Hyperborea Rising

Amelia's journal: entry 3
I won't be eating again for a month

So, where to start this time? A lot has happened in the last few weeks so there’s plenty to get through. Well to start off we’ve been given another mission by King Lars, this time to gather help to reinforce Bibracte and and it’s leader King Hrolf. We had a few choices as to where we could go as well. Persia, for example though while the notion of visiting a new land with what might be a more pleasing climate is tempting it was decided that Persia was too far away, so we’ll add that to the list of places we’ll probably go to later. Instead it was decided that we should get help from King Arthur of the Britons who I’d heard was a bit… eccentric, though Gestr claims to have met him so he should be honourable at least. So we were ready to head out to Britain, that was until everyone adjust happened to run into Loki at a tavern. Another god. While I was asleep. As it turns out he gave Gestr a riddle in exchange for leaving some random door open for him which in absolutely no was seems like an idea we will live to regret. That was sarcasm if you couldn’t tell.
So, after having a quick chat with the trickster god we met an old associate of Gestr’s called Jean who is a rather… colourful character but very capable captain despite the questionable substances he consumes. It was maybe a few days into our journey to Britain however, when Gestr pointed us towards a big whirlpool in the ocean and told us this was the answer in Loki’s riddle… and then proceeded to jump down and swim to it. Needless to say we went after him and, I guess I am a bit ashamed to admit I needed Jin’s help given that I can’t actually swim. Nevertheless we travelled down the whirlpool and landed in some submerged ruins which may or may not have been Atlantis, who can say really? While there we found a stone tablet depicting a method of entering the underworld and a rather nasty golem who got upset when we tried taking the tablet from it. Apparently we need the weapons of several legendary heroes to open some door or passage whose location we still don’t know, but still at least we’re making progress.
A few days later we finally arrived in The Northern coast of Britain and immediately encountered a force of 300 feasting warriors, you know as one tends to do. Through some persuasion we managed to convince the lord that was housing this force to let us take them to Bibracte to gain honour and glory and all that good stuff. An encounter with some surprisingly nice and polite bandits (maybe?) we found Arthur who wouldn’t leave until they could get some sort of truce with the nearby Saxons, who as it just so happens we’re electing a new King. Contending for the title were some lords and a shady looking eel merchant so, in order to speed up the truce process it was decided that Karzak would stand for the position… or rather the reanimated body of the last Saxon king which I guess would be him reclaiming his throne which I suppose is fine. By the way if anyone says that a political battle is easier than a physical one then they are lying to you. It took a shipment of food from Tavenna and a visit from a dignitary of King Lars to convince them to elect their last king. But still we convinced them and got both the Saxons and Arthur to send forces to Bibracte.
Speaking of, we are currently in Gaul and on our way there now, that is after we took a rather long detour. You see, on the way from Britain to Gaul I decided to try and keep myself occupied and so decided to see if I could make anything to help us in our adventures. Turns out, magical equipment requires some high end material so I need lots of money. Well, Jean overhears me and tells me that a friend of his was interested in a crown and would pay us 80,000 gold for it. The only catch was that it was in some kind of burial mound and probably protected by undead, so nothing really new there. As we later found out it was the resting place of an old king who died trying to fend off roman forces centuries ago. He was also a wight with fey hounds. He also had a weapon that may or may not be one of a few legendary weapons that we need. So, he said we could borrow it if we could pass his trials. The most shocking thing was that the first trial, to eat an entire feast provided to us, proved to be the most difficult. I had to call it quits about half way through and it was only through Gestr and his stomach of steel that we made it through that. Even so, I don’t even want to look at food for the newest month and now I need to get in some form of training regiment to get rid of this extra weight. So, after about a weeks rest we had to beat him at chess and while it was very close at times, Jin actually managed to beat him. Our last trial, surprisingly, was the easiest: to kill a chimera and bring back it’s heads. I just made it fall asleep and the others killed it immediately. In the end however it was decided that we wouldn’t press him for his crown, given that he can seemingly conjure food and servants out of thin air and has the obedient service of fey he’s probably not someone we should mess with. Still though we got his weapon and hopefully Lars will pay us for securing him troops to help King Hrolf.
Still though 20,000 each, it’s such a waste.

Amelia's journal: entry 2
On orphans, toads and talking doors

So, it’s been a few weeks since I last wrote in here and quite a bit has transpired in that timespan. Upon returning from the frozen wastes of Hyperborea we decided to spend some time researching what scraps of information we recieved from the strange chaos god. While Arcay wished to learn more on his God’s prison deep within Tartarus, the others decided to engage in their own fields of research. I’m not quite sure what Gestr was studying as he seemingly secluded himself while we were busy but it’s probably best not to pry as it’s probably a matter of great importance to him and to dig too deeply might seem rude. Ratcliffe on the other hand decided look up “that which sleeps below” or something to that effect. Given that it is a very vague clue he concluded that he required some assistance to solve this problem. However instead of say, hiring a few scholars he decided to go around every orphanage and hired every literate orphan he could find to go through every book he could get. Well, I say hired… he initially wanted them to do it for free but had to pay when the orphans told him to. Needless to say this method of research was rather long and protracted but in the end yielded results. Apparently the thing that sleeps below is a giant dragon sleeping in the centre of the Earth. So yeah, that’ll be one hell of an adventure. Oh, and Ratcliffe may or may not have a team of researching orphans ready at any time now. So, if King lars is reading this I must stress that Ratcliffe is never left unsupervised. Ever.
However we were left with something of a dilemma, as all of our intended destinations were some distance away and we were essentially broke. So, in order to alleviate this issue we were given an assignment from the King to clear out any creatures deep within the city that may have been spawned by the areas wild magic. Ratcliffe however did not join us as he was too busy trying to create a giant tumour familiar or capybara. Did I forget to mention he already has a rather sizeable tumour as a familiar?
Anyway we descended into a well locked area of the city, Gestr’s Druid assuming the form of a fire elemental to light the way for Arcay. However it didn’t take long for trouble to find us as Arcay was almost immediately attacked by a Mimic disguised as an old box. Our next find was not as dangerous however as we encountered a talking door… for a broom cupboard. Also the door had two personalities with the side inside the cupboard acting a bit… let’s just say he was somewhat rude. Moving on we were then met with the sight of a strange humanoid crystal that kept on screaming at us. It was quickly dispatched but we soon learned that it wasn’t actually a threat as a creepy toad like monster that apparently didn’t like loud noises attacked us right afterwards. After the toad was dispatched we then entered a room filled with animated wood splinters that could form words. Just between us they were absolutely adorable and Shikobe seemed to agree as he had them all jump into his bag. While we’re talking about him he also decided to drink a notion in the next room and ever since then he’s been acting a bit… strange. He was rearranging potion bottles, sweeping the floor and I swear he keeps giving us these weird looks, as if he’s studying us for imperfections. Anyway, the penultimate room had a grating for a floor with three wooden boxes across from us. Knowing that something bad with definitely happen if we tried to cross Shikobe used his magic to move the boxes over to us. And then Arcay was attacked by a creepy brain like monster that jumped out from one of said boxes. I swear by the way that these things were strong willed because it took forever for me to actually make one fall asleep. Luckily I managed with this one and Shikobe’s spirit squished it. Also a creepy red mist attacked Gestr when he crossed the grating.
Finally however, we made it to the last room that had a big shiny crystal and was covered in mushrooms that our Druid swiftly burned away. Until some of them formed into a pair of humanoid monsters and attacked us. In retrospect I’m glad I kept my distance as after they fell they released a dangerous looking cloud. Come to think of it, last I saw him Arcay didn’t’ take look all too right but hopefully I’m just imagining things. Upon clearing out the mushrooms though we were contacted by another weird entity similar to the one we met in the defiled temple. Since I’d had my fair share of wierd stuff for the day I decided to leave the others to deal with whatever it was and made a start on trying to release the talking door from it’s hinges, thinking that it can’t be all that nice being a door for a broom cupboard and maybe a nicer room could help with the attitude a little bit.
But, when all is said and done we were paid, we have a clearer idea of where we need to go and none of us were horribly disfigured or scarred this time. So, all in all it’s been a pretty successful few weeks.

Shikoba's Report, vol 1
A marvellous party as ever your majesty

The day came that after a few amazing weeks in this Hyperborea place we were called forth to receive our orders directly from the King. We were brought forth during a meeting with some adventurers. Some of them were stepping away and leaving the journey. Elise and Zelgius were choosing to take up residence in Hyperborea for the foreseeable future. The one speaking, a Ratcliffe, was claiming that he could rebuild the fallen Byzantine Empire. Apparently he had support, I had to wonder why he was here if there was support for it back where he came from. Quite a ways away.

But my attention then came to the tiger. It could talk. I’ve heard of animal spirits talking to seers but not an animal that can talk before it returns from the spirit realm. Quite amazing. He spoke of his ancestors and was setting himself up to be heir to two Gods or something to that effect. I won’t pretend to understand but it seems impressive enough.

So we were to accompany the group and assess them, while using a small magical item to report to the King, after all he can’t support every scheme that comes to his attention. It was incredibly generous to even hear this one out.

Now as ever his eminence held a party, because why not as they are always joyous occasions. Well they usually are. This Ratcliffe showed maybe not his true colours, but a shameful avarice and cruelty. He came to me hoping to sell me some “pretty sweets”. No matter how frequently I refused he simply pressed on, claiming that my beauty was insufficient and that I could always be prettier for a price. Well this was upsetting in itself but Lussuria was outraged. How dare he insult his love. How dare he prey on the insecurities of the weak. How DARE HE…. Sorry got a bit… anyway. Thankfully Arcay saw my distress and calmed me down. We shared a few puffs of the “peace pipe”. While I was enjoying my now inebriated state Arcay was having his own crisis. He had seen a dark aura emanating from the tiger, the most evil and twisted he had ever suffered to witness. During his panicked exclamations the witch Amelia attempted to cast a spell on him. This did little to deescalate the situation.

I do hope this does not set a president as we took a large amount of cocoa to calm Arcay down. I wouldn’t mind our copious excess but we simply don’t have enough supplies to deal with all this. Having spoken to the being with this aura he may be objectively evil but he is at least polite. More so than some of the company we have to suffer. The party ended with myself, Arcay and a few new acquaintances heading to an afterparty, apparently my love not war discussion swayed a few hearts if just for one night of peace.

Some time later we set forth to the frozen wastes once more but this time heading further than we thought possible. Passing the small tribes we came across some that were very different. Arcay had heard that a shaman in the North could point us towards his God. But there was something wrong with these people. They were twisted forms of what may not even have been men.

But we came to the shaman who spoke in riddles, avoiding answers and simply giving more questions. Thankfully Amelia was able to force a coherent answer out of him. I simply asked if he had found love. I was pleased to hear he had. I’d have pried further but I was aflame as strange glowing blue symbols were burned onto my flesh. Once the pain had subsided i was actually rather pleased. Their intricacy had a strange and wrong beauty, to my people this means that one is part of a community… I’m not sure if I want to be part of this one. The others were also changed. Ratcliffe grew a fitting tail, the tiger is now practically daemonic in appearance and… well Arcay is looking at me funny and licking his lips… yay?

Arcay's Report to King Lars - 1
Initial Impressions and Arctic Expeditions

I never imagined that such a place like Hyperborea existed or that the king of such a grand city would ever have a job for me personally! The sheer scale, the magic, the weird fire sticks, it’s all so fascinating. I can’t stay long though, I have an important quest!

Anyway, the report. I don’t really know how this is supposed to work so I’m just going to talk about stuff that happened and people we met.

The group of adventurers I’ve been assigned to are a strange bunch to say the least and not all that I’ve found about them is good. I guess I’ll start with Hannibal Ratcliffe as he is who you are most interested in. Ratcliffe in short is an untrustworthy man who unsettles me. He’s makes all these weird sweets and liquids but is really, really pushy when trying to sell them. Like, at the party the king hosted (I’m so sorry about making a scene, the party was really great, nothing wrong with it I’ll explain later) he kept trying to play on Shikoba’s image issues to try and sell these “pretty sweets”. Not to mention that who I assume to be a previous acquaintance literally came up to us and said, “Don’t trust this man”. This would become a recurring event where Ratcliffe would try and play on someone’s insecurities to sell whatever he made that day. It’s honestly really worrying. As for how he acts when adventuring, I think it’s best to say that he succeeds despite himself, which is good maybe? Then there’s Gestr, who is a large talking striped cat. Yes. He can talk impressively well and his speeches sound very inspiring. If only I understood a single word he was saying. My grasp of these eastern languages isn’t the greatest but it seemed like he was talking almost constantly in odd phrasing that I just could not comprehend. From what I could gather though he’s a great warrior who holds honour above all. Then there’s the quiet man who follows the tiger, Ji. Don’t know much about him other than he has a connection to nature.

As for the others that have been assigned to this task, I have no complaints. Shikoba is as lovely as ever and Amelia while quiet is really smart. However, there is one other member of this group of adventurers. I have no idea how this came about but they carry a god with them. An evil god. He calls himself Karzak and he’s a dracolich that burned a great civilisation to the ground. During the party I saw his soul or at least it’s aura. I haven’t seen anything so horrifying and awful in my life. Such a level of evil, I didn’t think it was possible to see such a thing with your eyes. Hence my rather, uh, undignified break down at the party. Once again, really sorry, I totally understand if I’m not invited to more parties. Apparently, they plan to summon him so that they can put him down permanently but I don’t know, they seem very friendly with this being of pure evil. They even have me talking to it as well, although that’s purely because I know Shikoba would want me to give this thing a chance. I’m pretty sure this being is antithetical to the whole “love, not war” thing though.

On an unrelated note, what is wrong with the wastes and the nomads that inhabit it and the gods they worship? I was asking around about Quetzalcoatl and a mysterious hooded old man told me there was a shaman in the wastes that knew everything so I should ask him about Quetzalcoatl. Well I got everyone together because I couldn’t do this alone and I figured it’d make for a great test for the adventurers. We needed to find the place though and ended up bringing along a quite frankly terrifying nomad called Kharn. I don’t think there is a single aspect of Kharn that does not both frighten and confuse me. Oh yeah, the place the shaman was in was apparently an old “desecrated” temple in a mountain range that only “sometimes” exists when “he wants it to”. What? We made it there eventually, even with magic being kind of weird and Ratcliffe using a horde of large rodents to pull his cart instead of properly adapted animals. Not to mention that he tried to reanimate them. Wasn’t having any of that nonsense. Before reaching the temple we had to go through some tribal camp which was populated by warriors clad in metal sporting anything from strange growths to wings to tails and bipedal bestial creatures which were mostly seen cleaving human flesh off roasting spits. The place was so terrible that I was actually very glad Kharn was there to scare the living crap out of anyone who would otherwise have murdered and ate us. We finally entered the temple and it wasn’t much better. Weird altars to strange outside gods, vague figures in our peripheral vision, the place wasn’t right. Further inside we met the shaman… who was the same hooded man from the bar that gave me the tip. He then told us we could each ask him one question. It’s at this point I became aware he was probably one of these outside gods. Can I just let it be known that’s is been a week and I’ve talked with two gods. Neither of them good. Unfortunately the god was being very unhelpful and answering in riddles. I thought I was never going to get Quetzalcoatl’s location out of him until Amelia came up with a question than pinned him down and forced him to answer. I don’t know how I can repay her but I’ll have to come up with something.

But it appears it all came at a price regardless. He changed us. Ratcliffe has a tail, Shikoba has a set of unsettling tatoos, Gestr looks practically demonic and Amelia seems more unresponsive than usual. As for me… I’m thirsty. Really, really thirsty. I don’t know what for but I have a terrible inkling. When I look at people I can practically feel the blood pulsing through their veins. Maybe just a little wouldn’t be that bad…

Amelia's journal: entry 1

So it’s been about a week and our little group has already embarked on our first escapade. How did it go you ask? Well it was certainly… let’s call it a unique experience. After introductions and a good meal with Hyperborea’s king and his court Arcay, a half-elf cleric of Quetzalcoatl I believe, learned that in the frozen wastes outside of Hyperborea lived a shaman of sorts who could help him find his god. Given that, at least on a first impressions basis, he seemed a rather nice and pleasant person I told him that I would help him. I mean helping to find a missing god is a pretty good thing to do right? Before setting off however we met with a very large, very brutish and, to be quite honest, very terrifying looking man called Kharn who said that he could lead us to the shaman. Initially Arcay, the Tiger and myself were very reluctant to take him with us but Ratcliffe proved to be adamant and so he joined us.

Speaking of Ratcliffe it seems that we may have our hands full if we do end up helping him in his quest to restore Carthage as, and I kid you not, he purchased 30 capybaras (which were absolutely adorable by the way) to pull his sleigh. Most of said capybaras died during the journey sadly and Ratcliffe had the nerve to try and bring them back with necromancy. Thankfully Arcay undid his spell whenever he tried it but then, out of nowhere Ratcliffe starts yelling at me, convinced that I was out to kill him. Where he got this idea I have no idea as I like to think that I have been very pleasant and courteous with everyone. Maybe the cold was getting to him and he’ll stop this after he has time to warm up.

Anyway a little over a week and a climb up some mountains later we finally arrive at what looked like some makeshift camp or village filled with people similar to Kharn. In retrospect given that it was covered with weapons, the people themselves seemed very suspicious of us and I think there was a half eaten human body there perhaps bringing in a local guide was a smart move. Kharn then led us to the entrance of what appeared to be either an ancient or ruined temple and told us to enter. Upon doing so we were met by a rather decrepit looking man, apparently the same man who first informed Arcay if the shaman in the first place. Speaking of Arcay he wasted absolutely no time and asked the old man where his god was and was rather disappointed when he recieved a riddle for his troubles. Thinking carefully I devised a question so specific that he couldn’t respond with a riddle and by doing so discovered that the missing god is locked in a cage deep in Tartarus. I’m pretty sure Arcay felt pretty grateful for that judging by the massive hug he gave me. Though I have to admit, since I spoke to the old man (who may actually be some sort of demon) I’ve been feeling a bit weird, almost as if life itself has lost some of it’s spark, as if the colour palette of the world suddenly became more dull. I don’t know maybe it will go away when we spend some time away from that creepy place.

So, overall this has been a pretty interesting first soirée and if it’s any indication for what’s to come then it can only probable get stranger from here. Also Ratcliffe is going to be an insurance test.

Elise's diary: entry 6
Hyperborea and snooty Drakes

So, it’s been a pretty emotionally heavy week for everyone. After we dealt with the business of the troll king we decided it would be best to get out of dodge in case any unintended consequences of our actions decided to bite us. So, we finally set off again for Hyperborea, leaving Scandowegia and trekking to a Dwarven city that links to the damn place. A few weeks of travelling and we made it to what was in actuality a pretty expansive market (with it’s own portal to another dimensional plane). If I’m going to be honest with myself I think I’d better take it easy on the drinks, this ‘Brimstone’ I tried was, well… let’s just say potent doesn’t do it justice. Oh and Roshan bought a griffon, for some reason.
The next day we hired a pair of dwarfs to guide us through an old, abandoned path to Hyperoborea and it would have been nice if they had informed us as to what we should have expected. The first night there Zelgius just broke down and started crying. Then Roshan followed suite. And then something happened with the tiger I can’t quite remember what. But then I saw him, just standing there by one of the passages. Dad. He beckoned me to just sit next to him and we spoke for who knows how long. He apologised for ending up in some monastery where he couldn’t see me again and, that was when I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I cried, in his arms apologising for being such a failure, for not living up to his ideals. Then he just disappeared and I haven’t seen him since.
The next few days were even stranger. When Zelgius would prepare food, strange thorns or nettles would sprout from it, the Tiger’s teeth turned invisible and whenever I spoke every nearby animal would start howling. So, by the end I was starving and going mad having to stay mute. Thank god it didn’t last long as we soon arrived at the gates of Hyperborea and, as it turns out, Zelgius didn’t want to introduce us to his parents because, and I quote, I was likely “to have a tantrum” and destroy something. the nerve of that little prat. But eventually he relented and boy do I regret it. As it turns out Zelgius isn’t the most snooty, self obsessed person on the face of the world, his father and his black dragon are even worse. He literally disowned some of Zelgius’ siblings for underperforming so, I think I actually feel sorry for Zelgius. god I cant believe I just said that. But anyway, we were apparently resigned to the servants quarters, but whether that has changed or not I couldn’t tell since I booked it first chance I got. So, for the last few hours I’ve been exploring the city while the others do god knows what. As it turns out the city itself is pretty nice, with plenty to do; if only the people were as pleasant.

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.


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