In which there is a gem found, betrayal, and death of a friend (Part 1)

Soren, the 9th of Decem 976

 Ah ha! I finally found it! I knew I left this thrice-curst journal somewhere! I hadn’t realized that it has been so long since I have written in here. So much has happened…

Elodie, 23rd of Aperire 976 (Fourth Day in Eternos)

Picking up where I last left off, we did board a ship the next day. It was a beautiful ship known as the Weatherlight.. As it turns out fate smiled as us…or perhaps it was more of an ironic grin because the Captain of the ship ended up being none other than Captain Jasmine’s husband: Captain Rito. For a fee he agreed to take us aboard and travel to Angora. I had learned the previous day that there was an old fort where Azreal the Fair had been assigned to and it seemed a great place to continue the next leg of our quest. At last, we had some real direction and what seemed like a solid clue on where to go. Captain Shean was there to see us off, and was kind enough to give me some coin to help on my journey. With a hug, I thanked him and we set off. It was at that point that I must have lost this journal! For the most part the 5 month journey to Angora was fairly uneventful. There was another passenger on the ship, a beautiful woman named, Sophia. I was filled with jealousy for she seemed to have an…interest in Theradon. For months I did nothing. I would try to not be around. I didn’t own him or control him, he could speak with who he wished to. But it always seemed that she knew when I was around and would drape herself on him or his path! Mazrith had started to notice the change in my attention and mood. I would go from completely distracted to overly aggressive in our sparring bouts. I was somewhat surprised when he asked me if I wished to speak with him about it. I confided in Mazrith and confessed my growing feelings for Theradon to him. Mazrith then told me that Theradon actually was not trusting of the woman, and encouraged me to tell Theradon of my feelings. I went back to my rooms to contemplate this. My heart soared knowing that Theradon did not return the woman’s feelings. As I was getting ready to go speak with him, there was a knock on my door. It was Theradon. He asked if I had been feeling well and why he had not seen me lately. Shamefaced, I told him that it was because I had been jealous and felt intimidated by the woman’s grace and beauty. He told me that he did not trust her and thanked me for telling him how I felt. Emboldened by this, I leaned over and kissed him. While he did not turn away, he did not return it either, and left. I was a sea of emotions, at least I had finally told him! As I went back up to the deck of the ship I saw Sophia was there talking with Theradon, looking over at me she grabbed him and kissed him. It felt like an icy fist had knocked the wind out of me! Outraged I started to head over to her, but I saw Theradon push himself away from her and told her that her feelings were unrequited. Smiling I headed back down to my room.

5 months later, roughly~Liv, :2nd of Decem, 976 (Arrival in Alpaca, Angora)

 We arrived in the town of Alpaca. Unsure of where the Keep of Azreal the Fair might be, we went to the locals to ask them if they knew. Strangely, none of them knew what we were talking about and hadn’t heard of Azreal. I started to suspect that maybe magic was involved in this…It seemed all convenient when Sophia walked up and told us that she was in fact a treasure hunter and knew the location of the keep. She then also said that she would be willing to be our guide for a cut of the treasure…To say in the least…I may have lost my temper with her. I mean seriously? When would she stop being perfect? I am quite embarrassed to say that I said some unkind words to her and stormed off. After I had cooled down though, I realized that I was being irrational and not acting as a Dragon Rider should. I made my way back to the tavern, bought a bottle of wine, grabbed two glasses and went to make amends. We sat down and talked and it was like we were old friends catching up. She admitted defeat over Theradon and told me that he must care for me greatly to resist her advances. We talked about armor and weapons, and laughed about men. She accepted my apology and agreed to join the group. Shortly afterwards we set off on the 3 day journey for the Keep.

Aviva, 5th of Decem 976 (Arrival at the Keep)

 We arrived at the Keep, without many troubles. After some searching around the grounds we entered the front doors of the ancient stronghold. There was a door that was locked to us, we continued forward I remember at one point we found a trapped piece of the floor. Theradon slumped forward as he set off the trap, trying to pull him back, I was also zapped as I felt a strange jolting current surge through my body, then there was just darkness until I came to. The others had managed to pull us off the trap. We continued on and found a throne room. Theradon took the lead and started to head into the room. I remember Amayah cautioning him not to go any further. Without hesitation, Theradon approached the throne and the body that sat upon it came to life. It seemed that the Keep still had a few inhabitants and this Lich was upset that we had awoken him! He told us to leave. Theradon replied back to him and the Lich attacked. I sprung forward into action to help defend him against the evil Lich. We exchanged blows and the rest of the party fought off his denizens. I dealt the Lich a blow. Time seemed to slow has he whirled around, pointed a bony finger at my sword and whispered, “Shatter.” In an instant my sword was blown apart. Metal shards went flying into the Lich, as well as into the rest of the room. It seems that as an act of defiance the sword managed to deal a mortal blow to the Lich at its on cost. In shock and without a weapon, the others killed the Lich and his creatures. As more undead started to arrive through a door, Amaya used her druidic skills to warp the wood of the door, thus lodging it closed. I was crestfallen; I couldn’t believe that my sword was gone. Though I had just started to use it, it felt like an old friend had died in that instant, and a small piece of me with it. As silly as it sounds, I mourn its loss. Mazrith helped me collect the shards, and after looting the Lich, he handed me one of his own blades so I would not be without a weapon. Theradon also offered me one of his spell blades in exchange for Mazrith’s sword. I consulted with Mazrith and exchanged weapons with Theradon. The party was in need of healing and rest, so we sought and took refuge in the Keep’s courtyard. There was a beautiful fountain with carvings and some water. Though I was feeling a little parched, after Amayah announced that the water was safe to drink, I let the others take their turn first, there was not enough to go around for everyone, so I got ready to take my turn for watch. During my watch, I remember hearing a song that was being sung somewhere inside the Keep. I looked over to Sophia and saw that she was swaying to the music. I mentally reached out to Tath and asked him to wake the party. After some time the singing continued and seemed to move on through the Keep, past us. The others went back to sleep and I continued my watch until it was time to rest.

Elodie, 6th of Decem 976 (Second day at the Keep)

 The next morning we awoke and prepared to finish searching the rest of the Keep. After going through some hallways, we approached a long corridor shrouded in darkness that seemed to go for miles forwards. Being able to see well in darkness, I saw that the hallway was not as long as that, and sent Tathandral to go see how long it was. He reported back that there was a pillar up ahead. Theradon cautiously stepped forward, searching for traps, of which he found a great many. He continued along but was unable to find a way to safely disarm the trapped floor for the rest of us. Amaya cast some sort of druidic spell so that I could climb like a spider along the walls, while the rest were flown over to the traps. Amayah had told us while she was scouting in the air above us that there were suits of armor in alcoves in the next part of the hallway and that they seemed to be protecting something. Thankfully we were prepared to fight the magical suits when we all got safely past the traps. The battle lasted longer than I would have anticipated. Thanks to Mazrith, we discovered that they were powered by a yellow gem inside the suit and that to stop it we had to get the gem out. During this battle, Theradon broke Mazrith’s sword that he had loaned us. Feeling that the Keep must be cursed for breaking weapons, we pressed on and managed to defeat the suits. As we continued down the hallway, our search had finally paid off, we had found the gem of Azreal the Fair. Theradon approached the pillar and attempted to try and take it off the pillar. As he reached out to grab it he was flung with much force backwards, out of the room. I was slightly surprised to see Amayah try to reach the gem next. Maybe it called to her? She managed to take the gem with no problems at all. There was a substantial amount of treasure, armor and weapons also in the room. I noticed that there was a set of full plate with an odd gleam to it, and some swords with a similar gleam. The party agreed it would be acceptable for me to use the full plate armor and take one of the swords for a new sword. As I was donning the new armor, I could over hear that Sophia wanted the gem for herself. I started to get uneasy as she argued with the rest of the group over it. As she grew more insistent, I panicked and was convinced that she was working for the Shadow Man! Calling upon my meager magical powers due to being a Dragon Warrior, I tried to sense if there was some sort of evilness in her. I felt immediate relief when I didn’t sense anything from her. Surely I must have just been over-reacting, she did say after all that she was a treasure hunter….but wait….I did feel something….from someone else. My hands froze in mid action, and it seemed my heart skipped a beat. I must have been mistaken, but I double checked again….Theradon. Theradon was giving off an evil aura and feeling. I called out to Tath and asked if he could sense what I was sensing. He replied that he couldn’t and wanted to know if everything was ok. I told him that everything was fine. In the background I could hear Sophia back down from getting the gem and agreed to take the scepter and crown instead. I called out to Amayah and asked if she could come assist me with my armor. As she walked over to me I whispered to her in celestial: “I need to speak with you in private.” She looked at me, nodded, and said “I need to speak with you also.” I knew that Amayah’s druidic magic gave her the ability to discern if someone was good or evil, and I knew I could trust her to give me a second opinion. Hundreds of different scenarios and reasons went through my head. Growing up I knew many thieves and technically they could be counted as evil. Surely Theradon wasn’t as evil as say….a black dragon, or the Lich that we fought, or the Shadow Man. Whatever it was, I was determined to find out when the time was right, and if possible it just made me care about him more. Maybe I could help him find the good in his heart, by opening my heart to him and showing the good in mind. Whatever the case may be, Amayah and I wouldn’t get our chance to talk for a few more days. With our treasure in tow, we started to make the 3 day journey back to the village of Alpaca.

-Alusair Farstrider


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