The Red Hand

Journal of Rhea Amelia Namtab
Game 3: Ambush and House of Fear

– Previous Entry: Letter to Professor Carrow –

We were ambushed today. I was almost caught by surprise. Almost. I need to analyse what happened, work on my weaknesses, and acknowledge which strategies used by myself and my cohorts were the most successful.

Our survival was more due to luck than skill. I must come to the conclusion that my cohorts and I do not work well as a unit. While in terms of raw power, we had our foes outmatched; their singularity of purpose and adherence to a simple yet effective battle plan was almost our undoing.

Our front line was effectively neutralized by a concerted attack on Hasdrubal – during which he almost lost an eye – combined with enmeshing of Mavrikos by an enemy retiarius. In her haste to assist our fallen comrades Orfée was also caught in the crossfire, and Nasah had the misfortune to be hit by a high arcing shot.

Samir and Rhialla both attempted to summon reinforcements, only to become the target of enemy archers. Conjuration spells are extremely effective, but their long casting time are a liability in this kind of situation. Still, Rhialla’s summoned rat was a welcomed addition to the fight.

As for myself, I hope to have regained some measure of respect from my teammates. After cloaking myself in a Mage Armor spell, I took out a pair of archers from the fight with a Sleep spell. I attempted to repeat the feat using a scroll, but my nervousness must have betrayed me as neither target fell. I did manage to use a second scroll to neutralize two others, who would later become our prisoners. Scrolls are an effective, if expensive, mean to increase our capabilities.

A cry of “Desecration!” marked the turning point of this battle. What I originally thought but a typical prank from Samir turned out to be the convenient arrival of a pack of ghouls, which turned upon our ambushers. When these unliving joined the fray, and it became clear a tactical retreat would be the wiser option, I dispatched the exhausted retiarius with a ray of frost, provided covering fire for my comrades, and levitated the poor Orfée – who had gotten paralyzed from contact with what we now suspect was a ghast – allowing a revived Hasdrubal to carry her with greater ease. One of the ambushers, a kobold, switched sides once the undead hit our ranks. He is a fair shot and managed to wound the ghast. Perhaps we can hire him as a mercenary.


Upon our successful withdrawal from the Necopolis, Mavrikos insisted we turn our prisoners to the city guard. Unfortunately, and while we were able to postpone his sentence, this meant our new-found kobold ally would not be able to join us in our next foray in the doomed city. I plan to send him back to the Academy by portkey upon my return.

We then retraced our steps back into the necropolis. We returned to the location where we were ambushed and – conveniently – stumbled upon the half-eaten body of the retiarius, who turned out not only to have been the leader of the ragtag group that attacked us, but also the carrier of orders identifying our group in particular as a target. These orders bore the seal of a religious group based in the city. This merits further investigation, and we will have to be on our guard until we get to the bottom of this.


We finally made it to our destination, a walled compound. Eydan and I were about to step within the main gates when a shadow descended upon our companions, who had preceded us. Orphée and Rhialla were particularly affected by whatever befell our friends, and while a simple touch of the arm was enough to bring Rhialla back to her senses, Orphée fled in a panic to the eastern courtyard of the compound, where she disrupted the nest of a pair of poisonous snakes, attracted the attention of two dual-headed zombies of a canine nature, and woke a dozen skeletons from their unnatural slumber. Only a convenient turn of event allowed her to escape that last predicament and rejoin our group, which had followed and was now stuck in melee combat with the menagerie she had left in her wake.

Spent, my only contribution to this particular fight was long-range support in the form of a weak barrage of Ray of Frost spells. If only I had paid more attention in necromancy class! I will need to get one of my companions to teach me how to muster a ray of Disrupt Undead if we are to remain in the Necropolis for much longer.

– Next Entry -

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Game 3: Ambush!
2015-11-22

An excerpt from the journal of Holy Mavrikos, Ch. 17, 33-52

15th of Kythorn, 340AF,
33 The next morning, I arose and prayed for guidance at dawn. 34 After preparations for the holy trials, I headed to submit to the will of Phos. 35 The priestess of Pharasma played her part and 36 we were assigned the mansion of a wealthy merchant in an older area of the Necropolis.

37 On our way to our assignment, Phos set before us a great trial: an ambush by evil who threatened to overcome us. 38 Caught in evil manifest, I was unable to fight until the get of stench of a more powerful undead evil drove fear into our attackers. 39 The attackers broke off the attack, 40 leaving several of their number for Phos to judge.

41 We fought off the undead evil and saved from a gruesome fate those attackers left behind by their cowardly kin. 42 We brought three agents of damnation to the guard as Phos would not look well upon those who would leave even enemies defenceless before the undead.

43 Two were handed over for summary judgement but the last, a kobold, we asked be spared. 44 Phos’ mercy is infinite and even the wicked shall know the warming light of Phos.

45 We bound our wounds and returned to the battle against the ever encroaching evil.our assignment. 46 Upon our arrival at our assigned battleground, a trap surely laid by Skotos himself drove two of our number to madness. 46 While one quickly regained her mind, Orfée kor Samfund panicked and created a great commotion throughout the mansion, 47 drawing to her many evils.

48 Phos proved merciful yet again as he collapsed furniture around several undead, granting her reprieve.

49 A great battle was fought. 50 Many wicked were slain, but the cost of bringing 51 the light of Phos was great as it is often won’t to be. 52 With so many wounded deeply, we retreated for the second time this day for help from Phos.

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Xiao Hu's Lament
Game 3: Ambush and House of Fear

我的名字是小虎。我已经离开我的部落,并正在寻找一个新的龙服务。我的旅程把我带到了一个陌生的地方,没有人理解我。我见过谁讲我的语言的一个沉默寡言的人。他换来了我的服务承诺的食宿。这是最好的处理我曾在时代。我接受。

我们埋伏在死亡的地方。食品的承诺尚未兑现。我后悔。我们的猎物到来时,他们排名第八。乍一看,他们似乎是学者前来探索遗迹。只有两个看起来他们构成威胁。我会尽快食用。

学者们挥动龙的力量。没有快有我让一只箭飞不是一个精灵女性已派出我的同伴进入一个神奇的睡眠。我叫醒他们只听到一个可怕的咆哮。我们不安的亡灵。我跑。我跑错路。

有没有其他的选择。有实力的数字。我逃往学者。他们可能会手下留情不死不具备的。我帮尽我所能,打伤了这似乎群雄的领袖。

我的九个同伴,只有两个仍然存在。他们交给城市的守卫。我的命运似乎不明朗,通过讲对我的同伴我谴责我自己。我面对流放。再次。精灵女性讲我。她说,我会得到回报对我的行为。我不敢相信的。然而,我等。


My name is Little Tiger. I have left my tribe and am looking for a new dragon to serve. My journey has brought me to a strange land where no one understands me. I have met a man who speaks a few words of my language. He has promised food and lodging in exchange for my services. It is the best deal I have had in ages. I accept.

We lie in wait in the place of death. The promise of food has not yet materialized. I regret. Our quarry arrives, they number eight. At first glance, they seem like scholars come to explore the ruins. Only two seem like they pose a threat. I will soon eat.

The scholars wield the power of the dragons. No sooner have I let one arrow fly than an elven female has sent my companions into a magical sleep. I wake them only to hear a terrifying growl. We have disturbed the undead. I run. I run the wrong way.

There is no other choice. There is strength in numbers. I flee towards the scholars. They may show mercy the undead do not possess. I help the best I can, wounding that which seems the leader of the pack.

Of my nine companions, only two remain. They are handed to the city guard. My fate seems uncertain, as by speaking against my companions I have condemned myself. I face exile. Again. The elven female speaks for me. She says I will be rewarded for my actions. I dare not believe. Yet, I wait.

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The Morning After

On each side of the split screen is a POV scene. An attractive, mostly naked, young woman stands in a Tooth and Hookah room on each side.

Their strikingly similar features betray their filial relation, but they are far from identical.

The girl on the left’s hair is long, white and currently holding the two different tunics she is considering while her hands are otherwise occupied with kaf and some sort of pastry.

The young woman on the right’s auburn hair falls naturally on her alabaster shoulders. Despite her milky, iris-less eyes, she seems to be staring directly at the other occupant in the room, a playful smile on her lips.

The girls speak as she lightly pokes her bedmate’s foot:
“Come on twinkle toes/silver tongue, you don’t want to miss the assignments this morning. Thanks again for a fun night. I left you some kaf near the door. Just make sure to lock up on your way out. With some luck, maybe we can do this again tonight.

They smile.

The scene cuts to the hallway where Samir and Hasdrubal run into each other, kaf in hand, as they close different doors behind them. They look at each other, slightly uncomfortably, then share a laugh and make their way to grand temple.

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Game 2: Two Sarcophagi
2015-10-24

An excerpt from the journal of Holy Mavrikos, Ch. 17, 23-32

14th of Kythorn, 340AF,

23 Once our battle against the spawn of evil were over, my comrades and I resolved to send some back to town for supplies. 24 I made the journey back to town and exchange the tainted items for various objects necessary for our continued success 25 such as a wand of healing.

26 Upon our return, we continued our search of the tomb. 27 Many traps caught the unwary including an animated sarcophagus that trapped Samir Goldentongue inside. This tomb room was but a lure to fool the unwise.

28 We continued our search, eventually finding the gravegoods room. 29 Within this room, we found a secret door that led to the real sarcophagus where we were attacked by two iron cobras.

30 Once we inventoried the tomb, we sent some goods back to our school via a portal 31 and the rest we sold for monies to further our quest. 32 That evening, we returned to town and stayed and to Tooth And Hookah.

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Orfée's first day

“I must say the end of this first adventuring day is one special day. My companions and I continued exploring the tomb, finding a trap that threated to drown us all. I am wondering if I would ever do a good adventuress as I was not sure what to do. I was scared and at the same time fascinated by the ingenuity of the human race to think and develop such traps. In the same room, water to drown us, with electric pillar protection the sarcophagus of what we though was the warrior of this tomb which turn out to be a construct trying to eat us all! I would not have survived alone.

Well, the rest of the tomb was fairly ok. We managed to get by, explorer some more, find the 2 secret passages that the tomb had to secure the valuable of the noble warrior resting inside. Going back to the inn where we would reside the night over, I took a small rest and prepared myself for another adventure, the evening celebration. I was delighted to meet the Dog soldiers, a small band of Halfling very friendly with their dog mount. They were mourning their loses, mainly some of their valiant dog mount and some of their comrades. Most of which were against an infamous gelatinous cube a plague of ruins and such places, I hope we will not meet one tomorrow.

Well, what a surprise, Hasdrubal knows how to dance! This is a shame for me. He moves well and has a presence that seems to increase the atmosphere of the inn. I am happy for him that he holds his word true in paying beer to our Samir. This is unexpected I am happily surprised, I will have to learn how to dance it looks like fun enough and yet another adventure to try.

O my, what’s this? I will do so immediately, I will be ready in a few minutes… “

Standing up, moving quickly to Nasha, Orfée give him the wand of cure light wounds (25 charges left) acquired earlier in the day and insure he can use it to heal group the next day.

“Yes, I have been called home for an undetermined time, I will be back as soon as I can. Use this wand with care.”

And on these words, Orfée walks to her room, gather her equipment and step through the portal that opened for her…

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The Avatar

The religious chanting of the priest of Ananrath, cleansing the amphitheatre grounds of mischievous spirits, could be heard reverberating in the underground gladiatorial waiting area. Hasdrubal scooped chalk from the stone bowl and rubbed his hands together in ritualistic fashion, too concentrated to pay attention to the distant incantations.

Hasdrubal’s heartbeat was already steadily increasing in anticipation.

His contest was next.

While his opponent was being introduced, Hasdrubal engaged in the tunnel leading outside, his peers giving final words of encouragement as he walked pass them. In the last leg of the corridor, he was joined by two young attendants wearing stolas leading the way for him by throwing of rose petals.

‘And, hailing from parts unknown, the Slayer of Sargon, The wielder of Gwalhir… HASDRUBAL THESH!’

Outside, Hasdrubal’s eyes took a moment to adjust to the light as he walked toward the center stage. All around him, 16000 spectators filled Oudna’s amphitheather to the brim. His largest crowd yet.

«Show them what they came in to see» he thought to himself.

Hasdrubal slowly unsheathed Gwalhir, then with dramatic flourish, raised his falchion to the crowd maintaining eye contact with the spectators has he turned from left to right, his adamantine sword glinting under the Sekuntian sun. This did not get as much of a rise from the crowd as Hasdrubal had hoped, but perhaps it was inevitable as he was facing a local talent. He would play the ‘villain’ of the current contest.

Standing twenty paces in front of him was Pontus, an old career soldier driven to the amphitheatre when he ran out of conflicts to fight, a monster of a man chosen for his fearsome appearance and his notoriety in the region. Pontus had led phalanxes units of Sekunta‘s conflicts against Taviros’ Dorian League for over two decades, but this meant very little as the Gladiatorial arena was no ordinary battlefield. Hasdrubal’s task was to make the man’s debut in the business his last appearance.

Hasdrubal and Pontus looked up to the main booth from where the cream of Oudna’s oligarchy would be spectating the fight. The two combatants gave a final bow, in respect to their the most esteemed attendees, then faced each other, entering their fighting stance. At last, the head priest ordered the strike of the gong, signaling the start of the bout.

«This is it…»

Hasdrubal wasted no time charging Pontus, catching his opponent flat-footed.

Hasdrubal jumped in the air as he was about to meet his quarry… Time seemed to slow as he swung his falchion downwards towards Pontus’ exposed collar bone, sixteen thousand souls watching Gwalhir descent, willing him to make that killer blow.

The silence before the strike, and the noise afterwards… raising… like a storm!

In these moments… he felt as he was Ananrath himself.

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Samir's Adventure log - Part 2.

What a morning we’ve had! What with the stingings, and the bitings, the trap triggerings and the humiliation-by-dolls…

We’ve come to the conclusion that some extra healing is in order, so a delegation was sent to the market to sell some of our loot and acquire healing apparatus. I’ve decided to stay in the crypt and work on my trap-finding “skills” on the unopened door we still have. I’m still flustered over my lack of positive results so far.


Nothing found! Dare I open it…?

Ha! Like I wasn’t gonna! “He who hesitates, masturbates” as the saying goes. Who am I to go against folk wisdom?


Damn that meddling Rhialla! She was spying on me the whole time and intervened the moment I pushed those doors open!

How am I to sneak peeks and poke around with her and that addled brain Nasah in the vicinity? They dragged me away from the door and I spent the remainder of the time in deep “conversation” with Nasah over a bandaged dead cat. That lad is so fascinated with dead critters (or anything dead for that matter) that I suspect he has a stash of Goblin Mushrooms on his person. I shall have a talk with him about the virtues of sharing in the near future. Humpf!

So I decided to be a gentleman and suffered through an ad hoc presentation on embalming while using my acting skills to look interested. I might have to work on that, too.

Curses! What is taking those hagglers so long? Oh. Mavrikos is with them…

Maybe it’s for the best I didn’t go scout ahead after all. I think I saw blood in my urine and I’m still a little weak from all that poison I unwillingly “consumed” previously.


They’re back! Finally!

Before we go on, I wait in line to get some healing from that nice Orfée broad with the wandering hands. Some seem bothered by her constant touching, but for my part I don’t get the same weird feeling I used to get while with uncle Savir back in the day, which is nice.

And off we go!


My master will be proud! I opened a door, saw some big-ass bugs in them, and turned around!

Yay for recently acquired Entomophobia!


Another trapless door and a room containing a sarcophagus lies ahead. Screw looking for traps this time! Good ol’ Samir will save the day and jump STRAIGHT on that coffin to prevent a scary mummy from coming out!

And to think all my teachers frowned upon viewing my extracurricular reading lists back in the days!

“Sir Vagi’sil and the curse of the Pharaoh” prepared me for this!

You should have seen the acrobatics I performed to land on the lid! If we survive this I shall spin a tale so grand my name will be on everyone’s lips, just like Vagi’sil!


Of all the…!

Guess where the trap was?! I’ve done goofed this time. I’ve endangered the life of all my teammates with my brashness. The doors closed the moment I did my circus act and lightning bolts are flying around the sarcophagus. Oh, and the room is slowly filling up with water…

While I’m tap-dancing on the lid, trying to avoid spiked hair, I quickly looked around, anticipating disappointment or resentfulness from the other scribes. To my relief, they didn’t seem to care. I guess having caught the brunt of all the OTHER traps gave me a few points in my favor. Thank the gods for small favors.

Wait! The lid is trying to lift! Something’s inside!

I KNEW it!


Not the least bit surprised by that mummy being there (Ha!), I quickly called for help to keep the mummy inside. Eydan jumped into the fray and we rodeoed together for a few short breaths until we were unseated by the brutal strength of that cursed mummy. I quickly jumped away and moved near Hasdrubal, who was frantically (and successfully!) chipping away at the barred door.


Well that’s a weird-acting mummy. I’ve never read about one who used the sarcophagus as an armor, trying to clamp on fingers with the lid. I guess it’s a smart strategy defence-wise…


I’m inside the sarcophagus (don’t ask). No mummy there. For now I guess, unless I get out. Thankfully, Hasdrubal cleaved the Mimic with skill, barely chopping my head off in the process.

Waiddaminute… does he know about the graffiti and tried to kill me??!!!

Oh well, I’ll figure it out when (IF) I come out. I’ll keep an eye on that one.


We survived! I survived!

And more easily than against the previous bugs we’ve encountered. Weird…


Ok, Mavrikos has a good point: No mummy found yet, which means there’s a secret door somewhere.

After some searching, we’ve found the general’s secret stash.

We’ve also found ANOTHER secret door… and of course, a SWARM of bugs…

I HATE Bugs!


Another fight we pulled through! I’d celebrate, but the overwhelming smell of vomit in the room acts as a deterrent. These filthy bugs made everyone sick, except me and maybe another, I’m not sure.

I can see a room with ANOTHER sarcophagus inside! We’re nearing the end of this bug-infested shithole!

There can’t be two similar traps in the same complex I’m sure! Time to do a repeat my previous performance!

Oh look, snakes! Made of metal…

Damnit.


After a brief fight with Iron Cobras, we finally get to loot the good stuff! AND, our masters arranged for room and board to the Tooth and Hooker! All. Expenses. PAID!!!!

Guess who’ll be wrestling the sheets tonight with three or four lovely lasses!


Oh… Tooth and HOOKAH…


Hasdrubal praised the size of my proverbial testicles. In front of everyone! I’m sure glad he didn’t try to kill me back in the crypt. I am thus indebted to him for my life. He’s not a bad fellow after all.
He even offered to buy my drinks for the evening. I smell a burgeoning friendship with him.


I like Hasdrubal’s style. Offers to pay for drinks. Zero money on him. We’re like brothers separated at birth!


Oh crap, the phallus mark on his head gear!

I’ll have to remedy this somehow.


Let the festivities begin!

There’s an awesome crowd in the common area. Other parties are also lodging in the Tooth and HOOKAH (…) and the mood is quite positive.

Time for some socializing.

Started a conversation with a cleric named Falto. The leader of the Crypt Finders spun a grand tale of treasures and dangers on their first outing into an old brewery. They even fought a mummy and survived.

I quickly smelled a turd in his so-called “exploits”. Why the hell would there be mummies in a brewery? I’m pretty sure they didn’t laid to rest the town drunks in there.


While smiling and nodding (between sighs) at Falto’s tales, I saw that Orfée and Rhialla were busy flirting with a drunk Halfling and having a good time. Good on them! I’ll be sure to bring up this anecdote to Theofyr next time I see him. I’m sure he’ll be glad knowing that half-men are successful in love, too.


My newfound friend Hasdy invited me over to his table and introduced me to the lovely leader of the group of rogues we briefly met on our way to the general’s crypt this morning. Despite losing members, they seemed willing to talk and have a good time. They apparently landed right in the middle of a clan battle.

A GHOUL clan battle. I somehow kept my curiosity in check at the novelty of Ghoul gangs prowling the street, on the lookout for trouble or rival gangs. Pressing her with details seemed inappropriate in light of their losses in the event.

It sure kept my imagination going though. How were they called? Surely something sinister, like the “Brain Eaters” or the “Bone Marrows”. There’s a small part of me that wish that there’s a tale between two houses feuding over the honor of a further-spoiled (ha!) princess by a member of the Shrivelled Nuts clan or something. THAT story would sell more books I’m sure.


Hasdrubal iz AWESHOME! Heej now danzing on a ta*hic* tabul to the enjoiychment of all!

Time to rem*hic* remove the graffiti on his headjeer…


Cant hic can’t perform that dishpell shpell right meow… I’ll have to modify HIC modify the phallus to not be a phal hic phal hic a dick.


Ow. My head hurts SO much. What the hell happened last night? Oh well, time to study for another day of looting. I’ll refrain from learning any shenanigan spells this time.


Why the hell is there a butterfly with a huge nose on Hasdrubal’s head gear now…?

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Letter to Mentor
First day in Wati's city of the dead

Dear Mentor,

Reporting in as requested on our travel to Wati. Our first morning has been productive. We entered the city as expected and waited at the main square for the Death priest to draw and announced the assignments. This ceremony was presided by Sebti high priestess. Our first assignment was an unknown building in the north of the closed quarters. The building is in good repair and intact. After opening the main door it was evident that none had entered and that we were the first in many years of not centuries to enter. Upon entering, we discovered that this building is a Mausoleum for the renowned general Akentepi. Nothing of note on the first floor beyond some carvings of the god Pharasma.

We descended a pit to reach the second floor. On this level we found various rooms dedicated to specific tasks or theme. One room contain information of his career, another room described his family, a room for embalming and 2 more contain some favorite trophies. The tomb was defended by a few standard traps, some stout doors, a local vermin a type of sand spider, a bound defenders and a few animated tiny statues. One trap was magical and appears to be a mirror of despair.

Your servant

Eydan

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Nasah's guide to practical Necromancy
Chapter 1: The Necropolis (Part 1)

Prologue

Although I came from an humble forester’s background, I am confident my studies at Coldspire Academy will shape me into a capable necromancer and my writings will be remembered through time. All too often we see manuals written by wise warriors, scriptures by profound philosophers, codex from successful guilds and even druidic lore gets its fair share of sheep skin writings. What about necromancy? Yes we’ve all heard about the scarce ramblings of mad Liches but my gift to the world is something practical, something that will make your learning easier. Don’t be fooled, this is in no means a replacement for your mentors, always respect them no matter what their teaching methods are and what you might have to endure through the long years of study.

“Necromancy is a fundamentally good magic !”
-Nasah Tora

Embrace the living
In order to successfully pursue field research, it is imperative to surround yourself with a cohesive group of people. On my very first assignment I was sent with a group of seven other students, which I barely ever heard of, to a necropolis located in the far city of Whadi. Although I believe I am perceived by others with some degree of suspicion due to my inclinations, I am well surrounded and would not have it otherwise.

Mavrikos the sanctimonious, wears his faith as a shield to protect the group from peril and keeps us on azimuth with his moral compass.

Hasdrubal pugilatus, the unequaled weapon wielder, the alluring wall of muscles seemingly chiseled by the gods themselves, selflessly spills his own blood on the front lines in order to brutally slash, cut, pierce, maim and dismember anyone or anything posing a threat to the posse.

Orphée the hedonist, has a golden heart and roaming hands; always ready to give encouraging words and a shoulder rub, she uses her innate and acquired talents to mend our wounds and soothe our pains.

Rhea the insightful, naturally takes a leading role in major decision making processes, most of the time she overthinks things and occasionally butts heads with Mavrikos. However, she always seems to be one step ahead of everyone and that makes her a great leader. She also is peculiar, especially when a threat arise, a bone-chilling almost hysterical cry can be heard from her announcing our impending DOOM!

Samir the lucky, or perhaps the unlucky… has an uncontrollable curiosity and a knack to find traps, often to his own demise, that would otherwise be lethal to the octet. At first glance he might appear as a simple-minded fellow to some but scratching the surface reveals layer upon layer of craftiness.

Eydan master of the elements, is always thoughtful in his decisions but doesn’t overdo it. He is only extravagant in his display of power where he ‘blows our enemies to tiny bits’ or reduces them to a smoldering pile of ashes.

Rhialla the mysterious, is as much as an enigma as she is attractive. Her summoning skills allows her to be surrounded by helpful entities but otherwise keeps to herself especially when not adventuring.

Spending time with others is precious and also a necessity to progress in the mastery of necromancy. Countless times we have saved each other’s lives and shared intense moments; it is a life lesson I would never forget…

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