The Eldest Journal

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…

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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.

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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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