Toward The Edge Of The World

A note from Transylvania

Dear CAte,

What dayis it? No NO don’t tell me. Everyything is misty, full of mist, mist everywhere. Mist and creatures made of mist. All puffy and disappearing except for the teeth the sharp sharp chompy teeth. Were looking for the king. The king lives in Transylvaniaexcept he live sin the mountains and now when were in the mountains maybe hes in a new place. Maybe a new place with less mist.

Everyone is acting really weird. Milo won’t stop praying and I’m learning too. Tarben wants me to stab somebody and I’m not sure who needs stabbing.

Love you

Coming home soon

Right?

Amen

Mery

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Finally Into Romania
Why did noone tell me the whole City was CURSED?

After a quick survey of our newly-found stairs down, we descend with Kell in the lead. Catacombish, complete with coffins with skeletons and their Goram axes.

We end up in a room with a bunch of mosaics and writings on the walls, and a circular stone with a brass ring in it. Garrick points out that a number of the wall images in the area have a lantern-like symbol etched in them. Milo notices one has a lantern on his shield. Kell manages to get some entrance we had not previously noticed open, leading to more stairs down. We end up in some kind of tomb chamber, with seven sarcophagi ordered around a central area with a pedestal and an empty weapon stand. Four of the sarcophagi are empty, and three with emblems of Goram priest. All broken into. Kell, Garrick, and Milo notice yet another hidden exit. Milo searched for magic and found the entire area emanating magic, and two of the main figures from the ghostly replay in skeletal form lurking in some alcoves. Milo does something with his Priestly Powers and feels some kind of lashback from something unexpected. In the new room, Kell and Mery find an altar with a somewhat-fresh body on it. The body is in the garments of a War Priest of Goram, and is still bloody. I check on the body, which wakes up. The woken Priest calls for our help lifting the Curse. Needless to say, this is not exactly my favorite moment of discovery. Our new Priest friend directs Milo in some Priestly ritual. We’re warned that when this thing kicks off, that the Dead Will Walk. That warning proves useful, as a flood of skeletons pour down the hallway to the room. Tomas and I try to keep the door closed, yet are pushed back and we end up in a nasty melee. As whatever ritual Milo was doing wraps up, we feel sheer malevolent force and scream that fades, leaving the skeletons to fall apart while a bell tolls. The Priest (we later learn was named Ansen) finishes his somewhat delayed death. The Goram magical necklace thingie was on his body, and Milo helps himself. When we get going on the way out of the Cathedral (and City) we see a mass of now-dismantled skeletons littering the roadways. We begin our trek directly towards Romania, which in good condition would only be a few weeks. Since we have to forage and dodge patrols and such, takes us most of a month. About a day out of Romania, we’ve run out of patrols, local populace, and to some extent, wildlife. About a half a day out, we can see that Romania is “walled” by some dark mist. We camp for our last night outside the border, near our target road we intend to use as our entrance. Varkovian recommends we leave our horses behind, so we make nice with a nearby village and arrange to leave our spare gear and horses behind. After a short hike from the village, we set foot in Romania. Freaky. Looking back, we can’t see across some unseen line. Backing out, the mist fades out and the non-Romanian world is still there. Inside, we can barely see. Maybe about 20 feet. Very disorienting. At first everything seems deathly quiet, however we soon start hearing strange and pretty strange noises. Like nails on chalkboard. A few hours in, we notice an armed group around a fire ahead. They’re armed and clearly prepared to defend themselves. Their Sergeant and Varkovian get into some exchange in Romanian, which none of us apparently understand. After a bunch of babble, the Sergeant gets the local bureaucrat out of his caravan wagon. Who proceeds to process us for immigration, and proceeds to issue us fully-completed and stamped travel papers. Really? In this damn mist? Like things are normal? Then totters back into his wagon. Milo engages the Sergeant in conversation. We learn a bit about them and the area. They still serve the King of Transylvania, High Lord Marshall Strahd. They warn us about the “ghoulies”, goblins left over from the invasion. They keep coming back, even after being killed, probably daily if folks could track the Sun. Crossroads are guarded, and serve as tradeposts. We’re cautioned to stay away from any plague areas, and that maps are unreliable. Children tend to wander away at the night, and patrols are frequently needed to find them. Single strangers on the road should generally be killed, best with fire. We part ways, headed on down the road to the next City. Should be six farms and a distance along, however the mists make things rather uncertain.
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Spectral Actors Replay the Sacking of Penza
A 'ghost story'

In the town of Penza, a settlement currently well within goblin territory, each night begins with a spectral display in the streets that reveal the last day of human control.

As the last light of the sun fades, spectral citizens appear, going about the business of any typical townsfolk. Shortly, shades in discernible military uniforms cast quickly through the crowd, bringing news of imminent threat. More and more ghostly soldiers move quickly through the streets as a wave of panic grips the long-deceased citizens. Those former folk flee as a revenants of soldiers and goblins clash in the streets. A hero of the people and high priest of Goram is brought into the church, having fallen in battle.

Outside of the church, another figure is set upon by others, black mists pouring from the spectral body. And the dead now rise throughout the town, their bodies replaying the sacking along with the spirits. And then, as midnight is reached, and the disembodied and undead complete their roles in the fall of the city and then fade away.

But this unworldly spectacle is believed to be no more. The curse that motivated the town’s spirits have been lifted, and the few living townsfolk need not fear the twilight streets.

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Into Penza
"How bad can it be?" -- Mery

Hobart Julius Pettibone chases down Kell at her hostel. Was referred to her by Namfoodingle, and requested her courier assistance. Two intricately-etched brass plates.

Jared Varkovian arrives to our departure point… in a med-wagon and in manacacles. A detail I’m sure was inadvertently omitted by Milo, Mery, and Tomas. Surely an oversight. Surely.

Tomas reports briefly on his research. Found something about Eternal Siege — an Atlantean artifact used against the Giants. The same Giants allegedly later enslaved by the Atlanteans.

Travel past of the Edge of the World is largely uneventful.

On our 2nd day in, we attempt to work our way around a large group of orcs, split into just enough groups that we can’t avoid taking out one of their patrols. Jared is an experienced warrior, and we escape any serious injury.

Our arrival in Expeditious Retreat attracts the usual attention. Felt like fewer people were around, as some of the shops were closed up. Makes sense considering the upcoming Winter season.

Kell wanders off to see Namfoodle and make her delivery. Milo runs off to the Gem to see Liam (and the girls). We re-supply on turnovers, and then head on out the following day.

Second day out, more goblin/orc encampment avoidance maneuvers are required. Garrick pulls his usual elf-magic to get us through without problems and not losing too much time. We have a few brutal small-scale engagements with some unlucky orcs and goblins. We worked hard to eliminate any trace of their existence. Most of the camp and marching routes headed off to the front.

A couple of weeks out from Expeditious Retreat, we cross some border from “behind the military front” to “settled lands,” though they still looked a bit like military camps. A few days after that, we skirt around what we’d think of as a quiet town in the country… populated by goblins. Roads, even. Not well traveled though. Hmm. Garrick’s navigation sense and map crosscheck suggest we’re at the Northwestern limit of the pre-war goblin lands, about three days from Penza. This doesn’t quite match what we’ve been told about the area. We give the town a pretty wide berth after watching it for a while.

The next couple of days take us through the ruins of Bariar. Still lots of signs of the utterly brutal and unforgiving fighting that happened during the early phases of the war. Another day or so along our route, we start having to dodge more patrols (this time from the inside of their area).

Penza was a Goram city (within Bariar), centered on the Cathedral of Goram. We learned quickly that the city still had some people living there. Garrick makes a new human friend that warns us to get off the streets, fast. We found a decent spot to hole up for the night.

As we watched, after sunset, we watched a bunch of “lights” become people, who wander around, interact, and otherwise look perfectly normal ghosts. Other than not being solid, and moving waaaaay too fast. A rider appears, talks to a boss from the Cathedral, a military response start to form, and then a flood of the goblin army to crush the city. Right before midnight, two people carry a third, some dark figure, out of the Cathedral. Funny stuff happens (Milo suggests magic). Dead start rising and fighting goblins. Takes us a bit to realize the dead are actually rising, both human and goblin. When the ghostly moon rises, the ghostly dead fall back into their corpses. After the real midnight, our moon rises (and the dead are gone).

Mery recruits a local that has been in the city for a couple of years. Tells her that goblins avoid the City, and that otherwise the City is fairly safe. The Cathedral is somewhat untouched, compared to the rest of the City — similar to the site in Anapold.

Inside the Cathedral, the necklace-amulet-thing is nowhere to be found. After some searching around, Milo gets convinced we’ll find it in the catacombs. We split up a bit to try and find the entrance. Garrick and Mery end up at the altar and managed to trigger something to open, only to have some skeleton whack Mery upside the head with a large mace while standing in a pool of silver coinage. We converge and after a bunch of bashing, Milo lands the final blow of holy goodness. The skeleton essentially disintegrates, leaving behind a helmet, mace, and some armor (looks like chainmail, more like ceremonial chain armor).

Kell pokes around in the silver and triggers a set of spring doors exposing stairs down. When the doors open, the coins go flying. When the doors close, the coins disappear, only to reappear in the “pool”, above the doors.

[Mace, magical]
[Helmet, magical]

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The Goblin Village
A Report To Her Majesty

Dear Cate,

Hope everything’s going smoothly at court without me. We’ve made our way past the goblin front lines, and Garrik tells us we’re not far from Penza.

Did you know goblins have villages? They have little houses with sod roofs and farms and children, and they have friendly conversations as they go through their day. If I didn’t think we’d cause a panic and disrupt their peaceful lives, I would ask to go down and talk to them.

Tarben and Tomas are counting them. I’m afraid they’re thinking about how much work it would take to kill everyone in those little houses.

Love,

Mery

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Posted from Expeditious Retreat

A detachment of orcs, approximately 100 strong, was sighted early morning on ______ to the immediate south of ______ Wood, about one half mile from the road to _______. It was not clear in which direction the orcs will be heading.

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A Note Slipped Under a Door
Definitely written in cipher

I have very recently come into the possession of some knowledge that may describe a significant threat to Montenegro. According to my source, the cause of the Fog that descended upon Romania, was a device, one “Oppugnatio Perennis”, that was brought into the country by the detachment of goblins that invaded the country. I have no description of the device, but can only assume that it cannot exceed the capacity of a large wagon. Historic reference indicates that such a device at least existed. I do not have another source who can corroborate that such a device was used in Romania. However, I recommend establishing patrols along the border, or at least at the roads crossing the border. We are accustomed to nothing coming out of Romania, but it is not safe to expect that will always be the case. And the danger of the potential threat justifies the expense of patrols. The widespread damage that could be caused if such a device was slipped over the boarder is too horrible to be contemplated.

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Montenegran Interlude, continued (3)
Are you insane?

(couple of days pass)

Milo heads to the Haverhill Asylum with Tomas and Mery. Goal is to interview Jared Varkovian, inmate, reported to be an expert on Romania. Alisar Gorvinia, elf, met them and escorted the team to an interview location. Varkovian’s room had a moist red spot about head-high, and an equivalent spot on his head. Apparently he likes pounding his head on the wall. Without introductions, Varkovian asked who was Milo, Tomas, Kell, and Happy. Later, Varkovian used carving of his own bloody hand(!!) to make the sign of a lantern on the wall. All he wanted was to go home to Romania. Varkovian wrote down “Oppugnatio Perennis” for Milo, et al, meaning “eternal siege” in Latin. Pretty much overnight, the darkness fell on Romania. Varkovian theorized the fall was triggered by something, possibly something imported.

Mery relayed the Rules from Varkovian: stay on the roads, if you see someone by themselves they will likely try to kill you, and stay out of the empty cities. And if the current denizens. zombies, bite you, you could become one.

Milo checked in with his High Priest about goblins, undead, and other badness. Asked Gerald to check Varkovian to see if there are undue… influences… affecting Varkovian’s mental states. Something about voodoo.

Tomas chased down the original Montenegran military report from six years ago when Varkovian was found on the Montegran border. He was largely incomprehensible. Was shocked and scared to see the Sun (this all happened after the Darkness arose in/around Romania). However, he demanded to see three people: Milo, Tomas, and Happy. Report dates back from six years ago. How the heck did our names get in that report?

I arrange with Lamont for referrals to a future apartment/condo. Think I can’t keep relying on the barracks if I need to keep some of Lantern business discreet. Also asked for a regular meeting room with a discrete second exit, as well as strong room where we can keep sensitive documents and other valuables to which we need regular access.

Kell arranges a private room at a place with good food for a nice dinner conversation with the gang.

Mery quizzes Garrick about his age. And sets up a “Hot Tryst” with Milo for five years from now. He seemed a bit stunned.

Milo reports on the Goram amulet, being believed lost at Penza with the fall of a Goram field marshall deployed up there. Penza about a month’s travel North of Expeditious Retreat, mostly due to anticipated enemy activity needing to be dodged.

We agree on a tentative plan. Depart in four days to Penza via Expeditious Retreat. Intent is to get the Goram necklace, and be prepared to head directly to Romania. If possible, return to Montenegro first. We’ll take Varkovian with us from the beginning, given the recommendation of Milo and Mery.

Garrick takes a special dinner to Pellerion.

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Supporting Good Works

Lady V_______:

It was a great pleasure to meet you at his Excellency’s gathering. As we pleasantly discussed at the event, I inquired as to Lady P____ ‘s next visit to the capital. I remain confident that her Ladyship would support your good works, but it seems that she will not be present in the capital for some weeks. I left a letter of introduction on your behalf with her Ladyship’s secretary. I also quite confidently highly recommend the counsel of the Honorable Holy Milovan Simivic, a very earnest young man. I understand that his holy duties keep him away from the capital for some periods, but there is some chance I may get word when he returns. I would be pleased to send a card to you when I understand him to be available. In the meantime, I remain an admirer of your efforts.

/s/ Sir Tomas Kosic

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A Thank You Note
It's just good manners

Your Excellency Duke Ovim:

Thank you for the invitation. It was most pleasurable to renew acquaintances with so many notable people of the capital. If you find yourself in our province, I’ve no doubt we would very much wish to return the hospitality.

Sir Tomas Kosic

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