Heroes of Shaintar

Quest for Things part 5
Return of the Reaper

We land at this cliff side in what we hope is Dregordia. After what happened last time, I had a right to have some doubts. I assume we made it because of the smell of the salty sea air coming off the sea ahead of us. We look around and see this giant limestone wall that curves around and juts inward to what could be an opening. There’s a path that leads into the direction of the wall, BUT I don’t have to do that anymore! I will out my new wings and follow Hazelf around the cliff side to see this giant, dome shaped opening to a cavern. We land inside and wait for the others. We notice two paths that lead into a court yard in front of a giant Dregordian structure Hazelf reveals as a temple to Illiana. As soon as I hear the name, I instantly remember the challenge that nearly got me killed. If this quest has anything to do with that challenge, I know I’ll have to keep a level head.

Everyone meets up in front of this court yard….well most everyone. Renn is missing. How did Tiny not notice this? Hazzy and I fly around to see if he somehow fell off the cliff side without anyone knowing. I look around and I see this purple glow. I call for Hazelf, and we see that it’s the medallion. He noticed some footprints that looked Renn sized, but stopped once they reached the medallion. Did Renn just bail on us?? Our leader just up and left us without a reason or even a good bye. I was really confused and even a little upset. We take it back to Tiny, and she just snatches it from Hazlef and looks at it. She tells us that she can’t do this right now and appoints Hazelf in charge. So not only does our leader leave us, but now our next in command just checks out. I’m sorry, but that’s not how this works. You don’t just do that to your team. Now, more than ever is when we need to stick together and finish what we came here to do. I repress my anger for now, because I know we still have a job to do, and dammit I’m going to finish it.

We make our way to the temple entrance, and it’s HUGE. I can sense magic all around, very powerful magic. This had to be ascended magic. It’s really dark in there. We need a torch or a lantern to help light the path. I look at the Hilt of the Warrior and ask myself, “A torch can be a weapon right?” I try to summon a torch from the hilt, but I end up getting a war hammer. It has a bit of a purple glow to it, bit not enough to light the way. Hazelf, think a lot more than I just did, uses his magic to summon a lantern bearer. He tells the light bearing spirit boy to lead us into the temple, and we follow this kid into a large room. We see in the room four pedestals in front of a set of stairs that go up to another pedestal. I walk up to one of the four lower pedestals and see an urn full of water. On the urn is a picture of a cloud with lightning and rain coming from it. I look over and see Riley drinking out of another urn. I thought I should do the same, but before I do, Sage calls us up the stairs and we see an empty bowl.

Hazelf, Riley, Lycore, and I each have an urn full of water, so we decide to pour the water in at the same time. Once the bowl is full, the water level starts to recede in the bowl until there’s nothing left. Suddenly, the room starts to shake, and water starts filling up the room. The room fills to the top of the lower four pedestals. We look into our urns and see that they are full of water. So it’s a puzzle, but how in the world do we solve it. Hazelf looks at our urns and see that they all have an image on the side. After a LOT of thinking and bickering among the group, we finally decide to pour the urns in an order that goes along with the pictures on the side. First goes me, then Hazzy, Lycore, and Riley. The bowl fills up with the water, then it drains, splits in half, and another urn pops up from within the pedestal. Hazelf picks it up and says that it is an elixir that is able to heal someone.

We also notice a door opening over to the side that must be where we need to go next. We follow the light boy down a corridor into another large room. This room has a huge pool of water with a series of stones floating atop in the middle of it. Hazelf goes to investigate the stones and I see him land on top of one. We go over and see that the stone has two images on them. One is a set of 3 jagged lines, and the other is a large oval with a smaller oval inside of it, and a much smaller one inside of that one, which Hazzy is standing on. I look across this large pond and see that the stones get further apart as they keep going, and I am no jumper. Hazelf and I fly over to the other side. He asks me for my cloak to fly the others over with, and I hand it to him. As I see him fly back to the rest of the team, I see Riley jumping from stone to stone using her far superior jumping skills. Later Hazelf returns with Tiny using my cloak and flies back for Sage and then Lycore. I can’t stand to look at Tiny right now knowing that all she is thinking about right now is Renn. I see Riley look a little concerned about jumping to the next stone. They dip their foot into the water and immediately pulls it back out grabbing it. From what I could tell, the water must have burned them. They manage to jump to the last couple of stones and make it back to us.

We look and see the light boy still on the other side of the room. Hazelf just sends him off and summons another light boy on our side to light our path. We make our way into yet another room, and the only thing I can see are these three doors with what looks like Crysarium crystals above each door. Hazelf and I try to project our essence into the room to see if anything happens, but we get nothing. We pick to go down the door on the right to see where it goes, and we find ourselves in a room with three doors. Wait is this the same room??? I go back up the door we came in through and when I get to the entrance, sure enough I see the rest of the team at the door we just came out of. We decide to all go down the center one, and we come back to the same room AGAIN! So we’re like, “Ok, it must be the left door.” WRONG!!! We still find ourselves in the same exact room. We even split up to cover multiple doors at the same time, but we kept getting the same result. We look at the crystals, and think that the passage must have something to do with them. Hazzy, Lycore, and I each go to a crystal on a door and we try to magic our way through, but the crystals end up shooting our energy back at us. I guess I must have put too much juice into it, because I got hit HARD. Hazelf gives me a sip of the water from the urn and I heal in an instant. Riley then tries to shoot it to which the arrow shot back at them. Finally Sage turns around and sees another blue crystal above that door and says that we should go back through it. Sure enough, we travel through this long passage way to ANOTHER large room, but at east it’s a new room we haven’t been through.

This was by far the largest room that we’ve been to in this temple. In the room was a large set of stairs that went up to this pedestal. There was a large opening of light coming from the ceiling in this room as well. We make our way to the stairs, and Hazelf starts to kneel down and study these stairs intently. I’m not really sure what is going on in his mind right now, so I go to him and ask if he has found something, to which his reply was, “No. These are just really beautiful stairs.” ……………Anyway, we make our way up the stairs and see this elaborate suit of scale armor. Hazelf goes to look at it, and as soon as he picks it up, water began to fill up the room, and it wasn’t stopping this time. We had to think of a way out fast. Hazelf and I look up and see the opening where the light was coming through and decided to fly up to it and see if there was a way out. As we fly into this opening, we see a barrier of water above us and fly in. I wasn’t able to see if there was an end to the water, but it was clear so there had to be something above. Hazelf motions down to me and we come back to get our best swimmer Sage. We manage to grab Sage in the heavy scale armor, and get her to swim towards the top of the water above us. At this time everyone is close behind us in the water below probably about fifteen feet between the two bodies of water. We all take one final breath and allow the remaining space we had to be completely filled with water. I try to keep calm so I don’t have a repeat of last time, and I feel a current of water push me above water to the lagoon that we were standing outside of hours ago.

The rest of the team is all here, and as I look around, I see this man in full armor and helm, holding a sword and shield at his side. Something about this man seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Riley shouts out “hi” but the man does not answer. We exit the lagoon and approach the man. A closer look reveals that it is Mayor Reinhart, but it couldn’t be. We were told that Reinhart was killed helping us to escape Kal-Dol-Rhag. Hazelf steps closer, and all of a sudden, Mayor Reinhart snarls and attacks Hazelf. Hazzy tries to fly away, but one of his wings must have been broken from being under water for a long time. I try to fire a bolt at the undead mayor, but nothing. Riley lands an arrow into him while Hazelf surrounds him with four of his celestial guardians. As soon as they appear, one of them gets blasted by a dark bolt coming from nowhere. Riley moves around to see if they can find the source of the bolt and tells us that they saw a dark creature with a long black scythe. REAPER! How did the freaking reaper know we were here??? They mentioned that their arrows seemed to go through the body without harming it.

This not good. It’s the mountain all over again, except this time, we have no Renn and a hollow shell that used to be Tiny. Hopefully these magical items that we’ve been accumulating will be able to do some damage to the reaper. Riley focuses their attention on the zombie mayor and kills him with a head shot. However, the reaper doesn’t take his sights off of Riley and charges towards them. I see Lycore jump in front of Riley firing arrow angrily at the reaper, but they all go through him like he’s a ghost. The reaper suddenly disappears, just like he did last time before he made the team drop like flies. Meanwhile, Sage calls upon this barrier of water and seals herself inside. Not really sure what that does, but hopefully it may keep her safe. Riley runs for the lagoon again and jumps in. I guess she thinks that this is a losing battle, and that it’s not worth fighting. I’m starting to get tired of people checking out and running away when the going gets tough. The rest of us try to see if we can find any trace of the reaper. Lycore manages to get a few arrows in the reaper’s chest, and they glow too. This is good. Now we have something to attack. I fire a bolt at it, but it misses drumming up the sand it was standing in. Reaper used this opportunity to pull the arrows out and flee where he was standing. Well shit, look what I just did.

In the distance I hear Riley shout. Hazelf says something about a fin in the lagoon with them and tells me to go help them out. I fly over and see Riley and this large dark shadow in the water. I try to scare the creature off with a bolt, but I wasn’t too sure if it actually worked. I try to pull Riley up, but clamped on their leg is a large shark like one we saw at Nazatir. I manage to lift both Riley and the shark out of the water, and it finally lets go of their leg leaving a tooth wedged inside. We make it back to the battle field and I’m hit by this blow and I can fell energy getting sucked out of me. I manage to shake it off, but Hazelf seems to be hit hard. Sage, who at this time wasn’t surrounded by water, summons another barrier and puts herself and Hazzy inside. Hopefully he can heal himself while the barrier protects them. I hear someone say that the reaper is right in front of the barrier, and I fire another large bolt in that area, this time connecting with my intended target. The barrier comes down and Hazelf lunges with the Blade of Banishment right into the area I just fired at. It seemed to have worked, because the reaper appears and the blade is going right though him (but in the way we want to this time).

Did we do it? Is the reaper actually dead? I don’t believe what I see right now. The reaper falls over limp with the sword still inside of it. I see Riley come over and kiss Hazelf right on the lips. It looks like he is even returning the favor too. After their embrace Hazzy goes to check on the reaper to make sure it’s actually dead. He goes to grab his sword, and suddenly the reaper sits up and fires a blast of energy right at Hazelf and vanishes before anyone could do anything. Riley screams and searches through Hazelf’s potions to find one of only minor healing. She gives it to him and the bleeding stops, but Hazelf is still out. I’m very angry with myself. I knew I shouldn’t have let my guard down that easy against the reaper. We need to get Hazelf to a greater healer NOW, but we can’t according to Tiny, we still have some time before the crystal is recharged. All we can do is wait. I don’t deal much with Archanon, but I pray to him anyway for Hazelf to make it though this. Couldn’t hurt to try at least. The reaper will pay for this. I don’t care about anyone’s personal vendetta anymore. I have lived too long watching people suffer and die, and I’m not about to let someone I care about die again.

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Last will and Testament
The will of Ranger Hazelf

Hazelfs Will and Testament
To whom it my concern
To the City of Archanaya and the Church I wish that any pay I would have received before the event of my death, From the Grayson Grey Rangers, be donated to said church. Along with the Whitesilver sword I possess be donated as well.
To my good friend, the Eldakar Ranger Finian Tortorus the enchanted bracers in my possession.
The weapon I carry known as the Blade of Banishment, if not claimed by any of the fellow Rangers I work with, to be returned to Nazatir. Ranger Sage Cordova would know the way best.
Any further magic items or items of importance will be given to the Grayson Grey Rangers to distribute as they see best.
Should my body be recovered I wish it to be transported to the Aevakar arie known as Bastion. Corporal Renn, Ranger First class Tiny, Ranger Finian Tortorus, Ranger Sage Cordova, Ranger John Wyvern, Ranger Tranie Riliey Whitepaw, and Ranger Lycore Wyndi are all asked to attend said funeral, and as requested given leave to attend if possible. If transport to the Arie of Bastion is deemed impossible the closest arie known will be welcomed. Should it still be deemed impossible for my body to be transported to my people I ask that it be taken to Archanaya and given the funeral rights as set by humans.

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Getting Close To The End
Sage's Tale

We woke up the next morning before daylight. We were walking out of the Brinchie village when Man Brinchie approached us and said he would join us in our fight against the Jungle Tyrant. We walked ahead, and Hazelf flew ahead to scout. After walking a while, we reached a clearing that was once the true village of the Brinchies. As I look at the remains, I could not help but fell sorrow for the tribe, for they have lost so much.
Corporal Renn told us about movement in a house in the clearing. We all try to run for cover when Fin, Tiny, and I all make a noise by stepping on a stick. I don’t know what their excuse was, but I am not used to looking out for tree limbs on a boat. Next thing I know, there is a giant lizard monster poking its head out from the house. I pull out my spikes ready for battle when out of nowhere another lizard monster shows up. Fighting the monsters off felt like forever, but Tiny was able to give a finishing blow to one monster, and I used my sword to kill the other. I was so proud to see that monster fall. I could not believe. Another huge kill for me on this team. But before I could celebrate, we hear a huge boom, and there is a giant skeleton covered in fire with a huge blazing sword.
Blazing Skeleton comes for us, and his first attack on us actually killed a bird. I don’t know if he was trying to warn us of his strength or if he was stupid, but things only went down from there. We all try to attack the creature. Hazelf had shown up the same time with the creature and had tried to use the new sword to no avail. I threw spikes at Blazing Skeleton, but nothing seemed to do enough damage. We seemed to not know what to do, when Fin pulls out his lute and uses it to blast magic at Blazing Skeleton so powerful that we could see his face melt off. There was not much left of the creature after that. It was pretty awesome, and Fin is definitely showing off his magic skills.
From the blast, I saw something fly out of the creature and land somewhere. I start to head towards it, but the group caught up with me quickly. On the ground was what seemed to be a sword hilt. Hazelf and Fin claim it to be magical, and after some inspecting, Hazelf picks it up and a club comes from the hilt. This seems to be odd, when not long after, the club shifted into a different weapon. Hazelf handed the hilt to Corporal Renn, and it turned into a staff then a dagger. Hazelf offered up that it seemed to magically change into random weapons. Corporal Renn offered the hilt to Fin for his defeating Blazing Skeleton. I could tell Tiny wanted it though. I don’t know if she needs another fancy weapon- she gets a little too excited with that hammer sometimes. I would not be surprised if she used it as a pillow.
Not much time passes when the Brinchies begin to show up. They seem happy that they could return to their village. Maybe they could turn this what seemed to be a wasteland into a home again. When Corporal Renn was off doing something, Tiny gathered the rest of the team up for a discussion. She brought up how we are a team, but we haven’t been acting like one. She told us how our little quest should not distract us from the fact that we had a war to get back to. While I understood what she was saying, I wondered why she was doing this and not Corporal Renn. He is the corporal. But I know not to question Tiny. She has us go over our skills to re-ensure her, each other, and ourselves what we bring to this team. When she gets to me, I tell her that I use my spikes first, then my sword, and lastly my fists. I am proud I have many skills, and I hope the team sees them as useful too.
To feel as part of the team, Riley asks us to tell them something about us, like where we are from and stuff. When they got to me, I got nervous. What if they ask a question that would have me tell my secret. I cannot share much. While I feel Riley and I are getting close, and I am starting to trust the team, I don’t think they would accept my past. So I tell them that I am from Nazatir, I just recently joined the Rangers, and I am used to being on a boat. I knew Riley did not like my answer, but I could not tell them more. When Corporal Renn told of his life, Riley did not like it. They drew their arrow at him, which I thought was crazy. This is our leader, our corporal. But I had to remember that Riley did not learn like we did to become a Ranger. But still, why would they do this? I wanted to ask, but I realized that how could I expect them to share their secret if I cannot share mine. Luckily, Corporal Renn was able to talk Riley down, but I could tell Riley did not trust him as much.
Finally, the medallion turned purple, and we were ready to head to Dregordia for the armor. But suddenly the purple energy of the medallion turns green, and we are transported to a place that is not Dregordia. Where were we? It looked like a meadow. In front of us stood an Aevakar, Eldakar, Dwarf, and Dregordian. I remember thinking it was a diverse group, but then so was our team. The group told us about how they wanted to help us with our quest, and that in order to get the Cloak of the Sparrow (something I was interested in since the beginning of this), we had to prove ourselves. Corporal Renn seemed to appreciate this and has us introduce ourselves. After that, most of the group introduced themselves. The Eldakar introduced himself as Myriil, the Dwarf was Thrack, and the Dregordian was Sslivonia. The Aevakar kept her name to herself.
Thrack excitedly lead us through a forest to a place that was full of stones and boulders. Funny since Dwarves are known for their love of rocks. Or at least I heard that. I have not met many Dwarves before, for they do not like water, and I am in love with the sea. Thrack told us how the earth was a foundation that can be worked with or against. He also said how it can be easy to move stone. Corporal Renn went up to touch the stone, but nothing happened. I began to climb it, but before I could make it up, it began to shake and rumble, so I jumped off. I could not think of anything, when Riley walked up to the boulder and asked it to move. Surprisingly, it did. As we walked through the hole that the stone once blocked, Thrack said his goodbyes. Little did I know, we would see him again soon.
We walked a little ways until we reached a geyser field where the Aevakar was waiting. It seemed that we must cross the field and avoid the deadly geysers. It took us some time, but we all made it across. We walked to our next place where the next test (if I could call it that) would be. This time, we did not all go in together. Hazelf went first followed by Riley then Lycore. Corporal Renn and Tiny went together, and lastly Fin and I went in. I was glad we decided to go in together. I could hear water, and I felt a little comfort from the sound. We reach a place of total darkness, and I feel water around my feet. I no longer know where Fin is, but I hope he can swim, because I am going in. I jump in and swim, and I wonder if it is weird to feel at home in a situation like this. I was surrounded by water, and I swam for a while, but I realized I was going nowhere. I needed to take a breath and soon. I head towards what I guess is up, when I find the top of the cave, it is just water. There was not a gap for me to get air. So, I decided to swim down. There had to be some way to get out of here. I kept myself calm as I hurriedly swam to the bottom of the cave. Again, I hit a wall but find nothing. I could feel my lungs burning, but I could not give up. As I begin to swim in another direction, I think that while I do not want to drown, at least I feel a little at home. With this thought, I decided to stop swimming and just accept it. All of a sudden, I felt a current pull me. I must have not felt it before because I was too worried about swimming. I ride the current, and I soon lift my head above water. I get out and join the team where I see them waiting for us. I notice Fin is not with them. We wait for Fin, and every second that goes by, my stomach clenches tighter and tighter. What happened to Fin?
Sslivonia, who was also waiting there with the team, suddenly jumps in the water and drags Fin out. I scream his name and run towards him. Hazelf was able to get him to spit water out and begin breathing. I couldn’t believe it. I had almost lost the first friend I had on the team and in the Rangers in general. Hazlef helped Fin up and helped him walk out, and we all headed to our next test.
We walked through the woods, and the forest seemed to get thicker and thicker. I could feel leaves and twigs getting stuck in my hair. It was wild enough before the leaves and stuff. I never had to deal with this on a boat. We finally reach Myriil, who congratulated us for making it this far. I try to stop myself from thinking how we almost did not all make it, but I quickly push the thoughts away.
Myriil continues to say how the forest is life but also death and that is the way of nature. The four of them then walk past us, wishing good luck as they pass. I think, this could not be good, when Sslivonia turned to a great Lion, Thrack turned into a Brown bear, Myriil turned to a Dire wolf, and the Aevakar turned to a great eagle. What the heck?! And the creatures start to growl, and we start to run, and Hazelf flew. I worried for Fin, but I knew I needed to worry about making it myself. There were some times when I felt the great bear about to bite at me, and I am pretty sure it swiped at me and pulled some hair out, but I was able to make it to the clearing where there is a tree. We all make it there.
Mariil said that the sparrow lives in a tree. We head to this giant tree and begin to look around. I think about climbing it, but there was no good way to get a grip. Corporal Renn reminds us of how sparrows live in the base of trees, so we search around the base, but there is nothing there. I am not sure what we are going to do, when Hazelf points out a small tree a distance away from us. We head to the small tree, where we see a little hole at the bottom. Tiny pushed Hazelf to the hole, and he approaches it. I don’t know why Tiny pushed Hazelf. I was not afraid to go look in the hole, but if Tiny is afraid of a hole then okay.
Hazelf pulls out a cloak, and I begin to wonder if it is the cloak we are looking for. I want to see it, for I have thought about the cloak since we have first heard about the items, but I say nothing. I know to wait for Corporal Renn’s commands. Hazlef put on the cloak, but nothing happened, so he took it off and gave it to Corporal Renn. Corporal Renn handed it to Fin and asked him what it did. Fin decides to put the cloak on, and once it is on, the cloak begins to transform to wings. And then Fin is flying. I could not believe it. The cloak gives you the ability to fly! Finian flies around, and Corporal Renn has him show he can do magic and fly at the same time. Once Fin shows he could, Corporal Renn says he could have it. I am a little discouraged at this. I have thought about the cloak since the beginning, but I know I must obey Corporal Renn’s orders, so I stay silent. Fin was going to let me try it, but Tiny said no. Even though it shouldn’t have been up to her.
We set up camp to rest until we can head to our next location. We have two days and two items left. We decide to head to Dregordia for the armor, for if we can only get one more item, armor might be better than a mask. As we rest, I begin to think that maybe I could use the armor in battle. I do not know what the armor does, but if it does not restrict my throwing or fighting, I might could wear it. Or someone else might get it, and I will fight the war the old-fashioned way. I do not need new toys to win (but it would be cool to have them).

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Freakin' Hazelnut
Riley's Ramblin

We go off to fight this Jungle Tyrant that the old woman drew in the dirt. This reptile doesn’t look too scary. I ask the old woman if Balam has a lady friend, but apparently all of the women are his… Well, he’s never had someone like me. We’ll see where we are when we’re hopefully not dead from fighting this thing. We go to the old village and Hazelnut takes to the air to see if he can find any danger. He must have let Ron know there was something there because we’re told to sneak around the one building. Fucking finnegan, terra, and Sage are so loud that it gets the huge lizard thing looking at us. Then, idgit tosses a bear right next to me and now it’s looking right at us. We go to run but there it is, another fucking glorified lizard looking right at us. Terry hit one of them with so much aggression… she’s a little to happy and it’s so weird to have such hate in a teeny tiny body. One goes down and I’m taking for fucking ever to get my shit together and attack. These things are hardy, but someone else kills it. Doesn’t matter who, just not me. If I don’t kill something soon, I’m going to go crazy. In my head I’m always the “hero”, but these folks are stealing my thunder. Hazelnut is back with a huge sword that looks kinda awkward in his hands..heh. Aaanyways, it’s got a glowing stone or something?

… Well shit. There’s this giant demon thing flying towards us, wreathed in fire. He doesn’t have a very nice smile though, kinda creepy. He’s got a huge sword, and as soon as he comes close enough, Fin throws some snazzy magic and hit the beast, but it don’t care. I go to shoot my arrow and the fucking thing GLOWS. It’s all green and B-E-A-UTIFUL. I’ll admit that I didn’t take my best shot, probably because I was gawking at my freakin’ arrow, but he seems shaken. Some other stuff happens, they all almost die via fire lance but a freakin’ bird flies in the way and poof. Smelled like chicken, which made me a little hungry. Blah blah blah, my quiver is amazing. I could make better use of it if I had my bow.. The “archer” is still holding it for me though. One of the most frustrating things ever, his mitts on it, eck. My hazelnut gets his with that snazzy sword he accidentally woke it up with. The beast seems fuzzy in that spot. It must be a pretty amazing sword.. Then, Finnegan gets so close, he’s practically up it’s buttcrack, and melts the demon’s face off with his lute! D-E-D dead. Something shoots out of the beast and Hazelnut picks it up, poor baby always being volunteered for shtuffs. It turned out to be a hilt that turned into different weapons. Finnegan seems happy with it. After it’s all said and done, I put a hand on Balam’s shoulder and he seems real shakey. I knew how we could celebrate and cheer him up. I goosed him then we got it on in one of the ruined buildings. I got me some! I needed that, Hazelnut seems kinda prudish, so I doubt I’ll have any for a good while. I’ve only known him for a couple days, but I feel as though waiting will get tiresome. He probably things “urges” like that are silly. We shall see. After all the eh hem, fun stuff, I get to wondering about how little I know about these folks. I sat down and kinda ask for a meet and greet thing. I just wanted to know where everyone’s from and all because we very well could have died. It was pretty interesting to see where everyone was from. Lycore was extremely vague and Sage didn’t give me much to go on, but I’ll just have to find out more later. Then we got to Ron, who I never expected to be a fucking Malakarin. One of those vile beings fighting alongside me… How did I not know? How did I just let my guard down enough where I just let this happen? I readied my bow and had my arrow pointed to his head. I was going to shoot him down, kill the evil before it spreads… but why was I shaking? Was I truly scared of what he could have done or was it that I felt a little betrayed by him and my emotions? My hands were steady but my heart was quivering. I don’t think I wanted to shoot him, still don’t, but had to protect myself from one of them. In his eyes I saw them… dying… all of the blood.. and I heard the screams of cubs and mothers alike. Why did he have to be one of them? He said something about how his own people ruined his eye and he’s not like the rest. I lower my bow, but I’m not sure why his words did anything. I can’t trust anything out of his mouth. Why do they take orders from him? Why do they trust HIM?! It’s almost disgusting, but I don’t have the heart to kill him, not now. I don’t want to lose these people. I’ve grown to like them, but I doubt they’ll accept me if they find out everything.. Or maybe they will? They have him as their leader and actually trust him. But at the same time, I’m getting too close. Did I forget everything my family taught me? Only trust family, everyone else is a mark. Still, in that moment, I didn’t feel right, I felt quiet on the inside, not bubbles or fire that usually drove me. Just hollow.

We took a vote and decided to go for the armor. We were going to go, but instead of purple, the amulet went green. We poofed into a meadow. There was an elf, dwarf, dragordian thing and a gorgeous aevekar… I think Hazelnut was about to start drooling. Their names were something like Mythril, Thwack, Sslyther, and perty because she never gave her name. Thwack was so awesome and bubbles and sunshine, but the elf shut him down. I liked the dwarf, but I still felt.. Wrong? I introduced myself like a small pitiful cub. I will NOT show them I’m weak… I will not let my past haunt me. I’ll live with my goal in mind. He will die. I’ll do it slow and watch it all. There still won’t be nearly enough blood to show how much he’s shed. I am strong, I am fierce, and I will prove that I’m not to be trifled with. The life energy in this place seems like it can maybe bring me back. I’m thinking all this, but still felt off, dammit. Why am I so weak?..I needed to concentrate. I kept walking, but not paying attention. Tiny talks to me about herself and how I shouldn’t judge based on where someone is from. For some reason, her words seem soft despite her very angry exterior. Maybe she’s relieved I won’t be after her man. Maybe she’s right, she actually told me where she’s from, which is pretty ballsy. Her people never did anything to me, so I don’t care, but apparently they’ve done terrible things to others… I still don’t care, I can only care about me and those I trust….. So me. Definitely makes her more appealing, a tiny Kalinesh woman couldn’t have had it easy. She’s tough as nails for it. I guess I should at least give Ron a chance before pointing an arrow at him again. Before I knew it, we were at a giant boulder. He talks about how everything has life and you have to work with it. I’ve always respected life, even if I had to take it. Tiny wants to hit it with her hammer, I know. Sage tried to climb it but she couldn’t. Before they break it, I wanted to try something. If it all has life, maybe so does this rock. I gently put my paw on it and ask it to let us pass. Sure enough, a giant stone golem gets up and out of the way. This… This is just one reason why nature is amazing and beautiful. We walk to the next trial to see the beautiful aevekar again, ignoring us all basically sat there. Stupid Hazelnut again. She motioned to a freakin’ crazy geyser field. No pattern or anything, just gotta go I guess. We all line up and start running, no time to keep sulking about someone’s stupid malakarin heritage. My angel flies up, but looks like he’s pushed back down, so he has to stay out of range. I get hit by a blast, so I’m a little shaken, but I keep on keeping on. That place was dangerously beautiful. I can’t seem to get ahead of these stupid geysers though… I need to get my head in the game. This isn’t me, I’m strong and agile and fucking amazing. This field pretty much is a game, and I’m having a little fun. I dodge the next few, even if some were close. Then I see wings just shoot forward and onto the other side. He’s doing something other there, whispering to himself? Well, his prayers help us go faster, but sage keeps making those close calls. Thankfully we’re all okay. After all that mess, we move on to a cave. It’s so dark, I can only see about 40 feet before blackness consumes everything. Apparently it’s a trial for Illeana? Hazelnut goes first and I go after him. I walk into the dark and walk down into the water, putting my hand to it and asking that myself and others be guided safely to the end. I’m not religious or anything, but I don’t know, in this place, talking water wouldn’t seem so farfetched. I go down and swim, well… attempt to swim. I end up not knowing which way is up until I hit the ceiling. I try to keep calm but there’s a burning in my lungs. I keep swimming, hoping that there’s some end to this stupid thing. I’m just met with no air and even more of a pain in my chest. I can’t go much longer. I might be wasting precious time, but I stop for a second to see if maybe I can get my bearings. Then I get shot up onto the other side met by sslyther lady and a wet Hazelnut. She asks if I understand now, and I kinda do? I just needed to keep a clear head instead of just freaking out. It’s kinda funny, in a cute way, how his feathers and hair look drenched. Slowly everyone comes up…. Even the “archer”. I was kind of hoping he died, so I could get my bow, but noooooooo. Weirdo just meditated in the water. Like who the actual fuck thinks that’s a good idea? Too bad it actually worked out for him this time. He got my bow all wet… Maybe he’ll die next time. Everyone but finnegan comes up. Sslyther dives in and brings up and unconscious elf. I’m shocked he didn’t get through because you’d think a bard’s head would always be pretty chill. Anyways, Hazelnut goes and does chest compressions, bringing the bard back. Working with other people is so weird and tiring. We get to moving again towards a perfect dense forest. They tell us to find a tree that a sparrow calls home. That could be…. Ya know…. Any tree?! The guides turn towards us and turn into a wolf, a lion, a bear, and an eagle and start chasing us. It was so awesome! I haven’t run through a forest like this in a bit and it’s not all sticky and hot like the jungle. We keep running, having beasts swipe at us, but I don’t hear anyone get hurt. We reach a clearing and search for some sparrows I guess. No one finds anything and this frantic searching isn’t helping because now, the animals that were waiting by the tree line are closing in on us. I tell the group to stay calm and listen to what we learned in these goodness forsaken trials. We are lead to a small tree, insignificant in the shadow of a huge beautiful one. Hazelnut finds a cloak and puts it on… it looks ridiculous on him. He gives it to fin and it turns into sparrow wings that are just gorgeous.. I want it so bad. I’ve just wanted to fly and be free for as long as I can remember. But finnegan seems to be close with my angel, so I guess I’ll let them have this. This is all kinda perfect, aside from my almost killing Ron.
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A Forest

We woke at first light and headed toward the village. Hazelf flew ahead to check out the sacred grove. We fought two large reptile like creatures. At one point Hazelf returned with the sword in his hands. Shortly after we defeated the lizard creatures a large flaming skeleton flew out of the grove. Well shit. I was completely useless against this thing as it hovered nearly twelve feet in the air. As I stood there contemplating how effective throwing my hammer at it would be the bard came forward and killed the demon in one blast. Again, I really should learn his name at some point.

Before the necklace could light up I wanted to have a quick talk with the team.I asked Renn for his approval to take charge for a moment and he agreed. I reminded the team of what was waiting for us back in the Wildlands. During our travels they seemed to have forgotten the seriousness of the situation. I looked to Riley telling her that the demon we just fought was nothing compared to what we were facing in this war and that if she wanted to leave the team she could. My main concern was that some members of the team had forgotten their strengths and were using this time to learn other skills that would not necessarily help us in the war. I expressed this concern and told everyone that from now on we all play to our strengths so that we can be as powerful as possible when we return.

After that Riley asked us to tell her more about ourselves and where we were from. I simply told her I was from Kythros. I was not prepared for her reaction when Renn said he was Malakarian. She suddenly drew her bow and aimed it at him. I started to jump between them but Renn stopped me. He was able to talk her down but something he said bugged me, He was lying about something to either me or Riley. Before I could get a chance to ask him the necklace started glowing and we were off for Dregordia. Right before we landed the necklace changed from purple to green and suddenly we were standing in a small field of grass.

There were four people standing near us. One dwarf, two elves, and a dragodian. They told us they knew we were looking for the artifacts and that we didnt have much time. They wanted to see if we were worthy of the cloak. The dwarf led us through the field. As we walked I fell back to have a word with Riley. I told her where I was from and that you shouldnt judge a person based on the actions of their race. She asked how I could trust Renn. I almost smiled at her. Almost. How could I not trust him? I know she hasnt been with us long but if she had seen all of the things Renn has done for me she would not question my trust in him. I simply told her I trusted him because he trusted me and returned to the head of the group by Renns side.

The dwarf took us to a large round boulder that was blocking our path. He started talking about working with the earth or something. Sage tried to climb it but didnt get very far. Riley stepped forward and politely asked the boulder to move. I was a little confused by this until suddenly the rock moved revealing itself to be a large golem. It moved out of our way and we continued down the path without the dwarf. We walked until we reached a geyser field. Renn took off his boots and gave them to me. I didnt say anything but was thankful he was letting me use them. My short legs would not get me very far in this situation. We all managed to make it across fairly quickly and without injury.

We walked further down the path until we arrived at a cave. It was pitch black inside. Hazelf went in first then Riley followed by Lycore. Renn and I decided to go in together. I grabbed his hand as we entered the cave. It was darker than any night I have experienced and there was no sound at all. We slowly walked forward not really sure what was going to happen. Suddenly I felt Renns hand leave mine. I panicked yelling out for him but no sound came. I stepped forward hoping he would be there but instead of solid ground there was only water. I sank into it quickly without warning. I tried to swim back to the surface but couldnt tell where I was in relation to it. My mind raced. Where was Renn? Was he ok? How did I get out of here? I realized panicking would not help so I tried to calm myself. As I did I noticed a small current pulling me toward something. I allowed it to move me and was eventually pushed out of the water. When I saw Renn standing next to me I jumped into his arms clinging to him for several minutes.

Maybe I have grown a little soft but in that moment thinking I had lost Renn…emotions I cant describe filled me. I once relied on no one but myself and thought I would be content living out my life alone but then Renn came along and…now I cant lose him. I cant be without him. If that makes me soft then so be it.

After the others came out of the water we left the cave. The dwarf, elves and dragodian were waiting for us on the edge of a forest. They congratulated us on passing the trials and told us that the cloak could be found at the base of a tree a sparrow would call home. Then they started transforming into large beasts. Renn grabbed my hand and ordered us to run. The beasts began to chase after us. Renn practically dragged me through the forest my legs barely able to keep up with him. But we made it to a large clearing with a giant tree in the center. The beasts circled the clearing slowly getting closer until Hazelf noticed a smaller tree. As he approached it the beasts stopped.

Hazelf pulled a small brown cloak out from the base of the tree and the beasts left. Renn had him give it to..Fin?…and when he put it on a pair of brown wings appeared allowing him to fly. Now we have two flying magically inclined elves. Hopefully thats a good thing. We are camping here for the night and will be leaving for Dragordia once the necklace recharges. Ive been making sure Renn stays where I can see him at all times. Thinking back on our time together he has had many near death experiences. Those need to come to an end. I cant lose him. I wont.

- Tiny

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Journal of a Priest 17
Account by Ranger Hazelf

Its amazing what one can learn under the right circumstances and in such a small amount of time. We were on our way to help the Brinchie tribe on Skyisland. Ren and Tiny devised a plan where the team would advance toward the village while I flew overhead to scout. We got ready to head out and Balam approached, he told us he’d lead the way and at the least tell the story of our deaths. Somehow that’s comforting but as he finished speaking he took of very quick, and I flew up into the early dawn air. After some time just trying to keep an eye on Balam, I looked to see what must have been the Sacred Grove, large almost circular wall of rock with one main entrance, at said entrance are the broken and former living houses of the villagers, as I flew clear over I notice something moving in a house a good distance from where Balam had stopped and the rest of the group behind him. I sent a quick message to Ren of what I saw then I flew over the rocks and into the Grove. It was quiet, the trees were sparse but the main feature was in the center. A rather large skeleton, with points and horns all about, covered in moss and overgrowth. Embedded in the skeletons spine, nestled in the middle of what looked like its ribs was this ornate sword. It’s hilt was very beautiful, sleek like an elvish design but also square like a dwarf craftsmanship. The thing that stood out most was a large jewel, perhaps crystarium, at the base of the blade. It definitely seemed like what we were looking for. I reached out looking to detect and determine if dislodging the sword would result in any consequences. However in the distance I could hear sounds of fighting so I made the choice to dislodge the sword form the skeleton. It took a few try’s but finally with a strong grip I flapped my wings and with sword in hand I took to the air, at about 60 feet up I noticed how light the great sword was, I expected it to be heavy. As I concentrated on the blade the gem seemed to glow a bright white. In my wonder the sounds of fighting returned and I began to fly back to my companions. I landed on what seemed like a stable rooftop overlooking the fight. Two large lizard creatures, one with a greenish hue to its scales, the other with a more orange hue. The green one was surrounded by Ren, Tiny, and Balam behind it. The orange one was surrounded by Sage, Finian and the stone bear, with Lycore and and Riley firing arrows from the distance. I summoned two guardians one next to each lizard do do battle. The green one went down shortly after, then the guardian moved up to the orange one. That one was much harder to bring down. I flew over and took a swipe at creature but the blade bounced off the scales, as I landed Ren ran up and shouted to throw him the sword. I let him have it and he caught it bringing against the creatures leg. Before he could get a second strike in the creature swiped with its tail and knocked Ren out. With a few well placed shots the beast came down. I managed to get Ren up and as we were talking this infernal being stepped trough the entry to the grove. Ren very plainly looked to me and asked what I did I do. I dropped the only potion of greater healing in his lap and picked up the sword. The demon speaks and thanks me for removing the sword then it charged flying over and launching a flaming spear, but before the spear struck the ground it collided midair with a poor bird that just happened to be flying by. Riley and Lycore loose some arrows and Sage and Ren throw some spikes, I fly by and manage to slash at the infernal creature and it seems to hurt it but just as its about to turn and strike back at me Finian moves closer and plays his tune and the purple energy coalesce around him and focus into an orb at his lute they fly out, ending the demon in a great blast, a few fiery bits fly past me but I get out of the way with no burns. I check over everyone and make sure no ones wounded. I made sure to check on Balam as well, he was still very stunned by the fact that there was a demon and even more so that we killed it. Sage pointed out that she saw. Something fly off from the demon and land somewhere off. We inspected the area and found what appeared to be a hilt, no blade or anything just the hilt. It was magically active that much I could tell, upon picking it up I examined it closer and it began to shake then the hilt sprouted a club, weighty and yet ornate, I explained to Ren what it could potentially do, as I was it shifted into a new weapon. I passed it to Ren and it shifted again to a long staff and he twirled it around some before it changed to a small dagger. He then gave it to Finian, seeing as to how he was the one who ended the demon it seemed appropriate. Ren and Tiny went off to check the Grove over and while they were away the rest of the Brinchie tribe arrived, lead by Elia, I started helping how I could, moving supplies tying off sheets for makeshift roofs, and such. I did notice Riley leading Balam off to one of the secluded buildings, she had been acting odd around him since our first encounter. Eventually we all regrouped and Tiny took a new initiative. She told us that even though we were far from the war, far from the Wildlands we still had a job to do and that we needed to focus on those strengths that only we had. Looking to each of us and pointing it out. Myself magic, Finian magic, Sage her fighting, Riley and her bow, and Lycore and his bow. Lycore seemed a bit disturbed at this, I could see he was beginning to Lear of the Druidic ways, perhaps when the battle is over he can practice more but we are on a set amount of time and it’s running out. While we were all together Riliey perked up and asked to know a little bit more about us. Sage was quite eager and told her a few things about herself mainly obvious things, where she was from, and everyone followed that trend, with Tiny telling her she’s from Kythros. Ren told her the truth that he was from the Dominion, a fact that he wasn’t really going to hide anyway. This seemed to start something because as soon as she heard this she lighting fast drew her bow and aimed straight at him. Everyone seemed to freeze as she threatened out leader, the man who was by all rights my shackle here. Lycore was about to rais his when Tiny waved him off but Riley and Ren only stared at each other. She was extremely, what seemed like a mixture of scared and angry, looking for a reason to stay. Ren (again quite possibly the luckiest or most blessed man on the continent) talked her down, stating that he left because he wasn’t one for their ideals, even pointing at his missing eye and stating that “one of my own”. She lowered he bow and from then on attempted to stay at least ten paces or more away from him. Is that how I and Tiny looked? It seems so stupid now, especially seeing that from an outside perspective, perhaps I need to get to know Riliey better, she perhaps may gain some wisdom from my own experience. Eventually everyone voted that we were to go to Dragodia to get the armor, and when the crystal was ready we all packed up and gathered around Ren, Riliey put me between her and him. Ren activated the crystal and the purple energy swirled around us and as the process reached its zenith I saw a flash of green. This threw me off and as we arrived I was thrown down and landed in the dirt and grass. Looking up I see a fellow Aevakar, she has beautiful white hair and wings to match, I quickly got to my feet and dusted myself off so I wouldn’t look like any more of a fool. I heard a unfamiliar voice ask if I had a nice landing, looking over to everyone else I saw a Eldakar, a Dwarf, and a Dragodian standing in front of the group. The Eldakar asked if we were the Rangers looking for the artifacts.Ren confirmed this fact and the Dwarf looked over at Tiny’s hammer Thunderbrand, remaking that it was nice. The Dragodian hissed at him and told him that they should get on with it. The Eldakar continued telling us that we were running out of time and that these items were important and that we needed the Cloak of the Sparrow, but they needed to see if we were worthy. Ren then made proper introductions, we gave our names then they gave theirs. They introduced themselves as Druids and the Eldakar is Myriil, the Dwarf is Thrack (he was very eager, shacking each of our hands and being quite friendly [Dwarves really are amazing people ]), the Dragodian introduced herself as Sslivonia, and the Aevakar remained silent (a rude gesture by my perspective but her beauty truly was intoxicating). After introductions Thrack lead us into the forest ahead, it was a short walk later before we reached a stone outcropping. Thrack stopped and looked at us. Observing the stones it seemed that there was a path beyond the rocks but it was blocked by a large almost circular Boulder. Thrack went on to say that the earth is the foundation and that it can be worked with or against, could be moulded but also that there were easier ways to move stone. Ren went up and touched the stone he thought for a moment then sage started to climb it, she was almost halfway up when the bolder began to shift and move, she lost her grip and jumped down safely and just as quick as it started the stone stopped. I was about to attempt to fly over it when Riliey went up and very plainly asked the rock to move. At first that didn’t seem like the right answer but I was very quickly proven wrong as the Boulder rose, revealing itself to be a giant rock golem, it stepped out of the way and allowed us to move onward. Thrack bid us fair well and we went on. It was sometime later that I heard them in the distance and only a little while later we all saw them. Geysers, a whole field of what seemed like an unpredictable geysers, spewing hot water straight into the air. The Aevakar flew in and landed gracefully looking to the per side she then sat down and began to meditate. Thinking more on this it all began to start to make sense, Druids and the Ascendent ones, the stone trial meaning to represent Dranick, and this trial seemed to represent Zavonis, being swift and agile. However I looked to my allies, if I flew I’d be at an advantage, I might even be able to go around it all together, that just seemed dishonorable and I wouldn’t see the point of the lesson. I decided to ask the Aevakar about my concerns, I was meet with only silence. I decided to use the legs I had, and if I meet opposition I could switch to flying, I’m not sure what everyone thought but I at least wanted to start at their sides. We watched for some time then like the beginning of a race we all took off, a geyser immediately blew up in my face. The steam burned but I shook the pain and kept running, until the second geyser almost hit my, I took to the air deciding to thank Zavonis for my blessing and flew on. As I climbed high an air current forced me back down to within range of most of the geyser, an interesting spot of nature this is. I flew on weaving in between the plumes until I noticed something peculiar. At the top of a geyser some ways away from me, the very top mists seemed to be swept away by an air current, I decided to se where it took me, it did seem to be above even the tallest of the geysers. Like entering a fast flowing river the current grasped my wings and almost flung me to the end, where the Aevakar oddly sat now, still meditating. I circled about once to make sure I was on the other side, and seeing my friends dodging geysers and running as fast as they could towards me I knew I was in the right place. I landed and I could feel the bile building in my throat from the rush of speed and disorienting feeling it brought, I forced it all back down though, I wasn’t about to make a fool out of myself again in front of her. Looking out at the field I prayed to Zavonis, I wanted my friends to get across just as safe as I did. I noticed a slight change in the wind, and eventually everyone was across safely. The Aevakar nodded to us and flew off (it’s still quite rude that she has yet to even give her name). We trekked on a ways, eventually I walked next to Tiny and I asked her about some things. The miracles of light that seemed to be affecting her quite often, she claimed she didn’t know much, she guessed it was simply luck. I took a new approach and asked her about when she was cured of flame touch, she stated that she heard voices in her head, one female and one male. From what I could surmise the male voice must have been Archanon, and the female voice could have been Ceynara. If this it true, the Lord of Light and the self titled queen fought in Tiny’s mind, over Tiny’s wellbeing, and Archanon won! Perhaps this is something to understand more if time permits, and definitely something to take hope in. I did tell her of my hypothesis on the nature of these trials and them being linked to the Ascendent and that we may be coming up to either Illiana’s or Landra, I even hypothesize what the trials could be about, but it’s all a guess. She thanks me and we march on. We walked for almost an hour until we reached a cave. Even with my dark vision I could barely see inside however I did hear the dripping of water inside. We all tried to peer in and see better but I knew this was something we had to face. I walked on and into the dark. As I walk eventually I feel water on my shoes. I kneel down and scoop at it some and walk on, the floor sinks at an incline until I have to swim to stay above water. Eventually the ceiling comes down at an incline as well, I swim to the left and right some to see if there’s any other way forward, and finding no other way I take a deep breath and dive under and swim forward. I swam some, and then some more and rose up and before I could stop myself I opened my mouth expecting to break the surface but my hands only found stone, water filled my throat and my lungs began to burn, I stayed still to think for a moment. As I stopped I felt it, the current in he water, I let it take me were it lead, any place was certainly better then here, and I had no idea were to go anymore. I finally broke water and real air rushed to my lungs after I coughed up the water. Sslivonia was there to greet me, and looking up to her she asks if I understand. I did understand, being still in the dark and letting outside forces guide you to the path needed for you. I started to dry off when Riliey rose form the water she look quite shooken, and even came up and hugged me, apparently the water had affected her in a manner, I helped how I could to dry her when Lycore popped up. Then Ren and Tiny, with Tiny clinging to Ren like a backpack, she also looked unsettled. Then Sage broke the surface, but then an uncomfortable amount of time passed and Sage swore that Finian was right behind her. Sslivonia dove in immediately and less than a second later she rose with Finian in tow, I managed to get him on the grounds and started a technique a friend taught me. You can pump a persons chest to almost make them breath, to expel the water from their lungs. It took a bit but Finian coughed up e water and began to breathe fresh air. He looked fatigued but he was alive, I helped him up even threw an arm over my shoulder and helped him walk. We walked threw the woods a good bit before we found Myriil. He congratulated us on our progress and passing our trials. As he spoke all the others appeared about him. Myriil pointed out that the forest was full of life but also death, such was the way of nature. He then told us that what we were looking for was at the base of a tree a sparrow would nest in. They all walked past us taking positions behind us. Looking forward at the forest before us I started to think that the task was impossible but their had to be something more. Looking behind me I saw the four Druids morphing into animals. Sslivonia turned to a great Lion, Thrack turned into a Brown bear, Myriil turned to a Dire wolf, and the Aevakar turned to a great eagle. I looked to Finian and asked if he could run, he simply nodded. The Druids in there beast forms began to snarle, the eagle simply looked at me menacingly. The others ran off into the woods and I took to the air with the Eagle close behind. I know I’ve said it in some previous reports but I continue to amaze even myself at how fast someone can be pushed to move when uncertainty lies behind you. I flew so fast it was hard to judge how far I went in shat a short amount of time. Two things I did notice was that, first at every attempted turn she would drive me back to going a certain direction, second this direction lead deeper to the forest, where the trees seemed to get taller and taller. Then what seemed like a scene out of a painting. A massive tree, towering over all the forest, and I was headed for it. Upon breaking past the canopy at last, she stopped, I looked to see my friends all in the clearing at the base. Our first thought was to check the massive tree and I flew up to the branches and checked around not nothing really stuck out. I flew back down and Ren remember that they said what we sought would be at the base, everyone looked arround throughly. Then a thought occurred to me, I looked up at the tree and then back out at the clearing. A sparrow, a sparrow is such a small bird, it would find a better home in a smaller tree. There it was, a small tree, looking like it was planted less than a year ago. At its base was a small burrow. Tiny nudged me forward and I was volunteered by the rest of the group to go check it out. The Druids during all this were still in their beast forms and at first had begun to circle outside the clearing, as we searched fruitlessly they began to move closer. When I approached the tree all of their attention shifted to me. I looked in the burrow and there it was a very simple brown cloak, and upon picking it up the Druids stopped moving towards us, and then left back into the forest. For the remainder of our time here they never showed back up. The cloak was an awkward fit for me, with my wings getting in the way and such, I handed it off the Ren at his request and he handed it off to Finian who looked much better now (being chased through a forest must jogge one to clarity) when it was fully on and buckled, Finian began to fly as the cloak morphed into two brown wings and he flew, if I hadn’t known better I’d say he looked like an Aevakar himself. We made camp in the clearing and rested, Finian and I talked, and he even played a very notable Aevakar melody, and i asked more on Goblinesh language. When we had all rested well we decided to resume our journey to Dragordia when the crystal was ready again. So much was learned here, life lessons for us all,mount it was truly up to us to take them and apply them. I also thought of how now, when the time came, I wouldn’t be fighting the Gargoyle alone, but i wouldn’t force anyone else to fight that thing. I’m still scared, of going back, of the time we have left, even of failure. As I sit though I listen to the sounds of nature, the balance, this is what I want to fight for, to preserve this balance.

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Quest for Things part 4
The Ascended's Trial

Soo much is going on right now!

For starters, we camped out at a brinchie refugee camp awaiting first light to go get the magic sword. As we get ready to head to the grove, Balam approached and said that he would accompany us on our quest. If this Jungle Tyrant is as scary as these people say it is, then we can use all the help we can get. We hike for a while until we reach this clearing. Upon further inspection, we can see that this clearing used to be home to the to the brinchie village. Hazelf takes flight to like we planned last night. Renn points out a house and tells us that there’s something moving in there. Balam darts for cover, and as we move to find our own cover, Tiny, Sage, and I coincidentally step on a stick making a large snap. As we look towards the house, we see a giant lizard-like creature poke its head out.

We prepared for battle with this scaly creature when all of a sudden, another creepy lizard charged towards us. Now there are two of these monsters, one going after Sage, Lycore, Riley, and I, and the other on Renn and Tiny. We threw attack after attack at these creatures, but their scales seemed to shield them from all of our magic attacks. Balam finally decides to show up and help Renn and Tiny, and he manages to land a blow on the freak. Tiny lands the finishing blow on that one with her hammer. Sage kills the other one with her sword. We see Hazelf come out with a new shiny sword. Just when I think we’ve had a job well done, I hear an explosion of power from behind me. As I turn and look, I see this giant skeletal creature wreathed in flame wielding a flaming long sword. The goon looks to be about 12 feet tall with a long spiky tail, and wings.

The creature flies towards us and attacks, but somehow managed to only hit a little innocent birdie passing by. Kinda embarrassing if you ask me. Our initial attacks on the creature didn’t seem to work. I remember Riley landing a arrow on the guy, and Hazelf taking a swing at him with the new sword. I walk up under the creature with L’ysha pointed straight up at him. I bow to my knees, lean all the way back, and sing from the top of my lungs “DIE FOUL CRETURE!” I strum with all my might causing a giant burst of energy to shoot up towards the being completely engulfing him. When the beam subsides there is nothing left. I’m actually quite surprised at this. Never in my life have I landed an attack such as this to completely obliterate a foe. I’m so awestruck that I can’t even move. I’m pretty sure that Hazelf landed next to me and asked me something, but all I could do is sit there with my jaw dropped.

Finally, I come to my senses after hearing talk about something landing over in the distance from the epic blast I created. We went over and saw this sword hilt laying on the ground underneath a tree. I could sense some magic coming off of it. Hazelf picks it up and suddenly, a club sprouts from the hilt! A moment later the hilt turns into a different weapon. After giving to Renn to see, the hilt then became a dagger. Renn approaches me and offers the hilt to me as a reward for destroying the demon. Renn and Tiny check out the grove, and the remainder of the brinchie tribe arrived with the elder maiden brinchie leading them. We help them make their way into their new home. Tiny gathers the group together and reminds us what we’re here for and that we need to focus on building up our strengths preparing for whats to come. It was a wake up call that we needed because things may be going well for us now, but we still have a Horde, the Red Fool, and a whole bunch of other baddies to deal with after this.

After Tiny’s discussion, Riley piped up and asked for us to tell them something about us. Their reasoning was that if they were going to die with us, they didn’t want to go out with a bunch of strangers. We all kind of told her where we originally came from. When Renn told of his origin, Riley immediately drew out her bow and pointed an arrow straight at Renn. We all kind of just stood there waiting for something to happen. I could see the look on Riley’s face, and she wasn’t happy. Something about Renn’s homeland must have really pissed her off. Renn talked Riley into lowering their bow, the main point being that his missing eye was due to inhis words, “one of his own.”

After that whole altercation, the group voted on our next destination, to which we decided Dregordia for the armor. As we gather around Renn for the teleportation process, the purple energy that usually surrounds us turned to green at the last minute. The next think I know, I find myself and the rest of the team in NOT DREGORDIA, but in some meadow land! We got up to see an Aevakar, an Eldakar, a Dwarf, and a Dregordian. Something seemed a little fishy about these four, but they told us that they wanted to help us on our quest (since we’re on a ticking time clock) and in order to do so, we had to prove we were worthy to receive the Cloak of the Sparrow. Before continuing, we exchanged our names. The Eldakar was Myriil, the Dwarf Thrack, the Dregordian Sslivonia, and the Aevakar decided to not share her name. I guess she decided shes too cool to talk to us.

After teh exchange, Thrack led us through a forest to this clearing full of stones and boulders. There was this path behind these rocks blocked by this giant boulder. I believe Thrack said something about either working with or against the earth, and there was easier ways to move the stone. So our objective I assume was to find a way to the path behind the rocks. Renn went up to the large boulder and touched it….nothing happened. Then Sage tried to climb it, but it started to move and threw her off. Riley stepped up to the boulder and simply asked it to move out of the way. I thought, “yeah, like that will ever…” and before I could even complete the thought, the boulder (now a rock golem) stood up and moved out of our way. Will all the tasks be that easy??? The dwarf bid us farewell and left us to the next task.

We followed the trail to a large field full of geysers. The Aevakar shows up and just sits there meditating. I start to think, 4 different races, and four tasks. The dwarf and the stone task, that must be the ascended Dranick representing the earth, and strength. The Aevakar representing Zavonis being swift and dexterous, which means the other task will have something to do with calmness (Illian) and life and survival (Landra). Anyway, we prepare to cross this geyser filled filled field. I really didn’t know how to approach this task other than run around in random zig zags and hope not to get hit. That strategy seemed to work for a while until the very last stretch where there was one last geyser. I thought to myself, “why not try to jump it?” BAD IDEA! In mid hurdle, the geyser erupts hitting me in the family jewels. I still make it over, but it was hard to walk for a little bit.

We walked for what seemed like forever and we finally get to this cave. It was hard to see inside even with my slightly superior vision. I could however hear the sound of water coming from inside the cave. We decide to enter the cave starting with Hazzy, Riley, then Lycore, Renn & Tiny, and Sage & I enter last. We walk in, and after a while we step into water. As we continue the water rises up my legs, to my waist, then to my shoulders, and I start to swim. I take one last breath and dive down and continue swimming for what hopefully was forward. I couldn’t see anything, and I didn’t know where the heck I was going. It starts to get harder to continue. My lungs start burning like crazy. I stop and pray, “please let me make it out alive,” I continue to swim and I start to get tired. I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally accept my fate. If this was the end, I was going to go at peace. I stop swimming and black out. The next thing I know, I find myself awake with Hazelf leaning over me. It felt soo good to breathe air again. I still flet a little weak, but I could continue. I just hope that me passing out didn’t cost us our “worthiness”.

We find our way out and make our way through the woods, Hazzy giving me a hand. We see Myriil up ahead and he congratulates us on making it this far. He then rambles on about how the forest contains life and death, the way nature is. He also told us what we’re looking for will be in a sparrow’s nest in the base of a tree. As he talks, the other druids come up and they walk past us, wishing us luck as they pass. They get a good distance away from us and start to morph into wild animals (Myriil a wolf, the Aevakar an eagle, Thrack a bear, and Sslivonia a lion. Hazzy asked me if I was able to run to which I nodded. I actually wasn’t sure if I could, but I didn’t want the team to worry about me. I hear the growls of the beasts behind me and the group starts to run. I had a bit of a delayed start, but I managed to catch myself. At one point I thought I heard the bear or the lion behind me, but I didn’t look back. I actually manage to make it though the challenge without a scratch. I see the rest of the team in this meadow in the middle of the woods. There was a giant tree in the middle, so we look around, trying to find this thing, but nothing. Then, Hazlef looks around and points out a smaller tree.

We go over to the dainty little tree, and sure enough, there’s a small knob at the base of the tree. Hazzy, our mysterious item go getter, reaches in and pulls out this cloak. He tries it on, but nothing happens. He gives it to Renn who turns and looks at me. I’m a little confused at first, but I guess since nothing happened to Hazelf, he wanted me to try it on. I throw on the cloak and close my eyes. I feel my feet my feet leave the ground. I open my eyes and whaddya know, but I’M FLYING. The cloak turned into a beautiful set of brown wings. I let loose and start soaring above the ground. I grab out N’isha and play an Aevekaran melody that I was pretty sure Hazelf knew. Renn asks if I can still use magic while flying, so I give it a shot. It’s a little shaky, but I do manage to cast one of my bolts while in mid air. I land and Renn tells me I can keep the cloak. I can’t believe that he wants me to have it out of everyone in the group. It is truly UNREAL! Not only do I have a magic hilt, but now I have a pair of wings!!! It must be my birthday or something. I ask Hazzy to teach me more flying in exchange for more Goblinesh lessons and he agrees. We decide to camp for the night and leave for Dregordia in the morning. As far as days go, this is one of the best ones I’ve had in a looooog time.

The song I played in flight traditionally has lyrics. It goes a little something like this.

The moment you leave the ground and your problems fade away,
Up in the sky where we could spend all day,
It’s the greatest felling to fell the wind in your face,
To glide above the land, oh yes it feels so great,
We send our praise to Zavonis for this blessing of flight!

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Trials of the Ascendent
Account by Lycore

As I see the purple glow of the crystal begin to grow around us the energy swirled and at the last moment I saw a hint of green. As I land gracefully on this field of grass I noticed four people, a Dragordian, and beautiful Aevakar, an eldakar and a (not uncharacteristicly loud) dwarf. I look at Ren to see what he’s thinking, but the Eldakar introduced himself. Myriil a fellow Druid as well, quite elegant and made me think of my father, straight to the point of matters of great concern to all. Thrarck a well meaning and almost childlike eagerness to the man. Sslivonia, a sensual Dragordian, quite powerful in looks. The Aevakar never gave her name, Hazelf seemed trip over himself at her sheer beauty. Myriil talked on how we needed help,and that they were going to see if we were worth of the cloak. Ren agreed and Thrack lead us some ways into the forest. As we walked I reached out with my spirit and there was so much Life energy around, so much so that it was like the forest was alive. We arrived to a large outcropping of boulders and there was Thrack standing by a large Boulder, the Boulder looked like it was sitting in font of a passage. Thrack told us that this was out path. Saying we had to work with the earth not against it. Before I could do anything The cat ran up to the stone and just asked it to move and the Boulder stood up and moved. I was impressed nonetheless. We walked on for some time and came to a field of geysers, no foreseeable pattern or anything. The Aevakar didn’t say much but we all got the idea that we had to cross this field. I was fairly confident about it, but it wasn’t until we were about halfway or more that it felt like the very wind itself was pushing us too. Upon arriving I saw Hazelf and Riley there first along with the Aevakar. As the rest arrived the Aevakar nodded and flew off . We trekked on and after about an hour we reached a cave, it was pitched black inside. We stood outside for a bit, then Hazelf first, Riley second and then I went in. As the darkness of the cave clouded my sight I felt something, and the sound of the dripping of water, and eventually I feel the splash of water on my boots. Treading water becomes swimming eventually I have to go down. Under the water, in the dark no idea were to go, my mind instinctively panics, my lungs ache, but then I calm myself, mind, soul and body. Then I feel it, a current at my back pushing me, guideing me, daylight and air welcomed me again, looking up Sslivonia grasped my hand and hefted me out of the water, asking me if I understood why. Keeping a calm mind and cool head can lead to what we were looking. I also saw a shaken cat and Hazlef standing there as well. Ren and Tiny were next to pop up out of the water, then Sage. As seconds turned to minutes Sslivonia dove in and then almost immediately there was Finian, unconscious. Hazlef took him and managed to wake him and get him breathing again. He looked tired but he was alive. We were told where to go next by Sslivonia and we started to tread in that way. Then the four Druids were here in front of us. Myriil went on about how the forest was life and death how there was a balance. Then he told us that what we sought would be at the base of a tree a sparrow would nest in. All four then promptly changed into animals and began chasing us. It was interesting to see true Druid powers at work but I was so freaked out at the time I didn’t give it any thought while running. The further we ran the more I lost track of my allies abut also the larger the trees got. I wanted to pray, I really wanted to but i just kept running. Then I hit the clearing and before me was this massive tree, so tall, deep roots and so beautiful. Behind me just on the outskirts of the trees the Druids in there beast forms stalked just outside of the clearing. And there was everyone else, even Hazelf landing at the base of the tree. Hazlef seems to have a thought and looking around and he pointed out a smaller tree, almost unnoticeable. He walked over and seemed to find something and the Druids stopped and then left. Hazlef examend the cloak some more then handed it to Ren, Ren then handed it off to Finian. Finian stood there for a but then he was flying. The cloak turned itself into wings. It was beautiful, it seemed interesting now we have two fighters who can take to the air.

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Brinchies are HOT
Riley's Ramblings

Well crap, that snazzy necklace just poofs you into other places… I kinda want that now too. As all the new colors and entirely new scenery stops being so blurred in my eyes, I see Cap about to fall off a freakin’ ledge. He somehow just swings himself in the right way so he’s back on solid footing. The small angry one makes sure her poor whipped man is pulled even further from the ledge. Wouldn’t want him to fall now, would we? It seemed like quite the drop. As I’m looking at the drop Hazelnut just decides to go off on his own to scout or something. No one seems pleased, but all I can think about is how I wish I could do that. Just zip away to the sky like angel or just float about like a cloud. These weirdos just have to walk FOREVER. I am not used to this and I’m tired and a little grumpy. Sage spoke of a bridge that would lead us across the huge crevice. It takes a bit of time, but we reach the bridge to Hazelnut, waiting for us. Soooo helpful. The bridge looked pretty not safe. Cap told us to get into pairs and go across this monster, so I run over to Sage because if I gotta die on a bridge, she’s pretty to look at. I couldn’t pick Hazelnut so I could fluff feathers on my way out because he was down below in case anything happened. I’m not sure he could really carry much, but it was comforting. We all got across then Fin and the “archer” started talking to fairies or some shit. I didn’t see a thing, but yeah… I’m hoping they weren’t talking to themselves. Cap was in front then Teeny and I were behind and the others were further behind us. Either way, I actually convinced the little one to carry me. It was hot and I was tired, so I snuggled up into her arms and nuzzled her shoulder, purring. I don’t know how they can walk so much, freakin’ rangers. Oh, let’s not forget that a freakin’ huge jungle snake came from behind Teensy and I and wrapped around the little one. The “archer” saved her with one shot through the beasts eyes… using MY bow. I tried to help unravel the constricting serpent, but I hurt my back. I’m not built for this type of crap. After she was free, Cap made it pretty clear I wasn’t allowed to have anyone else carry me, which is ridiculous. The fairies are gone, so we just keep heading in that direction. Then a spear soars through the air and hits close to the perty pirate. Ron instructed Sage to speak to them in the native language and then eventually came out. I saw the cutest little jaguar brinchie cubs I’ve ever seen. Then he came. Oh, dear goodness. He was tall and gorgeous and HOT. I want it, I mean him… I mean Woooow. He was 7ft tall… I wonder if all of him is huge. He was a very angry one though, speaking in this just janky Galaen. He was super pissed, but that ain’t gonna stop me from flirty. I had to show some leg and flutter some eyelashes. All I got was a nod… A NOD. I have spotted my quarry and I shall hunt him down and make him mine…. Or not. If he doesn’t appreciate all this, he doesn’t deserve it. I’m gonna try a bit harder than I normally would though. So much talking going on, but it takes so much of me to not drool over this man. He was telling us to leave or something again when an old woman bonked him on the head. She told him to listen to us because she’s not dumb, she knows we can help them. They wouldn’t be here all in one group if something hadn’t happened. Who would bring women and children to a fight? We were eventually brought to their village, nothing at all like what I used to call home. She introduced Mr. Hottie as Balam Shadowstalker, and she was… something, I was too busy staring at Balam. We then found that they had moved because of some “jungle tyrant” destroying their former home next to a sacred orchard. That must be some magic apples or something… I think orchards are always fruit bearing. She drew a serpent in the dirt that looked killable, but very not friendly. Anways, she mentioned how there was a great evil long ago, but an outsider and his companion killed the thing and it’s sacred now? I don’t know, but apparently the others put together that the companion was a sword..I thought it was a dude who like carried his sword or something. I don’t know. We asked if we would have their permission to go to this orchard, but she said that outsiders saved it, so we’re more welcome than they would be. Before we left the woman to rest, I asked about Balam and if he had a significant other, and she said that all women were his. I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean, he might have had a lot of women in his days, but never someone like me. Well, time to rest before we all possibly die in the morning.

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A Hint of Home
Sage's Tale

We touched the medallion and transported to my home, a place I have not been in a while. I could hear the beautiful sounds of the ocean, and for a moment I longed to be on a ship again. But the moment was a quick one, for I would never give up on my team. I might not have been with the team for long, but I already feel loyal to them. We landed in a part of the island I have never been before, but I have heard the stories of the men who ventured here and never came back. We were at the Valley- one of the most dangerous places on the island. I informed the team about this after Tiny asked. Before that though, Hazelf flew off without a word. I thought that was weird, but maybe he had orders I did not know about.
I tell the team about a bridge that crosses the Valley, which is a deep crevice around 2000 feet deep. This bridge will hopefully lead us to a passage into the Valley. From the sun in the sky and the wind on my face, I know we are about 3 miles from the bridge. Corporal Renn takes the lead and heads towards the bridge. Hazelf is still not with us.
We walk for about forty-five minutes to an hour, and even though I have never been to this part of the island, I still feel like I am home. We finally see a large bridge made of ropes and wooden planks that stretches the crevice. Here is where we meet up with Hazelf. He mentions finding the bridge, and Corporal Renn did not seem to be pleased. Maybe Hazelf did not have orders to fly off.
Corporal Renn ordered us that we would cross the bridge in pairs with a rope ties between us, and Hazelf would fly below us in case of trouble. As soon as Corporal Renn finished, Riley called dibs on me, which I thought was great. Riley tells me that if I am the last one they see, they are happy to die that way. I gave them a smile back, for I would not mind dying looking at the beautiful white tiger either. The first couple to cross the bridge was Tiny and Corporal Renn; Riley and I went next. The sway of the bridge reminded me of being on a boat; that was until I looked down and saw trees instead of the ocean. Fin and Lycore crossed the bridge last, and we all made it safely.
After we all cross the bridge, we look around to see a slope on the cliff side. After a closer look, we realize it is stairs leading down into the deep forest at the bottom of the Valley. Corporal Renn goes down the stairs first followed by Tiny, Riley, myself, Fin, and lastly Lycore. Hazelf flew beside us. The farther we walked down, the stairs turned into branches, and we are surrounded by more and more trees as we reach the Valley floor. I alert the group of large creatures here, but we should not be too worried with al of the monsters we have faced.
We did not know where to go next, so Fin decided to strum a melody to call upon some spirits or something like that. He began to play a song I did not know, and not long did some little creatures come from the tress and begin to surround his as if they were dancing to his song. I don’t know what to think at this time except that these creatures really love music. I am glad Fin got an audience finally.
Once his song is over, Fin asks the creatures about the sword, but the creatures seem to misunderstand. Hazelf decides to show the creatures his unsheathed sword, but the creatures become frightened and begin to retreat. Lycore manages to ask them before they are gone if they know of a spiritual place. I assume they answered because Lycore tells us to follow him as he follows the creatures.
I could tell we were heading North West. To my surprise, Riley asked Tiny to carry them. I thought it was just a joke until Tiny actually picked Riley up. I made sure to hold in my laughter, for I know Tiny would probably hit me with her hammer if she heard me. Suddenly, a giant snake appears and has Tiny in its grasp. Luckily Lycore had the Bow of Starlight and killed the snake with one shot to the head. The snake landed on Tiny, and it took a while to move the giant 100-foot-long creature off of her. By now, the creatures we were following was gone. We decide to go forward in the direction the creatures were headed with myself in the lead.
I lead the team with Hazelf and Fin on my sides. I used the sunlight coming in from holes in the canopy of the trees to go North West, and Fin could tell we were going in the right direction from feeling a source of magic. Out of nowhere, an arrow whips by my face and lands in a tree not far from us. We looked around, but I could not see anything. Who shot that? Fin said he saw what seemed to be a Brinchie that was a jaguar moving very fast. After a question from Hazelf, I told the team about tales of Brinchies living in the forests of Nazatir and how they did not like intruders on their land. In hopes of preventing a fight, I yell out to the Brinchies in Nazatiran that we are not there to harm anyone. I see two jaguar cubs pop out, but another Brinchie grabs them and ducks back behind the trees. I put my hands up to show I do not have weapons in them and yell again that we are not going to harm them. To aid in my efforts, Hazelf offered meat to the Brinchies.
Not long after we back away from the meat, we hear a rustle from the canopy, and a huge Brinchie jumps down and lands on the peace meat offering. The giant tribal Brinchie spoke in broken Nazatiran for us to leave. I act as a translator between the Brinchie and the group. Corporal Renn tells me to him that we are not here to stay. We are just passing through, for we are looking for something. The Brinchie then began to speak in broken Galean that we struggle to listen to. He tells us that he knows what we are looking for, but we need to leave. Renn and the Brinchie go back and forth, when a stick comes from the behind him and hits him the head. An only woman Brinchie was responsible for the move. This woman looks even more tribal than the male Brinchie; they bicker in a dialect of Nazatiran, and I was able to catch a little of the conversation. The woman mentions how the male was young and naïve for not listening to us.
After some discussion between Corporal Renn and the two Brinchies, they invited us to follow them to their camp. We walked through the camp, and many other Brinchies stared at us. We got to a tent and followed the Brinchie male and the old woman Brinchie in. Corporal Renn and the Brinchies discuss about why we were here. They discuss the story of the sword and how they once lived in a village that was attacked. The Brinchie tells us where we can find the sword, but we must not disturb the sacred orchard it is on. Once the discussion with the Brinchies is over, the team battle plans.
We decide that we could not fight until first light, but we needed to act fast so that we could be ready for when the medallion in recharged. The battle plan is that Hazelf, who can see in the dark, will go ahead and see what he can see. He will then come back to our meeting spot and tell us what he saw. If he can, he will try to get the sword and try to get out. When we head into the village, Tiny, Corporal Renn, and I will head in first with Riley, Fin, and Lycore behind us.
Now that we have planned, all we can do is rest and wait for the sun to rise. As I rest, I think of how this trip to Nazatir is much different than I would have ever expected. And as I drift to sleep, I swear I can still hear the ocean, as if to reassure that I can always find a hint of home.

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