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Fortuna’s Journal

Reaping 25, 594 CY

Allister and I went to the Lord Mayor’s red clay “pyramid” to apprise him of Exag’s dire situation. The first thing the pompous human said was “why did you bring one of those?” (That made me feel about 4’ tall!) I do not like the Lord Mayor, and I kept quiet during the meeting, but used my ability to speak subaudibly to Allister while we were in the throne room. Allister asked all the right questions to lead me to believe the mayor is a few cards shy of a deck. He and the mayor spoke to each other quietly, but I had no trouble hearing most of what they said. Apparently, the mayor knew about the undead army, and had agreed to let them into the city to acquire some artifact called the Eye of Anubis which is sealed beneath the city. The undead would not attack as long as they were not provoked, which is why the city watch had been stationed so far away. Stranger still, the mayor planned to use Fash, Keth, Holli and I as sacrifices to retrieve the Eye, due to some “four of one family” of my race being needed!

Allister, now that he was up-to-speed on the mad plan, quickly escorted me from the mayor’s throne room, telling me I must gather my brothers and sister and depart from town as quickly as possible. I told him that not only weren’t we family, but that I wasn’t positive we were even the same race. Holli was raised by gnomes, Fash by dwarves, Keth by orcs, and I by an elf and some halflings. Allister walked with me till we found Fash, and then had to say a hasty goodbye— I fear I will not see him again, and feel strangely sad about that.

As Fash and I walked to the inn to collect Holli and Keth (well, we went to collect Holli, assuming Keth would naturally follow along at some point), I had some flashbacks to when Elizair found me. I was 14 years old— I should have some memories of my life before that, but I really don’t. I must have had some family that was the same race as me. I then had some pangs of guilt at how quickly I was replacing Janet and Elizair as my “family” with these three gnomes I’d just met.

We found Holli (and as predicted, could not find Keth). We decided to leave the city, but then we immediately snuck back in, hoping to help in some small way. We planned to hole up in the cell that had the hidden tunnel behind it. Good that we did, as we found Keth in a different cell in the same jail. I picked the lock on his cell and he managed to stay visible for a few minutes while we scavenged some provisions (and mattresses) to make a comfortable “nest” for ourselves if we had to weather a protracted battle in town.

Incidentally, I learned that Fash is my age (54), and that Keth and Holli are both 46. None of them seem to remember their early childhoods either, and I’m unclear how Keth and Holli ended up traveling together, but there seems to be a high level of trust between them.

I would have attempted to learn more, but we heard something occurring outside the gate— the undead army had arrived, and the archers on the city wall were told to stand down while the monsters entered the town unmolested. We saw many townsfolk hurrying into their homes and closing doors and windows. The city seemed to hold its collective breath as the undead marched to the red pyramid and a group of them moved inside. Keth decided to follow them while Fash wanted to stay with the archers; Holli and I waited till the undead had disappeared into the pyramid, and then went to hide outside of it and watch.

Nothing happened for a few minutes, then a wave of death seemed to burst forth from the pyramid. Holli and I nearly doubled over from the strength of it, and we both feel greatly weakened now. The wave seemed to extend to the very wall of Exag. Dark clouds gathered over the city and a 20’ tall humanoid shadow formed, possibly as a result of that un-energy wave, and left via the south gate. The undead army then departed as well, though it was about twice as large as before— many appeared from the city’s buildings as newly-dead humans joined ranks with their long-dead relatives. Holli and I then ran into the now-deserted pyramid to find Keth. He was looking at a pit in the floor surrounded by statues— he had tried to stop the undead leader from retrieving the Eye, and had then endeavored break the statues after the ceremony had completed. We attempted to help him with that part but were also unsuccessful. I asked him if he had seen Allister, but the look he gave me suggested that it would be something best discussed at a later time.

Trying to shake off the weakness and feeling of doom, I recommended that we go ransack a magic store, figuring whatever was left inside might better aid us than any future looters that might happen through. Even that did not go well— we got chased by a wraith. We did find Fash though, looking about as healthy at the three of us, and then we found a group of survivors hiding in a temple to Ulaa (the name is somewhat familiar, but I just can’t for the life of me place it)— it’s a small comfort that we aren’t alone, but I am not sure what we can do to help them when we can’t even help ourselves. Unlike our encounters in the city prior to today, the people in this temple seemed pleased that there were gnomes joining them, or perhaps they too are just grateful to see more survivors.

I can’t help but wonder— what happened to the army that was gathering at the mine?

Posted by Kristin on April 25, 2008, 14:41 | Fortuna’s Journal