel and an angry hydra. If I take nothing else from this adventure at least I now know that hydras are a lot more nimble than they look. Charging forth was not a good idea. Still here though, so can't complain too much. Without any real method to make sure the hydra stays dead we've captured it instead and I think the plan is to sell it on to whatever idiot wants a hydra for a pet. The other plan to permanently mutilate the beast to sell it's meat sends shivers up my spine. To even contemplate… I digress. Dellisar hired out some labourers to clear the tunnel so we should be able to follow that up again soon.


So without much to do in the meantime I suggested my plan to investigate the kobold chieftain and institute some “regime change”. Everyone was rather sceptical of my claims but once I pointed out they'd get to see kobolds fight and maybe die suddenly they were on board. That was more than a little depressing. After some investigating it seemed quite likely that the chieftain was actually a demon and put forth funds to properly equip us for the fight. With traps, cold iron, grenades and holy balm in hand we set up an ambush that went almost perfectly. The demon teleporting out of the trap was somewhat unexpected be we'd set things in favour too much for it to be to much of a setback. As for the demon itself, I managed to convince my colleagues to not finish him. Looking at him, after the beating he took from us he looked quite pathetic. I also think the conditions are just right to redeem him. Of course anyone with any sense is quick to point out “Hey Ardal, demons are literally made of sin you dummy” but I am of the belief that almost all sin is committed with ultimately good intentions. If I am correct then somewhere, buried deep within, is a tiny spark of good. On a more practical level someone with the skill set of an Incubus is always going to be useful. I'd like to say that staking my life on his redemption was a carefully calculated move and that all is going according to plan but really it just happened. I suppose it's always good to have sufficient motivation!


But enough talk of Dranhiro (that is his name)! I have taken a good look at the newly liberated village and manage to conduct a census and there is great news! There are far more than 50 kobolds here and the village is positively thriving. I'll need to ensure certain safeguards are set up but as starting points go I could scarcely ask for more. There's a lot of work ahead of us but with righteousness on our side we can hardly fail.


I think our work here is nearly done, once the collapsed tunnel is explored I think we will probably be returning home. I hope we can turn our successes here into further successes.

Nisha's journal 2

The most peculiar event has occurred the sword which I was training with and examining has begun to speak, not well for that matter, but still its sudden consciousness is most remarkable especially when combine with the fact that no one else seems to have the faintest notion of its Awareness. Whether or not this is some demon trick or I have simply gone insane has yet to be seen I do believe it will become a valuable tool. This requires further study.   

The discovery of the abandoned research lab was most pleasing it offered a great chance for some investigating into past events and fields of study, the identification of the leak was rather unsettling but it was still an informative experience none the less. The research these people were doing was quite thrilling with the actual examination of outsiders on a more physical level quite intriguing indeed. It was a shame to find little of higher value or anyone still there but I’m sure with further studying into such facilities there is likely to be more of them scattered around. My new acquired companion seems to be interested as much as I am in this location however the particular mention of Mortanis infuriated it to no end.  This requires further study.

The return to the capital was a welcome change in scenery, I have to say this is clearly the kobolds area of expertise the small creature is actually starting to prove to be an increasingly more valuable member of our group perhaps I was wrong about the value they hold but of course it will take further work with him to know more.  The other members seem well meaning enough with the wizard and alchemist having the most inline views to my own. The only thorn would be the kitsune who has a few strange notions. I am most intrigued about a meeting with the first Minster who happens to have presented himself to us at the most opportune moment, I would like to see if he can provide myself with some form of research or contractual work for the empire to have an invested interest in out particular actions. This will require further action.

Ardal's Journal - Entry 3

It's good to be back safe and sound. Thankfully our last adventure prior to leaving did not result in me almost dying again. Found an old Dominion research centre, long abandoned and rusted away. I think the others found some things of interest, I was more interested in the strange geometry caused by the abyssal leak in the basement until it was revealed to be an illusion. Apparently some form of evil outsider summoning was going on there. Dangerous research to be sure. Speaking of evil outsiders I finished reading that goblin journal we found. Some useful information but mostly gibberish. Maybe I should give it to Nisha, she likes books but I don't think she can read goblin. Might compile an annotated version if I have the time.


Anyway we made it home safe and managed to pick up a sizeable payment for our services. That wasn't all however. It took some time, a little under the table dealing and lots of unnecessary attention (turns out most bureaucrats haven't seen a kobold do law before) but I managed to set up a web of numerous companies and patent our discoveries under them. Thankfully our wizard managed to make me a hat to disguise myself so I don't distract everyone when I try to work. It was only after I was done that I was informed that Dranhiro had just disappeared without telling anyone and decided to have a nice trip to the palace. I swear if he doesn't shorten my already short life by obligating me to ritualistic suicide then he'll do it with worry. Does he just not care what I risk for him? It was a long day and I decided to go back home to do the most important job of all. Tell stories to the little ones.


Unfortunately I was cut short when Reg came bumbling into the camp looking for me. Apparently Eulisses Crimson, First Minister of the Tiefling Empire had arrived looking rather upset demanding to meet with the owners of the company New World Designs. It turns out that military spending is rather high in Tiefling Empire and increased costs of having to construct patented designs is unacceptable. Who could have possibly guessed? Thankfully he was much more calm after I explained that whilst we required reimbursement to continue our very important of work of making the world a better place, that it need not be financial in nature. After all there is much a First Minister can do to help us. After business was concluded things were much more pleasant and I think I made a good impression on him.


As much as I enjoy being home, it won't be long until we return to adventure. After all, a Free State isn't going to build itself.

Ardal and Ziobohn's Journal - Entry 1
New Friends

Given recent events I felt it was appropriate to start a new journal, after all it would be terribly rude to give only myself the opportunity to note down my thoughts. This shall be a shared journal between myself, Ardal and my new friend Ziobohn.


I've never really been one for sharing. Well not for as long as I can remember anyway. Whilst in the abyss all I knew was hiding in the shadows and avoiding the creatures that dwelled there. But one could not stray too far into the depths, for therein lay abominations even demons feared. But since I was summoned I was only focused on breaking that wizard in. Like a pair of shoes. Just took time. But this host is different.


Normally people either get overwhelmed with the possibilities and attempt to strike bargains to get our ilk to serve them or they panic and try to flee. I've never heard of a group beating not one but two demons into submission and then trying to reform them… I suppose I should be grateful. But I can't find it in myself to look past the sheer stupidity of it. How someone in the group isn't pregnant with demon spawn yet I'll never know.


It's been a mixed bag recently. On the one hand we are intrepid adventurers with all the fun and glory such a job title infers. On the other hand things haven't been going as well. Firstly, had a shadow demon rip me apart from the inside. Was rather painful and marks the 5th time I have nearly died. Secondly, Eulisses thinks he is real funny guy. I'm sure he could barely contain his laughter watching me go through the hoops to become nobility.


You know what?


Getting real sick of people treating my existence as a joke. Their condescending attitude of “aw, look at him try”. When really if they had to suffer through what I had to suffer to get here they would have given up long ago. I digress, Euilisses's “joke” complicates matters. However if he will make it impossible for me to work within the current structures then I will work outside of them. I don't need him, or his friends, or his influence or his damn book. His arrogance will be his undoing.


This hosts aspirations while admirable are just as foolish. Why it wants to have its people be free I'll never know. How can a creature that was raised in a state they described to me not want to be the Emperor? Why wouldn't it want the power, fame, glory or anything?! While surrounded by these… eccentric allies, anything could eventually be possible. Everything could be theirs! Why would it not take all it deserved and then whatever else it can claw away from others?! Why should anyone get what it doesn't?


I shouldn't get so worked up.


Also now have Ziobohn in my head which is… different. I'm sure the rest of the group thinks me mad or worse. I can't in good conscience deny a creature's request for mercy though. I guess they don't get that there's good in everyone even if you can't see it. Honestly I don't expect anyone to get it. That's fine though, I'll bear that burden by myself if need be.


At some point this host will understand. It seems to have gotten this notion that there's "good" in everything. It needs to see that it's the other way around. No matter how good something seems to be, there's darkness within. Everything is evil at its core and its either blatant like a demon or hidden like an angel. The sooner it understands this, the sooner we can take what we deserve from the world.


Now before we head off to the capital I should really figure out how I'm going to feed us. Generally speaking abyssal leaks aren't exactly common. Eating people's souls is out of the question. I think I'll just ask Dranhiro, I imagine he'll know what to do.


Italicised excerpts written while Ziobohn was in control… of one hand


Nisha's journal 3

Having bested another demon of impressive cunning i am beginning to think that these creatures are not quite what they have been played up to be. Although whether this is true for the greater of there kind is yet to be seen. It will be an interesting Endeavour to pry knowledge from there skulls but i believe that with the right tools one could do such a think.  

With the shadow demon beaten the old mans house became a wealth of knowledge to be explored, my particular interest lay in the stone in his attic what power could it possibly have contained to create such a vast empire.  it is of the utmost importance that these gems are studied and explored to there full potential, however whether the current empire is capable of implementing it correctly i am unsure. For my once devout loyalty to the empire is shaken i see so much that is so obtainable and yet none have done so. The items in these new lands speak of unrivaled power. I must see more of both the old and the new before my judgment is absolute but for now i see flaws that must be corrected within my once beloved empire. 

However on to matters of a more current nature, the discovery of the old capital is most impressive what a magnificent wealth of knowledge it must have been in times of glory. Even know secrets are still buried throughout  and with the help of my sword i have obtained perhaps a means ot obtained such knowledge the discovery of my blades old study i have found perhaps the most interesting of discoveries a book of great importance one which belonged to my sword in his life and was his source of power. I cannot wait to be alone with it for some time before i can examine it in more details. That and the shards fo the staff of power all lead towards an interesting mystery of power. 

The gold i regret to say is another example of how i find my own empire lacking the grandeur of it all the power to contained. The ability to kill a dracolich is one thing the ability to have do it to itself in a pit of gold is another. if i had the time i would study it but alas the gold bring us to the next intriguing development the two that where trapped within the vault.

the offspring of an infernal duke is quite a monstrous creature and the fact it was contained even more monstrous the power required to do such a thing would be astronomical it must have taken a powerful being to do such a thing. Oh how i would love to pick that brain and find the secrets it contained but unfortunately i feel for the time being i will have to wait and see what information i can obtain merely through conversation. 

Ardal and Ziobohn's Journal - Entry 2

We may have made a mistake. A rather serious one. Okay, more than one but honestly the others were not entirely my fault.


First mistake was the Abyssal Leak incident. On our way to the capital we came upon a village, razed to it's very foundations save for a single building which I assume was a church. Things were going quite well, we had even found a branch from the Tree of Life. To find such an artefact is a great boon! Hopefully we can safeguard it long enough to bring it home to those who can properly protect such a holy object.


Recently though it seems that the good inevitably comes with a lot of bad. Firstly, turns out I can't touch anything holy any more. Apparently having a shadow demon possess you will do that. Secondly there was an abyssal leak in the basement. Fortunately it was properly contained. On the surface it seemed an easy chance to get some “food” but disturbing the wards containing the leak, if not dealt with correctly, could be Very Bad. Just as I was voicing this opinion things went cold and dark.


When I came to there was lots of panicking, both externally and inside my head. The seals were broken and the leak was spreading at an alarming rate. Seriously Ziobohn? Thankfully I knew the ritual used to contain the leak and managed to contain the leak again, although the wards are much weaker now.


Given the implications of an uncontrolled infinity leaking into the very much finite that could have went much worse. Managed to get some “food” out of the farce, so at least that is one issue I needn't worry about.


If the first mistake was a farce, the next was tragedy. We encountered another of those undead children. However this time, instead of destroying the poor soul we decided to play it's game. It was going well and I was actually enjoying a light-hearted childish game (not to mention my hiding spot was amazing). Then a shot rang out. Delain apparently had enough of this and blasted the child in two. I… why!? I don't understand! A peaceful resolution was possible but instead he shot a child! When I think of those poor souls I can't help but think of the little ones back home and my blood runs cold.


The next day we made our way into the capital proper, seeking knowledge and riches. We found both in plentiful supply. In the burned out library of the palace Nisha found personal journals in a secluded office. Deeper in the palace there were occasional screams. Following them, we found a sea of gold. An absolutely obscene amount of wealth and it was ours for the taking. I've read this story before though. This amount of wealth, concentrated in one area? There must be some great personal challenge, that is just how it works! As it turns out the gold was cursed, sometimes the greatest challenge is knowing when to let go.


Thankfully I didn't have to find a path through the cursed gold, as Ziobohn helpfully manifested some shadowy wings to carry us over it. Thanks, Ziobohn!


Deep within the palace we found the source of the screaming. In the shadow of the corpse of a dracolich, was an elf with very expensive clothing and magical items was immersed in the gold. However more importantly there was a soul gem which spoke with us.


Quite understandably, the entrapped soul wished to be free of it's imprisonment. While I'm very much against the eternal imprisonment of souls, given the history of this location it would be wise to know who exactly was imprisoned before we release them. Handily soul gems have the names of those imprisoned inside etched on them.


Maldrek Stohlvenege Obitus.


I'm good with names and Obitus rang a bell. If memory serves he was a famous prophet for a lawful god. Maldrek said that was his father. With no real reason to keep him imprisoned any longer we use the Branch to resurrect him.




As I said I'm good with names. Chances are if you are important I can name you and most of your family tree. So imagine my surprise when from out of the gem crawls an Infernal Duke. A Lord of Tyranny. One of the most powerful beings in the cosmos. Pardon the pun, but what the hell? Who is this person? In fact, it's rather curious because it initially had a form with a goat head which is inconsistent with what I know of Infernal Dukes.


Also apparently the elf in the gold was actually a dragon.


If I didn't know any better I would say I was trapped in a horrific nightmare from which I can't wake.


For the most part I am willing to sit back and observe the events of the world through this miniscule host. It turns out that once you're welcomed in you can have a lot of fun with someone's psyche. Multiple personality disorder ain't got nothing on me. I don't think the other personality is autonomous enough to literally make their home within the persons mind… maybe I should invite guests over at some point. Show off what I've made of the place.


But simply getting to observe tends to drag on somewhat. We agree on very little and it's infuriating to witness him make such mistakes. So I took it upon myself to talk to the incubus, something that just doesn't happen in the abyss. It's such a foreign concept, cooperation. But it would appear my host was more willful than I expected. Even whilst asleep I couldn't immediately claim control… well with my first attempt anyway. Eventually taking control I spoke to the incubus in the night. After a few minutes I realized he is as disappointing as the rest of this lot. Actually denying himself and trying to control his desires. What have they done to him?! Maybe it's more subtle and insidious than I imagined…


But moving on we made our way to the capital of the great Dominion. A nation whose military and navy even the other planes took note of. How the mighty can fall. The walls of the capital lay shattered having collapsed in on themselves and destroyed the buildings behind them. Only two buildings remained in tact. A massive and decadent palace literally wreathed in gold and a fortress which looks to have come out of an extraplanar invasion relatively intact.


But it would appear even a self proclaimed freedom fighting kobold can't deny himself a building literally built with gold. So going through the side entrance we found the remnants of the Royal Archives. The tomes had been put to the torch and the destruction of the building was clearly the stage for some poor bastards last stand. Whoever it was had broken a staff of power in a last defiant act. I don't want to imagine seeing a group that could take such an attack and still press on.


While the two tieflings and the kitsune set off to the office of some Dominion wizard, the rest of us pressed on. Well until we heard it. The shrieking. I couldn't place any emotion in it. It wasn't quite fear, pain or panic… It was unsettling… even for me. Eventually we started making our way towards it. What lay before us was truly awe inspiring. A literal sea of gold, gems and trinkets. It was beautiful. But my host had a point, something like that is nearly always going to be cursed. Either jumping, flying or tiptoeing we crossed the gold without touching it to find an elf wailing in the gold. His eyes were out of focus and tears stained his face. Around him were the corpses or various woodland animals I can only assume he'd eaten. Then my hosts eyes fell on what I can only describe as his greatest fear. A dracolich. Poor bastard nearly had a heart attack, I stepped in to calm the beating before it popped out of his chest. 


But once it was ascertained that it was dead the wizard found quite the curiosity. A soulgem. With the name Maldrek Stohlvenege Obitus inscribed upon it. I had no idea who this was but my host believed he was in some way linked to a Dominion prophet. Apparently he was right, this was his son. Something seemed off though and I really couldn't place it… the voice was wrong and the name… I knew that name. But my host and it's compatriots began reviving the soul trapped in the gem while blocking out the random screams emanating from the elf.


Taking a break to have a nap we marched to the kings quarters, shoved skeleton of a pit fiend off the bed and crawled in. This didn't seem to register until we awoke to the Kitsune crying out for help. Apparently Mal wasn't as innocent as he claimed to be as the soul gem cracked open to release darkness upon the room. Crawling out of said shadows  first we saw the claws, the head of a goat and the undeniable crown of an Infernal Duke. With a shriek of, "TYRANT!" my host began to panic. But the monster before us began to shift. Shrinking. It's jet black fur exceeded showing red scaled skin. Eventually that paled into the pale skin of an elf. But all the while the crown of horns remained… reminding us of what we were face to face with. 


As if only to scare my host he asked if he could cure his fiancé of his insanity. My host couldn't deny such a pure and innocent request… he failed to ask the question, "WHO WOULD MARRY A DAMN INFERNAL DUKE?!" Well it turned out to be a dragon of all things. It writhed in the arms of the duke as it grew and retook it's form as a dragon… who know's maybe they'll be nice… we can only hope

Ardal and Ziobohn's Journal - Entry 3

Great news! As you might have guessed we were not horribly murdered and/or enslaved by Maldrek. In fact he was rather grateful for being released so he offered to grant us all a boon. Normally I am pretty hesitant about accepting rewards from evil creatures but we had already released him and this wasn't contingent on us serving him so it seemed an awful waste to refuse. Besides if we remained modest and careful nothing too bad could happen, right?


Nisha is now at least half-devil and the Rat is now a vampire.


We now have a dagger capable of damning those slain by it to Hell.


Maldrek will now be accompanying us on our travel back to teach me the history of the Dominion and Sylvester arcane knowledge.


Every part of my being is screaming for us to flee. When face to face with an Infernal Duke that is the only sane response. But no, let's ask for things… it must have twisted those gifts beyond recognition. I mean becoming a vampire and devil isn't that bad, it's the less obvious ones I'm, concerned about. What is that thing going to teach my host and that wizard, knowledge is power and power corrupts. I would be overjoyed by the possibility of corrupting this weak host but how can I compete with that abomination?


Well, it could have went worse. It is rather difficult to set positive moral examples to our new friends when one of your colleagues chooses to become a representation of evil in front of your eyes. Aside from it being a perfect example of what not to do. As for Maldrek accompanying us, honestly I'm not too concerned. I may have set a precedent for evil creatures following us. I'm sure once we get to know each other properly that we'll become fast friends and that he'll see tyranny is bad.


As if this couldn't get any worse, that thing is now coming with us. Why is it only me and the rat that seems to be concerned with this development?! It's one thing to bring vanquished demons that they know they can beat, a whole other to bring not only an Infernal Duke but a Master of Magic at that! Also there's the damn Dragon to be concerned over, a quiet one but still a shifty one. We've seen him change his form already, what's to say his metallic form wasn't another ploy that these imbeciles haven't seen through?!


But enough of that! We also did some actual exploration as well! Turns out the palace is still staffed by some mysterious clockwork constructs which toil endlessly preparing food and keeping the palace as intact as they can. If we could get one of those constructs onto the ship and analyse it's inner workings that would be another impressive patent. With the palace explored we made for the only other intact building in the city, the fortress.


It was quite nice to be waited on quite so efficiently. Shame they dropped the plan to kidnap one of the servants and se what made them tick. Could have used those for… well everything. The dominion evidently had no lack of random trinkets and toys to keep themselves amused. A shame I was only brought through after the fall. I imagine I would have had quite a different life if let lose in the dominion in it's prime…


Following the Rat's lead we descended into the basement of the fortress where his impressive sense of smell alerted him to something. Scouting ahead he found multiple people dressed in fine garb but with obviously decaying flesh. Deciding they probably didn't mean us well we tried sneaking up on them. I unfortunately managed to hit every single obstacle on the way, destroying any advantage we might have had. When we arrived where the enemy was supposed to be we found nothing… until they descended from the ceiling. Ghouls. Ambushed, surrounded and paralysed from their touch things were looking rather dire. Unfortunately for them I don't require things like muscle control to move as Ziobohn helpfully got us out of that situation. When I regained control over my muscles in a show of team effort we scared the crap out of them (being wreathed in shadows with a demon voice helps). Between my terror and the terror of being utterly destroyed by the rest of the team they fled leaving us free to explore the rest of the basement.


I'm not entirely sure what was going on in this fortress but it can't have been good. There was a line of cells containing strange, chimeric creatures most likely left to starve once The Fall happened. More importantly there was a strange summoning circle, designed for a specific creature and used only once. Amongst the blood soaked engravings there was a name that stood out. Obitus. That name just keeps coming up recently. Talking with Maldrek later this is apparently was related to his father, Vioreck Obitus. To make a long story short his father had fused with a shadow demon but was eventually killed and sent to Hell. He quickly distinguished himself in Hell and became rather influential due to his capacity to get things done. However someone really hated him and wanted to summon him from Hell so that he could kill him again. He gave this information over to the Dominion which then summoned Vioreck but did not kill him but rather made use of his services.


I swear I know that name from somewhere I just can't seem to recall… I don't think it was good… Frankly whatever man somehow has an Infernal Duke as a son is utterly terrifying.


Anyway, moving from the basement we heard gunfire and saw a small squad of very old elves fighting against ghouls. After the ghouls were defeated we discovered these were the last survivors of this fortress. I can't imagine the horror of having to fight for your life against the evil remnants of this place for nearly a century. They were overjoyed that someone had come to their rescue and I began to escort them to the safety of the palace. Then I remembered that Maldrek still looked terrifying and had the crown of an Infernal Duke which seemed like the last thing these survivors would want to see. So I went ahead to convince Maldrek to look slightly less terrifying.


It would seem he didn't take me saying that Angels were prettier and less immediately terrifying than him well and he nearly killed me when he sucker punched me in anger. That is no way to respond even if it is a grave insult to him! I'm pretty sure my jaw is out of place and I've broken at least 2 ribs. Still, he has worked very hard to appear like he does and it isn't nice to insult him (even if Angels are prettier). I'll have to make it up to him. I'm thinking I shall bake some cookies and give a sincere apology. Hopefully we can then move on from this and get back to becoming friends!


While I felt the pain just as acutely as my host did, I now feel I have something in common with the Duke. It can be quite infuriatingly insulting to have someone insult your own designed form. But still this just reinforces my fears, not only capable of abusing the arcane arts to his own ends, he's also just really damn strong…


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