Wyrd Tales in Port Doom

Quartermaster's Log: Filthy Lucre, Day 8

Navigating the Reef was a bit dodgy this time around. The wizard spied gold underneath the waters, and I saw the Captain’s eyes get big as saucers at the thought of booty.

I’ve seen that look a time or two. Bodes well for the voyage, but bad for the crew.

Sure enough, the Captain took a couple friends with her in the jolly-boat, stripped down to her skivvies, clapped a dagger in her mouth, and dove right in. And sure enough she came up with danger in tow – sea devils.

Now I’ve seen a few of the buggers in the past – one caught in a trawling net, and one swept up on shore with a harpoon through it’s belly. But this was the first time I’d ever seen on moving about. Or, in this case, a dozen.

The fight was over quickly. One of the buggers must’ve been not only a sea devil, but a sea witch, because it surfaced long enough to spit magic at the the elf wizard. He spat magic right back – striking the water with bolts of lightning and killing who known how many of the devils below the water.

The Captain wasn’t done yet, though. After dealing with the devils, she and her friends dove back down, caused the water to run red, and came back up with enough plunder to make this voyage a success already.

All in all, a good day, I think.

Filthy Lucre, Day 10

Morale on the crew is mixed as we approach the Mists. Even after the Captain quashed talk of turning around and heading back to port with our booty, the rumbles are still there. The Captain’s friends have been working the crew to keep those rumbles manageable. The little fellow – Cogwin – has filled their heads with visions of treasures that make the gold in our hold look like a pauper’s purse.

I’ve been reading through Barbarossa’s logs again – looking for anything I might’ve missed before. I can’t shake the feeling that we’re missing something.

Filthy Lucre, Day 13

I want to go home.


Filthy Lucre, Day 15

It’s been a few days since we came through the Mists, and I can finally write without shaking. The sun is the only thing that makes me feel safe any more.

The thing in the Mists wasn’t there last time. Truth be told, I’m not sure it was really there at all.

Still, some of the crew have been talking about making landfall somewhere and just staying. Anything to not go through those MIsts again.

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Quartermaster's Log: Filthy Lucre, Day 1

I hadn’t seen Raven in a good long time, but she seemed desperate for ship officers when I found her in drinking in the Shag-n-Stab. She’d grown up well – gotten bustier and lustier, ripe like an island peach.

Well, more like a prickly pear – like the grow around Port Peril. Surely sweet on the inside, but bitter and painful at the skin.

She’d spread around that she was looking for Captain Barbarossa, which is what brought me to her. Barbarossa was a right bastard, leaving me behind in Port Plunder like he did. Booty from the last voyage had kept me in style for months, but the coin had run thin. It was past time to find a new berth, and someone looking for Barbarossa would pay in gold for the information I had.

I never expected to end up as the quartermaster on the Filthy Lucre. Yet that’s where I find myself – my creaky legs are quickly finding their sea footing again as we leave port Plunder behind.


Filthy Lucre, Day 4

The Captain and I have been spending a lot of time behind closed doors this voyage. Normally, that’d be cause for naked celebration, but I can’t quite get over the fact that I remember her as a young girl.

Also, I’m fairly sure she’d rip my anchor off by the mooring if I tried anything.

Besides, she brought along a trollop of her own that keeps her busy enough – a pretty little thing that moves like a cat and carries her own set of claws. I’ve tempted those claws more than once – her backside would be worth the scratches – exactly as soft and firm to the touch as you’d think from the sight of her in her leathers.

Anyway. the Captain has been having me “retranslate” the original log pages. Ever since she saw the scars on my arms I made to steal Barbarossa’s code, she’s been obsessed with them.


Filthy Lucre, Day 6

We’re nearing the Reefs – should see them in the next day or two if the winds hold. I’m hoping we make it through as easily as I did with Barbarossa. Then it shouldn’t be long until we see the MIsts.

Captain Raven’s… friends, I guess… are a mixed bunch. The big brawny lad doesn’t quite have his sea legs, I think, and eyeballs the Captain’s monkey as if it’s going to eat him. His arms are as thick as anchor rope, though – he can hoist a sail all by his lonesome – and he’s a quick enough study as a deckhand.

The little fellow has seen his way around a ship before though – knows the lingo, and the work. The crew likes him well enough: he’s taught them a few new shanties already. I think he’s a bit of a wizard on his own as well. He certainly knows how to vanish when it’s time to hand out crew duties.

Their wizard – an elf no less! – has spent most of the voyage below deck. He’s roped off an area that smells of spices. It’s not a pleasant smell, but that’s the price you pay for having a wizard on board.

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After a long absence...

Events in Port Doom had finally become… complicated.

Grandor was dead – lost in some strange elven ritual. Galinddan was banished – victim of the same ritual that took his dwarven friend. Solix had been a little too successful in supporting the sidestreets he called home, and old enemies searched the alleyways in the shadow of the Wall.
Even the addition of Cogwin – one of Solix’s old acquaintances, and a welcome addition to the group – didn’t lift the big man’s spirits.

The young ladies hadn’t fared much better. The raid on the bar they called home had hit them harder than expected, and the loss of Raven’s “favorite drinkin’ mug” made the young captain seeth even more than usual. Worst, El – under the gentle and beguiling hand of Argyle – had begun to question her realtionship with her fiery tempered companion.

It was time for a change of scenery. It was time for something less complicated. It was time to dig out an old map and hit the Innersea in search of treasure and fame.

The only problem? Between them they had one map. An island named “Dread.”

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Voiceless cries, mouthless mutters

She watches, but I am still my own.

I tried to warn them again, but they do not listen. Even the follower of the Prodigal Son cannot hear me, let alone those poor, lost girls.

My cousin could hear me, though he did not take my council. I pleaded with him to let me go – to let my soul fly to the Father Above and Below – but his heart grew colder with the passing of my body. In the end, the chill consumed him.

I heard them speak of his passing – and of the passing of the flitting bird with so much potential. And when they drink from me, I feel their pain. They drink from me, and fill me with tears.

She watches, but I am still my own.

The creature appeared in my home. I could feel it’s eyes on me. Hungry with envy, and with lust. I cried out with a silent voice to the Father, but he also did not hear me.

I fear it. I did not think I was capable of fear any longer.

The follower of the Prodigal Son may have heard my cry. He spoke a word of power – not strong enough to break the chains that bind me to my bones, but strong enough to strip falsehoods from the creature. It fled.

I felt relieved. It was a temporary thing.

She watches, but I am still my own.

It did not return. But others did. They brought a part if IT with them, and I know fear again, because I feel Her gaze.

Her gaze is unpleasant, full of terror and ecstasy. I muttered a silent prayer. I am afraid it may be answered.

They took me – sending me into the hands of IT ’s slaves and fanatics. I can feel IT ’s tug, and I am no longer afraid.

I am terrified.

She watches…

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The Perils of Notoriety

July 25th, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

The Subject has been invisible to the Eye for several weeks, and our attempts to refocus its lenses have been so far unsuccessful. More concerning, our remaining agents have been removed. Our last remaining Rendered attempted to follow the the Subject, was discovered, and used the failsafe when captured.

This activity was against orders – we are currently securing the means for a more thorough and vigorous Rendering process in order to quell disobedience.

Our remaining nonRendered agent has disappeared. This is not likely the work of the Subject, as there were no remains. This indicates another interested party, and one skilled enough to detect and dispatch that agent.

New agents have not yet arrived. Until they arrive we will attempt to use indirect methods of surveillance.

Yours in Service

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August 14th, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

New information has surfaced, even in the absence of agents and the blindness of the Eye. The Subject – or more specifically her allies – have embraced a life in public. Their business -a tavern of sorts – seems to preoccupy them, and our assumption is that they spend most days and nights in the establishment. We do not believe they have ventured out since their expedition to the ruins of the Serpentine Adept.

We are now certain that whatever wards protect the Subject originate in those ruins. Divinations on the Adept himself have proven fruitless, but we have contacted the Insubstantial Agent as instructed. Given the information thereby gained, we believe that those wards are finite, and the Subject will again be visible before mid-Autumn.

Further negotiations with our Insubstantial Agent will require more collateral: permanent material of the second magnitude, or a red Pearlescent are acceptable. In a related note, please send funds for additional household staff, as the previous staff was used as collateral.

Yours in Service

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August 21st, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

The Subject has grown careless, and has as a result become somewhat famous.

She and her allies were recently persons of interest in a high profile affair concerning a high society party at which the host was murdered. Almost immediately afterward, rumors in the lower echelons surfaced that her allies had started a gangland war in the Foreign Quarter, making enemies of a local (and therefore inconsequential) gang called “Shadefoot.” This group may be an ally, and we will approach them when possible.

The previous set of agents arrived as per your instructions, and were set immediately to work. However, within a night of arrival they were removed. Remains were left, but did not match the modus operandi of the Subject or her allies. They were left in various states of dismemberment or vivisection.

We suggest that we use local resources instead, as we have lost a significant amount of personnel and resources pursuing the Subject. However, attempts to recruit local resources have been difficult. Our most stable and experienced potentials have ceased communication and retreated into their fortresses inside the walls of the Port, while less experienced potentials (those without longer lifespans) are in short supply – many of those in the lists produced by the Eye are recently (and violently) deceased, while most others are currently under contract.

We understand the importance of the Subject, but also suggest that we suspend operations if possible.

Yours in Service

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The Serpentine Adept

May 17th, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

The Subject has recruited three additional complications, and the latest attempt by your agents has failed. She left one alive, and he returned with his report, bringing the necessary components from the eleven others with him for disposition. He has since been Rendered, as per your instructions.

We will continue to work toward isolating the Subject.

Yours in Service

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June 4th, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

We have new information on the Subject’s new allies:

  • The man is a warrior of some skill and great strength. He is originally from Doom, and has many friends in certain Quarters. He also has a few enemies. We have located a primary threat to him and will approach if necessary.
  • The dwarf has not been seen with others of his kind since coming under our Eye. This break with dwarven culture may be of use, and we will continue to watch for signs that he may be approachable.
  • The elf is the most dangerous to your interests of the three – possibly as dangerous as the tiefling warlock was, and for many of the same reasons. He has strong family ties in the Elven Quarter, which may be exploitable. We will begin the preparations to extend our vision and our reach should that be necessary.

Yours in Service

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June 24th, 55th Year of the Dragon, 675 AS

My Lord,

Previous assumptions about the elf were correct – the Eye reports that the Subject went beyond the Wall in the company of three allies. Focusing the Lenses revealed a conversation about an attempt to block our capabilities, and showed the Subject entering a ruin known to be the last previous home of a magic user known as the Serpentine Adept.

We have since lost the ability to track the Subject, and must assume that the Subject successfully warded herself against our tools with protections of the sixth valence or greater. This is concerning in and of itself, as previous sessions with Focused Lenses showed that the Subject’s allies have no more than second or possibly third valence capabilities.

We are still recruiting independent agents in Doom, given the disadvantages associated with Rendered subjects. Even with the advances in transmutation we obtained in February, the Rendered are insufficient to deal with our current situation. Until new independent agents are secured, we will continue with physical surveillance.

Yours in Service

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And New Beginnings

Some of the healer women – you know, the ones over near the Foreign Quarter – say that a body “climbs the thousand steps” when they lose someone, walking the steps of sadness and madness as they lay the souls of their loved ones to rest. Well the next few weeks after that awful business in Greenstone Tower, you could see the Anchor make every stop along that long stair.

The parties started the week after El and Raven put their friends in the ground. Yner – that dwarf that had just moved in – departed that week. Just packed up and left the morning after a raucous night and an equally raucous fight that spilled into and over the whole neighborhood. Long, quiet days were interrupted by nightly bar brawls, and the watch finally closed down the place for a month to stop them.

That didn’t stop the fights, mind you, just kept them inside the Anchor’s walls. The busybodies of the neighborhood would pretty often “happen to hear” shouts, and the sound of breaking glass from inside. Those more willing to snoop would also hear other sounds – sometimes tears, sometimes the grunts and groans of those desperate to lose themselves in the flesh.

It ended, eventually. Or at least the lunatic swings between mad and morose began to resemble the pattern before Death started claiming her due. The girls threw themselves into their work. Raven stopped spending her days puttering around the Filthy Lucre, and instead spent her days puttering around the Anchor. El – well for a while people didn’t recognize her, as she dyed her hair and changed her clothes weekly. She started practicing in the Anchor’s yard – doing sword tricks for the children passing by, only to quickly duck in the tavern when she saw an unfamiliar face.

Then the whole house went dark for a week. Never did find out why, but when we saw the girls after they finally crept out on evening Raven had a bit of a limp and El had her arm in a sling. Must have been nasty business indeed.

A few weeks after that… well things got a little strange. A dwarf showed up on their doorstep. A real friendly fellow – said his name was Grandor without even being asked, which if you ask me is kind of fishy for a dwarf. Those buggers hold secrets more tightly than gold. When he returned a day later, he brought a man with him – a big beast if I ever saw one – and an elf.

Now we see elves around fairly regular. There’s a few that wander away from Market Street proper every day, and one or two that frequent the wharf. And there’s was creepy sod – that Hathalrin fellow that kept showing up looking for men to hire. But this elf wasn’t like those folks – he had that whole elf-eye thing going on, to be sure. You know the one – like a cross between feeling sorry for you and afraid you might touch them. But this one would actually talk to people too. Breath of fresh air, if you ask me.

Anyway, those three kept coming back around for a while. They came back more frequently when the girls finally re-opened the Anchor for customers. But it wasn’t until the ambush that they stayed.

The ambush happened in the middle of the day and in an alleyway closer to Market Street than I think the Guard would have liked – the bunch that did it must have thought they would have an easy time of it, since there were a dozen of them. They certainly didn’t care that they had an audience – I actually saw the whole thing with my own eyes. They even wore colors – looked like a mercenary group or something.

And I think if it hadn’t been for the girl’s new friends, it would have just as easy as those thugs thought. In the end, El decided to leave one of them alive. Once she left with the other four – after a conversation I didn’t quite hear through my window a few stories up – that one cut a finger from those that died and ran off.

The three – the elf, the dwarf, and the man – moved into the Green Anchor that same day. Or rather, they simply never left. Until, that is, four of them left the city on a day trip beyond the walls. That’s when the trouble really started…

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The Death of Guxes

Deprix’s Library was at hand. There are at least a dozen tomes of magic in here, this is the major breakthrough in my training that was lacking, information. In this room are but a pair of those damn monkeys. One is sized like Powder Keg, and the other the size of an ogre. The normal sized one speaks to me as if he is Deprix himself, but my superior skills can tell that this monkey is magicked and not Deprix transformed. I send Raven away, she has seen too many of her beloved pet massacred today, Magpie, the dwarf and I can handle the pair in the room with ease.

The fight goes on much longer than expected, even with the arrival of El, we are hardly putting a dent into the massive Powder Keg. We must win this fight, this room is too valuable to leave. The dwarf goes down, what was his name again? Bah, it doesn’t matter now. The creature focuses on me, and slams into me, but I resist falling to its attack. I won’t be able to deter it for long, but maybe enough where Magpie & El can finish it off. This sacrifice is worth it, they’ll slay it and put a stop to my bleedin…………..Magpie goes down……..El’s abilities are good enough to concentrate on the beast alone…….El falters……

I awaken, had Raven returned and been able to save us all? No, the place I am in, I am familiar with, but is not a place Raven could reach, let alone take me to. I have visited this place once before, when I took an oath, to follow a certain path, a vow that changed my life. I stand before the presence, and she speaks to me at a disappointing soft tone. I have failed her for the last time, my body will never be allowed to possess my soul again. I knew what failure would entail, my brashness would not let me see that I could fail. I secured the looting of the tower, as opposed to the chance to own it, this is my own fault, as we could have taken our time and not been rushed.

She intervened when my tribe tried to vilify me and slowly torture the body, a body that still had a soul. That soul didn’t last much longer than that day. My cousin’s pratering head tortured what little life I had left. I am doomed, by much my own doing. I was better than this, I should have withdrawn and lived to fight anew. Now, I won’t be fighting, this eternity won’t be hell, but I am sure I will tire of it at some point. I always do.

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The Way Home
The Tiefling Sons return

After sending away Raven & El, to return the book, I got my cousin loaded on his horse, and scampered off to the west. Our horses were not pleased to be traveling without light, but I took care to get us on our way. The riders into the ruined settlement would find the riches that we left behind, but the prize we came here for was in our care.

The trip home was quite different than the trip out. While the composition was the same, an innocent, naive son of the chief and his cousin, who was sent to keep him out of trouble, the feeling of awe and bewilderment, gone. My benefactor was right, it would be better away. But now I go back, to deliver my cousin home.

My benefactor has not communicated with me since his death. I am not sure, if she is upset for the loss, or just has somewhat important matters to deal with, but the lack of communication is disturbing. My powers seem to be still with me though, so it hasn’t become a dire situation as of yet. I have been able to handle the creatures willing to take on a pair of horse and riders, without any real trouble.

I can finally see the outskirts of our encampments, I am home. The nights have not been restful, but knowing where I am helps, as I sleep outside, and will make my way into the village in the morning. This was always a safe spot, that the outer guards would let travelers sleep in, and the local creatures would leave alone. Was.

I was awakened to find my camp beseeched by several guards who brought me back to a state of unconsciousness.

Home was not how I remembered it. There are many tieflings here that I do not recall. It’s not that I knew everyone, but these brutes I would remember. I will remember. They know enough to have me in chains, my fingers balled up so I can’t make signs with them, and I’m heavily gagged. Someone knows enough about me to be cautious.

I’m left trussed up like this for a full day, I don’t sleep that night, so much as I pass into unconsciousness. That is a habit I would like to get out of.

Cold water is splashed on top of me, I look in the direction of where it came from. It is my Uncle. He questions my ability to keep his son alive, and my worth to anyone. He says he will love to see my head on a pike. But I know that won’t happen, I can tell it in his voice, he isn’t speaking with the air of authority he used to. He spits on me, and disappears from my limited sight. I pass out again.

When I wake again, I am still in this crude cell, but unencumbered by the restraints I had previously. I stretch, savoring that feeling. As I stretch, it is the first time in days I think back to Port Doom, to Raven and to what I should be there. As I start to stand, In my head, a familiar, commanding voice instructs. “LEAVE”. I push open the cell door, and see my stuff sitting on a table. I don the equipment, and exit the small building. I am pleasantly shocked, to see my Uncle’s head on a pike just outside of the crude jail. The area has a few other tieflings strewn about the ground, but no one is moving outside. I look over to where my family lived. The horses my cousin and I rode in on are awaiting me, ready for the journey. As I climb onto my horse, I see one footprint, one that doesn’t belong. It is good to hear the voice again. I leave, with my head held high, I know I can smell the fear, and I know I won’t be back unless instructed to.

Some time after on the trip home, I realize I acquired two items, that both belonged to my cousin. The first is his holy symbol. I don’t understand the significance of it, yet. The other item is a tad bit more personal, yet the use of it is more apparent. These are clues to questions I will need to attempt to answer when I return to the libraries of Port Doom. My trip back to the city went peacefully. The only creatures I encountered seemed drawn to my camp, and they were tasty. The voice has returned to her normal, comforting presence.

As I approach the gate, I think I will drop the horses and equipment off first, and then head to the foreign quarter, Raven is not ready for me in this state.

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Of Mendicants and Mazes

PLACEHOLDER

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