Lords of Xen'Drik

Aerenal Scout report of Xen'drik - 2

This morning began with the worst headache I’ve experienced. Everyone if telling me I was out for a day. What a ridiculous and obvious prank! What do they think, that I’m only 50 years old?

The religious drifter fellow from the ship has a bandolier just like the one I received yesterday. He talked to a pink haired gnome, also wearing one, and addressed me as though I wasn’t there. He showed me the intricate rifling of his pistols’ barrels, could be a threat? I feel he might not like me for some reason. Considering his accent, maybe all Khorvarians are racist. It certainly fits the trope of such an insular, warring continent.

Purely by virtue of wearing a magical bandolier and a common sense of confusion, we decide to stick together. I followed them to the gate and left the city. The guard was nice, warning us about the danger out in the wilderness.

Can’t be bothered finishing. Next character will be more warlike.
The Retribution of Xen'Drik - Part 2
A Journal by Father Vigil

Day Three – A Strange Land

Left Stormreach, filthy town. Road wasn’t tidy either. Like it that way. Loose dirt for a track, boots on soil. Comfortable. Grounded.

Elf joined us. Aenath. Idiot. He’ll be dead within the week. If he hasn’t fled back to Stormreach, the coward. Gnome might stick around longer. Might not hold in battle, but she’s got the wits enough to avoid one. Kessia, Kess. Gnomish name, short, soft. Suits her.

Reached a river after a few hours walk. Earlier than expected. Maps must be wrong. Heard no great tales of the cartographers of Xen’Drik. Must be careful, a false map can lead even an experienced traveller astray. River too wide to cross. Followed it inland, hoping for a bridge or crossing. Found nothing before dark. Set up camp a short walk from the river bed. Trees, huge. Taller than I ever saw. Strange land.

Difficult to write by camp fire light. Flickers. Can’t read what you’ve written. Food is bad. Dry, tasteless. Just enough to keep you moving. Need to get used to it, can’t expect luxuries on the road. Company could be better though. Dumb elf near killed himself trying to climb these giant trees. Second time, he cast a spell. Flew right up through the canopy. Fool should’ve thought of that the first time. Didn’t help much. When he came back down he swore the mountains were on the wrong side. Like they’d moved. Wonder if he’s drunk or just stupid. Perhaps both.

Day Four? – The Light of Dol Arrah

Yesterday, I wasn’t sure I was on the right path. Coming to Xen’Drik, could’ve been a mistake. Know now. No mistake. Right path. The Sun showed me that.

Soon after writing last entry, heard a sound. Groans, the Undead. Knew it had to be dealt with. Agents of Dol Arrah could not allow such filth. More groans. More Undead. A horde. Hundreds of them. Surrounded us. Don’t know where they came from. The night was dark. We had only the light of the campfire and of the elf’s magic. Abandoned by the Sun, I thought, she’d retired for the day.

Started with two shots. Three kills. Bullets don’t stop for crowds. Gnome’s army put to use. A handful of little soldiers. Took out a few of the shamblers between them. Elf put down one or two. Strange dance of blades. Style I’d never seen before.

Dragon pistol, cone of fire. Double-pistol, two quick shots. Two more guns, one for each hand. All put to use. Still not enough. Too many of them. All around, no space to move. Needed to clear some space, but could not do it alone. Turned to the Mother Sun, and she answered my prayer.

Blinding light. In a blink, fifty lay dead around where I stood. Properly dead, never to rise again. The Sun’s cleansing light. But she brought something I didn’t expect. Day. The light shone through the forest’s canopy. Sunlight. Risen from her slumber to help in our fight.

The battle turned. We found our strength in the Sun’s light. The gnome killed dozens with fire. The elf used magic. And me with my guns and the light of Dol Arrah. We slew the creatures. All of them. We stood in a field of the twice-dead. Corpses of corpses. Put to rest by the light. I took my shovel and began to dig.

A rift. Shimmering vision. Came rushing towards us. It was on us in a second. When it hit, everything went dark. Night again. A boy stood before me. A young, naive child. Smiling. A stupid boy. The boy I once was. The vision before me was a vision of days past. Before it all. Before… The Last War changed many lives.

After a short time, the Sun returned, the vision faded. It left something. A memory. Khorvaire. Home. Family. And friends. A gnome and an elf. The company I travel with, now appear in my past. And another memory. Of the night’s battle. The last of the Undead. One shot, a soul released through fire. The face blown away. The clothes remained. A dusty cloak, dark leather. Looked like mine. Can’t be sure, double-corpses gone, absorbed by the rift.

One of Kess’ pets is gone too. Says she has an inkling as to where it might be. Followed her, found her metal companion. Also found a new sight. Haunting landscape. A cut through the land. On our side, rich forests, tall trees. Opposite, only ice, as far as vision takes us. Can’t be natural, evil magic at work here. We’ll find out soon.

This land is cruel and strange. I long to be away, but there is much more cleansing to do. I fear I’ll be here for a long time. Perhaps until I am no more. I pray the Light of Dol Arrah will keep me strong.

The Retribution of Xen'Drik - Part 1
A Journal by Father Vigil

[ Transcript of a small, leather-bound journal. Originally dark brown in colour, the book’s cover is caked in dried mud and sand. The pages are yellowed, and dirt stains obstruct the writing in some parts. The journal was written in pencil, much of which has faded, but is still legible with moderate effort. The handwriting is harsh and messy. On the first page is written, “The Retribution of Xen’Drik,” and a signature which reads ‘Vigil’. ]

Day One – A Strange Welcome

Ship ride was uncomfortable, but cheap. Damp bed, soggy food. You get what you pay for. Arrived at Stormreach before noon. Floating towers above the city, aged, webs of ivy. Wasn’t told about them. Didn’t ask.

Docks were busy. Sailors, traders. Mindless metal men. Skipped nearest inn, too crowded. People here are fishy, not just in scent. Second inn seemed nicer, rotting more slowly than its neighbours. Mind still rocked in unison with the ship. Needed to dull my thoughts. Asked the bartender for something strong, tries to sell me dwarf beard. Probably scraped up off a barber’s floorboards. Lost my appetite for booze.

Man on the next stool watches me, stares. Ain’t got time for spectators. Asked what he wants, says “to help”. Asked him why, says it’s his job. Asked him how, hands me a bandolier. Didn’t see where he got it from. Suspicious, but seems more honest than the swindler behind the bar. Took his gift, could use the extra storage space. Asked his name. Just says “Me.” Answers like a metal man. Ain’t got time for halfwits neither.

Rented a room for the night. Up the stairs, third door on the right. Bed looks acceptable, only a few lice. Sat around for a while, tried to slow the spinning in my head. Gave up and headed back down. Bar’s about half full, people keep to themselves. ‘Least ’til the elf at the bar tries his luck with the dwarven beard. Doesn’t take it well, but the moron keeps drinking. Before long, he’s on the floor and shouting. Ruining the room’s cosy atmosphere. Disturbance of the peace. Threw water in his face and put a pistol to his belly. Fat bartender notices. Tells me to take it outside, keep my affairs out of his bar. That’s what he gives me for trying to keep his peace for him, ungrateful shit. Fine. Stepped out into the evening sun, waited for the elvish drunkard to face me. Never came. Coward.

Met a gnome girl out the front of the bar. Hair is pink, slicked back. Never understood women’s fashion. Girl’s got herself an entourage of metal pets, they follow her around like hungry cattle. Noticed she’s got a bandolier like mine. Wonder if it’s not the same one. Asked her where she got it, she told me somebody gave it to her, a blonde gentleman on a bar stool. Fits the description of the halfwit from before. Only she tells me she met him on an airship. Can’t be in two places at once. Must’ve been someone else. Gnome tells me that the creepy feller pulled a disappearing trick on her. Wizard, maybe.

Asked about the airship, she’s just come to Stormreach. Told me about a message she got that sent her here. Same one that I got. Curious. Figured we ought to stick together. Told her to rent a room at the inn, she got the one next door to mine. Went back to my room. Pulled a few things from the bandolier. Weight didn’t change. Must be magic. Inside: scrolls, potions, wand, magical trinkets. Ring, made me feel tougher. Like I’d grown an extra few layers of skin. Taking it off again made me feel naked. Kept it on. Belt, made me feel nimbler. Fiddled with a pistol for some time. Better control. Faster draw, quicker aim. Useful. Headband, not sure what it does. Noticed my mind clearing up, though. Easier to think. Been wearing it while I write. Helps me remember.

Need to wear in this gear. Task for tomorrow. Also, prepare for the journey into Xen’Drik. Make sure gnome can be trusted. Only here half a day, but the scum of this land has already shown itself. This town’s full of fleas that think they’re people, grime to be scrubbed off. But that’ll change soon. Retribution’s come to Xen’Drik.

Day Two – A Second Companion, A New Burden

Woke early. Prayed. Gnome was already up. Slept in her walking chest, mechanic dog took the bed. Strange company. Went downstairs, bar nearly empty. One patron. Drunken elf from yesterday asleep under table, still out of his wits. Looked closer at him, saw bandolier. Same as mine. Same as the gnome’s. Thought bandoliers were supposed to lighten the load, so far they just give more burdens.

Attempts to contact the elf were unsuccessful. Suggested leaving without him. Gnome seemed hesitant. Decided against it. In a fight, he’d give the enemy another target to focus on. Could prove useful. Still, keeping him along meant wasting a day. Gnome and I made the best of it, gathered information from locals.

Advised not to leave Stormreach. Told about fearsome creatures out in the wild. Not worried, keeping guns close. Besides, this land can’t compare to things I’ve seen. Mournlands. Living spells. Don’t like to think about it. Received some strange reports about patrols into Xen’Drik. Groups go missing, that’s normal. Groups come back years later. Think they’ve only been gone a few hours. That’s stranger. Must be some beast out there that plays tricks on travellers. Makes them forget time passing. Could be fear, drives them mad. Worth investigating further.

Talked to guards at gate. Say we’re free to leave, but first say they ain’t liable for what happens to us. Tell us people have come back different, or not at all. Makes the families angry. Makes them want payment. So first we gotta agree, say they ain’t liable. Guarantees family won’t blame them, friends won’t accuse ‘em of failing their duties. Pointless. Got no family for the guards to worry about. Don’t have time for friends neither. If I don’t come back, ain’t nobody gonna look for me.

We leave tomorrow, with or without the elf.

Aerenal Scout Report of Xen'drik - 1
Arriving in Stormreach

Day x
Leaving Shae Thoridor, I boarded a great wooden ship bound for Sharn, for a change over to Stormreach. It is product of the sacrifice of so many innocent trees slaughtered before their time. I am glad they could not feel the pain of the genocide; I hope no dryads or treants were harmed.

So far the sea has been hospitable, but we are still close to Aerenal. The captain had informed us that we follow Aerenal’s coast for a day, cross the Thunder Sea and follow Khorvaire’s south coast for a few days. I hope to learn more in Sharn, nobody speaks of Xen’drik back home, let alone sails for Stormreach.

Day y
Sharn is beyond words to describe! Layer upon layer of floating stone towers impossibly suspended in the air! There’s hardly any time to write as we approach, I’m packed and ready for the immediate change over since we are running late. Crossing something named the Thundering Sea; of course there will be a storm!

Day z
Speaking with the captain and the crew, I have learned many rumors about the continent of Xen’drik. The flow of time is not normal outside Stormreach. I also hope to bump into one or many of the giants our people speak of and destroy them for their crimes. They are the ones that should be enslaved; brutes working for the more intelligent.

Stormreach is immediately reminiscent of Sharn with some strange overgrown spires looming over the city, disconnected in the sky. I believe this is an effect of the strange flow of time. Ancient ruins of future Stormreach? Or a forgotten ruin of the distant past, flung into our time?

Better not to use the port-side inns, I have settled in what looks like a decent place, 4 blocks north from pier 4. Time to head downstairs and meet with the locals. Itsnak can stay up here to avoid scaring the locals. Would think that they would be used to strange sights here.

[The next entry is an illegible scrawl that looks more like jagged lines. they don’t even run parallel, but curve and drop off the bottom of the page.]

Greetings Adventurer
A missive received by several people with great renown


Your great skill and expertise have recently come to my attention, as has news of a powerful and dangerous artifact in the heart of Xen’Drik. I would like your help in retrieving the artifact, for I fear if it falls into the hands of those that seek to dominate the world they would have no opposition in doing so.
I do not know for certain what the artifact does, or even its specific location, but nevertheless you are to search for it. Head to Stormreach, on the coast of Xen’Drik south of the Khorvaire mainland and I will send an agent to meet you there.
I will be providing you with a number of magic items to assist you in your journey. Please, hurry. The temporal river in Xen’Drik does not flow at the same pace across all of the continent. There are those that would seek to use this, even manipulate it, for their own ends in acquiring the artifact first."

This is the missive all of you receive. No matter your race, no matter your class, no matter your initial location, this is the telepathic message you receive, with no way to reply. You all need to come up with a list of the following magic items to give me. This is what the agent will already have waiting for you, and all of you will be visited independantly, even if your characters know each other at the start and are together, you will only be visited once seperated from the group.

a single 1st level wand with 50 charges.
5 3rd level potions, 10 2nd level potions and 15 1st level potions
1 minor permanent wonderous items of any value
5 disposable minor wonderous items of any value
1 ring of value 19,500 or less
1 scroll of 4th level, 2 of 3rd level, 4 of 2nd level and 8 of 1st level
1 handy bandolier (it is, functionally, like a handy haversack, except it is of bandolier design)

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