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 A Troubled Economy (Deceased): Rakor Blakthorn
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Posted - 11 Dec 2020 :  20:03:00  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Rakor's Journal, Marpenoth 13th

20 NOV 2017

Marpenoth the 13th

Today I finally find myself with a moment of reprieve. I’ve had quite the journey in the last week, even met a few new acquaintances. I stumbled across my old friend, Tuck in an adventuring party of all places. A bit out of place for a dockmaster, let alone a Hin of his stature. A whorehouse or tavern, sure, but from my memory, in the homes of wolves is not a place he would often stray. His friends were hesitant at first, but after some reassurance from Tuck, they accepted my presence for the time. Not many are so quickly welcoming of a half-orc, for this I am appreciative. I stumbled across the party in the Valley of Shrines. The valley would be a good home for a trade outpost, but currently there resides both undead and werewolves to be a problem. These will have to be taken care of before I can attempt to establish an outpost and possibly begin my mission of getting The Gemstone Chaka and the natives to at least get along enough for the sake of coin. Damned stubborn dwarves and equally stubborn savages don’t understand the improvement of life when trade is involved. My new acquaintances are from equally as impressive distances as I am. Danjo and his companion, Shino are both from the far east. Still human, from the land of Wa. Malakai, not quite as far as them, but also not a native to these lands. Finally Sahil, still an mystery to me, but he has proven to be quite intuitive on several occations, so I am glad to have him as an ally. The dockmaster has a way of meeting all sorts it seems.

Tuck convinced me to join up with their group, safety in numbers as he said, and I made off witht heir party. I marked down the general location of the valley to return to when matters are settled in the area. Tuck made a brief connection with the werewolves, leading them back to us as he returned. He was breathless and red, looking as he had run for his life. The wolves wouldn’t approach the temple beyond a certain point, the general thought to be of desecration of the grounds. The group made mention of a burial ground they seemed to think may have some answers to the undead in the area, after deliberation, decided to investigate the tombs. After a couple days’ travel, though a harrowing blizzard, we arrived at the grounds. The weather here is quite bizarre, changing from an arctic blizzard, to a crisp spring in the course of days.

We approached the hillside, a peaceful day with little to bother us. There were large obelisks of Tor and the Red Knight, if my memory serves me correct, outside the entrance. Both were flame scarred heavily, but not much else was worth noting, so we decided to enter. Danjo and Shino entered and slightly after they entered, we heard a loud explosion. Before we could even enter to check their saftey a secondary explosion triggered, rendering me breathless and on the ground. Upon recovery, I saw Malakai on the ground, a large rock embedded in his head, the wound bleeding severely. He was the first of these strangers to actually inquire of my past, and I enjoyed a small chat with him over one of the campfires of the past few days. A fellow follower of Waukeen, a shame to not know him better. The group decided to put his body to rest inside the burial chambers, so after recovery, we continued in.

Within these chambers, he have encountered a seemingly endless fountain of undead. After defeating many waves, and nearly falling into their ranks, Tuck pulled out a magic staff of some sort and obliterated their ranks using the power of the sun. Makoda had to lead us all into a retreat, as the aftermath left us all blind, but Sahil prayed to his deity and miraculously healed all our blindness, a feat that he should not have been able to accomplish, but I am grateful he could. Tuck, being a curious Hin, decided to check for any hidden doors down our path before we returned the room and boiling blood and bone. Strangely enough, he found one, heavily hidden. Upon opening the door, it triggered another fire ball trap, leaving myself, if not others close to death a second time in hardly a day. Immediately after, a horde of undead appeared magically, and I made my way down an unknown hallway, fleeing for my life. With only forward to go, and some solid fighters protecting my flank, I made my way into the darkness. I came across a door with magic torches that illuminated when I got close and luminescent moss growing out of some heavily desecrated runes of Tor. I couldn’t make a full translation, but from what I gathered, I would need at least the nimble hands of Tuck if I were to persue further interest of what lied beyond. Returning to the group, I discovered Shino and Danjo to be succesfully keeping the undead at bay, Sahil had turned into a tree, Makoda was in a spike pit, struggling for life, and Tuck was attempting to stop a trap door from closing ontop of Makoda. Shino managed to severely wound his leg, but he and Danjo defeated the horde. Danjo helped me raise Sahil from the pit while Tuck disabled the trap and we recovered Makoda, we did not have another body to rest this day.

I told them of the door, and they all followed. The door, as I suspected, was an easy foe for Tuck and opened to a chamber in the Underdark. Curious, as I’ve only tales from the Mithril Dwarves back at Many arrows, I am intrigued by these halls. Allthough, with my current companions, I am unsure if delving deeper is for the best.

Knowledge or not, I’ve only lived this long by a very careful and lucky life...









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I Offer this Coin with Hope to Mend My Fallen Friend

17 DEC 2017

Shino was able to heal his injury from the earlier battle with the skeletons in the complex above. Unfortunately, he is now indebted to the Unseelie Court, owing the fey a favor is no joking matter and I do not envy him when the time comes for them to call upon said favor. After a small prayer from Django, we were transported to their realm where they stuck a deal with him, healing his lame foot.
Upon return to the chamber we had set up camp in, we heard cries of help from beyond the deeper door. After discussion of what this may be, it was ultimately decided that venturing further in was favorable to dealing with the werewolves above, so regardless of the voice being true to it’s word, we would need to enter the depths anyway.

Beyond the deeper door, we came into a chamber with many insect creatures surrounding a dark complexioned man who was dressed in nothing but rags. Through the efforts of all, we were able to rescue him from a certain death and he joined us in our venture, ever grateful to be rescued. We learned him to be “Weshtek” from the land of Chult. His ship was pillaged by pirates and he was sold into slavery and eventually dumped here by some of my less civilized brethren. We decided the room we had camped in was the safest place to possibly camp, so we returned to it, being attacked by an unknown, extremely cold, force on the way back. Narrowly escaping with our lives, I learned this was a shadow, and I hope to never encounter another. They are a nasty form of undead that can reach into your very soul and make quick work of any mortal.

After a nights rest, we decided to further explore the underground cavern where we discovered Weshtek. Delving deeper into the complex, we came across an area of worked stone, similar to the chambers above. Django and Sahil ventured ahead of us to check around a corner, the rest of us waiting just a few feet away. Not a moment after disappearing, I heard Django screaming in his native tongue and I rushed over to see him laying on the ground, blood pooling around him, with Sahil doing his best to fight off a sudden horde of undead. Django was trying his best, but it seemed his legs were no longer functioning. The undead were sick in their attack, swinging into him again and again…

In my travels, I have never seen that much blood.

Shino managed to come in and pull Django out of the chaos. With the wounded out of the way, Sahil and I made quick work of the horde, using our divinity to the best we both could. We quickly returned to Django’s side and realized just how bad he was. He was composing a death poem with a very grim Shino at his side. It would seem their culture deems it necessary to end one’s life should they become a burden. Tuck spoke up and mentioned the power of prayer from the holy script Django carried, as it had worked for Shino. As much as I am not one to continually pray to the gods for help, it seemed like truly our only option.

Django continued preparing for his ritual while we all carried him back into the chamber we had begun to call home. Sahil began a throaty chant under his breath, slowly rising to where we all could hear. Weshtek began to chant as well, in a competely different manner, but just as sincere. The two harmonized in a way that shouldn’t normally work, but the spirits seemed to align to make it so. Most of us stayed silent, carrying Django, Shino calling out to any and every god to save the man who he traveled from home with. Once we got to the shamber, they began to change him into a white kimono, preparing further their ritual. I took a vast majority of my wealth and began placing coins around Django in a circle, face up. With each one I placed, I said a simple prayer to the Lady of Merchants and Trade.

“I offer this coin with hope to mend my fallen friend," I said quiety to each coin as I laid out one hundred gold coins, all face up, and placed my holy symbol to the Lady Waukeen at Djangos knees, in the center of my circle. All the while the chanting of Sahil grew stronger while Weshtek had grown into a tribal dance, fully adorned with mud and ash. Django read his read poem and plunged his sword into his gut, slicing back and forth, blood rushing from his body, as time itself seemd to stop. Silence as the blood pooled onto the coins on the ground, my holy symbol. Just as Shino was about to sever the head, as their culture says to, a figure appeared above the water. A man with blonde hair, dressed in half plate. A wave of energy burst forth from him, healing everyone, Django included. Just as quick as he appeared, he was gone, leaving us with a message.

“Go to the Temple of Alaric.”

As he left, Django’s legs twiched, a sure sign that the divine were truly generous on this day.





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The Weave provides not for me, but for those who cannot provide for themselves.

10 JAN 2018

Why am I here? Is it truly to spread the word of civilization, or is there a greater purpose? It seems odd to me that Liberty’s Maiden would lead me to such an uninhabited cave just to have to watch these people go through such harrowing trials. I’ve traveled the world, bartering in knowledge all for her blessing… maybe I should not have joined these people.

I had a conversation with the visage that healed Danjo. We spoke on various things, but selflessness was a topic that seemed to circle around. Maybe my journey has had a hidden agenda. All my travels, gathering knowledge with hopes to return to a home that would never take me, maybe I was lead here. I’ve begun to read Danjo’s book on The Triad, trying to make sense of why the visage chose me to talk to. I am not a holy man, just a man who has seen and experienced a lot. I find myself identifying with Ilmater, as I too have had a life of suffering. I mean no disrespect toward the Lady Waukeen, but I feel a new spiritual path ahead of me. Coin lead a few of us into these tombs, and honestly, too much blood has been spilled in the name of the damn things. I paid a final tribute to Waukeen, saying a prayer as I cast aside my final coins.

All this makes me realize just how much I’ve taken The Weave for granted. I’ve used it for food, when I’ve had plenty, warm when I’ve had other sources… maybe this is why we’ve been so severely punished. I will no longer use The Weave in vain, only to protect and aid those around me.

“The Weave provides not for me, but for those who cannot provide for themselves.”

By these words, I will now live. Magic should not be used to make life simpler, but to help those who without it, suffer. As for coin, it too seems to be centered around greed. Take the Shining South, for example. I’ve been told it is in economic turmoil! I came here to see the greatness of trade and civilization, and bring back what I could to my people, yet it’s been reduced to shanty towns and chaos. Those who suffer now, surely the coin won’t fix their ailments. Bring me to the center of all this pain, I would help the weary until my palms bled. I’ve seen too much pain to let it all go by.

This may seem selfish, the desire to end the suffering, but to me, it is the opposite. Bring me the hungry, they may have all the food I can offer. Bring me the cold and I will shed my very clothes. Bring me the weak, let me carry them on my back.

Ilmater, I am at your will.







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Fools in the Snow

27 JAN 2018

Blood, so much blood. Staring at my hands, they are coated in it. Have I truly lost my mind? Who does this blood belong to? Looking around at my fellow adventures, I see that Sahil too is covered. They seem to be mostly unaffected by the idea that we are covered in it. It would seem they can, indeed, see the blood, as everyone is bathing…

It seems this is the blood of a basalisk, the creature that attacked us in the caves. At least that gives me a home for this gore. Again, blood seems to be the theme here. Maybe a warning, but it seems these people don’t seem to be bothered by the constant gore that seems to follow us. As I’ve stated, I will do what I can to help us survive, even being the weakest of the herd.

The brass door turned out to be more mysterious then it originally was. Sahil managed to shape the stone around the door to create an opening, only to be assaulted by the loudest ceremonial music I have ever heard. We retreated from that for the time being, I am unsure as to why. Our cowardice does not accompany our boredom and “need” for exploration well, as we proved with the waterlogged door. It did not hold an ocean of water behind it to drown us, just more resting places and another hallway we left unexplored. I proved to the group that I can hold back the undead, so long as we catch them before they form, so I do not understand the hesitation and fear they still hold towards them. I would honestly like to put them to rest, end the suffering they have so long endured.

It would seem the time we’ve spent in the underground may have gotten to some of us. We decided to check out the topside of this crypt, only to have Danjo and Weshtik take part in a snowball fight outside. And they are worried about me and my apparent lost mind? Damned fools playing in the snow, I would expect more maturity from a man of Danjo’s age…

Hopefully this music chamber will give some answers, this winter can’t end soon enough.






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The Death and Rebirth of Rakor Blakthorn

27 JAN 2018

It is not often a man gets to die and live to tell the tale…

Beyond the bronze door lay a plethora of amazingly awful things. The first thing we noticed was black vines retreating away from us, the music stopping as they did so. We were greeted by deep voice, and shortly after, we were swarmed by cultists. Not a single one of us backed down, we fought through, making quick work of the cultists. In the heat of battle, we allowed ourselves to get flanked by a sea of enemies, but that did not slow us one bit. Shino immediately threw his fire magics out while we finished off the ones down our hallway, hope was there, this battle could be turned in our favor!

Just as the tides seemed to turn, they turned against us once more as a blood soaked demon appeared, his presence killing both living and undead in the room. Luckily, we weren’t immediately destroyed like they were, but we were filled with the sense of dread, knowing our deaths would soon follow.

Looking at my allies, I knew we were certainly doomed. There was one thing that came to my mind.

Ilmater.

My new found deity. His patron saint did not choose me for nothing. We spoke of selflessness, the visions were completely clear to me now. The One on the Rack, The Broken God, hear my prayer, for it is all I have to offer and I fear the end would be for all of us.

I approached the demon, laying down my spear and accepting my fate. There was no fear in the knowledge of events to come. I accept my fate, I just want my allies to live, I want my FAMILY to live.
Holding my holy symbol high and strong I spoke out,

“I offer my being in hopes to end the suffering of my allies and the suffering this being has caused. Ilmater, take me as you would sacrifice yourself to endure the pains of my allies. I do not make this request for me, but for those who are otherwise doomed. I accept my end, Ilmater, I am at your will.”

I was told that shortly after this prayer, my skull was crushed and my body eviscerated in the most gruesome fashion. The demon made short work of Danjo as well after my end.

Just when all hope was lost, the same blue hued light erupted in a hand, binding the demon in place.

Alaric, patron saint of Ilmater, showed from the heavens, hearing my plea. He opened a gateway to another plane and banished the demon in the most painful way. The demon’s face twisted and distorted until he was phased from existence. My family was saved after all, my sacrifice worth the price.

To my surprise, I found myself in the stairwell we came down, fully nude, but I could hear the screams of agony from down the hall along with the mourning of Danjo and myself. I rounded the corner to gather my things and was greeted by a bearhug from Weshtek, all too happy to see me alive. Danjo too, came down the stairs, Ilmater having mercy on both of us. After some skepticism from Makoda, they accepted we were not apparitions of evil and we returned to the room with the iron doors to recover from the events we just endured.

My mind is finally at ease, my conflict at rest.

Ilmater, I thank you. I am truly at your will.





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Tales of the Spear- The First Hunt

02 FEB 2018

Rakor points to another pictograph, near the very first one he made. It depicts the same emblem he uses to represent himself in all the other stories. He is standing over a apparent felled beast with a scaled skin. The scales are grey, and the talons are as black as you could make. Rakor’s emblem stands triumphant, spear held strongly in one fist, tip pointed to the ground.

“This, Weshtek, is the story of my first kill. Not long after Waq’t’na gifted it to me, I was forced to defend myself in the wild. Likely could smell my provisions,” the half-orc chuckles, “Foolish mistakes in a early age, anyways…,” he leans in, as if a child telling ghost stories, his aged face, growing in vitality with the tale…

“The days were just as harsh as the nights. Where the cold would tear you to the bone in the night, the sun would damn near burn the flesh from them! The beasts in the day were no less savage, but for the most part, it was the nightstalkers I would worry about. I still do not know what they were, but they were a fierce foe indeed. Their scaled hide was tough to penetrate, even by a spear.”

He points to the hide he currently is wearing and winks, “It still is, all these years later. The key to good armor is a strong hide to build it from, but I digress…,” he sinks back into the childlike wonder of his story…

“The beast had snuck up on me making camp, I was fatigued from the day, not yet had a safe spot to eat sense early dawn. Luckily, I knew to keep my spear close, that and my orcish blood affords me nightsight. I snatched up my spear and huntched low, keeping my back away from the beast, spear at the ready. We circled for a few rounds and it lunged at me. A far quicker foe then I had anticipated,”

Rakor points to his deep scar that runs across his right eye, “Damn near lost an eye in the first week away from the tribe. Hardly a hunter, I’m surprised I’ve lived this long. I have to wonder if my new found purpose has anything to do with it. Perhaps Ilmater saw me as a fitting disciple before even I knew of him,” Rakor looks lost in thought for a moment, “Ah, but again, I ramble from the story…,”

“Blood poured quick from my eye, giving the beast the advantage as it poured into my eye. The beast seemed to give into a blood frenzy on the sight of my weakened state. It lunged a second time and I stuck him good, sinking the spear far into his abdomen. I stood, carrying my force with me, forcing the beast onto its back, giving the spear a quick snap, I quickly pulled it from the wound and plunged it with all my might a second time. The beast lay still, a fatal wound serving it a well fought, death. From this beast, I carved out a couple days of meat to dry, a scaled hide, and it took the largest talon it had, likely the one the almost took my eye,”__

The orc motions to the hilt of the spear, a long black talon, curved away from the body, rests at the end, wrapped in an aged leather strap. The talon is sharp to the touch, and could be used as a close quarters weapon if needed.

“The Black-Thorn, I dubbed it, taking my namesake from the beast as respect,” he says, motioning to the talon, “The leather that secures it was also taken from that beast, my first hunt treated me well, Do you remember your first hunt, Weshtek?”

The aged half-orc looks to the man from Chult with the same childlike wonder he has shown with the story...






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Trials from The Broken God

11 FEB 2018

It was agreed that we would send Sahil’s insect scouts once more, after much discussion between Tuck and I. The bugs returned quickly, before we even made it back to the room with the iron doors. Apparently, magic had prevented them from penetration. Much to my initial concern, we went with Tuck’s original plan, he would leave a silver coin on the stairs if he succeeded, no coin, we were to assume him to be imprisoned.

He returned after not too terribly long, telling us of six robed men, sounding similar to the one we saw in the last turn of events. Three of them wanted to kill another of them, who seemed to be aware of Tuck’s presence, so he returned to us, only to be back in discussion of what to do. Sahil and I, both unaccepting of leaving the tortured souls to get help, but also not seeing the point in strictly dying to powerful magics we had just faced. Still unsure, we did the safest thing we could, send the hin, for he is glib and fleet of foot.

We waited considerably longer this time, fearing Tuck’s death. Alas, he returned with a tale. He was worn out, but he insisted now was the time to attack. Bolstered by the harbormaster’s tale, he made way to the door, only to hear the terrible voice and see the horrifying image of the demon who had just turned me and Danjo to pulp.

Ilmater, I am unsure what this test is to prove, but I will give my vessel once more, if to save my friends from this hellish nightmare.





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Tales of the Spear-Sundabar

13 FEB 2018

Rakor points to an image of a black circle, surrounded by a blue circle, surrounded by another black circle, with a large “x” across.

“Sundabar,” he says with a slight distain, allthough it sounded understanding, “This was not a good city to be an orc with only a savage tongue. My tribe was not kind to the city or the traders that were foolish enough to try to travel topside. Many of our provisions were stolen from caravans making their way to the Citadel,”

Rakor looks away, seemingly ashamed of his past, “Even saints started as a man, not all of us will have a pristine past,” he seems emboldened, “Even the best of man can come from a sorted past.

“I hadn’t be long in the wild, coming across the walls of the city. My provisions were low, I decided to give an honest attempt at finding a dry alleyway to spend sometime. That evening, I waited for the first foolish man to wander down the road alone and I robbed him. I used my brutish blood and terrified him enough to take his belongings, then bound him as we did to boars, and left him where I was sure he would at least be found, hopefully before other orc. I used the cloak he wore to fashion myself a hood and scarf and gathered what would fit of his gear, disguising myself as the average man to the best ability I could. Approaching the city guard, I kept my head low and my gait straight, and they paid me little mind. I was able to get inside the city, wherein I found a few dry hiding spots and managed to steal small amounts of food and recover from my fight with the nightstalker. I knew of Many-Arrows and decided to make my way there, as it would likely be the safest place for my kind…”

Rakor looks sheepish, yet relieved, “Not all the stories will be tales of wonder and glamour, Weshtek,” the old orc says, “All men have a past that shapes them, they shouldn’t replace their darker times with only tales of glory. Hardship is what truly makes the man...”





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Facing Fears

24 FEB 2018

We had found ourselves separated in the depths, all of us together except for Tuck. The demon above wailed on the passageway we had all managed to escape down, even just barely. Danjo was relieved that Shino had not, in fact, died, a relief that was delivered to us by Pak-Pak. I was certain his gnarled, crunching body was gone, the last thing I heard before jumping into the caverns below. We were now in unfamiliar grounds, a demon above and mystery ahead. We were greeted by strange noises which we chose to not ignore, but not exactly deal with either. It was decided we would climb the walls of this cavern to explore a ledge far above out heads, however foolish it may be. The walls were, after all, covered in moss and slick residues, as Danjo had just learned, not moments before, when he fell, almost being impaled by a stalagmite.

Yet we climb.

Thankfully, Sahil, ever resourceful, manage to commune with the spirits and shape ladder rungs into the stone itself, making the climb little worry. Unfortunately, the climb was not the factor we needed to worry about, as at the top, there were exploding runes that blasted many of us to near the same fate as Malakai, rest his soul. We were still winded from our escape from the demon, yet we managed to recover from the blast, just barely, deciding to press on. As we did, we continually heard a voice in the darkness, mocking everything we did in the most vile manor that it could.

In our exploration, we came across a rust monster. Weshtek told us what he new of them, worrying Danjo, as we were told they eat metal. His worry proved to be of little concern, as we made quick work of the beast. We found the paths back in the beast’s lair to have little use, so we made our way back to explore another direction. Without the aid of Mr. Arbuckle, we managed to activate the same trap a second time, this time being much more of a concern. Makoda fell to his death and his body seemed to attract a swarm of small creatures with buzzing wings. They looked fairly innocent, but upon Shino’s ascent from checking on Makoda, they swarmed on him, swiftly draining the life from his body, not before he had set flame to several of them. I stayed back, a coward, fearing for my life, while my friends took out the rest of the vermin.

The events that came next all blur together as they may very well be the worst I’ve faced.

A swirl of laughing mist swooped down from near Sahil and I, and invaded the corpse of Shino. Danjo instinctively jumped from the cliff to try and save his second, almost falling to his death in the process. Shino now stood in front of him, ready for battle. Before we put Shino to rest, the mist reveled itself to be a wraith and asked to have a conversation with us.

This unnerved me on many levels.

For lack of seeing a better outcome, I asked what it wanted. It told us it would give us Shino back if we agreed to take care of some of it’s problems, one of them being murdering another being. Sahil and I were both taken aback by the idea. While we debated with ourselves if we would help, the wraith tormented Shino’s soul, twisting and contorting it from his body while it screamed in agony. Not wanting to see him suffer further, we set aside our adversity towards the idea of murdering another being. A quick death would be far less suffering then what Shino was going through.

Upon deciding this, the wraith wanted a blood oath to seal the deal. I knew myself, that was powerful magic. A blood oath to such an evil being did not sit right with me. I could see Sahil conflicted with it as well, but he still went through with it. Being that Sahil seems much more attuned to the Adama and the good nature in things, I followed suit, much to my dismay. Westhek was the only one of us either stupid, or brave enough to actually reject the wraith entirely. He attacked it with all his might as was cast aside like he was no more then a fly on a horse’s ass. We were forced to lacerate him while he lay unconscious, forcing him into the blood oath as well. The wraith told us that the demon was not actually a demon, but just power from an artifact it wore. This gave us a slight hope that we may be able to steal or destroy the artifact and be rid of that problem. It also told us of the Earthblood that lay below this place somewhere and that it wanted to study it.

This also unnerved me.

We settled our deal with the wraith and he kept his word, using his foul magic to bring Shino back to life, now covered in deep red runes. It was decided, we would venture forth, assuming the hin to be dead. We gave him the briefest of moments and continued on, most us near death ourselves, leaving little time for mourning. We were relieved to hear him, not long after that, alive and well. He too met the wraith and we explained our current oath to the beast to him. Being as level headed as he is, Tuck took it in stride and we carried on.

At least only one life was lost today…

I can’t help but feel the loss my fall on my shoulders. I’ve made oaths to gods that I haven’t kept, yet I’m trying my hardest to. Where I view my body as a vessel for Ilmater’s will, I also see no merit in jumping into combat if I truly have nothing to offer. Perhaps this is where I do not truly understand my new found deity. He was truly selfless, as I should be, not try to be.

Ilmater, give me time. I will prove to you I am worthy of your blessing. No more will I cower in fear, I will stand my ground. The helpless need not fear for their lives, as I will gladly pour out my own blood if it can save them. This bastard of an entity deserves nothing of my being, yet it has taken part of me out of my own fear. No more will I accept this of myself, I only hope the end will be quick for the one the wraith desires. Suffering is not needed, if anything, I will make sure of that.







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The Final Thoughts of Rakor Blakthorn

11 APR 2018

“I offer my being in hopes to end the suffering of my allies and the suffering this being has caused. Ilmater, take me as you would sacrifice yourself to endure the pains of my allies. I do not make this request for me, but for those who are otherwise doomed. I accept my end, Ilmater, I am at your will…”

As these words fell from my lips, time seemed to stop. I could see the massive spiked maul hurling towards my face with my spear on the ground. I looked to Danjo, his face steadied and poise, ready to take down our foe. Weshtek stood by his side, emboldened by my prayer, confidence pooling from his face. Even the child, Sahil, was in the chaos, determined to take down this abomination.

The maul grew ever closer, as I made peace with my god. I knew I would die here, but my prayers would surely be met, if by anything other then the new found morale of my friends. “This is a finer family then the one I left, I am proud to die in their honor. A better bond then the savagery of orcs, let alone, the North itself.

In a moment, everything turned black, followed by the brightest light I have ever seen. I opened my eyes to and was face to face with a beaten man. He sat cross legged in a field of yellow roses, a lone bright star in a seemingly empty night sky.

“Ilmater?” I asked the man. Stunned by what appeared to my god, sitting there in front of me. The man said nothing, his back turned to me. From the flames of the firepit in front of the man, I could hear the cries of my friends in battle. From the sounds, victory surely couldn’t be far. I smiled, knowing my life was not lost in vain.

No sooner then I had the thought, I blinked my eyes, and suddenly Danjo appeared next to me. He did not seem to notice me, or the man, as he sat, staring blankly into the flames. As I looked at him, I could see the ghostly image of gore, covering a terrible wound. It seemed to rest just under his skin, slowly fading from view.

I turned back to the man to ask him more, and everything turned bright a second time…

“A fitting final thought,” I thought to myself as we came face to face with the demon priest a second time. We had come prepared this time, at least. We know his power comes from an amulet, and we know some of us are likely to die. This foe, to wretched to be left alive, has us all willing to die to see it put to an end. I began a prayer, hoping for the aid of the Broken One once more, this time, his relentless wrath was my intention.

This foe does not deserve a third chance...






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Cryptic Dreams

18 MAY 2018

In a field of yellow roses, a beaten man sits before me. His back is faced to me and I can make out little of his features in the dim, campfire light, illuminating the otherwise dark night, a lone star the only light in the darkened sky.

“I’ve had this dream,” I thought to myself, attempting to stand, but finding my legs to be useless. I only sat on the opposite side of the fire, I just wish to view the man’s face.

“Drink,” the man said without turning as a pint appeared next to me on a makeshift log table.

I stared into the pint, a swirling vortex residing inside. The longer I stared, the more hypnotic it became, showing me images of a life I’d never known.

I saw adventurers, not ones I’d known. There was a plated man, wielding a longsword and shield, a hunter’s horn on his side. Dwarving the man at his sidestood another human, a beast of man, aged in his years. A waraxe in his hand, and a forest green cloak resting on his shoulders. Another girth of a man sat opposite the campfire of the plated man. He was a large one, easily weighing twenty stone, sweat gleamed off his bald head, as he joyously regaled tales that I myself, could not hear. A smaller man of unimpressive build plucked the stings of a lute, obviously adding to the fat man’s tale, as a man of similar build sat close to him smiling. The oldest of the group sat near them, nodding to sleep. He wore grey robes and had long white hair, unkempt and far past his shoulders.

I blinked and came to, back at the campsite in the field of roses. My pint, now a ceramic tea cup, small chips around it’s rim, eaten by time. The man turned to face me and I stared into the familiar eyes of the man from Wa.

“Rakor, would you like another cup of tea?” he asked, motioning to the battered tea pot I’d seen so many times before...






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The Broken Man

18 MAY 2018

Waking from my dream, I am immediately greeted with the familiar stench of the underground. The damp mold, dried blood, and sweat of my companions is thick enough to stick to one’s throat. The taste is all but pleasant, but as I said, familiar. Through the morning ritual of rations and tea, I can’t help but think of the dream.

“Why did the man become Danjo?” I thought, staring at the same tea cup from my slumber, “Who were those men, and why am I dreaming of them?”

I could feel the weight, however small, of my carved idol in my pocket. Saying nothing of the dream to my companions, I took the idol from my pocket. It’s likeness to Danjo was striking, at the time of crafting it, I had only passed it off as my way of coping with the trauma of his death and resurrection, but maybe the likeness was more. I put the idol away, the thoughts still in my mind.

We broke down camp and began the day. I continued being lost in my thoughts, both of the dream and the fact we had discovered the Tomb of Alaric. Maybe these dreams and their frequency is a way for the gods to attempt to communicate, I do not know., all I know is I dreamt of men I’d never met.

I am snapped to attention with the voice of a stranger. A dark skinned drow stood before us, likely the one we were looking for. She has with her demons of formidable power and stuck fear into our hearts with her harsh words. We are little more then flies to her presence, dismissed as she leaves us to our fears.

Everyone begins to debate further actions. The cult of Orcus must be dealt with, as must the drow. Both exceed our abilites, as have been proven time and time again, but alas, we press on. Our determination hopefully met with divine intervention of equal force.

If nothing else, our last stand will be one for the books.

As we make our way through the tunnels of our home, I can’t help but watch Danjo, clutching my idol at the ready.

“Who is this man from Wa?”

“Why does he haunt my dreams?”

These trials may be lost on me currently, hopefully their message is clear before I pass.






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Vengeance

21 MAY 2018

“Here stands a gathering of broken men. All of us from sorted pasts, none of us perfect, but hear our plea. We are hear together, bound by blood and sacrifice. We will not back down from this evil, even if we were all to perish. I pray to anyone who would grant me aid. This cruel evil still stands, even being judged by the saint, Alaric. I do not ask for compassion this time, but for the ability to end this blight. The abomination that stands deserves no forgiveness, there is only evil in it’s heart. If left to live, there is no doubt in my mind, it will continue it’s reign. Too long have the screams of the innocent filled these halls. I ask of you, sunder this demon from all planes of existence.”

Both Shino and Danjo prayed out to deities as well. Over the chaos of the battle, our words blended to one, I am unsure as to what they said. Weshtek and Sahil both faced the demon head on, casting their various spells at our foe. Even Shino threw out spells while shouting his prayer. Out attempts did little more then scratch the demon as he proceeded to throw all manners of vile spells out. My companions took quite a beating from his spells as I kept my distance, I’d faced that maul once before and did not intend on dying before we could defeat this atrocity.

We did not seem to be making any headway, a couple of us knocking at death’s door, when suddenly, the demon vanished. If I recall right, he vanished before we even finished our incantations. We stood in a shocked awe, trying to figure out exactly what happened. Tuck spoke up and declared the demon had teleported. We stayed still for a moment, still stunned, when time seemed to shimmer to a stop. A faceless being appeared, accompanied by a large devil, covered in loose scrolls.

He asked us if we were willing to make a deal.

I was the first to speak. I agreed to make a deal. Whatever the cost, I would put down this Orcus cult. If I must sacrifice my soul to end the suffering here and in these lands, so be it. I was born into evil, yet I chose to leave and become a better man. Maybe not a good man, but I am the one who is here in these caves. Good, evil, all I know is we need to stop this cult. A damned man I’ll be if it means even a chance of removing this cult.

The rest of the group, Westhek aside, agreed to the terms of the devil. Weshtek was furious that we would sign, and we argued on if using evil to defeat evil was worth the cost. It was ultimately revealed that we had no choice in the matter, as Weshtek’s contract was already signed. My blood congealed to form my own signature, regardless of my own decision. It turns out, the devil had bought the wraith’s contract, at least Westhek’s, but I’m thinking he may have bought all of ours.

Once we “agreed” to the terms, he summoned an army of bearded devils who took off and began tormenting cultists further into the complex that we had not seen. We could hear the orc demon himself yell out in rage as his allies were surely being irradicated. Danjo made his way toward the screaming, likely wanting to see an end to this demon. We banded together, and not a moment later, there he was, flying high above us once more. I stayed close to my allies, ready to offer Ilmater’s compassion to them as needed, as the demon flew too high for many of us to hit. He eventually made the mistake of flying low, and also took a few solid hits from Shino’s fire magic. Once he flew low, I chose to let Ilmater’s wrath guide my hands.

I managed to punch his leg, just as Shino gave him a final blast and he crumpled to the ground. He lay helpless in front of me. I could feel my orcish blood boil, a rage deep inside me. This thing deserved no compassion, no mercy. I thought of the child we had just put to rest and clinched my fists.

I gave into my rage and pummeled the priest’s face into a pulp.

“For the child we put to rest,” I thought with one of my blows.

“For the too long, tortured souls that reside here,” I thought with another blow.

“May Ilmater have no compassion for you, I know that I have none,” the thought passed with my final blow.

I stood, a broken man, staring into the gore of my enemy.






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Rite of Passage

A Recollection

22 MAY 2018

“Morth al haugh nothok! Bettah al nothokari!” the orc standing above me shouted, attempting to goad me. The tribe raged on, cheering in their bloodlust. As I attempted to stand, my foe kicked the side of my head, blinding me both by rage, and by blood coming from my beaten face. I laid on the ground, still, watching the orc out of the corner of my eye. The winter air of the North licked my skin, as the clan had stripped me down to just a loincloth.

A right of passage for a halfblood in my home. Survive the elements, survive being beaten to death, even then, it was no guarentee they wouldn’t kill you outright. Most of us were kept as whipping boys. Barbaric entertainment.

The orc came down with all his might, punching me in the back of the head. I could feel my world turning to black. I could feel the rage building inside. I knew this is what he wanted. Born of a human woman, he wanted to remove that stain from my blood, turn me savage. Make me a true orc. As he attempted to stomp my head into a pulp, I rolled aside, just enough to get on my feet. He had a few stone on me, but there was no option.

Kill or be killed.

I grabbed the most immediate solid stone I could reach and swung wide as he approached, connecting hard with the side of his head. He stumbled, stunned, and I took another blow. The rage boiled over inside as I knocked the orc to the ground. I smashed into his head with the rock several times. He stopped moving before I stopped pummeling him.

My father watched with pride as I killed the orc who had raped and killed my mother.

I stood, a broken man, staring into the gore of my enemy.

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Oh, What Evils Do We Face?

03 JUN 2018

“Help”

A simple word floated from unknown region. It caught my attention immediately. Was there someone who survived the cults machinations? I set off in the direction that I was certain it came from, followed closely by Danjo and company. We came to hall of visceral gore, each of us disturbed and sickened by the site. I chose to shove it to the back of my mind and trudge forward, ignoring the horror for the sake of saving anyone who may be left.

I can only hope they can be saved, and it isn’t, once more, a situation where we have to end their suffering.

The hall of gore was thick, I could feel it seeping through my footwraps, making an unpleasant squish with every step. The intent behind this heinous hall was a malevolent one, beyond what I’d grown accustomed to in the Dead Orc Pass. It looked like an entire village had been torn and rended into pieces, for no other reason then just that. Even the most savage of orc would have no reason for such violence.

At the end of the hall, we found what we discovered to be a breeding pin, the site of which was just as awful as the hall. Fallen, malformed children scattered the ground, not fully grown to birth. An obvious sign of incompatible species, I’d seen this a few times with the orcs, but never to this extreme. Behind a lone sawhorse, which I can only imagine what acts were committed upon, a small hin poked his head out.

“Friend or foe?” he asked.

“Friend,” I responded, before any of my companions.

Danjo spoke up, asking the hin for his name, to which we got “Chand,” as a response.

“I am Rakor,” I told the hin, hoping to welcome him among us.

He came out from behind the sawhorse, naked as birth and shackled at the wrists. We decided to help him look for his belongings and with a simple description of his gear, Sahil was able to call upon his spirits and locate the direction the hin’s belongings rested in. It did not seem to be far, so we made our way to them.

A large door stood in our path. I took point, holding my faith in Ilmater to keep me from harm. As I cautiously opened the door, it burst into flame, covering itself in ash, but causing no harm to me. Alarmed, I jumped back and asked the group if we should proceed.

“**** it,” Shino popped up, “If we die, we die.”

A vulgar, if not fitting, choice of words. Inspiring enough that they were, I chose to open the door fully. We saw a room much like any other room in these cultists’ chambers. Large tapestries dedicated to Orcus adorned the room. Sahil told me that the hin’s belonging seemed to be emanating from behind the large bookshelf just opposite the room from us. Everyone did their best to see if the bookshelf was a false wall, but we ultimately decided to take another path, down the hallway that was also in this room. I suspected it may circle around to a room behind the bookshelf, and the shelf itself may very well just be a shelf.
Rounding the corner into the following room, we came across what looked to be another ceremonial room for these cultists. There was a man sitting on a pedestal in the center of the room, his eyes closed, and he made no inclination as to noticing us here. I decided I would simply try to pass by him, and make my way further into the new found complex.

The moment I crossed paths with the man, I was pulled from the halls and brought to a woodsman’s cabin, unfamiliar to me. The very man that sat on the pedestal, sat here, enjoying a stew with a woman and child, presumably, his family. When I tried to interact with them, I discovered I was merely a ghost of sorts. I tried all sorts of ways to interact, but none of them succeeded.

It wasn’t long and the doors to this cabin burst off their wall. Demons stood at the door and forced their way inside. They took the man and forced him to watch and they raped his wife repeatedly and flayed the skin from his son, killing them both in the process.

I stood in horror, able to do nothing, and the world faded to black. Confused, outraged, and simply stunned, I could hardly process what I had just seen when I found myself just inside the door to this cabin, watching the man and his family have their dinner a second time. I tried my best to interact with them, ultimately reliving the same moments again and again. I decided to leave the cabin and found myself chest to chest with Danjo. I told everyone what I had seen and we proceeded to attempt to find a way to help this man.

I know little of magic like this, but I do know one thing. This man is in eternal torture, I will stop at nothing to free him.






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Posted - 11 Dec 2020 :  20:39:27  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A Scholar's Journey to Enlightenment: Part 1/3

21 JUN 2018

“Begone, savage!” A term Rakor had heard all too many times. This time, from the church door of Waukeen, deep within the Temple District of Athlatka, City of Coin, a bustling hub of trade and wealth. He remained determined and pounded on the door a second time.

“You mistake me for a savage, even before I speak?” he asked the man, who was immediately taken aback by an articulate orc, his reaction was expected by the weathered orc, “I am in fact, no savage,” he said, slightly angered, “I come here with high regard to Liberty’s Maiden, I am a scholar, not some inbred swine you can cast aside!”

The man looked unsure what to think of this orc standing here, insisting he was a follower of Waukeen, but the pure absurdness of the idea make him overcome his predjudice, immediately replaced by intrigue, “I am Brother John,” the man greeted, “Please forgive my prejudice, as I sure you can understand, most of your …brethren…,” he stumbled over the word, as if to find a pleasant way to refer to the orc’s blood, “They come here as beggars, I can’t feed the strays all the time.”

“I am Rakor Blakthorn, wandering scholar,” the orc gave a small, formal, bow, “I have read of many things, taught myself the ways of man. Of all the things I’ve read, and all the gods I have studied, Waukeen has grabbed my interest, I have some here to study and learn the ways of the church.”

The man smiled, intrigued by the orc’s sincerity.

**

Rakor started into the room where he could hear battle. He knew little of what to do in such dangerous caves, his travels never dealing with the likes of undead. Just as he looked into the room, he heard Danjo, the man from Wa, scream out in agonizing pain. One of the undead had sunk it’s deadly weapon into his back, forcing him to fall to the ground. Danjo tried to stand, with an immediate look of horror on his face, “Shino, my second, I can’t feel my legs!” Rakor watched in horror as the skeletons sliced into Danjo a second time and he began to bleed out. Shino, the other man from Wa, entered the room, helping his master from a certain death. They both fought the undead, Danjo swinging wildly from the ground. Sahil, the youngest, just a young man, walked forward, eyes closed in prayer. He chanted quietly and the undead began to recoil, snapping Rakor to reality. Rakor took out the same battered gold coin that was gifted to him from Brother John, and made a short prayer to Waukeen, recoiling the undead as well.

Shino kneeled next to his master, tears welling in his eyes, but not spilling. Danjo was pale, fiercely bleeding as Sahil helped Shino attempt to patch his wounds, “Shino, do what must be done if the time comes to it,” he said as Weshtek, another foreigner, but from Chult, began a tribal chant, calming the room, still in a grim tone. Tuck Arbuckle, the hin that Rakor had met in Assur, took point, keeping an eye out for traps or enemies as Weshtek, Sahil, Rakor, and Shino lifted Danjo’s dying body to carry it back to camp. Sahil began to chant like before, but louder, joining into Weshtek’s chant.

No-one spoke as they traveled back to camp.

**

Years traveled by in Athlatka, and Brother John became a good friend to Rakor, teaching him everything there was to know of Waukeen. In their leisure, they would discuss other deities as well, from the most minor of worshipers, all the way to the Triad. When they didn’t discuss religion, Brother John would teach Rakor the nuances of trade and barter. When they didn’t discuss that, he would teach Rakor different languages.

Anytime he wasn’t studying with Brother John, Rakor would read through the several books that resided within the temple. He read of many lands, and many people, each had their own views, some had their own ways of trade and currency. He read every book available to him until they were committed to memory and decided, it was time for him to travel. He decided to make his way for the Shining South, another land of trade and wealth. When he woke that morning, he did Brother John goodbye, who gave him his personal holy symbol of Waukeen.

“It is only an old battered coin, they are meant to journey in trade, as now are you.” Brother John told the orc, now a decade older, with a gentle smile on his face.

**

Danjo coughed, spurting blood onto he chest, as the four men hurried behind Tuck. Rakor started at the man he hardly knew, fearing for a stranger’s life. He was one of the first men to truly be kind to the orc, granted they didn’t trust him at first. His tea was an interesting beverage of herbs Rakor had never tasted, or at least in the blend the man had created. It was soothing and refreshing, a fine beverage.

Tuck burst open the iron doors that protected their camp. It was an abandoned room with a small pond inside, protected on both sides by iron doors. One side lead to an abandoned temple complex, the other, deeper into the Underdark. Sahil and Weshtek both kept up their chants while they all laid Danjo down and Shino began to help the man undress. The chant continued as Shino helped Danjo into a white kimono. Rakor started for a moment, not knowing a place, questioning his purpose.
Two men, one more a stranger them himself, both were chanting in such a powerful way to their deities that Rakor would feel it in his being. He did not feel the same towards his, he felt like his worship was from logic, and not from the soul and for the first time, he spoke a prayer that truly felt real. He walked a circle around the dying man, placing his idol at the man’s feet and spoke a simple line with each coin.

“I offer this coin with hopes to mend my fallen friend.”

**

Rakor left Athlatka by boat, traveling the seas. With Brother John’s approval and backing, he was able to book passage to travel the seas. Each port he traveled to, he would stop and spend some time there, learning their culture and trade, enjoying what he could unless he was chased out of town. Some ports, he had to partake in the back breaking work of a dockhand, earning him barely a spot on the ship. Other ports, he would have to be a stowaway, careful hiding and barely surviving off scraps of food to get him to the next port. It was a long, arduous journey, but he eventually found himself in Assur, of the Shining South.

Leaving the ship, he looked for the local harbormaster, as he always did, to get the local layout and information of the city. Looking around, he saw a small stature man, he was told these were referred to as “Hin” by Brother John. The man seemed to be ordering people where to put various goods being unloaded from the ship.

“I assume you must be the harbormaster here,” Rakor asked the hin, “I was hoping you could point me in the direction of your local Waukeenian church, possibly even take the time to teach me a small bit about your town, I come from the North and have studied in Athlatka for many years before journeying here. I’ve been at sea for sometime and am quite unfamiliar with this land.

“Assistant Harbormaster, Tuck Arbuckle,” the hin smiled, “Why don’t we go for a drink at my favorite local spot?”

**

Danjo plunged his weapon into his stomach, pulling back and forth and spilling his innards out to the ground, blood pouring out, covering the coins and idol Rakor had put on the ground. Rakor stared in confused horror as the man breathed his last breath. The blood laying on the coins simply made him think of all the terrible things he has witnessed in exchange for currency throughout his travels. Even things he hadn’t witnessed, but heard, we’re surely terrible. He heard of men taking women for a mere couple coins, children being sold into slavery, very homes being bought out from the families that lived in them. Was trade and commerce truly so grand?

A flash of light burst into the room, consuming the coins and idol and a spectral man appeared.

“Go…to the Tomb of Alaric,” it spoke before disappearing.

Danjo coughed suddenly startling everyone as he returned to life. He sat up, gingerly touching his stomach to find not even a scar left behind. He moved his legs and toes and looked at everybody in shock and gratitude.

“Shino, fetch me my teapot, if you would, I would very much like some tea,” the man from Wa chuckled.

Rakor found himself sitting at the pond’s edge, distanced from this companions. He truly felt lost. Waukeen had guided his journey here, but he had never felt a real connection to the deity. Now he felt distanced even more, as he found himself doubting the very nature of commerce. He sat, absent minded, carving himself a new idol, and found himself carving a beaten and kneeling man, over and over. As he sat confused, he felt a presence in his mind and closed his eyes to be greeted by the ghostly visage of the man from moments before.

**
Tuck Arbuckle became a good friend of Rakor’s as he became accustomed to the life of Assur. He knew all the good places for drinks, food, and debauchery. He too, was a follower of Waukeen, at least in the sense that he knew trade very well. He taught Rakor everything he knew of Assur, down to the merchants to avoid doing business with for a variety or reasons. Rakor had the suspicion that his friend may have some gambling debts owed to them, but he avoided them nonetheless.

Eventually, Tuck got around to explaining the different chakas to Rakor. He took to the idea quickly, as he had interacted with dwarves early in life, and was even fluent in their language. The Gemstone Chaka seemed like they had the most interest in trade, so Rakor bid his friend farewell, and went to talk to the dwarves of the Gemstone Chaka.
They were more the eager to accept an orc into their ranks, strangely enough. They wanted someone to talk to the the local that lived in the wilds, who better to interact with savages then a man who easily passes for one? Rakor accepted and made his way into the wilds, attempting to establish new trade routes with uncivilized tribes in the wilds.

It was through that very act of fate, that Rakor would find himself entwined with the men from Wa, the foreigner from Chult, and the orphan child from Ormpe…

**

Rakor had been studying the tomb the Danjo carried with him. Within it’s bindings were stories and prayers to the Triad. He found comfort in the readings of Ilmater, so much so that he began to focus his studies there. The One Who Endures was almost an exact replica of the idol he had carved only days before in an absent minded trance. As he read, he discovered that Alaric was one of the saints of Ilmater, the same Alaric the spirit spoke of, he could only guess. Each time that he had a chance, he found himself studying the book, learning the morning prayers of Ilmater.

Ilmater lived a simple life, giving up material possessions and helping those in need, so Rakor took it upon himself to live the same way. He hoped to repent for the transgressions of the people he’d seen that committed their terrible acts in the sake of commerce. He gifted his spear that he carried with him for thirty years to Weshtek, a man who owned nothing of his own anymore. When they found him just days prior, he was nearly starved to death, barely a loincloth to cover him. Rakor chose to eat only what he needed to, eating the rations he carried over a hot meal, that way Weshtek would have a proper fill, along with anyone else. It was glutenous to carry food that he did not eat, this was not the way his god would live, so neither would he.

Each outing that Rakor delved deeper into the Underdark with his companions, the days seemed to never lighten up. An overbearing, grim tone hung in the air, almost thick enough to cut with a blade. They found their ways deep into a man made chamber where they were greeted by a cloaked man. After he spoke, he rose corpses around him and gathered to fight. More of his kind joined the fight, and just as everyone had began to get a taste for battle, all the foes perished to be replaced by a huge demon, angered immensely by their presense. Looking at his allies, Rakor knew they were certainly doomed. There was one thing that came to his mind. Ilmater. His new found deity. Alaric did not choose Rakor for nothing. They spoke of selflessness, the visions were completely clear to him now. The One on the Rack, The Broken God, hear his prayer, for it is all he have to offer and he feared the end would be for all of his companions.

He approached the demon, laying down his spear and accepting his fate. There was no fear in the knowledge of events to come. He accepted his fate, he just wanted his allies to live, he wanted his FAMILY to live. Holding his holy symbol high and strong Rakor spoke out,
“I offer my being in hopes to end the suffering of my allies and the suffering this being has caused. Ilmater, take me as you would sacrifice yourself to endure the pains of my allies. I do not make this request for me, but for those who are otherwise doomed. I accept my end, Ilmater, I am at your will.”
The demon swung his maul straight down on Rakor’s head, smashing it, and the rest of him, to a bloodied pulp...







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A Scholar's Journey to Enlightenment: Part 2/3

30 JUN 2018

With the coming of age in the Tornskull tribe, orcs were expected to take part in the raiding parties, if nothing else, as just a number to be slain for the prolongation of the tribe. No was not an answer that could be given, lest it be met with death. Rakor was no exception. The tribe paced with an anxious energy, waiting for the next merchant’s caravan to dare come close to the Dead Orc Pass. Some sharpened swords, some adorned war paints, some drank grog from their pints, all were preparing for war in whatever orc traditions they saw fit. Rakor watched as his kin prepared to prove just how savage the northern orcs could be.

**

“**** you!” Shino shouted at the Orcus demon, flinging fire magic toward his foe. Danjo was readied with his katana in hand, just waiting for the foe to land. The demon flew circles above their heads, leaving little for the more martially inclined to do. Rakor stood, determined to bring a swift end to the demon who had slayed him just days before. Ilmater’s Grace would not be short lived. Danjo stood by his side, ready to lay down divine magic to keep his friend alive. Sahil used his various tricks to keep a steady stream of magic that weakened their target, along with summoning another creature to fight for them. Weshtek fought hard, the only one of the group that still had a strong moral compass. Rakor knew the price of signing away his soul, but if it would end this blight’s life, a soulless man he would be. He still felt remorse, as hardly a week before, he could see a strong friendship grow within Weshtek, who now, had the look of stone cold focus in his eyes, hardly speaking in camp. It would seem he no longer trusted his companions. Rakor was not one to judge.

**

The Tornskull tribe was lead by their chief, the one who had given life to Rakor, however unwillingly. The orcs hungered for blood, cheering as they began their approach to where they could bottleneck the merchants, laying waste to all those living, and taking everything they could carry. Rakor felt dread rise in his gut, knowing what was about to ensue. “There has got to be a better way,” he thought to himself, “Maybe WE could do what these merchants do, surely there is something we could offer in trade.”

The war party reached their destination. A caravan, three wagons deep, surrounded by armed men sat opposite the pass from them. The tension in the air was high as each orc gripped their savage weapon in anticipation. Rakor’s mace still sat sheathed on his side as he waited for the chaos to break out. An orc fell suddenly, an arrow deep in his chest. Rakor looked to the cliff side, noticing archers at the ready. The rest of his kin burst out into their savage war cry and charged the caravan. Several of them were immediately picked off by the archers, but it did not slow their speed. They soon clashed with the armed men, all of which were heavily armored, prepared for a battle with orcs. The orcs’ makeshift axes and hammers clanged against the solid steel of their opponents, many of which snapped in two against the sharp blades of the armored men. Rakor stood back, watching the men lay waste to his tribe, staying out of sight of the men. Hardly a moment had passed, and Rakor’s tribe stood defeated, the men had the chieftain on his knees as they began to read from a scroll. Rakor’s father roared, refusing to listen to their scripture, attempting to throw the men off of him who had him bound. Once the man was finished with the scroll, he drew his blade and plunged it deep into the orc’s chest. Rakor stayed hidden, for fear of the same thing happening to him.

**

Shino threw flame after flame at the demon, seeming to only singe his armor. It began to look grim, but they all kept at the battle. They’d seen just what this demon could do when it killed Rakor and Danjo during the last battle. Sahil kept his magic on the demon, so those that could hit it, would do so. The demon began to fly lower, and made the mistake of coming into reach with Danjo and Rakor. Danjo made a few swift cuts into the demon as Shino blasted it with another fire spell, knocking it to the ground. Rakor saw his opportunity and let out a primal cry, beating the demon in it’s face with his bare hands. He made three swift strikes, crushing the demon’s skull with the true, savage strength of his blood. He stood up, a lost look on his face, as he stared into the face of his fallen enemy.

**

Rakor stayed hidden until the caravan had passed, and he made his way into the battlefield. He passed over any fallen orcs, passed a few fallen humans, making his way to his father’s presumed corpse. A hand reached out and grabbed his ankle. A battered man, blood dripping down from his face, covering many of his features, lay on the ground, dying from a mace wound to his head, “Mercy,” the man pleaded, “Please, have mercy.” Rakor recognized his speech from the little his mother taught him in secret. He knew these words and their meaning well, having heard her say them many times herself, before her eventual death by the savages.

“For mother,” Rakor said, picking up the man’s fallen blade and holding his head as he stuck it into his chest, easing the man’s pain as quickly and as painlessly as possible. He sat, holding the man’s corpse and stared into the winter sky. He longed more then anything to leave his tribe, but he also longed for them to understand how wrong they were about their way of life. He laid down the man’s corpse and approached the corpse of his father. The chieftain had definitely perished, so Rakor cut off his warbraid, with all the savage decorations of the chief and made his way back to their tribe. He stared across the battlefield one last time, a sea of bodies and blood, but at least the innocent made it through alive.

**

“Help,” Rakor heard a small voice from deeper within the compound. This immediately snapped his attention away from the fallen body of the Orcus demon, now revealed to simply be a large orc wearing a handful of magical items. Rakor was helping Danjo remove everything from the orc, making sure they didn’t fall into the wrong hands, but the voice made him stop and swiftly begin to walk towards it. He had seen enough of these halls to know, anyone living may very well be at risk or at least could be suffering, and he would have no more of that. His companions followed behind him and they rounded the corner to a hall of unimaginable gore. The floors, walls, and ceiling were covered in layers of viscera and mangled bodies. Discarded limbs, appendage-less torsos, severed heads, and smaller unrecognizable bits were thrown everywhere down the hall. It was a scene powerful enough to stop all of them. Again, Rakor heard the voice, and he made his way into the gore, determined to rescue whoever was in such need of help. The sea of bodies and blood was not the first he had seen, just the deepest.

**

Upon his return to the tribe, Rakor made his way to their soothsayer and gave him his father’s warbraid. He spoke to the shaman and explained the thoughts he had before the battle ensued. The aged orc listened and insisted they speak more on this in private, inviting Rakor to his home later that evening. The two spoke that night, Rakor voiced his opinion on wanting his kin to become traders with the local population. He had seen how prepared they were becoming to orc raids. The bodies of his tribe outnumbered the bodies of the fallen humans by handfuls. The shaman seemed to agree, it was time for the orcs to change their ways. He told Rakor it would be a hard path to follow, but he was destined to change his tribes future. With that, he gifted Rakor a pack of varying survival supplies and told him to make his way to civilization, learn what he can, as much as he can, and maybe one day, he could bring honor to the Tornskull name. Rakor finished a meal with the aged orc, and accepted the blessing he bestowed upon him. He wasted no time, leaving in the dead of the night, never accepting his rightful place as chieftain.

**

After little exploration, Rakor and his companions found the voice. A hin was hidden behind a sawhorse within an obvious breeding chamber. Malformed children, miscarried, lay about the floor, just as discarded as the body parts in the hall before. Rakor ignored all these disturbing things, thinking that Shino should just flame the entire hallway when they left to cleanse the evil and lay the innocent to rest the best they could.

The hin introduced himself as Chand, and the group made no qualms about dressing the man, as he was stripped of all possessions. The hin asked the group if they might help him find his things, and Sahil, after a brief description of the items, was able to locate them by communing with his spirits. Rakor lead the group back through the gore, Danjo carrying the hin on his back, as he had not been faced with the gore yet. They followed Sahil’s directions, and came to large, foreboding door. Tuck had been absent for this journey, disappearing mysteriously, so Rakor simply opened the door, seeing no way around it. He held his faith in Ilmater high, hoping he would protect him from harm. As he thought, the door was trapped, bursting into flame upon the slightest opening, but Rakor felt no pain. His companions thought it wise to continue, so they did, coming to an empty room, similar to most of the complex they had explored. A large bookshelf stretched across the back wall, and a hallway went deeper in to the left. Sahil’s magic had revealed the hin’s gear to be behind the bookshelf, and after a few moments of attempting to move the shelf, they decided to venture further into the complex.

Around the corner, they came across a man on a pedestal, eyes closed, unaware of their presence. Not wanting to deal with another powerful cultist so soon, Rakor simply tried to skirt past the man. As soon as he crossed paths with the man, Rakor was transported to a woodsmen’s cabin. The very man that sat on the pedestal was here, with a woman and child, enjoying a stew for dinner. Rakor tried to talk to them, discovering his presence to be nothing more then a ghost. He could do nothing to interact with them, so he wandered around the home, trying to figure out how and why he was there. Not long after arriving, the doors to the cabin burst open, revealing demons who came into the home, holding the man while they raped and killed his wife and flayed the skin from his son’s back, killing him as well. Rakor watched in horror as the world faded to black and he appeared again, just inside the cabin door, watching the family enjoy their dinner. After a few more rounds of this awful torture, Rakor decided to leave the cabin, instantly coming back into the chamber. He told his companions of what he saw, and they began trying to help the man, both Danjo and Shino also approaching him, both coming back to describe the same events in a different setting. Rakor was determined to rescue this man, one way or another and he crossed paths into the man’s home a final time.

`Day Unknown, Place Unknown.

Again, I entered his realm. I ignored the events I knew were to transpire. I was searching for any way I could help them. The last time I had left, I had felt hope, I had felt a strong urge to help these people. Nothing in their home seemed to be of aid to me, so I simply prayed to Ilmater.

“Ilmater, here my prayer. I have witnessed this family be brutalized by evil countless times, please end their suffering, let them free from this torment.”

A crack of blue energy, almost like lighting appeared. I had seen this before here, only after attempting to alter both the outside realm, and events inside. Seeing this as a sign, I continued my prayers, hoping my plan would work.

“I do not know this man, nor do I know his family, but he has a child. A child that I have seen the skin flayed from his back. He has a wife I have seen raped repeatedly by demonic forces. There is little this man could have done to earn such a heinous punishment, help me to free them. I will endure what I need to so this can see an end.”

As I continued my prayer. I could feel myself solidifying in their realm. I spoke out to the man and his family, who seemed startled as they looked around, as if hearing a voice with no body. More streaks of energy appeared, solidifying my thoughts of progress here.

“Who’s there?” the man shouted in fear.

“I am Rakor Blakthorn,” I told the man, “A follower of Ilmater. I’ve viewed the horrible carnage of your entire family by demons in a matter of moments. You need to leave this place. I have found you, sir, in a chamber underground, seemingly in a trance. I can only presume you are living this moment over and over.”

“Are you a ghost, a spirit?” the man asked as the door exploded open, unveiling the demonic events that it had already done many times before. This time the gore was much more palpable. I could sense their fear, smell their blood. I felt a heavy remorse as they were ripped to pieces and this hellish nightmare reset.

I got to work immediately after the reset. I cast a ward from evil on the man and his family. Another streak of blue lighting appeared and the family shouted out that they could see me. I attempted to grab the man with no success, so I did the next best thing and held my idol high.

“Ilmater, grant me a boon. Protect us from the evils that approach. Aid me, so I can free them from this nightmare!” I shouted as I sanctified the area around me, preventing evil from even being able to get close to me.

“We need to leave,” I told the family, “Demons have been at your doors many times, I am attempting to keep them at bay. Stay with me and lets go.”

Just as I made my way to the door to leave, it exploded in my face, revealing a single smiling demon, who looks me in the eye and says, “Welcome Rakor. Welcome to your new reality.”

The world around me changed, revealing the familiar mountains and waterfall of the Dead Orc Pass. I was my clan’s smoothsayer that had listened when I told my clan we needed to change. We met in his home, privately, as the chieftain did not look kindly upon my views. The familiar scene of his family sitting down to stew put a lump in my throat. No sooner then I had the thought, demons burst into his chambers and did the same thing as they did to the man’s family. The only difference now, I was pinned with iron rods to the wall and forced to watch myself, eventually giving into my wounds and perishing.

The torture that soothsayer’s family endured as I watched, helpless and dying, were some of the worst I’ve ever seen. The man’s family was unpleasant to watch, but the personal touch was a much more disturbing feeling. The last image I remember seeing was my own flayed flesh, frayed from my body.

I woke, In the soothsayer’s home, knowing the events to come. I had tried so hard to rescue the man and his family, that now, I had little left in me to save myself.

I am sorry, I fear my mind may break before anyone can save me.

Broken One, I will endure, as would you. Let this be yet another trial, I hope this hell is not my end.






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A Scholar's Journey to Enlightenment: Part 3

14 JUL 2018

Rakor sat at the water’s edge while Shino helped Danjo with his tea set. The old man could hardly walk from the injuries he had just recovered from. Rakor was carving away at his wooden cutting board, absent mindedly creating small idols of what appeared to be Danjo, just moments before, a look of pain across his face.

“Have you heard of the Triad?” a voice asked the aged orc. He looked around for a moment, seeing no-one, and realized the voice was in his mind.

“I have read about them, yes,” Rakor responded, wary of the voice.

“Who are the deities that comprise the Triad?”

“Tyr, Ilmater…” Rakor struggled with the third name for a moment, “Ah yes, Torm, if I recall correctly.”

“Correct,” the voice replied, “What is the point of the Triad, what do they seek to do, to facilitate, to bring?”

Rakor thought for a moment, realizing his studies on the Triad were very little and responded, “That, I don’t completely know.

“The three focus on a variety of concepts: justice, honor, bravery, courage, selflessness, martrydom, healing, relief of suffering, honor, and obedience,” the voice began, “All find that they assert such values and virtues, of course. What does it mean in the grand scheme of things though? They are lofty in some cases. Some might discern that some of those traits, virtues, and values are controlling…unnecessarily limiting, that they mettle in development of ones spirit and fate. So, how would someone facilitate, through action, force of will, lifestyle and freewill, those virtues, values and traits?”

Rakor stared into the pool, the ground littered with his cast aside carvings. He held one in his hand, the last he had carved. This voice was asking him questions beyond anything he had ever discussed with his prior scholars. The knowledge this voice seemed to have was intimidating to him, to say the very least.

“By embodiment of those exact traits,” he answered in a hurry, hoping the voice was patient.

“So, that’s fine to embody those traits. What does it mean though, how would you embody them?”

“Through study and action,” Rakor responded in earnest. All he had known was study and action, it would truly be the only way he would learn, “Study the ideals themselves deeply and live a life of selflessness. Help the ones I encounter that may be suffering, be brave in the faces of adversity, not for myself, but for the ones who can not.”

“Well, that is all fine, but were you not thinking in your mind that you wanted to leave this god forsaken place? Even after you found this black man of Chult? I’m not convinced you believe in sacrifice. You say you embody these virtues, but why did Sahil rush to his defense, knowing nothing of what was in the dark, while a fully armed and trained half orc of the Dead Orc Pass was further behind? You speak from both sides of your mouth, should I switch sides to hear the other side bettter, more clearly?”

In that moment, Rakor felt the sting of those words. He realized the hypocrisy of many of the things he had said to the voice, but yet he still felt compelled to convince the voice he was true to his word, “Initally, yes, I did want to leave. After the miracle of Danjo being healed so shorty after witnessing Shino go though a similar intervention, I can’t help but feel like there is a higher reason for the all of us to be here, Weshtek included. Even more so, there has to be a reason for myself to have stumbled across these people.”

“While I believe you, that seems anything but selfless,” the voice replied, “In fact, it sounds selfish. What miracle did Danjo experience?”

“His legs were rendered useless,” Rakor responded, “Through everyone’s prayer, he manages to walk again.”

“So…you plan to use Our Lord on the Rack as a backup plan for your potential future injury? How is that selfless, how is that anything but using? To make sure I understand what you mean, if a person is healed out of their injury, out of thin air, that is a miracle?” the voice continued to berate Rakor, making him feel like an old fool. The longer they spoke, the more Rakor felt like he was digging himself into a hole. Many of his words were spoke with sincerity, yet twisted and given back to him to show their true meaning.

“No, I plan to follow him with intention to help everyone I can with their ailments.” Rakor said, trying to shake the doubt from his mind, “I’d be willing to sacrifice my own flesh and blood if it could end the pain and suffering. I would gladly give my last meal to a starving orphan if it meant they had a day of reprieve.”

“You would look me in the eyes and state you would forego your meal?” the voice seemed skeptical to the old orc.

“Yes,” he responded, as sincerely as he could.

With that response, the same ghostly visage from moments before appeared above the water. He looked to Rakor and continued his questioning.

**

Rakor knew little of the ways of the wild. He was taught to make fire to stay warm at night, but many of his kind would eat meat raw, rather then take the time to cook it. He pulled his woven blanket tighter around his shoulders, attempting to stay warm in the winter night. His tribe’s soothsayer had supplied him well, as the rugged backpack was digging into his shoulders. The wind began to pick up, roaring it’s savage howl that it often did through the mountain passes, and Rakor began to truly feel the winter’s bite at his flesh. He found the safest, driest spot he could and began to set up camp. His fingers had gone numb from the cold and his lips were severely chapped. He could feel ice that had gathered in his thick, orcish hair, and his feet ached from the bite. He fumbled with his firewood, flint, and steel, and progressively got a small fire started. The fire was nothing worthy of cooking and barely kept the winter’s bite at bay. He had not realized the true fierceness of the wilds, even the barbaric tribe he lived with had better accommodations then he had made for himself.

He woke in the morning, eventually having fallen asleep. He was greeted by a human woman, covered in the heavy furs of wolves and a black bear. He pulled back from the woman, fearing she may be after his supplies, or even may be after his life itself.

“Are you intelligent enough to speak, orc?” the woman asked, speaking in the savage tongue of his people.

“S-soome,” Rakor indicated, as his kind hardly spoke beyond savage grunts. Rakor picked up a stick, and began writing in the Dethek script of dwarves, one of few ways orcs communicated in his tribe. The woman nodded, reading what the orc had wrote.

‘Rakor is my name. I am Tornskull. I left to travel. The night is cold. Can you help me?’

The woman nodded, picking up her own stick to carve into the snow.

‘I am Waq’t’na. I too am a traveler. I live in these woods, alongside the animals and nature. How can I help you, Rakor Tornskull?’

Rakor stared at the Dethek script Waq’t’na had scrawled across the snow, reading it slowly, passing over it a few times to make sure he truly knew what he read.

‘I not hunt. Do not travel. I know little. Help me live outside.’

Waq’t’na simply smiled and held our her hand, “Come Rakor, you have much to learn.”

Rakor spent the next many days learning what the woman could teach him. Lucky for the orc, many of the skills she knew required little speech. She taught him how to build and use traps to catch food, along with how to skin larger animals and treat their furs to wear them to fight the cold. Through the Dethek script, they were able to communicate well enough that she began to teach him the nuances of speaking the common tongue. She taught him how to spear fish and how to keep enemies at bay with the same weapon. They spent the nicer days of winter training and hunting. When the days grew too harsh, as often they did in the North, they would stay in the makeshift hut Waq’t’na had made, reading what little books she had and studying the common tongue.

Before they knew it, spring had arrived. Waq’t’na had taught him how to survive through the harshest season, for that, Rakor was grateful. They took the reprieve of the spring weather to harvest some of the early berries and herbs of the season, hoping to catch a groggy beast, fresh awoke from it’s wintersleep. Much to Waq’t’na’s pleasure, they came across just such an opportunity.

“Remember what I’ve taught you, Rakor,” she said in a hushed tone, pointing towards the black bear they had come across. The bear had not noticed them, and had likely hardly been alive longer then a full season cycle, as it was still on the smaller side. Waq’t’na readied her sturdy crafted spear and motioned for Rakor to follow, “Tread lightly, let us try and surround him,” her eyes gleamed with a fierce excitement. Rakor followed her, the both of them as silent as could be. The bear was busy feasting on some spring berries, carry little about anything around it. Waq’t’na looked to Rakor with a smile, “Ready yourself, Tornskull,” she said, giving her spear a mighty throw, piercing the bear deep into it’s side. She promptly scrambled up a tree before the bear noticed her. Rakor stared the bear in the eyes, knowing it was coming for him, “Prove yourself, you can do this, orc!” Waq’t’na urged him on from within the treetop. Rakor readied his own spear, not nearly as masterfully crafted as hers, as the bear charged him. He braced, waiting for the right moment, and lunged forward with his spear, connecting with the bear’s chest. His own spear plunged deep as well, snapping in his hand as it did so. In the heat of the moment, Rakor instinctively grabbed the other spear and pulled just as he rolled away from the bear. Waq’t’na’s spear came loose and the bear’s fur began to mat, showing the blood that was pooling from it’s wound. The bear roared in pain, attempting to chase after Rakor again, favoring the leg he had just pulled the spear from. Rakor knew he now had the upper hand and readied the spear for an attack from the bear. He knew if he could pierce it’s throat, it wouldn’t take much for the bear to bleed out and die, the leg wound might even accomplish that, but he didn’t want to take his chances. As the bear approached, Rakor quickly grabbed a large rock, holding the spear in one hand. When the bear came close, he threw the rock as hard as he could at the bear’s leg wound, connecting with it as he did so. The bear roared in pain, reeling back from Rakor. He took his opportunity and stabbed the spear into the bear’s exposed neck, giving it a quick succession of stabs. The bear, knowing it’s end was here, laid down on the ground to die.

“Crazy woman!” Rakor yelled at the tree Waq’t’na had climbed into. The woman laughed as she climbed down, retrieving Rakor’s splintered spear from the bear’s chest.

“Looks like you need to learn to make yourself a better weapon,” she laughed, “This mediocre savage weapon will never do.”

Rakor was angered for a small moment, but he calmed himself, realizing that, indeed, his weapon was no good. They spent the nicer days of spring training and hunting. When the days grew too harsh, as often they did in the North, they would stay in the makeshift hut Waq’t’na had made, reading what little books she had and studying the common tongue. When Waq’t’na had taught him all she knew, she too sent him off, just as his soothsayer had. She gifted him her spear and wished him safe travels, knowing they would likely never see each other again.

**

“You have studied magic, have you not, Rakor?” the visage asked.

“I have, yes,” Rakor responded,

“What is the Law of Transmutation and Conjuration Summoning of physical materials? Think back to your studies, do you remember?”

Rakor thought hard, but between the time he spent away from studies, and the current events, he could not, “I do not, it’s been many years and I haven’t had much in the ways of formal education,” he responded.

“Something does not come from nothing,” the visage replied simply, “Something comes from elsewhere, you take, to make.”

Rakor nodded, “Yes, this does sound familiar, now that you remind me.”

“Some use the Weave to produce food for others, how would you feel about foregoing your meal to allow such conjurative magic to feed some that you know not?”

“I’ve seen such magic, actually,” Rakor responded, “If I could feed the hungry until they were full, I would gladly.”

The visage disappeared, still speaking to Rakor, “Do you know of the Debts?” it asked.

“No, I do not,” Rakor replied, realizing just how much he did not know, despite his claims of being a traveling scholar.

“Do you know of the Time of Troubles? You may not have lived through them as others did.”

Again, the orc realized just how little he knew as he responded, “Again, I do not.”

“You may have still been traveling the world it remote regions, when did you first gain your ability to interact with Weave?”

“When I joined the order of Waukeen in Athlatka,” Rakor told the voice, “Most of my life was spent traveling as a scholar, gaining what knowledge would be shared with my kind.”

“It seems you have a complicated past, Rakor,” the voice stated, “Relax, will you share it with me?”

“I was born into a tribe of hatred,” the orc began, telling his tale for the first time in many years, “Persecuted through the years of early life for simply being a halfblood. This lead me to abandon my home, knowing very little of the world. I traveled the world, making may way into cities that would accept my presence, learning the common tongue from the kindness of strangers. I began to learn of trade and commerce, purely by intrigue. I thought if I learned enough, I could take it back to my home and prove just how vital trade could be, maybe I could expand their knowledge, with my rightful claim as chief, they would have to listen. So I traveled more, learning what I could about everything, yet here I am, never having returned home. I’ve grown wise enough to know they would never listen to a halfblood, let alone, a deserter. I’ve continued on my path, for I honestly don’t know what else to do, I’ve spent so long wandering, I fear I may be lost.”

“Well, I’ve looked at your path, through your mind’s eye and I can see you were in a place known to man….Athlatka, in Ahm. Do you remember when the chaos came? Word came that the gods walked Toril, of course, they did. It was during this time, that Lord Torm, by the Almighty Ao, came the Debts. The Debt of Persecution, the Debt of Dereliction, and the Debt of Destruction. They are debts that Lord Torm imposed on himself and his faithful. Consider…why is it even important that we speak of this history and Lord Torm’s involvement, and self-acknowledged failings?”

Rakor still sat by the water’s edge, dumbfounded by the spirits consistent questioning and knowledge, as much as it wasn’t the response he hoped for, he replied, “I’m honestly unsure.”

“Because we must atone for our mistakes. We must choose to walk another path, if we know the one we walk is wrong. If a god can do it… deities do not take acceptance of errors lightly.

Rakor nodded, beginning to see what the spirit was trying to teach him, “Ah, yes. That makes sense.”

“You’ve considered a lot, Rakor. Your mind is tired, you’re emotionally tired. Before you go to rest your body and mind…walk the path the relieves you of the ignorance you suffer from.

“I will try my best,” Rakor responded, feeling the presence disappear from his mind.

**

Rakor’s Journal, Day Unknown

Walk the path the relieves me of the ignorance I suffer from. I think I finally understand what you meant, Alaric. The path we have traveled and the decisions we have made have forced a hand I wished would never have been shown. We have made deals with demons to get rid of other forces, we’ve been at each others throats, even contemplated murder to some extent. I’ve even made deals I am not proud of, condemning my soul to the torturous whims of demon kind. My soul may be damned, but my actions do not need to be. I will end the evil that dwells here, I will ensure my friends do not loose their souls. My tainted soul does not deserve the afterlife that so many desire. We must atone for our mistakes, even if I take this burden alone. Alaric, let it be known that I chose the path I will take. Whatever the actions, I accept my end. I do not ask for aid, and I do not expect to live. I can only hope my plan will work, and not doom my companions.

If anything else, I tried my best, but I will always have more to learn.

~Rakor Tornskull

Post Script

To Tuck,
The kindness you showed me in Assur was one of the finer moments in my life. You could have chose to cast me aside, just as any other would, but instead, you took me under your wing and made me feel at home. You gave me food when I had none, a bed when I had nowhere to sleep, you are truly a kind soul and where ever you have gone, I hope you are in a better spot then us.

Danjo,
You were the first to show compassion, aside from Tuck, and for that I am thankful. Not many a man would share such a cherished beverage with a savage such as myself. May your wisdom guide our companions when I am gone, and may your music carry on through the hearts of us all, despite how grim these halls may get.

Shino,
Take care of Danjo, and take care of yourself. That old fool would not be able to live without you by his side. Where we have not seen eye to eye on everything, I know your heart is pure, I only wish you the best, and hope you can eventually settle down outside of this place, just as Danjo wishes.
Sahil,
I am sorry that you, of all us, have had to endure such horrendous acts here. You are still so young, I only wish you could have the carefree life of others your age. To know you may die in these halls, no-one to ever know of your compassion, it is truly disheartening.

Finally, Weshtek,
Please, carry my spear in pride, tell my stories, and tell your own. Should you ever be free of this place, find a better path. This life will destroy your morals, and you are the only one of us to have kept such a truly clean soul, despite the conditions you find yourselves in.





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cpthero2
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Posted - 11 Dec 2020 :  20:47:05  Show Profile  Visit cpthero2's Homepage Send cpthero2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Room of Utter Darkness

07 AUG 2018

Darkness looms in front of me. My comrades debate entering the room, just as they did in the past, I have a strong feeling that evil lurks within. I am sure they do as well, as no one wants to enter. I breathe a silent prayer to my gods and take a step forward.

“Ilmater, guide my path.”

My skin radiates a blueish hue, light emits from it, barely piercing the darkness within. It is enough to see, and my lack of fear grants me followers. I can feel a sticky wetness raining from above. The familiar tackiness and scent of blood fills my nostrils as I step deeper. I discover a sarcophagus, Danjo and I manage to remove the lid, only to be greeted by a large explosion, knocking the wind from our lungs. A voice begins to taunt us from the darkness, the same vague and haunting threats that may have scared us before, but with our current state, it is hard to fear another being who threatens our souls. It is hard to fear something we no longer own ourselves. The door we came through shuts, just as we discussed leaving, so we continued to explore the room, using the light that barely passed my own flesh to see. It continued to rain, the voice continued it’s threats, and we found the room to be home to quite a few sarcophagi. We opened a couple of them, attempting to find a clue as to what exactly was going on in this room. This was met by more explosions, causing harm to my companions.

Eventually, the voice gave itself a form and offered an out to Ayda, the moonelf who had come out of the waters in our base camp. Simply for the sake of safety in numbers, she had joined our group. I am in agreement with Shino that her presence seems too convenient. She appeared right as we spoke of the artifact we now carry. Luckily it is safe in Weshtek’s hands for now, but I would rest easier should we find a way to destroy it.

The voice was a withered form, similar to the wraith. I told Ayda to leave, just as I would to anyone who could. The less that have to suffer, the better. The added benefit of not keeping an eye on her helped with the decision as well. She promised to attempt to return with help, and the form gave way to a door she could leave through. Very briefly, it was illuminated for her to see. Once she went through, the form too, vanished and we were returned to darkness. I immediately made my way to the door, hoping it was part of this room, and not an illusion from the form. I found an open doorway, leading to an altar room with a door in the back. My companions followed. Upon entry, a strong effect could be felt, it caused Danjo to flee in fear. I told Sahil to work his magics on the door, just as he had done before and left to calm Danjo, which proved to be an easy enough task. We returned to the room, Sahil having already made his passage around the door, just as I had planned. Within, we could see Ayda staring at the door and seemingly, something else.

I was the first to decide to enter. Just a step through the door, I was greeted by the form attacking me as I passed. His attack did nothing to me as I retaliated, punching him in the chest with a solid hit. We sparred for a moment until a bright flash of light burst from Shino’s hands. The form itself burst into holy light, embers the only thing remaining. We explored the room Ayda was in, finding no exit, so we returned to the main chamber, finding it now free of darkness and blood, the doorway now returned to it’s original state. Weshtek and Chand had been trapped on the otherside, so we explained what had happened in the moments we were within. Weshtek suggested we destroy the altar we came across, as it was an altar to the son of Bane and Orcus. I saw no reason to argue, as such an altar should be removed from worship. Upon the destruction, we felt a heaviness recede. Under it lay many treasures that my comrades collected.

We returned to base camp. Weshtek had suggested we attempt to read or translate the scrolls and tomes we found earlier, perhaps to find a clue to what was going on down here. Shino, being the only one capable of such a thing, took the time to figure out the scrolls that were left on the Orcus demon we had fought. It did not take long before his face twisted into a confused and maddened state.

“Son of a bitch,” he stated, passing the script along for us all to read. I read them myself as the rest of them chattered.

Apparently the cult had agents where they came from. Some of them the very people the sent them here, even Tuck’s boss in Assur. I have been though the proverbial fire and flames with these people, but even I have been duped by this cult.

I only hope they truly intend to end the suffering here, and I am not surrounded by members of this cult who have yet to reveal their intentions.





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Rakor's Journal

11 AUG 2018

((The weathered green leather of Rakor’s Journal is cracked and flaking, obviously aged for many years. When viewed from the side, its pages are yellowed and warped from many days of weather and many times of being handled. In the beginning of the journal, many pages are written in Dethek script. Each page slowly more coherent then the first, they show the progression of the orc learning the nuances of common tongue. There are tales of Rakor’s entire life, elaborating on many parts of his travels. They range from simple tales of a days travel, to his experiences of persecution in the larger cities. Most noteably, his time in Athlatka, learning the ways of the order of Waukeen, under the studies of Brother John, the man who gifted Rakor his first divine focus, which now rests wedged into the cobbled idol of Danjo. Many of his tales just simply tell of his worldly travels and his various education, up to the tales of the very tunnels that took his life.

On the last written page, shakily scrawled, as if in an emotional state rests these final words))

To Tuck,
The kindness you showed me in Assur was one of the finer moments in my life. You could have chose to cast me aside, just as any other would, but instead, you took me under your wing and made me feel at home. You gave me food when I had none, a bed when I had nowhere to sleep, you are truly a kind soul and where ever you have gone, I hope you are in a better spot then us.

Danjo,
You were the first to show compassion, aside from Tuck, and for that I am thankful. Not many a man would share such a cherished beverage with a savage such as myself. May your wisdom guide our companions when I am gone, and may your music carry on through the hearts of us all, despite how grim these halls may get.

Shino,
Take care of Danjo, and take care of yourself. That old fool would not be able to live without you by his side. Where we have not seen eye to eye on everything, I know your heart is pure, I only wish you the best, and hope you can eventually settle down outside of this place, just as Danjo wishes. Do not let power corrupt you, you are a better man then those who do.

Sahil,
I am sorry that you, of all us, have had to endure such horrendous acts here. You are still so young, I only wish you could have the carefree life of others your age. To know you may die in these halls, no-one to ever know of your compassion, it is truly disheartening.

Finally, Weshtek,
Please, carry my spear in pride, tell my stories, and tell your own. Should you ever be free of this place, find a better path. This life will destroy your morals, and you are the only one of us to have kept such a truly clean soul, despite the conditions you find yourselves in.

If you are reading these words, I am gone. Do not grieve, it will only cause you suffering. Let the memories of my vessel fade just as any other thought. Do not avenge me, it is only the act of the reckless. Should you find yourselves free of these halls, take this tome to a temple of the Triad, let them know the tale of the men who discovered Alaric’s Tomb and get those artifacts into the right hands.

Venture well my friends
~Rakor Tornskull






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