I have decided to chronicle my current happenings, firstly for my own reflection, but also for the edification of others pondering what had become of me.
I am Movalyn, seventh sired of primarch scholar and archeologist Rashrious. I imagine that many would say that my life of privilege living as the daughter of such a man would be a life worth cleaving unto. I also imagine that some who read this account may see me as some spoiled child for having such a strong desire to leave such a life. But in truth, the constant moralizing and lecturing of my father, with his obtuse adherence to nonsensical arcane traditions, coupled with strong compulsions within me driving me toward a more meaningful life, all acted with great impetus upon me. Upon reaching my one hundred and nineteenth year I could bear life at the manse no longer and took action to leave.
My Father had given each of his children a scroll of teleportation. His belief was that should we find ourselves in some sort of strife we would be able to use it to escape to the safety of home. My plan was to use the teleportation scroll to travel as far away from the manse as possible. One of the ridiculous prohibitions that my father had embraced was against the magical school of divination. This being the case, I was confident that once I had left he would not use magic to find my new location. This was important to me. One thing my father abhors more than freedom of thought is not having control over his offspring. He would do his best to chastise me and bring me back into submission once he knows that I am gone. For this reason I have decided to travel to a land that is obscure, insignificant, and populated by people who are of no consequence.
The land of Narfell seemed the ideal destination.
Mere moments after using the scroll and arriving in the land of Narfell I realized the folly of my decision. After arriving at a crossroads, I followed the directions of a crudely constructed sign south toward the barbaric hamlet of Norwick. There I was greeted by bloated bodies hanging from a set of gallows. It was a fitting welcome, summing up the fears and paranoia of the town's boorish inhabitants.
I have escaped to a land filled with halfwits, dwarves and imbeciles.
I feel that maybe it would have been better for me to have simply committed suicide.
This is my second entry into what I'm sure will become the chronicle of a wasted life. I have done my best to fit in with Norwick's dim minded peasantry. For now I am staying at an inn called "The Grape Vine". It is run by women who formerly were members of a fellowship called the Sisterhood of the Crimson Glove. These women attempted to be great in the land, Promoting power and influence amongst women. But like all dreams in these lands, their goals came to nothing. Now they wait on tables and serve meals to travellers.
In my attempt to fit in, I even stooped so low as to help a child find chicken eggs in a thicket. Another farmer's spawn I helped by "milking" a cow, a disgusting experience that I hope not to repeat.
Is this what my life has come to? Am I doomed to become a waiter in some tavern or some dim farmer's wife? I will endeavor to save my destiny from such pathetic ends.
From time to time I have observed "adventurers" coming through Norwick. I have always looked upon such as utter dullards, and my current observations have done little to dispel that view. I am however intrigued by two things concerning the manner of their life. Firstly, that there seems to be an undeniable vigor in their spirits. Watching them blow in and out of town is like watching ships on an ocean. Some mysterious wind is in their sails that drives them into situations that any thinking person would avoid. But rather than becoming overcome with timidity in the face of obvious peril, they seem energized by it.
The second thing I have noticed is that if there is any prestige or advancement to be had in these bleak lands it is through "adventuring". I have not seen any other avenue of upward social mobility, and feel I am unlikely to see any in the foreseeable future.
So, I am considering a "life of adventure". I am not sure if this is a decision born from clarity, or if some of the stupidity of the local population has somehow rubbed off onto me and infected my mind with crass ideas. For this reason I shall give the idea some time, either to flourish into action or to die at the tyrannical hands of reason.
Today I visited the general goods store and purchased a back pack, along with a bed roll and other "out door supplies". I also have a crossbow, with almost a hundred quarrels. Along with my spell components and staff I feel well equipped to face whatever lies beyond the south gate - the gate which I hear is a portal to perilous lands.
From what I understand, this "adventuring" business is a reasonably simple affair. One simply ventures out "looking for trouble", blundering into it hopefully with enough power to return home alive with booty and an interesting story to tell.
Even with the weapons training that is traditional amongst my people, I am not a fighting person by anyone's standards, no matter how low they may be. But my training in the arcane arts renders me far from being powerless.
Tomorrow shall be the day. I will venture out tomorrow.
I went down to the south gate today, and promptly returned to the inn. It turns out that one needs to be prepared not only physically but also emotionally. The fear that gripped me showed too well that I had barriers in my mind to overcome before I walk down this path.
Here I sit in the Grape Vine, surrounded by drunken farmhands, waiters and other lowly people. People who share my current state of cowardice, who are kept safe by individuals with more emotional fortitude that we possess.
I am convinced that our emotions are a product of our mind. Our experience, coupled with our existing beliefs, react together to create a physical sensation in our bodies. This being the case I have determined to unravel my fears through reason, to defeat them with the application of undeniable truths.
Many plans and lives come to nothing because they rage against things that cannot be changed. Some things are true and will remain so despite all our efforts and wishful thinking. Even gods cannot change some things. So rather than become the victims of these truths, I will embrace them. I will make them allies in my mind.
The first truth: I will die. Either as a result of violence, or illness, or through the toll of time, my body will eventually give up my spirit for the last time, and my spirit will not return to it. This is an undeniable truth. But my mind attempts to deny it constantly. It refuses to die. With ever ounce of it's strength my mind and my body rage against this truth. So I will embrace my mortality. I will throw my arms around death as a lover encircles her beloved. For whether I die with status and wealth or in obscurity like a peasant, either way I will be utterly forgotten. The universe will continue on as if I had never existed. My death is as meaningful as my life. I will reckon myself already dead, for in a way I am. It is only my position in time that makes me otherwise.
Second truth: Upward advancement is purchased with toil. I was oblivious to this truth for many many years. Living a life of privilege, where my advancement was paid for by others, it is only now that I see that if I am to rise above my current existence then effort needs to be applied. And applied in the right place. The farm hand toils, but does not rise above his station in life because his toil is misplaced. Rather than destroy those things in the way of his advancement his sweat purchases the advancement of others. The farm owner becomes wealthy while the worker remains in poverty. The peril beyond the gates of safety, the "monsters" - they stand in between me and my advancement. They must be destroyed if I am to rise.
Third truth: Power cannot be created or destroyed. It can only change from one form, or from one person to another. Whatever power I need to advance currently resides elsewhere. It is in other people. It is in the hearts of "monsters". It is in knowledge I am yet to attain. Whatever power I have must be used to attain more power. Power must be taken. It won't be given. It won't fall into my lap. And if it must be taken so that I may increase, then it will be lost by others, and they will decrease. Pity and mercy and charity are enemies to this truth.
I will go through the gates tomorrow.
((OOC: Pretty much a cut and paste from the Historical Archives thread. I'm hopping to continue her chronicles here.))
((Will finish this soon))
I murdered a man today. .
I'm not sure if the man was an adventurer, or a bandit, or maybe a mercenary left wandering after the recent conflict in Peltarch. While it does not matter to me, I have taken note that the pass has become populated by men at arms, and I have decided to travel south with caution. >
I found the target to be a perfect subject to test my theories regarding animating energy networks within a conscious host. Up until now most of my tests have been carried out on lower creatures - Kuo toa, Goblins, human children - but not a fully grown, armoured being. Due to the heavy armour worn by the target it was nessisarily to approach under invisibility, and to unleash the bolt with the aid of a True Strike spell. As expected, a crossbow bolt fired into the trapezius, approximately one third down between the occipital bone and the lower thoracic vertebrae, struck the network cluster that paralysed the target.
I used a sand glass to time how long he would remain combat ineffective, and was surprised to discover how quickly he emerged from his paralytic state. The records I have access to had lead me to believe that he would be immobile for longer, but the target was able to move after less than a minute. Naturally, the subject was keen to extract terrible vengeance, so I cast another invisibility spell, and once it had given up searching for me, I repeated my first attack. This time I commanded my shadow to assail the target, and continued to unleash quarrels into the subject until it expired.
I dragged the cadaver to a place out of sight where I could perform a rough autopsy. My initial assumption - that the short duration of the paralysis was due to a poorly landed shot that failed to disrupt the animating network cluster, proved to be false.
A more detailed breakdown of this autopsy is included in "Life and Death".
I observed my own behaviour recently, and have noticed that I have fallen in with a life style typical of "adventurers" in these parts. While most of my expeditions into the wild are purely academic, I have out of necessity had to loot my subjects and sell trinkets in town. I am going to need a large sum of coins in order to proceed with my projects, and at this point the looting of "monsters" seems the most expedient way of gathering said coin.
If I am to be honest however, there is a small part of me that becomes lighter when I am slaying sentient creatures. I wouldn't go as far as to say I "enjoy" it, as all joy has fled my emotional state ever since my ordeal in the crypt. The Pale has robbed me of many of my emotions. But caressing the trigger of my crossbow, to send the quarrel out that ends a creatures life, brings a sense of grim satisfaction.
I write this entry simply to explain the void between entries.
I have been reading.
My father would say that reading is to be favoured over writing, but it appears that in my attempt to shed my Father's influence over my thinking I have indeed neglect this one point. I will endeavour to pick up the written word as a means of chronicling my progress.
My thoughts on the nature of good and evil are penned in the "Utter Folly of Philosophical Thought" tome. Notes regarding my research into the patterns and networks of positive and negative energy in living and un-living and semi-living things are contained in tomes with respective titles.
I feel my phisical constitution has deteriorated since my self imposed exile from the outside world. It seems prudent to become physically active, lest my sedentary lifestyle lead to a sedentary state of existence.
Records of my "adventures" will continue to be chronicled in this tome.
((I've inserted the images from the Art Gallery "Evolution of Movalyn" post into the diary entries to make them a little more interesting to look at))
_I believe my studies concerning the Darkmantels and their ability to disrupt energy networks has come to it's conclusion, and that I am unlikely to gain any more useful information by further examination.
In addition to the knowledge I gained (detailed in "Life and Death") my studies had unexpected side benefits. My marksmanship has improved somewhat. I'm still far from being competent with a crossbow but the vast number of quarrels I unleashed in my attempts to gain viable darkmantel samples has trained me to be more accurate. My constant casting of the Ghostly Visage spell has also granted me the ability to cast the spell without regular preparation.
From this point I feel that further learning will only be gained through practical experience. To ready myself for this I have prepared a program of calisthenics and have dedicated myself to completing a set routine each day.
Once I believe that I am ready I shall head out to test my theories on live humanoid specimens._
_I have been "training" for days now. I'm starting to feel that my calisthenics routine justifies my procrastination. I am avoiding combat situations because a part of me still fears death.
A valid fear. I'm no warrior.
It seems to be a quiet season. The "Adventurers" that once frequented the area are difficult to find. I'd rather delve into hostile territory with living shields capable of tanking the enemy's advance. If I am unsuccessful in finding party to join by the end of the next tenday I shall venture out on my own._
Diary - 12th of the 105th.
I have fallen in with a number of "adventuring parties" since my last entry. So far I feel that I have simply followed along rather than contributed any action of actual worth. I have no dark feelings about this. My only fear is that it may dawn on the less obtuse adventurers in the land that I am simply using them as living shields while I gather specimens and make observations on how living creatures die.
Mind you, there are some to whom I state this plainly. These are the more thuggish types who seem more than happy to serve in this role. They are usually happy to have magical protections cast upon them as they enter the fray. I feel that others may not be so forgiving of my attitude however.
As usual, any observations I make that I believe to be of any value are chronicled in "Life and Death".
What remains of interest is how bands of fighting people will band together in order to venture out and slay "enemies of civilization". The bonds of trust always seem strong, even when there is very little to base that trust upon.
One dwarf, when observing that I favor the crossbow, gifted a fine crossbow to me. This one is heavier than my own, capable of a stronger draw, and of sturdy construction making sufficiently accurate. His generosity stunned me. It may well have been that it simply had no need of this crossbow. This seems likely since the dwarf obviously lacks the balance to make accurate shots. Even it's stumpy fingers look as if they would have difficulty handling the weapon. Even so, the fact that the dwarf would gift the weapon to me and not simply sell it for the coin surprised me. I expressed gratitude lest the dwarf felt I was simply a parasite of its generosity. Upon reflection however, there is actually a glimmer of actual generosity within me toward this thuggish creature. Should I be on my guard against this? Is it so easy to purchase my affections.
I shall not let myself get emotionally attached to any of them.
Especially not to any of the dwarfs.
I shall return either an appropriate amount of gold or a similar gift in kind to the dwarf. Then it shall no longer have any purchase of gratitude within me.
The writings of Xi Xu of the Order of X'Ion Pei (deadly shadow) are cryptic to say the least. I discovered a rumor that a local monastery was loosely based on Xi Xu's Saya Sangat Bunuh (art of assassination).
Regarding the similarities between Xi Xu's "art" and my own theories, I traced the similarities to this phrase - "the first key" :
To find the point of your prey.
Find the point within
Touch the earth
Salute to the eastern star.
Salute to the western star.
Then you will see the point within
And the point within your enemy.
(NOTE - My Shou is poor. This is a very rough translation)
When it comes to using the networks of energy within a target to immobilize and kill the difficulty arises in knowing which node to strike. As the body moves different pathways in the network fire, meaning that the vital node one needs to strike in order to paralyze a target is always shifting.
Initially I dismissed Xi Xu's poem as mystical nonsense. But almost by chance I remembered an observation that I had made while visiting the training monastery. A tiny star shaped symbol carved into one part of the wall. I thought nothing of it when I first saw it, but after reflection on the Xi Xu's text I felt there may be a connection. I went to the monastery, again with the story that I was hoping to pick up failed initiates. While in their outer room I saw the star again. Looking across to the opposite wall I spotted another star, almost invisible in the dim light.
Being careful not to make my observations obvious, I took out scroll as if to read it over and dropped it. While stooping to pick it up, I saw the Shou glyph for "Earth" on the floor. I dared not look up to see the glyph on the ceiling. As I stood, I made a recollection of the primary and tertiary network nodes and how they may intersect based on the movements that one would make while stretching ones right arm toward the ground between ones feet , across to the upper left, the upper right, and then upwards above the head. It was then, after making mental note of the points on intersection, that I had what could only be called an epiphany. It is not the networks themselves that must be disrupted in order to paralyze a target. Nor is it the nodes. It is the specific intersection of different networks that vary as the body of the target moves.
After returning to the library I made more tests concerning this theory. An important part of these tests was do ingest small amounts of Bunuh - a poison that affects the flow of positive energy through the body. The benefit of ingesting the poison is that it made the positive network visible through the skin, and enabled me to make accurate markings and observations.
I must test these theories on a live subject as soon as possible.
((OOC: I leveled up and took my first lvl of assassin thanks to exploration XP I earned by visiting the monastery in Oscura. I thought that was cool. Movalyn literally became an assassin by entering the monastery. Hence the "epiphany". I thought that ingesting poison was an important part of learning to become an assassin seeing that the assassin class increases your saves vs poisons.))
This journal may be of interest to anyone reading primarily because if it's exploration of the concepts of motivation and it's link to the concept of trust and endurance.
I ventured south to test my current theories on live specimens in the wild. South east on Norwick's gates there is a wood where packs of wolves and corpse beetles roam. I felt it would be an ideal location to make my observations.
Luckily I met a human woodsman on the way out the gate keeping watch at the tower. He looked to be the "adventurous" sort and I surmised that he would make excellent bait or a living shield should I need one.
As it turned out, he was too good. His skill with a bow and keen eyes, even in the dark, were brutalizing the specimens before I had opportunity to test to my newly acquired knowledge. Eventually I was able to find a wolf. It was large and appeared to be the alpha of a pack. I unleashed a quarrel into the wolf and what I believed to be the correct point. Initially I thought I may have slain the wolf and that I would need to find another specimen, but instead of collapsing it stood motionless. In the dim light one could see energy being released from the wolf's body.
After slaying the wolf, the woodsman became fascinated with the ability to paralyze a target. To be honest I never would have expected anyone to be interested in such knowledge. Not if they had the prowess in battle to be able to slay a creature using brute force. When he pressed me to teach him the technique I initially told him that I would not teach him. It seemed obvious to me that he lacked the wit to understand the concepts behind it. But moments later it dawned on me that his desire for my knowledge could provide an opportunity for further learning.
What in needed was a life, human specimen to practice the technique on. Capturing one and carrying out the experiments would be problematic, but if I could convince this human to do those works for me then I would not need to bear the required toil involved. I told him that I would teach him if he brought to me a live human subject for experimentation.
When he began to display moral qualms concerning the use of a live test subject I assured him that the specimen would probably not feel pain as the attack paralyzes the target. It was then that he volunteered himself. Technically offering himself fulfilled his end of my offer to provide a live human specimen. And a willing subject would be much more preferable than an unwilling one which was sure to squirm uncooperative.
After making him sign a document relieving me of any guilt for his injury or death, we proceeded. I wanted to carry out the test immediately before he came to his senses and changed his mind. I tied him between two trees in the wood and began marking his body with inks, highlighting various nodes and networks. His body was fit and well toned. I feel that my passions may have been aroused by the sight of it had I not undergone the ordeal in the crypts. That procedure has left my physical appetites quite dead.
I had to fire a number of bolts into him before I struck a vital mark and successfully paralyzed him. To my surprise he was quite resilient to the pain. I conducted various tests oh his body while paralyzed, and made careful notes that I have inserted into the "Life and Death" tome.
But again, what I am amazed by was the level of trust this human showed toward me in order to gain my knowledge. Were he not so hardy I would have had to find somewhere to hide his corpse. Hand he endured the pain of my experiments without any indication of malicious retribution against me. He has more than earned my knowledge. The challenge for me now it to package it for him in a way that his dull mind will be able to digest it.
There it was again. As in that dwarf I met in the mine. Trust. Harvesting it seems to be of great benefit. A valuable tool.
The human's name is Deller.
((OOC: Thanks so much to CaptainCeicro for the RP. He was a great sport about it all.))
_I met a dwarf in the mine while searching for Dark Mantel specimens .
Normally I would ignore a dwarf, but it invited me to come with him down into the deeper part of the mine. Wanted someone to "watch his back". Apparently the dwarf mistook me for someone who cares whether it lived or died.
Never the less, I accompanied the dwarf down into the mines. I thought that this would count as an "adventure" and provide some valuable experience.
We hadn't travelled far into the mine when we encountered an ooze. I recognized the creature as a "slithering tracker" by it's size and shape and by the viscosity of it's mucus trail. I took samples of it's tissue once we had rendered it harmless. I have made detailed notes in a separate tome - "Subterranean life I".
We encountered other creatures besides the tracker. They are also detailed in Subterranean Life I.
What was also of interest to me is the level of trust the dwarf placed in my ability to cover him. In reality I would have been eaten alive if it weren't for the dwarf's skill with an axe. But his trust in me, being a complete stranger to him, fascinated me. His intention seemed to be to increase his safety, and yet in many ways his trust made him vulnerable.
And that is what trust is I suppose - a willingness to make yourself vulnerable to someone. The dwarf's trust seemed like utter folly until it dawned on me that I had also placed much trust in him.
Pondering the concept of trust has lead me to conclude that it is foundational to the formation of "parties" that venture into dangerous territories. I would be wise to foster it within myself and curry it from others._
I have finally summoned the motivation to make a diary entry.
Since undergoing the ritual in Norwik's crypts I have struggled to motivate myself to do even the most basic tasks. I force myself to eat and bathe and leave my bed chamber. These waves of depression come over me at seemingly random times and duration.
I have resolved to resume my studies, and possibly join a group of "adventurers". If for no other reason than to stave this sapping misery.
14th day of the 12 month.
I have encountered creatures recently that have sparked my interest. Members of a local clan of dwarves have warned of "Dark Mantels" that prey on unwary miners. It was hard to get much information out of them. Indeed, it is difficult to understand half of what dwarves say. It's not that they have a poor command of the common tongue. More that they are sluggish in pronunciation, grammar and basic sentence construction. Speaking. I find speaking with them tiresome.
My first encounter with these creatures was almost ended me. Dark mantels conceal themselves on the ceilings of caves and mines. Their skin is camouflaged and their cone shaped bodies bear an uncanny resemblance to a stalactite. When their pray is below them they drop down and attack. Once immobilizing their pray they attempt to smother them under their hood like bodies.
I am primarily interested in these creatures due to their "magical" biology. They are unlike other beasts presented by nature. Instead, they have a digestive and nervous system that is totally alien. They possess the ability to draw surrounding light into their bodies, thus darkening their hiding places and improving the effectiveness of their ambush. They can also send pulses that can immobilize their prey.
Their ability to paralyze their prey is of great interest to me as it confirms some of my previous theories concerning the networks of energy that animate a being's body. I shall continue my studies on these creatures.
(Movalyn after emerging from Norwick's crypts a "Pale Master")
- The effect that prolonged exposure to negative energy has had upon my body is apparent even upon casual inspection. Firstly, my skin has acquired an obvious pallor. It has also become smooth and has a leather like hardness. The flesh beneath the markings that I had made upon myself before entering the crypt has now become white, and has a hardness similar to soft wood or bone.
- My skin has not lost it's feeling, but it no longer recoils to sensations such as pain or heat. When I probe my flesh with a needle I feel it passing through my flesh, but experience no discomfort until it is approximately one third of an inch deep. It still sweats in response to heat, and "goose bumps" when cold.
- My appetites have changed. I hunger, but food is flavorless in my mouth. My sexual appetites are now almost non existent. I have to force myself to eat, and yet a full stomach fails to leave me satisfied. It is as if the cravings of my flesh cannot be satisfied by the usual means.
- When I drink a healing potion my injuries are repaired, and yet drinking it fills me with the urge to vomit.
- Exposing my flesh to reflected negative energy from sources such as a Negative Energy Ray has the expected effect. Tissue damage from negative energy is as it was before my time in the crypt. There is no discernible difference.
- My emotional state is occasionally erratic. While it is consistent most of the time, on rare occasions I feel waves of either anger and hatred, or emptiness and despair. There is no target or cause for these emotions. I am not certain whether they are a product of the system of negative energy that now flows within my body, or if I have somehow become emotionally damaged by my time in the crypt. Either way, I have made up my mind to reaffirm the truths that have set me on this course, and to steel my mind with a solid foundation of logic and reason. The tempest of random emotions shall not move me.
The ordeal was an extreme way of gaining what others obtain simply by wearing a suit of armour. Were it only for the physical protection the procedure has provided I feel that I would have wasted my time.
There have been over benefits gained from my vigil within the crypt however. It has served as confirmation of my previous theories concerning the patterns of energy within living bodies. Upon this foundation I should be able to gain a better understanding of these patterns and use my knowledge of them to incapacitate and kill. This knowledge is vital for me, seeing that I lack the physical strength or co-ordination that other "adventurers" posses that enables them to pursue their path successfully.
My proximity to the undead, and my own death due to disease, has also helped me to develop my philosophical positions concerning life, death and undeath and the movement between those states.
I will continue to perform experiments upon my own flesh to further gauge the effects the procedure has had upon me. As usual, I will chronicle them in detail within the "Life and Death" tome and abbreviate them in layman's terms within this journal._
Now that I have my diary back my memories are starting to fall back into place. Like a broken vessel being reassembled.
My last solid memory is of pain. Violently ill, wracked in agony and gravely injured. I remember crawling out of the crypt, covered in my own blood and vomit, barely able to move my limbs due to a disease that was destroying my body.
And then darkness.
I have no idea how I ended up in Norwick, or who I have to thank for it. The servants at the temple of Chauntea have done a fine job of bandaging my wounds and curing my disease. For that I am grateful.
I have just returned from the graveyard where I fell, under the cloak of invisibility naturally. I retraced my steps hoping to piece my memories back together. I found my pack and my crossbow, as well as this diary. Now that I have returned to Norwick and had a chance to read over my previous entries some of my memories are beginning to come back.
There are still black holes in my memory however. Things that I just can't remember. I have been told that this will pass in time; "Normal for someone who has returned to the land of the living from death."
So I have been through death and back.
When I have my wit back I will document how that that makes me feel. For now, I am simply numb.
((Yeah … Movalyn died. Scurried out of the crypt diseased and con drained with only 2 HPs left. I rested the first chance I got ... and died. I thought it was some kind of bug at first, but it turned out that Movalyn took more CON damage while resting, and the lack of CON killed her.))
((OOC: edited previous post with OOC description of what was going on. Also inserted text into image placeholder posts))
_I am injured.
I caught the gaze of a roaming skeleton and it charged at me. I fled as best I could. While casting invisibility upon myself it brought it's battle axe down upon my left shoulder blade. The spell saved my life.
The bleeding from my would seems to have stopped, but I am in unspeakable pain.
Once invisible I cast a persistent blade spell. Instead of commanding the blade to attack I made it follow me and used it to round the undead up into one area. I then dismissed it and retreated back to this spot before the invisibility wore off. While I feel I am safe for now, writing in this lit area is a risk. I have only one casting of invisibility remaining. I shall not make another journal entry until first light tomorrow. Until then I shall remain hidden in the darkness. Should I survive until then I shall make my final entry and then hide until the next morning, at which point I shall leave this wretched place and not return._
_First light means I am now into my third day in this crypt.
The axe wound on my shoulder has become strangely numb. I am not sure if it is because I can no longer feel the pain or if the incredible ache that wracks my body now eclipses the pain of the wound.
I urgently need to relieve myself, but dare not.
The exit from this crypt taunts me. I could so easily flee this place right now. The temptation to flee almost wins, but my fear at having suffered so much fear and pain for nothing binds me here._
I a m clo se to dea th.
I w as over co me by fatig ue.
A zom bie ass au lted me.
I hav e ca st my last invisib ility spell. I hav e o nly one ca st ing of Persis tent B la de r e m a i n i n g .
I f e ar it wi ll not b e e n o ugh to k ee p me alive.
((OOC: I thought the coast was clear so I took the opportunity to go afk to change a nappy. I came back to find a zombie beating the snot out of my character! I shouldn't have turned the volume down! By the time I managed to cast my last invisibility spell I was down to 3hps, diseased, and missing con from zombie smell cloud. I chugged my last five potions of goblin gook. Did the persistent blade trick again to get the zombie and other undead off my back and then hid. YIKES!))
D i f i c ult t o wr i t e in the d a rk.
Am s af e f or now. Ent ered under in visibili ty spe ll. Found a safe place . ro aming und ead fo und me after in v i si bility expir ed. r etreated do wn s ta irs d eeper i nto cr ypt. ev aded wights and undead sol di ers b y fin ding an alco ve in co rr id or. One und ead soldier c am e very close. I retreat ed up the stairs and hid in ano ther alc ove * It fo ll owed. I L ost ne rve and recast sec ond inv isi bil ity. Fled to upp er level.
My bo dy ache s.
_A little bit of sunlight is peeking through the entrance of the crypt. Barely enough to write by, but I fear the light may also betray my position. I am safe for now.
The light reveals that I am now into my second day in the crypt. I feel I have been here an eternity. My body continues to ache from what I believe to be the effects of the negative energy on my skin and muscles. It was to be expected. The process of altering the energy patterns within my body inevitably results in some parts of it experiencing a kind of "death" before they are reawakened by the alternative form of energy.
The undead are vexatious. The gases expanding from the rotting lungs of some zombies causes them to groan a constant, monotonous chant. Sometimes I feel it is driving me mad, but I am grateful that keeps me aware of where some of them are. Some come quite close to my hiding place. Thankfully the darkness does a good job of concealing me, even from their senses. The smell is almost beyond my ability to endure at times.
If I return from this place alive I shall wri
(this entry seems to come to an abrupt halt.)
Cl ose c a ll.
Wand er ing un dead so met imes com e so c lose the y a lmo st trip over me. If I s tay moti on less they re main una ware of my pres ence. I have fo und a other plac e to hi de.
(Movlyn before entering Norwick's Crypts.)
I write this entry by Norwick's fire. My final preparations for the ordeal ahead are now complete. These being the gathering of supplies needed to survive for three days away from civilization, the shaving of the sides of my head, and the painting of runes and patterns onto my skin. The runes have been pained with a ink which is the combination of powdered brown and black onyx, cochineal, and pine sap.
A local recently asked me the meaning of the runes and patterns. I attempted to explain to him how energies flow through the body according to a very intricate system. By gradually exposing that system to an opposite form of energy in a way controlled by the runes I hoped to establish a counter network by which my flesh is sustained by that said energy in addition to positive energy as it currently is.
He seemed to become bored with my explanation and left.
Probably for the best. I doubt he would have understood my explanation of how establishing a contra network of negative energy within my flesh would bolster it against physical assault. And if I were to tell him that "gradual exposure" to this energy meant locking myself in a crypt infested with undead for at least three days I doubt he would have continued to believe I have a sound mind.
In truth, I sometimes feel that maybe my mind has become slightly unsound. Only slightly. There is a solid and logical reason behind the actions I am taking. At the same time the level of risk, coupled with the uncertainty of the outcome, has me thinking that perhaps this course is not the wisest one. I banish such thoughts however. It is only natural that my fear arise to challenge my motives. It is a self preservation instinct. But seeing that it is for the long term preservation of my self that I take this short term risk my fears are not helpful.
I expect the next three days to be the most loathsome of my life so far. I detest the undead. Spending an extended period of time in close proximity to them is a necessity however. The crypt they inhabit is the only place in the region where the levels of ambient negative energy are high enough to have the desired effect.
I told the guard where I am going, and that if I am not back within three days that I would appreciate a search party sent to recover my body for resurrection at the temple. He replied with a rude dismissal, stating that once I'm out past the gates I was on my own.
I have committed that guard's words and his physical appearance to my memory.
I will bring this journal with me into the crypt and do my best to make entries during the upcoming ritual. If this is my final entry I would appreciate if the one reading these words would take my remains to the closest temple to be raised back to life. I will endeavor to ensure you are justly rewarded.
((OOC: The pnp requirement for Pale Master is that the candidate spend three days locked in a tomb with undead. So to simulate this I'm planning to have Movalyn spend three RL days in Old Norwick's Family Tomb. ))
I have returned to Norwick. As much as I loathe this place, it is a relief to be away from Peltarch.
I have been forced to give up on the idea that by some means I would be able to enlist the help of an “adventurer” in securing an intact zombie specimen for study. Adventurers seem very thin on the ground at the moment. Only a Dwarven paladin in blue and black armour, who I doubt would agree to the task, and an elven lass who looked even more frail that I am.
So instead of removing a specimen for study, I have moved my study to the specimens. Norwick was originally located a little farther south from where it now stands. War destroyed the original town and left the area "cursed". Zombies currently roam the ruins of former Norwick, along with a variety of other undead creatures, primarily semi-corporeal “echoes” and possessed swine. My current method involves the location of a zombie, the destruction of the surrounding creatures, and the study of the zombie while under the cloak of invisibility. This is a tiresome venture for a number of reasons. Firstly invisibility is a very delicate spell. Any attempt to dissect the zombie or tamper with it in any major way breaks the spell. This limits my studies to external examination. Secondly, this examination is made difficult by the random shuffling of the subject.
A detailed explanation of my experiments and methods are outlined in “Life and Death”. Most of my findings have been the result of observations aided by the use of powdered onyx and the casting of negative energy upon the subject. By lightly dusting the zombie in the powder and casting the magic, I am able to observe and record pathways by which energy flows through the zombie's body.
At some points in my study the invisibility spell that kept me safe expired. I found that if I stayed behind the specimen and refrained from making any sudden movements that I could continue making my observations unharassed. If the zombie ever became hostile avoiding injury was simply a matter of moving away from the creature faster than it can shuffle and recasting the invisibility spell. I only ever had to do this twice.
In truth I am now glad that my study of the zombies in old Norwick is now completed. I find undeath loathsome, and being around it for so long has left me feeling soiled by it. The information I have obtained should be more than enough to continue my research.
Today my search for scrolls and tomes took me to the Hin hamlet in the Silver Valley. The diminutive folk who inhabit this small town are ignorant simpletons for the most part. Much like the inhabitants of Norwick, their agricultural lifestyle has sapped their minds of wit. One store keeper even refused me service for reasons I still can't fathom. She suggested that I "try Oscura". When I asked her for directions to this place she even refused me that.
My experience here has lead me to conclude that the reputation hinfolk have for being warm and hospitable people is baseless and utterly false.
Failing to find anything of use here, I have made up my mind to find this Oscura which the hin referred to. I will have to find a guide. I can't find any town called Oscura on my maps.
My first impressions of the underground settlemetn of Oscura were negative to say the least. First of all the way into town on foot is not what anyone would call "traveller friendly". I literally had to run through a snake pit to get to the gates. It was only later that I discovered that one could make their way safely into Oscura by boat from Peltarch. Once beyond the city gate I was in constant fear of tripping due to poor lighting, being abducted by slavers, catching some kind of fungal lung infection or being driven mad by the oppressive spiritual emanations that come from the well at the town's center. I would have left moments after arriving were it not for the wealth of valuable information that resided in the undertown's library and temple.
Access to most of this information was limited at first. Trust was an issue and "outsiders" are generally less than welcome in Oscura. Neither are they assured of any kind of security or justice. The remedy to this was to take an oath not to bring harm to Oscura and to seal that oath with a shedding of my own blood. As grizzly as this ritual was, it seemed a small price to pay for great benefit.
I feel that my research into the energy networks within the body is now sufficient for me to finally begin practical applications.
I owe a dept of gratitude to the following:
- St Noiblac of Illmater for his tome “Healing the sick and injured”. In particular his chapter on the systems by which positive energies flow within a healthy body and how they are disrupted by sickness and injury. This chapter contains diagrams that I have copied into Life and Death. They are worth taking the time to understand.
- St Acrinus, the Assimar cleric of Lathander who penned the tome Libris Mortis. I found extracts from this tome helpful.
- The attendants of the Falcon library in Oscura who were helpful. Especially for allowing me access to translated extracts from the Drow tome T’sabal Gulstrae.
I should also acknowledge the contribution the Maie Firvain has had on my research. It was my knowledge of this tome that helped me counterbalance the dark ideas contained in the T’sabal Gulstrae
There is a saying, "knowledge that has no practical outcome is as good as ignorance.". It is the practical outcome of my studies that chill me to my bones however. I am currently steeling my will to face the dangerous procedures I now need to go through. I continually remind myself that the benefit is worth the risk. I'm not actually certain this is true. The risks I face include unknowable variables, and the the true extent of the benefits are also unknowable until they are manifest. And yet I continue to remind myself of the risk being worth the benefit like the chanting of some religious mantra. Maybe a religious mindset has some benefit after all?
_I murdered a man today.
I write this entry in Peltarch’s library. I had ventured up here in the hopes of securing a zombie intact for study. I had heard word that undead wander sewers below the city, and it is from those sewers that I have recently returned. While the idea of venturing into such a filthy place would normally be abhorrent to me, my zeal to capture a specimen kept my disgust at bay. I entered under the cloak of an invisibility spell, hoping to survey the area first. Before I could explore very far I encountered a man in rusted armour. Noticing the holy symbol around his neck and other paraphernalia I surmised that the man was a priest. Locals had warned that a cult was operating in the sewers, and obviously this individual was one of its leaders.
I cast a Persistent Blade spell, animating a dagger to fly out and assail the cultist. He did his best to fight off the attack, but even his casting of cure spells upon himself was not enough to save him. Toward the end I broke invisibility and finished him off with quarrels from my crossbow.
Had the encounter gone differently and he slain me rather than I him, then he could justly state that he killed me in self defense. The same could not be said of me. While it’s probably true that if I were not invisible he would have attacked me and killed me, he was no immediate threat to me. I drew first blood and administered the coup de grâce. I doubt claiming “pre-emptive self defense” would acquit me of this crime should I ever face a trial. Not that I ever expect to. From what I have heard even paladins come down here to butcher these cultists. The city’s law enforcers seem to turn a blind eye to such things, and rightly so. Justice and protection belong to those who are worthy of it. Not wretches who live in sewers.
Even though I have killed before, this was a defining moment for me. This was the first time I had slain with my own hands a “person” rather that some diminutive “monster” in the woods. I had imagined that it would be an emotional event for me, but instead I am simply filled with a grim satisfaction. This may be because the individual I killed actively promoted his religious faith. While I respect the gods because of their power, there has been a mutually parasitic relationship between the gods and their worshipers ever since the Time of Troubles. The religious pathetically curry favor from their god and their god grants it in exchange for the worship and piety which is their life blood. A useless, self seeking circle of pointlessness. I am more than happy to unite this worshiper with his god. If I rid the world of even a small part of this grand folly then I have done the world a service.
While I had a strong desire to examine this fresh body as I did the beggar from Norwick, dragging it past the two guards stationed at the entrance of the sewers would have raised too many awkward questions. So I left the body to the rats. Perhaps a member of the cult will find the body and reanimate it? I will watch for it if I am ever down there again._
_This is now the second week of my visit to Peltarch.
I have spent most of my time in the city’s library. Most of the tomes here tediously detail the boring history of this insignificant city, and to say that I tire of them is an understatement. Peltarch is not totally without merit however. I managed to find a vendor of magical goods by the name of Hemrod. He is a foppish individual, and while a fellow elf he is not of the same blood as I. He manifests his inferiority each time he opens his mouth. I am yet to meet another Sun Elf in these lands. I feel that, unlike myself, most of my kind are wise enough to avoid settling here.
I purchased a scroll of Combustion from him today. I imagine that the spell will be brutally effective and am eager to test it._
_While bards may not sing of my victory today, I still hold today’s achievement as being worthy of note.
In the wood west of Peltarch, at the base of the Giantspire mountains, is a cave that is home to a clan of orcs. I felt this would be a good place to test my newly acquired Combustion spell as orcs are brutish creatures of great constitution.
A hand full of orcs kept a patrol just beyond the entrance to the cave. The greatest of them, a towering, armoured creature armed with a mighty hammer presented himself as the most obvious subject. Based on the size of its powerful arms and hammer, I estimated that a single blow from this creature would be more than enough to turn me into a chunky red paste despite the protective spells I had cast upon myself. For this reason I snuck cautiously into position, hoping to cast the combustion spell upon it while it was distracted with a persistent blade.
It’s senses were sharper than I imagined them to be, and it bellowed as it charged at me. I fled the cave with haste, and it chased me out into the woods. I was barely able to cast invisibility on myself before it brought its mighty weapon down upon me. As it searched about for me in vain I resumed my plan, casting the a persistent blade spell not to far away from it. As it chased the animated dagger I rushed forward casting the spell. To say that he effects of the spell were spectacular would be an understatement. The creature erupted, squealing as it caught ablaze. I quickly recast invisibility upon myself and retreated to a safe distance to watch the effects of the spell. It flailed about for at least a minute as the flames consumed it. It was difficult to tell if the creatures actions were due to its intense suffering and anguish at being burnt alive, or from fury and frustration at being unable to find me. A Possible combination of both I imagine.
When the flames finally died the creature was still alive but very close to death. While it may have been wiser to simply leave the creature, I was eager to examine how deeply the flames had damaged the creatures body. So I retreated further into the wood to take a long distance shot at it, hoping to finish it off. In hindsight this was total folly. Without prior casting of the True Strike spell I have difficulty hitting the side of a barn. This fact was confirmed as the quarrel I unleashed from my crossbow buried itself into a tree next to my target. With my invisibility spell now broken, the orcs fury at being set ablaze instantly became apparent. The bellow that it let out as it charged toward me echoed off the mountain and made even its ruckus while burning alive seem like a minor din in comparison.
I cast a frost ray spell at it as it closed in. not only did that spell fail to finish the beast off, it didn’t even make it flinch. I ran and it chased me out of the wood onto the hills toward Peltarch. I turned just as the creature’s hammer swung at me, crushing my upper arm. As I recoiled from the blow, my crossbow discharged. By sheer luck the bolt struck true, finding a gap between the scales of the orc’s armour. It’d dead body came crashing down on top of me, almost finishing my life. And yet against all probability I survived.
The servants at the Lighthouse temple in Peltarch a fine job of repairing my broken body. I feel gratitude toward them, enough almost to regret the negative statements I made against the concept of religion in my former entries. Almost, but not quite. I still pity and loathe them.
If anything, my encounter with the hammer wielding orc has galvanized my commitment to fortify my body against physical attacks. I will make concluding my studies on this matter my highest priority._
[[OOC: Actually happened. That Hammerer chased Movalyn through two transitions. On the second transition going onto the Western Foothills he attacked her and almost killed her. Mov auto attacked with her crossbow just as she went through the transition and finished him off. Her BAB is 2 and she hasn't got the point blank feat. I checked the combat log and with all the penalties the killing shot was made with an AB of +1. So … yeah ... phew!]]
_I have continued my studies into the border between life and death. While this subject is of interest to me, I am mainly delving into this so that I may become more efficient in sending others past this border into the realm of the dead. Not necessarily for any malicious reasons. I study this simply because in these lands being proficient in sending the living into the realm of death is the only means of upward mobility.
My notes and observations are contained in another tome which I have marked “Life and Death”. I am summarising my conclusions here mainly because the thought processes contained in that tome would be beyond the ability for a regular person to grasp. Seeing that it is for the benefit of the regular person that I keep this diary simply referring to that tome wouldn’t do. I have a vain hope that some day my deeds and the path my life took may be of some edification to whoever reads.
After my dissection of the beggar in the woods I let the body be. I imagine that most would consider a “proper burial” to be more appropriate, but I consider his contribution to my learning to be of more benefit than a wasteful ceremony which would bury whatever other information I could gain from him under the ground. Indeed, I imagine that he has done more of worth in his death than he ever did in life. The more learning I can gain from this body the less meaningless his pathetic existence was. So instead of simply disposing of the body I observed the body as time passed and made detailed observations of the rate and effect of decomposition.
What was of interest to me was that the rate of decay was less than that of the shambling undead I have observed south of Norwick. I’m unsure if the rate of decay is slowed by the forces that animate the undead, of if the rate is the same, and it is simply the effect of the decay that is different.
To be sure I will need to capture a zombie intact and make detailed observations. Of course by “I” I mean that I will need to commission someone else to do the job. Wrestling a zombie into submission is quite beyond me. Should I fail to find an able bodied “adventurer” up to the task I will have to do what I can to tag what zombies I find, marking them so that I can make my observations over time.
So far, my findings have confirmed what most already know to be true (even if they lack the wit to be able to articulate it). Without going into the complexities of the relationships between the aspects of the trichotomy that constitutes “personhood”, the fundamental truths that form the foundation of a rational understanding of the boundary between life and death are the following:
- Most “living beings” are an intangible consciousness. Religious and philosophical traditions refer to this consciousness as a spirit or a soul. While the nature of this consciousness may differ between creatures, the intangible nature of consciousness is evident (upon which I shall provide exegesis at a later point in this entry).
- In this world, living beings have a body. While this may seem so obvious that stating it makes one appear obtuse, it is important to state so as to make sense of the third fact. Each consciousness that exists in this world interacts with it through a tangible vessel.
- The consciousness exists within the body through the mediation of an animating energy. In most living beings this energy flows within an intact body to create a system in which the consciousness can not only reside but also preside, controlling the body and receiving information about the world around it through its senses. This is often referred to as “positive energy”. In the case of the undead the animating energy is quite different to that of “living beings”. Such creatures are infused with what is often referred to as “negative energy”. This can create a system within a previously “alive” body which can host a consciousness or, as is the case with “zombies” and such, an automation that is simply animated to carry out either the will of the one who created it or the residual, primal instincts that reside within it’s flesh and bone. Such creatures are often further motivated by an insatiable craving. Where the positive energy flowing within the system of an intact, well fed body creates a sensation of satisfaction, the negative energy animating a vessel always craves. In a conscious undead being this manifests itself as an insatiable hunger either for blood, flesh, or the life force of living beings.
I have observed that the way favoured by most local “adventurers” of separating a consciousness from a body is simply to assault the body physically. A less common way of removing the consciousness from the body is to disrupt the animating energy by infusing the vessel with an opposite form of energy. But to discuss that concept further would be to take a side track away from the point I wish to make. For now it is enough to say that physical assaults break down the systems by which the animating force sustains the link between the consciousness and the body until the body can no longer sustain its ability to host the consciousness. At this point “death” as it is traditionally understood takes place. Indeed the very definition of temporal “death” is the departure of this consciousness from its tangible vessel.
Most religious traditions have within their practice rituals that can infuse a body with positive energy, repairing its ability to host the consciousness. There also exists rituals that can restore a consciousness to its broken body. It’s a well known fact that local religious groups make a tidy profit by providing “resurrection” services for dead adventurers.
I have no real interest in such rituals, but their existence does provide proof of the first point I made previously, that the intangible consciousness resides within the body, and can be removed from it, or sustained within it, by assaulting or reinforcing the system of animating energies.
This being the case, I hope to venture into two new fields of study:
- By gaining a greater understanding of animating energies, it should be possible to adjust the patterns and networks of opposing energies within my own body to help fortify it against mortal injuries.
- By this same understanding, it should be possible to identify precise points within a body so that it will be possible to paralyse or slay an individual with accurate attacks. This would be preferable to simply applying random damage to a target in the hopes that it will eventually die._
_My initial foray into a life as an "adventurer" has met utter failure.
After my first ventures south of Norwick, I followed some local advice and travelled north in search of "the swamps". The regular mode of operation for "adventurers" in these parts seems to be to invade the territory held by lesser races, murder as many of them as possible, and to return to a settlement to sell the spoils. By such actions many locals have become quite wealthy. This has enabled some of them to build grand temples and towers, monuments to their successful campaigns of violence against communities of "monsters" that inhabit the region.
The swamps to the north were said to be home to kobolds and lizard folk. The advice I received was that by venturing into this territory one could reap a moderate financial boon, as even the lower levels of kobold society carried ill gotten coin. This information turned out to be accurate, and after slaying a number of them with my crossbow I was able to line my purse. It was disgusting work. The mud and filth, the rats, the blood, I felt belittled by it all. And yet at the same time I became aware of being drawn into the local cycle of things.
Once I had gatherd a decent amount of coinage I made my way south again. My hopes of spending any of it were dashed by a bandit woman brandishing a crossbow. I had foolishly ventured out onto the open road without preparing any magic. A mistake my conscience still mocks me for making. We could have had a crossbow duel, but I had no idea of how many others lay concealed as a part of this ambush. And in truth I doubted my aim was as good as hers. So I yielded to her demands and gave over my coins - two hundred of them in all.
My relief at being allowed to leave the encounter unharmed is marred by the bitterness of being robbed. Immediately after returning to town I poured over my spell book and prepared castings of Invisibility and True Strike. My plan was to find the bandit woman and any companions she may have, examine there movements and assess their might, and to formulate a way to exact my revenge, and hopefully regain my lost coin.
For this plan to work I was in need of bait. I used the few coins that I had left to employ a local beggar. I wrote for him a letter to deliver to Peltarch. He was naturally quite skittish and hesitant to carry out the task, but I assured him that I would be close behind him under the cloak of invisibility, ready to cast a like spell upon him should things get violent. This was a lie of course. The point of bait is that the fish eats it, not that it should get away. But this worm would squirm off the hook if I did not belay his fears.
The plan came together much as I expected it would. The Bandit emerged to challenge the beggar, she found nothing of value on him apart from the letter and the five coins that I had given him, and promptly shot him through his chest, just right of the sternum, with her crossbow. After she looted the man I followed her at a distance. I was invisible but remained cautious unless the sound of my movements gave me away. She returned to two companions, both obviously fighting men and well equipped for close combat. I listened in on their conversation, in which they lamented that the pitiful amount of coin on the begger was nothing compared to their "last score". Obviously I was that score.
In my mind I congratulated them and left. I was fearful my invisibility spell would wear off, and apart from that it was obvious that I was in no way a match for these brigands. Like the kobolds I had defeated and profited from, I in turn had been defeated, and the victors would enjoy the spoils.
Again, I felt I had become drawn into the local cycle of things. My place in the food chain was obvious. If I am to rise in that chain I will need to become more efficient at the business of death. With this in mind I recast Invisibility upon myself and retrieved the body of the beggar which I had used as bait. It seemed a waste for his life to have come to so little, so I took the body to the a clearing in the woods. The next day, once the sun was fully up, I dissected him. The bandit's shot had been an excellent one. Either the shot was lucky or she was extremely precise. The quarrel had pierced the heart, severing the superior vena cava and puncturing the aorta. I took careful notes, both of this and of the nerve structures that surround heart as well as the auxiliary nerves extending from the brachial plexus. Over the next few days I was able to learn much about the interactions between the nerves and the other systems of the body thanks to the Electrical Jolt spell.
My notes on these things can be found in a separate tome._