It’s been a few weeks since I took the time to write in this diary. There has been nothing but darkness for awhile now and tho I don’t show it to my party members, I’m supremely anxious.
Where to begin?
The incident at the Long Bones tavern prompted the guild to have us do a sweep of the sewers and canals beneath the city to suss out what the blood cult was up to. At first, it felt like a literal shit job but soon we found secrets of dark and light. Unrelated to the blood cult or the eel cult (the one responsible for poisoning me), we found a nest of vampire spawn. Later, we discovered a grotto beneath the Mage’s College where a brood of Tressym had grown hemmed in by wild magic leaking down from the college.
After freeing the cat creatures, we continued through the underground finding a different brood this time. A handful of waifs, homeless street kids, had made themselves a nest below a well-traveled inn however, their spot was being menaced by some giant gators. We should’ve just continued on but I wasn’t about to leave those kids to be devoured. Neither was Truda. Kill the crocs wasn’t much of a difficulty. Afterwards, I talked with the urchin headboy calling himself ‘Jonathon.’ I gave him my Dagger of Bleeding, told him if he ever needed help he could ask for Cade, and that I’d be checking in with him every so often–using Message, I showed him how. Truda and I both made it a point to talk with the workers in the inn above the kids to make sure they were taken care of and if anything they needed anything to contact us. Octavia and I even took a couple of the younger kids to the Cockled Moor to hang out with the Tressyms we had freed. It was a good moment. Hopefully, these kids make it in the city.
Our final move had us run a job for the elven quarter. The elves were looking to set up a shipping node on the river, smuggling really. In no small part because Varis was in our number, we were tasked to clear out an antechamber the elves needed. We discovered a hub trapping eels. It led to a chamber were a stone statue was being bathed in blood and a half-faced blood cultist sprang his trap for us.
Killing the cultist once and for all took time as the ritual he was doing unleashed an infuriating difficult creature to pin down. Reporting back to the guild, we discovered things had taken a very serious turn. The rangers outside the city, The Tusks, had arrived with their leader and four others. This leader was a Ki-rin who had discovered the root cause of the evil rising in the city–a deep, forgotten temple outside the city where an truly ancient darkness was growing.
Meeting the companions of the Ki-Rin was a highlight. They were apparently from some remote county here in Osse–Nym, a half-elf druid woman; John, a human Pelorian priest of some kind covered in bronze dragon scales; Asher, a stoic tiefling monk; and a jovial aasimar, Roben, who had apparently created and opened a new tavern in town overnight. After the briefing by the Ki-Rin, we were encouraged to go out and have a night as it would likely be our last in some time.
The next day, we (myself, Octavia, Nymeria, Flynkin, and Varis) journeyed out to a long ruined keep roughly two days north of the city. It felt like an ordinary job. Entering the ruins, we proceeded with appropriate caution discovering two bodies, one of which clearly half devoured. Before we could really figure out a next move, a huge black shadow covered us all as a young black dragon revealed itself.
I took more hurt than I would have liked, but fortunately, Octavia had her eye on the creature taking it down with some exquisite arrow strikes. Now having slayed not just blue dragon wyrmlings but a proper black dragon, Octavia was more than excited. Searching the bodies, we discovered what looked like a whole new evil cult. As we scoured the ruins, we found a hidden passage leading us to further baddies lurking below. Apparently, this dragon had been the bottle stopper.
Ghouls, animated bones, and vicious gnolls came at us in waves. We rescued an innocent alchemist explorer who had gotten himself trapped. And then, we found it.
Splayed out before our most recently defeated black cultists were ritual items. Among them a scroll case holding an incomprehensible spell. It was written in no language any of us knew or had ever seen. Fortunately, in my roaming through the city, I had come upon a library where forgotten among the stacks was an ancient spellbook in which I learned Comprehend Languages. Casting it now upon the scroll, I watched as the script seemed to move as though it was trying to form some new language. Yet it didn’t. Instead, in my mind, I heard the script speak. It was a ritual. A deep, dark one taking years to cast requiring blood sacrifice and a slew of other gruesome dealings all to open a gate to utter darkness. It wasn’t a summoning spell; it was a spell meant to release something, something ancient and purely evil. The others demanded to know what I discovered. It didn’t feel wise to tell them if only because it would be too terrifying. Something like this…it was too dangerous to have. I refused to say anything about it other than it was more evil than anything any of us had ever encountered or heard of. I insisted on taking it directly to Qwand and the Ki-Rin.
We harnessed our dragon loot dragging it back to the city with the help of some guild troops sent our way. As it was dissected to be hung as a trophy and made into specialty items, I spoke with Qwand and the Ki-Rin. They confirmed my suspicions. The Ki-Rin stating that such a spell ought not to even exist and immediately burning the scroll. The job now became more serious. Any cult with this sort of power or, rather, ambition…
I’ve tried to keep details from the others so they don’t feel overwhelmed or rightly horrified. There is no dishonor in refusing this task. But I do feel pangs of guilt. I do not think the others realize the degree of evil here. I think they still reckon our task is simply one of the more difficult of many. However, this feels like an existential threat.
Going forward, I am giving no quarter nor taking any chances. We must find out what they cultists are doing and put an end to it.