The Dragon Guard

I Guess a Title Goes Here
Something something whatever

We stepped through the portal and arrived at the center of a crossroads. In front of us was a corpse tied by its wrists to a post, blackened by the sun and worn by the wind. The sight was made even more macabre whenever it emitted an eerie screech and extended its finger to point down one of the paths. I would describe all the buildings and whatnot in the surrounding area, but eh, fuck it. Suddenly I don’t particularly care about going into too much detail.

So then Izeya said something about a stampede coming our way and then a bunch of weird creature things showed up. I didn’t feel like dealing with it so I laid down in the ditch. It was actually a pretty comfy ditch, relatively dry and the grass was nice and soft. I thought, what a great place to take a nap. Then some asshole creature started gnawing on me. Fucker wouldn’t let me sleep. I tossed it off and went back to napping.

Then there was a battle or something but I’m tired and writing is hard.

Then Nox came over and kicked me awake. She hit me right in the ribs. Seriously, that fucking hurt. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep but she just dragged me out of the ditch by the hair.

Eventually we all headed down the road where the little beast fuckers came from and some bell rang. A weird building just kinda appeared out of fucking nowhere. Some asshole inside told us it was a tavern called The House of Black Lanterns and there was a bunch of random people inside. I offered to buy a room for Martin, Izeya and myself to share. Seems like they’re both interested in me. Especially Izeya. I am gonna have fun tonight.

The three of us sat at the lounge and chatted for a little while. At some point while waiting for a server to bring us some refreshments, someone approached me. He said his name was Oloster, a politician, and he wanted to talk to me; being the only other human in the inn, I suppose he was looking for companionship. I told him I’d come to his room later, and he told me which one he was staying in. I definitely want to check him out later.

In the mean time, I told Martin and Izeya to meet me upstairs later and decided to wander around the rest of the room. I met a very interesting woman (?) named Vashara who is one of a race called the Yuan-Ti. She wore no clothing, although this was not her most immediately obvious trait – rather, that would be the fact that she is part snake. I’d never seen such a creature, and although it was somewhat startling I couldn’t help but admire her beauty. She was also passing through and happened to come to the House. I will have to converse with her at great length at another time.

Partway through my conversation with Vashara, an elf from across the room overheard me talking about gold and offered me a deal. His name is Frudock and he likes collecting rare things; apparently he wanted to buy my Lauarian coins. So I traded all of my Lauarian money for five times its value in Gloomrot coins. They all weigh the same in gold, so I figure I made out well in this trade.

After exchanging currency with Frudock and finishing my conversation with Vashara, I went upstairs to talk to Olostar. He told me some very interesting things about his work, and I might be able to help him out in the future.

A Quest in the Crypt
Skeletons, ghosts, and bears - oh my!

My last journal entry was interrupted by the sound of screaming coming from across the river. I grabbed the inebriated Izeya and pulled her along with me as I rushed across the bridge toward the sounds of battle. Malygos and Aveira soon joined us as we ran toward a group of skeletons who were attacking the townspeople. As we entered into the fray, Nox soon joined us and (despite the difficulties dealing with their necrotic attacks) we were able to defeat them. Nox nearly fell from her wounds, but luckily I was able to swoop in with a potion and revive her. She seems less than appreciative of my rescue.

After the battle, Arthur came to find us. Apparently the skeletons originated from a crypt not far from the town’s outer limits. He charged us with going their, finding the necromancy that is the source of this trouble, and eliminating it. As it so happens, the next portal we need to find is most likely located there as well. So after a night of rest, off to the crypt we all went.

The ancient Woodford crypt was merely a short walk outside the town gate. Upon our arrival, we were shocked to find many of the bodies laid to rest in the alcoves along the wall rose up to fight us. Fortunately, they weren’t nearly as strong as the earlier skeletons; we soon put the undead back to rest and headed further into the crypt.

I soon became aware of an unusual presence in the crypt; something was there that was not meant to be there. I couldn’t tell if this presence had any sort of ill intent, but I informed the rest of the party and we pressed on.

As we passed through a door on the other side of the entryway and walked down a hall, we came to another room dedicated to a single family. I approached two caskets in the center of the family crypt, and suddenly two ghosts arose from the graves and more undead rose from the alcoves along the walls. The ghosts demanded to know who I was and where their daughter went. As they seemed rather upset, I introduced myself and asked them more about their daughter. Apparently, the spirit of their daughter had gone missing, and I promised to find her as I searched further in the crypt as long as they let us progress unimpeded. They agreed, and the undead went back to their resting places, no longer interested in potentially attacking us.

In another hallway, I sensed another presence; it was the ghost of a little girl. At first she ran away from us, disappearing and reappearing as she willed. When I finally caught up to her, I approached her and asked her name. She answered that it was Elise, and she had a very friendly demeanor. I confirmed with her that she was the missing daughter of the ghost couple we found earlier. She also told me that she had a friend she called Martin who resided lower in the crypt. I asked her to lead us to him, and she seemed enthusiastic about being our guide.

We followed Elise to the deepest depths of the crypt. There, we found the mysterious Martin, who was the source of the strange presence I felt earlier. As it turns out, Martin was actually a disembodied brain in a jar.

Yes. You read that correctly. Martin was a brain in a jar. Who could apparently still somehow talk. And he was guarded by five dog-like creatures that seemed to be constructed of metal (and were very protective of the jar-brain). At that point, I told Elise to go back to the room of the crypt where her parents were resting to fulfill my promise to find and return her; she agreed to do so and disappeared.

Fortunately, Martin seemed incredibly reasonable. He told us that he was a victim of a nefarious cult that had ripped him from his body and placed him inside the jar. They used some sort of strange magic called “electricity” to store information inside him. Then they dumped him in the crypt and left the dog creatures to guard him. He desperately wanted his body back so that he could move from the jar and leave the crypt, but he couldn’t remember too well how he got to be a brain in a jar in the first place. It was looking pretty unlikely that we would be able to help him, until Malygos had a brilliant idea; he took out a scroll and read a spell that raises undead, in order to bring back Martin’s body and presumably resurrect him.

It didn’t go exactly as expected, however; Martin’s body simply appeared next to the jar, and was alive but unconscious. Martin was still a disembodied brain. But luckily for us, we know a very powerful wizard – and I suggested the party go back to see Arthur, who would most likely be able to rectify the situation. Before we left, Elise also reappeared and gave me a sack full of gold with her parents’ thanks. I was more than happy to take it from her. That must have been the easiest quest I’ve ever completed.

Izeya then transformed into her bear form and Malygos strapped Martin’s body to her back with some rope. Nox placed Martin’s brain (and jar) in a sack, and we carried him back to Woodford so that Arthur could examine him. Fortunately, my assumption that the old wizard would prove useful was correct; within the space of an hour, Arthur managed to concoct a potion (and a pot of tea), cast a spell, and Martin woke up back in his own body. His very lean, very attractive Eladrin body. Mmm.

Anyway, earlier Martin had mentioned that he’d been through the portal located in the Woodford crypt, and expressed an interest in joining our party whenever we traveled through it. According to him, on the other side was a residence of the demigods. Arthur encouraged us to go meet with them, and I was more than willing to have Martin come along. Once again, the party (plus Martin) headed off to the crypt and descended to its deepest level.

After stepping through the portal, we materialized in a magnificent palace. The walls were carved with magical runes, and the stained glass windows were enchanted to move in order to depict various stories. The floors were made from patterns of marble, jade and quartz; the marble pillars were inlaid with gold. There were huge, ornately carved wooden doors along the walls as well. Clearly this was a place of beauty.

In the center of the massive room, there was a large crowd of people; some were demigods, others were deva or other races I didn’t recognize. As some of them spoke, the windows would change to depict the tactical possibilities they spoke of. We approached the group, and one of the demigods turned to us. He explained that they were all there to try to plan an assault on the Black Gate. For this mission, they needed our help, as apparently only members of the Dragon Guard were capable of destroying the gate itself.

In that vein, the demigod explained that they had a special portal that would send us to wherever we were most needed. He hoped that it would send us to wherever we could find the information needed to destroy the Gate; of course, it was just as likely that where we were “most needed” was elsewhere. However, it was worth the gamble, as I reasoned, because if there was anything more important than finding out how to destroy the Gate then we should most likely go there. The demigod agreed, and we all stepped through the gate.

Through the Gate
Portals are weird

We stepped through the gate today.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have even been there in the first place. It was ridiculous that I was pressed into joining the Dragon Guard. Those idiotic, backward villagers … but I suppose there’s no changing it now. I’m already committed. What’s done is done.

Anyway, right before we walked into the unknown, there was a grand ceremony held at Evothil. The king said some fancy words, and took the time to give each and every one of us a gift – we each received some sort of magical item in the hopes that it would help us face whatever was on the other side of the Black Gate. Mine was a pan flute. Of course, there were whispers that it was all a waste giving us those things. After all, most people believe that joining the Dragon Guard is akin to a death sentence. But the sentiment was nice. It actually seemed as though the king genuinely regretted having to send us there. But again, it’s a little late for regrets.

The gate itself was massive. As I stared up at it, I thought of the tales from generations past of scores of dragons pouring through to attack our world. It must have been a terrifying sight to see.

Much like the terror we all felt after walking through it. Some people have said there is nothing beyond the gate, merely empty blackness. Others say it must be where the dragons keep their nest. Still others say it leads to some fantastic thing that is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals.

They would all be incorrect.

What we found when we walked through the gate was a battlefield. Above us, a war was raging between hordes of mighty dragons and some strange creatures that resembled angels (I was later told they are demigods). They were flying through the air, spewing fire or lightning, shooting arrows, slashing at each other with swords and claws. Below us, there was a round area that seemed to drop abruptly into nothingness. Scattered near the edge were various smaller portals, similar the the Gate we had just walked through. All around us were the fallen; carcasses of various races tangled in the bones of dragons, all in various states of decay.

Within only a few moments, most of those who stepped through the gates died in the crossfire of the battle above. Those who were quicker (or farther from the front of the group) managed to dodge the flames just in time. I ducked behind a pillar. But as we managed to escape one dragon’s attack, another appeared before us. This one wasn’t fully grown, but it was still massive; a great bronze beast that could command lightning. I attempted to fire a few arrows at it, but most missed and the ones that did hit didn’t seem to affect it greatly.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one attacking. Several others had chosen to fight it along with me: a Githzerai who could transform into a bear, a Shadar’Kai wielding a sword and axe, a Deva mage, and a Drow assassin. With all of us working together to fight the dragon, after what seemed like hours we finally managed to fell the beast. I was also able to grab a few of its scales as well as the satchel of a fallen warrior before a demigod appeared before us.

“Hail guardians,” she called out to us. “I have altered the portals to go where you are needed. Go swiftly. Find the broken wizard.” She pointed to the far end of the battlefield before another dragon slammed into her and she rejoined the fray in the sky.

Heeding her advice to go swiftly, as well as trying to escape the chaos overhead, we all rushed to get through the gate. On the other side was something almost as shocking as my first trip through a portal – it was a human settlement. The closer we drew to the town walls, the more sure I was that this place was the mythical Woodford. Back in Lauaria, there were many legends of an entire town that mysteriously disappeared 300 years ago. Apparently, it had reappeared here, in another dimension on the other side of a portal. The guards at the gate were friendly to us and confirmed that it was indeed the mysteriously absent Woodford, and pointed us to the tower where the wizard resided.

Remembering that the demigod had directed us to find the broken wizard, my companions and I decided to go there first. It had clearly aged in the centuries since Woodford disappeared, but it still seemed as if it could stand for many centuries more. Inside we met the wizard the demigod spoke of. His name is Arthur, and he was the cause of Woodford’s mysterious disappearance. Apparently, an army of orcs had been threatening the town, and rather than trying to manage the ensuing bloodbath he merely decided to move the town out of the way. In that vein, he charged us with a quest; Arthur cares greatly for the town that he now protects, and wishes us to find a new location to place Woodford so that when he dies, the town will be in a more stable dimension. We agreed to search for a suitable location during our travels, and he gave me a ritual scroll that will allow us to return to Woodford at any time once we have found such a place.

After our meeting with the wizards, my companions and I finally took a moment to get to know one another. I mentioned that seeing as how we would be working together for the foreseeable future (rather than merely grouped together as we run for our lives), we should at least know each other’s names. The Githzerai is named Izeya, the Shadar’Kai is called Aveira, the Deva is known as Malygos, and the Drow assassin is Nox. I introduced myself as Dolos, a human male. Apparently, the rest of them found my race rather dull (heh).

Once introductions were finished, we decided to split up, looking for local shops, taverns, and what have you before heading out on the next step of our journey. Right now, I am sitting in a pub, sipping on some ale with Izeya as I record the day’s events. I don’t know if I can trust any of these people yet (especially considering how likely it is that they will react to my secret in much the same way as the villagers who put me here in the first place). Although I can say that my time with them, however short it may be, should certainly be interesting. In fact, I —

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