THE CIRCLE OF LIGHT

Session 21: The Death of Yuriel?

THE DEATH OF YURIEL?

Yuriel

The Writings of Rayven – Human Warrior

11th of Riag

After our recent bizarre frivolities with the Desire Box we all decided to have a well earned break and spent the next two weeks resting and training in Haven with the other adepts in the town, managing to find our relevant masters willing to train us further in our disciplines we all enjoyed some time off the front line and each night after a hard days training we would take in more of the darkened yet action packed night life of Haven seeing us drink and rest in the various taverns and once again fill our bellies on freshly cooked food and mead, in fact one could spend hours here just listening to the stories and rumours that come out of the great city, stories of vast treasures and deadly animals, of huge horrors and corrupted beings, even stories of ghosts that walk the forgotten streets, it seems there is everything here, everyday something new, everyday a new story, it certainly is an exciting place and thinking deep down were all glad to be part of it.

25th of Riag

The weeks soon passed and we had just about finished our training when we were approached by the thin Elf Dyntheri from The Circle Path Company who said there had been some news, this was a relief as The Circle Path Company were the ones who originally hired us to come to Haven to find the lost sword master Lady Yuriel and it would be good to finally bring some resolve to the original quest that brought us here. Like we already knew the sword master Lady Yuriel is a high ranking member of The Circle Path Company that was last seen in this area travelling with an adept group by the name of the Far Striders who recently went into the great lost city, what we were about to find out was that one of the Far Striders had been spotted back in town.

By all accounts one of the Far Striders a man named Budroes had been seen back in town but as of yet there had been no sightings of the lost Lady Yuriel. Heading to the tavern where this man Budroes was staying we found the human man in a sorry state as he was half drunk and was drowning his sorrows alone over a table. On approaching him we introduced ourselves and asked where the Lady Yuriel and the rest of the Far Striders are seeing the man Budroes look at us with a confused drunken stare before he announced “they are all dead, there is only me left” and with that he began telling a tale of how the Far Striders had gone into the lost city in search of some information and headed towards the twists where they were attacked by some large black beast with various tentacles seeing the Far Striders and Lady Yuriel killed by the beast, or at least that is what this drunken man Budroes claims.

We needed to take this man to see Lord Remiel of The Circle Path Company as perhaps he will be able to tell us more about this man, sadly however the half drunk and armed man didn’t want to go so rather than causing a scene we plied him with several more strong drinks until he was hardly able to walk never mind lift a sword and standing him up we carried him out of the tavern to see Lord Remiel.
Slumping the drunken man down on the floor in front of Lord Remiel the posh Elf of the Circle Path Company instantly said “who is this?” to which we replied “this is Budroes or at least he claims to be” looking rather shocked Lord Remiel said this was not Budroes at all and that the man was lying for some reason.

Calling his guards and the powerful Nethermancer Nemiroph they laid the drunken man down on a table and seem to study him magically for several minutes before the Nethermancer jumped back like he was shocked, suddenly reaching out his hand he began chanting some strange and mysterious spell whilst he held the man’s head who started to shake and judder erratically until all of a sudden he let out a scream seeing black light appear from his mouth and eyes before he suddenly exploded into a black vortex of nothingness like his entire soul had been purged from this world by what looked to be a very powerful spell.

Turning to us Nemiroph said this man was a horror construct of some sort and that he obviously had the memories of Budroes for some reason and was perhaps sent here by the horror to spy or lure others adepts into the twists of Parlainth, needless to say the outlook for the lost Lady Yuriel and the Far Striders is looking fairly grim but from that second we all knew what we had to do and from that moment preparations began for yet another daring and highly dangerous search and rescue mission that would lead us deep into the lost city.

This however was no ordinary search and rescue mission as not only do we have confirmed horror activity in that area but the quest itself would lead us deep into the area known as the Twists where we would be walking silently and alone in the footsteps of the Far Striders, perhaps there is still hope, perhaps if we are quick we can extract any remaining survivors of the Far Striders before this horror kills them all, for now the clock is ticking and The Circle of Light once again mount up to head into the lost city where we hunt a horror so powerful it defeated or captured an entire adept group, for now all we could do is ask Lord Remiel for as much information as possible.

The riddles

By all accounts the Far Striders had gone into the lost city based on some information they had found on a strange silver plaque that was found in the lost city, this basic silver plaque had various strange riddles written on it and after researching the subject more the Far Striders had found the plaque was only half of the puzzle and that somewhere there was a map that worked together with the plaque. Perhaps this is where the Far Strider’s had vanished to the first time as it seems after more investigation they found the map part of the puzzle painted on a wall in a old slavers camp hidden deep within the lost city, by all accounts this camp had recently been attacked and destroyed and the Far Striders must have gotten in unnoticed where they found the map wall.

From there the only information we have is that they headed into the twists using the riddles on the silver plaque and map as a guide, luckily we have the information from the silver plaque but what we do not have is the map half of the puzzle and if we are to stand any chance of following the Far Striders into the Twists then we need to know what they are up against so our first goal is to head to this old slavers camp and search there for any sign of the Far Striders, perhaps from there armed with this strange and ancient map puzzle we can track them into one of the most dangerous and unforgiving areas of Parlainth at least then we will stand a chance in the Twists.

For now Lord Remiel told us what information he knew and bided us both safety and haste as we headed out of the door to prepare for yet another delve into the unknown. Gathering our things and buying various last minute supplies we planned to set off early the next day to make good speed towards the area known as The Smalls where the slavers camp was located, if we are successful in getting a copy of this ancient map wall then we should be able to study that further and perhaps find the location in the Twists where the Far Striders fell.

I think none of us got much sleep that night and all spent several hours laying in the darkness with our eyes open to the world as we thought about our possible suicide mission the next day, however we had been hired by The Circle Path Company to find this Lady Yuriel so if possible we will find her or at least what is left of her. Waking the next day before sunrise we headed down stairs and had a quiet and somewhat surreal breakfast as it seems even the tavern hands here know that groups rising this early are heading into the lost city with the sun rise, it seems they know that any group getting up this early could well be eating their last breakfast and may never return again.

26th of Riag

The fresh bacon grease soaked into the bread roll perfectly seeing us enjoy the simple warm cooked breakfast but I have to admit walking out of the empty bar and over hearing the bar hand muttering prayers to the passions as we past, felt a little unnerving, it was not long however before we were stood at the base of the great gate to Parlainth and I have to say this brand new and epically built gate was an astounding site as we all shivered a little in the last coldness of the night before the sun slowly began to rise over the horizon. Standing there in the cold morning air we all still breathed a fine white mist from our mouths as we looked up at the large Trolls on the wall, checking over our weapons tightening our cloths and making our final equipment checks we stood there nervously for perhaps 15 minutes until finally the first drum sounded, a single solitary beat to signal the first break of day as the very tip of the sun rises over the great city.

Still standing in the cold shadows of the gate we looked up at the impressive walls and could see the huge Trolls watching into the distance when all of a sudden they were hit by a huge beam of morning light that made them glow almost red seeing the sun began to rise higher into the sky, looking up at the huge shimmering figures that guarded one of the biggest corrupted cities in the world was a strange and somewhat magnificent experience when suddenly our hearts jumped in our chest as the massive bolts of the gate started to grind open. I think in those last few seconds as the first rays of morning light appeared through the crack in the epic gate we all breathed quicker and within seconds were looking over the lost city set in the first morning light, from that point we had until sun set to complete our mission seeing us run into the light.

Making good time we moved quickly and carefully trying to hug the main wall as we headed towards the area known as The Smalls, however I think we were all shocked at what we found as heading a small way into the city we heard a jangling sound from around a corner that sounded like movement. Treading carefully we peered around the corner and instantly could see a small two story building that appeared to be a shop of some sort, looking closer it had a crude wooden sign above the door depicting a potion and herbalist like shop when suddenly we noticed movement and could see a scruffy human man tending to the outside of the shop, looking at each other we could only think “what the hell is a shop doing here in the outskirts of the lost city” I mean sure this area has been cleared out for some years but that does not stop horror roaming into this territory and once again setting up their foul nests.

Being rather bold we approached the shop and were met by a somewhat crazy man named Ranos Da’Val who by all accounts had set up a potion shop here in the outskirts of the city to supply adepts with low cost healing equipment that avoided the taxes inside Haven. This man seems nuts to me I mean to risk your life here in the lost city to peddle a few black market potions is insane, he would simply have been better searching the ruins for lost artefacts and treasures that are yet to be discovered, if you ask me this man is possibly under the influence of a horror and I do not trust his wears which could be some kind of trap or poison to fool the unaware.

Chatting to the man for a short while he did however give us further directions to the slavers camp area telling us to keep to the outer wall where it’s safer, until we reach a set point. His advice seemed to match our own information so setting off we stayed close to the main walls hoping to gain cover from its massive shadow and after sometime walking we finally reached our destination. From there we headed into The Smalls which is a now dead maze of living quarters that once thrived in the days of the grand city and I must admit even here in hell it brought a smile to my face knowing I was standing on the dust of dead Theran bones, for now however we headed towards the slavers camp.

Razor mammothWalking through the dusty streets of the smalls we suddenly heard a loud scraping noise from several streets across, deciding to investigate this was probably a mistake as creeping quickly around the corner we were instantly met by a herd of four huge elephant like creatures that had obviously been horror corrupted in some respects. The beasts within seconds seem to smell us and suddenly without any warning all four turned towards us and started charging towards the group at full speed which was a scary sight to say the least.

Quickly running into one of the buildings the majority of the group took cover from the huge charging huge Mammoth beasts seeing them hide in the small one story building whilst myself and Gron the large Obsidimen stood at the door waiting to swing our razor sharp weapons towards the beasts as they neared. I have to say in those last few seconds as the four beasts came hurtling towards us I think both me and Gron let out horrific roars as we braced for impact seeing the huge elephant like creatures gouge at us with huge tusks and smash into us with their large heads which was enough to send me skidding several foot back as they continued to lash out towards us both.

Going into a frenzy with their large tusks the huge beasts flailed their heads around seeing the huge tusks smash into my stomach which for a second sounded like it might have broken my rids, nearly taking me off my feet I managed to break free and could feel the magic inside me anchoring me to the floor as us warriors don’t drop until were dead. Quickly glancing around I could see the huge Obsidimen Gron seemed to be struggling as letting out a huge blow against him one of the beasts sent him crashing to the floor like a deck of cards seeing him land flat on his back with the beasts rearing just feet above him ready to crash down onto his body, luckily however Elora’s arrow followed then the familiar chanting of the casters.

With Gron on the floor and spells not ready to cast I decided bravely to risk my own life and stood in front of two of the huge beasts alone leaving the other five group members to handle the other two beasts which seemed like fairly even odds. Within only a split second the beasts were lashing out towards us again and rearing up ready to crush us underfoot so seeing my chance I let out a frenzy of blows striking deep into the beasts massive legs which seemed to knock them back stunned before I marched forward with my sword ready to smash down upon them. Both beasts lashed out towards me delivering more serious blows to my legs and head, luckily however my armour protected me from these blows or else I’d have surly been dead.

Rising my sword in the Parlainth sun light I smashed down various blows on to the huge beasts until one dropped dead to the floor with blood gashing from its severed legs, it was not long however before the other one came for me seeing me just manage to dodge one of its huge tusks as it swooped past to gouge me. I was just finishing off the second one as the other five group members finally appeared to help with a somewhat startled and thankful look on their face which was enough to say Rayven you saved us again. Checking my wounds however it seemed to me and Gron had taken the brunt of the damage leaving me with blood pouring from under my armour which was quickly remedied by drinking two magical healing potions known as boosters.

Looking over the beasts we decided to take the large tusks as they could defiantly be worth money if we got them back to Haven, so hacking them off the beasts we piled them together and decided to hide them in one of the derelict houses of The Smalls, it was at that point however we found what the large creatures were guarding and found a nest with four small baby elephants who seem to have been born in the last few weeks and have yet to be touched by the horrors, it was decided we would leave these babies in the nest along with several weeks of trial rations which they seemed to enjoy ripping open and that we would come back for them later and see if we could free them from a life of horror corruption and get them back outside into the wild.

Having taken some healing aids and cleaned ourselves up a little we pressed on towards the area of the slavers camp in the North Smalls which by that time was not far away. Pressing on we walked for several more hours until we finally spotted the large fortified complex that we had been told about, and from we could see someone had walled off six or perhaps even eight of the old houses in the smalls and had re-built them into one large prison like complex that had high walls and even watches towers placed in various areas, it almost looked like a garrison for troops mixed with a camp for prisoners, they had even flattened the houses around the complex forming a clear area of no man’s land that we assumed the guards would have watched.

The late afternoon light was fading now but it seems we had reached our target so staying close to the rubble of the old buildings we decided to move forward and take a closer look at this old camp, however we only got about half way when we heard a coughing noise followed by a flash of movement from the guard towers seeing the entire group hit the ground and duck behind the rubble as from what it seems the slavers have moved back in. Looking at Jace he did not need instruction and within only a second had spread his wings and leaped off into the sky where he flew high into the failing light to do an aerial reconnaissance of the area which he did with great skill gliding silently over the camp like a feather falling in the wind.

It seems only a few minutes past before Jace landed behind us and what he reported was a fairly heavily defended camp with guards in all of the watch towers, he also reported hearing more movement inside the main buildings and that there was probably more guards or slaves inside, the main gates however were tightly locked with several watch posts covering that area alone. From what we could see it did look like the building had been attacked in previous weeks as we noticed heavy fire damage to the outside of the building and that repairs had obviously started and the owners of the camp had once again taken command, it seemed we only had two choices, we either took the place by force or we sent in a stealth team.

It happened both quickly like the group was finally beginning to understand each other but within moments Jace was again suiting up to perform a daring and lone stealth mission into the main building where he could be caught and killed, checking over his equipment he removed all the items he did not need and once again prepared to take flight into the darkness above, it was around that moment however that Kaerless said he may have something to help and beginning to flick through his strange bone Grimoire that I am yet to fully understand his eyes seem to glow slightly seeing him look up into the nights sky as he began to utter arcane words that sounded like they were from an era long lost to this world.

Within only seconds I heard a squeaking as small bat flew over head appearing from nowhere out of the night sky, then another bat, and another, before long I looked up and could see countless bats flying around in the night almost circling the Nethermancer Kaerless in a vortex has he continued to chant out into the night. I cannot really explained how it happened other than for a few seconds the Nethermancer Kaerless seemed to disappear into a hazy vortex of spinning darkness which all of a sudden vanished in a flurry of wind leaving only a single bat flying where Kaerless had stood making me think this strange spell caster had somehow changed himself into a bat which then flew off into the night sky with Jace and headed towards the buildings.

Tapping me on the shoulder the Elf Elora with her large war bow suggested we take positions covering the area and helped me climb up onto one of the buildings where her bow and my crossbow covered the stealth teams retreat. It also seemed that the Elementalist Rastin had a plan brewing and said he could create a magical bridge of ice that would carry us over the wall, for now it seemed if the stealth team of Kaerless and Jace got into trouble then Rastin would create this magical bridge of ice seeing Gron charge the compound covered by a volley of fire from mine and Elora’s arrows, for now however we watched Jace and Kaerless the bat fly off to different ends of the building with Jace sneaking in the shadows towards one of the doors and Kaerless sneaking under the heaves of the roof and using his thin bat body to squeeze into the loft space, and within moments Jace had picked the lock on the door seeing two members of The Circle of Light descend into the unknown, both alone yet both working together to search the occupied compound.

It was a tense time as we had no idea what was happening inside and all we knew is that both Kaerless and Jace were in there alone and that any second all hell could break lose, instead however what we heard was silence that created a very tense period of time of not really knowing what was happening as the stealth teamed searched inside the building. I could tell at this point Gron was itching to go and could tell he was ready to charge the camp pulling the very guard towers down with his bare hands if needed, however we had not heard any commotion and had not received the signal so for now we waited patiently with arrows aimed directly at the guards in the shaded watch towers, this however did not last long.

It all seemed to happen perfectly as suddenly the side of the building that Kaerless had flown into erupted with noise and panicked screams, like Kaerless was fighting or killing whatever guards were inside, within moments the guards in the watch towers had began running down towards the building and I was ready to open fire with my crossbow when Elora said “Look” and focusing into the night with her precise Elf vision she pointed out a small object moving on the roof, looking closer I could just about make out the small bat Kaerless crawling out of the heaves in the roof before flying over towards the group squeaking in an excited fashion.

We did not have to do much to be honest because as soon as the sounds of fighting begin within the building the guards fled towards that area, no sooner had the guards run into that door than Jace poked his head out of the other door bringing with him four slaves that looked to have been held prisoner in the compound, he also carried with him a folded copy of the map we needed meaning he must have found the ancient map wall inside, well done Jace and obviously Kaerless for his dark yet cunning distraction as we later found out that Kaerless had cast his Fog Ghost spell right into the room that the lazy unsuspecting guards were sitting meaning a whirling ethereal ghost with razor sharp bones appeared and began attacking the surprised guards, that alone was enough distraction to let Jace sweep one side of the entire building where he not only found the map wall but also four slaves who he liberated before making a break towards the gates.

Map of the twists

My crossbow never fired a single shot as Jace and the four prisoners scurried along the courtyard in the darkness, making his way towards the gate it took Jace only seconds to pick the lock seeing the slaves unchain the heavy gate and slip out into the night and their freedom. Rallying together we decide to get out of there before the guards noticed the slaves were missing and we ran off into the labyrinth of dusty and derelict houses that is Parlainth’s streets. We perhaps walked for a good hour away from the slavers camp once again nearing the area where we had left the baby elephants and large tusks, it was around that point with the darkness well and truly upon us that The Circle of Light decided to camp up for the night and found the most secure derelict house that we could and sealed ourselves up for an uneasy night sleeping in the lost city.

Shadows move strangely here and each gust of the night time wind brings a faint echoing sound that is often mistaken for screams in the night, even the rickety wooden house we chose creaked and turned in the night like some evil was just outside, doing our best however we bunkered down in one of the rooms and left on a single light seeing the shivering and hungry slaves huddle round in a small circle. I remember taking Gron off his watch and seeing him stood next to the small dusty window looking out over the shadowy streets, nearing him in the dead of night he looked around sharply and could see his hand tighten around his axe ready to pounce until he noticed the now familiar glow of my golden armour flicking in the light, his head once again turned back over the streets of Parlainth when he said “There is something moving out there” in a deep and slow voice, and from there we peered off into the night.

27th of Riag

I think seeing the sun rise in Parlainth is perhaps one of the most relieving experiences that we have felt as a group once again seeing the first rays of morning light dowse the shadowy streets in light sending a lot of the smaller nocturnal creatures scurrying into their hiding places. Having a small quick breakfast of dried meat and trial rations we quickly set off towards Haven with haste in our step as even the tired and abused slaves couldn’t wait to get to safety, also I think the group were looking forward to getting back to town considering we have four slaves and various baby elephants being dragged along with us, in fact the last time we came into the great city we came out with a Thundra Beast, this time we have come out with our own mini herd of baby elephants and I’m sure the guards would again wonder where the hell we got them from and just seeing their shocked faces and grunting chuckles would be enough to put a smile on our faces.

Luckily the passions blessed our way seeing us follow the same path home without any incident and before long we could see the epic gates of Haven in the distance, and sure perhaps this sounds silly but it’s always in those last steps where your most alert as even though Parlainth’s outskirts have been cleared out for some years you still expect a roaming band of beasts to come bursting out the ruins at any second and kill you only steps away from safety, in fact hearing the large gates of Haven once again unlock was a welcome sound and after been examined by the guards and all performing the relevant skills to prove we are free from horror taint we were let into Haven where we quickly set up the slaves with hot meals and places to stay before selling our loot in the shops.

Having taken care of our business there was just enough time to see Lord Remiel before getting some rest for the night and showing him the map half of the puzzle he was fairly intrigued as he looked at the document Jace had drawn, looking for several moments he suddenly said that each place on the map seems to correspond to one of the passions and that the riddles seem to be some sort of test possible designed by the mad passion Vestrial, and I have to say at that point some of us looked at each other with startled looks as Vestrial is not only the trickster passion who deceives and plays games with his enemies but fighting any of the passions would be a dangerous and deadly endeavour, what this did tell us however was the location the Far Striders had headed to in the Twist, and now we must go and see what remains of the Far Striders and if possible extract them from their fate, the sun however has just set but with first light tomorrow morning we once again set off into the great lost city in the final extraction bid of the Far Strider group.

- The writtings of Rayven

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