Symbaroum - Descent into Ambria

Deaths in the Pass
Burning Resolve

The guards at Pass were acting strangely, but they seemed helpful enough. They replaced Sara’s armor and boots, and provided food and supplies for the party’s return to the Bright.

But mere hours after they led the villagers from Kazad back toward Thistlehold, four guards rode in on a full gallop and fired the shelter that was provided for the party.

Telk fired an arrow through one of the guards. His transformation took another, and between flails and arrows the remaining guards fell.

Two days later three of the villagers emerged from the woods, tracking the party—undead.

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The Passage
"That was my armor..."

There was a passage attached to the tunnel, and someone got curious.

Fortunately, the party thought to use a rope to yank her out of harm’s way before her armor started to melt. That particular passageway was filled with a bioactive mold that ate its way through…. almost everything.

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Evacuate

The party decided to take the elf’s advice, and lead the villagers out of Kazad through the mountain, back to Pass. In the tunnel, they were attacked by a cave troll who heard the protestations of the villagers beneath.

Miraculously, no villagers were harmed.

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Lost Girl - Entry 3
Personal Journal of Saraethia the Changeling

The elf’s words were cold, but familiar. “This isn’t for you.” I know that I should I have held my tongue. It’s an elf afterall. Still, I couldn’t help myself and snapped back a hasty, “What is there for me then?” His silence was deafening. It was all I’ve ever been met with whenever that question had escaped my lips.

He’s right, the curse will be broken with Telk, It’s not safe to write here, but I have a plan. I knew it was beyond stupid to let myself feel anything beyond partnership for the sake of work. Caring for people almost always means that they will leave, or abandon me. Yet in the face of being told that he was Bertolin’s familiar, he just leaned into me and said he knew that I would find a way to do it, and end all of this. Then he tried to extract a promise that I would do what needed to be done, as if it didn’t matter that it could mean his death.

When I told him of the conversation with the elf, he announced that I belonged where ever he did, as if he could just change Ambria with his very word. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we have a place that we can go unmasked, where we are free to be changelings without fear that someone will hurl insults or treat us no better than property.

The most curious thing was the fact that the elf almost seemed relieved that Glennis had broken the crystal. It makes me want to find another, and take the crystal with us… perhaps we could find what happened here after all, damn anyone who says it isn’t for me to know.

If I wasn’t good enough to stay with the elves when I was born, then they no longer get to dictate what it is that is for me. I’m not human enough to be treated like one, and I’m not elven enough to be one of them, so I’ll be comfortably neither and live by neither rules. I’ll live by my own, and right now the only thing that matters is breaking that curse so that Telk isn’t Bertolin’s slave, so that he isn’t anyone’s slave.

Something I should keep track of here, just so it’s said. I feel my own corruption growing. Telk sees it because he’s warned me not to use magic, but there’s one way I can promise he’ll live, and that’s magic, so there’s very little he can say to stop me. If he dies it won’t matter to him what happens to me anyway. And really, maybe that’s what happens to all changelings. Magic has a price, we are creatures of magic. Maybe in the end, we’re all bound to become abominations.

The only thing I know for certain is that if we are going to test our theory, we need to do it before we go into the dark. Magic has a way of going wrong there, and weighing heavier penalties on it’s use.

(There are several words written at the bottom in badly written Symbar, it is a loose replica of the words that had been on the headstone they’d found in the tunnel. “It’s always darkest before dawn.”)

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Lexanol-anra
The Autumn Elf

The meeting was brief.

Telk was the most likely way of stopping Bartholen. He was also likely going to die in the attempt.

Elf intentions were to press the Ambrians back out of the Bright, all the way back to Thistlehold. That they were already leaving, was a good thing.

Maribelle was in danger, the longer she stayed with the party. In the end, the party traded her to the Autumn Elf for her education. A ritual was learned to allow them communication with the girl in the future, should Lexanol have new work for them, as they continued their pursuit of the Necromage.

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We Know
We Watch When You Sleep

The dogs were apparently using an intellect beyond their normal reasoning, and it was proposed that these may not be normal dogs. An evaluation using the power of Witchsight revealed they were in fact normal dogs, but the influence of the Bright may have been expressed on them, nonetheless.

When the party returns to the village, they are met with a surprise. The dogs are a product of the Bright.

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The Silk Fields
Worms and Promises

There are many beautiful hues of silk hanging from the trees when the party enters the fields.

Thousands of moths flit from tree to tree, and worms in various stages of development grow. They are considerably bigger than anticipated, and a fierce debate breaks out when it is revealed that the moths are “grounded” to prevent their flying away. In the end, the party agrees to bring the moths and their offspring back to Kazad for the farmers.

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The Funnel
Confronting the Queen

Journeying several hours from the village, the party finds their way to the funnels of the Trickerlings.

Using his powers of transformation, “Shade” attempts to blend in long enough to find the Queen, and negotiate, but he is discovered and attacked. The party sets fire to the funnel, burning out the spiders and provoking a fight to the death with the Queen, in which Shade was seriously wounded when he is mistaken for one of the horror—but the party prevailed and the spiders were driven out. The following morning, they wake to the smell of a morning campfire, fresh coffee, and a goblin cooking innovation—spider legs.

It makes for a few moments of humor.

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Pack Mentality
"The Dogs! We Haven't Heard them Barking for Some Time Now..."

The dogs separated from the rest of the camp and went hunting.

While the camp was trying to determine how best to move the spiders or eliminate them, the dogs decided it was time for their usual hunt. Tracking them to the woods, they learned the dogs hunt in a pack, like wolves, but with very intelligent tactics, surrounding their prey—three elk—before taking the largest for the pack and letting the smaller two go. They finish the kill and eat in normal dog fashion, then run back to camp, energized.

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A Hidden Journal
Briar's Rose

In the ’10 mile tunnel’ we discovered a dark stone tablet (Worth: 25 Thaler), inscribed in Symbar with the words “the Spark is Brightest in the Dark”. Removing the headstone released the Cryptwalker below, we defeated it. In searching the grave below, Glennis found a small faceted purple gem (Worth: Unknown to party, assumed VERY valuable). Chasing down Shade, we discovered that our goblin friends from the start of the tunnel are still in the area. Short conversation resolved the problem by sending them towards Ambrian lands in search of work with a paper vouching for them to the Orda Magica. Upon exiting the tunnel, we discovered that by using it, we had traveled under the mountain and cut nearly 2 days off our traveling time and were now only a half-day’s ride from the Silk Fields. Further inspection of the exit area (aprox. 5 miles from the tunnel exit) proved that we had stumbled on the ruins of the Symbar city of Kazad. While inhabited by pack of wild dogs and hummingbirds, there appears to be no rodents or other creatures within the city itself. Growing wild on the grounds however, are many rare and costly herbs including Feverfew, Comfry, Artichoke, Basil, Costmary and Knitbone. Also found in the ruins of the city: Black Opal (Worth: 5 Shillings), White Pearl (Worth: 7 Shillings), Solid Amethyst Ewer (Worth: Unknown, assumed valuable), 3 pieces of Amber (Worth: 9, 11 and 12 orteg), a brass hairpin set with lapis (Worth: Unknown), a carved Aboar drinking horn (Worth: Unknown), a ceramic statuette of a woman (Worth: Unknown), an ebony/orychalcom amphora (Worth: Unknown), and a 5×5 painted glass box detailed with images of the hummingbirds and flowers local to Kazad (Worth: Unknown), and a small solid crystal rod. We decided to set up our base camp in the Red Building, and started exploring the ruins. We were able to dismantle a trap set just inside the door, under it discovering 4 weeks’ worth of single person rations, a leather pack full of measuring tools for alchemy, and a journal. Reading the journal, written in Ambrian, shows it as a ‘treasure claim’ from one Harran listed as the Theurge and Warmaster of the Alberetor city of Andara. It often references the Lightbringer, and boils down to Harran’s conclusion that Kazad were ‘Dwarves’, not barbarians, along with sketches of sigils found in the ruins. Further inspection by the party decided that these were actually Symbar, meaning this is a city from the old Symbaroum civilization, not one of the Dwarves or Elves.

Exploring what appeared to be a military compound revealed an entire underground complex (See: Kazad – Underground). In this underground, we found safe, clean water, defensible positions, upward paths to locations in the ruins including a stables and entrance to the Red building we were camping in. During the nights we started hearing whispering. Loremaster work over nights were able to distinguish that what we were hearing is reports of fire and lightning in the city before being cut abruptly off (Assumed calamity at the end of the Symbaroum time). The sound is only heard in rooms we are sleeping in, and gets clearer/louder while holding the small crystal rod we found above ground. Searching the ruins, complex and aboveground buildings allowed Glennis to find a ‘port’ that the rod fit within. Loremaster was able to translate the brief flash of light and words “Insufficient Power”. Glennis attempted to dismantle and move the ‘port’…and summarily broke it.

We have been here 6 days now, waiting for the farmers and the rest of our party….we still have most of a week before we can expect them to be nearing us. In that time, we should deal with the Ticklesting infestation threatening the silk worm fields. I am continuing to focus and work with a pair of the wild dogs, attempting to tame them further for use in perhaps scouting and hunting eventually. I’ve also started to translate the names of Symbar locations, having discovered that the names correspond to coordinate of the cities location. Meaning, if we know the name, I can find the location. I am plotting the maps of the underground and the other 34 cities in Davokar for my own use…perhaps I will go after the other ruins in search of riches when we are done with these farmers. When I return towards the cities, I plan to bring cuttings on the herbs and flowers here, perhaps attempt to safely trap and transport some of the beautiful small birds local to this place. Hopefully our company will arrive soon, we have thus far been lucky to not encounter any Elves or further Blighted and Corrupted beings.

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