The Eldest Journal

From the Memoirs of Morken Mindus
Into the Mourngate

I hate the rain.

The first night.

It’s a miserable night. We went through into the final room of Mindus Tower. There were a horde of undead waiting for us, and a man wearing a theater mask commanding them. The room itself was pretty big, but it was dominated by two sarcophagi on raised platforms at the far end.

The others burst into action, beating the first wave of skeletons and zombies pretty badly. I managed to capitalize on this, once they were broken and bleeding. I don’t know if they had minds of their own, or if the man’s control had weakened once they got hurt and I managed to shake his will enough that they dropped out of his power, but we were able to move forward, beating fresh ones while the wounded dropped into pits or piles of bone.

Once we drew the man out, I waited for Yoshi to give me an opening and then unleashed on him. After the first exchange he had to fall back, but turned into some sort of wraith instead of a man. He ran through us, literally, and started raising back the undead we had already beat. The others cleared a path for us and re-opened the door. He still almost got away, but I managed to whip Yoshi out to the end of our chain, and Yoshi dropped him with one last blow.

Guy had a golden mask, like the porcelain ones we had seen before. It didn’t break when we took him down, which should’ve clued us in. We also snagged a red orb, some promising-looking robes, and a dagger that had seemed magical when he used it. We left to finish plundering searching the tombs, and when we came back in the room his body was gone. Guess reports of his death had been exaggerated.

Sarcophagi were locked with what we graverobbers adventurers describe as “standard issue puzzle locks.” Quickly foiled by our superior intellect. Mindus’ sarcophagous, assuming that’s whose it was, was empty. Elegance’s was not. In addition to the late lady’s remains were some items we needed for a slightly more intricate “second tier treasure storage scheme,” which upon our solution drained the necrotic cauldron in the other room, granting us access to a fine tiara and a jewelled necklace.

I had the bright idea that now that we’d completed our assigned task, and hence would shortly become dispensible to the honorable Fr. Faringray, we should act first to maintain the upper hand in any negotiations that were to take place. I sent the ranger we had met to lure Faringray back to the tower, and when he came in Yoshi and I got the drop on him. So there we are, him wrapped in our chain, my knife to his throat, I’m all set to lay it on thick and scare some information out of him, when I choke. I had just stared down a band of walking dead, but I flinched now, and Salazar saw it. He knew he was in control of the entire situation.

He calls my bluff and tongue-lashes me into submission. He then proceeds to outline the ways I’ve been a screw-up and a coward for the past thirteen years. I had passed the guild’s test; they wanted to be sure I was a thief, and not a killer. In my defense, I was just a kid and that was an asshole thing to do. I was convinced they would off me next, and I left town as quick as I could.

Benevolent as ever, he agrees to pretend we didn’t just have him at knife point. He set up rooms for us here at the Rusty Pelican to wait out this goddamn rainstorm, and we’d talk payment in the morning. I think Yoshi’s done drinking off Salazar’s tab, so we’re going to bed down now. I’m sure this’ll seem funny in the light of day.

The second night.

When I opened my eyes this morning, I didn’t see a beautiful sunbeam shining through the window. I didn’t hear the sounds of birds chirping. I didn’t smell the wet foliage after an evening rain. No, I was back in the bar. It was nighttime. We had just walked in the door. The hostess was telling us about their fresh meat and the specials. The twins were still playing Crazy 8’s in the corner, the same dwarf was getting loaded. It was last night again. This isn’t a metaphor. I’m not describing a nightmare now. We were stuck in the same hour of time.

It’s alright though. Yoshi and I tried to hit on this girl who had seen a rat, and we found something suspicious she was hiding under her bed. I’m sure she’s some cultist or something and it’s a magical gewgag that’ll get us out. We’ll wait until she goes downstairs tomorrow night after seeing the rat, then sneak in and grab it. Almost midnight now. We’re staying up just in case it’s sleeping that does the trick. Just a few more minutes now…

The third night.

We looted the sack under her bed. It’s a giant crystal hourglass, on a gold stand. The sand inside also appears to be flecks of gold. She came back while we were messing with it, and overpowered Yoshi, so we knocked her out. We’ll have Grimfield figure out how it works tonight, and tomorrow we’ll get it without her knowing. ... Grimfield says it’s not magical, not at all. Fu-

The seventh night.

ha ha ha ha ha. “I’m threatening you with violence!” Classic.

The eleventh night.

So much blood. Does it matter? Are they even real people, or just our imagination? No matter how often we kill them, they come back the next day.

The fifteenth night.

Hahaha. Bottle fights.

The eighteenth night.

Yoshi and I are going to make a break for it tomorrow. Soon as we wake up we’re running out to the stables, jumping on our horses, and riding for Vineyard. See if this curse can catch us there!

The twentieth night.

We didn’t make it to Vineyard. Synn met a cleric of Avandra yesterday. Why hadn’t we ever gone in that room before? He was so quiet and unobtrusive, I guess we assumed it was empty. I introduced myself, he seemed on the level. Guarded his door with a glyph of warding or something. We’ve made an outline of every event that happens without our interference. A few minor maladies occur. Mouse scares a girl. Waitress cuts her finger. Drunken dwarf makes a ruckus. We’re going to fix them all, in case some sort of divine being is watching for us to make things right.

The twenty-first night.

That didn’t work. Evilyn thinks we should just steal the golden hourglass, the dwarf’s blue smoke powder, and some of the potion of timelessness the bartender uses to keep his meat fresh, then run out of the place. It’s as good a plan as any we’ve had.

The twenty-second night.

It worked. Now I’m stuck in the rain.

Don’t know exactly what caused the time-warp, but whatever we did this time solved the problem. We were all feeling a little amped up. I had the idea of going to see the statue everyone’s talking about, the one of the “maiden.” It was still raining like mad, but it felt so good to exist after midnight that we didn’t care.

So we go to the statue. Big, larger than life, right where a lighthouse used to be when I was growing up. It’s still lit up, holding a light in its outstretched palm, so I could see her face plain as day despite the storm. It’s my mother. The people painted the story up a bit. They say she’s a widow now, not a prostitute. But I’m the son she came out every night to light a candle for. I always figured she had died in the goblin attacks ten years back, the poor never fare as well in those invasions as the rich do. But no, no she died waiting for me to come home, and they say the gods themselves were so inspired by her dedication they turned her into this statue.

Of course, it gets better. There’s a visible ring around the statue’s base, of bare earth. Anything that steps into it dissappears and never comes back. So, we threw the middle of the chain in. Nothing happened. Yoshi decides he’s going to make the jump. Poof. No more Yoshi. Except I’m still attached to the chain, which goes to the edge of the circle and dissappears, but I can’t pull it back. We dropped in one of our sending stones. Yoshi’s still there, on the other side. All he sees is darkness.

Salazar says he’s going to try and talk to the hermit wizard on our behalf. The others went back to their rooms in the inn, they’re all going to leave tomorrow morning. Leaving me here, in the rain. Evilyn brought me a tent, but the storm’s too bad to set it up, so I just sort of wrapped it around me. Can’t sleep, so I’ve been thinking.

Now, dear reader, is where I address you directly. In theater this is called breaking the fourth wall. I don’t know who you are precisely. Hopefully you’re one of my traveling companions, or Salazar, or the little tiefling boy. Get this to Salazar before he leaves, he’s rich.

It has become apparent to me that everything I do, I screw up. I tried to do the right thing when I was a boy, take a stand and save a life, and ended up abandoning the guild that had raised me, and leaving my mother to worry after me until she died. I tried to be free and see the world, and ended up chained to a fugitive noble in a foreign country. I tried to be selfish, steal some art, and buy my way out of this chain. I ended up helping to free enslaved artists and defeat a goblin army. Of course, when I tried to recover a magical artifact from the goblin death cult, I ended up delivering it to a group intent on world domination. I’m chained, cursed to never see the sun, and can’t move more than five feet away from a statue of my dead mother.

My point is this: If I get free from this, I’ll probably be in a worse situation inside of a week. Rescuing me is not a good use of our resources. It takes two months to get to the hermit, and two months back. Yoshi’ll probably be dead by then unless we can figure out how to get food water to him properly, without drowning him, so I’m the only one who stands to benefit from all of your efforts.

The Sapphire Covenant has the Eldest Journal. They’re going to destroy the world. Focus on that. I’m going into the Mourngate with Yoshi. If someone comes to weigh his soul, maybe I’ll be able to put my finger on the scale and help him out. If not, at least he won’t die alone.

Evilyn- I buried the loot. Use it to help your family. Don’t worry, I’m keeping the stuff from the Greenmarket. Our half of the sending stone is there though, keep in touch.

At least now I’ll be out of the rain.

I hate the rain.

From the Memoirs of Morken Mindus
Tower of Mindus

How many skulls does it take to open a door?

Maybe I should start further back. Been so long since I had a chance to write anything, at this rate I’ll never make a fortune by selling portions of my “adventures” to wandering bards. But then, it’s only after Yoshi got involved that the stories have been real anyway. Even with the others trying to decide whether we dump skulls into this cauldron, and which ones to dump if we should, I can’t snag a minute of privacy without Yoshi tagging along.

So after we got away from that debacle in Vineyard, and ran afoul of those ridiculous magical hucksters, we came back to Maiden’s Rest. Home sweet home. Of course with the way my luck’s been running, Salazar is not only still alive after 13 years, but sends us a letter almost as soon as we set foot in town. We meet up with him on the way to Mindus Tower in time to learn it’s been overrun by bandits sporting the new fashion in evil accouterments, porcelain masks.

So, we hire on to clear the tower and rescue some dwarves that had been restoring it. I gave Salazar a fake name, though damned if I can remember it now. Of course, he saw through Yoshi’s ridiculous curse so who knows if he actually bought it. We reach the tower and find what I’ve come to determine is fairly standard fare in these situations. Two burly looking jerks sitting by a fire, a couple leaner thugs with bows by the tower, guarding a bound dwarf. We set to fighting, the dwarf breaks loose and runs to us, only to reveal his true colors as some sort of doppleganger and jam a knife into our backs. It wasn’t pretty, but we finished them off and spent the night up top to get our bearings before descending into the tower’s basement.

Things went about the way you’d imagine. Heroic murals, groups of freakish porcelain-wearing not-quite-human raiders, giant animate bear traps. We found a hallway lined with tombs of fallen warriors, from Nava and Shan’jin. Cracked open one of Yoshi’s ancestors as well as some westerner whose name Grimfield wrote down. The foreigner had a ring with Mindus’ name engraved on it, and the other man had a ring with Elegance. Of course, the corpses predated that particular couple by more than a century, near as we could figure. Yoshi and I kept the rings, since short of Mindus and Elegance we are about as “East meets West” as things get.

Things started going downhill from there. I did my best with the traps we saw, but my eyesight isn’t worth shit since the Greenmarket, and Yoshi still seems more used to watching for people and evidence than pressure plates and tripwires. Still, we all got through alright, and Yoshi discovered he doesn’t mind being set on fire half as much as he would’ve expected.

That’s when we got to the final room. Smarmy looking archers we’d tussled with earlier were standing beside piles of skulls. When they saw us, they started tossing them into a giant cauldron filled with necrotic filth. Skeletons and evil ooze blobs issued forth. It was not what one would describe as ideal, but we pacified the situation. Leaving us with piles of colored skulls, a giant vat, and an unopenable giant steel door.

Looks like they finally decided to risk it. Going to throw in skulls colored like Mindus and Elegance’s crest, Purple and Black for the shield, and two gold ones for the two-headed eagle. And the door is opening…

The Bind
It all begins

After sneaking on merchant ship at the port town of Ling’hurak, Morken Mindus, a rogue with a silver tongue sharper than the point of his dagger, and Yoshinori, a samurai whose path of honor and tradition forsook him, hid amongst the ship’s ration bay as they sailed to the continent of Nava.

In the darkness, both men talked to pass the time when as swiftly as lighting strikes, the two men simultaneously realized they couldn’t be chained to a more unfitting companion. Chained? You see, both men committed what the throne of Raijin considered to be unlawful and were bound together as consequence to their crimes.

Their fate was unveiled on an evening at a local pub. After drinking down a mediocre glass of sake, Morken was in the mood for a few more glasses; he drank heavily in recent nights. He reached in his pocket and found a few measly pieces of silver lining his pocket, not near enough to drown himself.

This simply would not do. Morken reverted to a game he knew quite well, a game of “chance.” This game had great odds for Morken’s riches: 1:1 he would certainly have his fill of sake. He went about his usual set up, looking through the crowd for a pawn. This is were Morken first met Yoshinori, although neither man knew how close their relationship would become.

Through a quick silver-lined remark, Morken brought Yoshinori into his game. Playing Yoshi as a stooge to prove legitimacy, the pub’s patrons quickly took notice and wanted their own shot at coin. Here Morken began to secure his drinks for the night.

In a move unlike him, Morken goofed a palm right in front of one of the town’s guards. Without hesitation, the guard took siege to Morken. One of his comrades restrained Yoshinori with the belief that he was Morken’s partner. The two were swiftly taken to the dungeon.

The odd couple could not have picked a worst time to find their way into this mess. That night, the guard captain was on duty and he immediately recognized Yoshinori, for Yoshi once held the title himself and the captain could never forget his partner that disappeared one year ago.

It was when tasked with a long tour of reconnaissance to infiltrate a growing insurrection, that Yoshi realized that he had spent his life fighting or the wrong side. Those rebels weren’t the cold-blooded, murderous anarchists the throne made them out to be, but rather families who have been long repressed by the iron fist of the dynasty.

With this knowledge came a decision that weighed heavily upon his soul. Yoshinori held, above all else, a strong sense of justice, valor and loyalty taught to him by his mentor. If he sided with loyalty, he would have ended his life before betraying his liege. Justice would have him face the moral challenge with bravery and put an end to the insurrection once and for all. While valor would have him commit to the rebels and fight the crown for equality. Yoshi couldn’t face these outcomes, and disappeared from his past, putting the life he lived behind him.

This decision opened the door for his once comrade to step into Yoshinori’s old role, never expecting to run into a man who he thought dead. However, that night was full of unexpected coincidences. It so happened that the High Mage of Raijin was set to bind the worst criminals to the crown that evening; ensuring they could not put the dynasty at risk again. Yoshi had become such a criminal and to the guard, Morken was his partner.

Both men were bound to one another by a 15-foot chain baring the Raijin crest on either cuff. They then faced the High Mage, who magically sealed their fate. “Forever bound,” were the words of the mage as he unknowingly put into motion events that would shape the world of Circa for generations.

Not long after their incarceration, Yoshinori and Morken saw an opportunity to escape their imprisonment. Their burden became their salvation when they used the 15-foot chain as a means to knock out the guard watching over them as they slaved outside the castle wall. The two quickly took to the nearby wood and headed straight to Ling’hurak, as they knew this was the only way off of Shan’jin soil.

After sneaking onto a merchant ship heading across the ocean, they sat hidden and nerved. Each man dreading the next word from the other. As quick as their hatred blossomed, it found a way to form an impenetrable alliance, a common goal prioritized over everything else: find a way to become unchained. Morken knew what their next step must be, a trip to Vineyard. There they would discover what was necessary to break their bond and be rid of one another.

Adventure Log
A blog for our campaign

Here it is: a blog for your adventures!

We will chronicle our adventures the only way the internet knows how, through a blog!.

The Adventure Log will serve as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and read up on what happened and post what you remember transpired. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! That means that we could link to the other detailed campaign notes that I’m currently writing up.

Let’s start with our initial adventures in Vineyard and work our way over to Mindus’ tower so that we can be caught up to speed.


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