Hyperborea Rising

Elise's diary: entry 5
I think we started a civil war

Well, it’s certainly been a few busy weeks with plenty to write about, so where to start? Well, after that business with King Arthur we decided to travel to one of his halls to celebrate the defeat of the Saxons. It was all going so well until that damn tiger started telling stories again, getting the hall to hang on his every word. I thought he could use some competition so I did my best to tell my account of the battle, to a surprising degree of success. That is until he got the upper hand and actually got the the room to turn against me. Admittedly I might have gotten a bit carried away after that, storming out of the hall and scorching the ground (I can breath fire now by the way) as I flew away to calm down.
after that we travelled to Londinium where we met up with Captain Jean and set out for Hyperborea. I think he might be a little… shrewd with his savings as he wouldn’t actually dock his ship for us. During the trip Zelgius decided to walk in, trying to give me some moral lecture about trying to control your pride. I wasn’t really in the mood to I decided to leave and try to find a more comfortable place to sleep (a pair of large bat wings really makes sleeping hard). However things started heating up as the boat was attacked by a brine dragon. The tiger, with his obsession with slaying dragons decided to dive head first to meet it in battle, with Ji, Roshan and Zelgius following in behind. Mind you, given that I’m not exactly that competent a swimmer I thought it best to let them handle things. Long story short however the dragon was defeated, the tiger got some trophies and we continued sailing on.
A few weeks later we arrived in some place “Scandowegia” and visited a small village who informed us that some King had united a bunch of Troll clans together and were apparently planning something bad. In response we decided to visit one of these villages, though the residents didn’t seem all that happy that we did. After that Zelgius, Ji and his tiger had to leave for reasons they neglected to share, leaving Roshan, Ratcliffe and myself to deal with them. So, Roshan had the ingenious idea to disguise ourselves as trolls (well, Roshan took the form of a fire elemental) and inquired about the king at the village. Things did not go as expected however, as Roshan kind of convinced them to burn a neighbouring village to the ground over, of all things, salmon. In the aftermath we found that the giant’s were using equipment of Byzantine make, which was somewhat strange, if not sespicious. But anyway, we returned to the troll village nad Roshan went a step further, by getting the village to declare war against the Troll King, fortifying the village and making it into a stronghold.
So while they were preparing for war we dicided to scout out ahead and we saw that the king’s army was on the move… and may also have been trained by Roman legionars. In response to this we decided that the best course of action would be to assassinate the king in his sleep in the dead of night. So, I flew everyone to his tent, used some invisibility potions from Ratcliffe to sneak inside and I personally delivered the killing blow. We then flew away with the other two deciding to throw firebombs for the fun of it.
A few weeks later we made it to the king’s town of residence to find his hidden loot horde. Given that he was a troll it was likely that he hid it underground, all we needed to know was where to start looking. It was at this point that Karzak decided to speak up, compelling a troll maid to give us a hand. She informed us that it was most likely down a well, she then tried to get intimate with Roshan who, as it turns out, may have certain romantic feelings for Ratcliffe. I mean, with sir Crowley gone I suppose we do need people to provide the storybook romance that our party needs. Soon after we descended down the well, retrieved a bag of loot from behind a poorly made wall and left as soon as we could.
So in summary; we are currently in Scandowegia on our way to Hyperborea, we may have provoked a troll civil war, Ji’s tiger is an ass and roshan and Ratcliffe may end up a couple. All in all a pretty productive few weeks.

Elise's diary: entry 4
The kingslayer

So, it’s been a few days since my last entry, so where to start? Well first we finally arrived in Britannia to meet King Arthur and his men who, coincidentally were about 2 weeks away from a battle with a Saxon army. Ji’s tiger of all people (or cats I suppose) actually got us a job from him to defeat both a dragon and a tribe of hill Giants who were to join the Saxon forces. Meanwhile Ratcliffe (the Carthaginian from my last entry) has been trying to sell the party a bunch of different pills and tonics, which I’m not too proud to admit, I tried. I have no idea what was in that strange drink of his but I actually felt a lot more confident and, dare I say it, perhaps more fetching too? Perhaps I’ve given him too hard a time after last weeks events.
Anyway, first we went to deal with the Giants and it actually went really well at the start. We quietly started luring them out a few at a time until they caught on and we had to flee…. though not before Zelgius through a fire bomb at them which, in turn, burnt down half the forest. It was after this that we decided to set up camp nearby, and I tried another of Ratcliffe’s wonder tonics. However this one had a more noticeable effect: that being that I grew a pair of bat wings. It completely ruined my leather armour and if I want more I’ll probably need it custom made but all in all I think I came out ahead because, you know, I can fly now. Thank God though that the dress I bought leaves my shoulders bare so I at least have something decent to wear.
What happened next though was pretty bad. We were awoken by the rumbling of an earth elemental, a really pissed earth elemental who particularly pissed off about Zelgius burning down the forest. Despite Zelgius apologising and taking full responsibility the elemental decided to literally take part of our souls to help regrow the forest which, to be quite honest, was really painful. However Zelgius must have seen the somewhat smug look I had after he got his comeuppance as he nearly beat my to death afterwards. To be fair I probably had it coming and should really apologise to him. Mind you, that forest fire wasn’t a total waste as it left the Giants in no state to fight… as about half their numbers were burnt alive, so not really what I would call a clean victory.
Nevertheless, the more challenging task was still before us, to defeat a dragon that hadn’t been seen in the area for months. Starting from a pretty poor village we eventually found the dragon’s lair, after potentially elevating a local farmer to the status of lord of course. Upon finding the dragon in a pool of corrosive acid, Ji’s tiger decided to brag about his family tree and the heroic acts and deeds of it’s members, with the dragon responding in candy with his own deeds. This lasted for hours, to the point that Zelgius and Roshan (the ifrit pyromancer) were getting visibly drunk. We did, however, finally come to an agreement, if we could retrieve the axe of the Saxon king and give it to the dragon, not only would it not fight in the battle, but he would help Zelgius in his quest to be come a nobleman or something like that.
The next day, however, was the day of the great battle between the Saxons and King Arthur’s men, a battle that we were placed right in the middle of. Well, the main battle started after the nobles got all their bickering and boasting over with. After that we engaged the Saxon king himself, who proceeded to beat us up hard. However, in the end, the king fell with one final stab from my own sword. So, apparently the bards of the land tend to write songs about those who perform such heroic deeds so, I guess we’ll see what they come up with for me. Elise the Kingslayer; I think it has a nice ring to it.

Elise's diary: entry 3
Of rods and regret

Before I even go on I’ll just say this: wine and magic rods are a terrible combination. For the love of god never use them together or else you’ll regret it for the next few weeks afterwards. With that said let’s get back to where we left off last time.
The morning of my last entry had a rather surprising twist, as Faustus has decided to pack up and leave, dire bat and all. I still have no idea why he left, in fact I can’t recall anything that happened after he mentioned leaving. According to Zelgius I passed out on the table, for reasons he has yet to divulge. Before we could actually leave the city though we were interrupted outside a nearby tavern as two patrons were thrown out. Or at least that’s what Zelgius says as my view was somewhat obstructed by the lining of his pocket. That is until I recommended giving introductions, at which point he grabbed and thruster me out in front towards the two. Not exactly the most dignified of introductions but I got a look at them anyway. One of them was a masked Turk I believe, I won’t bother prying as to why, maybe he just has some nasty scars or burns he’d like to hide. The other was a Carthaginian patriot, though by the end of this entry I’ll be half tempted to call him a fanatic. Apparently he makes and sells potions so at least that’s something. Long story short however they were looking to go to Hyperborea too so now we have a full party again.
A few days into the journey we made it to the domain af a Hyperborean lord who welcomed Zelgius in to stay and feast. Thankfully by then I had regained a few lost feet and was up and raring to go, though this was before I tried using that bloody wand again which just so happened to summon an elephant. An elephant that the Carthaginian tried to ride. Thank god it didn’t stay too long.
In all honesty the rest of the day is pretty fragmented and blurry, too much wine I’d imagine. Apparently Zelgius and the Turk shared a room for the night, and in all honesty I think it’s good that he’s trying to get past that whole business with Julian, help him move on. I just wish I had better luck because, as it so happens I spent the night with the Carthaginian testing the rod. Care to guess what happened? The same bloody thing as last time, doll-sized Else came back to say hi. Not only that, the Carthaginian took the rod as well and proceeded to turn a statue of a Minotaur into the corpse of a real one.
The morning after was horrid though. A splitting hangover and I was almost caught by the cleaning staff. I found my way back to the main hall and found Ji’s tiger, fat lot of good he did the snobby git, until Ji himself found me. So to sum up, That’s 12,000 gold down the drain, I’ve shrunken twice now, and from what I understand the Carthaginian sold my rod and hired some cavalry for his cause.
Like I said at the start, never mix wine with magic.

Elise's Diary: entry 2
A small problem

You know, when I wrote my last entry I didn’t think things could get much stranger than it already was. Boy, I could not be more wrong. It started off pretty well, we had plenty of gold to spend so we decided to go and spend it on some new magical equipment. Given the choice of going the safe route or the scenic route we obviously went for the latter which, as it happens sent us through dark fey territory. During the journey, I learned that Mr Faustus isn’t really a fan of Mr Zelgius’ cooking and stormed off to see if the fey had anything to spare. Granted, at that time I was feeling tired and decided to call it a night, but Mr Ji told me the following morning that Faustus followed a trail of berries to a fey camp, his tiger followed but didn’t come back and Zelgius may have gotten lost while hunting. So, he decided to go and retrieve them while I looked over the camp. They came back the next morning, as expected, though apart from Ji, they had a symbol tattooed on their bodies, apparently a gift from the horned god. All in all I think they suit them just fine.
A few days later though we finally got around to buying stuff for our journey. I wandered off and scored a nice pair of acrobat slippers and a beautiful silk dress. In all honesty right now I wish that was all I got, because while I was looking for a nice inn I found a vendor selling various magic rods and got a pretty good deal on a ‘rod of wonder’ as the vendor called it. Apparently it can help the wielded perform great feats of magic, the lousy con artist. So, in my enthusiasm I decided to try it in my inn room… and the next thing I know I’m reduced to a convienient hand held size, about a foot tall. Worst of all I was stuck in my room because I couldn’t reach the damn door handle.
Honestly the next morning was the worst, as I had Zelgius shouting at me from outside to wake up after I had spent a good two hours trying to reach the door handle. On top of that I nearly lost it when Faustus called me ‘adorable’, do they not understand how intimidating they look like to me, and then on top of that he decided to grab me. So here I am now, sitting in Faustus’ pocket, writing this on a spare piece of scrap paper I found trying not to throw up with all the swaying. And I swear to god if he tries to grab me again I’m gonna bite him.

Journal of Faustus - 9
Of Vampires and Siblings

It was disappointing to see Julian go. I might not see eye to eye with the worshippers of Christ but he was a man I could respect. I wish him the best in his pilgrimage, may he find the absolution he seeks.

As for ourselves, we finalised the path our journey will take. We could have merely taken a nice relaxing walk or ventured through undead infested lands and up through the Alps. We obviously settled on the much more dangerous path. Besides, we would get to see lovely Ravenna, my family home! Sure, the place was probably going to be completely looted but I just so happened to know where some treasures were hidden so it could still be profitable.

As it turns out the place was still occupied.

We organised a meeting with “The Lady” who claimed dominion over my family home! The impudence, the scandal! They even called her a striking beauty, which given that she was undead I assumed was a grotesque joke, much like how superstitious villagers call monsters that dwell in the forests “kind” as to avoid their wrath. I was pleasantly surprised. There is of course one type of undead known for their unearthly beauty, vampires. She also seemed to be reconstructing the city and generally upholding the rule of law. She even has some of my siblings pledging their allegiance to her. Seems I can’t go around calling myself “Last of my Name” anymore. For their part, those impudent whelps own the family estate, an estate which is rightfully mine. At this point a plan begins to form. Vampires are also known for their egos and their vanity. If I appealed to this and also showed her how great I was and the righteousness of my claim I could get what is rightfully mine back with no need for conflict. It was perfect. The execution of the plan was perfect as well.

Too perfect.

Apparently, vampires are a bit clingy and don’t take “But I want to slay a dracolich” as a good enough excuse to disappear for an unspecified period of time. Vampires also have lots of enchantment magic. Thankfully, the group managed to save me from becoming her thrall. Although, on reflection, it didn’t seem that bad. I was happy, was probably going to marry one of the most attractive beings on this plane, most likely produce enough to pay off my debt before it becomes unmanageable. Wait, why the hell did I even resist?

You know, I said I wouldn’t “go down to the docks” to make money because I have some dignity but this entire episode was a slightly more elaborate version of that plan. I didn’t even get money (directly) from this.

I really do have no dignity.

Elise's diary: entry one
First impressions

Well, my father’s companions certainly have high aspirations. From what they’ve said I’m given to believe that Mr Faustus is seeking to become a legendary hero by slaying a dracolich of his own after speaking with a Norse god. As long As I never have to meet one of their kind, I wish him all the best in this endeavour. Mr Zelgius is looking to become a saint, why he would ever seek praise from that hive of zealots and villains is beyond me, but I think it would be best to support him for now. He could be looking for something to keep his mind off Sir Crowley’s sudden departure, a shame too since I absolutely adore marriage ceremonies, especially one as unique as theirs would have been. Nevertheless I wish Sir Crowley luck on his travels and hope he stays safe. Mr Ji however has been more quiet than Father’s letters indicated. Apparently he had been drinking some really strong Norse ale, a shame because I could really do with some of that stuff right now.
But anyway, back to current affairs. Mr Faustus wanted to go back to his families estate to see if anything of value was still there, because apparently he’s at least seventy thousand gold in debt, a simple task right? Well no, because when we go there the city remnants was found to be inhabited by wights and undead, under the command of a lady vampire. Mr Faustus got us an audience with her that left Mr Zelgius’ jaw on the floor (metaphorically) and got Faustus a private dinner with her while we stayed in his estate.
I swear if we stayed for more than one day I would have broken down in hysterics. Undead and wights I can deal with but vampires, demons and dracoliches I’ve had enough of. Mind you we did find a fortune of gold in the house, so it wasn’t all for nothing. Long story short however, Mr Faustus wanted to stay with the vampire, Mr Zelgius insulted him and was consequently chased after, which gave us the chance to escape. So overall, I’d say it was an interesting first week.

Journal of Faustus - 8
Norse Mead

We have finally arrived in Rome, that most grand of cities. Unfortunately, it is not as grand as it once was. The streets are near deserted and the architecture broken and battered. Some serious investment is needed to bring Rome back to its rightful grandeur. I have money worries of my own however, so you shan’t be seeing me contributing. Tired from the journey we searched for a suitable inn to rest. Julian and Zelgius settled in some depressing place no doubt affiliated with the church. Ji and I decided on the adjacent inn which had sounds of merriment emanating from within.

Best choice of my life.

We engaged in much revelry that night and into the morning. I did think it odd that at no point did I feel tired, or sick from the immense amount of mead drank. Well turns out this inn leads to Valhalla. Say what you want about those Germanic barbarians, they know how to have a damn good time. Ironically, all this drink lead to a sobering realisation. Relying on Kaarzak for enjoyable nights is a really stupid idea. I did consider solving the Kaarzak problem then and there but asking Odin to deal with it but being in a true god’s presence would not be good for my wellbeing. I asked an intermediary, a nearby Valkyrie, to do so on my behalf but she brought up a good point. Why not deal with it myself? Dying in honourable combat is a prerequisite to go to Valhalla and I can think of worst places to spend my afterlife. If I am actually successful just think of the stories! So, I promised to that Valkyrie that I’d vanquish that dracolich once and for all and she’d be the first to hear about it. At the rate, I’m changing gods, perhaps it’s better to say I’m more partial to Syncretism. Well, Syncretism sounds better than saying I’m a religious mercenary. To those willing to empower me, I’ll gladly fight in their name (and the name of Rome of course!). As for what happens after I shuffle off this mortal coil, well they can fight over me.

The next day was Alexander’s trial. I didn’t attend because bringing Karzaak to the Pope seemed a poor idea, especially giving it’s gets in the way of the whole “vanquishing him forever by myself” thing and anyone who wanted to say otherwise could fight me. Julian to his credit, took me up on that. Good man. He’s certainly tough, but without those shields of his there was only so long he could last. After the trial and the fight, I went right back to drinking, enjoying Valhalla as long as I could before we depart again. Oh yeah, Ji’s tiger can talk now although that might just be the drink.

Wait. I forgot to ask what happened at the trial. Who is this girl that’s following us around? What’s going on?

Ah, never mind. I’ll deal with that in the morning, cheers.

Journal of Faustus - 7

It’s certainly been a strange few days. We made our way to mainland Italy, landing in Calabria. During the voyage my investigations into the arcane bore fruit and I was strangely enlightened with the knowledge of the language of these commoners and many more. “Team Incompetent” is a strange name for a mercenary band Zelgius, especially one you are in. This would create a point of contention upon landing as Julian almost immediately denigrated the Glory of Rome. I admit, I shouldn’t have lashed out, but he shouldn’t be talking ill of the greatest empire that has been and ever will be. My means of response were limited, with my attempt to weakening him failed I resorted to my final option. Cursing him as I had been cursed. This was much more successful and I left quite content with my vengeance. Moments later Julian walked into the inn I was sitting in, with a completely new wardrobe covered unholy symbols. Not really trusting him with the sack with Karzaak in it and having my own reasons I requested it from him then left him to his own devices. Going back to the dock the situation got stranger as Alexander was laying on the ground unconscious. Fixed him up and went on my way. Apparently being denied his connection to his God and the powers that granted him caused him to fall in under 10 seconds. I am still baffled and amused.

In other news, I solved the necromancy problem. Just a matter of perspective really.

Later on a paladin bearing a papal banner showed up to deliver court papers regarding a hearing into the heresy of Alexander. What is going on? The paladin quite quickly noticed the apostate and a skirmish broke out. Thankfully I managed to heal his wounds and send him on his way, after testing if it’s common for paladins to fall so easily. Apparently not. Last thing anyone wants is the Pope as an enemy. At least not yet.

Inns are a lot more fun when you don’t have to pay.

Anyway, the next day it dawned on Julian just how bad a decision he had made. Given the level of apostasy he found himself in, it was concluded that the only way to redeem him and save his immortal soul was to have a chat with Jesus. I assumed it went well, given he’s back to his usual wardrobe of white, gold and silver.

As for what I learned recently, it is much better to actually live the good life than maintain a facade of one. A triumphal chariot with 4 steeds? What was I thinking? I think it is better to be rid of such ludicrous expenses, save for one horse for transportation and keep the gold for more important things.

Journal of Faustus - 6
magical boom sticks

after a rest we did indeed return to the wizard’s lab to take whatever materials may be of use including many books and surgical equipment. we also managed to rescue survivors which we had missed in our initial venture. unfortunately the books concerning necromancy were destroyed on the paladins insistence and a popular vote (another reason why democracy is a failure). alternative routes will need to be taken to devise containment measures. however with the tools and alchemical substances we have taken the surgery should be a success, although i am still concerned about complications. on a related note, apologised to zelgius for not corroborating his obvious lies regarding the artefact. it hurt, but was correct thing to do. i hope he accepts it.

after watching the wizard’s execution we continued with our work. visiting the sites of previous caravan ambushes we determined that a dragon was responsible for the attacks… as well as a noble from hyperborea. zelgius explained that in hyperborea they have some form of wonder weapon, which if my calculations are correct, are capable of launching balls of metal at two hundred metres per second at least. if true, such a device could pierce through almost any armour and combined with their ability to magically attune to such a weapon be instruments of untold destruction capable of felling lines of infantry like a scythe through wheat. zelgius was keen to stress that for outsiders such as ourselves to touch a weapon would be a death sentence for us, as knowledge of it’s workings is a state secret. that said i must examine such a weapon. if it is magical it’s arcane power will be drawn out and analysed. if it is alchemical it’s constituent ingredients will be determined. if it is mechanical it shall be reverse-engineered. of course it must be obtained in such a way that i will not be murdered, i have enough to worry about regarding that.

after determining the noble was working as a mercenary tasked with raiding roman supply lines we accompanied a caravan to protect them. we were successful, although the other caravan guards did not survive. deeming that rome might find a captured noble more useful than a corpse i performed emergency medical care on the dead hyperborean. i feel i may have upset zelgius again as the “gun” had to be handed back. i am confused. i thought he wanted to do good things. did i do a bad thing? would rome rather have a corpse? should i do bad things? i do not know what to do, it is difficult to understand now. i should apologise, even if i don’t know what for.

on a more positive note, i think i made a friend with a dragon. although i am not sure what “acolyte” means in this context but i think it’s good.

Zelgius' Journal - Entry 6
A matter of life and wealth

Having sent the mad “Dr” to his execution which he didn’t seem too perturbed by. I suppose if you believe you’ve conquered death what is there to fear? After watching the lunatic hang I explained to Julian that the devil was inside of me and we could remove him physically with surgery. Despite my hesitance to go under the knife with an inquisitor nearby who has made it quite obvious that he’d kill me if given the chance.

Julian and I have continued our daily and nightly prayers, it’s beginning to become second nature. It’s weird having an actual routine, never really kept to schedules and stuff in my school years. Julian is still trying to make me see the errors of my ways. I do see that I’ve been wrong for most of my life but I fear my soul is stained beyond redemption. I don’t think you can come back from sacrificing people to a demon lord… probably not.

But getting past my fears over my immortal soul we set off to take out a dragon. Attempting to set up an ambush we failed quite miserably but I set off in pursuit. In the end it tuned out to be a hyperborean noble who was fighting as a mercenary for the the opposite side. I asked him to stop but after finding out I don’t hold station he ordered me to stand down. I explained after being shot that I couldn’t let his gun fall into their hands. If I did I either had to kill my companions or face execution myself by their side.

After the skirmish with the noble I secured his pistol and in doing so, just so happened to secure myself a noble title. Then Faustus revived him and I naturally gave him back his gun. I was somewhat bitter but didn’t want to cause a diplomatic incident and also it was the “right” thing to do. Or something. Being good sucks sometimes.


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