Cartographies and Colonies

Dear Diary, no. 1

Dear Diary – although I suppose I might as well address this Dear Sarah, as I’ve no doubt you’ll be the one to decode it if anyone does. I hope you’ve enjoyed the cypher, little sister; as far as I know even Chomsky doesn’t have a work-around for this one yet.

As I was saying:

As though being charged with administering the fair (and yes, I do know that Mother and the rest are taking up a lot of my slack) and keeping an eye on Vekd, Doji, and the rest weren’t stressful enough, I’ve had a puzzle of my own to work on during the past few days. The documents Babbage so reluctantly furnished me with are complex in the extreme, and yet their contents are so important and so telling that I could not ignore them even if I dared to. They haunt my dreams, as do the consequences of having disrupted them.

Of all of our family’s “gifts”, it is perhaps the cruelest and most terrible form of genius to have the will and means to choose who lives and who dies. I confess I do not have the stomach for it, and yet I cannot argue with the results. Faced with horrors I can hardly conceive of, Babbage and Edna’s mother found a solution to a problem that no-one in the empire could solve. By any rational measurement she and her daughter should be lauded as heroes, were it not for the terrible cost of their achievement.

33 souls. Innocents.

33 brutal, horrible murders, the victims seemingly random but actually carefully selected. Nobodies, to look at them; fishwives, hookers, thieves, others; people whom the empire would hardly miss or even notice, were it not for the bloody, sensational manner of their death, and yet each was carefully selected: a courtesan who is the lover of the younger son of a minor noble dies, leading to the grief of the son and influencing the noble and from him his own lord, and in time, imperial policy. A cluster of deaths within blocks of the houses of the powerful, and suddenly the minds of the nobility turn toward the horrors of war and away from its glories, and the public opinion turns away from conflict. Each death, through its place and time and victim and method, carefully orchestrated to have the maximum effect with the minimum harm and bloodshed. Often the deaths were three, four, or even five steps removed from the people whom they were intended to influence, and yet the over-all effect was consistent.

The Hunt was stopped. Clean as clockwork.

I hate it.

I hate the whole bloody business. I hate that we, who do so much to try to improve the lives of the people of the Empire, would stoop to ordering the murder of innocents. I hate that we could ever be so arrogant as to think we could decide whether a person’s death was a worthy sacrifice for the prosperity of the empire. I hate that this was hidden from me, leaving me to stumble over it at a time like this, and I hate that this was revealed to me, making me responsible for keeping the secret and now for deciding whether to continue down this course. I hate that we have to keep this secret, since the population would turn on us in minutes if they knew. I hate that the family is now in danger because we took this step to save the people who would destroy us. I hate that Edna and her mother and now perhaps even Babbage had to be confined to the Sanctuary for their part in this matter. I hate most of all that, now that I see what they did and why they did it, I can almost feel myself admiring them even as I am revolted by them.

It’s easy to see, now, why Babbage’s machine wouldn’t work with the Mboshu delegation nearby. He was drawing upon everything from geneological data to personal biographies to commodities fluxuations, trying to find the patterns that would stop the Hunt without starting something possibly just as bad, but Mboshu presents a series of unknowns too numerous and complex to analyze as a single unit. He might be able to account for them with decades of experience, but three years of spotty data doesn’t even come close. He and Edna might be able to solve the problem together, but I doubt either of them have enough time left to account for Mboshu’s influence upon any future cycles – and I shudder to think that I will have to live through all of this again, with or without their guidance, should the time come…

  • * *

I’ve come to a decision. Nafu has come to the faire disguised as some sort of fortune teller. Frankly I doubt that her bejeweled gnoll skull is much of an oracle, even by the standards of such things, but she does know more about the Mboshu gods than anyone other than perhaps Doji, who has an unfortunate habit of vanishing at key moments. A renegade Drow has offered us information upon the location of the Ard Righ’s missing Mboshu drow “guests”, and has also offered us what may be the key to disrupting the Unseelie Court’s control over the Hunt, and after her ride on the nightmare the other day Dodji seems convinced she can direct the Hunt back at the Drow themselves. If Nafu confirms this, I plan to lead Vekd and Doji to Sanctuary to learn what we can about where and when the Hunt will rise, the better to “steal” it, as Dodji claims. I only hope that I can persuade Vekd to stay his hand. If he should slay a Goldberg while at Sanctuary the consequences don’t bear thinking of.

In any case, Squirt, by the time you decode this you’ll already likely know how things work out. I sincerely hope I’m here to catch you reading it. If you’ve handled the page this far you’re probably about ready to pass out by now, so please try not to drool on the diary. If by chance I am dead or someone else is reading this, please know that my sister is the most gifted mage in a generation at triggered magic, and she has seen to it that you will be unable to speak or write about anything read here without our express permission, which will be difficult to get if we are dead. You’ll likely be experiencing any other little surprises she’s woven into these pages for more or less the foreseeable future.

Yours,
Rube.

View
Stupid Goldbergs, Stupid Vek'd

Stupid Goldbergs, have their nose too far in the air to see what is front of their fat little ugly noses! Ruben, the heir apparent seems content at letting things go to the waste side. We are required to trust that he has everything under control and so far he has blundered a lot.

1st, Ghinjo is dead, not much protection there. Security in this house sucks.

2nd, The chemicals and such that was supposed to be sent to the Sanctuary with Molly was sent with a low level peon! This is how much priority that this problem has with the Goldbergs.

3rd, The way that most to all (Rosemary is not included in this) of the Goldbergs look at the delegation, it was as if we are below them. We are not ‘refined’ to their taste. Funny, no one on M’boshu would ever kill another in the fashion that Ghinjo was killed. They call US savage?!?!?!

4th, When anyone talks to Ruben or anyone of the Goldbergs (again, Rosemary excluded) it is Us (The Goldbergs) and them (The Uramali and the Delegation from M’boshu). Never is the Uramali ever referenced as part of the family.

5th, They speak of trust and yet give none. True we have been to some places that most don’t ever see, however, Rube needs to trust more in us. I am not willingly trying to hurt his family here on Elfhame. What he doesn’t understand is that I am right now keeping from there being a complete slaughter in the house, if there isn’t a suitable answer given soon, the delegation is gonna go insane and I doubt I will be able to reason with them this time.

I am getting really exhausted with this whole role of delegate, It was simpler when I knew what to kill, then I didn’t have to worry about whose feelings I would hurt. I am getting worn down. I am not cut out to deal with this, give me a solid enemy and I will cut them down, this subterfuge is not my game.

View
Up until now
I am a tool

For 2 years after the defeat of the Lich, I was with the Great Mother. It was glorious and awesome. Even now, when I meditate (I do not sleep) I am taken back there and when I come to, I am at peace. I have for 3 years after training Paladins, first just for the Great Mother, then more recently for the others (with the exception of Anansi. Just the thought runs shivers up and down my scales!) and there has been a few people upset by this. (The Crone of the Lady Bridgette.)

As if training paladins weren’t enough, my duties as Taya have been taxing as well and I feel a bad wind blowing (A saying from Mad Jenny!). It seems that the residents of M’Boshu do not understand the way that the settlers from Elfhame have come, though they have bargained straight with the locals, they don’t understand what that pale ancestors mean by they can not use the fields for their buffalo for grazing for they have always been able to use the fields as such.

This has now gotten out of hand, the settlers are bringing armed guards from Elfhame to defend their crops from raiders. As Taya I am tasked with keeping the peace, however personally I hope the elves will turn tail and run. It seems that someone is funding Aisling very well these days for if the rumors are true, he is flourishing very well with his Botga sales, no matter where he gets them. (a lot of the crops he has looks familiar.) He tea houses are famous in Elfhame.

Speaking of which, I was asked to be part of the Deligation that is going to Elfhame, just in time for the Goldberg Fair Bazaar! Yippee Me! There is a hidden agenda here somewhere, I knew it when everyone but the new Maw and Menya (the Maw that allowed me to try out for the Taya!) held a private council.

It was like dropping an anvil on my chest, I could barely breath, the new maw asked me to try to take the crown in Elfhame! As if I wanted that, I don’t and I let her know about it. She actually tried to lay a guilt trip on me! Crafty gnolls! I looked to Menya as if I had been betrayed for that is what has happened. (for the good of M’Boshu!) as if this is the only way to stop the incursion!

I talked to Rube about this and for some reason he was very testy! He even snapped at me (something I didn’t think he had in him, would be proud of him if he wasn’t right.) for being a tool! Now that I think of it, He is right, I was a tool. Born a tool for the Seelie Court, Snatched up for the Unseelie Court to be used as a tool, and now for the Maw, as a tool. I do not mention the Great Mother, because I came to Her, and though I did not choose my path, I accept this one. The others I can not, will not accept, for it is an affront to be used as such a way that compromises my self.

Since coming back to M’Boshu, I have been sitting in with the council of Clerics and giving them updates about the Paladin training (all except the crone, who keeps herself away from the ‘heathens’) This night, before I leave to Elfhame, I call a meeting, which includes the crone and tell them what the Great Mother has told me about the up the start up of the Great Hunt and how it is a precursor the Lady Spider making her move.

We finally get to Elfhame, with myself and Dodgy as part of the delegation. It seems there are things that Dodgy and I can agree on. We both love to play with soap and bubbles. It was kinda nice to be relaxed around her for once. We got a sorta kinda tour, and that is when things began to go awry!

Ghinjo was killed and so where her guards. It seems that Ghinjo snapped Rigel (Rube’s cousin-in-law’s) neck while holding Robert (Nugget to M’Boshuans, and Rigel’s son) in an effort to protect Nugget from Rigel. However, it seems that someone has killed Ghinjo like someone every 33 years (or so, not sure on the year span.) We immediately look into and find out that it was an apprentice of Rube’s great uncle Babby ( an avid gnoll hater.) who just so happened to get out as the fair was sealed off. (Of course) This smells of the Unseelie Court, but also of the Seelie Court.

I have this sneaky suspicion that someones on both sides are in accord with each other to bring down the Goldbergs who just can not help but have their little gnomish hands in every corner of every market and excel at everything better than everyone else. Not really a reason to hate them! (oh the dripping sarcasm!)

To make things worse now is that Rube and I are at odds with each other, He thinks we need to cover this mess up, I say to give the Gnolls Ada (Babby’s assistant) and Dodgy wants to blame someone else. Oh the fun never quits! I am not sure but I am reluctant to blame an innocent person but maybe to find someone that has had a hand in helping this come about that would be cool, just so that we do not start trouble of the Goldbergs.

This line of thinking does not go against the Great Mother as the people behind it are getting justice and even though it will be done quietly so is Ada. Speaking of which, it was the morning of the funeral for Ghinjo and her body guards, normally we would have consumed their bodies in the evening and had an all night party but since there was a toxin in their blood, we had to make sure they were safe, and I asked the delegation if it would suit them if I had sacrificed Ghinjo’s better parts to the Great Mother so that she was assured a place in the Field of Blood and Bone. We set the bodies to be eaten carrion by pigs. If the pigs died, then we would burn their bodies. If the pigs lived, we consumed the pigs.

As we got the farm with the pigs we talked to the hair toe that owned the place and it was suggested that he and his hired hand didn’t stay to watch. Seems this scrawny young boy on a shaggy pony had just arrived as we got there. (No such thing as coincidences!) I greeted the young lad, whom looked as though he was about to fight. Hmm, a northern welp, wonder what he was doing down here.

P. We invited him to join us, and learn of this was of honoring the dead. He agreed and relaxed. That is when I realized that Dodgy wasn’t there. I saved her a piece as we later found out that the pigs didn’t indeed die.

As the pigs where feasting I felt it a good time to do the sacrifice for Ghinjo, I couldn’t do her liver but I could do her heart and lungs. The pray went like this:

(threw the heart into the fire) Great Mother, receive this offering of Your daughter, for her heart was strong, and when it beat, it did beat with the fierceness and love for the hunt as You would have it.

(threw the lungs into the fire) Great Mother, receive this offering of Your daughter, for her lungs breathed in Your fire and sulfur that gives life and takes life away only to renew life again.

(threw the brain into the fire) Great Mother, receive this offering of Your daughter, for her mind was always set on You. You were her reason for living, You gave her the strength, the life and the will to live for the hunt. She knew it was You that brought her out of the darkness and allowed her to live.

I was brought to a place where the smell of sulfur and brimstone was in the air, a field of green and a river of blood flowing beside it. There Ghinjo was, she was missing her eyes, but she knew it was. She greeted me as a brother and I her as a sister. With a little bit of coercing I found out that it was Ada that killed her and that she snapped Rigel’s neck.

And that brings us back around to where we left off….

View
Why Me?
Can this get any worse?

Ok, so now that Ghinjo is dead and ‘buried’ (in our stomachs mind you) that I didn’t think it could get any worse. WRONG! My friends, Dodgy said she had had a dream given by Mad Jenny (oh, this one is gonna be good!) Dodgy was riding a pitch Black horse with red eyes and fire for hooves! (Is she kidding? a Nightmare? Really?) This does not bode well for us my friends.

The Great Hunt – It is a culling of sorts by the Drow. They come together as a large group (large being 4 to 5 of the great houses from each city come together to do a gignormous hunt topside, this is not a pretty thing! This is usually set off by a Nightmare running through the area in which the Great Hunt is set upon. It is used as a beacon of despair and to signify that the Great Hunt has started!

Dodgy actually wanted to keep the Nightmare. My senses couldn’t take it in at all! Here I am as a Paladin for the Great Mother and her a Cleric for Mad Jenny and she actually wanted to keep it. I mean, a Nightmare is the embodiment of great evil and here she wants to keep it!

Well, Mad Jenny and the Great Mother has seen fit to not let her keep it for now, as the thing did disappear, but not before Dodgy got to ride on it and had thought she had tamed it! Ha! Like she had anything to do with it! If she only knew! Anyhow, that is for a different time and place, we now have an accord. We must destroy the unseelie court! Dodgy wants to sneak in and steal the baby drow. Hmm, now how would we go about doing that?…

View
The Wild Hunt
I want a pony

The Goldberg Family Faire is the Chama for the Green Isle. In Mboshu, the Chama happens at the center of all things, Mji, where the Greatmother stands guard and the Maw’s fangs are strong. If they weren’t under the eyes of the Greatmother, goodness knows the Great Tribes would never keep peace. Well Elfhame is the Mji of this place, the supposed center of all things where this Rilian fellow built his dens and all the Taya of the pale asshole elves keep the laws. But the Chama is held on the Goldbergs estate instead, many days sailing north of Elfhame. Here is what I think – the Goldbergs are in fact at the center of all things. They are not like the Taya, they are like pirates. They operate from behind the scenes and keep a paw in every dealing. I like them. And as much as they’re trying to keep order, this Chama is mayhem. I am having the best time.

First of all, there was a murder. Some slip of an elf managed to murder Ghinjo. There must have been magic involved, because I’ve seen this woman, and she never could have killed Ghinjo fairly. There is no political advantage in blaming her for Ghinjo’s death and handing her over to the Pele, however. Me, I think we should say the Seelie Court did it. There was blood and hair found at their tents. It may be this Ada Lovelace was working for them. Even if she wasn’t, they are weak rulers, totally unable to drive the evil drow from their tunnels. Their gods are probably as lazy as they are. It is all this peaceloving and “fair trade” that has let them get the hold in Mboshu they have. Enough of that. We should topple them. A civil war would be the easiest thing to start, and in the Chaos we would find out who wielded true strength. Vek’d thinks he could become Maw of this place. Ha! I’d love to see him try.

I slept through Ghinjo’s funeral. I’ve slept through my share of ceremonies, but this time it wasn’t even on purpose! I was having a vivid dream, sent straight from Mad Jenny’s blue eye, where I rode the most fantastic beast. One of Aisling’s skinny buffalo, but it was black as the greatmother’s hide, with flaming red eyes and hooves, and fast as the wind over the sea. I led a great howling of gnolls behind me, down down through the tunnels of the Green Isle, stealing all the drow children from their dens. Mad Jenny’s omens are only prophetic if we make them so. I mean to make this one the truth! The very beast from my dream came at the head of a storm – the Wild Hunt Rueben says – and everyone was in a panic. Stupid Vek’d was trying to kill the beast, just because it’s evil, but I knew Mad Jenny meant for me to have it. I tried all my charm on it, and it turned blue as my own right eye! I rode it. I told it to fly, and it flew! Think of the airships I could board and pillage if I had such a mount.

But it was not to be. The darned thing bowed to sister Nafu – I have heard of her whatever she calls herself these days – who spoke in the voice of mad jenny. And it DISAPPEARED. Very disappointing. Now that I know such things exist, I will not rest till I have one of my own.

The good news is that war may already be upon us. The Unseelie court has made their move. The Wild Hunt rides. And Mad Jenny says that we can STEAL IT. I have never stolen a howling mad army before. After such a heist, they will surely call me the Queen of Pirates.

View
Known Clues about the Codex Murders
This is what everyone knows

Okay, so these are the clues that every character knows as of 2/23/14. Your character may have additional information that hasn’t been shared yet and you are responsible for keeping track of that.

In the library

  • Ghinjo and Rigel were found dead.
  • Ghinjo had been slaughtered with a blade, her eyes, tongue, and liver removed.
  • Ghinjo snapped Rigel’s neck
  • Ghinjo had a scrap of black cloth in her claws
  • Robert/ Nugget was cut under his eye as if the killer was trying to take his eyes. This was healed by Dadji but a scar remains
  • Tracks of blood led through a secret passage behind a shelf
  • The tracks stopped and a handkerchief with some blood and a blonde hair was found
  • The passage ended in the front parlor

In the parlor

  • The window was broken outward to provide quick escape onto the lawn
  • The curtains were torn in the escape as well

Outside

  • Gnoll blood was found on the tent that houses nobles from the Seelie Court

In the Green Study

  • Babby’s notes have been found to contain very racist scrawls against the citizens of Mboshu, the gnolls in particular.
  • Grease stains are on some of the calculations, presumably from Ada

In Ghinjo’s Quarters

  • Robert’s guard and storyteller were both found dead. Their tea had been poisoned.

The People

  • Ada is on her way to the Sanctuary to do some consulting on Babby’s behalf. It is a two day trip there and a two day trip back
  • After an uncoooperative outburst, Kivuli is taking Babby to the Sanctuary for his own safety
  • Lady Caralay is in the noble’s tent
View
Chapter 2 Prologue

With the lich’s phylactery destroyed the undead thing was finally vulnerable, but she was still missing. But there was a way to track her. Surely the lich would want to create a phylactery. For that she would need two things; a valuable gem to hold her soul and a concoction of powerful poisons to complete the spell.

Vek’d and Rube raced to the lands of the Kajura, the most likely place to procure poisons from. As it happened they encountered the lich and fought her in the desert dunes, losing the cleric Fiona. Dadji and Mei-Zhen went to the Plains of the Hassan to search for the grey elf noble, Aisling who had in his possession an amulet of many colorful and shiny stones.

Surprisingly Aisling had not been killed out of hand for rudeness. His “gift” of several horses to the tribal leaders went a long way towards smoothing over any rough spots in his manners. He was reluctant to surrender the sigil of his house to Dadji and Mei-Zhen. The matter was finally resolved when he promised two dozen breeding pairs of horses to the Hassan if they would stand at the ready to fight if the lich appeared.

Sitting and waiting for the lich to appear (and making more gifts to the Hassan) meant that Aisling did not have the resources to make it to the swamps of the Knhum to trade for the spices there. But he did fall in love with the bakga his hosts brewed. When he returned to Mji he started to cast accusations that Nafu, a member of the Taya, had hijacked and stolen his ship. After the Taya made some further inquiries with him he suddenly remembered having gifted the ship to Nafu.

Aisling offered Mei-Zhen a personal boon from his house to hers if the aquatic elves could get word back to Elfhame that he needed a ship to return home with. A handful of gnolls and humans from the Hassan went with him to judge the horses he was going to send back. He also took as many bales of dried bakga as he could fit in the available space of the ship. Since then horses have been arriving regularly in trade for bales of bakga. Every now and then Aisling’s more direct representatives sail to Mboshu on airships to find a few gnolls who want to travel to Elfhame to work in one of his bakga houses.

Giant docks of imported wood have been built in Mji. Three merchant ships at a time can be docked there. There is also a lighthouse built of native stone that doubles as an airship dock.

Vek’d’s disappearance on the night of the Chama caused quite a stir. The disappearance of a member of the Taya is always like throwing a rock at a beehive. The Cleric of the Greatmother assured all that Vek’d was undergoing spiritual trials with the Greatmother. The voice of Mad Jenny assured Dadji of the same.

For two years there wasn’t much for a cleric of Mad Jenny to do. The tunnels of the Uramali have been cleaned of evil. The stories of great piracy were coming from the middle of the ocean where the ship Mad Jenny was preying on ships that bore the official sigil of the Elfhamish court. Eighteen months ago those stories abruptly ceased and even Mad Jenny has been quiet on the matter of what happened to her namesake ship.

The old Cleric of the Greamother was killed two years ago while trying to bring down a wildebeest, tossed nearly thirty feet. The new cleric, Hubiri, has been in her position for eighteen months now. She’s a young gnoll, but has a reputation for being a cunning hunter and of the three litters she has borne, all of the pups have come to life.

Right before Vek’d returned there was a meeting of the clerics. All the Great Ancestors were making reference to a notion of holy warriors. Very devout individuals have been approaching the clerics to join the ranks of these new paladins, including members of the church of Brigitte. The clerics have been responsible for the religious teachings of these new paladins, and most already know how to fight, but Vek’d has been teaching them the disciplines of being a paladin.

1) Several bakga plantations have been established by Elfhamish nobles in the more fertile lands near the river. They are generally overseen by half-elves from Elfhame and worked by natives. The native workers are prone to wandering off whenever they get bored, which the overseers are trying to prevent. The plantations are also tempting targets for raiders. For these reasons the overseers are bringing in armed guards from Elfhame
a. The cowherding tribes are behind much of the raiding. The plantations are on prime grazing grounds.
b. The Taya are almost constantly dealing with the aftermath of these raids.

2) Lord Aisling survived his trip into the wilds of Mboshu. He returned to Elfhame on the first ship that made it through Nafu’s one-ship blockade. He also exports bakga for a chain of tea houses. Aisling’s approach is different. He trades horses to the Hassan for bales of bakga, whether they choose to gather it in the wild or take it from plantations, it makes no difference to him.
a. Aisling sponsors gnolls who wish to visit Elfhame. Each of his tea houses employs a pair of gnolls.
b. There is a great deal of debate among the advisors of the Taya as to whether horses are cows and may only be possessed by humans or antelope which may be used by everyone.

3) The Hassan are rising to nearly unprecedented power as they gain more and more horses. Their raiders cannot be caught and they are becoming far more daring as their skills improve.

4) Trade with Elfhame is picking up. A proper dock has been built in Mji using imported wood. A lighthouse of native stone doubles as an airship dock. The usual trade items are iron ingots, silks, dyes, and beads. Foreign weapons are also in high demand. Trade caravans are tempting targets for raiders.

5) Mboshu is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Elfhame tourists. They are generally harmless. Popular past times include sport fishing with the fisherdrow and safaris. Every now and then there’s an accidental death as a result of these activities. But other deaths are more notable and are causing problems with Elfhame.
a. A young elf (third son of a major noble) tried to join a gnoll pack. He was killed accidentally in a fight for primacy.
b. A young human woman was officially executed after she carved her name in the base of the statue of the Greatmother. (This occurred about two weeks before Vek’d returned.)

Uramali influence is rising. Ghinjo relies heavily on the advice of Rosemary and her husband. Other Goldbergs have arrived to help with the various projects involving the volcano tunnels. They asked Ghinjo to stand as godmother to the first gnomish child born on Mboshu. Rosemary and John have officially renounced their Elfhamish citizenship so that they can act as ambassadors for Mboshu.

Many of the Taya and other Great Tribe leaders are discussing making the Goldbergs a Great Tribe. This is about more than just welcoming them into the arms of Mboshu. Making the Goldbergs an official part of the Mboshu power structure would give the Maw a clawhold of power across the sea. A contingent of representatives from the Great Tribes, including Ghinjo, are going to visit the Goldberg Festival in order to further discuss the matter.

Word has also reached Mji of a ship of drow from the Underdark that are sailing towards Mboshu. They have requested asylum.

Other Notes:
Traveling via portal or teleportation to or from Mboshu is no longer feasible. Due to the nature of Wild Magic if the spellcaster attempting to cast the spell has cast a teleportation spell connecting Elfhame with Mboshu before there is a 75% chance any medium sized or larger creature passing through will be turned inside out. A 50% chance of a small creature or smaller being turned inside out. If a spellcaster who has never been exposed to wild magic or created a portal to Mboshu casts the spell there is only a 10% chance that living creatures passing through will be turned inside out.

For a while there were stories of a pirate ship called The Mad Jenny. The stories came to an abrupt end eighteen months ago when the ship seemed to disappear. The original crew is said to be safe in Elfhame, but no one knows what happened to the Mboshu crew. The original missing drow have still not been returned to Mboshu.

In Elfhame
A year and a half ago there was a great deal of talk about a pirate gnoll on a ship called The Mad Jenny who was preying on ships that bore the official sigil of the Seelie court. Ships that surrendered immediately would have their maps and books taken, their weapons, any fisherdrow on board, and some of the food stores. These ships were directed to return to Elfhame and would be even be provided with food to safely make the journey back. Ships that resisted were slaughtered to the last man and burned to the waterline. A year ago The Mad Jenny disappeared. Her previous captain and crew were discovered in a port city near Llywen. The Goldberg family is now training them to pilot airships.

Lord Aisling has the most successful chain of bakga shops (only a few, but insanely profitable). This is due to two reasons. He does not own any plantations and instead trades horses with the Riders of the Hassan for bales of bakga, however they choose to gather it. He also brings over a pair of gnolls for each bakga house to oversee the blends and serve it properly in the “savage fashion.”

The Goldbergs also sponsor gnolls to emigrate from Mboshu to LLywen. These gnolls are brought over with the idea that they will take over the leadership of the gnolls that currently plague the northlands. The pilot program has been very successful and two packs were taken over with no more than the addition of fifteen percent of Mboshu gnolls.

Fisherdrow are not an uncommon sight on the docks of Tara at night. There are usually a few gnolls down on the docks as well, acting as protectors. This has raised a great deal of concern among the Seelie court, they worry that Unseelie spies could blend among the fisherdrow.

There are several Mboshu duergar who wish to join the Academy of Architecture and the Gemworkers Guild. This matter is being hotly debated in the guilds, schools, and the court. Their knowledge of differing techniques and access to novel materials are quite desired. However there are real concerns about Mboshu and duergar citizens learning the secrets of how important Elfhamish structures are built.

The Church of Brigitte is still debating the matter of canonizing Fiona the Missionary. Church politics are divided down the middle. The gnoll that left with the Crone from Mboshu three years ago never made it as a Maiden of the Church, nor did any of the Mboshu believers that followed (due mostly to very unmaidenly behaviour). Half of these failed acolytes returned to Mboshu, but some have remained and speak of the Cleansing Word of Brigitte on the street corners.

Spider worship is also growing in Elfhame. In the capital city of Tara thieves and assassins have been found bearing marks that closely resemble Llolth’s chained star. The chains surrounding this eight-pointed star have been broken however, and when in amulet form the middle is set with a pearl, not an amethyst. All of the thieves and assassins bearing these marks that have been found have been discovered after an unlikely twist of luck exposed them.

The biggest talk in Elfhame right now, surpassing even the matter of the executed Elfhamish citizen, is that there is a ship of drow from the Underdark sailing to Mboshu in search of asylum.

The Order of the Square and Compass has reported much more disturbing news. There have been two murdered streetwalkers discovered in the back alleys of the disreputable portion of Tara. In each, the liver, heart, and eyes have been expertly removed. The last time this occurred (nearly thirty three years ago to the day) there were over twenty dismembered bodies discovered. It is hypothesized that the Nightmare Codex murder cycle has been running for over two hundred years, no one knows to what end. Runners have been sent to the Sanctuary to retrieve the Nightmare Codex from the library. The cycle of murders has started again.

The Goldberg family is preparing for the great annual festival. This summer the fair will be more important than usual. Ghinjo, fierce but aging, is attending with her godson. Representatives from each of the Great Tribes are coming as well. If all goes well the Goldbergs will be acknowledged as a Great Tribe in their own right.

View
Thoughts from Vek'd 8

.p My friends, first thing I am feeling much better with Omi around. He and I have come to an agreement, of sorts. We will do what needs to be done to get my soul back (stupid Drow majik!) however, we will strive to make the best out of a bad situation.

.p We went down to the teeth islands. A cluster of small islands that dot the southern shoreline of MBoshu. I am hopeful that we will find the Lich and her phylactory down there as this is where we all had been in the dream. (I still miss Nafu.)

.p Bahh, what did we find but more undead stuff, I am sick at heart when I see things like that. It for some reason drives me to fight all that much harder. I wish I could eradicate all the undead period. We found undead Orca whales and much to our surprise, a half human/half aqua elf. She helped us defeat the Orca. We then went down into this cave of sorts and there the most amazing thong happened. We found the phylactory and a few other trinkets.

.p Rube and I went out to a clearing and thought on how to destroy the phylactory. I smashed one of the blue crystals and out popped a crystal golem. It wasn’t easy but we destroyed it. The next crystal we destroyed there was a strange blue light. This light entered Rube which turned his beard to blue, but didn’t seem to have any other effect on him. We tried another crystal with much dread but finally got the answer we sought. A loud scream was heard from all around us. That was it, the phylactory was destroyed!

.p after getting back to Maji, there wasn’t’t a lot of time for celebrating as we were sent off on a quick hunting trip. This was a favor for the Maw. Seems there is a lion (didn’t know they had them here.) Terrorizing a village and the hunters can not seem to get it. With the cleric and the new party member off sleeping, Rube and I head out with Omi following.

.p this is where it gets kinda fun. So, we track this stupid lion, my friends I have heard of these creatures before but didn’t know they could be so large! I was a bit skeptical three of us could take it.out. I was almost proven right when the damnest thing happened, Rube turned into a huge blue bear! He squeezed the life out of the lion. Omi and I were in a bit of shock.

.p As a trophy I was able get not only the head but part of the mane as well. Seems Rube is on this idea as well for he has gotten a piece for himself. The strange thing is, Rube doesn’t remember much of what happened after he turned into the bear, as if his transformation blocked his thoughts and memories.(Stupid Drow Majik!)

.p We get back to find that our cleric and newly acquainted wizard are M.I.A. We are followed into the halls by the cleric of The Great Mother. We begin talking about her religion and I have to say my ears perked a lot and my mind was drawn to every word she had to say. Seems she doesn’t know anything about Paladins and this idea has piqued her interests.

.p We get to the hall of the Maw and we have a quick conference as to the results of the mission and we get news that the Lich has been spotted in open terrain. They are not sure whether or not it is headed to Aisling (who seems to have a few big gems with him) or it seems that there is a poison that is needed and that meansthe Kajuri. Well, we now know what happened to our cleric and the mage. Seems they went to track down Aisling. That means the boys are running to the Kajuri.

.p (My dearest Fiona, I am so sorry. Please forgive me.) Realizing that we were going out and possibly facing a Lich and there was no majik users among us, let alone a cleric, so we asked our friend Fiona to come along with us. All was going well, till we smelled the rot. We drew the short straw my friends and ended up facing the Lich (of course). Be we began tracking her, I for some reason bent down on my knees and using my sword point down began praying to the Great Mother. The strangest thing happened. My friends, my sword (the one I acquired from the death knight.) turns red from the tip to the center and black from hilt to center to meet the red. Seems the Great Mother has taken interest in me.

.p We finally tracked the Lich down. The hag was trying to escape on foot. Seems that she got attacked by a large group of fishers and her undead squid is now destroyed. Well, the battle ensued and we finally destroyed the Lich and two undead elephants! Afterwards in which I knew she had taken a heavy beating I ran over to Fiona. My friends, something in me broke and broke hard for she was gone and I could do nothing about it. I can not talk about a lot about what happened next, for I feel as I want to forget it.

.p I am the first Claw of the Great Mother, for this I am proud and am at peace for the first time. For the first time I have felt the pains of the loss of a loved one and not sure how to deal with the pain.

View
Thoughts from Vek'd 7
Vek'd 7

(Stupid Drow Majik!) We tracked the lich to the south, as we get closer, we find ourselves in a prairie/desert! (HUH?) Anyhow, it seems that the lich is not in this area, but the necklace is. We come across a campsite of the Kajuri in it. These guys are hunters that use poison and such and are good with alchemy. (Something Frost would have enjoyed if he had not been a puss bag!) They seem to know me by my reputation and are known to help the Maw with many of the things the Taya cannot do. This last part made Tindaji bristle a little bit, for she wanted me to play coy about being Taya, (because we do not know how people will react to you being Taya!), as she put it. I seriously think she needs to have her mohawk examined! Anyhow, they showed us where the evil stench is coming from! Drek! if it isn’t that she-devil Claiomh-bas Cnamh! (Shudders uncontrollably!)

The Kajuri are hunters that use really big dogs, and they are ok. A couple of the hunters went with us and we found the cave where my amulet was being held! A voice from the past started calling to me, I was compelled to follow, I had no choice! (Stupid Drow Majik!). Rube, you encourageable little man! Trying to hold me back as long as possible, however, to little effect. One thing I did find amazing though was that as I entered the cave to that she-devil’s lair, I was surrounded by 6 dogs! They in-turn became a valuable ally!

We were down to the wire and finally that she-devil was destroyed, the amazing thing I saw was the fact the dogs ‘blinked’ in and out as they took the bones away. Hmm, I wonder…

I handed Tindaji my amulet, as soon as we stepped out of the cave, one of the dogs took it from her. I looked at the dog, then at the amulet and I immediately without thinking destroyed the amulet…

…or so I thought! It appears that I made that piece of my soul jump into the dog! (STUPID DROW MAJIK!) Now, I seem to be able to talk with the dog (Omi) and he is not too happy. To say the least, neither am I! Well, we talked for a good bit and the Kajuri gave me necklace with a bone on it, it seems to be worn so that the dogs will always find me! Great, just what I need is someone always knowing where I am at!

I found a piece of paper with a weird saying on it, it came from the armor of the she-devil and I read it to everyone. It is a riddle to find the Lich’s phalactary. When we got back to Kajuri campsite, we proceeded to talk to the Master Snake handler and he gave us a ‘vision quest’. Weird thing about it was that Omi went with me on mine, He laid down with me and it was a good thing too…

… I was back in the hell. I was bound and helpless again, the feelings where real, the feeling of the bindings where real, (I had asked to be bound before I went under.) I knew this could possibly happen and I didn’t want to hurt anyone. She tormented me as before, holding out my amulet just to a point that I can not reach it. She taunted me, saying ‘Aw, poor Vek’d can’t reach the amulet can he?’ I replied back, ‘I have killed you once, you pile of bones! I will kill you again!’ Omi came running in and snatched the amulet away from her and I immediately found myself on a ship!

There, I see Rube, Tindaji, Omi and… Nafu! I run over to her and hug her hard. I then move back and slap her on her nose. ‘You are shunned sister!’ She replies, ‘I know, but I have to do this! After, I will return for my punishment.’ She quickly explains everything and what we are doing on the ship. It seems that we have to go to the teeth and retrieve something and then head to the green Isle (crap!)

We awake and leave for Miji and I return and see the Maw in private council. I explained everything to her, she is saddened by Nafu, but knows she can not do anything about it. She gives me a necklace to wear, a symbol of my efforts and blesses my trip. I go and see Sinafay and Kivuly, there Rube is and now Tindaji.

Kivuli wants to go with us to see Nafu, I try to explain it in a way he can understand and Tindaji tries to challenge my authority! There are things I will not stand for and to have a child killed because of me, I will not stand for it. I do not care what Tindaji or anyone else thinks, Kivuli is not old enough yet to fight!

View
Find That Lich

The Blue Star north
The Red Comet streaks through
Sisters and a Swallow Tail
Eagles flock to wyverns resting
The heir is victorious; no remorse
Hear the child and know his story
Leave him be to change no more

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.