The Red Hand

Orfée's nebulous thoughts

I have seen the sky; the world beyond the walls of the academy and then the world go dark and darker yet. It felt strange and at the same time reassuring knowing that I may move to my next life. I know, there is yet much to do and accomplish in the world to fulfill my harmony, it would be a shame not to continue.

Reflecting on how I ended up in this predicament is a tale on its own. It all started yesterday where I was selected amongst other fellow students to go into the city of Wadi and into their necropolis. Why? Simply because it was now opened for plunder and treasure retrieval. Now that necropolis of Wadi is opened, we have to go, seven of my fellow students and me into the unknown of the world with our limited power, outside the security and containment of the academy. We arrived to the city quickly and got assigned our area of the necropolis – why did it had to be a necropolis… undead and all, this was not good. We needed to investigate the area, report our findings and go back.

I must, my first impression of the place was a good one, many old stones, beautifully sculpted, decorated with care and artistry. All build to stand the test of time, transmit to younger generation the knowledge of the previous, underlining important aspect of everyone buried here for the future. We are more than a thousand years after and their memory is still around and not entirely lost to time. The mausoleum assigned to us does not make an exception. The tomb of Akhen Tepis is illustrated with his life accomplishment and major milestones depicting his strength and family.

While we were exploring, we founds animals, deadly traps and many interesting artefacts. Most animals were hostile and did attack us, I hope out of their instinct of territory protection more than just to arm us. It while we were exploring a room that looked empty at the beginning that my faith changed completely. Big desert spider – Solifugae to be precise, most likely hungry and wanting to protect their area decided to attack me. I had never before experience such cuts and bites, such speed and ferocity upon my person. Inevitably my poor body resistance was put to the test and failed quickly. I must say and recognized that without my companions I may now be traveling the my next life or be floating into the netherworld.

With such companions, that barely knew me and still help the best way they could; I know I am in my place. I need to find my harmony, understand better the other’s point of view and their interest. I think I need to offer even more my support for us to succeed in our task and to hope to get more of these tasks so we can learn a more practical approach to magic, life and adventure.

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Samir’s Adventure log.

Just received my first mission! Being a graduate FINALLY starts to get interesting! I get to not die at the hands of my master (minions of his tend to be scarce at the Academy, despite a steady flow of “recruitment” in this little specialization of ours). Good thing I get to be away, as my usual chatter doesn’t seem to make myself endearing to the old grump Drakt[blood smudge].

**

Terrible headache. Don’t know why. As I was saying, my cheerful personality seems at odds with my master’s legendary sense of hum[unfinished word]

**

Okay. Lesson learned, no more witty thoughts about my oh so nice M[unfinished word]

**

No sarcasm either.

**

Turns out it’s a mission involving graduates of all the Academy’s schools of magic. 8 in all.
Great! I just hope none of them were victims of my boredom at one point of my illustrious career as an Academy student…

**

Not bad for an adventuring group. No one I’ve had too much fun with in the past. The gods a smiling upon me, because if Theofyr would’ve been a member of our merry band, I don’t think I would’ve survived a night out of the Academy’s watchful eye (how long until he stops being angry at the Shrunk Spell incident? We’re indentured to the Academy forever! It’s not like he’s going to use it or anything!).

The group seems to be well balanced and no animosity is apparent, aside from this arrogant brute with a strange voice, like he has a cold or a similar ailment. He dared call illusionism a pathetic endeavor! Dared! Jokes on him though, as I Arcane Marked the back of his headgear with a phallus while he was busy measuring male organs with that rapier-wielding fellow. I can’t help thinking how Theofyr would be severely outclassed in such a contest.
chuckle

On a side note, I seem to have the only commoner accent in the group. The rest seems to be nobility by the way they talk.

**

Long hours spent at the library reading up on ancient traps of Whadi. A little more complicated than the ones students are improvising around their meagre belongings in order to keep me out of them. But hey, a trap is a trap, yes? What could possibly go wrong?

**

Welp, we’re to be named the Mewling Quims. It’s either an insult to the strength of our group or we are named thusly for others to underestimate us while on our mission. It is a question to be pondered by my betters, as I can’t help laughing at the contest of leadership already going on between a few of us.

Commoner: Oh Great Wizard Leader. What art thou company’s name, so that I may regale my children with tales of thy great deeds?
Leader: Why, the Mewling Quims, dear farmer. Spread the word of our greatness! And don’t forget my name as the fearless leader of it! History shall not forget me!

Ha!

**

Wow, not much time left to prepare for teleportation! No details about our plans once there, aside from getting into a necropolis to loot trinkets. And learn things? I can’t remember.
I’ve hence decided to split my spell studies between a few illusions (we’re going to a city, might as well make the odds in our favor) and offensive spells, in case my shenanigans backfire.

And off we go!

(this teleportation room looks familiar…)

**

Of course, we’ve appeared out of the city limits. Makes sense, as fierce-looking scribes like ourselves appearing in the middle of the city might strike terror in the hearts of the local population.

Already, as we colossus of the minds are wont to do, we’ve started our mission by debating which way was north and expounding on the definition of deltas, rivers, and other things I was too bored to listen to.

Kill me.

**

Finally inside the city! Now to work on giving us some advantages for the coming days! We should drop at the nearest tavern to scout out the competition. I’ve a hundred golds saved up for such an occasion. My plan is to look at any tension within an adventuring party and maybe exploit this to snatch a cleric or a warrior to our cause. After all, a band of scribes like ourselves will surely need medicine or a shield by our side, no?

**

Are you KIDDING me!? We’re to be at the city centre for the loot lottery right away! Our mentors sure made a stup[word not finished]

**

Ow. As I was saying, our mentors are geniuses. How did I not think of that before is beyond me, but we have two specialists capable of handling wands with healing capabilities. With thousands of gold each for supplies, we’ll have plenty of healing magic at our disposal. It’s fool proof! I feel way more optimistic now!

**

Wow, lots of people showed up for the lottery. I’m still a little upset over my lack of opportunities to start the mission on a more favorable footing. And we’re to start right away. I’ve not prepared spells for dungeon exploring! What if… What if I try to scare a few adventurers away with a little something-something? Might be able to persuade a coward or two to accompany us as fodder for promises of riches and fame.

Well, let’s give it a shot.

**

Well that was a spell well wasted! The grand priestess dispelled my illusion!
Yet they HATE the fact that a bunch of non-believers will be desecrating their ancestors. Guess they hate sacrilege more than desecration?
But then again, I don’t think a cleric exists that is not as dense as an ox…

**

We get a crypt of some general who did something with someone over a place somewhere or something like that. Anyway, we “won” a tomb. Time to explore!

**

Sigh. AGAIN with the discussions and the debates over opening a freaking door! Thank the gods I’m busy looking for traps on a smooth stone that is impossible to contain a trap instead of participating in this joke. My fellow adepts of magicka are too busy coming up with ideas and scenarios to figure out my laziness (and I get recognition for my skills! Ha!). Looking at a piece of rock sure beats shoveling sand, I’ll tell you that.

**

Curse the gods and curse this band of scribes! While they were busy chatting away, two scorpions slipped through ALL of them, UNNOTICED! And guess who got stung first? Yours truly! I could feel the venom draining me of strength the instant I screamed “Ow!”

On the bright side, guess who won’t get asked for manual labor for this mission? This handsome young man!

Two measly scorpions to kill. This shall be like taking candy from a baby.

**

I should’ve said HUMAN baby… We struggled to end those buggers. We actually struggled! This does not bode well for us. The 1st room we penetrate (hehehe) and I’m wounded already! I’ll ask for a dose of some sweet, sweet healing wand magic from my brothers and sisters.

**

**

Note to self: Study. MORE! Those traps are brilliantly hidden! I think I’ve activated them all by accident while looking for them. I guess I “found” the traps anyway…

**

This is humiliating! We got our butts kicked by dolls! Dolls! And of course, the mewling quims (I’m beginning to think the name was prophetic instead of insulting or strategic in nature) were too busy mewling to shout out to me, so I was jumped on when I was on all four, looking for traps at the entrance.

Mea culpa on my part: I should’ve stopped looking for traps the moment some of them entered the chamber, but my bruised ego demanded a thorough examination.

**

Are you kidding me!? Two of us nearly died by big spiders hiding behind a mummy preparation table. I jokingly mentioned that it might not be in our best interest in letting others outside our group know of our um, tribulations up until this point. The group nervously laughed while looking at the ground. I think our secret is safe.

**

Master Draktooth decided to get a progress report through me. I told him the truth, that we were struggling. He replied something cryptic about not having to fight everything we encountered. Brilliant idea! That is EXACTLY what we could’ve done if we HAD TIME TO PREP[unfinished word]

**

Ow.

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Letter to Professor Carrow
Game 1: Into the Necropolis

Dear Professor:

I hope this missive finds you in good health. As you had predicted, we were both woefully under-prepared for this task and lacking coordination, which resulted in casualties – myself included. Fortunately, there were no deaths and our injuries, while major, can be tended to.

The senior students have performed admirably. The thralls summoned by Fellows Maudril and Eydan were instrumental in keeping at bay the dangers of the crypt. Eydan’s mastery of the elements and Rhialla’s skill with force projectiles also allowed them to dispatch our foes with haste. My own performance, however, was definitely sub-par. While your training in the art of prognostication did allow me to sense my enemies’ murderous intent and warn my companions, I did not have the tools in my arsenal to handle these threats. I may have to follow my better’s example and conjure some bodyguards of my own, or else find another way to assist my group in a more proactive fashion.

The junior students also played their part, but they relied heavily on skills learned prior to their entry in the academy. Of particular note would be Scholar Goldentongue, who took point in matters related to snares and pitfalls. The level of skill he demonstrated when interacting with the numerous mechanical devices set against potential tomb raiders was underwhelming at best. Samir attempts at skulduggery resulted in him getting slashed, poisoned and peppered with crossbow bolts. Repeatedly. That said, I highly value his contribution as lightning rod.

However, I must disclose that I suspect him to be the source of an apparition of what I can only assume was intended to be the god Nethys and which addressed the adventurers in the main plaza, prior to the event. One of the priestesses dismissed the glamour post-haste, and I am led to believe that will be the end of that. Do note that I do not have any proof the mischief came from one of us, other than the horrendous accent of the pseudo-god, and Samir’s renowned penchant for pranks of this nature.

Scholar Thesh is a brute, which is proving to be extremely useful in this underground setting. The architects of this place have designed with an overabundance of doors in mind, each thicker and more massive than the next. Were it only for his ability to push heavy object out of the way, Hasdrubal would have still earned his keep. His experience in the arena is also proving useful when confronted by foes. Had it not been for his sword, and Fellow Maudril’s force missiles, I would likely have been overwhelmed when rushed by a swarm of constructs, midway through our journey.

I plan to keep a close eye on Scholar Tora, as his enjoyment of the Necropolis is greater than the one even a student of necromancy should have a right to. Otherwise, he keeps mostly to himself and I find myself with very little to report.

I also need to be mindful of both Scholar kor Samfund and Scholar Gavras. Both have shown inclinations towards wresting control of our ragtag group from those rightfully ranked above them – the former subtly and with cunning, and the latter more openly. I will not run for leadership. Even if I had such a notion, my pathetic display of skill of the last twenty-four hours would quickly take me out of the running. However, I do plan to support whichever of Eydan or Rhialla best rise to the challenge.

Please find in annex the list of items found in the first crypt we visited. Those that have been returned by portkey to the Academy are identified by a mark. The remainder are enchanted and may help us complete our task. I will send a more complete description once we find the time to examine and identify said items.

Dutifully yours,

Rhea Amelia
14th of Kythorn, 340 AF

P.S. I had noticed, prior to leaving, that your stores of Varanus niloticus mentula were low. I understand fresh ones can be obtained here, at a fair price. Should I go ahead and purchase a bag?

– Next Entry: Journal of Rhea Amelia Namtab -

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Game 1: Into the Necropolis
2015-09-27

An excerpt from the journal of Holy Mavrikos, Ch. 17, 1-22

13th of Kythorn, 340 AF
1 And so it came to be that Blessed Kryseis charged me with a holy duty of expunging the evil of the Necropolis of Whadi.

2 “Go!” said she “and visit destruction on those things that are dead yet refuse the sweet embrace of Phos. 3 Destroy the children of Skotos, cursed be his name”.

4 And thus I made ready for my voyage with meditation and prayer for is it not said 5 “Let the peace be within you if you wish it to be without”?

6 My meditations were peaceful save for an interruption of one of my erstwhile companion, a follower of Ananrath, 7 whose twisted teachings on combat stain the sands of gladiatorial stadiums across Lyria. 8 I took his measure and he took mine.

14th of Kythorn, 340 AF
8 In the morning, my companions and I, eight in all, 9 were transported through the grace of Phos to the road south of Whadi.

10 Here we made our way into the decadent city and heard the words of the priestess of Nepsis, 11 who proclaimed the doom of many a group of fool hardy. 12 Our turn came and we were assigned to clear the crypt of a heathen General.

13 That day, we met many heathens with none of any note save, perhaps, for the Sand Scorpions, 14 a band of ill repute, visibly thieves in search of loot undefended by the living.

15 We reached the crypt and made our way inward. 16 Of the battles of the first day, I will say little if only to underline the state of unreadiness of my companions and I. 17 We explored the crypt, discovering a vast underground extension to the humble above-ground building.

18 Traps were many and caught us unprepared. 19 We discovered much wealth but little of any spiritual significance. 20 What dangers we fought, while significant, were of the mundane variety. Perhaps Blessed Kryseis was mistaken about the taint of evil in this place?

21 Even so, Orfée kor Samfund fell repeatedly against the giant spiders and we won only with great effort. 22 I resolved to double my efforts, lest on of my companions fall through my lack of devotion.

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