The Macabre Waltz

The Final Thoughts of Rekk Taven

The sky’s so blue, not a cloud in it…will I see my Bekka? Will she recognize me as I am now?

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Home, sweet home..
Things not to say to a halfling

Been a minute since I’ve ’ad a chance to reflect ’pon things…

Can’t say I was in much ‘urry to get back ta’ Sharn, though ’at’s not ta’ say jungles and “neck-ro-manca’s” made for a pleasant stay in Xen’drek, eitha’. ’Adn’t been out of Sharn much before, fact, nor out on the sea.

I’m not sure I’m to fond ‘a ships, come to think of it. Seein’ as I’ve been ‘avin’ ‘ese wild dreams, sailing pro’bly ain’t quite what this halflings’s cut out for. Grey skies, black shadows, and that girl.. Why was she there? The rest of us were there, even ol’ stumpy, but she seemed diff’rent… out ‘a place…. an’ afraid.

Wakin’ up in cold sweats’s enouf’ ta’ shake ‘a stout man, but then seein’ her?! On the same bloody boat?! Her white, dead eyes sent ‘a legitimat’ chill down my spine, hear? Those eyes ain’t truly dead, though. Fact, quite the opposite, reckon. ‘olds ’erself quite proper, too. She’s important, alright, I just ’adn’t figured out how by the time we reached shore..

It was kind ‘a nice ’a ol’ Bronn, rest ‘is soul in the darkest grips of whateva’ plane be most unpleasant, ta’ gatha’ a nice, big welcomin’ part-ee for us, the humble servants tis us. Quite unkind, and quite foolish, to insult a respectable halfling such as myself, though. ‘For anyone knew what had happen’d, ‘is ’ead was cocked back with a dagga’ in his eye. ‘Tis a lesson he ain’t livin’ to regret, mind you.

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of that fight.. Sure, your watchman might run when ol’ sarge slumps ova’ in a blink, but these were Shields, mate. These gents were the King’s men, an’ I suppose most anyone would ‘ave laid their weapons down an’ surrendered, but I also suppose we’re not just anyone…

Great fighters these men were, but wearin’ ‘eavy armor on a narrow dock ain’t exactly bright. You’d call it dirty fightin’, Jess, but I say we were just usin’ any advantage available to us. (Falco grins)

Now, ‘aving survived that ordeal, as free men, no less, we ’ad to fig-a (figure) that we weren’t gonna be too well liked ‘round Sharn, anymore. I know Carric can pull strings, but dead King’s men are dead King’s men. Speakin’ of Carric, ‘course the agency was the first place we went. We didn’t find much there, seein’ as how it ’ad been raided.

Can you imagine that? Wanted for murda’ of knights, your only good connection in the city is missing, or maybe dead, and we ain’t got a fucking clue as to where to go next. It sounds more unbelievable than some of the tales you ‘ear in taverns from men with too much in ’is gut and not enouf’ in ’is ’ead.

The only choice I ‘ad was to try an’ tap an ol’ thievin’ connection ‘a mine, or atleast make someone else believe I ’ad. Suppose I’m quite fortunate ‘at halfling’s are as common as we are here, ‘specially in my former trade. Doubly fortunate ’at my face ain’t quite so recognized anymore, eitha’. Bein’ a new found masta’ of deceit ‘elped alit’le, as well. I swear I’m not enjoyin’ this lifestyle as much as you think.. (Falco chuckles to himself)

I was able to get us passage out of Sharn, real quick and quiet. On a lightning rail, anotha’ first for me, but not quite the way I imagined ridin’, packed behind a crate ‘a fruit. I’ve been in worse, sure, but that ain’t mean I lack standards…

We rode for a day or so without much trouble, ‘til we reached Thrane, where ol’ stumpy got us out ‘a trouble, for once. The dwarf’s knack for dishonesty and half-truths is admirable. He’d a make a fine rogue in another life, fact.

Luck is always ‘a double-edged blade, though, and he who succeeds is bound to fail. Just when we thought we might be in the clear and most stops are behind us, we feel the train lurch to a halt in the middle of bloody nowhere. Well, were in not for the fey girls new wing contraption, we wouldn’t have known where we were, or the trouble headed for our car.

My first thought was to hide, ’course I then remember how stumpy faired with that ’afore. My next thought would have been to run, though that damn dwarf had other ideas…

I suppose I forgot to mention the boat we may have semi-hijacked on the way to Xen’drek. Or the elemental bond within it that we set free. Honestly, some of these people cannot be trusted ‘round modern transportation, mark me. Suppose it then goes without sayin’ that we can add a hijacked lightning rail to the list, then. Oh, and the fact that we’re pro’bly now some of the most wanted folks in Breland after killing a handful of King’s Swords now, as well. It might also be important to note that the same lightning rail is charging forward at what I was fig-a is full speed and us with naught a clue to stop it…

Suppose this might be funny if it wasn’t so bloody ironic…

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Redemshun

DAY, MONTH, YEAR

Wated all day for the term Bronn sent but nobody showd. Wudnt mind normly but I dont no wen that weesly stinking corpse eater will run for it agin. The Brothers Dunn showd up today smelling like week old bugbear asks and their skin burnd blacker than a drow’s hart. Dint talk to em, they were edgeer than even they normally are. They were gon neerly a yeer in the dark, that much time in ther changes anywon.

DAY +1, MONTH, YEAR

Met the merks at the Matchetee tonite. Theyr funny tho, qweer like. The tinkerer seems alright, feels like a watchman, or a footman. The halflings the city sort, probably some gutter trash upjumped to pickpocket but hes cheerful enuf. They’ve got a iron dog along that seems abit wild.

Where to start with the elf, the witch’s eyes swirl and her voice tickles like falling glass or something, if I’m being honest she terrifies me.

Bronn told them were looking for some Karrnathi fugitive, we’ll see how long I can keep that lie up.
We set out tomorow. I won’t come back until we find him.

DAY+8,MONTH, YEAR

Its done. Hes ded and so is his hole cursed tribe. We lost the dog, sliced to ribbons by the filths creashuns, an axeptabul cazwaltee. I told them the truth when we arrived at the manor. I couldn’t bare to take men into a fight who had no idea wat they were going into.
The drow had built an impressive compound deep in the jungle, filled with all manner of wizardry. Traps and misterees everyware! We located a key to his lare and found him in it performing some foul craft on an isenhund. I almost felt bad for the construct. He had nowhere to run and it was finaly done, his black heart skeward on the same blade I took from his foul bitch lieutenant.

His final trap was sprung then! His gools shambled into the chamber and we couldn’t have fought our way out. Falcon saved all of us, finding the trap door when he did. The prisoners we released were going to get us all killed. I did what had to be done when I killed the two blocking the entrance. Better they die quickly than we all die slowly, eaten alive by those creatures.

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Untitled

(by Niavara)

Sometimes the paranoia creeps in. Like shadows in the corners of your eyes, like the chill of night in the winter.

Do they know?

Would they kill me?
Why wouldn’t they kill me?

It happens in the worst of times. When I need the clarity to fight. To cast. To defend. I come up short. I imagine I may not be so lucky in the future.

It’s disorienting and time gets so distorted… short… long…. non-linear—- and vision—- until everything is a chaotic mess that even an artist couldn’t appreciate. Voices ring through my head, children crying, people screaming… but they’re all so distant. So far. Yet so loud that they pierce straight through me.

It’s a dark, wet cave. I cannot see, but with my ears. And the only sound is sadness. And a single drop of water.

Sometimes I feel that I’m somewhere else. As though my entire life actually happened elsewhere at another time. These voices… are they family? That couldn’t be, could it? Why do they feel so real? So incredibly real. Am I crazy?

I don’t …
feel

crazy.

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orfans
Excerpts from the diary of usill ironbrand

Tir the 14th day of of Sypheros, 998YK

Tha city seems joost as strange noo as eva’, magikal dunjuns, wepons tha’ spit eliktrizity, Telepoortashun. Tha warforged

haz nay been tha same since he waz layed low, I think tha new parts haff effected em in soom way. Ive recently learned tha
Niavara is no joost soom regular elf, but insteed is soom kinda “magic elf”. all I noo is tha her magik is more powerful then
before.

Contact wit soom bird pepole today, kenkoo I think it was. kidnappin some chilledren, aganst me wishes we folla’ed em doon to
there layer. goblins feared us and kept there distance, we came to there wherehouse and engaged in moral coombat. At tha end
we saved many o’ the wee ones and slawtered tha bird people tha were resonsiball for tha kidnappin.

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Toofless
Excerpts from the diary of usill ironbrand

Zor, the 9th day of Sypheros, 998YK

Everythin aboot this city is ether confusin or doonrite terrifin, Ungodly magiks seem ta be forgemark o this place; Flyin sleds, unnaytural lites, cretures that wood be killed on site are allowed to rome free! I did hooever see tha most wondurus place, Tha temple o Onatar. I’ve no seen anythin like it bafore! Gold, cut gems tha size o me hand, magnanmus displays o wealth an’ fine wheres!
Truly tha lite o Onatar shines on tha place! I met tha high priest, a wise an’ nobil dwarf, I think I may haff empresed em wit prowless.

I fill a bit moor coomfortible wit me companions noo then bafore, but I cannah say tha I troost em. I’ve goot a strange feelin aboot tha elf girl, tha power she weelds is empresive! I’ll be a keepin a clooser eye on her noo. Tha flaco lad seems a capible yoong dodger, saved me hock once alreedy, O’coorse I’ve doon tha same for em so were even. Geralt looks as he’s abandaned hez clerical ways for soomethin more mikanical like, a ardyfixer I think it was, tha change seems to soot em, hez barley spiled a lick o blood sense then.

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Here and Gone Again; A Halfling Tale of Intrigue and Mystery.
Not'in like a good 'omecomin', eh?

Tavick’s-blood’ee-Landin’..

Who’d ‘a fucking thought The Cat would eva’ haf’ ta’ crawl ‘is way through the gutta’ again… An’ alone, ’n fact. Why if I could just get my hands on…..

Falco sighes deeply

No matta’… Soon enouf’, reckon.

S’pose I should count me blessin’s… Not every day ya’ find ‘a place ta’ lay low so easy.

They ‘all themselves “The Oriffin Agency.” Ain’t that right fancy. Neva’ ‘eard of ’em, ’n just ta’ add anotha’ blessin’; I don’t think they ’eard ’a me.

What’s betta’, I even got me ‘a right fine gang ’a throwaways that might not go screamin’ at ta’ first sight ‘a blood. Blessin’s indeed… ’Specially if they ’an be ’a use.

That foreman, “Carric,” ain’t made me ‘a fan, though. Right wanka’, that one. Falco spits on the ground

Just ta’ make sure we knew which end was ta’ point’ee one, ‘e ’ad me ’n the crew go do ’is pest work in ’is cella’. Killin’ rats? Was ’e serious?

Eitha’ way, we did what ‘e asked. My lit’le ragtag group did alright, sure.

Neva’ worked wit’ a ‘forged before, but ’e seemed to know ’ow ta’ fight, though ‘a bit loose ’n the ’ead, ta’ be plain… I’m not one ta’ knock a ‘bot for bein’ ’a ’bot, though.

Got ‘a righteous lit’le stumpy wit’ quite ‘a mouf’ on ‘im. I think I’m gonna like him… Falco grins widely

Can’t fa’get the fey, eitha’. She got some powa’ in ‘er, sure. ’Ope she saves it for the bad’ies.

‘Who ’a my missin’… Right, the humie… ‘E looks like ’e ’as worlds ’a thoughts ’n ’is ’ead. Some’ins tellin’ me ta’ watch ’im..

Afta’ cleanin’ up our mess an’ no soona’ had we caught ‘a wink ’a sleep, we got ’a dying girl bleedin’ on ‘our doorstep. Ah, Tavick’s, always bringin’ back the memories…

Turn’s out, ‘er names Lyanna Tal. She’s ‘a reporta’, ‘n a right good one, reckon, consid’n someone went thro’ the trouble ‘a stabbin’ ‘er. I got ’a bad feelin’ ‘bout this. So much fa’ stayin’ low…

The humie, stumpy, ‘n fey girl all went ta’ the post, while me n’ the ‘forged split off ta’ track the reporta’s would-be murd’ra. We followed the trail ‘a ’er blood to ’n alley, only ta’ find ourselves ambushed by some blood’ee fuckin’ Grobas! Of all the… Falco curses and spits twice on the ground

Luck be ‘a lady, as us’all; made it out wit’ me inside’s ‘n place. The otha’s got ‘a lead at the post, which ’ad us runnin’ up and down the skyway. Flyin’ ‘round ’n search ’a information is all well ’n good, but dealin’ wit’ Grobas mid-flight is anotha’ story entirely! Alit’le return on the fava’ they did me ‘afor seemed only right, so the ’forged ’n me took ta’ the sky ta’ say ‘ello. Managed ta’ get one of their flyin’ disks before the rest decide they don’t like me standin’. When I come too, I’m on the blood’ee deck of the skycoach wit’ stumpy’s ‘ands all ova’ me. I’m grateful, course, but a lit’le humiliate’d…

Nothin’ could ’ave prepared me for what we learned next…

Ms. Tal seemed ta’ fancy ‘erself an orc named Dolgruf. Not just, ’ey were makin’ some
prett-y lewd pictures, see, so I kept a few in case they were needed. Ms. Tal seems like quite the lit’le minx, yeah.

Afta’ the fey girl made nice wit’ an orc in cogs’, we found our way to Dolgruf’s, an’ even the greeny himself. ‘E wasn’t too ‘appy to see us, but ’e played nice wit’ some convincin’ ‘n gave us ’a chat. Turns out Ms. Tal ’as a secret or two ta’ tell…

Just when things are startin’ ta’ get interst’in, they get very interst’in. Ms. Tal seems ta’ be back wit’ the livin’ ‘n we got ta’ have a word wit’ the hussy. She says she ‘as ’n informant from the Emerald Claw. ’Eard a lit’le ‘bout them b’fore; bombs ‘n such nasty things. I think we’re in a bit ova’ our ’eads, ’ere…

What’s even betta’, we’ve got to go meet ‘em. ’N where do we get to meet ’em? Blood-ee fuckin’ Fallen. Fan-blood-ee-tastic.

A’for we go, we each split ta’ try ‘n loosen some tongues. I happen ’cross a right comfy lit’le place called Little Wonder, not far from the agency, fact. Got a nice lit’le girl named Talana to get me in to see the Lady with a flash ’a me smile and a flip of me coin. ’Er eyes remind me ’a someone I knew once ’round ’ere…

The Lady didn’t ‘ave much info for me, but I ain’t unhappy ‘bout findin’ it. I ‘ave a feelin’ I’ll be back ’for long.

Afta’ my alit’le trip to the brothel, we ‘eaded out t’wards Fallen, my wit sure we’re walkin’ in ta’ ‘a trap. Low ’n b’hold, my ol’ bud’y Daask came ta’ see The Cat. The greeny brought ‘a right big group ’a friend’s wit’ ‘im, too; lucky I didn’t come alone, eitha.

I ‘ad forgotten how ’ard a greeny can fight, ’spec’ly one Daask’s size. Wit’ a lit’le timely ‘elp from Miss Emerald Claw, we managed a’ight. Now they might think twice ‘for comin’ afta’ Falco “The Cat” Lindenbrook, sure ’nuff.

Afta’ ‘earin’ ‘er out, I managed ta’ get stumpy off ‘a ’er. She kept talkin’ ’bout the Maze, like we were mad ’nouf to listen. I ’ad ’eard stories of the place, but it was just a silly urban legend. ..Right?

Imagine ‘ow right surprised I was ta’ find out it’s right ‘ere in me own city! Full ’a tricks ’n traps, much ta’ my d’light. Me tools ‘ad been itchin’ fa’ use, ‘nd I was all kinds ’a chuffed ta’ find it.

Gotta’ ‘and it to stumpy for findin’ the place. ’E knows how to meet the right folk.

The place was ‘a blood-ee mind fuck; the further we walked, the less progress we made. T’was until we noticed the map on the walls. Wit’ me keen eye, I made out the pat’ern, only loosin’ site ‘a our location once. No replacement fa’ good senses, reckon.

We ended up in ‘a room filled with bobbles, hanging from the ceilin’. ’Adn’t seen nothin’ like it a’for, ‘n only knew what they did when our fey friend managed to ’it one. I could tell some ’a my part-y wasn’t doin’ too well, ‘n only worse afta’ ‘ese bobbles went off. Afta’ a second to gatha’ meself, I went ta’ work on it, fig’rin’ out what to do as I went. S’if that weren’t a’nuff, we ended up wit’ some greenies afta’ us. S’fine wit’ me, seeing as I didn’t want my mates ta’ get soft on me.

Afta’ the first, the rest was child’s play for a masta’ thief; none givin’ more than a glance ‘n a few tweeks wit’ me tools. ’Ad not for the humie, the trap may not ’a gone off at all…

Once cleared, we soon came upon the humie we been lookin’ for, ‘cept there was a slight problem; ’e wasn’t breathin’. Only clue we ‘ad was a giant map ’a Korrvaire wit’ some import’ant lookin’ places point’d out. My mates ‘ere say it’s for transport, but ain’t none but daft on it. I looks like it’s got some powa’ to it, by the looks ‘a it, but this is way beyond a lit’le halfling thief.

Falco…. what in the blood-ee ’ell ’ave you got yourself into….

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The Case Continues

Geroldt’s Notes

It’s been a few days and from what I hear Lyanna is awake, so I think it’s time to try and get some answers from her. She tells us that she was investigating these bombings but something wasn’t adding up. Then all of sudden her company gets wind of her “moonlighting” cans her. Now she keeps digging into the matter and it seems someone doesn’t like that so tries to get her bumped off, lucky for her she found our doorstep first. She tells us she has a meeting with an informant in a couple of day, looks like this might lead to some more answers, since she’s all banged up we will be taking her place.

We got a few days to kill, so I’m going to see what I can’t find out about some of these other leads. I’m sure Jorik might be able to dig up something on this Lord Aramoff guy for me.

Turns out meeting an informant from the Emerald Claw is just about as dangerous as it sounds. We headed down to Fallen where the meeting was supposed to take place. Not a place I much like to hang around, mostly tramps and addicts down there. We make it to site when a big troop from the Daask shows up with orders to bring our heads back minus our bodies. Lucky for us our informant was keeping an eye on things and was able to help us dispatch those thugs. She goes by the name Ireen and seems to be someone of some importance to the EC. We take her to Lyanna and as it turns out, there is someone else pulling the strings forcing the EC to do their bidding. If these people have this kind of power, I think we really are in over our heads.

Jorik came up empty with his search for Lord Aramoff, I should have know, Jorik never was a whole lot of use. Seems Usill has had some better lucky though, and has got us the location of this maze where these malefactors meet. Ireen is gonna be coming with us on this one, not sure if its for revenge or protection, but I couldn’t care much, might just need another sword for this one.

Got into a bit of trouble in that so called “maze”, that place is hell on my head, nothing in there seems to make sense, used a lot of strange artifacts to try and keep us out, weird stuff that I can say I ain’t familiar with. We made it through but seems we got there just too late. Saw some stranger put an end to Salith, guess he wasn’t pulling his weight. Looking at the room all I can figure is this is some sort of teleportation room these people use to travel, and it looks like they have strings all over.

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Tell me you want, what you really really want.
wish list.
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